Overview Of The Carnegie Museum Of Art
Theres a lot of fascinating things to see at the Carnegie. Ill give you a quick overview so you know what to expect on a visit.
The museum is much larger than you might suspect, with a rich array of visual treats. There are many wings and dozens of galleries. The wide-ranging galleries are devoted to art from ancient times to cutting edge contemporary works.
Since its inception in 1895, Carnegie wanted the museum to reflect tomorrows old masters, not just ancient works. As a result, CMOA is considered the first museum of modern art in the United States.
Some of Carnegies first acquisitions were contemporary works by emerging American artists Winslow Homer, James McNeill Whistler, and Edward Hopper.
On the first floor of the Carnegie Museum of Art, youll find the Carnegies Hall of Sculptures, the Hall of Architecture, and the Forum Gallery.
The Heinz Gallery is one the second floor. This gallery houses temporary exhibitions, with room after room of high ceilings.
Launched in 1974, the Scaife Galleries occupy most of the second floor. This collection is CMOAs crown jewel.
Sarah Mellon Scaife was a sister of Pittsburgh tycoon Richard Mellon. She gifted the massive Beaux Art galleries and a slew of important works to CMOA. Her bequest alone nearly doubled the museums space.
On this floor, youll also find the Alisa Mellon Bruce Gallery of Decorative Arts & Design.
Prince of Swords
Carnegie Museum Of Art Virtual Tour
The Carnegie Museum of Art is an art museum with collections that include Fine Arts, Decorative Arts, Architecture, and Photography.
The museums collection comprises over 35,000 works that include European and American decorative arts from the late seventeenth century to the present. About 1,800 works are on view at any given time.
The CMOA was founded in 1895 by the Pittsburgh-based industrialist Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie stated that:
an art-gallery in which shall be preserved a record of the progress and development of pictorial art in America.
Carnegie envisioned a museum collection consisting of the Old Masters of Tomorrow.
The museum expanded significantly in 1907 with the addition of the Hall of Architecture and Hall of Sculpture. In 1974 the museums exhibition space more than doubled and it continues to be renovated and updated.
The 1907 Grand Staircase Carnegie Museum of Art
The museums collection themes include:
- Painting and Sculpture
- The Art of the Chair
Coming This Year: The 58th Carnegie International
Mark your calendars! The 58th Carnegie International is coming to Pittsburgh on September 24, 2022. This exhibition will bring together new commissions, existing works, and projects by established and emerging artists working internationally, domestically, and locally. Established in 1896, the Carnegie International is the longest-running North American exhibition of international art.
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Health & Safety Information
To prevent the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant in areas with substantial transmission, the CDC strongly recommends that every personvaccinated and unvaccinatedwears a mask when inside public spaces. For that reason, all visitors age 2 and above are required to wear masks while inside our museums, and our staff members and volunteers will be wearing masks, too. Thank you for helping to keep each other safe!
For more details, see our Visitor Information.
Carnegie Museum Of Art
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|Exterior view of the Sarah Mellon Scaife Gallery.|
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|Former name||Department of Fine Arts, Carnegie Institute|
The Carnegie Museum of Art, abbreviated CMOA, is an art museum in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The museum was founded in 1895 by the Pittsburgh-basedindustrialistAndrew Carnegie. It was the first museum in the United States with a primary focus on contemporary art. As instructed by its founder at the inception of the Carnegie International in 1896, the museum has been organizing many contemporary exhibitions that showcase the “Old Masters of tomorrow”.
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Buy Tickets To Carnegie Museums Of Art And Natural History
Use promo code after3 at checkout to get 50% off your admission past 3 p.m. every weekday!
Discounts for Access/EBT card holders, Military/Veterans, and Students at Pitt, CMU, and Chatham are available for visitors who email or call in advance . Eligible visitors are asked not to buy tickets online. Please reserve a time by emailing or calling. Additionally please bring your ID to claim your discount. Thank you!
Crowning Of Labor Mural And Grand Staircase
The museums three story Grand Staircase is the centerpiece of CMOAs 1907 addition. The marble staircase is lovely.
But what really catches your eye is the mural covering almost 5,000 square feet of wall space. Its called The Crowning of Labor. The theme is the turn of the century ideas of uplift and progress achieved through hard work.
The mural cycle consists of long vertical panels along the perimeter of the staircase. They show workers toiling away. One the second floor, theres an allegorical knight whos crowned by a winged female.
The mural cycle was created by Pittsburgh native John White Alexander between 1906-08. Alexander had full artistic license.
The mural has a dark to light plan thats bathed in light from the center skylight. The mural was renovated in 1995 and its colors sparkle.
The mural cycle was created by Pittsburgh native John White Alexander between 1906-08. Alexander had full artistic license. He produced a depiction of the turn of the century ideas of uplift and progress achieved through hard work.
