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The Kimbell Art Museum started as the private art collection of Kay and Velma Kimbell. The museum was opened in 1972. Since then it has grown to around 350 pieces of high quality artwork. The museum is internationally renowned for both its collections and for its architecture.

  • View inside the Kimbell Art Museum
  • View of the Kimbell Art Museum

Kay and Velma Kimbell established the Kimbell Art Foundation to support their growing art collection in 1936. Their art collection consisted of mostly British and French portraits from the seventeen-hundreds and the eighteen-hundreds. The foundations goal was to encourage art in the local community. One way the foundation accomplished this was by loaning the art work to churches, libraries, and universities. In 1964 Kay Kimbell passed away and left his fortune and collection, which had grown to 260 paintings and 86 other works of art, to the Kimbell Art Foundation.

In 1965 Richard F. Brown, under leadership of the President of the Kimbell Art Foundation, Mr. A. L. Scott, and in consultation with the nine-member Board of Directors of the Foundation, began the development of the Kimbell Art museum. The architect chosen to design the museum was Louis Kahn. The Kimbell Art Museum was opened in October 1972, and the total cost of the Kahn Building was $6.5 million.

                In 2010 the exhibition and education programs had out grown the Kahn Building, and plans for an addition building were made. Renzo Piano designed the second building, which was called the Piano Pavilion. It was opened on November 27th, 2013. The permanent collections are displayed in the Kahn Building, and the Piano Pavilion contains exhibitions, classrooms, and studios.