The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center/Vassar College
124 Raymond Avenue
Poughkeepsie, NY 12604
Open: Sunday 1:00pm-5:00pm/Monday Closed/Tuesday-Saturday 10:00am-5:00pm
Visiting The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center is a wonderful afternoon out. Its best to park in the North Campus parking lot. You can walk the campus on a nice day down to the museum and enjoy the campus architecture. The campus is straight out of an Ivy League handbook. The museum is located by the front gate of the campus, and you can tour the whole museum in about two hours comfortably.
The entrance to the Frances Loeb Art Museum at 124 Raymond Avenue
Take time to walk the Art Garden next to it and they have a really nice little downtown off North Campus to wonder around the restaurants and shops. See my review of Pizzeria Bacio Ristorante at 7 Collegeview Avenue near North Campus. The food is excellent!
The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center opened in 1864 as the Vassar College Art Gallery. The founding members of the college’s Board of Trustees understand art to be an integral part of the academic experience. Vassar therefor became the first college or university in the United States to include an art museum as part of its original plan. Since its inception, the museum has remained a significant part of the Vassar experience.
The entrance to the museum at night
The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center is a cultural destination both for the Vassar College community and for visitors from the region and around the world who are attracted by the breadth and quality of the art on view. It is unique to the region in its combination of stellar temporary exhibitions and an ongoing installation of the permanent collection that features art through the ages, from ancient Egypt to the present.
Ancient Art gallery
The collection began with an initial gift from Matthew Vassar of 3,800 works of art, including an important group of Hudson River School paintings and British watercolors. Today, the Art Center’s collection has grown to over 18,000 works of art that span antiquity to the present. Notable holdings include the Warburg Collection of Old Master prints and a wide range of works by major European and American twentieth-century painters, including Georgia O’Keeffe, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Joan Miro, Mark Rothko and Andy Warhol.
I went to the museum recently before the closing of the “Beyond the Threshold: Tibetan Contemporary Art” and “Mastery and Merit: Art from the Jack Shear Collection” and got to view the galleries before they closed for the evening. Admittingly I am no expert of Buddhist art, but the Jack Shear collection gave you a perspective on the religion. The art portrayed Buddha in many forms as Divine.
Buddha the Divine from the Jack Shear Collection
The contemporary works were very interesting as it delved into what modern Tibetans all over the world see in the form of current happenings, playing off other famous works of art (such as the modern version of the Mona Lisa) and a contemporary take on the Buddha.
The modern take on Buddha from a contemporary perspective
The Art Center is housed in a building designed by Cesar Pelli and completed in 1993. The Hildegarde Krause Baker, class of 1911, Sculpture Garden includes works by Frank Stella, Gaston Lachaise and Anthony Caro, among others.
There are tours for School Groups, Adult Groups, Individuals and Self-Guided for individuals. Please call the museum for more information on this. They also offer a Late-Night Program, where the museum stays open on Thursdays from 5:00pm-9:00pm. There are creative happens every week.
You can also join as a member and there are opportunities to volunteer at the museum. To learn more about both of these, please call (845) 437-5237.
The modern gallery
Disclaimer: This information about the museum came from the museum pamphlets. Please call the above numbers for more information or email them. It is a great afternoon out to just tour the museum and then walk around the campus on a nice day. Don’t miss the Andy Warhol exhibition before it closes.