Download Page 1 DIA Enrichment Information page 1 INFORMATION ON THE

yes no Was this document useful for you?
   Thank you for your participation!

* Your assessment is very important for improving the work of artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project

Document related concepts

Royal Ontario Museum wikipedia, lookup

Compiled by Wendy Evans, with assistance from Jennifer Czajkowski and Steve Niemi.
January 2006
To assist GI and GS volunteers help DIA guests enjoy their time in the museum by providing
general information about the museum building, history, and collection and answers to common
visitor questions.
One of the world’s renowned art museums
● The DIA is one of the largest in the US. The DIA owns over 60,000 works of art.
700 are listed in the extensive book: The Detroit Institute of Arts: A Visitor’s Guide (available
in the DIA bookstore).
The Current Director is Graham W.J. Beal.
He has degrees from the University of Manchester and the Courtauld Institute of Art.
He came to the DIA in October 1999 from the LA County Museum of Art.
● Interest in a very popular Art Loan Exhibition led to incorporation of the Detroit Museum of
Art on March 25, 1885.
● 40 Detroiters each put up $1000 to become the original Founders Society.
● A following mass subscription raised support to $100,000 for a museum building, from 2000
donations, ranging from 1 cent to $10,000.
● The Detroit Museum of Art opened 1888 on Jefferson and Hastings. The architect was James
Balfour of Hamilton, Ontario.
● In 1919 the museum’s name was changed to The Detroit Institute of Arts. The first museum
building no longer exists. It was razed in 1960 when Chrysler Expressway built.
● Construction of the present building began in 1921.
● The land was donated by Lizzie Merrill Palmer and the Dexter M. Ferry
● The museum opened on its present site on October 7, 1927.
10,000 turned up for the opening, which included entertainment by the
Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
● At the opening ceremonies, Director William Valentiner told the audience
that he saw the museum as: “a refuge” where visitors “cannot fail to imbibe
something of the wealth of noble thought that has been stored for centuries in
these works of art."
The original building is by Paul Phillip Cret [pronounced CRAY] from Philadelphia.
He was born in Lyon, France.
● Trained in Paris in the Beaux Arts architectural tradition (a term that refers to the elegant,
symmetrical style, using features from ancient Greece and Rome).
● Cret has had many commissions for civic buildings throughout his career. He also designed
the Fogler Shakespeare Library and the Federal Reserve Building, both in Washington, DC.
Additional side wings were added later.
DIA Enrichment Information
page 1
● The south wing, dedicated to Edsel and Eleanor Ford, opened in 1966.
● The north wing, dedicated to Detroit mayor James Cavanaugh, opened in 1971.
● The addition of both wings tripled the size of the museum.
Architect Gunner Birkerts was the design consultant.
● Above main Woodward Avenue entrance is written: "Dedicated by the people of Detroit to
the knowledge and enjoyment of art"
● The exterior design was intended to complement the public library designed by Cass Gilbert,
which had opened in 1921.
● The sides of the museum have carved names of famous artists, just as library has names of
famous writers.
● The carved letter “D” (for Detroit) found often on the exterior walls and the flagpoles.
Ornamental iron work around windows (and elsewhere in and out of building)
● is mostly by Samuel Yellin, a craftsman artist whose workshops in Philadelphia made
wrought iron for major clients throughout the US in first half of 20th century.
● The firm still exists, run by his granddaughter Claire Yellin, mostly doing restorations of
Samuel Yellin's original work.
● Light fixtures and other ironwork outside and inside the Cret Building by Edward F.
Caldwell and Co. from New York.
The building’s marble was from quarry near Danby, Vermont.
● The same quarry is being used for the new white marble to clad the additional wings.
Some of the veined marble is cut vertically into slabs with back of one slab and face of next
polished to get mirror images known as book-matched panels. Other slabs have less
prominent veins; they are horizontal slices.
● Booms Stone Company is the contractor for the marble work.
Carved onto the frames around windows are relief heads. They are the profile of a goddess: the
Greek goddess Athena or the Roman goddess Minerva.
