Magazine article Southwest Art

The "New" Amon Carter Museum

Magazine article Southwest Art

The "New" Amon Carter Museum

Article excerpt

When the Amon Carter Museum opened in Fort Worth in 1961, architect Philip Johnson received international acclaim for its design. Built to house the art collection of the entrepreneur and philanthropist Amon G. Carter Sr. [1879-1955], the museum was sited on what Johnson called "a noble slope overlooking the city's center," in keeping with a stipulation in Carter's will that the building have an excellent view of downtown Fort Worth. The exterior of the two-story museum was done in native Texas sandstone while the interior space of 19,000 square feet was divided into five small galleries for displaying art.

Originally conceived to showcase Carter's important collection of some 400 paintings and sculpture by Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell, the museum was bursting at the seams by the early 1990s, despite having added Johnson-designed expansions in 1964 and 1977, For under the guidance of Carter's daughter Ruth Carter Stevenson-who has been president of the board of trustees since the museum was founded-the collection has grown to nearly 250,000 works of American art, including paintings, sculpture, and works on paper by leading 19th- and 20th-century artists as well as a photography collection that is one of the largest in the country. Thus, in August 1999, the museum closed its doors and began a $39 million expansion that would triple its exhibition space and allow the display of four times more of its collection than before. Philip Johnson and his firm, Philip Johnson/Alan Ritchie Architects of NewYork, designed the expansion, keeping the original structure intact and resulting in what Johnson, 95, describes as "by far the best building plan we have ever done. …

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