The McNay Art Museum, founded in 1954 in San Antonio, is the first modern art museum in the U.S. State of Texas. The museum was created by Marion Koogler McNay’s original bequest of most of her fortune, her important art collection and her 24-room Spanish Colonial Revival-style mansion that sits on 23 acres (9.3 ha) that are landscaped with fountains, broad lawns and a Japanese-inspired garden and fishpond.
McNay was an American painter and art teacher who inherited a substantial oil fortune upon the death of her father. The museum was named after her, and has been expanded to include galleries of medieval and Renaissance artwork and a larger collection of 20th-century European and American modernist work. She built a home in 1927 designed by Atlee Ayres and his son Robert M. Ayres. Upon her death, the house was bequeathed to the City of San Antonio to house the museum.
The museum focuses primarily on 19th-and 20th-century European and American art by such artists as Paul Cézanne, Pablo Picasso, Paul Gauguin, Henri Matisse, Georgia O’Keeffe, Diego Rivera, Mary Cassatt, and Edward Hopper. The collection today consists of over 20,000 objects and is one of the finest collections of contemporary art and sculpture in the Southwestern United States. The museum also is home to the Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts, which is one of the premiere collections of its kind in the U.S., and a research library with over 30,000 volumes. More recently, the McNay Art Museum recently added the Stieren Center, built by internationally renowned architect Jean-Paul Viguier, to display their Modern collection.
Marion continued to collect 19th-and 20th-century European and American paintings, as well as Southwest art from New Mexico. When her marriage to Atkinson ended in 1936, she returned to using her first husband’s name. At her death in 1950, Marion left her collection of more than 700 works of art, along with the house, the surrounding 23 acres, and an endowment to establish the first museum of modern art in Texas. In 1954 the McNay opened its doors to the public. The Jane and Arthur Stieren Center for Exhibitions, built in 2008 and designed by French architect Jean-Paul Viguier, added 45,000 square feet to the museum and created gallery space for major exhibitions, a sculpture gallery and garden, a lecture hall, and classrooms for the museum’s many educational programs.
Since Marion McNay’s original bequest in 1950, the museum’s collection has expanded to over 22,000 works including:
- Medieval and Renaissance art
- 19th- through 21st- century European and American paintings, sculptures, and photographs
- One of the finest collections of prints and drawings in the Southwest
- The exceptional Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts
- Jeanne and Irving Mathews Collection of Art Glass
- Art of New Mexico
San Antonio, Texas showcases these must-see museums you shouldn’t miss:
These amazing museums are located just down the street from our location at 11440 Potranco Road, Suite 102. Stop by for a visit anytime!