News & Stories

More fifty years ago, when the Kimbell Art Museum was preparing to open, the museum’s first director, Ric Brown, and the Kimbell Art Foundation’s board of directors made the important decision to look beyond the founders’ collection of European paintings to begin acquiring works of art from Africa, Asia, and the Ancient Americas. Their first purchase was The Bodhisattva Maitreya, an eighth-century Thai bronze.

In the early days of the museum, when the collection was small, the works of art were often shown in unexpected juxtapositions—the only requirement being that they were exceptional examples of their culture. Our new installation revives these creative comparisons, bringing together in one gallery, for example, works from ancient Assyria and Egypt, Buddhist sculpture from Thailand and Cambodia, and a portrait bust from Renaissance Italy.

The pairings in this new installation may be formal, historical, or purely whimsical. We invite you to visit, to make your own connections, and to experience the depth, diversity, and exceptional quality of the Kimbell collection.

Kimbell Art Museum

“In approaching this installation, we were looking for interesting thematic juxtapositions that could be found between works in the collection from varying cultures and periods in order to engage the art in a visual conversation. A favorite of mine is the expression of feminine ideals of beauty and grace through the pairing of Frederick Leighton’s nineteenth-century Portrait of May Sartoris with a fifteenth-century Indian sculpture of the Hindu goddess Parvati.”

– Jennifer Casler Price, curator of Asian, African, and Ancient American Art

Parvati-Portrait of May Sartoris-Gallery View

“I love the way the deep, graphic shadows in the depiction of the god of lightning and rain from the fifth-century Zapotec culture play off the black lines in Fernand Léger’s 1920 oil painting.”

– George T. M. Shackelford, deputy director

Zapotec god-Leger-Matisse-Gallery View
Kimbell Art Museum

“ . . . the most beautiful, subtle, thought-provoking and sometimes humorous reinstallation of the permanent collection in the Kahn galleries. Seeing the mix of cultures and sometimes unexpected juxtapositions of paintings and sculptures helped me to see every work with fresh eyes. I found myself lingering over objects that I might normally walk by more quickly, thinking I knew them so well. The Friday afternoon light in the galleries was just perfect. Being able to see the collection again after our long shutdown, and in such an elegant installation, was the best time I’ve had since the shutdown began.” – Claire Barry, director of conservation emerita

Collections in Conversation-Gallery View
Kimbell Art Museum