The McNay Museum

San Antonio Travel Blog

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The McNay Museum is much like the Frick House of NYC, the Phil Brook of Tulsa or the Dixon Gallery in Memphis. The building was originally a home to an aspiring local family with great wealth and artistic taste. And like the others the home and its grounds were transformed into a museum so that the public may enjoy what was the family's vast art collection.

I love these kinds of museums. In some ways they are so much more interesting to visit. Not only are you looking at some wonderfully displayed pieces of art, but you are also walking through what was once an active home where in every corner there could be a story. These former homes have details in the architecture and little nooks to discover that the larger museums, like the MET or MOMA, will simply lack.
The Met was built to be the Met. To house an impressive collection of art and to impress visitors with its magnitude. The McNay house was first build to be the McNay's home and its preservation is just as important as the artwork hanging on its walls.

When we visited the McNay house there was an amazing exhibit of photography. The Title of the show was 'TruthBeauty: Pictorialism and the Photograph as Art 1845-1945'. The exhibited displayed photographs from its earliest years and followed the progress of how early photographers used this new technology to push the boundaries of art. It was a very impressive exhibit and if it is still hanging I highly recommend that you check it out!!! How often does one get the opportunity to view photographs from the pre civil war era in person!?!

In the rest of the Mansion was displayed the McNay's collection as well as acquisitions made over the years.
The house was beautiful!! as was the artwork! The collection was mostly made up of, but not limited too, modern art. There were galleries upstairs presenting works of art from Mrs McNay's personal watercolors, Medieval Christian Art, and folk arts from Mexican and Native American communities.

Downstairs there were works by well known artists such as Picasso, O'Keefe and Rivera, but you will also find plenty of works from artists you knew nothing about and many of them are local to Texas or the South Western region. Also downstairs is a gorgeous courtyard! Sculpture, water fountain, lovely benches and playfully beautiful tiles incased within the walls and along the steps. I could have spent hours relaxing in this little outdoor nook if there was the time... FYI boys its the perfect setting to sit with a love one and whisper sweet nothings! :P

outside the museum and around the grounds are pieces of large outdoor sculpture and during our visit we could see that the grounds was a local favorite for wedding or quinceanera photos..

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Lance Letsher - Funny hat
Lance Letsher - Funny hat
Charles Umlauf - Reclining figure
Charles Umlauf - Reclining figure
Roger White - Encinal
Roger White - Encinal
Georgia OKeefe
Georgia O'Keefe
Diego Rivera - Delfina Flores (I l…
Diego Rivera - Delfina Flores (I …
Arthur Dove - Dawn III
Arthur Dove - Dawn III
Jean Dubuffet
Jean Dubuffet
Marie Elena Viera da Silva - Azule…
Marie Elena Viera da Silva - Azul…
Picasso - Portrait of Sylvette
Picasso - Portrait of Sylvette
Modigliano!!!! - Girl with blue ey…
Modigliano!!!! - Girl with blue e…
Jacob Epstein - Helene (gorgeous!!)
Jacob Epstein - Helene (gorgeous!!)
Gustave Caillebotte (?)
Gustave Caillebotte (?)
Beautiful tiles in secret nooks!
Beautiful tiles in secret nooks!
Leon Bakst - Sercets of the Harem
Leon Bakst - Sercets of the Harem
Eugene Boudin - Trouville
Eugene Boudin - Trouville
Pissarro - Haymakers Resting (This…
Pissarro - Haymakers Resting (Thi…
Rousseau - Elephant Hunt (not my f…
Rousseau - Elephant Hunt (not my …
Courtyard
Courtyard
TILES!!  so many colors and patter…
TILES!! so many colors and patte…
Koi fountain...
Koi fountain...
Medieval art galleries
Medieval art galleries
Medieval stain glass
Medieval stain glass
Alvise Vivarini - St Bonaventure (…
Alvise Vivarini - St Bonaventure …
Master of Frankfurt - St Barbara
Master of Frankfurt - St Barbara
Master of Frankfurt - St Catherine
Master of Frankfurt - St Catherine
Medieval sculptures
Medieval sculptures
Agony in the garden
Agony in the garden
St Martin and the Begger
St Martin and the Begger
Marion McNays Watercolors
Marion McNay's Watercolors
Marion McNays Watercolors
Marion McNay's Watercolors
Native American art objects
Native American art objects
Maria Martinez - Pueblo Pottery Ar…
Maria Martinez - Pueblo Pottery A…
Ceiling detail..
Ceiling detail..
Costume sketches
Costume sketches
Images of scenes from the Sneguroc…
Images of scenes from the Sneguro…
Theatre costumes
Theatre costumes