The mural has a dark to light plan thats bathed in light from the center skylight. The mural was renovated in 1995 and its colors sparkle.
The murals were actually created in New York City and shipped to Pittsburgh.
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Our Favorite At The Cmoa The Hall Of Architecture
Although there are many halls in the Carnegie Museum of Art that reinforce its status as one of the country’s leading contemporary art museums, we think that the Hall of Architecture helps this museum stand out as being unique.
As part of his effort to bring the world to Pittsburgh, Carnegie himself ordered the construction of this exhibit which features casts of some of the world’s most beautiful and iconic statues, sculptures, and even building facades.
Yes, none of the items in this room are the originals, but having so many iconic pieces in one small space gives an incredible ambiance you wont experience anywhere else. And for those who have traveled around the world as much as we have, you’ll be certain to recognize many of the pieces in this exhibit including the famed Venus de Milo, Winged Victory, the iconic Florence Baptistery doors , and even the facade of the Abbey Church of Saint-Gilles in France- one of the largest castings ever made.
Although the museum has expanded substantially since Carnegie founded it over one hundred years ago, I have to think that if he were around today he would be very proud of what has been accomplished.
The Carnegie Museum of Art is located at 4400 Forbes Avenue in Oakland and is closed Tuesday. Admission gives you access to the sister museum, The Carnegie Museum of Natural History, which is located in the same building. For our review of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, please click the previous link.
Scaife Galleries 19th Century Art
The 19th century galleries are the most popular area of the museum. The galleries house works from 1850 to the present in 12 rooms. This includes the ever-popular Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and late 19th century art.
Scaife began collecting Impressionism in 1962, with the help of a CMOA director. Her taste was mostly classic. But she made some adventurous choices too.
Over the years, she and her family purchased and donated 28 major paintings and pastels by Paris artists. The Impressionist works on display include pieces by top shelf names like Monet, Manet, Pissarro, Renoir, Degas, and Matisse.
Pride of place belongs to Claude Monets Water Lilies. Its one of six large panels that Monet painted between 1915 and 1926. Its nearly 20 feet long and 6 feet wide.
Its not quite as luminous as Monets water lilies on display in ParisMusee Marmottan Monet or the Musee de lOrangerie. But still a relative rarity to see one in the United States.
There are also three pieces by the ever popular Vincent Van Gogh. Theres a beautiful drawing, a painting of wheat fields created just days before his death, and a painting of Le Moulin de la Galette in Paris.
- Munich painting
- Van Gogh painting
Youll also find several Renoirs, some first rate Degas paintings and sculptures, and some beautiful John Singer Sargent paintings.
There are also quite a few sculptures by the indomitable French artist , the greatest sculptor of the 20th century.
The Hand of God
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Th Carnegie International At Inside Out
Cuban American artist Rafael Domenech unveils a site-specific pavilion housed in the museums Sculpture Court, commissioned for the 58th Carnegie International, during the opening day of Inside Out on June 4. Performers and artists participating in Inside Out will respond to and layer on to his installation with their own artistic practices and expressions.
Taking the shape of an ellipse, the installation invokes Cuban poet Severo Sarduy who believed that the form represents a de-centering of knowledge production and expands intercultural elasticity. Made from everyday construction scaffolding and mesh that are ubiquitous signs of urban redevelopment, the pavilion further envelops the museum as a site of production.
On June 4, July 9, and August 6, from 1 to 2:30 p.m., visitors can meet the artist and create their own artworks in a series of workshops facilitated by Domenech.
Decorative Arts & Design
This area of CMOA houses over 34,000 decorative objects. Theyre arranged chronologically and feature a broad spectrum of visual art.
Youll find glass works, porcelain, ceramics, wood carvings, china, etc. The collection celebrates the extraordinary in every day objects.
My favorite pieces were Gerrit Thomas Rietveds Zig-Zag Chair, Louis Comfort Tiffanys stained glass windows and lamps, and some stunning Arts and Crafts era pottery and furniture. Youll recognize the designs of Gustav Stickley, the Roycrofters, and Charles Rene Mackintosh.
A seminal piece is the Tennyson Vase, a four foot high hammered silver vase. It was created as an ode to Alfred Lord Tennysons poems about Arthurian legends. It was a symbol of British strength in the 9th century.
The Bruce Galleries also highlight contemporary design and crafts in glass, wood, ceramic, and metal. A beautiful vignette is a display of 20th century glass art set in front of large windows facing Forbes Avenue.
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The Carnegie Museum Of Art Holds Up To The Country’s Best
The main feeling I had when walking through the Carnegie Museum of Art was not so much an attraction to any given piece , but more a lingering feeling in the back of my mind that this museum is different.