● Because of her association with wisdom and the arts and crafts, Athena/Minerva is used in
the DIA logo.
● Athena is the Greek goddess associated with wisdom, war, and the arts. The Roman Minerva
was probably originally an Etruscan goddess associated with domestic arts. Today, Athena
and Minerva are basically synonymous.
● At top of fountain steps, on either side, are reclining figures. They are copies of sculptures
from the French royal place of Versailles.
● In niches found in the front end of the building are copies of Italian renaissance art:
Dying Slave by Michelangelo (on the north side)
Saint George by Donatello (on the south side)
● The Thinker by Auguste Rodin (located at the Woodward Avenue entrance) is an original,
early large bronze cast acquired in 1922 as a gift from Horace Rackham.
● Gracehoper by Tony Smith is the large black sculpture on the northwest corner of the
DIA Enrichment Information
page 2
Josephine F. Ford Sculpture Garden on CCS campus (Kirby at John R), displays other DIA art
on long term loan:
The X and its Tails, Alexander Calder (67.113)
Up Front, Anthony Caro (73.168)
Ashtablua, Michael D. Hall (79.42)
Grand Couple, Etienne-Martin (1988.185)
Goddess of the Golden Thighs, Reuben Nakian (68.180)
Hip and Spine (Stone Chair Setting), Richard Nonas (1997.11.1-8)
Untitled (Chair), Albert Paley (2003.77, he also designed the lectern in the Lecture Hall)
Normanno Wedge 1, 1983 Beverly Pepper (1991.167)
Mozarabe, 1971 Richard Serra (81.694)
● Donkey a sculpture by Rene Sinetis is the only work of art that museum visitors are
allowed to touch. It shows the wear that could result if touching were allowed to other works
in the museum’s collection.
● The Seal of the City of Detroit can be seen in the floor. It has coat of arms, which
symbolizes countries whose flags have flown over Detroit: Fleur de Lis (France), Lion
(England), 13 Stars (Colonial America), Stripes (USA)
● Up high are round plaster heads, one of which is Minerva.
● Intended as the reception hall, with a high vaulted ceiling for grandeur.
● It was designed to somewhat resemble an ancient Roman public bath.
● The style of the ceiling is inspired by ancient Roman frescoes at Pompeii. The painting was
done by Paul Cret and a local painter. The room was recently cleaned and relit with
uplighting added to the original chandeliers.
● The walls are made of travertine marble.
● The bronze doors are original to the building. They are intended to close the galleries for
social events.
● "Bronze" grills are made of plaster. In general, throughout the building, building materials
low down are real, the ones high up are “faux” materials meant to simulate other materials.
● The floor tiles are Pewabic from a Detroit pottery founded by Mary Chase Perry-Stratton in
1903. Pewabic is an Ojibway word for metal. Pewabic was the name of a copper mine near
Hancock in the Upper Peninsula where Stratton was born.
● The roundels in the floors have symbols for water (sea-dragon), earth (deer/dog), air (bird).
These same elements are seen in Rivera fresco: earth on the east wall, water and air on the
west wall, plus the fourth element, fire, on the north wall.
● The DIA’s armor collection is highly regarded as representing work by some of Europe’s
finest armorers and workshops. It was acquired mostly by purchase and as a gift from
collection of William Randolph Hearst.
● Six large architectural sculptures from Sicily were donated by the Hearst Foundation in
1949 and installed in 1999.
Latin inscriptions can be seen above entry ways:
As long as there are generous patrons, we won't lack artists.
This is a complicated epigram from the Roman writer Martial (Book 8 dedicated to Valerius
DIA Enrichment Information
page 3
Flaccus). Martial is specifically referring to Virgil (whose family name was Maro) and his
financial sponsor Maecenas:
Let there be Maecenases, Flaccus, and Virgils will not be lacking.
The praise deserving here - the muse does not allow to die.
It comes from the Roman writer Horace (Carmina).
The north wall is installed with American paintings from the 1800s. They are back from an
acclaimed touring exhibition that traveled through Europe and Japan.
