Denver Art Museum
100 West 14th Ave. Parkway
Denver, CO 80204
When an international touring exhibit like the recent blockbuster Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs comes to the Denver Art Museum, attention spikes and visitation skyrockets. But year in, year out, this museum just south of Civic Center Plaza is a cultural Mecca. The museum straddles 13th Avenue, with a glass walkway connecting the original North Building and the newer Hamilton Building. Both permanent and visiting exhibitions are located in both.
African Art Collection
Hamilton Building, Level 4
With some 1,000 paintings, sculptures, installations and mixed media compositions, this collection is the most comprehensive body of objects from the African continent in the Rocky Mountain region. Artworks are presented in the context of music, poetry, and performance. Older works in the collection are juxtaposed with new works by contemporary African artists. It balances works by male and female artists from every part of Africa.
American Indian Art Galleries
North Building, Levels 1 and 2
The DAM’s American Indian art collection with more than 18,000 art objects representing the heritage of cultures and tribes across the United States and Canada is recognized as one of the best of its kind in the United States. Spanning more than 2,000 years of artistic creativity, the collection includes such diverse traditions as Pueblo pottery, Navajo textiles, Northwest Coast sculpture, basketry, Plains beadwork, and oil paintings.
Spanish Colonial Art
North Building Level 4
Present-day Colorado sits on the cusp of both Anglo and Spanish artistic roots. The art of the Spanish colonial period that prevailed in Latin America and what is now the American Southwest had a common root but was interpreted differently in all of the major artistic centers of the New World under Spanish rule. The museum’s collection of Spanish Colonial paintings, silver, santos, furnishings and other art objects represents much of Latin America, including Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Mexico and the southwestern United States. If “Madonna and Child with Bird” painted by Peruvian artist Ignacio Chacon circa 1765 looks familiar, it is because it was reproduced as one of America’s Christmas stamps in 2006.
Western American Art
Hamilton Building, Level 2, and North Building, Level 7
The DAM’s collection of Western art is so significant that it is divided between galleries in both buildings. It includes works by such Western masters such as George Catlin, Frederic Remington, Charles M. Russell, Albert Bierstadt, John Mix Stanley, Alfred Jacob Miller and others, and there are works by contemporary regional arts as well. The crown jewel of this collection is Charles Deas’s Long Jakes, “The Rocky Mountain Man,” painted in 1844 and often described as the single most influential image in Rocky Mountain iconography. The works depicting people and the vast Western landscape contrast mightily with Karen Kitchel’s “American Grasslands,” composed of twenty 12 x 12-inch painted panels that depict, in nearly photographic detail, close-ups of different kinds of grasses, from lawns to pastures to prairies.
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