MuseumsArt StylesArt Terms
Solomon R. Guggenheim MuseumThe Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, is home to one of the world’s finest collections of modern and  contemporary art. The Wright building, the youngest to be designated a New York City landmark, is itself one of the greatest works  of the Guggenheim Collection. During the years of planning and design, Wright applied his vision of fluid and organic architecture  to the museum. Construction began in 1957 and was completed in 1959, six months after Wright’s death. The Guggenheim Museum has   one of the world’s largest collections of Kandinsky, as well as major holdings of works by Brancusi, Calder, Chagall, Klee,  Miro, Picasso and many other artists of this century.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The Metropolitan is one of the largest and finest art museums in the world. Its collections include more than two million  works of art – several thousand of which are on view at any given time – spanning more than 5,000 years of world culture,  from prehistory to the present. The Web site is designed to give visitors an overview of collections on display in the   Museum’s galleries.

Musée du Louvre

The origins of the Louvre date to A.D. 1200 when Philippe August began construction of a fortress on the banks of the Seine. It became the first official residence  under Charles V who also constructed a new perimeter with a moat. In one of the towers he installed his famous library which was eventually dispersed.  Francois I began a new collection of art with 12 paintings from Italy. These included works by Titan, Raphael, and Leonardo da Vinci, the most famous being the   Joconde, or Mona Lisa. The royal collection grew and by the reign of Louis XIII, numbered roughly 200 pieces. Henri II, and Catherine de Médicis continued  to enlarge the collection, as did others. When Louis XIV died in 1715, there were 2,500 pieces of art and objects. Until the Revolution, this collection  was strictly for the private pleasure of the court. Finally the idea of a public museum (originating with Louis XVI) was realized in 1793. Under Louis XVIII the Venus de Milo  was acquired shortly after it was rediscovered on the island of Melos in 1820. Today, the catalogue lists nearly 300,000 works, only a fraction of which are on display at any one time. Many of the world’s most precious works of fine art are among the  treasures of the Louvre. These include the Joconde (Mona Lisa), Venus de Milo, The Winged Victory of Sarmothrace, and Liberty Leading the People.

Smithsonian Museums

The Smithsonian Institution was established in 1846 and now holds 140 million artifacts and specimens in trust for the American people.   Its stated purpose is for “the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” The Smithsonian consists of sixteen museums including the   Arts and Industries, The National Museum of American History, the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Freer Gallery of Art,   The National Museum of African Art, The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the National Museum of American Art, The Renwick Gallery,  The S. Dillon Ripley Center, The National Portrait Gallery, the National Postal Museum, the Anacostia Museum, the National Zoo, The  Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and The National Museum of the American Indian.

Museum of Jurassic Technology

Located in an old strip development in Culver City, California, the only thing that can be said for certain about this mysterious  museum is that it actually exists. Created by David Wilson, the museum is tightly packed with some of the most astonishingly unbelievable  marvels known to man. The true subject matter seems to focus on the notions of wonder and mythology. According to Mr. Wilson,”The museum serves dual functions.   On the one hand the museum provides the academic community with a specialized repository of relics and artifacts from the Lower Jurassic,  with an emphasis on those that demonstrate unusual or curious technological qualities. On the other hand the museum serves the general   public by providing the visitor a hands-on experience of “life in the Jurassic”.Now where exactly is the Lower Jurassic?

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

International in scope, SFMOMA’s permanent collection consists of over 15,000 works, including 4,700 paintings, sculptures and works on paper;  approximately 9,000 photographs and 1,500 architectural drawings, models and design objects. More than 50 years ago, the museum was one of the first  to recognize photography as an art form. Today its exceptional collection of Twentieth Century photography includes works by Alfred Stieglitz,  Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, the German avant-garde artists of the 1920s and the European Surrealists of the 1930s. SFMOMA’s new building,  designed by Swiss architect Mario Botta, opened in January 1995.

The Art Institute of Chicago

The museums’s 10 curatorial departments have collections numbering more than 300,00 works of art including one of the finest collections  of Impressionist art in the world. The collection includes 33 paintings by Claude Monet and the great masterpiece by Georges Seuret,   A Sunday on La Grand Jatte. Also featured is one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of Twentieth Century art highlighted  by Edward Hopper’s renowned painting Nighthawks and Grant Woods’s famous American Gothic.

Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena

The Norton Simon Museum contains one of the world’s finest collections of great masters. Over 2,000 years of Western and Asian art  are represented. European paintings and sculpture range from the Fourteenth to the Twentieth Century. The print collection boasts  some of the rarest etchings by Rembrandt and Goya. Etchings, lithographs and linocuts from throughout Picasso’s prolific career  are also part of the museums’s holdings on paper. The museum was founded in 1924 as the Pasadena Art Institute. The present building  designed by Ladd & Kelsey (who also designed California Institute of the Arts) opened to the public in 1969 as the Pasadena Art Museum.  In 1974, Norton Simon took control, and in a controversial move, shifted the focus from contemporary art to art of the great masters.

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Established in 1883, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts houses over 85,000 objects from diverse cultural traditions spanning 4,000 years of world history.  The Institute is the only comprehensive fine arts museum serving the Twin Cities and the Upper Midwest and is recognized internationally  as one of the great museums in America. The  museum building, designed by the firm of McKim, Mead and White, opened its doors in 1915.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art

The museum presents an international collection  of art dating from prehistory to the present day. This impressive display of human creativity offers the possibility for discovery  to viewers of all ages.

Philadelphia Museum of Art

The Philadelphia Museum of Art, originally the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art, was chartered in 1876 and housed in Memorial Hall.  The museums’s present building was dedicated in 1928. It is a splendid example of Twentieth Century Beaux-Arts neoclassical architecture  based on designs by Trumbauer, C.L. Borie and C.C. Zantzinger. One of the largest museum buildings in the world when it was built,  its public floors above ground afforded space for over 200 galleries.

Ecole des Beaux-arts

Situated on Paris’ left bank across the Seine from the Louvre, the Ecole des Beaux-arts is one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious  fine-arts schools. Some of the famous names that have passed through the school include Gericault, Delacroix, Fragonard, Ingres,  Moreau, Degas, Monet, Renoir and Sisley. The Ecole des Beaux-arts unique collection of artworks form the Prix de Rome Contests parallels the school’s rich history  and serves as a testament to the remarkable heritage of this influential institution. Visitors of the Web site will have the opportunity  to learn about the history of the School and follow the steps that generations of talented young artist took to compete for the prestigious  Premier Grand Prix de Rome in Painting.

Vatican Museums

The founding of the Vatican Museums can be traced back to 1503 when the newly-elected Pope, Julius II, placed a statue of Apollo in the  internal courtyard of Belvedere Palace built by Innocent VIII; he brought the statue from the garden of his titular church of St. Peter  in Chains. In 1506 the Laocoon was added to the collection, after its discovery on the Esquiline Hill before the eyes of Giuliano di Sangallo  and Michelangelo Buonarroti. Scores of artifacts were added throughout the next two centuries and the collections were eventually reorganized  under Benedict XIV (1740-1758) and Clement XIII (1758-1769). They founded the Apostolic Library Museums: the Sacred (Museo Sacro –   1756) and the Profane (Museo Profano – 1767). The Christian Museum, comprising finds from the catacombs that could not be conserved  in situ, was founded by Pius IX in 1854 in the Lateran Palace and was moved to Vatican Museums by Pope John XXIII. Pope Pius XI inaugurated in 1932  the definitive seat of the Vatican Picture Gallery (the Pinacoteca), near the monumental entrance of the Vatican Museums.

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

The Whitney Museum was completed in 1966 by American architect Marcel Breuer.

High Museum of Art, Atlanta

The High’s permanent collection includes more than 10,000 objects, including a significant collection of American paintings from  the Nineteenth Century and works by major contemporary artists. The High Museum of Art opened its award-winning building designed   by architect Richard Meier in October 1983.

Seattle’s Center on Contemporary Art

Carefully sidestepping the word ‘museum,’ the Center on Contemporary Art (CoCA) is dedicated to serving the Pacific Northwest as  a regional forum for the advancement and understanding  of contemporary art. Over the last fifteen years CoCA has been responsible  for making adventurous connections between music, performance and the visual arts that have resulted in lasting changes in the way  the community looks at and defines contemporary art.