DMA and MFAH Announce Gift of the Barrett Collection of Contemporary Texas Art

Dallas, TX, January 14, 2008 – The Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) and The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) today announced that Nona and Richard Barrett of Dallas have given more than 100 works from their outstanding private collection of contemporary Texas art to the permanent collections of both museums. The Barretts’ gift to Texas’s two largest museums, and to two of the nation’s most prominent artistic institutions, represents artwork from the 1970s to the present, with the majority of the pieces dating from the 1980s and 90s.

For the DMA, the gift of more than 40 paintings, drawings, photographs, and sculpture adds the work of 31 artists to the Museum, 11 of them entirely new, including important pieces by Jesse Amado, Steve Dennie, David Gibson, Lucas Johnson, Sharon Kopriva, Michael Miller, Kermit Oliver, Al Souza, Dick Wray, and Judy Youngblood, and a 1971 assemblage sculpture by a California artist with Texas connections, Ed Kienholz. The DMA gift from the Barretts also increases the holdings of 20 artists already represented in its collection, including its first painting by renowned Abstract Expressionist Joe Glasco; a map-like work by Vernon Fisher; works on paper by John Alexander; and pieces by David Baker, David Bates, Julie Bozzi, Patrick Faulhaber, Joe Havel, Terrell James, Luis Jimenez, Bill Komodore, Annette Lawrence, Jim Love, David MacManaway, Melissa Miller, Linda Ridgway, Peter Saul, Lee N. Smith, Gael Stack, and Danny Williams.

This new gift follows the Barretts’ earlier gift in March to the DMA of more than 60 works from their collection of early Texas art (primarily from the 1930s-50s) that was on display in 2007 in an exhibition titled Lone Star Legacy: The Barrett Collection of Early Texas Art.

For Houston, this is also the second outstanding gift made by the Barretts to the MFAH. Between 1998 and 2000, Nona and Richard Barrett donated 305 contemporary works, largely by Texas artists, to the MFAH, which in turn distributed the major portion of this gift to twelve additional institutions statewide, retaining 76 examples for its permanent collection. The present gift was selected specifically to complement the MFAH’s permanent collection strengths and consists of 57 paintings, drawings, photographs, and sculptures, including outstanding examples by Helen Altman, The Art Guys, Julie Bozzi, David Bates, Vernon Fisher, Harry Geffert, Virgil Grotfeldt, Sam Gummelt, John Hernandez, Terrell James, Lucas Johnson, Annette Lawrence, Lisa Ludwig, Bill Komodore, Melissa Miller, Michael Miller, Kermit Oliver, John Pomara, Linda Ridgway, James Surls, and Danny Williams. Additionally, this gift brings to Houston its first representation of such artists as Patrick Faulhaber, George Green, Hung Ju, Ted Kinkaid, Annabel Livermore, James Magee, David McManaway, Peter Saul, Roger Winter, and Xiaoxe Xie.

“This gift of Nona and Richard Barrett to both of our institutions – which incredibly is their second expression of great generosity to the Dallas Museum of Art this year – is a landmark in our collecting history,” said John R. Lane, The Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art. “We have always maintained close relationships with artists in our community and across the state, and the Barrett gift of contemporary art brings the DMA collection up to date in a way that would have been daunting to accomplish on our own. This is a major gift of major work that very much enriches our already impressive collection of art made in Texas throughout its history.”

“Nona and Richard Barrett have always brought a breadth of vision to their collection,” adds Peter C. Marzio, director of The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. “Their focus on Texas offers a complex and nuanced overview of the extraordinary talent that has flourished statewide over the past three decades. Their newest gift to Dallas and Houston once again demonstrates their firm conviction that Texas has a place in the larger history of the art of our time.”

About the Dallas Museum of Art: The 23,000 works of art in the DMA's encyclopedic collection span 5,000 years of history and represent all media with renowned strengths in the arts of the ancient Americas, Africa, Indonesia and South Asia; European and American painting, sculpture, and decorative arts; and American and international contemporary art. It is the only general art museum in North Texas. The Dallas Museum of Art is the anchor of the Dallas Arts District and serves as a cultural magnet for the city with diverse programming ranging from exhibitions and lectures to concerts, literary readings, dramatic and dance presentations, and a full spectrum of programs designed to engage people of all ages with the power and excitement of art.

About The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston: Founded in 1900, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is the largest art museum in America south of Chicago, west of Washington, D.C., and east of Los Angeles. The encyclopedic collection of the MFAH numbers more than 56,000 works and embraces the art of antiquity to the present. Featured are the finest artistic examples of the major civilizations of Europe, Asia, North and South America, and Africa. Italian Renaissance paintings, French Impressionist works, photographs, American and European decorative arts, African and Pre-Columbian gold, American art, and European and American paintings and sculpture from post-1945 are particularly strong holdings.