When the sun is beating down on you and the heat is just too much, even dry heat can be too much, head for the Phoenix Art Museum where the temperature is always a very comfortable 72 degrees. The works of art are happy at this temperature and frankly you will be too.
The museum underwent an extensive expansion in 2006 and has become one of Phoenix’s must visit attractions. Since its inception in 1959 the museum has focused on becoming the premier art museum in the Southwest and they have succeeded.
The collection here is extensive and covers all the mediums. They have old masters paintings, modern works, an extensive Asian collection and an excellent fashion collection. The Thorne Rooms have the miniature collection of Narcissa Niblack Thorne. Thorne who was a Native American, collected thousands of pieces of miniature furniture and accessories and these have been placed in a fascinating array of room designs. The Phoenix Art Museum has twenty of her almost 100 rooms and they are just unbelievably authentic in every detail.
The European collection spans several galleries with works from the 14th through 19th centuries. Among the better known artists represented here are Francois Boucher, Elizabeth Vigee LeBrun, Auguste Rodin, Gustave Courbet, Claude Monet and George Romney. In all they have over 1200 works in this collection.
The Contemporary Collection includes photos and some very unexpected mediums. This is the place to come to stretch yourself beyond your normal appreciation of art into the future.
The strength of this museum are its modern galleries. Here you can find the work of Pablo Picasso, Georgia O’Keefe, Marsden Hartley, Mark Rothko, Milton Avery and Stuart Davis. Among the sculptures are the mobiles by Alexander Calder.
This being the Southwest, Western Art is also well represent with over 900 pieces in the collection. Look for old favorites Frederic Remington, Albert Bierstadt, Hermon Atkins MacNeill and again Georgia O’Keefe.
The American Collection has a good selection of both Hudson River School and some of the more famous American portrait artists. Look for works by Thomas Hart Benton, Gilbert Stuart, William Merritt Chase and John Singleton Copley.
The Fashion Design Collection has more than 4500 pieces and continues to grow. Major American designers are the focus here both as art and as a sign of the times but the Europeans are not left out with Dior and Chanel showing alongside Americans Galanos and McCardell. The fashions cover the 18th through the late 20th centuries.
Guided tours are offered daily at noon, 1 and 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Wednesday when the museum stays open late. Audio guides are included in the price of admission. Palette the restaurant in the museum offers an eclectic menu and indoor and outdoor patio dining.
Check the museum website for hours and admission. For a great day in the summer and any time of the year, The Phoenix Art Museum is hard to beat.
I have been an Internet writer for more than 16 years. While I specialize in travel, I write on a variety of subjects. I love genealogy, food, and fashion. I have 10 grandchildren so family travel is something we often do.