This summer was a turning point in the leadership history of the Kimbell Art Foundation, which owns and operates the Kimbell Art Museum. In June, Kimbell Fortson Wynne—after having served on the Foundation’s board of directors for over twenty-seven years—succeeded her mother, Kay Kimbell Carter Fortson, as president of the Foundation’s board of directors. Kay Fortson, who had been president since 1975 and will continue to serve as chairman, oversaw with dedication, wisdom, and perseverance the growth of the museum into the internationally renowned institution it is today. I have the utmost admiration and gratitude to Kay Fortson for her contributions to the Kimbell and look forward to a bright future under Kimbell Wynne’s leadership.
I had long lamented that the Kimbell had no early modern sculpture to complement its outstanding collection of modern paintings, and no works by Amedeo Modigliani in any medium. This situation changed with the landmark donation—like manna from heaven!—of a masterpiece of modern sculpture by Modigliani. The limestone Head (c. 1913), one of the artist’s most powerful, spiritual works and the only Modigliani sculpture in a western state, is the gift of Gwendolyn Weiner in honor of her parents, Ted and Lucile Weiner, who were pioneering collectors of modern sculpture in Fort Worth in the 1950s and ’60s. Gwen Weiner’s gift is one of the most important the Kimbell has ever received, and I will be forever grateful for her generosity.
While the Kimbell welcomes this great new addition to its collection, we have been excited to learn more about another work that has been in the permanent collection since 1984: the Standing Shaka Buddha, c. 1210, by the master Japanese sculptor of the Kamakura period, Kaikei (c. 1185–1225). Since its acquisition, this sculpture had been considered one of the most significant works of Japanese art in the Kimbell’s collection. Recently, the museum lent the Buddha to an exhibition of the works of Kaikei in Nara, Japan, where our sculpture was examined alongside a large number of the surviving thirty-eight firmly attributed Kaikei sculptures. In the exhibition and accompanying study of Kaikei’s works, the Kimbell’s sculpture emerged as among the very finest and best preserved. The Kimbell has now welcomed the sculpture back into its galleries as if the quiet, contemplative Buddha were a hero returning in triumph.
Today, the name Casanova is synonymous with womanizer, but the eighteenth-century Venetian lover was so much more: author, soldier, preacher, alchemist, diplomat, fugitive, librarian, and entrepreneur, and among the most well-traveled and well-connected men of his age. He seemed to be everywhere and know everyone. Visit the Kimbell this fall to explore the life and world of one of the most interesting figures of the eighteenth-century through the special exhibition Casanova: The Seduction of Europe. And on October 14, do not miss the celebration of the exhibition in this year’s Kimbell Fest: Casanova, A Celebration of Love.
Thank you for your support of the Kimbell. I hope to see you often at the museum in the coming months.
Eric M. Lee