The Walters Art Museum
, located in Mount Vernon-Belvedere
, United States
, is a public art museum
founded and opened in 1934. It holds collections established during the mid-19th century. The Museum's collection was amassed substantially by major American art and sculpture collectors, a father and son: William Thompson Walters
, (1819–1894), who began serious collecting when he moved to Paris
as a nominal Southern/Confederate
sympathizer at the outbreak of the American Civil War
in 1861; and Henry Walters
(1848–1931), who refined the collection and made arrangements for the construction of a later landmark building to rehouse it. After allowing the Baltimore public to occasionally view his father's and his growing added collections at his West Mount Vernon Place townhouse/mansion during the late 1800s, he arranged for an elaborate stone palazzo
-styled structure built for that purpose in 1905–1909. Located across the back alley, a block south of the Walters mansion on West Monument Street/Mount Vernon Place, on the northwest corner of North Charles Street
at West Centre Street.
The mansion and gallery were also just south and west of the landmark Washington Monument
in the Mount Vernon-Belvedere
neighborhood, just north of the downtown business district and northeast of Cathedral Hill. Upon his 1931 death, Henry Walters bequeathed the entire collection of then more than 22,000 works, the original Charles Street
Gallery building, and his adjacent townhouse/mansion just across the alley to the north on West Mount Vernon Place to the City of Baltimore, "for the benefit of the public." The collection includes masterworks of ancient Egypt
sculpture and Roman
ivories, illuminated manuscripts, Renaissance
bronzes, Old Master European and 19th-century paintings, Chinese
ceramics and bronzes, Art Deco
jewelry, and ancient Near East, Mesopotamian
, or ancient Middle East
In 2000, "The Walters Art Gallery" changed its long-time name to "The Walters Art Museum"
to reflect its image as a large public institution and eliminate confusion among some of the increasing out-of-state visitors. The following year, "The Walters" (as it is often known locally) reopened its original main building after a dramatic three-year physical renovation and replacement of internal utilities and infrastructure. The Archimedes Palimpsest
was on loan to the Walters Art Museum from a private collector for conservation and spectral imaging studies.
Starting on October 1, 2006, the museum was enabled to make admission free to all, year-round, as a result of substantial grants given by Baltimore City and the surrounding suburban Baltimore County
arts agencies and authorities.
In 2012, "The Walters" released nearly 20,000 of its own images of its collections on a Creative Commons license
, and collaborated in their upload to the world-wide web
and the Internet
on Wikimedia Commons
This was one of the largest and most comprehensive such releases made by any museum.
The Walters' collection of ancient art includes examples from Egypt
and the Near East
. Highlights include two monumental 3,000-pound statues of the Egyptian lion-headed fire goddess Sekhmet
; the Walters Mummy; alabaster
reliefs from the palace of Ashurnasirpal II
gold jewelry, including the Greek
bracelets from Olbia
on the shores of the Black Sea
; the Praxitelean
Satyr; a large assemblage of Roman
portrait heads; a Roman
bronze banquet couch, and marble sarcophagi from the tombs of the prominent Licinian and Calpurnian families.
Art of the ancient Americas
In 1911, Henry Walters purchased almost 100 gold artifacts from the Chiriqui
region of western Panama
in Central America
, creating a core collection of ancient American native art. Through subsequent gifts of art and loans, the museum has added works, mostly in pottery and stone, from Mexico
, Central America and South America
, including pieces from the Mesoamerican Olmec
, and Maya
cultures, as well as the Moche
peoples of South America
Whistle in the form of a dancing figure from Colima
, Mexico, pottery, c. 300 B.C. - A.D. 200
Mixteca-Puebla style labret
Highlights of the Asian art
collection assembled earlier by Baltimorean father and son collectors William T.
and Henry Walters
arms and armor, and Chinese
porcelains, lacquers, and metalwork. Among the museum's outstanding works of Asian art is a late-12th- or early-13th-century Cambodian bronze of the eight-armed Avalokiteshvara
, a T'ang Dynasty
earthenware camel, and an intricately painted Ming Dynasty
wine jar. The museum owns the oldest surviving Chinese
wood-and-lacquer image of the Buddha
(late 6th century AD). It is exhibited in a gallery dedicated solely to this work.
The museum holds one of the largest and finest collections of Thai
) bronze, scrolls, and banner paintings in the world.