The museum’s very first acquisition is at the west end of north wall
● Francis Davis Millet, Reading the Story of Oenone, was painted about 1882 (DIA accession
number: 83.1).
● It was purchased before the museum built.
● It was the most popular work in the 1883 Art Loan exhibition, organized by James E. Scripps
(founder of the Evening News forerunner of The Detroit News) and William H. Brearley (his
Advertising Manager).
● The women are seen reading a story from classical antiquity, which was all the rage in late
19th century America. The nymph Oenone was deserted by her husband Paris who ran off
with Helen of Troy. Paris was wounded in the Trojan War. Only Oenone could cure his
wound. She originally refused, changed her mind, but arrived too late to save her husband.
She killed herself with grief, some say by throwing herself on his funeral pyre.
The south wall has mostly Italian paintings. Further information can be found in the guides in the
center of the hall.
The east wall has The Fencing Master, by Detroit painter Gari Melchers, from about 1900
The art in this gallery is arranged according to geographic regions:
● Woodlands areas (Michigan, Wisconsin, and southward) are represented on the south
● The Northwest Coast region (Alaska to Washington) is represented in art by the door
and on the north side.
● Pots from the southwest United States are exhibited to the east end of the gallery.
● Different “ledger” drawings and woven bags will be shown and replaced in rotation, to
protect them, as they are sensitive to exposure to light.
Architectural detail: The gallery has an old wooden ceiling and floor originally designed to
complement the colonial American art housed here.
The gallery explains the expansion and renovation that is underway in the museum
● Current renovation and expansion is under the direction of Michael Graves and Associates.
The exterior is being treated for
better climate control.
● The interior will be larger, and is intended to be easier for the visitor to find their way
DIA Enrichment Information
page 4
There will be more seating in
galleries and a new education center.
● Collection will be organized chronologically, culturally, and, in places, thematically, making
connections across cultures and eras. Interpretations and activities will provide a visitorcentered museum experience.
The expansion re-opening is
scheduled for November 10, 2007.
Galleries around Rivera Court have emphasized the theme of animals in art.
Art here (C233) is from ancient cultures of Central America, Mexico, and Peru.
● The architectural details of this gallery are restorations of the building’s original design.
Paul Cret and William Valentiner designed galleries specifically to provide a sympathetic
ambience for the art that is housed in them. This idea was so innovative for the time that
the1929 Encyclopedia Britannia used DIA layout in an entry on museum planning.
● The gallery was originally intended for Meso-American art, and its architectural details were
designed to complement the objects within the gallery. As collections were moved in the
building these details were covered up. Recent building restorations have brought them back.
The ceiling is modeled after the inside of a step pyramid, like those in Teotihuacan, Mexico.
Winding its way around the wall is the feathered serpent of ancient Mexico. This serpent
image (made of Pewabic tile) represents Quetzlcoatl, the Aztec water god who created fire
and discovered maize.
● One the gallery’s highlights is a whistle in the form of two figures: Embracing Couple
(Moon Goddess and Old Man Embracing), 600-900, Mayan ceramic whistle (77.49).
These galleries show art from the various cultures of sub-Saharan Africa
● African art first entered the museum collection in 1890, as gifts of Frederick Stearns.
● DIA was active in acquiring African art as early as the 1920s. This was progressive for its
time, as most African art was displayed in history museums.
Notable objects in the collection include:
● The bronze Horse and Rider from Benin (1992.290) was owned by Mrs. Edsel Ford and,
according to her wishes, donated to the museum by her daughter Mrs. Walter B. Ford.
● Nail Figure (Nkonde) (76.79) one of the largest and best preserved such figures in any
Art in this gallery is mostly from Mesopotamia (modern Iraq), Egypt, and Persia (modern
An object with an interesting story is The Dragon of Marduk (31.25)
● The relief was acquired by director William Valentiner, the first trained art historian to be
hired by the museum (hired in 1921, director 1921-45).
● Valentiner was born in Germany and had connections with the Berlin Museum that was
assembling the large Ishtar Gate from fragments that German archeologists found in Babylon
(modern-day Iraq).
