Los Angeles County Museum of Art
History, Galleries, Installations, Permanent Collection Highlights.

Fredlyst With Yellow Artifical Bone
(1940) a collage by Kurt Schwitters,
one of the artists on show at LACMA,
one of the best art museums in
the United States.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art


Largest Museum West of Chicago
General Layout
The Permanent Collection

Largest Museum West of Chicago

Situated on Wilshire Boulevard along Museum Row next to the George C. Page Museum and the La Brea Tar Pits, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is not going to win the prize for the best architecturally designed museum of the year. Even so, as the largest museum west of Chicago, with over 100,000 works illustrating the history of art from the earliest civilizations to the present, remains one of the best art museums in America. In particular, its collection of Japanese art is a real gem.

Before visiting LACMA, see
Art Evaluation: How to Appreciate Art.

J Paul Getty Museum Los Angeles
Smithsonian American Art Museum
National Gallery of Art Washington DC
Phillips Collection
Albright-Knox Art Gallery
Frick Collection
Guggenheim, New York
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Whitney Museum of American Art
Barnes Foundation
Carnegie Museum of Art
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Art Institute of Chicago
Detroit Institute of Arts
Indianapolis Museum of Art
Museum of Fine Arts Houston

For a list of the finest works of
painting and sculpture, by the
world's most famous artists, see:
Greatest Paintings Ever
Oils, watercolours, mixed media
from 1300-present.
Greatest Sculptures Ever
Works in stone, bronze, wood
from 33,000 BCE-present.

General Layout

Museum displays are laid out in a number of buildings. The Ahmanson Building houses Modern art (1900 to 1970s) including the significant Janice and Henry Lazaroff collection, African art, the Robert Gore Rifkind Centre for German Expressionism and, upstairs, Greek sculpture. At the foot of the staircase is the massive sculpture Smoke (1967), by Tony Smith (1912-80). The Art of the Americas Building, whose entrance accomodates Robert Graham's soaring bronze sculpture Retrospective Column (1981-1986), contains American, Latin American and pre-Columbian art, while the Hammer Building is home to the museum's Chinese and Korean collections. LACMA's exquisite Japanese collection is housed in a structure designed by Bruce Golf, a former pupil of Frank Lloyd Wright, which has one of the most serene and peaceful interiors you'll ever experience. Contemporary art can be seen in the imposing new Broad Contemporary Art Museum (BCAM), which opened in early 2008.

For an outstanding collection of
Ashkenazi, Sephardi and Oriental
Judaica, crafts and artifacts,
see: Jewish Art Museum.

For details of any important art
shows being staged at the
Los Angeles County Museum,
see: Art News Headlines.

For details of the Top 40
3-D artists in America, see:
American Sculptors (1850-present)

The Permanent Collection

Egyptian Art
Numbering some 2,000 items dating from about 3,500 BCE to 650 CE, the Egyptian art collection features Predynastic stone palettes and vessels, Old Kingdom tomb relief sculptures, bronze statues, and a 21st Dynasty stone coffin.

Greek, Etruscan and Roman Art
Based on the celebrated 18th century Thomas Hope collection, donated by William Randolph Hearst, this display of Greek art and other ancient works features roughly 700 artifacts from ancient Greece, Etruria and Rome, dating from about 600 BCE to 200 CE. Includes Greek pottery, sculptures, glass and metalwork.

For a list of the world's greatest
libraries and museum collections
of Muslim culture, see:
Museums of Islamic Art.

For the best fine arts, design
and crafts courses in Los Angeles
and elsewhere in California,
see: California Art Schools.
For universities and institutes
of fine arts across America, see:
Best Art Schools.

See: Art Museums in Europe.


Art of the Ancient Middle East
This display - built around the Nasli M. Heeramaneck collection of ancient Near Eastern art - comprises more than two thousand objects and artifacts spanning a period of more than four Millennia. Persian art is a focus of the collection, which features ancient pottery, sculptures and precious metalwork, all illustrating the major ancient cultures of the region.

Art of the Ancient Americas
This section includes representative artworks from the major civilizations of ancient Mexico, notably the ceramic funerary offerings (assembled by Proctor Stafford) from the tombs of the Mexican states of Colima, Nayarit, and Jalisco. These clay sculptures, which chronicle the daily life of the time, were popularized by the renowned Mexican muralist Diego Rivera (1886-1957), husband of the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo (1907-54). The collection recently increased in size from 1,800 to 2,500 items following a donation of Colombian ceramics from Camilla Chandler Frost, and Stephen and Claudia Munoz-Kramer of Atlanta.

Latin American Art
Embraces a range of works in all media over the last 250 years. The collection was greatly enlarged with the 1997 gift, by Edith and Bernard Lewin, of more than two thousand works by Mexican modernists.

