Reporters may contact: Craig Boleman
cboleman@mail.smu.edu
SMU Meadows School of the Arts
(214) 768-3785

 

November 13, 2000

NEW MEADOWS MUSEUM TO OPEN MARCH 25, 2001

Works by El Greco, Murillo, Goya, Picasso, Velázquez, Ribera, and Miró to have new home

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A new facility to house the internationally acclaimed Meadows Museum Collection is currently under construction at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. The new free-standing building, scheduled to open on March 25, 2001, will double the exhibition space for the Meadows Museum Collection and significantly expand facilities for research, educational, and public programming.

The Meadows Museum Collection is the most comprehensive and one of the largest collections of Spanish art outside of Spain. The collection consists of masterworks by Spanish artists dating from the 10th to the 20th century. The 670 objects include paintings, sculpture, and works on paper by artists such as Velázquez, Ribera, Montañés, El Greco, Murillo, Goya, Picasso and Miró.

The new museum, designed by the Chicago-based architectural firm Hammond Beeby Rupert Ainge, will be prominently located on Bishop Boulevard just north of the Mockingbird Lane entrance to the campus. The structure will replace the present museum, which opened in 1965 as part of a new arts center at SMU. The museum's permanent collection has outgrown these facilities, and expansion of the collection has been hampered by limited exhibition space.

The new Meadows Museum will be a two-story red brick collegiate Georgian building of approximately 66,000 square feet, six times larger than the present museum. The main facade of the new museum, facing Bishop Boulevard, will feature five two-story arches opening onto a loggia that will serve as the main entrance. Underground parking will provide all-weather access for museum visitors.

An education area on the north side of the first floor will include an orientation room, studio, seminar room, distance-learning studio and auditorium. The south side of the first floor will house a large special events space, museum shop, founder's room for small events and meetings, and a restaurant.

The new facilities and program endowment will allow for significant expansion of educational and public programming, which presently provides interactive docent-conducted tours for several thousand school children each year. Other ongoing educational activities will include gallery talks, family days, teachers' workshops, a summer art program for children and special events for museum members. The distance-learning studio planned for the new museum will allow presentations to be transmitted electronically from the museum to classrooms at SMU and schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and beyond.

The entire second floor of the museum will be devoted to exhibition galleries, with separate areas for the permanent collection and special exhibitions. The exhibition space will allow for display of considerably more of the permanent collection than is presently possible. Special galleries will be provided for works on paper, such as the extensive collection of Goya etchings, which currently have no space for permanent exhibition.

The permanent collection will remain the heart of all programming in the Meadows Museum. The museum will continue to present four to five special exhibitions a year, but their quality and scope will increase substantially. Ancillary programming will include concerts, lectures, film series and gallery-scaled theatrical and dance events.

The Meadows Museum and its distinguished collection evolved from the dream and dedication of the late Algur H. Meadows, Dallas oil financier and philanthropist. While he was engaged in oil exploration in Spain in the 1950s, he spent many hours admiring masterpieces in the Prado Museum in Madrid. He developed a strong interest in Spanish art and began his own collection. In 1962, through The Meadows Foundation, he gave SMU funds for the construction and endowment of a museum to house works of art from Spain. Through an aggressive but highly selective acquisitions program launched in the mid 1960s, the Meadows Museum developed a permanent collection that far exceeds the original goals and expectations.

The Meadows Museum has one of the country's few specialized art collections of the highest quality to be found in a university setting, making it a rich resource for international scholars. Other specialized collections of comparable stature include the Yale Center for British Art, Harvard's Busch-Reisinger Germanic Museum and the University of Delaware's Winterthur Museum of American and decorative arts.

The Meadows Foundation provided $1.5 million in May 1997 for the architectural design of a new museum building. In April 1998, an additional gift of $18.5 million from The Foundation was awarded for construction of the building. The gift also provides separate endowments for ongoing building maintenance and expanded educational programming for the public, focused on the museum collection.

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