Showcasing more than 2,000 years of exceptional human creativity, the collections and special exhibitions of the Philadelphia Museum of Art present masterpieces of painting, sculpture, decorative arts and architectural settings from Europe, Asia and the Americas. The striking neoclassical building, housing more than 200 galleries across an expanse of 600,000 square feet, is an oasis of beauty and enriching activities-including family programs, lectures, concerts and films.
Founded in 1876, the Museum is unique among American museums in its integrated presentation of painting, sculpture, craft and design. Comprising some 300,000 objects, its permanent collections are among the most extensive and distinguished in the United States. Highlights include the galleries of Asian art, with objects dating from the third millenium B.C., to the present, including furniture, ceramics, metalwork, sculpture, and paintings, as well as a Japanese ceremonial teahouse, a Chinese palace hall, and a celebrated collection of oriental carpets. Newly reinstalled, the spectacular galleries of European art feature sculpture, stained glass, a 13th-century French cloister, masterpieces of Renaissance painting, a suite of 18th-century interiors, and a superb collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings, including such celebrated masterpieces as Van Gogh's Sunflowers and Cézanne's Large Bathers. Refined furniture and silver by early Philadelphia craftsmen, extensive holdings of Pennsylvania German arts, and the most important collection of works by the great 19th-century Philadelphia artist, Thomas Eakins, are featured in the American Wing. Art of the 20th century can be traced from the early innovations of Picasso, Braque, Matisse, Brancusi and Duchamp, to spectacular examples of abstract expressionism, pop art, color-field painting, and contemporary work in an astonishing array of mediums.
The Museum is internationally renowned for fascinating and informative special exhibitions. Currently on view are Mad for Modernism: Earl Horter and His Collection (through May 16, 1999), a dramatic reunion of a legendary, but long dispersed, collection of modern art, African sculpture, and Native American artifacts; and Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz (through May 23), a focused look at paintings and drawings by the seminal American modernist O'Keeffe, and portraits of her by her husband, the enormously influential photographer and gallery owner, Alfred Stieglitz.
Upcoming exhibitions include Crowning Achievements (March 28-May 30, 1999), featuring sometimes satirical, sometimes seriously scientific, and always surprising depictions of dentistry; Goya: Another Look (April 11-July 11, 1999), a fresh survey of works-including several from the artist's personal collection-by the unparalleled Spanish master and "First Painter" to three kings; gritty but sophisticated drawings by the preeminent American contemporary artist Raymond Pettibon (May 2-July 3, 1999); and the notable achievements of 18th-century America, in The Kingdoms of Edward Hicks (October 10, 1999-January 2, 2000), the first comprehensive examination of the beloved folk artist best known for his paintings of The Peaceable Kingdom and, concurrently, Worldy Goods: The Arts of Early Pennsylvania, 1680-1758, featuring some 350 rare and evocative examples of "Baroque" furniture, textiles, silver, maps, books, paintings, and more, from the colonial era.