Toledo Museum of Art

Trip Start May 06, 2010
Trip End Oct 14, 2010

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Where I stayed
America's Best Value InnCave City, KY

Flag of United States  , Kentucky
Sunday, May 30, 2010

I checked out of my hotel in Toledo and headed for the Toledo Museum of Art.  When I drove by looking for parking I was shocked to see a Paris Metro stop in front of the building.  It turns out it's part of their new sculpture garden.

Before I went into the museum I wandered around the Center For the Visual Arts, a part of the University of Toledo, which is housed in a building designed by Frank Gehry next door to the museum.  It was built in 1993, four years before the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.  While it is covered in metal panels like many of his later works, they're flat and mounted on flat, vertical walls.  It's not a very interesting or attractive building compared to his later work.  The metal panels were supposed to have developed a green patina.  Unfortunately, they've streaked and don't look very good.  I understand there's a law suit involving the panels.

I got another pleasant surprise when I went into the museum; like the Cleveland Museum of Art, it's free.  My next surprise was when I went up the stairs to the exhibits and the first work I saw was a Wendell Castle Steinway grand piano sitting under an Alexander Calder mobile.  (I collect art furniture and have over 50 pieces by Wendell.)  I understand Wendell's done five pianos.  I had previously seen three of them but I don't think I'd even seen a picture of this one before. 

The museum has a good decorative arts collection including furniture, jewelry, china and silverware from the 1500's to the present including some things like a Lalique necklace, a Tiffany lamp, a Rietveld chair, a Mackintosh chair, a Hector Guimard fireplace, a Louis Sullivan bank teller window and a Frank Lloyd Wright stained glass window.  Their collection of French Louis XIV - XVI furniture contains some very impressive pieces.

Their art collection ranges from Egyptian, Greek and Roman pieces to Contemporary art.  A few pieces I liked were a Brancusi head, a Henry Moore statue, a couple Van Gogh's, a Leger and a Picasso cubist paintings and an interesting Miro piece.  One surprise was a cloister brought from somewhere in Europe.

Across the street from the main museum building is their Glass Pavilion.  It also had a collection ranging from very old to contemporary.  When you first enter the building there's a Chihuly piece that's one of the chandeliers from his Venice show.  They also had some nice Tiffany and Galle pieces and a Lalique cabinet with an interior covered in glass panels.  They had some contemporary pieces I liked by Harvey Littleton, Michael Pavlic, Tom Patti, Dan Dailey and Dale Chihuly.  They had one Lino Tagliapietra piece, which, like the Frank Lloyd Wright stained glass window and the Tiffany lamp, was, for some reason, in the the main building instead of in the glass gallery.

They have a sculpture garden in from of the main building.  Along with the Hector Guimard Paris Metro station, they also had pieces by Albert Paley, Judy Kensley McKie (another furniture maker who, unfortunately, I don't have any pieces by) and an Alexander Calder stabile.

After the museum closed I hopped in the car and headed for Cave City, KY, the closest town to Mammoth Cave National Park, my next destination.
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