Taking Time for Toledo

Getting to the Toldeo Museum of Art always had been put on the backburner, I had known there were great works there, but there never seemed to be time for it on trips along Interstate 80. An extra long trip (to Iowa) this past weekend had to be broken into two legs and finally stopping at the Toledo Museum of Art was in the cards.

On arrival the building appeared quite large and unfortunately a 4 pm Saturday close only left about an hour and a half. Had I known there was that much to see I would have left earlier. More, its well worth an extra trip with it as the only destination.

Starting in the American Galleries, I counted two works by Gilbert Stuart, a John Trumbull, three by George Inness, two by Thomas Cole, a stunning Winslow Homer and a Gifford that lured me to linger in its stead. There was also a cup by Paul Revere, an exceptional Copley, a pair of Duncan Phyfe chairs and a Seymour sideboard.

As you might imagine this took the bulk of the hour and a half. This left little time for the European galleries and none for the rest of the museum. I did get a good look at a bronze of Hercules and Antaeus, a pair of candlesticks by Robert Adam as well as works by La Pena, Manet, Gainsborough, David and more.

I’m not sure where the Toldedo Museum of Art ranks among America’s finest, the Met, National Gallery, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Chicago, LACMA, Boston and others, but without completely exploring it, I’d put it almost in line with the Cleveland Museum of Art. Its clear the city of Toledo, a city that has somewhat faded from having any national prominence, has a museum of national importance and one a lot of larger cities could only dream about.

About Art After X

With the death of President Kennedy in 1963, America changed. As hard as it is to minimize that sentiment, the effect of Dallas was even greater. The same year saw the merging of the Dallas Museum for Contemporary Arts, which had been central to the art scene, and the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. Douglas MacAgy, then the director of DMCA, not only opposed the merger, but also declined to directorship of the combined museum. The regionalist movement which had been strong for decades, was giving way to more of an interest in what was going on nationally, and internationally. Like it or not, Dallas was on the national stage. When the Kennedy’s arrived in Fort Worth, local collectors had decorated a hotel room with internationally-renowned works. While the president and his wife learned a great deal about the ability of Texans to collect major art, there was little they could glean about the local scene in this era-defining city. With this in mind, we have begun a project to look not back at the art scene in Dallas, but foreword from 1963. We are interviewing gallery owners, curators and others involved in the art scene then, but this will be a story told mostly through interviews with artists active in the city from that point into the 1980s. The result will be a book with a video component. We hope you will join us in our journey. The hashtag for the project is #artafterx and the url artafterx.com will point to the latest updates on this weblog.

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