Indianapolis Museum of Art

The Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA), located at the corner of 38th Street and Michigan Road, is one of the oldest in the U.S., and the 7th largest in terms of general art collections. Founded in 1883 as the Art Association of Indianapolis, it was renamed in 1970, when moved to its present location. Among the early founders and supporters were women’s rights advocate May Sewall, Eli Lilly, Booth Tarkington, and Caroline Fesler who purchased paintings by Cezanne, Van Gogh, Picasso, and O’Keefe in the 1940’s for the Museum. Recent expansions for its growing collections, special exhibits, and scheduled events include the Efroymson Entrance and Deer-Zink Pavilions, the Wood Gallery, and the Star Studio.

The Museum houses over 50,000 objects and includes pre-20th century European and American art, Eastern art, and English and European porcelain from the 18th and 19th centuries. In addition to Irish, Asian, and African textiles, there are fashion collections of 19th and 20th century women’s apparel and accessories from Indiana designers such as Bill Blass, Norell, and Halston. Featured attractions at the Museum include Eli Lilly’s collection of Chinese ceramics, bronze, jade, and artwork representing over 4,000 years from the Neolithic period to the Qing dynasty. New acquisitions to this collection in 2004 include 28 Ming and Qing dynasty paintings. An impressive collection of jade figurines was given to the Museum in 1971 by Professor Norris Shreve of Purdue U., and more than 1200 works of African art were donated by the Eiteljorg’s.

There are portraits, landscapes, and religious subjects from the Clowes collection, and paintings from the Japanese Tosa and Nanga art schools and the 14th through the 16th century. The Museum also has American and neo-impressionist art such as Georges Seurat’s Channel of Gravelines, and rare paintings by Pissaro, Finch, and Toorop. Other attractions include Pantzer’s collection of J.M.W. Turner’s watercolors, 19th and 20th century Hoosier art, and the Glick collection of studio glass. French and American modern art include gifts from the 1928 Gandoliers, a group that purchased and donated to the Museum over 160 paintings by Modigliani, Matisse, and Toulouse-Lautrec.

The amazing video art Nature Holds My Camera by Sam Easterson is on display through July 2007. The film was made from small video cameras mounted on animals and plants living in their natural habitats. Admission – $6.00/adults, $3.00/children. Other events at the IMA this year include Piranesi’s Views of Rome through January 2008, Indianapolis artist Rasdell’s African Roots In Cuban Soil, and Prints From Paris from the Vollard Gallery. Currently on display is Tony Fehrer’s unique installation of clotheslines and hanging plastic bottles filled with red ink, the first in a series of art created for the Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion. The IMA will also exhibit Roman art from the Louvre in September 2007 and Adrian Schiess’ exhibition of abstract panels of lacquered aluminum.

Oldfields – Lilly House & Gardens, a part of the 152 acres of IMA grounds, is a 26-acre estate and museum. The original Oldfields was purchased by the Lilly’s in 1932 from the Landon’s and is now an American Country Place historic landmark open to the public. The 22-room mansion and former home of Joseph Lilly has eight restored rooms on the first floor and a second floor of exhibits from Lilly’s collections of nautical objects, books, and gold coins. Visitors can explore the history of the Lilly family and the architecture and interior design of this historic landmark. Free tours through the Ravine, the Formal, and the Allee and Border gardens are offered at 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday through October 16. The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park, scheduled to open in 2009, will have 100 acres of wetland, lakes, and woods for the largest urban art park in the U.S.

Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, & Saturday — 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday & Friday — 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday — 12 Noon to 5 p.m. Closed Mondays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, & New Year’s. Gardens & Grounds: Daily, dawn to dusk.

Admission: Free. (Except for special exhibitions.) Museum Info: 317-920-2660
Parking: Free underground parking garage. Wheelchair accessible spaces in garage adjacent to Museum and outdoor lots. Strollers and wheelchairs available at reception desk inside the Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion.

Dining: Pucks, Lunch, Dinner, & Sunday brunch. Reservations — 317-955-2315. IMA Café — 11 a.m. to 3 pm., Tuesday — Saturday, 12 Noon to 3 p.m., Sunday.
Group, school, and self-guided tours available. Five shops on premises.

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