The revitalization of the Kimbell’s campus marked by the opening of the Renzo Piano Pavilion last fall continued through the spring and summer with the greening and maturation of the landscape. Indeed, the Museum’s lawn has developed into an extraordinary public space and seems almost like a third building. A sense of a new, more dynamic Kimbell was palpable this summer during Matsuri, the wildly popular Japanese festival of art, music, and life, which celebrated not only the Samurai exhibition, but also what the Kimbell has become.
With enlarged gallery space afforded by the Piano Pavilion, the Kimbell has been able to exhibit its renowned permanent collection to an extent not previously possible. I am so pleased that the Kimbell has been able to elevate its collection yet again with the acquisition of an extraordinary painting by Jacob van Ruisdael. Astonishingly well preserved, this work is unquestionably one of the very greatest seventeenth-century Dutch landscapes in America. The Kimbell Art Foundation acquired the celebrated canvas from Worcester College, Oxford, which had been given the painting in 1811.
The Kimbell is known for its exhibitions of Impressionist art, starting with its first special exhibition, held in 1973. This history continues in the fall with a spectacular exhibition from the most important repository of Impressionist art in the world: the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. Faces of Impressionism, curated by the Musée d’Orsay’s Xavier Rey and the Kimbell’s own George Shackelford, focuses on portraiture and features some of the French museum’s best-known masterpieces. The Kimbell is the sole venue worldwide for this show, which is not to be missed.
Following the Musée d’Orsay exhibition, the Kimbell’s program turns from Paris to Fort Worth, with an exhibition of the collection of the late Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass. The Bass family is legendary for the contributions its members have made to the city, state, and nation, and I am so grateful to the children of Nancy Lee and Perry Bass for sharing with the Kimbell’s audiences the art that brought such beauty to their parents’ wonderful home.
One of the measures of a museum’s success is the support it receives from its constituents, including its membership. I have the utmost gratitude to you, our members, for your patronage of the Museum. You are the lifeblood of the institution, and I look forward to seeing you often at the Kimbell in the months ahead.
Eric M. Lee