History of this San Diego Museum of Art
The museum began to form in 1951 when Walter Ames helped the Putnam sisters to form the nonprofit Putnam Foundation to own and manage their art collection. The sisters were fans and contributors to the San Diego Museum of Art during its early years and wanted to enhance the art community in San Diego. They began by loaning their collection out to museums across the country and then opened their own museum in 1965. The Putnam Foundation Collection provided the Timken Museum of Art in San Diego its initial material, and Walter Ames became its first director.
Art at the Timken Museum
The museum displays European old master paintings, tapestries, and sculptures under natural lighting to really make the works pop. Along with these European collections sits holdings from collections of American paintings and Russian icons.
Through the management of the museum and acquisitions, the museum has expanded its collection from 40 to 60 major works since its founding. Some of these include original works by American (Copley, West, Johnson, Cole and Bierstadt), Italian (Savoldo, Guercino, and Veronese), Spanish (Murillo), and French masters (Clouet, Boucher, Claude, David, Corot).
In 2015, in honor of the Timken Museum of Art’s 50th anniversary, the Timken acquired a Zubaran ¾ portrait of St. Francis in mediation. Finally, The Timken Museum of Art is the only museum of art in San Diego with a Rembrandt in its permanent collection. Along with their famous Rembrandt, here is a list of their biggest additions to the collection:
- Cho-looke, the Yosemite Fall by Albert Bierstadt, 1864
- Portrait of Marguerite de Sève, Wife of Barthélemy-Jean-Claude Pupil by Nicolas de Largillière, 1729
- Portrait of Barthélemy-Jean-Claude Pupil by Nicolas de Largillière, 1729
- Jacob van Ruisdael, A View of Haarlem and Bleaching Fields, ca. 1665-1670
- A Girl Receiving a Letter by Gabriel Metsu, ca. 1658
- The Return of the Prodigal Son by Guercino, 1654-1655
- Landscape with the Parable of the Sower by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1557
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Visit the Timken Museum of Art
Address: 1500 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: (619) 239-5548