Saint Louis Art Museum
The Saint Louis Art Museum (SLAM) houses an impressive collection of 33,000 works that spans all of human history; nearly every culture from around the world is represented. As such, the SLAM is one of the leading comprehensive museums in the country. The collection includes paintings, sculptures, photography prints, ancient artifacts, weaponry, textiles, and other forms of art. It is possible to see 3,000 (and counting) of these items on the museum's website. The museum puts on exhibitions throughout the year to complement the permanent exhibition galleries. Education and outreach are also important goals of the museum. To this end, it offers classes for people of all ages, concerts, performances, films, and lectures.
Exterior of St. Louis Art Museum
Grand Basin View of St. Louis Art Museum
The St. Louis Art Museum is located in the former Palace of Arts Building, which was used for the 1904 World's Fair. The museum contains an impressive collection that showcases almost every culture around the world.
Art Gallery in St. Louis Art Museum
Palace of Fine Arts 1904 World's Fair
Saint Louis Art Museum. gift shop. courtesy of official site.
Backstory and Context
SLAM was founded in 1879 as the St. Louis Museum of Fine Art and was part of Washington University of St. Louis. After the 1904 World's Fair, the museum moved into its current building, the former Palace of Fine Arts, which was constructed for the fair. In 1909, the museum ended its affiliation with the university and renamed itself City Art Museum. It adopted its current name in 1972 and underwent a large expansion in 2013.
The current building for St. Louis Art Museum was designed by Cass Gilbert. It was originally part of the Palace of Fine Arts, which was intended to be the only permanent building from the World's Fair. Gilbert’s design for the building was heavily inspired by the Baths of Caracalla in Rome, Italy. The brick and limestone exterior create a grand entrance, welcoming viewers to come and enjoy the collections housed by the museum.
SLAM contains over 34,000 different works spanning over 5,000 years. There are 9 main collections which include works from different areas of the world as well as a variety of art medias. The museum has work from famous artists such as Monet, Matisse, Picasso, and Van Gogh. In 2009, the museum underwent a massive construction that added over 224,000 square feet of gallery space. This expansion elevated the art museum by allowing more display space and attracting more viewers. In 2013, SLAM added an East Building, designed by David Chipperfield. In 2015, Michele Desvigne designed an outdoor sculpture garden for the museum of 20th century and modern works.
“Mission and History.” Saint Louis Art Museum, 2 Sept. 2020, https://www.slam.org/mission-history/.
“St. Louis Art Museum.” Architect, 16 Aug. 2013, https://www.architectmagazine.com/project-gallery/st-louis-art-museum.
The complete portfolio of photographs of the World's fair, St. Louis, ; the sights, scenes and wonders of the fair photographed. Chicago, The Educational company, 1904. Pdf. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/04017691/>.
Library of Congress