Sunday, February 9, 2014

Kirkland Museum - A Denver Jewel - Full of Fine and Decorative Art and Modern Design - A Quick Tour

I decided to visit Denver's Kirkland Museum today.  If you live in Denver or just visiting and you enjoy decorative art, from Arts & Crafts to Contemporary Design, this museum is a must visit.  The Kirkland Museum, named after Colorado Artist Vance Kirkland, refers to the Museum as "one of the most comprehensive collections in North America of international decorative art."  The museum exhibits examples of Arts & Crafts, Art Nouveau, Bauhaus, Art Deco, Modern, Pop Art and Post Modern.  The items include several pieces of furniture, sculpture, paintings, tableware, glass, ceramic and household goods.

Here is a quick tour and some of my favorite pieces.
Kirkland Museum - 1311 Pearl Street - Denver, Co
Exhibition Room I - East Wall
Exhibition Room I - East Wall
As you enter the Museum, Exhibition Room I, on the east wall holds some great paintings by notable Colorado Artist and iconic 50's Modern furniture design. 

Exhibition Room I - West Wall
The West wall in Exhibition Room I, displays 30's-40's Modern/Art Deco and objects.  I am still amazed that Kem Weber designed the Airline chair in the 1930's.  What a stunning piece. 

Exhibition Room II

Exhibition Room II
Front and center in Exhibition Room II is a Frank Lloyd Wright dining room table with chairs.  Around the perimeter exhibits fine art work, deco and Modern pieces.  Yes, you can walk around the room.  Up close and personal.

Studio Exhibition Room - East Wall
Studio Exhibition Room - West Wall
Studio Exhibition Room holds additional iconic designs, wonderful Modern sculpture, Colorado artists and some of my favorite works by Vance Kirkland.  

I love this Museum.  Unlike most museums we are accustomed to, The Kirkland is up close and personal.  I get the feeling "Please Do Not Touch", but "Please Get As Close As You Would Like."

Vance Kirkland's Studio Workroom - Main Level
Lower Level - East Wall
Lower Level - Southeast Corner
The Lower Level has some very nice pieces too.  You will find Arts & Crafts to Contemporary furnishings, glass, sculpture and household items.

The entire museum feels more like a gallery than a museum.  I wanted to walk up to pieces and check the price, especially the Gerald Summers bent wood armchair (left of the Vladimir Kagan lounge chair).  Wow, what a wonderful, important design.

Large Glass Case Holding Several Objects

Throughout the Museum are several glass cases holding tableware, dinnerware and household goods.  Yes, it is very similar to a display case in your favorite studio or gallery.

A Few of My Favorite Pieces

Winter Witches Sing by Edward Marecak (1919-1993, American)
Expanding Universe by Vance Kirkland (1904-1981 Colorado Artist)

Experiencing unknown Forms in Blue Space by Vance Kirkland (1904-1981 Colorado Artist)

Close View - Experiencing unknown Forms in Blue Space
I admire and truly enjoy this piece.  Done with Oil on Linen, the piece draws the eye near, yet far. Amazing.

Kay by James Russel Sherman (1907-1988, Colorado Artist)

Bridge by Pauk K Smith (1893-1973 Colorado Artist)
A piece I would proudly display in my home. At only 18" x 24", it can fill a room.  What vibrant colors and a pure display of a Colorado setting.

Ruins of Central City by Vance Kirkland - (1904-1981 Colorado Artist)
Dancers by Edgar Britton- cast bronze (1901-1982 American)
From near my wife's hometown of Gothenberg, Nebraska comes Edgar Britton of Kearney, Nebraska. What a leap it must have been, right after the Dust Bowl and Great Depression, for Britton to leave the smaller Midwest towns and head to Chicago, Illinois to study further.  Although he is known for his murals, his Modern sculptural bronzes are some of the finer Modern bronzes.

Split Bush by Harry Bertoia (1915-1978 American, b. Italy)
This is probably my favorite sculpture in the museum. At least it is today. Ask me tomorrow and I easily could pick another one.  The Split Bush bronze series by Harry Bertoia offers incredible texture and form. Complex yet so simple.  Wonderful.

Stokke Armchair by Jens Quistgaard for Richard Nissen (1919-2008 Danish)
Leather, Wood, and Metal.  If there was plastic available, I'm sure Quistgaard would have incorporated it also into his Stokke armchair.  Complex, functional, yet simple. Beautiful.

Egyptian Chair by Finn Juhl for Neils Vodder (1912-1989, Danish)
Finn Juhl pieces are highly sought after and deservedly so. Modernist by heart.  He created such soft edges to the lines of  his finely crafted wooden chairs.  The Egyptian chair is an outstanding piece of functional sculpture.


I have so many more photos to share, yet I have so little time.  My recommendation: Go visit Denver's Kirkland Museum.  You will not be disappointed.  The staff is wonderful, the cost is affordable and in the heart of Capital Hill, you can make a nice day out of it.

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