The Nelson-Atkins Art Museum, Kansas City.
The Nelson-Atkins Art Museum in Kansas City, Missouri is one of those fine resources for wonderful viewing that too many residents from either of the U.S. Coasts are not aware. (Another is the Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio) The “provincialism” of New York or Los Angeles is often equal to that of the provinces.
I attended a good lecture by Hilton Kramer (Emeritus NY Times Art Critic) in Damariscotta, Maine a couple of years ago. My only disappointment during the Q and A that evening was Kramer’s referral of Indiana as a place of cultural contrast to his assured attitude about where he thought art and interest in art thrived (or did not).
Since the first 20 years of my life were spent in South Bend, Indiana, naturally I was disappointed at his apparent belief which I suspect was feigned to entertain his audience whom he knew would be receptive to his class aesthetic joke. Nestled within the community of his summer home (Damariscotta), I suppose he felt he could safely exercise a confident snobbery. In fact, Maniacs (an endearing moniker on my part) are known for thinking of anywhere other than Maine to be absent of paradise. People who have not lived in Maine for their entire lives are simply “from away”.
I also know the joys of the great museums and collections of Manhattan and the creative state of mind and spirit that the beauty and uninterrupted concentration that Maine provides. Anyway, maybe Kramer should refresh his considerable art history knowledge to remind himself of the number of fine painters that came from the hinterlands and those that are still working there. But as I said, this was a cheap shot in a safe community who hold similar provincial beliefs. In fact, the provinces world wide have given us some of the world’s finest painters It is after all, the individual who shines; not where they come from or choose to live. Kramer once wrote a review of the drawings of William Bailey in which he called the drawings….”Ingres like dreams” which one must assume to be a compliment depending on your view of Ingres. Bailey is a Iowan who, among his many accomplishments, taught painting and drawing at Indiana University for 10 years.
The Nelson-Atkins Museum’s architecture and grounds are a treat to spend the day within. Actually, like many fine museums, perhaps 2 or 3 days would be more satisfying.
The painting collection is somewhat limited compared to the Prado, Uffizi, Louvre, or Metropolitan but then, what collections are not?
The Chardin is at the Nelson-Atkins Museum