Many of the books in the Nature Bound: Illustrated Botanical Books exhibition feature very delicate, hand-colored illustrations that require an extra level of care. The pigments in the watercolor media used to color the images are very sensitive to light. Exposure to intense light or even lower light levels over a long duration can cause the colors to fade. Though we keep the light levels quite low in the gallery, the duration of the exhibition was long enough to require that we choose new illustrations about halfway through. Early last week we rotated the images on about twenty books. We found that this was not an easy task because it required that the new images continue to work with thematic and aesthetic relationships in the exhibition. In a few cases, it also meant that our art handlers had to create new plastic cradles in order to hold the book open to the new page. But the bonus for our viewers is that they now have the good fortune to see a fresh selection of images. Many of them are at least as, if not more, stunning than the last round. Please come by and take a look!
Julian Onderdonk, A Cloudy Day, Bluebonnets near San Antonio, Texas, oil on canvas, 1918, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, Purchase with funds from the Ruth Carter Stevenson.
Although the wildflower show isn't as magnificent during our dry year, the bluebonnets are still popping up all over the state. Julian Onderdonk was a Texas artist who influenced the arts in the state through his work organizing art exhibitions for the State Fair of Texas. Enjoy this lovely nod to the Texas Hill Country and think spring!
Our recent "supermoon" event had a lot of folks out on the portico of the museum photographing the great view of downtown. Museum friend David Gunn shared his photo of Claudia Camp, TCU professor, with the moon rising majestically over the Henry Moore installation on our plaza.
We had a blast with all of our Family Fun Week visitors. Lots of looking at art, talking about art, and making great art. There's one more opportunity to get in on the fun...
Join us today from 10:30 to 12:00 for Super Sculptures! See how different sculpture can be, and then create your own 3D masterpiece!
From the beginning of the museum's history, the Carter Foundation and the Carter family intended this to be a vibrant institution. Not only would the collection grow, but the mission would evolve as well. Instead of serving only as a Remington and Russell repository, the museum would expand to encompass works by other artists who depicted the American West. Within a few years this vision was modified to include American art as a whole, for the museum’s first director, Mitchell A. Wilder, believed that the history of American art could be interpreted as the history of artists working on successive frontiers. As a result, the holdings grew in fascinating ways. Wilder and the museum’s trustees realized at the outset that it was nearly impossible to assemble a comprehensive collection of America art at such a late date, so they opted for quality over quantity. One trustee, RenÃ© d’Harnoncourt, explained that the desired works should represent “stepping stones” in the history of American art, major pieces that not only revealed the high points of an artist’s career but that also summarized the essential elements of a broader artistic style. Acquisitions were not limited to paintings and sculptures. Watercolors, drawings, prints, photographs, and books have been added yearly and now the number of objects in our collection number well over a quarter-million works of art. The photography collection itself has grown to become one of the nation’s most important collections.
Dorothea Lange (1895–1965), Charles M. Russell's hand, gelatin silver print, ca. 1924-1926.
This is the first photograph acquired for the museum’s collection
The Amon Carter Museum designed by Philip Johnson (1906–2005), brought to the city of Fort Worth and to the state of Texas a new order of museum architecture. This building was to be a work of art to house art, a relationship that the critic Douglas Davis referred to as the union of the container and the contained. With the museum Johnson made four significant design statements: the axial relationship of the museum to the city, the great processional entrance way featuring the shellstone-clad portico, and the integration of the landscape forms with the building.
The museum was fortunate to have Philip Johnson design and oversee all three iterations of building and grounds. The original 1961 plan, the addition in 1977, and the current museum all were the “project of a lifetime” for this renowned architect.
When you visit the Amon Carter take a moment and look east to take in the view then travel through Mr. Johnson’s “goesinda” (one of Mr. Johnson’s favorite words), the center of the grand entrance to a grand collection of American art.
If you've visited or driven by the museum in the past week, you might have noticed a flurry of activity on both the Lancaster and Camp Bowie sides of the building. We officially changed our name to 'Amon Carter Museum of American Art' a few months back, and now the building's unique bronze signs have also been updated with our new name in celebration of our 50th Anniversary.
Here is a shot of the handsome new signage being installed late last week.
For the Presidents Day installment of our Analog to Digital series, we have a 1930 photograph by Berenice Abbott showing the famous statue of George Washington in New York's Union Square. This photo is interesting not only because it shows the statue off its distinctive base, but also because the statue was created by American sculptor Henry Kirke Brown. The Amon Carter has several Henry Kirke Brown sculptures in the collection, two of which (The Choosing of the Arrow and Filatrice) are currently on view in our painting and sculpture galleries.
Berenice Abbott (1898-1991), Washington in Union Square, 1930, Gelatin silver print, Gift of P/K Associates, New York, New York, © Commerce Graphics Ltd, Inc.
The Amon Carter has a renowned collection of works by Frederic Remington and Charles Russell. This was Mr. Carter’s legacy he wanted to share with the citizens of Fort Worth. He developed an interest in the work by these two artists through his friendship with Will Rogers. In 1935, shortly before Roger’s tragic death in a plane accident, Carter made his first documented art purchases: a lively Remington oil painting His First Lesson (1903), and a group of nine Russell watercolors.
Frederic Remington (1861–1909), His First Lesson, oil on canvas, 1903
Mr. Carter's collection is on view at the museum in our Remington-Russell Study Center, generously funded through a grant by the Justin Foundation. There you will see paintings, works on paper, and sculptures with fascinating insights and information on the art and the artists. You can also view all the works by these two artists in the Amon Carter’s newest online collection guide. Be sure to check out the animated video describing the lost-wax bronze casting method that both artists use to create sculptures. You can also view videos by curator Rick Stewart that discuss three important pieces from the permanent collection.