Selected Highlights of the DMA Collection

The Dallas Museum of Art’s collection contains over 22,000 works of art from all cultures and time periods spanning 5,000 years of human creativity. The collection is dynamic; new acquisitions are being added all the time and the galleries are constantly changing. Below is a selection of highlights from the Museum's encyclopedic collection currently on view. 

 

Genesis, The Gift of Life, 1954
Miguel Covarrubias
Glass
144 x 720 in.
City of Dallas, Gift of Peter and Waldo Stewart and the Stewart Company, 1992

Dallasites Peter and Waldo Stewart, who spent their childhoods in Mexico, commissioned this enormous mosaic from the noted artist Miguel Covarrubias to enliven their company’s building. It is among the masterpieces of postwar Mexican art. Covarrubias designed a colorful representation of the four elements—water, earth, fire, and air—and innovatively sited it to be seen by drivers on Dallas’s first major freeway, Central Expressway. Now installed outside the DMA’s Main Entrance, the bright colors, poetic atmosphere, and scale of the entire wall make it a treasured Dallas landmark.
Dallas Museum of Art Main Entrance

Skyway, 1964
Robert Rauschenberg
Oil and silkscreen on canvas
216 x 192 in.
Dallas Museum of Art, The Roberta Coke Camp Fund, The 500, Inc., Mr. and Mrs. Mark Shepherd, Jr., and General Acquisitions Fund
© Rauschenberg Estate/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

By using popular culture images and commonplace materials and processes, Robert Rauschenberg captures the complex conditions of contemporary American life. In Skyway, which hung on the exterior of the U.S. pavilion at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York, the artist juxtaposes a number of disparate images that related to the recent tragedy of John F. Kennedy’s assassination as well as the vitality and promise of the NASA space program and expanding physical infrastructure of the American landscape.

This work is the largest of Rauschenberg’s silkscreen paintings. Like pop artists who followed him, Rauschenberg was interested in responding to the existential claims of his abstract expressionist predecessors and turned to pictures found in the popular arena for his subjects, marking a decisive shift in aesthetic sources from nature to culture.
Level 1, Atrium 

Portrait and a Dream, 1953
Jackson Pollock
Oil and enamel on canvas
Overall: 58 1/2 x 134 3/4 in.
Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Algur H. Meadows and the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated
© Pollock-Krasner Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

The image on the right side of the canvas has been interpreted as Jackson Pollock's self-portrait, perhaps partially obscured by some kind of mask. A similar face appeared in numerous drawings Pollock created over the years, which many critics have suggested relates to his experiences with Jungian analysis, a branch of psychiatry that regards some symbols as universally present in the human subconscious. On the left, an image of a sketchily painted reclining female figure may embody the "dream" of the painting's title. Baring his self in a way few other American artists did, Pollock redefined the very character of what it meant to be an artist and to make art in the years just after World War II and beyond.
Not currently on view 

Rise 2, 1970
Bridget Riley
Acrylic on canvas
Overall: 65 1/4 x 126 3/4 x 2 1/8 in.
Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. James H. Clark
© 1970 Bridget Riley

Bridget Riley is one of the foremost leaders of op art, artwork associated with sensations of movement and color that induce visceral reactions from viewers. Riley and her peers responded to the perceived need in the 1960s for greater audience participation, which Riley answered through psychedelic visual compositions. Inspired by a particular date or location (for example, Riley’s hometown in the south of France), Riley titles and designs the composition, which is then executed by her assistants.
Not currently on view 

Dancing Duke, 1974
John Chamberlain
Steel and F200paint
Overall: 52 × 53 × 31 in.
Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Dr. and Mrs. Harold J. Joseph in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Max Walen
© John Chamberlain/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Throughout his long career, John Chamberlain has transformed a mass-produced commodity—metal used to make cars—into works of art. While visiting a friend, the artist Larry Rivers, in 1957, Chamberlain stripped an old 1929 Ford, gathered similar material from a nearby junkyard, and created his first sculpture. The colors and shapes of the car parts can be seen as having the gesture of a three-dimensional brushstroke, but they project themselves forcefully and undeniably into space as full-on sculpture.
Not currently on view 

To Corfu, 1976
Brice Marden
Oil and wax on canvas
Overall: 84 x 72 1/2 in.
Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, anonymous gift
© Brice Marden/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

