One of the grandest collections of Spanish art outside of Spain can be found in Dallas, in the halls of Southern Methodist University.
Building on the Boulevard: Celebrating 20 Years of the Meadows's New Home and the companion exhibition Fossils to Film: The Best of SMU's Collections are on display now through June 20.
Since opening in 2001, the university's Meadows Museum, which houses Spanish masterpieces by old masters as well as contemporary artists, has grown to encompass 66,000 square feet and a collection spanning from the 10th through 21st centuries that includes paintings from artists such as El Greco, Goya, Picasso and Dalí.
“Their Majesties King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofía of Spain inaugurated the new Meadows Museum building with an International Festival of Opening Events,” reads a press release, which also notes that the event forged a lasting cultural collaboration between the museum and Spain. “Devotion to scholarship, innovative interpretation and prestigious partnerships with major art institutions and cultural organizations have made the Meadows a recognized champion of Spain's artistic achievements and an important international diplomatic partner.”
Mark A. Roglán, the director of the Meadows Museum and centennial chair in the Meadows School of the Arts, says in the release that he truly believes “a small Prado for Texas” has been created through the vision of Algur H. Meadows, a Dallas businessman and philanthropist who, in 1962, donated money to SMU as well as his private collection of Spanish paintings to start the museum that opened to the public in 1965.
“If Mr. Meadows were with us today, I know that he would be proud to see his dream as a reality,” Roglán says. “This spring, we celebrate our shared achievements with a new installation of the permanent collection of Spanish masterpieces exhibited in tandem with, for the first time, highlights from SMU’s esteemed collections of rare artifacts, prehistoric specimens and works by well-known Texas artists."
Dallas art lovers who have a particular fondness for Spanish painters can also feast their eyes on the Dallas Museum of Art's exhibition with the works of cubist Juan Gris, which is on display until July 25.
Among the collection at SMU are more than 100 works of art, rare specimens and other artifacts — such as the earliest surviving crocodile skull in Texas and the only surviving footage of Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1963 visit to Dallas. The objects are a combination of university acquisitions, donations and discoveries unearthed by SMU faculty, staff and students during excavations.
Roglán is also celebrating his 20th anniversary at the museum. Before being promoted to museum director in 2006, the former curatorial fellow at the Museo Nacional del Prado joined the institution as curator and adjunct assistant professor of art history in 2001. During his 20 years of leadership, the Meadows has acquired 250 notable works of art including Salvador Dalí's "The Fish Man" and the collection’s earliest painting, Pere Vall's "Saints Benedict and Onophrius," circa 1410.
About 6,000 square feet of the museum’s new home, which welcomes guests with an outdoor sculpture plaza, is reserved for special exhibitions.
Building on the Boulevard is a tribute to the significant milestones and events made possible by the majestic, Georgian edifice over the past two decades.
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