Saturday, May 12, 2012

Baltimore museum of art American paintings, furniture & Decorative arts

The Thinker by Auguste Rodin, 1904-1917, Baltimore Museum of Art

The Thinker by Auguste Rodin, 1904-1917, Baltimore Museum of Art

One of my favorite museums in Baltimore is the Baltimore museum of art. Housed in a 1920's Classical temple building designed by architect John Russell Pope, The museums collection started from a single object in 1914, The Baltimore Museum of Art’s internationally renowned collection today encompasses 90,000 works of art, including the largest holding of works by Henri Matisse in the world, as well as masterpieces by Pablo Picasso, Paul Cézanne, and Vincent van Gogh.

The BMA’s holdings of American decorative arts include an extensive furniture collection that represents the major historic cabinetmaking centers of 18th and 19th century Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, and Boston. Many of these objects came from Miss Dorothy McIlvain Scott, a generous Baltimore philanthropist and collector.

A remarkable gift in 1933 by Mrs. Miles White, Jr. of over 200 stunning pieces of Maryland silver formed the nucleus of an impressive silver collection that now embraces objects by leading 18th- and early 19th-century silversmiths in Annapolis and Baltimore, as well as elegant examples of early English silver owned by Maryland families during the Federal era. Later masterworks by artists from Louis Comfort Tiffany to Georg Jensen are also on view.

Other notable aspects of the decorative arts collection include a rare set of five clerestory windows and two brilliant mosaic-clad architectural columns that represent Tiffany's lasting contribution to 20th-century ornament. Period rooms from six historic Maryland houses, along with architectural elements from other historic buildings, illustrate town and country building styles from the 18th and 19th centuries, and a dozen miniature rooms made by Chicago miniaturist Eugene Kupjack invite scrutiny of a variety of decorative styles at close range.

The BMA has an outstanding collection of American painting, sculpture, and decorative arts dating from the colonial era to the late 20th century. Among the highlights are important regional holdings such as Maryland-related portraiture by Charles Willson Peale, Rembrandt Peale, and other members of the renowned Peale family; silver from Baltimore's prominent silver manufacturing company Samuel Kirk & Son;and painted furniture by John and Hugh Finlay of Baltimore.


  1. Wow! So many - gorgeous - things; I'm totally in love!

  2. I own a similar (albeit less magnificent) desk to the second one shown, also from the workshop of John Mead of Albany. The desk you have shown was made for the Vanderpoels of Kinderhook, and was deaccessioned from the house (a museum), because it was erroniously thought to be from Boston, and not original to the house. Wendy Cooper scopped it up for the BMA, much to the current custodians of the VH's regret. It is a masterpiece. Reggie

  3. Hi Stephilius thanks for your comment. The Baltimore museum of art has fabulous art.

    Hi Reggie. thanks for your comment. Yes the desk is a masterpiece of American craftsmanship. Fabulous pieces of art and antiques are deaccessioned from museums and institutions almost every day. You have to act quick on getting a piece like this. It should be in New York displayed but at least it is in a major museums not far from New York. You are very fortunate to own a similar one.