American Art
Dating from c.1770 to 1945, the American art collection mostly consists of oil paintings, watercolours, and sculptures.

The African art collection features body adornments, brightly painted raffia masks, wood and ivory carvings, bronzes, beaded crowns, and other items of tribal art.

Oceanic Art
LACMA's collection of Oceanic art from the islands of the Pacific Ocean illustrate the extremely diverse cultural range of the area. It has a particular focus on the arts of Polynesia and Melanesia, but also features artifacts from Micronesia and New Zealand.

Islamic Art
One of the finest collections of Islamic art in the West, it contains over 1,700 works of art - pottery, calligraphy, textiles, illuminated manuscripts, paintings and more - originating from nearly all areas occupied by Moslems over a period of some 1,400 years.

The Chinese art collection, developed since the 1920s, has Chinese pottery, porcelain, celadon ware, painted scrolls, ancient Chinese bronzes, jades, lacquerware, and furniture.

Korean Art
Considered to be one of the most comprehensive collections outside Asia, the Korean art collection started with the 1966 gift of Korean ceramics by Bak Jeonghui, then President of the Republic of Korea. The collection grew further, then in 2000 the museum acquired more than 200 works of art from a very important collection in Los Angeles. Highlights include wonderful examples of Buddhist and literati painting, pottery, lacquerware, and sculpture.

Japanese Art
The Pavilion for Japanese Art is home to LACMA's collection of Japanese works dating from roughly 3000 BCE to 1900. Highlights include a pair of six panel ink and coloured screens on gold paper depicting the Willow Bridge on the Uji River.

European Painting (c.1300-1920)
This collection of fine art painting on panel, canvas, and other supports (onyx, copper, ivory), features a number of European Old Masters, and illustrates most of the movements and styles during this period, including Gothic, Renaissance, Mannerism, Baroque, Rococo, Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Impressionism and Art Nouveau. The followers and style of Caravaggio are well represented. Also included is the Ciechanowiecki Collection of French oil sketches. See also our article: How To Appreciate Paintings.

German Expressionist Art
This collection is built around the Robert Gore Rifkind Center for German Expressionism studies.

European Sculpture
Dating from the era of ancient Greece and Rome up until the early 20th century, LACMA's collection of sculpture - in alabaster, limestone, marble, silver, wood, bronze, wax, plaster, terracotta, porcelain, and even papier-mâché - features a range of statues, reliefs, figurines, medals and plaquettes, from across Europe, including the beautiful Descent into Limbo (1640) by Alonso Cano, and works by the peerless 19th century French sculptor Auguste Rodin.

Modern Art
LACMA's collection of modern art - significantly enlarged by gift of the 130-piece Janice and Henri Lazarof Collection (reportedly worth more than $100 million) - consists of more than 250 works, mainly paintings and sculpture, from Europe, along with additional pieces from the United States and Mexico. Artists represented include the Impressionists Camille Pissarro and Edgar Degas, the Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi, the Expressionist Wassily Kandinsky, Cubist Pablo Picasso, the Fauvist Henri Matisse, the Swiss "existentialist" sculptor Alberto Giacometti, the Dada artist Kurt Schwitters, the classical Surrealist Rene Magritte, and many other modern masters, like Sam Francis, Willem de Kooning, Joan Miro, Louise Nevelson, Alexander Archipenko and Jean Arp.

Contemporary Art
LACMA's assembly of contemporary art consists of 2000 works dating from 1945 to the present, drawn from artists across the globe. It features a wide range of media, installation and conceptual art, video and film, as well as more traditional painting and sculpture. One of the highlights of LACMA's collection of contemporary art is Back Seat Dodge '38 (1964) by Edward Kienholz - an erotic sculpture depicting a couple in the back seat of a 1938 Dodge motor car. It remains one of the museum's most popular exhibits.

Costume and Textile Art
LACMA boasts a world-famous collection of more than 30,000 items, representing some 100 different cultures and two Millennia of human creativity in the textile arts.

Decorative Arts and Design
Divided into three main areas, European, American, and modern/contemporary, and dating from c.1200 to the present, this collection of decorative art features a range of precious metalwork, ceramics, glass art, and fine furniture.

Works on Paper (Prints & Drawings)
This collection, numbering some 30,000 items, includes works by western European and American artists, and exemplifies such printmaking techniques as woodblock, etching, engraving, lithography, silkscreen and giclee prints.

The Wallis Annenberg Photography Department
This section, opened in 1984 following an endowment by the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, comprises a collection of about 6,000 works, with a focus on post-1940 photographs, although it includes examples of fine art photography from the invention of the camera in 1839 onwards.

• For details of the development of painting and sculpture, see: History of Art.
• For more information about the world's greatest art museums, see: Homepage.

Art Types
© visual-arts-cork.com. All rights reserved.