Kimbell Art Museum

Kimbell Art Museum

The Kimbell Art Museum is situated in the Cultural District of Fort Worth, Texas, USA. It houses a small but exquisite collection of European, Asian and Pre-Columbian works, as well as hosting travelling art exhibitions. The building, widely considered to be one of the most epic structures of the twentieth century, was designed by Louis Kahn.


The Kimbell Art Institute was established as a result of a request by Kay Kimbell, a Texan industrialist and art collector, to establish an art institute for the people of Texas. On his death in 1964, his widow, Velma Fuller Kimbell, decided to use the entire Kimbell estate to fund the Institute.

The museum building was commissioned in 1966 and opened in 1972. One of the masterworks of architect Louis Kahn, the 120,000 square foot (11,000 m²) building takes the form of a series of spaces defined by parallel barrel vaults. Interruptions and irregularies between the main spaces are experienced as rhythmic variations on a theme. Kahn's excellent treatment of light is appropriate to the art on display (in contrast to other modern museums like the Wexner Center), and has the effect of making the post-tensioned reinforced concrete construction seem light and precise. The spatial rhythm extends to the exterior water-features on the west side of the building, and resolves into a number of paths and garden areas on the grounds.

Although the museum initially housed the Kimbells' art collection, this has since been expanded, always with a view to acquiring artworks of first class quality.

The Kimbell Art Foundation recently announced that the Renzo Piano Building Workshop has been selected as the architect for an addition to the museum.

The collection

The museum is not large, but the [ collection of artwork] is wide-ranging and would not be out of place in any of the world's great art galleries. Works by Picasso, Caravaggio, El Greco, Rembrandt, Monet, Gainsborough, Vigée-Lebrun, and Rubens are included among many others in the European collection. There is the only painting by Adam Elsheimer on public display outside Europe. Two important paintings by Piet Mondrian mark the modern end of the period covered.

There is a collection of antiquities from the classical period ranging from Assyrian to Greek and Roman.

The Asian collection includes jars from Neolithic China and works from Tang, Song and Ming dynasties. Japanese art is focused on the Momoyama and Edo periods.

External links

* [ Kimbell Art Museum official website]
* [ Louis Kahn]
* [ QTVR walk-through of the museum]
* [ Kimbell Art Foundation selects Architect for New Building]

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