Vance Kirkland’s Cosmos

February 15–May 28, 2023

Member Preview Day: Tuesday, February 14 

Co-curated by Founding Director & Curator Hugh Grant and Deputy Curator Christopher Herron

Vance Kirkland (1904–1981), namesake of Kirkland Museum, was among the most important Colorado and regional painters of the 20th century. During the last half of his career, Kirkland’s paintings made a break from the earthly environment and explored outer space, first with his Nebulae paintings, beginning in 1954 pre-Sputnik, using his unique mixtures of oil paint & water. His imagination led him to create numerous series depicting the evolution and expansion of his own universe, culminating in his vibrant Dot Paintings.

Our first temporary exhibition of Kirkland’s work in 20 years will feature examples from eight series of the visions of Kirkland’s cosmos from 1954 to 1981. The exhibition includes some of the artist’s impressive large-scale paintings, seldom seen on public display.

A lecture will accompany the exhibition.

Vance Kirkland's Cosmos, February 15–May28, 2023
Vance Kirkland Nebulae painting Creation of Space
Creation of Space, 1960, by Vance Kirkland (1904–1981, American), oil paint & water on linen, 75 x 105 inches. Collection Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art, Denver.
Vance Kirkland dot painting number 3 of 1979
Unknown Space Mysteries Nine Billion Years B.C., 1979, by Vance Kirkland (1904–1981, American), oil paint & water with gold on linen, 22 x 22 inches. Collection Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art, Denver.