From the beginning of his career in the mid-1960s into the early 1980s, Brice Marden applied a mixture of oil paint and wax to simple panels of canvas, which were generally joined in groups of two or more. These paintings, like To Corfu, have at times been referred to as "minimalist," a word that can imply a certain clinical coldness or lack of sensory pleasure. Upon sustained scrutiny, however, Marden's paintings reveal their lively, lush nature; they resonate with interior light that may summon associations far outside the realm of their purely abstract form. In the four-panel To Corfu, Marden references colors associated with the land and water of a Greek island in the Aegean Sea, where he painted the work. Tones of blue and green recall the natural palette of water and sky distilled in a quiet yet deliberate manner.
Not currently on view

Untitled, 1982–1983
Ellsworth Kelly
Stainless steel
Overall: 120 x 228 x 204 in.
Dallas Museum of Art, commission made possible through funds donated by Michael J. Collins and matching grants from The 500, Inc., and the 1982 Tiffany & Company benefit opening
© 1983 Ellsworth Kelly

Ellsworth Kelly created this imposing yet playful sculpture specifically for the 1984 opening of the DMA’s Edward Larrabee Barnes Building. The sculpture’s curves play with the viewer’s perception by swinging outward into space and then back again in a graceful juxtaposition. Kelly exploits the way static shapes seem to move in space; the result is a beautifully proportioned, refined, and endlessly challenging work of art.
Sculpture Garden 

Wittgenstein Vitrine (for the 1908 Kunstschau), 1908
Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna Workshops), Vienna, Austria, 1903-1932
Carl Otto Czeschka, Austrian, 1878-1960, designer 
Silver, moonstone, opal, lapis lazuli, mother-of-pearl, baroque pearls, onyx, ivory, enamel, glass, and ebony veneers (replaced)
Overall: 66 1/4 x 24 x 12 5/8 in..
Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc.

Standing over five feet tall, this vitrine, or display case, is the largest and most lavish known example of the silverwork of the Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna Workshops) and a masterpiece of early 20th-century design. Of solid silver encrusted with enamel, pearls, opal, and other stones, the vitrine was intended to be as much a work of art as any precious object that could be placed within it. Designed by Werkstätte member Carl Otto Czeschka and presented at the 1908 Vienna Kunstschau (Art Show), this vitrine marks the development of Viennese modern design.
Conservation Gallery

Huntingdon Wine Cistern, 1761–1762
Abraham Portal, English
Silver
Overall: 22 1/2 x 39 in.
Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Patricia D. Beck

Weighing close to eighty pounds, this monumental cistern was made for Frances Hastings, the 10th Earl of Huntingdon, following his appointment to the cabinet of King George III. Originally it would have held ice to chill wine in the earl’s country home as a grand display of his power and prestige. The cistern itself bears lion-mask handles and both the royal arms and those of the Earl of Huntingdon. Hoofed legs connected by a chain form its detachable base. The size of this cistern and the likelihood that such a large piece would have been melted down as tastes changed make this a particularly rare object.
Level 2, European Art Galleries

Eros earrings, late 14th century B.C.
Greek
Gold
Overall: 2 1/8 x 7/8 in. (diam.)
Dallas Museum of Art, Cecil and Ida Green Acquisition Fund

This pair of refined, charming earrings demonstrates how classical Greek jewelry was often closely tied to sculpture. Carefully modeled torsos create miniature versions of much larger Eros statues. Eros, the god of desire and the child of Aphrodite, was a popular motif on women’s earrings, as he promised success in love and attainment of beauty.
Level 2, Ancient Mediterranean Art Galleries

The Light of Coincidences, 1933
René Magritte
Oil on canvas
Overall: 23 5/8 x 28 3/4 x 2 1/4 in.
Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Jake L. Hamon
© C. Herscovici, Brussels/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

For René Magritte, painting was a means of transcending reality to probe life’s mysteries. With Light of Coincidences, he questions the nature of art and reality. He also toys with the ambiguity between real space and spatial illusion by incorporating a picture of a sculpted woman’s torso within the painting. In this work, Magritte responds to his questions concerning the nature of light, which he believed were only real when received by an object.
Level 2, European Art Galleries

Place de la Concorde, 1938–1943
Piet Mondrian
Oil on canvas
Overall: 37 x 37 3/16 in.
Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the James H. and Lillian Clark Foundation
© 2004 Mondrian/Holtzman Trust, c/o hcr@hcrinternational.com