● This court, designed by Paul Cret, was originally intended to be a central garden-like
resting place, with a large fountain. In the early years, large paintings were hung on the north
DIA Enrichment Information
page 5
and south walls. With the commission of Diego Rivera’s murals the original design was
substantially changed.
The sculpture heads on the walls are original to the 1927 building.
Heavy wooden beams are original to the building but once were lighter in color.
The floor was replaced in the 1980s with a Pewabic-tile compass rose similar to that painted
on west wall.
The skylight once had a shade that could be pulled across to diminish the sunlight.
People may ask about the Wisteria Gate that used to separate Rivera Court from the
Great Hall. It has been removed and is currently in storage. It is an accessioned work of art
(accession # 19.41), designed by Thomas Hastings and fabricated by the Caldwell Company
(who produced all the decorative lighting for the Cret Building). George Booth bought it in
1917 for the Detroit Museum of Art.
The Latin inscription: VITA BREVIS LONGA ARS translates to Life is short; art endures.
It is a quote attributed to the ancient Greek philosopher Hippocrates
The Rivera murals, collectively known as Detroit Industry, were painted by Diego Rivera in
eight months (in 1932-3).
● The artist’s patrons are painted on the south wall in the lower right corner. You can see
details of commission written on the papers held in the hands of museum Director William
Valentiner. Beside Valentiner is Edsel Ford who paid for the mural painting.
● Diego Rivera's portrait is in the upper left corner on north wall. He wears a bowler hat, and
he appears to look out at the viewer.
● Rivera’s signature can be seen on the engine block under his self-portrait.
This gallery presently contains only sculpture, because the gallery is close to construction in
Prentis Court and other more fragile works have been removed.
Note: there are some ancient works in display cases just outside the gallery.
Calligraphy (the art of writing) is the most revered art in the Moslem world. It appears on most
items in room from the large Qur'an from the Timurid dynasty (30.323) on polished paper and
sprinkled with gold dust, to the tiny Gold Bracelet (26.15) inscribed with "Sovereignty belongs
to God."
New Curator of Islamic Art and Head of the Department of the Arts of Asia and the Islamic
World is Dr Heather Ecker.
Architectural note: the coffered ceiling was originally meant to complement the art from ancient
Rome, which was displayed in this gallery
Works here rotate with the seasons to protect fragile works in lacquer, and on silk or paper.
They are sensitive to heat and light.
Two notable works are consistently present:
● Korean Head of Buddha, about 900 (1988.1) made of cast iron.
● Sakyamuni Emerging from the Mountains, about 1300 (29.172).
Made in China, this depicts the historical Buddha.
DIA Enrichment Information
page 6
Architectural detail: the barrel-vaulted ceiling was intended to complement the art of ancient
Rome that was originally displayed in this gallery.
Works on paper are displayed on a rotational basis, as they are fragile to both heat and light. For
example, at the time of this writing, this gallery has pages from a Jain manuscript (71.320)
The art of the “western world” includes art from American, African-American, European, and
Modern and Contemporary collections. During remodeling, these works are arranged thematically
rather than by traditional geographic and chronological concerns.
● The north wall of gallery W220 deals with the notion transience, which is inherent in nature:
time (clocks), decay.
● A recent acquisition: Vase of the Titans, by Albert Ernst Carrier-Belleuse and Auguste
Rodin (who was then Carrier-Belleuse’s assistant) (2003.32).
● Some works are on extended loan to the DIA, such as Franz Snyders Still Life with Dead
Hare, 1620s (T2005.25) loaned by Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Cracchiolo. Objects on temporary
loan can be recognized by the “T” in their accession number.
● Works of art in the remix galleries are sometimes hung in close proximity to provoke
comparisons of subject matter. For example Flowers in a Glass Vase by Rachel Ruysch
(1995.67), Oranges on a Branch by Donald Sultan (1994.19), and Roses on a Wall by George
Cochran Lambdin (2001.70).
● Some works are meant to be compared for materials, forms, and composition, such as
Henry Moore’s Reclining Figure (65.108) and Richard Hunt’s Field Section (74.44).
