Monterey Museum of Art
History and museums
The Monterey Museum of Art (MMA) is the only nationally accredited art museum between Santa Barbara and San Jose and is located in Monterey, California. It was founded in 1959 as a chapter of the American Federation of Arts. The Monterey Museum of Art collects, preserves, and interprets the art of California from the nineteenth century to the present day.
The Museum operates two facilities, one at 559 Pacific Street and the other at 720 Via Mirada (La Mirada).
The Pacific Street location has eight galleries and houses the administrative and curatorial offices and the Buck Education Center consisting of classrooms, a library and the Youth Gallery.
In 1983, the Monterey Museum of Art acquired the historic estate of La Mirada, whose history reflects the heritage of the Monterey area.
La Mirada was expanded with modern galleries and is used to present traveling exhibitions from other institutions, highlights of the Museum’s permanent collection that include masters of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and significant emerging artists of today such as Ingrid Calame.
MMA presents approximately twenty exhibitions annually. These include thematic exhibitions selected from the permanent collection, presentations of local artists and major traveling exhibitions from other institutions. In addition to the Museum’s exhibitions, it presents educational programs that reach thousands of area youth annually, docent programs, classes, lectures and workshops, curatorial tours and public events such as a free Community Day organized for families. Other local institutions, including Monterey Peninsula College, Monterey Institute of International Studies, the Defense Language Institute and California State University Monterey Bay frequently use the Museum as a resource for classes.
The Museum’s permanent collection consists of more than 14,000 objects in the following areas: early California painting, photography, contemporary art, Asian art and American art. Highlights of the Museum’s collection include works by Armin Hansen, William Ritschel, Joan Miró, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso as well as that of world-renowned photographers Edward Weston and Ansel Adams.
The holdings of the Monterey Museum of Art encompasses several complementary collections, including
The Museum’s important collection of early California paintings and works on paper celebrates the Monterey Peninsula’s legacy as an influential art colony. Spanning the period from 1875 until 1945, the notable holdings include the work of early pioneers such as Jules Tavernier and Raymond Dabb Yelland and notable Impressionists E. Charlton Fortune and Evelyn McCormick. The collection’s emphasis falls on works created during the decades of the 1920s and 1930s — a period defined as California Modernism — exemplified by artists such as Gottardo Piazzoni, Francis McComas and Margaret Bruton. Important gifts from the Ritschel Memorial Trust and Mr. and Mrs. Justin Dart have solidified the Museum’s standing as the major repository of the works of William Ritschel and Armin Hansen, two seminal artists who defined the legacy of California landscape painting.
The photography holdings of the Monterey Museum of Art span the history of this medium. The 19th century collection includes the works of Carleton Watkins and William Henry Jackson; Anne Brigman and Johan Hagemeyer represent the early-twentieth century Pictorialist tradition. As befitting an institution situated on the scenic California Central Coast — the cradle of modern American photography — the collection emphasizes the works of the influential f/64 group and subsequent generations of photographers who followed their path. Most notably, featured photographs include Edward and Brett Weston, Ansel Adams and Imogen Cunningham as well as Wynn Bullock and Henry Gilpin. The broader, national photographic tradition is represented by the works of Charles Sheeler, Aaron Siskind, Irving Penn, Sally Mann and Garry Winogrand, among others. The Museum has also begun expanding its photography holdings into the 21st century with the works of contemporary artists such as Angela Strassheim and Chris McCaw.
The Monterey Museum of Art’s contemporary art holdings span the period from 1945 to the present. The collection includes paintings and works on paper. It includes works by painters such as George Abend and Felix Ruvolo — key figures in the San Francisco Bay Area abstract expressionism movement, as well as works by Bay Area Figurative School artists, including Nathan Oliveira, David Park, Roland Petersen and Joan Savo. The Museum’s collection of postwar and contemporary prints includes Henri Matisse’s Jazz portfolio as well as notable works by Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí; American artists in the prints collection include Alexander Calder, Ilya Bolotowsky, Larry Rivers, James Rosenquist and Wayne Thiebaud.
The Monterey Museum of Art’s Asian art collection includes textiles, woodblock prints, jade and lacquer objects as well as ceramics from Japan, China and Korea. The collection is predominantly modern in scope and features woodblock prints by masters such as Ando Hiroshige, Utagawa Kunisada and Katsushika Hokusai. Additional highlights include a selection of Japanese netsuke, Chinese 19th and 20th century snuff bottles, fan ornaments from the 17th–19th centuries, and a collection of Chinese Yi Xing tea ware.
A counterpart to the Early California collection, the American Art holdings include paintings and works on paper spanning major North American art historical movements of the late 19th century to 1945. The collection includes works by Thomas Eakins and paintings by members of the Ashcan School — including John Sloane — as well as examples by leading impressionists, such as Childe Hassam. The modern art collection includes prints and drawings by Oscar Bluemner, Stanton MacDonald-Wright and Rockwell Kent and key proponents of the Regionalist style, including Grant Wood. Works on paper by master Mexican artists, including David Alfaro Siqueiros and Rufino Tamayo comprise another important aspect of the American Art collection.