Located in Davenport, Iowa, the Figge Art Museum features some of the most prolific and world class art exhibits in the Midwest. Through art classes, special events and exhibits, lectures, and tours, this museum offers an experience for art lovers of all varieties, no matter how knowledgeable. Originally opened in 1925 after a generous gift of over 300 paintings to the city of Davenport, the Figge Art Museum has gone through several name changes in the nearly 100 years it has been around.
First named the Davenport Municipal Art Gallery, then the Davenport Museum of Art in 1987, its current name came about in 2005 after the museum changed from city run to being run under the non-profit organization managed by the Elizabeth Kahl Figge Foundation. The large glass building was designed by David Chipperfield.
Although The Figge Art Museum features many traveling collections, it does have a large permanent collection of exhibition pieces in 5 categories. Most of the collections and pieces are from the original gift of paintings from Charles August Ficke in 1925.
The American Collection : Consisting of works dating from the colonial period (roughly starting in the 1600s) through 1945, this collection focusing on mostly landscape art by Asher B. Durand and John Kensett, among others. Visitors should make sure they check out “In Gentle Slumber” by George Eastman.
The Midwest Regionalist Collection : Focusing on the Midwest Regionalist style (mainly portraits of life in small town America), this collection features works from Thomas Hart Benton and Grant Wood, who painted possibly the most famous Midwest Regionalist piece of artwork - American Gothic.
The Mexican Colonial Collection : In the 17th and 18th century, New Spain had a lot of growth in relation to painting style. This collection showcases that change and how they started to disassociate themselves from the rest of Europe.
The Haitian Collection : Haiti often isn’t credited enough with how artistically diverse and talented their artists are. The Haitian Collection seeks to showcase the artists, mainly from the years 1940 to 1967, and is one of the first collections of art from that region shown in the United States.
Not all permanent collection items are on display, however, it is suggested that visitors call ahead if they are interested in a specific piece to make sure that it is currently being displayed at the time of their visit.
There also are multiple galleries with permanent pieces, like Northern Europe : Conflict and Reform, National Identity, Visual Culture : 19th Century American Art, 18th and 19th Century, The Spirit of Haiti and Frank Lloyd Wright - An American Architecture. However, they are occasionally part of a traveling exhibit.
The Figge Art Museum offers study tours for students from kindergarten through 12th grade. These tours are lead by museum docents (guides) that alter the tour based on the age of the student. They focus on developing vocabulary and getting them interested in both the artwork and the meaning behind it. Reservations are required for school tours and are offered Tuesdays through Fridays from 9am to 4:30pm. Must have a minimum of 15 students and a maximum of between 30 - 150. The length of the tour varies based on the grade level - younger children will have 30 to 60 minute tours and older children will have 75 minute tours. There is also an optional art activity for an additional fee; that activity will add an additional 45 minutes to the tour. There is a small charge for the tour as well, but it is free for adults chaperones and teachers.
There are multiple special events offered at the Figge on a regular basis. Thursdays at the Figge is a crowd favorite, allowing you to view the artwork and also socialize with friends while enjoying a beverage. There are also events that cater to younger adults and teenagers, such as Teen Anime Day, holiday based events (like the Day of the Dead family event) and Free Family Days. For adults, there are frequent events like Mistletoe & Merlot and Wine and Art that allow visitors to casually learn about and make art while enjoying a bottle of wine. The Figge also offers conferences, like Girls on Fire, that empower young women. For seniors, there are frequent Free Senior Days.
Dining and Shopping
For visitors who get hungry during their visit, The Figge Cafe offers a variety of salads, sandwiches and soups. There also is a bar where you can get both wine and coffee. There also is a museum store to commemorate your visit with postcards, jewelry and other art inspired memorabilia.
West Second Street, Davenport, IA 52801, Phone: 563-326-7804
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