● Vincent Van Gogh’s The Diggers (70.158) has recently been in the news due to a dispute
about legal ownership. Everyone is advised to consult the DIA press release if there are any
questions and refer visitors to DIA public relations for further inquiries.
● The Bay, by Helen Frankenthaler (65.60). This painting has received notoriety for the
thoughtless placing of a piece of gum on the surface, by a young visitor. The artist was
interested in the ways acrylic paint (a new invention at the time) could be diffused into
canvas. Because the canvas she worked with is unprimed, it is exceptionally absorbent and
prone to staining.
● Architectural details: the wooden floor and wall panels were originally intended to
complement the 18th century English art that was displayed here.
● The south wall has variations of themes of mother and child, including a girl with her doll.
● Generous donations allow the museum’s collections to grow, for example, Postmaster
Roulin by Vincent van Gogh (1996.25) was given to the museum by Mr. and Mrs. Walter
Buhl Ford II. A copy hangs in its original location in the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House
museum. (There is an attachment on recent Ford family donations).
Self portraits of artists can be seen on the south and west walls. Portraits of their wives can be
seen on the opposing north wall:
● Benny Andrews’s, Portrait of a Collage Artist (1993.65) is popular with children.
DIA Enrichment Information
page 7
● Vincent Van Gogh, Self Portrait, 1887 (22.13) is the first work by van Gogh to enter an
American public collection. It was purchased by the City of Detroit only 32 years after artist
died in 1890.
● Paul Cézanne, Madame Cézanne, 1886 (70.160), a gift of major DIA donor Robert H.
Tannahill. How a work is acquired by the museum is always shown on its label.
Architectural details: gallery W232 originally displayed art from Northern Europe. The window
seat simulates 16th century German bay window design.
Highlights in these galleries include:
● The Wedding Dance by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, from about 1566 (30.374) is a rare work
in America. There is only one other major work by Bruegel in US (that one is in the National
Gallery, in Washington DC). The Wedding Dance has an interesting story about its
acquisition. Director William Valentiner spotted it in London, obscured by dirt and overpainting. He recognized it as original work by this well-known artist. He cabled Arts
Commission of the City of Detroit to send funds. This is the only DIA work to be approved
for purchase sight-unseen by the Arts Commission.
● Violinist and Young Woman, by Edgar Degas, from about 1871 (70.167).
● Saint Bacchus sideboard by William Burges (F82.50A)
One has to look closely to appreciate its comical illustrations.
● Bank of the Oise at Auvers, by Vincent gan Gogh, 1890 (70.159).
● The Nut Gatherers, by William Adolphe Bougereau, 1882 (54.458) was loaned to the 2nd
art loan exhibition in 1886 by James Scripps and given to the museum by Mrs. William E
Scripps in 1954. It is consistently a popular painting with visitors.
● Change Your Luck (2002.126) by Robert Colescott (born 1925) is the first work acquired
by General Motors Center for African-American Art (established in 2000).
● Architectural details: the ceiling designed specifically for a particular painting: Dreams of
Men by Tintoretto (23.11). It is currently undergoing treatment in the conservation
department, and it is hoped that it can be displayed there again. Also, note, elsewhere the "D"
for Detroit. It can be found at various locations in the original Paul Cret building.
● The Dressing Table Plaza Dressing Table (1990.273) is by Michael Graves, architect of
Master Plan and current renovation. Graves also designed an addition for the Minneapolis
Museum of Art (2006) and the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University in Atlanta,
which bears a clear resemblance to the new DIA wings.
● The Nightmare, by Henry Fuseli (55.5), a well-known work in the DIA collection has been
loaned to an exhibition about the artist organized by the Tate Gallery in London. It has been
temporarily replaced by a painting on loan from the Tate by JMW Turner.
● Departure of the Volunteers of 1792 (The Marseillaise) by François Rude (2001.67) is a
preparatory model for a large relief on the Arc de Triomphe, Paris.
● Architectural details: Gallery has beamed ceiling like Italian palazzo (town house), because
it was originally designed to complement the Italian renaissance art displayed in this gallery
DIA Enrichment Information
page 8
● The Visitation, by Rembrandt (27.200) has replaced The Anunciatory Angel by Fra
Angelico from 1450s (77.1.1). It is on loan to be in a Fra Angelico exhibition.