The Museum has several examples of Piet Mondrian’s work, including Place de la Concorde, a final summation of the artist’s long creative effort to embody universal principles in an austere pictorial geometry. Beginning in the late 1930s, and especially after Mondrian moved from Europe to New York in 1940, he was able to achieve a new level of artistic freedom, giving his later works a subtle dynamism and freer color rhythm that animate the restrained severity of his earlier rectilinear style. Place de la Concorde is fully representative of this development. This linear network, neither rigid nor static, constitutes an animated and energetic pattern with irregular sequences. Though the painting was completed in New York, its title refers to one of the busiest urban spaces of Paris, and the composition seems to pulsate with the energy of the city it celebrates.
Level 2, European Art Galleries

Sheaves of Wheat, 1890
Vincent van Gogh
Oil on canvas
Overall: 19 7/8 x 39 3/4 in.
Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection

Vincent Van Gogh painted Sheaves of Wheat in midsummer 1890, not long before his suicide on July 27. By offering neither a vast panorama nor the genre elements of workers in the fields, the painting transcends the conventions of traditional landscapes. Van Gogh presents an immediate sensual image that embodies, rather than symbolizes, the powerful richness of nature. With his characteristic energetic, elongated brushstrokes, the artist animates the towering bundles of grain. In the powerful image, color, paint, light, and wheat become one, conjuring up the odor of freshly mowed fields.
Level 3, Wendy & Emery Reves Collection 

Protective figure (jaraik) in the form of an animal, c. 1900
Indonesia, West Sumatra, Taileleu village
Overall: 70 x 56 1/2 x 12 in.
Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc.

One of the most distinctive of all Indonesian sculptures is the protective figure that hung above the entrance to the innermost room of the Mentawai clan house. Important ceremonies were held in that sacred space, and women and children slept there at night. With brilliant ambiguity, the curving limbs of this sculpture can be read as the four legs of a guardian creature, whose real monkey skull seems alert to evil forces, or as elements of a composition that symbolizes cosmic order.
Level 3, Arts of the Pacific Islands 

Kneeling female figure with bowl (olumeye), c. 1910–c. 1918
Olowe of Ise, Nigerian
Wood, pigment, and paint
Overall: 19 1/2 x 10 1/4 x 14 1/2 in.
Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc.

Traditionally olumeye hold kola nuts offered to visitors or deities in a hospitality ritual. Unlike conventional olumeye, this one by the sculptor Olowe of Ise not only celebrates Yoruba aesthetic ideals of feminine beauty but also focuses attention on the bowl. In addition to being supported by the large female figure, the bowl is elevated on the upraised hands of female caryatids kneeling along the edge of the base. The dome-shaped lid is decorated with a cluster of feeding birds, and incised geometric patterns cover the entire form. Except for the lid, Olowe carved the sculpture from a single piece of wood, as is usual in African art.
Level 3, Arts of Sub-Saharan Africa 

Rock crystal ewer, Egypt, late 10th–11th century, Fatimid
Mounts by Jean-Valentin Morel, Sèvres, France, 1854
Rock crystal, with enameled gold mounts
Overall: 12 1/8 in.
The Keir Collection of Islamic Art on loan to the Dallas Museum of Art

This impressive carved ewer, cut from a single piece of rock crystal, is considered one of the wonders of Islamic art. Only seven rock crystal ewers of this caliber from the entire medieval Islamic world are known, and this ewer is the only one of its type in the United States. Elegantly carved plant motifs and cheetahs decorate the Keir ewer. These are characteristic of Fatimid rock crystal, which is often embellished with stylized vegetal motifs—of Iraqi origin—and animals, such as birds of prey and felines. In 1854 in Sèvres, France, the Keir ewer was set with gold mounts (top, handle, and base) by the renowned goldsmith Jean-Valentin Morel (1794–1860).
Level 3 Landing, entrance to Arts of the Pacific Islands, China, and Japan 

Front doors from the Robert R. Blacker House (Pasadena, California), 1907
Designers: Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene
Manufacturer: Peter Hall Manufacturing Company and Sturdy-Lange Art Glass Studio
Glass, lead, and teak
Overall: 77 1/2 x 149 x 2 in.
Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions fund with additional support from Friends of the Decorative Arts, 20th-Century Design Fund, Dallas Symposium, Professional Members League, Decorative Arts Acquisition Fund, and Dallas Glass Club

