The European art collection at the BMA contains works from the 15th through 19th centuries. Most of the collection was formed through donations made by private citizens of the city of Baltimore, notably Mary Frick Jacobs, George A. Lucas, and Jacob Epstein. The collection contains a large selection of 19th-century French art, including more than 140 bronze animal sculptures by Antoine-Louis Barye and several paintings by Barbizon artists such as Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot and impressionist Camille Pissarro.
The collection includes a wide array of decorative arts, including jeweled snuff boxes, porcelain, and silver. The museum also exhibits a large collection of works on paper from the 15th through the 19th century.
Highlights of the European art exhibit include Sir Anthony van Dyck’s Rinaldo and Armida (1629), which was commissioned by King Charles I of England. It is considered one of the artist’s finest paintings. Other items of northern European and French art include Frans Hals’ portrait Dorothea Berck (1644), Rembrandt van Rijn’s painting of his son Titus (1660), Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin’s portrayal of a lovely maiden tossing a ball in The Game of Knucklebones (c. 1734), and French court portraitist Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun’s exotic Princess Anna Alexandrovna Galitzin (c. 1797). Medieval and Renaissance works include a 14th-century Burgundian Virgin and Child carved of limestone and Titian’s Portrait of a Gentleman (1561). There are also late-medieval and Renaissance paintings by Giovanni Dal Ponte, Biagio D’Antonio, Sandro Botticelli and Workshop, Bernardino Luini, Francesco Ubertini, and Master of View of Saint Gudule.
In 2012, Paysage Bords de Seine, a Renoir stolen from the museum, resurfaced after being lost for 63 years. The painting then became the subject of a dramatic legal dispute involving the FBI, the woman who said she found the painting, an insurance company’s rights to the artwork, and the intentions of Saidie May, an art collector who bought the painting in Paris in 1925 and lent it to the Baltimore museum. In 2014 a judge deemed it to be the property of the museum after reviewing related documentation from its archives. At the time of the theft, Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co. paid the museum about $2,500 for the loss. The company considered whether to make a claim for the painting when it resurfaced, but decided it “belonged” at the museum.
The BMA’s magnificent collection of 15th- through 19th-century European art includes masterworks of northern European and French art, and Medieval and Renaissance works. Among the many treasures in the European art collection is the unparalleled Rinaldo and Armida (1629) by Sir Anthony van Dyck. Commissioned by King Charles I of England, it is considered one of the world’s finest paintings by the artist.
Much of this European art collection was formed by generous Baltimoreans, notably Mary Frick Jacobs, George A. Lucas, and Jacob Epstein. A collection of 19th-century French art includes a large cast of Auguste Rodin’s The Thinker (1904-17 cast, after 1880 original), more than 140 bronzes by Antoine-Louis Barye, and paintings by Barbizon artists such as Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot and Charles-François Daubigny.
Frans Hals’ portrait Dorothea Berck (1644)
Rembrandt van Rijn’s painting of his son Titus, the Artist’s Son (1660)
Jean Baptiste Siméon Chardin’s The Game of Knucklebones (c. 1734)
Louise Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun’s Princess Anna Alexandrovna Galitzin (c. 1797)
Titian’s Portrait of a Gentleman (1561)
a 14th-century Burgundian Virgin and Child carved of limestone
William Woodward Collection of English Sporting Art
Considered one of the finest collections of British sporting art in America, the BMA’s Woodward Collection features 52 paintings of horses and racing scenes, as well as silver and gold racing trophies. The highlight is a group of 11 portraits of 19th-century winners of Britain’s Doncaster St. Leger by John Herring, Sr., and Eclipse with Mr. Wildman and his Sons (c. 1769-71) by George Stubbs.
For more than 40 years, William Woodward owned one of the nation’s most successful breeding and racing stables, which were located in Maryland. A portion of his collection was given to the BMA by his widow in 1953, along with the funds to build a wing to house the gift.
Installed in opulent galleries designed by neoclassical architect John Russell Pope, these works are accompanied by a fine selection of decorative arts, including jeweled snuffboxes, porcelain, and silver. Several galleries feature intimate focus exhibitions showcasing the BMA’s exceptional collection of works on paper from the 15th through the 19th century.
The Woodward Room was designed by Wrenn, Lewis, and Jencks of Baltimore and decorated by Billy Baldwin and his partner Edward Thartin Jr., known for their work on The White House for Jacqueline Kennedy. Additionally, the Woodlawn Vase, designed by Tiffany and Company in 1860, is on view except in May each year when it is presented to the winner of the annual Preakness Stakes in Baltimore, the second jewel in thoroughbred racing’s prestigious Triple Crown.
Baltimore Museum of Art
The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA), located in Baltimore, Maryland, United States, is an art museum that was founded in 1914. While founded with a single painting, today the BMA has over 95,000 works of art—including the largest public holding of works by Henri Matisse. Collection highlights include a selection of American and European painting, sculpture, and decorative arts; works by contemporary artists; significant artworks from China; Antioch mosaics, and a collection of art from Africa. The BMA’s galleries showcase examples from one of the nation’s collections of prints, drawings, and photographs and textiles from around the world.The museum also has a landscaped 2.7-acre sculpture garden. The museum encompasses a 210,000 sq. ft. building that was originally built in 1929, in the “Roman Temple” architectural style, under the design of famous American architect John Russell Pope. The museum is located between Charles Village, to the east, Remington, to the south, Hampden, to the west; and south of the Roland Park neighborhoods, immediately adjacent to the Homewood campus of Johns Hopkins University, though the museum is an independent institution that is not affiliated with the university.
The highlight of the museum is the Cone Collection, brought together by Baltimore sisters Dr. Claribel (1864–1929) and Etta Cone (1870–1949). Accomplished collectors, the sisters amassed a wealth of works by artists including Matisse, Picasso, Cézanne, Manet, Degas, Giambattista Pittoni, Gauguin, van Gogh, and Renoir, nearly all of which were donated to the museum. The museum is also the permanent home of the George A. Lucas collection of 18,000 works of French mid-nineteenth-century art, which has been acclaimed by the museum as a cultural “treasure” and “among the greatest single holdings of French art in the country.”
The BMA is currently led by Director Christopher Bedford, who was appointed in May 2016, after a year-long search. Prior to joining the BMA, Bedford led the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University in Massachusetts for four years. He helped the Rose Art Museum out of international controversy in 2009 when, during the economic recession, the museum proposed selling off their top-notch art collection to help with its struggling finances.
The Baltimore Museum of Art is home to an internationally renowned collection of 19th-century, modern, and contemporary art. Founded in 1914 with a single painting, the BMA today has 95,000 works of art—including the largest holding of works by Henri Matisse in the world.
The Museum has a long tradition of collecting the art of the day, beginning with the Cone Sisters, whose acquisitions from living artists lead the Museum’s commitment to contemporary art.
Since October 2006, the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Walters Art Museum (formerly Walters Art Gallery), have offered free general admission year-round as a result of grants given by Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and several foundations.