● Chair of St. Peter by Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini (52.220) is leaving for an exhibition in Bonn
organized by Vatican.
● Architectural details: this gallery was originally designed to complement the early Christian
art displayed here; it resembles a Romanesque church with rounded arches and walls of
simulated-stone (they’re actually plaster). Note: the door to Gothic gallery (W251-252) has a
rounded top and the sort of sculpture that would be seen at entrances to Romanesque
churches. The chandelier is by Edward F. Caldwell and Co. from New York.
● New in the gallery: Descent from the Cross by The Master of the Embroidered Foliage,
1500-20 (T2005.26) is on extended loan by Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Cracchiolo. Anonymous
artists are sometime identified as painters of other known stylistically similar works of art.
● Old Peasant Woman by Paula Modersohn-Becker (58.385). Because of Director William
Valentiner’s expertise in German art, the DIA is particularly strong in its collection of
early 20th century German art.
Architectural details: The gallery’s design is original to the 1927 museum. The wooden ceiling
with painted elements is meant to complement the Gothic-era art that was displayed here.
● The chandelier and ironwork are done by Edward F. Caldwell and Co. from New York.
● There are narrow pointed (lancet) windows with leaded-glass panels.
● The tile floor is Moravian (not Pewabic) with Celtic looking symbols to evoke the era from
which the art comes.
● The entrance that is rounded on Romanesque gallery side (W242), is pointed Gothic on this
● The circular staircase was put into the museum to give an ambience of a Gothic castle. Note
all such staircases turn in same direction for defense (most people are right-handed).
The small chapel is original 16th century French Gothic from the Chateau de Lannoy at
Herbeviller in Lorraine, France.
● The coat of arms of the family can be seen on its vault.
● Donor Ralph Booth saw it in France. It was about to be demolished and he had it shipped
block-by-numbered-block to Detroit to be built into the 1927 building as it was erected.
● Top glass original, roundels 16th century German, fill glass is 1949 Philadelphia.
This area was originally an open-air sculpture court, intended to resemble a medieval palace
● The area was enclosed with glass roof in 1961. (Museum handout attached).
● North wall has narrow pointed Gothic-style windows.
● East wall (with stairs) has round arched windows to evoke 15th century Italy.
● South wall has square bay window reflecting 16th century German architecture.
● West wall has tall, multi-paneled windows like those in 17th century Holland.
● Walls have coats of arms mounted in them, mostly Italian from 1400s to 1700s.
DIA Enrichment Information
page 9
● Hours for food service vary. Specific times are kept at the information desks. Food service
is organized into various stations, and not one single cafeteria line.
● White marble on floor and pillars from quarry near Danby, Vermont—the same stone that
is used in the addition wings of the museum.
● This, the smaller of the DIA’s two auditorium spaces, was designed for more intimate public
lectures and recital performances.
● The unique lectern was designed by Albert Paley.
● Display cases opposite the entry doors contain a ceramics display showing the influences of
Asian and Islamic art on objects made in Europe and America.
The Graphic Arts Department exhibits and cares for a large portion of the museum’s art that
consists of works on paper.
● Works on paper are delicate to display and are sensitive to light, so light levels in these
galleries are intentionally kept low.
● Doors are closed to keep temperature and humidity constant.
● Most works on paper are kept away in storage. Works are typically not shown more
than once every five years, for usually ten-week periods. Frequent visitors are rewarded
with an ever-changing collection in this departmental area.
Much of the museum’s art is listed in catalogs published by the museum including volumes on
American, European, and African art. Most are on sale in the museum shop as well as major book
Works of general museum interest include:
● A Visitor's Guide: The Detroit Institute of Arts
● William H. Peck, The Detroit Institute of Arts: A Brief History
● Margaret Sterne, The Passionate Eye: The Life of William Valentiner
● Linda Downs, Diego Rivera: The Detroit Industry Murals
The DIA internet web address is:
DIA Enrichment Information
page 10