The Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art in Denver, Colorado, allows you to journey through 150 years of art. The library contains over 30,000 pieces by nearly 1,500 artists and designers and about 4,400 works are on display. Three primary collections are displayed together in salon style at the museum! The collection includes examples of every major design period from Arts & Crafts through Postmodern, making it a valuable source for art lovers and historians. In addition to the international focus, the collection contains works from Colorado artists dating back to 1845. Finally, visitors can view a retrospective of Kirkland’s work.
The Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art strives to inspire people through art and design. With a vision set by Founding Director & Curator Hugh Grant, the museum carries on the traditions established by artist and educator Vance Kirkland. The general public as well as scholars can enjoy exhibitions, loaned works, and public programs available at the museum.
Vance Kirkland, an artist and art collector who had previously helped Grant exhibit his work, died in May 1981. The majority of his estate was bequeathed to family friend Hugh Grant, who had been organizing exhibitions for him. Since Kirkland’s wife had passed away previously and they had no children, he became the executor of the will. From 1981 to 1996, Grant curated shows featuring Kirkland’s work as well as that of other artists such as Edgar Britton and Otto Bach. In 1996, Grant became concerned about Colorado’s excellent decorative arts not being displayed in depth in any museum setting. Many great creators of the past were being overlooked.
The Vance Kirkland Foundation, which was formed to preserve the legacy of artist and teacher Vance Kirkland, has received nonprofit, 501(c)(3) status as an operating foundation after obtaining it from the Pearl Street studio and art school structure. Construction on an extension to the studio building began while Grant took Kirkland’s paintings throughout Europe and Russia with thirteen exhibitions in the late 1990s.
On April 2, 2003, the Kirkland Museum opened to the public, showcasing works by Kirkland, his Colorado, and regional colleagues as well as international decorative art. Merle Chambers and Hugh Grant were married from 1989 until 2017. Chambers was instrumental in the development of the Kirkland Museum and Merle Chambers Fund paid for the new museum building. Chambers is a trustee of the Kirkland Museum, where she serves as an adviser and mentor. Her assistance was crucial in building one of the world’s most significant design collections at the Kirkland Museum, which has been called one of North America’s most significant design museums.
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