The San Antonio Museum of Art in San Antonio, Texas, has one of the foremost art collections in the United States. Its Latin American Art collection is one of the most comprehensive in the country, and the museum has significant holdings of ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman art, as well as an impressive assemblage of Asian and contemporary art.
The San Antonio Museum of Art opened in 1981 after its Trustees had bought the Lone Star Brewery building and converted it into an art space. Its initial focus was on art of the Americas, including Latin American folk art, pre-Columbian art and Spanish Colonial Art. It also began collecting 18th, 19th and 20th century European and American paintings.
The mission of the San Antonio Museum of Art is to house and display art covering a wide range of media, history and international cultures in a way that is beneficial to the community.
The main focus of the San Antonio Museum of Art is its Latin American art collection, which spans 4,000 years, and includes works from Mexico, South America, Central America and the Caribbean. It has an especially impressive collection of Spanish folk art from the 18th to 20th centuries. From Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Mexico and Guatemala, the museum has a broad holding of textiles, paintings, sculptures and ceramics. The museum has paintings from the Republican period of the 20th century, art work from Mexico’s Social Realism Movement, a vast collection of Pre-Columbian art, and major works from Uruguay’s School of the South.
The American art collection includes paintings by such noteworthy artists as John Singer Sargent, Winslow Homer, Andrew Wyeth and Charles Willson Peale. One of the jewels of the collection is a candelabra made by Tiffany & Co. in 1902.
The Mediterranean galleries house artworks from Ancient Rome, Greece, Egypt and the Near East, and cover a span of approximately 4,000 years. The Egyptian collection is impressive; some of its highlights include a huge statue of the Goddess Sekhmet, a large bronze statuette of a goddess with a lion’s head, and 28 bas-relief sculptures from the reign of Akhenaten. The Greek collection includes a large number of vases that show the development of regional art in Ancient Greece. In the Roman collection are an assemblage of sculptures made for funerary purposes and for portraying mythology. There are sculpted portraits of the Roman emperors Trajan and Marcus Aurelius. The Mediterranean Collection also holds a large number of ancient Roman and Greek glass vessels.
The San Antonio Museum of Art has over 2,000 pieces of Asian art, covering 6,000 years of Asian art history. The largest part of the collection is Chinese. The museum holds the largest collection of Liao dynasty ceramics in the world, as well as a substantial number of Ming dynasty ceramics. Although the larger part of the Chinese collection is of porcelain and ceramics, the museum also displays Chinese furniture, textiles, cloisonné, and bronze vessels.
The museum has many paintings of the 19th century Japanese artist Shibata Zeshin, as well as screens and paintings from 17th century Japan. Bolstering the Asian art collection are Tibetan bronzes with Buddhist iconography, medieval Korean ceramics, Indian sculptures and ceramics by Thai and Vietnamese artists.
The museum has an impressive collection of 20th century American abstract art by such artists as Frank Stella, Hans Hofmann, Helen Frankenthaler, Mark di Suvero, and Sam Gilliam. Also in the Contemporary art collection are 20th century representational pieces by such luminaries as George Segal, Wayne Thiebaud, Philip Pearlstein and Don Eddy. The San Antonio Museum of Art holds contemporary paintings, installation art, prints and sculpture, and has a newly launched plan to collect digital photographic art.
The San Antonio Museum of Art has a European Art collection which consists of British, French, Italian and Dutch art spanning the 17th to the 20th centuries. Important to the collection is an impressive array of Wedgwood, a huge collection of Irish silver, and paintings and sculptures by such important artists as Gustave Dore and Berthe Morisot.
The museum’s Islamic art collection includes pieces from medieval times until the modern era, and from such diverse cultures as North Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East. The crown of its collection is a 9th century Qur’an page, and the museum has an important collection of Islamic ceramics, particularly from ancient Iran, and from Turkey during the period of the Ottoman Empire.
The San Antonio Museum of Art has a collection from the broad sweep of the Pacific Ocean, and focuses especially on sculptures from Papua New Guinea and French Polynesia. Art from cultures such as the Maori of New Zealand, the Hawaiian Islanders and Australian Aboriginals is well represented, and the museum owns tribal art from across the Pacific region.
The San Antonio Museum of Art is dedicated to educating the community with a desire to foster creativity amongst its participants, young and old.
Family programs include First Sundays for Families. On the first Sunday of every month, children aged 12 and under are admitted to the museum at no cost to create art, explore the galleries and to join in painting, sketching, listening to storytellers and watching pertinent films.
Family Flicks are held during spring and summer months at sundown on the second Saturday of every month. All ages are welcome to bring lawn chairs or blankets and enjoy a movie under the stars.
Art Crawl is designed for babies 0-18 months and their caregivers. Tours of the museum geared towards parent-child interaction are involved, and every session ends with playtime.
Playdates is a program for 2-4 year olds, and is designed to inspire creativity and an appreciation of art. Youngsters participate in gallery activities, creating art and moving to music.
Summer Camp at the San Antonio Museum of Art brings children together for a one-of-a-kind camp experience. Youngsters are given focused tours of the galleries, and are taught a variety of art techniques. Storytelling through words and art is an important part of summer camp days.
Homeschool Student Workshops are geared towards children who are being instructed at home. Children and their parents can join in a tour or hands-on activities, and are encouraged to extend their learning at home with materials that the gallery supplies.
Guided tours of the San Antonio Museum of Art are available for individuals, school groups and community groups, and must be booked two weeks in advance.
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200 West Jones Avenue, San Antonio, Texas 78215, Phone: 210-978-8100