17 May 2012

McNay Art Museum

When we arrived in San Antonio, rain was pouring down -- so we first went to the McNay Art Museum. I had been here once before, researching for a local museum project -- Marion Koogler McNay grew up 3 blocks from where we live and her family's wealth came from the El Dorado oil boom.

Sadly, I found that much of the original interiors of the 1920 home have now been covered up to enable them to display more art. The house itself was as much a piece of art as the collection. The 24-room Spanish Colonial Revival house and it's interior open-air patio are filled with beautiful handmade tiles, stenciled ceiling beams,  and woodwork. Now only the entry way is left as it was, with twin tiled stairs curving up to the second floor -- my favorite spot is to sit in the deep window seats on the upper landing and look out on the patio.

McNay collected 19th and 20th C. art, as well as Southwest art. When she died, she left her home and collection to the city of San Antonio as a modern art museum. My favorite El Greco had been moved upstairs; the Van Gogh and a favorite Georgia O'Keefe were off exhibit. But there was still plenty of great art to view, along with some I don't particularly like (like Picasso).

Bill doesn't like modern art at all but he did like this piece by Edward Hopper and several by Carl Rice Embrey. I bought a small book of postcards featuring other Edward Hopper paintings.


  1. Love your drawings. It's a shame they had to go and mess with the house. No one appreciates age in this country. I saw an Edward Hopper exhibit in SO CAL years ago and really enjoyed his work.

  2. In her last years, knowing she would donate her home for an art museum, Marion acknowledged that the large number of windows left very little wall space for art to hang on. But it still saddens me that they made it into "just another institutional building" inside, along with the huge modern-looking building added to the property.

    And lucky you, to have seen an Edward Hopper exhibit in person! The McNay has only one of his works and it's an oil painting. I'd LOVE to see his watercolors!


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