A tour of LACMA offers a comprehensive survey of the history of art throughout the world. The museum has more than 100,000 objects that represent many cultures, dating from prehistoric to modern and contemporary periods. Ancient art treasures encompass pre-Columbian finds as well as the largest Islamic art collection in the western United States.
Decorative arts, which include European and American pieces from medieval times to the present, are exhibited alongside paintings and sculpture from the same period. The museum also has a superb collection of costumes and textiles. A program of world-class traveling exhibitions complements the permanent collection.
The collection of paintings traces the history of American art from the 1700s to the 1940s. Dating from the Colonial period are John Singleton Copley’s Portrait of a Lady (1771) and Benjamin West’s Cymon and Iphigenia (1773). In the mid-1800s American artists such as Edwin Church (1826 –1900), Winslow Homer (1836 –1910), and Thomas Moran (1837–1926) turned from portrait painting and Classical subjects to landscapes of the New World. Notable Impressionist works include Mary Cassatt’s Mother about to Wash Her Sleepy Child and Childe Hassam’s Avenue of the Allies (1918).
Flower Day by Diego Rivera forms part of the Latin American collection. Decorative arts range from Chippendale and Federal-style furniture to lamps by Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848–1933).
European Painting, Sculpture, And Decorative Arts
The collection of European works of art spans the 12th to early 20th centuries, beginning with medieval religious objects. Fine portraits by Lucas Cranach (1472–1553) and Hans Holbein (1497–1543) represent the Northern Renaissance.
Religious paintings by Fra Bartolommeo (1472–1517) and Titian (c.1490–1576) date from the Italian Renaissance. One of the European collection’s strengths is its 17thcentury Dutch and Flemish canvases. Rembrandt’s The Raising of Lazarus (c.1630) and Anthony Van Dyck’s Andromeda Chained to the Rock (1637– 8) are among the highlights. Works displayed from the French and Italian schools include Georges de la Tour’s Magdalen with the Smoking Flame, painted around 1640, and Guido Reni’s Portrait of Cardinal Roberto Ubaldino, which dates from before 1625. The French collections from the 18th and 19th centuries are
also impressive, with works by Eugène Delacroix (1798–1863) and Camille Corot (1796–1875). The sculpture collection concentrates mostly on 19th-century French artists, with more than 40 works by Auguste Rodin (1840–1917).
Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works are hung in the Hammer Building. Two of the highlights are In the Woods at Giverny by Claude Monet and Edgar Degas’ The Bellelli Sisters (1862–4). Others include paintings by Pierre Auguste
Renoir (1841–1919), Vincent Van Gogh (1853–90), and Paul Cézanne (1839–1906).
Among the finest decorative arts pieces are a Venetian enameled and gilded blue glass ewer, dating from about 1500, and a mid-16th-century Limoges plaque that depicts Psyche and Cupid.