A World-Renowned Building
The Kimbell Art Museum is widely regarded as one of the most outstanding architectural achievements of the modern era. Designed by the American architect Louis I. Kahn (1901–1974), the Museum has won wide acclaim for its classic modern building since its opening in 1972. Kahn’s innovative use of natural light and subtle articulation of space and materials greatly enhance the experience of the art. Kahn envisioned a museum with “the luminosity of silver.” In his design, “narrow slits to the sky” (as he described the skylights) admit natural light, which perforated metal reflectors disperse onto the underside of cycloid-shaped vaults and down the walls. Courtyards, lunettes, and light slots vary the quality and intensity of the light. The building’s gracious proportions, fine craftsmanship, and beautiful landscaping add further to the sense of serenity and restraint.
Masterpieces from Ancient to Modern Times
A small collection of less than 350 works, the Kimbell Art Museum has become a byword for quality and importance at the highest level. The Museum’s holdings range in period from antiquity to the 20th century, including European masterpieces from Fra Angelico and Caravaggio to Cézanne and Matisse, and important collections of Egyptian, Near Eastern, Greek, and Roman antiquities, as well as Asian, Mesoamerican, and African arts.
The Kimbell Art Museum provides an ongoing program of interpretive exhibitions and publications. Displays initiated and organized by the Museum include The Impressionists: Master Paintings from the Art Institute of Chicago, Picturing the Bible: The Earliest Christian Art, The Mirror and the Mask: Portraiture in the Age of Picasso, Gauguin and Impressionism, Stubbs and the Horse, and retrospectives dedicated to Murillo, Vigée Le Brun, Poussin, Tiepolo, and La Tour. The Museum has also hosted major traveling exhibitions, such as Hatshepsut: From Queen to Pharoah and Impressionist Masterpieces from the Barnes Collection.