The reason for this is if you put us in any local contemporary or modern art museum in any city in the USA and we’ll probably go through it in 30 minutes, make a few comments about some of our favorite items in the collection, and let that be that. The museum can be good, sure, but most just do not invoke the same feeling I get when walking through the MoMA in New York or the Smithsonian in Washington DC.
But at the Carnegie Museum of Art we did not feel like we were in just any art museum, but instead felt like we were in one of the country’s best art museums- one that could hold up to any of its more famous counterparts.
One of the main reasons for this is because the Carnegie Museum is much larger than anything you’d expect, and is a testament to Carnegie’s lasting vision of greatness.
There are many wings, consisting of several floors and galleries in each, such that you will likely miss a few things, but you will also have no shortage of unique art to see as well. From the sculpture hall, to the dozens of painting galleries, African art, temporary exhibits, unusual modern pieces, and many others, it would truly take all day for any visitor to stop and appreciate all this museum has to offer.
Practical Information And Tips For Visiting The Carnegie Museum Of Art
Address: 4400 Forbes Avenue Pittsburgh PA
Hours: Closed Tuesdays. Open Mon & Wed-Sun from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. On Thursday night, the museum is open late until 8:00 pm. The best time to go? Thursday after 3:00 pm with a discount.
Entry fee: Adults $19.95, children 3-18 $11.95, under 2 free. If you buy online, use AFTER3 to get a 50% discount if you visit on weekdays after 3:00 pm.
Admission also gives you access to CMOAs sister museum, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. But doing both museums in one day could definitely result in museum fatigue. Theres a lot to see and digest.
How Long should you spend at the Carnegie? Id budget 2-3 hours minimum.
Online tickets: Click here to buy tickets and reserve a time slot online
Carnegie Cafe: This lovely upscale cafe offers casual dining, with an espresso and wine bar. You can get small plates, salads, and sandwiches. You can dine in, get food to go, or head to the outdoor sculpture gallery.
Parking: Theres a dedicated parking lot for the museum on Craig Steet. The current cost is $7.
Virtual Tour: You can take a virtual tour of CMOA by visiting their collections here.
I hope youve enjoyed my guide to Pittsburghs Carnegie Museum. Interested in other United States destinations? You may enjoy these guides:
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Highlights Of The Carnegie Museum Of Art
- The Wreck by Winslow Homer
- Arrangement in Black: Portrait of Señor Pablo de Sarasate by James A. McNeill Whistler
- Place des Lices by Paul Signac
- Water Lilies by Claude Monet
- Wheat Fields After the Rain by Vincent Van Gogh
- Bronze casts reproductions from Pompeii and Herculaneum
- European decorative arts from the Rococo and Neoclassical periods
- Plaster casts of outstanding from Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance European works
- The unique cast of The West Portal of Saint-Gilles-du-Gard
- A cast of the north transept portal of the Bordeaux Cathedral
- Plaster casts from ancient and classical civilizations of Egypt, Greece, and Rome
- An exhibition of architectural drawings and models
- The collection of American art since 1850
- The collections of African art, classical and Egyptian art, and older European art
The Hall of Architecture Carnegie Museum of Art CMOA
About The Carnegie Museum Of Art
The Carnegie Museum of Art was not always a museum, starting out as the Fine Arts Department of Carnegie Tech . Despite being a part of the private institution founded by philanthropist and steel captain Andrew Carnegie, its galleries were opened for public use on November 5th, 1895. As the museum gained recognition, it also gained independence from Carnegie Tech. In 1986, just over 90 years later, it adopted its present-day name.
In 1907, around a decade after the museum opened, the Hall of Sculpture and the Hall of Architecture were added to the already growing collection. In 1974, the museum expanded further with the opening of its three main galleries over the course of two years. The Scaife Galleries hold the permanent collection and include exhibits on impressionism, early American artwork, contemporary art, and more. The Bruce and Heinz Galleries house the decorative arts collection and changing featured exhibits respectively. While the two halls and three galleries serve as the staples to the museum, its curators continue to change the pieces on display and add new features regularly, including interactive elements that reveal more information about the artwork.
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Carnegie Museum Of Art Pittsburghs World Class Art Museum
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One of the things I love about Pittsburgh is that many of the city’s famous innovators have given back in incredible ways.
As perhaps the most famous of all Pittsburghers, Andrew Carnegie spent the later years of his life giving back to the city in many philanthropic ways, converting his fortune into such city staples as the Carnegie Library system, the Carnegie Institute of Technology , and the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh- to name a few.
As with all items carrying the Carnegie name and legacy, you can expect great things from these places as Carnegie had a track record of doing things bigger and better than anyone else.
When it comes to his legacy at the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, notably the Museum of Art, you notice this as soon as you arrive. This art museum is one of the country’s best.