, an ritual knife and chopper
jar with dragon
art in all media is represented at the Walters. Among the highlights are a 7th-century carved and hammered silver bowl from Iran
, (ancient Persia
); a 13th-century candlestick made of copper, silver, and gold from the Mamluk
era in Egypt
; 16th-century mausoleum doors decorated with intricate wood carvings in a radiating star pattern; a 17th-century silk sash from the Mughal Empire
; and a 17th-century Turkish
tile with an image of the Masjid al-Haram ("Great Mosque of Mecca")
, the center of Islam
, (modern Saudi Arabia
). The Walters Museum owns an array of Islamic
manuscripts. These include a 15th-century Koran
from northern India
, executed at the height of the Timurid
Empire; a 16th-century copy of the "Khamsa of Nizami
, Or. 12208)|Khamsa]]" by Amir Khusraw
, illustrated by a number of famous artists for the Emperor Akbar
; and a Turkish
calligraphy album by Sheikh Hamadullah Al-Amasi
, one of the greatest calligraphers
of all time. Walters Art Museum, MS W.613
contains five Mughal
miniatures from an important "Khamsa of Nizami
" made for the Emperor Akbar
; the rest are in London
, Great Britain
Medieval European art
Henry Walters assembled a collection of art produced during the Middle Ages in all the major artistic media of the period. This forms the basis of the Walters' medieval
collection, for which the museum is best known internationally. Considered one of the best collections of medieval art in the United States, the museum's holdings include examples of metalwork, sculpture, stained glass, textiles, icons, and other paintings. The collection is especially renowned for its ivories, enamels, reliquaries
, early Byzantine
silver, post-Byzantine art, illuminated manuscripts
, and the largest and finest collection of Ethiopian Orthodox Church
art outside Ethiopia.
The Walters' medieval collection features unique objects such as the Byzantine agate Rubens Vase that belonged to the painter Rubens
(accession no. 42.562) and the earliest-surviving image of the "Virgin of Tenderness", an ivory carving produced in Egypt in the 6th or 7th century (accession no. 71.297). Sculpted heads from the royal Abbey of St. Denis
are rare surviving examples of portal sculptures that are directly connected with the origins of Gothic art
in 12th-century France
(accession nos. 27.21 and 27.22). An ivory casket covered with scenes of jousting knights
is one of about a dozen such objects to survive in the world (accession no. 71.264).
Many of these works are on display in the museum's galleries. Works from the medieval collection are also frequently included in special touring exhibitions, such as Treasures of Heaven
, an exhibition about relics
and reliquaries that was on view at the Cleveland Museum of Art
in (Cleveland, Ohio
), the Walters Art Museum, and the British Museum
Works in the medieval collection are the subject of active research by the curatorial and conservation departments of the museum, and visiting researchers frequently make use of the museum's holdings. In-depth technical research carried on these objects is made available to the public through publications and exhibitions, as in the case of the Amandus Shrine (accession no. 53.9), which was featured in a small special exhibition titled The Special Dead in 2008–09.
There are also Late Medieval devotional Italian paintings by these painters at the Walters: Tommaso da Modena
, Pietro Lorenzetti
, Andrea di Bartolo
), Alberto Sotio
, Bartolomeo di Tommaso
(Death of Saint Francis
), Naddo Ceccarelli
, Master of Saint Verdiana
, Niccolo di Segna
, Olivuccio di Ciccarello
, Master of Panzano Triptych
and Giovanni del Biondo
Renaissance, Baroque and 18th-century European art
The collection of European Renaissance and Baroque art features holdings of paintings, sculpture, furniture, ceramics, metal work, arms and armor. The highlights include Hugo van der Goes
' Donor with Saint John the Baptist
's Panorama with the Abduction of Helen Amidst the Wonders of the Ancient World
, Giambattista Pittoni
's Sacrifice of Polyxena
, the Madonna of the Candelabra
, from the studio of Raphael
's Portrait Of Countess Livia da Porto Thiene and her Daughter Porzia
, El Greco
's Saint Francis Receiving the Stigmata
" of Risen Christ
's Scipio Africanus Freeing Massiva
, and The Ideal City
attributed to Fra Carnevale
. The museum has one of ten surviving examples of the Sèvres pot-pourri vase in the shape of a ship
from the 1750s and 1760s.
19th-century European art
Henry Walters was particularly interested in the courtly arts of 18th-century France. The museum's collection of Sèvres
porcelain includes a number of pieces that were made for members of the Royal Bourbon Court at Versailles Palace
outside of Paris
. Portrait miniatures and the examples of goldsmiths' works, especially snuffboxes and watches, are displayed in the Treasury, along with some exceptional 19th- and early-20th-century works. Among them are examples of Art Nouveau
-styled jewelry by René Lalique
, jeweled objects by the House of Fabergé
, including two Russian
Imperial Easter eggs, and precious jewels by Tiffany and Co.
of New York City
Charles Street – Old Main Building (1905–1909)
Sculpture Garden (central Great Hall) of the Walters Art Gallery (now Walters Art Museum) in the original Main Building of 1905–1909
Henry Walters' original gallery was designed by architect William Adams Delano
and erected between 1904 and 1909, facing South Washington Place (at the northwest corner with West Centre Street) and attached by an overhead bridge/passageway across the back alley from his adjacent townhouse/mansion to the north on West Mount Vernon Place (facing the Washington Monument to the northeast). Its exterior was inspired by the Renaissance-revival-style Hôtel Pourtalès
and its interior was modeled after the 17th-century "Collegio dei Gesuiti" (now the Palazzo dell'Università
) built by the Balbi family for the Jesuits
. The arts of the Renaissance
periods, French decorative arts of the 18th and 19th centuries, and manuscripts and rare books are now exhibited in this palazzo-style structure.
