Handbook of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts - Part 1

Part 1

Handbook of the Minneapolis Inst.i.tute of Arts.

by Joseph Breck and Henry Wehle.


When the Inst.i.tute was first opened, little more than two and one half years ago, the permanent collection occupied but a small part of the exhibition s.p.a.ce. Since then the collection has increased in size and importance to an extent that warrants us, we feel, in publishing this ill.u.s.trated handbook, which, although intended primarily for the use and convenience of visitors, at the same time may not be without interest as a record of accomplishment within so brief a period. This rapid development of our collection has been made possible, first of all, by the great liberality of numerous friends, but it has been facilitated by firm adherence to a well defined policy in respect to acquisitions. This policy is based on two cardinal beliefs. The first is that an art museum is of the greatest value to a community when its collections embrace both the major and minor arts of all countries and all times. The second is that the standard must be high. It would be idle to pretend that every object in our collection is a masterpiece of the highest order, but it is better to have an ideal, which may not be wholly realized, than to have none.

Through the munificent bequest of William Hood Dunwoody, the Inst.i.tute has had for its purchases the income of one million dollars. Several important paintings have come to the Inst.i.tute through the bequest of Mrs. W. H.

Dunwoody (_Child with Cherries_, _Landscape with Cattle_, _Fording the River_). In memory of their mother the late Mrs. Thomas Lowry, Mrs.

Gustav Schwyzer, Mrs. Percy Hagerman and Horace Lowry have made a welcome gift of paintings and other works of art (_Tapestry, Hunting Scenes_, _Large Embroidered Hanging_, _The Conversion_, _The Scouts_). Among the numerous gifts must be instanced the Ladd Collection of Prints, the gift of an anonymous donor (see the _Print Department chapter_); the Charles Jairus Martin Memorial Collection of Tapestries, the gift of Mrs. C. J.

Martin (_Hunting Party with Falcons_, _Two Scenes from the Story of Esther_, _Joseph, Ruler over Egypt_, _Virgil Appearing to Dante_); the Martin B. Koon Memorial Collection of Contemporary American Paintings, the gift of Mrs. C. C. Bovey and Mrs. C. D. Velie (_Luxembourg Gardens at Twilight_, _The White Bridge_, _River in Winter_, _Garden in June_, _The Open Sea_, _The Yellow Flower_, _Night's Overture_); the Bradstreet Memorial Collection of j.a.panese Art, the gift of Mrs. Elizabeth B.

Carleton and Mrs. Margaret Kimball (_The Bradstreet Room_, _Color Print by Yeizan_, _Carved Panel_); and the Cast Collection, the gift of Russell M.

Bennett (see the _Cast Collection_ chapter). The Oriental collection has been enriched by a gift of Chinese porcelain from Mrs. E. C. Gale (_Chinese Porcelain_), and by a collection of j.a.panese paintings and other material from Charles L. Freer (_Tiger_). Valuable paintings and other works of art have been given by James J. Hill (_Landscape_, _The Storming of Tel El Kebir_, _Napoleon's Retreat from Russia_, _The Roe Covert_), Mrs. Frederick B. Wells (_The Bath_, _Woodland Scene_, _River Scene_, _Mother and Children_), James Ford Bell (_Madonna with Saints_), T. B.

Walker, and others to whose generosity the Society of Fine Arts is greatly indebted.

In the preparation of this handbook, I have been aided by Mr. Harry B.

Wehle, a.s.sistant to the Inst.i.tute Staff, who is responsible for the notes on XIX Century and modern art. My part of the work, except for general supervision, has been confined to the earlier periods.

September 12, 1917.



The Inst.i.tute is maintained by the Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts, incorporated in 1883 for the purpose of promoting a knowledge and love of art in the community. The purpose of the Society found its first expression in a school of art, established in 1886 and for many years carried on in rooms in the building of the Public Library. Since November, 1916, the School has occupied its own building, the Julia Morrison Memorial Building, situated in the same Park as the Inst.i.tute.

From its inception, however, the members of the Society of Fine Arts had purposed establishing, in addition to the art school, a museum of art. In 1911 this hope suddenly began to take the shape of reality. In January of that year, Clinton Morrison offered as a gift to the Society the ten acre tract of land at Twenty-fourth Street between Stevens and Third Avenues, valued at $250,000, as a site for museum and school buildings, provided $500,000 should be secured for the erection of the museum. Immediately upon the announcement of Mr. Morrison's generous offer, William Hood Dunwoody, then President of the Society, promised $100,000 for the building fund. At a dinner held on January 10, 1911, approximately $250,000 additional was pledged by other public-spirited citizens, and by the end of the month the entire sum for building had been obtained.

Plans for a building which could be constructed in successive units, to occupy eventually the entire tract, were prepared by McKim, Mead & White of New York. In August, 1912, the construction work was begun on the main unit, and late in 1914 the building was completed. The Inst.i.tute was opened to the public on January 7, 1915.

