Dear Friends of the Kimbell,
Since the opening of the Renzo Piano Pavilion in November, I have been so pleased with the transformation of the Kimbell’s campus and the embrace of the Piano Pavilion by the community. The Louis Kahn Building is better than ever with the renewed attention focused on the west facade and its porticos, yaupons, and fountains, while the lawn between the two buildings has become one of the most beautiful, unforgettable spaces in the country. How gratifying it has been to see thousands of visitors enjoying both buildings and the glorious lawn in between!
Over the past few months, we have had many “firsts” for the new building—the first film screenings, the first concerts, and now the first special exhibition. It is spectacular. Samurai: Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection features one of the largest and finest private collections of Samurai armor in the world. The exhibition has already thrilled audiences in Paris and Boston, and we are grateful to the Barbier-Muellers for now sharing their collection with the Kimbell. The exhibition is sure to be popular: its opening lectures even set a Kimbell symposium attendance record.
We eagerly anticipate another extraordinary exhibition arriving in the fall, from the greatest repository of 19th-century French art—Faces of Impressionism: Portraits from the Musée d’Orsay. You’ll meet some of art history’s most intriguing subjects, from Manet’s defender Émile Zola and Degas’s aunt Laure Bellelli to Van Gogh’s friend “the Arlésienne” and Gauguin’s lover Tehemana.
Of course, one of the most wonderful, beloved “exhibitions” at the Kimbell is its own permanent collection. The Piano Pavilion allows the museum, for the first time in decades, to host special exhibitions while simultaneously displaying most of its permanent collection. The non-Western collections will remain in the Piano Pavilion, and the Kahn Building has just been reinstalled with paintings and sculpture from Europe—ranging in date from ancient times to the modern era.
Perhaps the greatest measure of the Kimbell's success is the support it receives from the community it serves. The Museum has the deepest gratitude to the multitude of generous donors who joined the Cornerstone Society by contributing to the Renzo Piano Pavilion. We are also grateful to you, our 18,000 members, who are the heart and soul of the Museum. The Kimbell would not be the Kimbell without you.
Eric M. Lee