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Smart Museum

Smart Museum

Affiliated with the University of Chicago, the Smart Museum opened as a gallery in 1974 with a one-milliondollar bequest from the David and Alfred Smart family foundation. These patrons had also founded Esquire magazine here in 1933. Designed by Chicago architect Edward Larrabee Barnes, the building and sculpture garden provide approximately 9,600 square feet of display space. Founding director Edward A. Maser was appointed to oversee collections which range from ancient Greek vases and Chinese bronzes to medieval sculpture and Old Master paintings; from Frank Lloyd Wright furniture and Tiffany glass to modern sculpture by Degas, Matisse, and Rodin and twentieth-century paintings by Mark Rothko, Diego Rivera, and Arthur Dove. The original furniture and fixtures from Frank Lloyd Wright's nearby Frederick C. Robie residence are also housed in this collection.

In addition to serving as a university museum, where the collections are drawn upon for research and teaching, the Smart Museum has initiated important community outreach programs, including its Docent for a Day program, which became a national model for connecting museums to schools.

Taylor, Sue, and Richard A. Born, eds. The David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection. 1990.