The Baltimore Museum of Art has over 94,000 works in the permanent collection, and among them is the largest collection of works by Henri Matisse in the world. The permanent collection spans thousands of years and includes historical pieces as well as 19th-century, modern, and contemporary art. Highlights from the contemporary collection include works by Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, and Robert Rauschenberg.
Over 100 sculptures, photographs, and paintings are displayed in the Contemporary Wing as well as a dedicated display of contemporary photographs, prints, and drawings. Modern works include the Cone Collection, donated by sisters Claribel and Etta Cone, which includes over 500 works by Henri Matisse as well as paintings by Pablo Picasso and Paul Cezanne. Other modern works include sculpture by Alberto Giacometti as well as paintings representative of surrealism and German expressionism. African art at the BMA consists of some of the earliest and most important collections in the United States. The collection of over 2,000 objects spans more than 200 African cultures, from ancient Egypt to contemporary multi-media and video installations. Art from the Americas also represents a wide range of time and space. The collection dates back to 2500 BC, with works of the native people of South and Central America. Native American art includes textiles, ceramics, sculptures, and beadwork. Art from the United States spans the colonial era to the late 20th century. Notable pieces include decorative Tiffany glass and paintings by Georgia O’Keefe. The Asian art collection dates back to the 13th century with a Song Dynasty wine jar and includes paintings, decorative and spiritual objects, furniture, and jewelry. A Pacific Island art collection may be viewed by appointment, and includes what is perhaps the United States’ most notable collection of art from Melanesia and Polynesia.
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History: The Baltimore Museum of Art was founded in 1914 with a single painting, donated by Dr. ARL Dohme, chief of a city-wide congress established to create a master plan for Baltimore. In response to the master planning effort, the city noted that Baltimore was lacking “in regard to matters of aesthetic interest.” Thus, an art museum was conceived and modeled after two of its most notable predecessors at the time, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Today, it is recognized as a cultural destination and holds one of the widest and most diverse collections of art in the world. The collection of over 95,000 pieces (including 1,000 of the works of Henri Matisse) is held in a 210,000-square-foot building designed and built in the 1920s by John Russell Pope, a renowned American architect known for designing both the Jefferson Memorial and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Two landscaped gardens cover almost 3 acres and host a variety of sculptures on the museum grounds. General admission at the museum is free. The museum hosts approximately 200,000 visitors annually.
Ongoing Programs and Education: The BMA takes pride in hosting a wide array of diverse educational programming. Free tours of current exhibits and the permanent collection are available at pre-scheduled times approximately once per week. Free Family Sunday occurs once weekly and provides families with hands-on art-making activities. Open Hours is a once monthly free program that brings the community together though speakers, workshops, and hands-on activities; past Open Hours have included a holiday recipe swap, a community discussion about Baltimore’s vacant housing, and a rug-making workshop.
Past and Future Exhibits: The BMA presents a wide variety of traveling exhibits as well as special curated exhibits from works in the permanent collection. Currently, the museum is showing Black Box: Kara Walker & Hank Willis Thomas. This exhibit begins a critical conversation on the legacy of slavery with two works from the permanent collection by two of America’s most critically acclaimed contemporary artists. Upcoming exhibits include Annet Couwenberg: From Digital to Damask, which will display 11 of the Maryland-based artist’s works. Couwenberg is a Maryland Institute of Art professor and her work combines the influence of damask from her Dutch background with biology and technology. Past exhibitions have included art made by Baltimore area students, and exhibit on Matisse and Diebenkorn, a Japanese kimono and obi exhibit, art of Eastern Africa, and photographs from Russia and Belarus.
What’s Nearby: The museum is adjacent to the Johns Hopkins University main campus in Charles Village.
10 Art Museum Drive, Baltimore, MD 21218, website, Phone: 443-573-1700
Back to: Baltimore, MD