6 Virtual Museum Experiences You Can View from Home
It’s no time to get into mischief, even if you are reposing at home, social distancing from others, or simply looking for some escapism. Instead, be sure to check out these six museums offering virtual tours from your couch.
Grab your favorite blanket, take a break from binge-watching another season of The Office on Netflix, and check out some of these amazing collections from around the globe!
#1. Guggenheim Museum
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is renowned for its collection of 19th to 21st century art as well as for the expanding spirals of its awe-inspiring Frank Lloyd Wright-designed building. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation established the museum in 1939 as the Museum of Non-Objective Painting. The museum adopted its current name after the death of its founder, Solomon R. Guggenheim, in 1952.
The wealthy industrialist Solomon R. Guggenheim began collecting non-objective art in 1929 at the age of 66. Non-objective art is a type of abstract art in which artists aren’t concerned with portraying recognizable objects from reality. Instead, they work with elements of composition to show geometric forms, often using bright colors and crisp edges. Guggenheim was counseled by Hilla von Rebay, an artist, theorist, and tireless advocate for this artistic style. Rebay became Guggenheim’s personal curator and the first director of the museum.
Today the museum is the permanent home of an ever-expanding collection of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, early Modern, and contemporary art, and also features special exhibitions throughout the year. Picasso, Marc, Mondrian, Koons, and Beckmann are only a few of the featured works held here.
The museum’s Max Beckmann collection includes a self-portrait and a painting of a Paris house party. The house party shows people drinking and conversing, without the social distancing that we use today, but the painting is a good reminder that we should enjoy the good times when we can. The painting would look good on any wall and display well at your next virtual party!
#2. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH)
Located in the heart of Texas’ largest city, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is a dynamic cultural complex.
With its encyclopedic collection, an exciting schedule of exhibitions, and award-winning programs, MFAH is one of the premier destinations for art lovers in the United States. The MFAH’s permanent collection totals 63,718 pieces in 300,000 square feet of exhibition space.
You should definitely visit MFAH in person, but if that’s not practical, check out the virtual tour. And while taking some time off, cuddling with your pets, be sure to enjoy the art of Swiss artist Félix Vallotton that is housed at MFAH. We thought you would like this woodcut by Vallotton titled Laziness.
#3. The Baltimore Museum of Art
The Baltimore Museum of Art has an impressive collection of 20th century art that features major examples of Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism, Conceptual Art, and Pop Art. It also has one of the largest collections in the U.S. of late works by Andy Warhol.
The museum houses the wonderful, internationally-renowned Cone Collection, which is a set of paintings and other art objects that Baltimore sisters Claribel and Etta Cone collected in the early 1900s. After visiting the Paris studios of Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, the sisters began collecting art that they displayed in their Baltimore apartments. They later gave much of their collection to the museum, including 500 Matisse works as well as masterpieces by Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, and Vincent van Gogh.
Devoted to the art of our time, the Museum continues to expand its contemporary art collection. And in 2020, they are leading the way for the Year of the Woman by buying works from women only. In addition to new works, they have an extensive Mary Cassatt collection.
The Baltimore Museum of Art also has some Félix Vallotton works, including this woodcut print of Baltimore author Edgar Allan Poe. If you can’t visit the museum, it’s okay to stay home and relax. Slow down, listen to some music, look at art, and read some Edgar Allan Poe poetry.
#4. National Gallery, London
The National Gallery in London houses the country’s collection of Western European paintings from the 13th–19th centuries.
The museum got its start in 1824 when the British government bought 38 paintings from the heirs of John Julius Angerstein, a London businessman and patron of the fine arts.
Its collection belongs to the British government on behalf of the British public, and entry to the main collection is free of charge. It is among the most visited art museums in the world, after the Louvre, the British Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The museum has a large collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings, including works by Van Gogh. Now might be a good time to send yourself or someone you know a painting of flowers!
#5. J. Paul Getty Museum
The Getty’s permanent collection includes Asian, European, and American photographs along with European paintings, sculptures, and drawings dating from the 8th–21st century.
John Paul Getty, the American industrialist and billionaire who founded Getty Oil Company, was an avid art collector. His collection formed the basis of the J. Paul Getty Museum. He left more than $661 million of his estate to the museum upon his death.
Getty first began collecting in the late 1930s, when he took inspiration from the collection of 18th-century French paintings and furniture owned by the landlord of his New York City penthouse, Amy Guest, a relation of Sir Winston Churchill. A fan of 18th-century France, Getty began buying furniture from the period at reduced prices because of the depressed art market due to the Great Depression. Although he was infamously frugal, by the time of his death, he owned more than 600 items valued at more than $4 million, including paintings by Rubens, Titian, Gainsborough, Renoir, Tintoretto, Degas, and Monet.
We will never be as rich as Getty, but we can still enjoy art, whether at the museum or from home, online. Now is a good time to stay home, read books, study, look at art, and play music.
#6. National Gallery of Australia
The National Gallery of Australia is the national museum for the country of Australia. Located in Canberra, the opening of the museum in 1982 concluded a planning, design and construction period of fourteen years. One of the largest art museums in Australia, The National Gallery holds more than 166,000 works of art. Admission to the museum is free.
The collection of the National Gallery of Australia includes Australian art, Melanesia and Polynesia art, Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, European art, Eastern and Western art, Modern art, abstract art, photography, and sculpture. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art collection comprises over 7500 works and is the largest in the world.
The collection of abstract art includes this beautiful work by Australian artist and modernist painter, Grace Crowley. Born in 1890 in Barraba, New South Wales, Crowley went on to create a body of work comprising 25 paintings and 12 drawings. She died in Manly, New South Wales in 1979 at the age of 89. The bright colors and curving lines of her abstract paintings both excite and calm us in a way that only art can do.