The present museum is about 325 feet long and 100 feet deep, and comprises approximately one-seventh of the entire plan. The total cost was $537,000. The construction is of brick, concrete, and steel, with a facade of white granite. The cla.s.sical design of the building is considered exceptionally beautiful in its proportions and in the refinement of its details. There are two main exhibition floors. The First Floor contains sixteen exhibition halls and galleries, as well as the entrance hall, information office, check room, library and print-study. The Second Floor comprises thirteen galleries, ten of which are devoted to permanent exhibitions, one to exhibitions of prints, and two to transient exhibitions. On the Ground Floor are located the administration offices, the Trustees' room, toilets, women's rest room, lunch room, cla.s.s room, shipping room and store rooms.

For the purchase of works of art, the Society has the income from $1,000,000, the munificent bequest of William Hood Dunwoody, who died February 8, 1914. This fund can be used only for the purchase of works of art. For the maintenance of the Inst.i.tute, the Society is dependent upon membership dues and upon a city tax levy of one-eighth of a mill.


LOCATION. The Inst.i.tute is located on East 24th Street between Stevens and Third Avenues. It can be reached easily from either the Nicollet Avenue or the Fourth Avenue car line.

HOURS OF OPENING. The Inst.i.tute is open to the public daily from 10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. except on Sunday and Monday, when the hours are 1:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M.

ADMISSION. Admission is free on Wednesday, Sat.u.r.day and Sunday; other days, a charge of twenty-five cents is made, except to members of the Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts, to school children accompanied by teachers, and to art students, teachers in the public schools, and special students holding annual admission cards, which will be issued upon application.

INFORMATION DESK. Admission tickets, a public telephone, post cards and publications of the Inst.i.tute may be found at the Information Desk (at the left on entering the building). Application should be made here to see any officer of the Inst.i.tute. The use of a wheel-chair in the galleries may be obtained here without charge; when an attendant is provided, the charge is $1.00 per hour.

EXPERT GUIDANCE. Visitors wishing docent service, or guidance through the galleries, should make application at the Information Desk.

COPYING AND PHOTOGRAPHING. Application for permission to copy or photograph must be made to the Director.

LUNCH ROOM. The lunch room is located on the Ground Floor at the west end of the corridor. Luncheon is served from 12:30 to 2:00; tea from 3:30 to 4:45. Closed during the summer.

REST ROOM. The rest room for women is located near the lunch room.

BULLETIN. The Inst.i.tute publishes an ill.u.s.trated bulletin monthly, October to June. It is free to members; subscription rate to non-members, $.75; single copies, $.10.

ART SCHOOL. For information concerning the Art School apply to the Director, Minneapolis School of Art, 200 East 25th Street.

MEMBERSHIP. The Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts offers, through its various cla.s.ses of membership, the opportunity of sharing in the support of the Inst.i.tute and School of Art and of enjoying the privileges afforded by the Society. Membership tickets are issued upon application to the Secretary at the Inst.i.tute accompanied by membership fee. All cla.s.ses of membership, except a.s.sociate and club membership, ent.i.tle members to: (1) free admission, at all times when the Inst.i.tute is open to the public, for themselves and members of their families and out-of-town guests; (2) invitations to all receptions given at the Inst.i.tute by the Trustees; (3) free admission to all lectures and entertainments given under the auspices of the Society; (4) free guide service; (5) a subscription to the monthly Bulletin published by the Society.


BENEFACTOR. Any person contributing money or property to the value of $25,000.

PATRON. Any person contributing money or property to the value of $10,000.

FELLOW IN PERPETUITY. Any person contributing money or property to the value of $5,000.

FELLOW FOR LIFE. Any person contributing money or property to the value of $1,000 The above const.i.tute the Governing Members of the Society.

LIFE MEMBERS. Any person paying the life membership fee of $100.00.

ANNUAL MEMBERS. Any person paying the annual membership fee of $10.00.

a.s.sOCIATE MEMBERS. Privileges restricted to person paying an annual membership fee of $2.00. Limited to teachers and students.

CLUB MEMBERSHIP. Clubs may become members of the Society of Fine Arts by special arrangements, which ent.i.tle such groups to meet in the galleries or to use the lecture room and stereopticon.


[First Floor Plan]


Works of art earlier than the XIX century, the cast collection, and the Print Department are located on the First Floor. The visitor who wishes to make a general tour of the collections is advised to proceed from the entrance through the octagonal hall to the corridor at the left. At the end of this corridor is the entrance to the Oriental collections. The Egyptian collection in the adjacent gallery may then be visited.

Returning to the corridor, the visitor will come to the Library and Print Study Room. (The Print Department will eventually be given s.p.a.ce on the Ground Floor, and the galleries now occupied devoted to Greek and Roman art.) Casts of cla.s.sical sculpture are exhibited in the corridor. The cast collection is continued in Gallery B-10 (Gothic art) and in Galleries B-11, 12, and the west corridor (Renaissance and later periods). Opposite the stairs to the Second Floor is the entrance to a series of rooms in which original examples of European art are exhibited according to period.

The first gallery is devoted to Gothic art; the next two to Renaissance art; these are followed by the gallery of XVII and the two galleries of XVIII century art.