A Day at the Denver Art Museum January 08 2024, 0 Comments

We love looking at art. So does everyone at our company. Spending the day immersed in beautiful objects never ceases to be a blessing. So when it comes to throwing a company party, we all get together and do something we love. Recently, we took a trip to the Denver Art Museum (DAM) for a fun day.

Having reopened the last few of its galleries earlier this year after a major, multi-year renovation project, we were all excited to get back to the DAM and see the completion of the institution’s vision. The Gio Ponti designed building is a gem in our state and stands as the only completed project by the noted Italian designer in the U.S. Of the art inside, Ponti says, “Art is a treasure, and these thin but jealous walls defend it.”

Raitman Art Galleries walking to the Denver Art Museum

The highlight of our day was visiting two major works by artists we are honored to represent in our galleries. Thus, we found ourselves drawn to the 7th floor to peruse the Western American Art collection. The galleries on the museum’s top floor house paintings and sculptures spanning two centuries, with the oldest work dating back to 1822. A 48” tall by 60” wide Tracy Felix painting titled “Longs Peak and Flatirons,” created in 1995, hangs proudly amongst the collection. The painting depicts an idealized, almost surrealist view of Rocky Mountain National Park’s tallest mountain, Longs Peak, set behind the Flatirons, the jagged and rocky peaks found further south in Boulder, Colorado. Felix’s expert use of color blocking makes the painting appear almost three-dimensional despite a decided lack of texture. Interestingly, the painting has a broader color palette and a lower focus on the clouds than the works Felix is creating today. Additional paintings we took note of are Birger Sandzen’s “A Mountain Symphony,” Andrew Dasburg’s “Chantet Lane,” several stunning works by Victor Higgins, and perhaps my personal favorite, “Pueblo Series, Acoma” by Raymond Jonson. His influence on Tracy Felix’s wife, artist Sushe Felix, is ever present in this painting! Other greatest hits were the always iconic works of Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran, a brightly colored work by Herbert Bayer, and so many more. The collection does a phenomenal job of highlighting the history of American art as told through a western perspective. For our friend Tracy Felix to have a significant painting amongst such a distinguished collection of art made us all quite proud.

Artist Tracy Felix Painting at Denver Art Museum

On the 3rd floor, in the Indigenous Arts of North America Galleries, hangs a 96”  tall by 60” wide acrylic on canvas work by our friend Gregg Deal. Titled “Kill the Indian, Save the Man, Save the Indian, Kill a Man,” the painting was acquired through the museum’s Native Arts acquisition funds during Deal’s residency at the museum in 2016. The painting depicts two men, who happen to be father and son, with one dressed in traditional Pawnee clothing and the other in a suit and tie. The background is a stylized American flag turned on its side, with plus signs (representing the four directions) in the place of stars. As is the case with much of Deal’s work, the painting is a commentary on how Indigenous culture fits into the modern American world. This painting in particular deals with stereotyping, asking us how we view each of the men depicted based on their clothing. Do we fear the father, dressed in native regalia, and respect the son, dressed in clothing that helps him fit into corporate America? Additional works in the collection that caught our attention were the Fritz Scholder titled “Massacre in America: Wounded Knee”, which shares a wall with Deal’s painting. Kent Monkman’s “History is Painted by the Visitors,” a work done in the Hudson River School style with a two-spirit Indigenous person painting and surrounded by white people lounging around the landscape is a highlight. A lovely installation of 60 porcelain arrows by Nicholas Galanin caught our gaze. Other pieces not to be missed include a Dan Namingha painting titled “Hopi Eagle Dancer,” a sculpture by his son Arlo Namingha, a collaborative piece by Tammy Garcia and Preston Singletary and, of course, countless historical artifacts.

Artist Gregg Deal Painting at Denver Art Museum

Currently on display on the museum’s 1st floor is the travelling exhibition titled "All Stars: American Artists from the Phillips Collection.” Sam, one of our phenomenal sales consultants, was born and raised in Maryland and spent time in-between her two tenures at our galleries working at The Phillips Collection. Seeing many of her favorites here in Denver was quite the treat. Additionally, she is a huge music fan and The Phillips Collection is known for always exploring the relationship between music and art so the DAM had music playing throughout the galleries. It was ever fitting. Highlights of the show were two interestingly juxtaposed works by Marsden Hartley titled "Mountain Lake - Autumn” and “Wild Roses.” Georgia O’Keefe’s “My Shanty – Lake George” is serene and exudes a quiet beauty. “Composition with Sinuous Forms” by Jackson Pollack was a pleasant surprise for its departure from his typical works. Adolph Gottlieb’s “Equinox” radiates with layered bursts of color. City scenes by Stefan Hirsch and Edward Hopper served as wonderful architectural studies.

Raitman Art Galleries Sales Team at Denver Art Museum

It would be impossible to visit the DAM and not mention the collection of stunning Impressionist works on display. Walking through the museum quickly brings you to the Hamilton Building’s 2nd floor, where the temporary exhibition “The 19th Century in European and American Art” is on display. Van Gogh’s “Edge of a Wheat Field with Poppies” greets you and immediately takes your breath away. Renoir’s “Young Woman in a Garden” shares the wall. Around the corner, the Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro collections are incredible. We spent a ton of time in this gallery talking art history, dissecting specific works and what makes them great and simply admiring some of the finest art the world has ever seen.

Camille Pissaro at Denver Art Museum

All told, a visit to the Denver Art Museum is highly recommended and we are thrilled to have such phenomenal collections close by!