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Kirkland Museum


International Decorative Arts

Kirkland Museum has one of the most important public displays of international decorative art in North America, from about 1875 to about 1990. More than 3,500 works are on view of Arts & Crafts, Aesthetic, Art Nouveau, Glasgow Style, Wiener Werkstätte, De Stijl, Bauhaus, Art Deco, Modern, Pop Art and Postmodern. In this extensive collection, the works of more than 80 architects are on view.

A major survey of Colorado art and some regional art is documented. About 700 works by more than 230 artists are shown at any one time, drawing from a collection of more than 600 Colorado artists and about 6,000 works. The Colorado and regional art collection is concerned with a period from 1820 to about 1990 (traditional through modern), with an emphasis on the 1850s onwards.   

Vance Kirkland Retrospective VANCE KIRKLAND (1904-1981), COLORADO PAINTER
The museum shows a retrospective of Colorado's distinguished painter, Vance Kirkland (1904-1981). All five of Kirkland’s major periods are on view: Designed Realism, Surrealism, Hard Edge Abstraction, Abstract Expressionism and the Dot Paintings. Kirkland’s unique oil paint and water mixtures become fictitious nebulae; surrealist worlds unfold with deadwood creatures and fantastical plants from the Rocky Mountains; dot paintings coalesce as imaginary galaxies; Colorado’s ghost towns and dramatic mountain scenes are frozen in time by Kirkland; pure abstractions are created from Kirkland’s Synesthesia, meaning—in Kirkland’s case—an ability to sense color from listening to music. He translated the sound vibrations he heard in modern classical compositions into color combinations for his paintings.

In addition to its three collections, the way Kirkland Museum is displayed gives it a noticeably different atmosphere than most other museums. The art is arranged in "salon style" with fine art (paintings and sculpture) shown in the same galleries with decorative art. While rare, a few other museums have done this such as the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and the Neue Galerie in New York. Furthermore, at Kirkland Museum paintings and objects are sometimes composed as vignettes where, for instance, Art Deco furniture is grouped together with a period radio, lamp, phone and other accessories, as if you have walked into someone’s vintage home. Comparative displays are done where several styles of design, such as Arts & Crafts, Art Nouveau and Wiener Werkstätte are placed in the same gallery so that comparisons are facilitated. With the extensive displays of tableware, glassware and flatware of different eras, along with the furniture, Kirkland Museum illustrates the history of eating, drinking and sitting of much of the 20th century.

Historic Studio


Kirkland Museum is a member of the Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This division, which does not include an historic designation, includes Kirkland’s studio with those of Jackson Pollock/Lee Krasner, Thomas Hart Benton, Georgia O’Keeffe, Charles Burchfield, N. C. Wyeth, Grant Wood and others. The Kirkland Studio building, a former art school dating to 1911, is one of only two “Artists' Homes and Studios” sites in the 8-state Mountain Plains Region of the National Trust, along with the Charles Russell Museum in Montana. Kirkland’s studio workroom has been maintained virtually as Kirkland left it and is part of the larger Kirkland Museum.

1311 Pearl Street, Denver, CO 80203 | Phone: 303.832.8576 | No Children Under Age 13

Free Kirkland parking lots across 13th Avenue and in front

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