Best Place to See the Art of Colorado's Past - 2011
Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art
1311 Pearl St.
Denver, CO 80203
When Vance Kirkland, Denver's premier mid-century modernist painter, died in 1981, he left his estate of magnificent watercolors and paintings to Hugh Grant — the artist's longtime friend who is decidedly not the well-known actor with the same name. In the late 1990s, Grant decided to share the collection with the public, a decision that resulted in the founding of the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art several years later. But Grant didn't stop with showing all those Kirklands; he also began to acquire work by other artists from Colorado's glorious past. Today it's almost impossible to list the scores of local art stars represented in the Kirkland's impressive collection; there are pieces by William Sanderson, Edward Marecak, Nadine Drummond, Gene Matthews and Roland Detre, to name just a few. The Kirkland also has genuine depth in Colorado ceramics, with many works by the likes of Betty Woodman and Nan and Jim McKinnell, among a host of others. Since most Denver institutions long ago abrogated their responsibility to the art of our state, it's great to see the Kirkland so ably filling the breach.