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High Museum of Art

Posted by Craig Summers on February 19, 2007
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The High Museum of Art is a leading art museum in the Southeastern United States. Located in Atlanta, Georgia on Peachtree Street Northeast, the High is a division of the Woodruff Arts Center, which also includes the Alliance Theatre, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Young Audiences and the 14th Street Playhouse. The High Museum holds more than 11,000 works of art in its permanent collection. Included in this collection are 19th and 20th century American art; European art; decorative arts; African American art; modern and contemporary art; photography and African art. Highlights of the permanent collection include works by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Claude Monet, Martin Johnson Heade, Dorothea Lange, Clarence John Laughlin, and Chuck Close. The High places special emphasis on supporting and collecting works by Southern self-taught artists, such as Howard Finster, and includes a contextual installation of sculpture and paintings from his Paradise Gardens. The museum includes a curatorial department specifically devoted to the field of self-taught art, a distinction unique among North American museums. The High’s Media Arts department produces an annual film series and festivals of foreign, independent and classic film. Special exhibitions at the High feature strong global partnerships with other museums such as the Louvre and with the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore and the Opificio delle pietre dure in Florence.The museum was founded in 1905 as the Atlanta Art Association. In 1926, the High family, for whom the museum is named, donated their family home on Peachtree Street to house the collection following a series of exhibitions involving the Grand Central Art Galleries organized by Atlanta collector J. J. Haverty. Many pieces from the Haverty collection are now in the High Museum of Art. A separate building for the museum was built adjacent to the family home in 1955. On June 3, 1962, 106 Atlanta arts patrons died in an airplane crash at Orly Airport in Paris, France, while on a museum-sponsored trip. Including crew and other passengers, 130 people were killed in what was, at the time, the worst single plane aviation disaster in history. Members of Atlanta’s prominent families were lost including members of the Berry family who founded Berry College. During their visit to Paris, the Atlanta arts patrons had seen Whistler’s Mother at the Louvre. In the fall of 1962, the Louvre, as a gesture of good will to the people of Atlanta, sent Whistler’s Mother to Atlanta to be exhibited at the Atlanta Art Association museum on Peachtree Street. To honor those killed in the June 3, 1962 crash, the Atlanta Memorial Arts Center was built for the High. The French government donated a Rodin sculpture “The Shade” to the High in memory of the victims of the crash. In 1983, a 135,000-square-foot (12,500 m2) building designed by architect Richard Meier opened to house the High Museum of Art. The Meier building was funded by a $7.9 million challenge grant from former Coca-Cola president Robert W. Woodruff matched by $20 million raised by the museum. Several scenes for the 1986 movie Manhunter were filmed at the museum. This modern, straight lined with a curved facade into a sunny atrium museum is constructed out of a concrete frame and enameled steel. In 2002, three new buildings designed by Renzo Piano more than doubled the museum’s size to 312,000 square feet (29,000 m2). The Piano buildings were designed as part of an overall upgrade of the entire Woodruff Arts Center complex. From October 2006 through 2009, Louvre Atlanta will be on view at the High. Louvre Atlanta is an unprecedented partnership that brings hundreds of paintings and sculptures from the Louvre, many of which have never before been seen in the United States, to the High. The High’s global partnerships continued in the spring of 2007 when, after more than twenty-five years of restoration work, the High Museum of Art, in collaboration with the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore and the Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence, Italy, presents an exhibition of The Gates of Paradise by Lorenzo Ghiberti. Throughout the spring and summer of 2008, the High also featured: Louvre Atlanta: The Louvre and the Ancient World October 16, 2007 – September 7, 2008 Louvre Atlanta: Eye of Josephine October 16, 2007 – May 18, 2008 Street Life: American Photographs from the 1960s and 70s December 22, 2007 – August 10, 2008 Young Americans: Photographs by Sheila Pree Bright May 3 – August 10, 2008 Louvre Atlanta: Houdon at the Louvre: Masterworks of the Enlightenment June 7 – September 7, 2008 Road to Freedom: Photographs from the Civil Rights Movement, 1956-1968 June 7 – October 5, 2008 After 1968: Contemporary Artists and the Civil Rights Legacy June 7 – October 5, 2008 Later in 2008, the High presented “Medieval and Renaissance Treasures from the Victoria and Albert Museum,” the third installment of Louvre Atlanta, “The Louvre and the Masterpiece,” and “The Treasure of Ulysses Davis,” which includes over 100 pieces by the self-taught Savannah artist. In November 2008, the High Museum opened “The First Emperor: China’s Terracotta Army,” a collection of terracotta figures and artifacts from Xi’an, China. In 2009, the High Museum featured: In April 2009, the High opened the exhibit entitled, “Anthony Ames, Architect: Residential Landscapes” which showcased work by the Atlanta-based, nationally acclaimed, and world recognized architect. In June 2009, The High Museum opened the Monet “Water Lilies” exhibit, which ran through the summer. From October 2009 – February 2010, Leonardo da Vinci: The Hand of the Genius was on display. The Allure of the Automobile: March 21-June 20, 2010. From Wikipedia