I love art. Really, a lot. For fun, I even draw and paint a bit. Although, I’ve sold a few paintings, I become incredibly uninspired when money is on the line. That part kind of sucks, but at least I’ll always know I did my art for me? Anyway, not the point. I got to go look at pretty things.
Tulsa is home to several wonderful art museums, and I got to explore the Philbrook Museum of Art recently. This gorgeous museum is housed in the former home of oilman Waite Phillips it has 72 rooms and is surrounded by 23 acres. It sits in the center of Tulsa, near the Tulsa Historical Center, Woodford Park, and the Bookside area. I make a trip to walk the halls of this beautiful mansion and its grounds at least once a year. It has long held a special place in my heart.
They have an amazing American and European artwork collection, including pieces by some of my favorite artists. The Philbrook is where I fell in love with Thomas Moran‘s light. His depictions of Venice were some of my favorites this trip (maybe because my best friend and I are planning a trip there in the not too distant future), and I return over and over again to see the delicate work of Rodin. Before my visit to the Louvre, I didn’t think I really liked sculpture all that much…until I saw my first Rodin…how lucky am I that I don’t have to travel to Paris to visit the work of one of my favorite sculptors (as much as I would love to visit Paris again). The Little Shepherdess by William-Adolphe Bouguereau is another of my favorites at the Philbrook. This trip I seemed to be drawn to Picasso’s work frequently, which is new for me. He’s never been a favorite of mine before. I guess tastes change.
Although, the Gilcrease Museum here in Tulsa has a better Native American collection, the Philbrook does house some of my favorite Native American artists as well. Jerome Tiger, Woody Crumbo and Oscar Howe just to name a couple, and they have a fantastic collection of pottery and bead work.
Their modern and contemporary collection is always fascinating. One of my favorites, which I couldn’t find for the life of me this trip, is a mixed media piece by Leonardo Drew titled “148”. I couldn’t tell you why I’m drawn to it, but I am. It is this mass of wood and metal, all chaotic feeling and painted solid black. I really missed seeing it this last trip! There is always something fascinating to see there. The colors and light…modern art may be my favorite…or maybe European…wait…I can’t choose!
One of my favorite things to do this trip was to hang my own drawing on the walls of this fine institution. They had set up an opportunity for visitors to take a few minutes to sketch a picture and hang the sketchbook on the wall as you pass into the photography exhibit. It was so much fun to flip through the books and see the homegrown talent of adults and children. Some of the drawings were amazing! There was one of the Tulsa skyline that I kind of wanted to take home with me, but I did refrain. Pencils and erasers of all kinds sat in a container just waiting for the next person to come and…create. Now I can say, “Look ma! My art is in a museum!” Well at least it was that week.
American, European, Asian, Antiquities, Native American, African and Modern art all have a home here. They get in some fantastic special exhibitions as well. This time I got to explore the Hollywood portraits of George Hurell before It leaves in a few days, and I got to catch the beginning of the Remainder exhibit that features seven up and coming female sculptures. This doesn’t even include the decorative pieces like the stained glass, fountains or the gardens…oh, the gardens.
Although, you can’t take pictures inside the museum, you can certainly take pictures outside. On a nice day, I could spend all day in the gardens here. In the summer, they show movies on a screen in the garden. They have a formal and informal garden. The formal gardens are part of the original structure while the rest was conceived and added in 2004. Throughout all of it you find wonderful sculptures tucked away here and there.
Now they’ve added Philbrook Downtown in the Brady District of Downtown Tulsa. I haven’t gotten a chance to check it out yet, but it is certainly on my list of things to do! Each month they’ve done a First Friday Art Walk downtown. I had no idea the studios and galleries housed right in my own backyard! Now that fall is just around the corner, that is one activity that is quickly moving up my to-do list!
Do you have a favorite piece of art? A favorite museum? How do you choose favorites? (Everything ends up being my “favorite. It’s like I don’t really know what that means or something.)
‘Til next time,