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 depicted his own imagined cosmos.

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 imagination led him to create numerous series depicting the evolution and expansion of his own universe, culminating in his vibrant Dot Paintings.

Kirkland developed multiple series of paintings, each traveling outward from his first depictions of Nebulae Abstractions (1954–1964) to the far reaches of his universe. This exhibition takes you through the major series of Kirkland’s outer space paintings, accomplished during the second half of his career, culminating in a new series he was working on when he died in 1981, Energy of Forms in Space. 

Our first temporary exhibition of Kirkland’s work in 20 years features examples from eight series of the visions of Kirkland’s cosmos from 1954 to 1981. 

Audio Tour

Listen to an audio tour, including clips of Vance Kirkland speaking, on Bloomberg Connects, the free arts & culture app, in the exhibition or from anywhere on your mobile device!

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.