The Dallas Museum of Art (DMA), currently located in the Dallas Arts District, was created in 1963 as a result of the merger of the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts with the Dallas Museum of Contemporary Art. In fact, its origins go back to 1903 with the establishment of the Dallas Art Association, which initially exhibited paintings in the Dallas Public Library. In 1984, it moved to the Arts District from an art deco facility in Fair Park, where it had been since 1936 on the occasion of the Texas Centennial Exposition. The current building was designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes, winner of the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal in 2007. With 159,000 square feet of exhibition spaces, the DMA is one of the largest art museums in the United States.
In 1963, the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts merged with the Dallas Museum of Contemporary Art, whose director for the previous four years had been Douglas MacAgy. In 1964 Merrill C. Rueppel became the director of the newly merged Museum. The permanent collections of the two museums were then housed within the DMFA facility, suddenly holding significant works by Paul Gauguin, Odilon Redon, Henri Matisse, Piet Mondrian, Gerald Murphy, and Francis Bacon. In 1965, the museum held an exhibition called The Art of Piet Mondrian and one entitled Sculpture: Twentieth Century.
The museum’s 24,000+ works of art from around the world, ranging from the 3rd millennium BC to the present day, are arranged in the following collections:
- African – featuring objects from Western and Central Africa, such as: a terracotta bust from Nigeria, a Benin plaque of copper alloy over wood depicting a warrior chief, a carved wooden Senufo rhythm pounder from southeastern Mali, and a Congo standing power figure studded with ritually-embedded iron nails and blades.
- American – including paintings, sculptures, and works on paper from Mexico, Canada, and the United States, dating from the colonial period to World War II. Highlights of the collection include works by Hopper, Wyeth, O’Keeffe, and Church. It also has one of the most thorough collections of Texas art to be found anywhere.
- Ancient Mediterranean – featuring Cycladic, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Etruscan, and Apulian objects, including: bronze sculptures, decorative objects, gold jewelry, and a marble sarcophagus.
- Asian – ranging from the Buddhist arts of Tibet, Nepal, and Thailand to the arts of the Mughal Empire in India.
- Contemporary – showcasing important artistic trends since 1945, including: abstract expressionism, pop art, op art, minimalism, conceptualism, installation art, assemblage, and video art. Representative artists include: Pollock, Rothko, Kline, Johns, Rauschenberg, Kelly, LeWitt, Oldenburg, and many others.
- Decorative Arts And Design – featuring over 8,000 mostly European and American works in various media, including: furniture, ceramics, glass, textiles, and metalware.
- European – covering paintings and sculpture from the 16th century until the mid-20th century, with representative works by artists such as: Paolini, Canaletto, Courbet, Monet, Gauguin, Vuillard, Gabo, Giacometti, Brâncuși, and Mondrian, among many others.
- Pre-Columbian – displaying sculptures, prints, terracotta, and gold objects from Panama, Colombia, and Peru over three millennia.
- Visited: Dec 2016