This post is due to go live on June 27. I had hoped to go to the Witte Museum on June 21 to take pictures and then write that post. It is now June 19 and I haven’t made that trip to the Witte yet. So, since I did finally get to the San Antonio Museum of Art (“SAMA”) for a very, very fast trip (40 minutes!) on June 5, let’s do that instead and then I’ll visit the Witte on Tuesday and get some pictures and post that article on what looks like July 5.
Meanwhile, I have another National Geographic issue to get to reading.
I have been going to art museums for just about as long as I can remember. So, again, once we moved to San Antonio, the now-ex and I had to check out the art museum. I think it took us a couple of years, but it was well worth it. And one Alex was born, we started going even more often.
A slightly less-than-perfect panoramic photo of The San Antonio Museum of Art, 2016
SAMA has the usual portraits and landscapes and modern art (they have a Warhol soup can (Pea Soup, I think) somewhere; the last time I could find it, it was near the entrance to the auditorium). But the two areas that the museum is best known for are its collections of Latin American and of Asian art.
In 1998, the museum opened the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Latin American Art (you can just see the leftmost edge of this addition in the far right of the image above). Nelson A. Rockefeller was grandson of John D. Rockefeller, the founder of Standard Oil (which was later broken up into various companies including ExxonMobil (which used to be two companies)). Rockefeller also held a number of government positions, most notably as Vice President under Gerald Ford from 1974 until 1977. In his private life, however, Rockefeller was an avid art collector. One of his favorite things to collect was pre-Columbian and folk art of Latin America. After Rockefeller’s death in 1979, his heirs began searching for museums to display his art, and San Antonio became home to 2,500 pieces. Not all of the art in the center is from Rockefeller’s collection, but a pretty decent number of them are. The center also has a gallery of modern/contemporary Latin American art.
The Lenora and Walter F. Brown Asian Art Wing (the big glass block in the left of the image above), which opened in 2005, is the other section that the museum is known for. Walter F. Brown was active in the oil and gas industry and founded a company called Delray Oil. The Asian Art Wing has thousands of artworks from China, India, Japan, Korea, Nepal, Pakistan, Thailand, Tibet and Vietnam. the Asian Art Wing has an extensive collection of Chinese ceramics.
My own favorite, though, is the Art of the Mediterranean World section (the fist floor of the left-hand tower on the left of the above image). This is where our old friend Gilbert M. Denman, Jr., comes in. You do see his name elsewhere in the museum but quite a lot of the artworks, including the wonderfully restored statues of Marcus Aurelius and Trajan, were his donations. Denman (and others, I think) also donated a number of pieces of carvings from the “Amarna” period, which is when Akhenaten ruled Egypt. These pieces include at least one that I’m pretty sure is Akhenaten’s abdomen, and, my own favorite, solar rays that end in hands.