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What Is the Baltimore Museum of Art?

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  • Written By: R. Stamm
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 02 September 2016
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The Baltimore Museum of Art is the biggest museum in the American state of Maryland and is home to an internationally-renowned collection of art containing over 90,000 pieces of art and artifacts. It is located in the city of Baltimore between the Charles Village and Remington neighborhoods next to Johns Hopkins University. The museum offers free admission year-round made possible by a grant from the City of Baltimore and Baltimore County. It hosts a variety of special events such as jazz concerts, dance recitals, and book readings for children.

The museum was founded in 1914, and Dr. Dohme donated his William-Sergeant Kendalls painting “Mischief” as its first piece of work. The Baltimore Museum of Art board hired architect John Russell Pope to design the building’s permanent location and construction was finished in 1929. The building has three floors with six rooms replicating historic homes in Maryland. Originally, Pope designed the first floor to accommodate a vast library collection, but the collection was moved to the third floor near the Cone Wing.

Three principal expansions to the Baltimore Museum of Art occurred during the 1950s. For these expansions, the museum board hired local Baltimore architects Wrenn, Lewis, and Jenks. The three architects designed the new wings for the museum in accordance with the original John Russell Pope design of the building.

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The first of the three expansions came from Saidie Adler May, who built an extension dedicated to housing art pieces for children in 1950. The wing included a library, a gallery, and an auditorium, along with staff and conference rooms. The Woodward Wing, donated in 1957, houses a collection of British sporting art in America. Two sisters, Claribel and Etta Cone, donated their collection of 20th Century art to the Baltimore Museum of Art in 1957. Their contributions included work from artists such as Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Van Gogh, and many others from the period.

In addition to these collections, The Baltimore Museum of Art boasts extensive groups of African, American, and European art spanning centuries. The African art collection includes over 2,000 objects from ancient Egypt to modern Zimbabwe. The museum has an extensive collection of American art, containing pieces from the Colonial era to the late 20th century. The European Art collection features paintings, decorative art and works on paper from the 15th century onward. Some European works include paintings by Sir Anthony van Dyck, Frans Hals, and Rembrandt van Rijn.

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