Blanton Museum gives 500 artworks to 17 Texas museums

The Blanton Museum of Art is passing out of 500 works of art to 17 other Texas museums. These are part of the historic collection of 700 pieces transferred last year to the University of Texas museum from the Contemporary Austin. The Blanton will keep 200 pieces that match its current collecting strategies more closely.

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Margo Sawyer’s ‘Blue,’ 1998, detail of wood tempera and gold and silver leaf. Collection of the Grace Museum, gift of the Blanton Museum of Art, 2018, transfer from the Contemporary Austin, partial gift of the artist, with funds generously provided by ArtPace, A Foundation for Contemporary Art/San Antonio; Deborah and Tom Green; William F. Stern; Lee M. Knox, Juan and Carmen Creixell, and an anonymous donor.

In 2017, the rapidly growing Contemporary decided to part ways with its eclectic collection collected put together rather haphazardly by its predecessors, including the Laguna Gloria Art MuseumAustin Museum of Art, Texas Fine Arts Association and Arthouse. 

RELATED: What move of Contemporary Austin collection means to the Blanton.

Its leaders will concentrate instead on the Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria and its “museum without walls” program that places art around the city. It will continue to stage temporary shows at its downtown Jones Center location.

RELATED: Austin museum picks winner of $800,000 art prize.

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Julie Speed’s ‘Portrait of Mr. Magritte,’ 2000. Gouache and collage on 19th century engraving 15 1/2 x 12 3/4 x 1 1/2 inches. Collection of the Witliff Collections at Texas State University, gift of the Blanton Museum of Art, 2018, transfer from the Contemporary Austin, purchase through funds provided by the Sarah and Ernest Butler Family Fund, 2002.

For its part, the Blanton continues to add to its collection of nearly 18,000 objects. It displayed some of the work transferred from the Contemporary in a special show that highlighted Texas and Austin artists, including UT grads Jules Buck Jones, Lance Letscher and Eduardo Muñoz Ordoqui.

Some of the works transferred to other Texas museums — hungry to have them — were pieces by distinguished artists such as Alexander Calder, Dorothy Hood, Luis Jiménez, Alex Katz and Robert Rauschenberg.

“As part of this large and thriving arts ecosystem, the Blanton is proud to support other Texas institutions in serving their communities,” Blanton director Simone Wicha says, “while also preserving this important collection of Texas art for future generations.”

Participating institutions included the Amarillo Museum of Art; Art Museum of Southeast Texas, Beaumont; Art Museum of South Texas, Corpus Christi, affiliated with Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi; the Grace Museum, Abilene; International Museum of Art & Science, McAllen; Kerr Arts and Cultural Center, Kerrville; Longview Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of Texas Tech University, Lubbock; Nancy Fyfe Cardozier Gallery, Odessa at the University of Texas Permian Basin; Pearl Fincher Museum of Fine Arts, Spring; Regional Arts Center, Texarkana; San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts; the Wittliff Collections and Texas State Galleries, San Marcos; Tyler Museum of Art; Visual Arts Gallery, Brownsville at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley; and Wichita Falls Museum of Art at Midwestern State University.

 


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