Centre Street Annex Building (1974)
Designed by the Boston
firm of Shepley, Bullfinch, Richardson, and Abbott
, in the "Brutalist" poured-concrete
style prevailing in the 1960s, (one of the few others in the region of this extremely modernistic style in the city – such as the recently razed Morris A. Mechanic Theatre
in downtown Charles Center
on the southwest corner of Charles and Baltimore Streets from 1967), this annex building (which has several horizontal lines paralleled with features in the 1909 structure) to the west along West Centre Street and rear of the original main gallery, extending to Park Avenue, opened in 1974. It was substantially altered in 1998–2001 by another firm of Kallmann McKinnell and Wood, Architects, to provide a four-story glass atrium, with a suspended staircase at the juncture between the older and newer buildings with a new entrance lobby along Centre Street. The new lobby, which also provides easier ground-level handicapped access along with enhanced security provisions for both collections and visitors is also providing a café, an enlarged museum and gift store and a reference library.
, and 19th-century European
collections are housed in this building, with its large display walls and irregular corridors and galleries. Also here is the museum's famed art conservation laboratory, which is one of the oldest in the country.
Hackerman House (1850/1991)
Photo of the Hackerman House
This Greek Revival
style townhouse/mansion, one of the most elaborate in the city, was designed by famed local architect John Rudolph Niernsee
(1814–1885), and erected between 1848 and 1850 for Dr. John Hanson Thomas, was long regarded as the most "elegant" house along Mount Vernon Place or Washington Place. It sits on the southwest corner of the circle surrounding the Washington Monument and was later owned by the families Jencks and Gladding (later known as the Thomas-Jencks-Gladding Mansion). Considered in its premiere landmark municipal location to be used for Baltimore City's Official Mayor's Residence (similar to other major American cities mayor's mansions such as Gracie Mansion
in a river-front park on New York City
's east side of Manhattan
, facing the East River
when it was briefly acquired by the city in the late 1950s and then being considered to be razed for an unfortunately poorly-conceived and planned northern expansion of the Gallery engendered local preservationists' protests before being finally re-sold to the Gladding family of a well-known public-spirited local Chevrolet
auto dealership, who promised to restore and preserve the noted mansion.
Among the original owning family of the Thomas's distinguished guests of the mid-19th century were the Prince of Wales
(eldest son of Queen Victoria
), the future King Edward VII
(reigned 1901–1910); and General Lajos Kossuth
(1802–1894), the then famous Hungarian
freedom fighter, President of an early, brief Hungarian republic, veteran of the European Revolutions of 1847–1848
and the "Father of modern Hungary". Since the mid-1980s when, the Thomas-Jencks-Gladding Mansion was reacquired by the city under Mayor William Donald Schaefer
(1921–2011), who served the city from 1971 to 1987, and future Governor of Maryland
(1987–1995) from the Gladding family with a donation by the Mayor's loyal friend along with being a developer, industrialist and philanthropist, Willard Hackerman
, and transferred to the purposes of "The Walters". Since additional renovations with the addition of a connecting gallery with domed skylight and corridor constructed through the top of the old rear carriage house/garage to the south end of the house, and across the east-west alley to the old 1909 Main Building's north side. Reopened in 1991, the newly renamed "Hackerman House" has been devoted to The Walters' recently expanded holdings of Asian art
This is a list of selected works from the museum collection.
- ^ a b c "From Gallery to Museum". Walters Art Museum. Archived from the original on December 26, 2010. Retrieved November 18, 2016.
- ^ "Free Admission at Baltimore Museum of Art and Walters Art museum begins October 1" (Press release). Walters Art Museum. May 31, 2006. Archived from the original on October 2, 2006. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
- ^ a b McCauley, Mary Carole (May 8, 2012). "Walters donates artwork images to Wikipedia". The Baltimore Sun.
- ^ Guide to the Collections, p. 14–15
- ^ "The Walters Art Museum". KWM Architecture. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
- ^ Guide to the Collections, p. 18
- ^ "Finger Ring with a Representation of Ptah". The Walters Art Museum.
- The Walters Art Gallery, Guide to the Collections, 1997, Scala Books, ISBN 978-0911886481
- Rines, George Edwin, ed. (1920). "Walters Collection" . Encyclopedia Americana.
- Gruelle, R. B., Collection of William Thompson Walters (Boston 1895)
- Bushnell, S. W., Oriental Ceramic Art Collections of William Thompson Walters (New York 1899)
Last edited on 5 May 2021, at 16:06
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