The Greene brothers were preeminent West Coast architects working in the Arts and Crafts style. As one of their most significant buildings, the Blacker House was the first and largest of a series of “ultimate bungalows” that they designed between 1907 and 1909. It is also their most Asian-inspired structure. These glass doors are especially significant because of their complexity, size, and color.
Level 3, Decorative Arts Galleries

Shiva Nataraja, 11th century
India
Bronze
Overall: 35 x 28 x 10 in.
Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mrs. Eugene McDermott, the Hamon Charitable Foundation, and an anonymous donor in honor of David T. Owsley, with additional funding from The Cecil and Ida Green Foundation and the Cecil and Ida Green Acquisition Fund

In the Hindu tradition, music and dance are a pathway to divinity. The Hindu god Shiva is not only Lord of the Dance but also the deity of creation, destruction, and rebirth. In his most transcendent form as Nataraja, the Divine Dancer, he embodies the energy of the entire cosmos. Shiva dances the rhythm of the universe, surrounded by flames. With his drum, he beats out the universal rhythm; in another hand he holds the flame of death. His lower hands promise release from the endless wheel of rebirth. His beautiful body, foot raised in rhythmic dance, and his sweetly expressive face are the incarnation of power and love.
Level 3, Arts of Southern Asia 

Janus reliquary guardian figure, late 19th or early 20th century
Attributed to Semangoy of Zokolumga, Gabonese
Brass, copper, iron, wood, and fiber
Overall: 24 3/4 x 19 3/4 x 5 in.
Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc.

Kota reliquary guardian figures are among the most abstract depictions of the human figure in African art. Carved from a piece of wood, the figures are clad with precious copper, brass, and iron, which were acquired through trade with Europeans. According to Kota religious belief, the extraordinary powers of influential ancestors survived after their death and could be accessed by their descendants to assure their fertility, prosperity, and general well-being.
Level 3, Arts of Sub-Saharan Africa 

The Icebergs, 1861
Frederic Edwin Church
Oil on canvas
Overall: 64 1/2 x 112 1/2 in.
Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Norma and Lamar Hunt

From the moment Church completed this masterpiece, critics praised it as “the most splendid work of art that had yet been produced in the country.” The Icebergs’ grand scale and monumentality aptly depict the 19th-century pictorial tradition of the sublime. For the Dallas Museum of Art, The Icebergs remains now, as it was more than thirty years ago, an iconic masterpiece of American art and one of the Museum’s true treasures.
Level 4, American Art Galleries

Watch, 1925
Gerald Murphy
Oil on canvas
Overall: 78 1/2 x 78 7/8 in.
Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the artist
© Estate of Honoria Murphy Donnelly

The largest of Gerald Murphy’s surviving works, Watch examines the dichotomy between the resolute predictability of time and the fragility of the mechanism for measuring it. Murphy was a member of the Lost Generation, the group of artistically minded Americans who colonized Paris between the two world wars. His exposure to modern art at gallery exhibitions—and subsequent friendships with Pablo Picasso, Fernand Léger, and Igor Stravinsky—convinced him to become a painter himself. After studying with the Russian painter and designer Natalia Goncharova, Murphy embarked upon a short-lived career. His oeuvre contains only fourteen works of art, of which only eight remain in existence. This painting is one of two in the Museum’s collection.
Level 4, American Art Galleries

Eccentric flint depicting a crocodile canoe with passengers, c. A.D. 600–900
Guatemala, Maya culture
Flint
Overall: 9 3/4 x 16 1/4 x 3/4
Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc., in honor of Mrs. Alex Spence

The ancient Maya perfected the art of chipping flint to create flat blades that were deposited in caches during dedication rituals for architecture and stone monuments. This example is one of the most elaborate known. Maya art often shows deceased kings being carried to the afterlife in crocodile-form canoes, paddled by gods. That is one interpretation of the imagery here. Others refer to the Maya story of creation, especially the rebirth of the Maize God, and to Maya astronomy, where the movements of the stars reenact the events of creation.
Level 4, Ancient Art of the Americas 

Ceremonial mask, A.D. 900–1100
Peru, north coast, Sicàn culture
Gold, copper, and paint
Overall: 11 3/4 x 17 3/8 x 1 3/4
Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc.

Extraordinary metallurgical production distinguished the Middle Sicàn period (A.D. 900–1100), and this mask in the DMA collection is a choice example. It also depicts the face of the most important human figure in Sicàn art, a mythic or religious figure called the Sicàn Lord.
Level 4, Ancient Art of the Americas