Kimbell Art Museum
The Kimbell Art Museum officially opened on October 4, 1972. The Kimbell Art Foundation, which owns and operates the Museum, had been established in 1936 by Kay and Velma Kimbell, together with Kay’s sister and her husband, Dr. and Mrs. Coleman Carter. Early on, the Foundation collected mostly British and French portraits of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. By the time Mr. Kimbell died in April 1964, the collection had grown to 260 paintings and 86 other works of art, including such singular paintings as Hals’s Rommel-Pot Player, Gainsborough’s Portrait of a Woman, Vigée Le Brun’s Self-Portrait, and Leighton’s Portrait of May Sartoris. Motivated by his wish “to encourage art in Fort Worth and Texas,” Mr. Kimbell left his estate to the Foundation, charging it with the creation of a museum. Mr. Kimbell had made clear his desire that the future museum be “of the first class,” and to further that aim, within a week of his death, his widow, Velma, contributed her share of the community property to the Foundation.
Acquisitions of the first decade (1965–75) included several works that today rank among the treasures of the collection: Monet’s Point de la Hève at Low Tide; Bellini’s Christ Blessing; an eighth-century Maya stone panel depicting the Presentation of Captives; and Picasso’s classic Cubist painting of 1911, Man with a Pipe. A pre-Angkor-period bronze Bodhisattva Maitreya from Prakhonchai, Thailand, was the first acquisition made during Brown’s tenure and the first work of Asian art to enter the collection.