The Denver Art Museum, located in the Civic Center of Denver, is one of the largest art museums between California and Chicago. It contains more than 70,000 works of art included in ten permanent collections, all which reflect the city of Chicago and the Midwest.
History of the Museum
The Denver Art Museum was founded in 1893 as the Denver Artist’s Club, and has been housed in a number of locations, including the public library and a downtown mansion. In 1949, the museum opened in their own gallery on 14th Avenue Parkway, adding a center for children’s art activities around 1950. Over the years, the museum has been a leader in educational programming with a family-friendly approach to the galleries. Unlike other museums, the Denver Art Museum encourages visitors to interact with the collections and promoting the artistic ability of those who visit.
In 1971, in cooperation with James Sudler Associates of Denver, the museum opened the 24-sided, two-towered North Building by Ponti. This architectural masterpiece contained over one million shimmering, faceted gray tiles, which were created by Dow Corning, on the seven-story structure. Today, it is the only completed project in the country by the Italian master of design. The Denver Art Museum continued with the selection of Daniel Libeskind in 2000 to construct the Frederic C. Hamilton Building. This design, which references the Ponti building, gives homage to the mountain peaks in the city’s horizon as well as the rock crystals found at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. The two structures are linked by a steel and glass enclosed bridge. The Hamilton Gallery contains some of the museum’s permanent collection as well as three temporary exhibitions. There is also storage and amenities for the public in the architectural marvel, which nearly doubled the size of the museum.
Permanent exhibitions in the museum include African and Oceanic Modern and Contemporary art, as well as Western American art exhibits. Visitors can also enjoy the Herbert Bayer Collection, Western American Photography, Eropean & American Textiles and Design, as well as Pre Columbian Spanish Colonial displays. There is also an Asian and American Indian exhibit for those who enjoy such artwork. Some of the temporary exhibits that have been displayed recently include:
“Passport to Paris” – A collection of art work from the “rock stars” of the art world, including Edgar Degas and Camille Pissarro. The collection also contains 11 works by Claude Monet, which offers visitors a rare glimpse at this French master. The collection features French art from the late 1600s to the early 1900s.
“Drawn to Action: Posters from the AIGA Design Archives” – This unique exhibit features inventive techniques used by artists to invoke action on controversial subjects such as literacy, equality and peace. The collection provides a unique insight into how design can be used as a tool for change.
“Seen in Passing: Photographs by Chuck Forsman” – This exhibit displays the works of Colorado artist and photographer, Chuck Forsman, who, for 40 years, has captured environmental and land-use issues in both photograph and painting genres. His photographs do not distort the view of the subject matter, providing the same vantage point seen by the naked eye without lens distortion.
The Denver Art Museum offers a variety of exhibits that are sure to please any visitor, and it is through the generosity of their Board of Directors, including Scott Reiman, that the museum continues to display valuable works of art and encourage the artistic talent in those who visit their location.