Krannert Art Museum | University of Illinois Archives

Name: Krannert Art Museum

Historical Note:

The Krannert Art Museum provides a permanent exhibition and storage area for the University art collections and a setting for the display and study of works of art. As early as 1868 the Committee on Mechanical Departments reported a need for an art gallery.1 John Milton Gregory began the establishment of the art collection in 1874 when he traveled throughout Europe purchasing plaster copies of works of art for the University.2 The Art Gallery, located on the third floor of the University Hall, opened in 1875.3 It was moved to Library Hall in 1898.4 In 1908 art objects began to be distributed from the Library basement for location in other University buildings.5 In 1931 a year round program of exhibitions was developed using space in the Architecture Building for a gallery. In 1937 the Emily N. Trees '05 and Merle J. Trees '07 Collection, worth approximately $100,000, was donated to the University.6 The Spencer and Lena Ewing Collection of Balinese and East Indian Art objects was acquired in 1944.7 In 1948 the University began to build a representative collection of contemporary American art in the field of painting, sculpture, prints and drawings, and the crafts, through purchases from the biennial Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting and Sculpture. From 1957 to 1959 the University received $300,000 from the Krannert Foundation of Indianapolis to help build an art gallery in close physical relationship to the College of Fine and Applied Arts.8 The Krannert Art Museum is connected with the Fine Arts Building by a one-story, glassed-in lounge.9 In 1961, to celebrate its opening, Mrs. Krannert gave Murillo's "Christ After the Flagellation" to the Museum.10 The "Initiation" by Mirko stands at the reflecting pool near the entrance to the Museum.

An addition and remodeling begun in 1967 to provide 17,800 square feet of space for workshops, storage and galleries12 was completed in 1969.13 Among the collections housed in the Krannert Art Museum are the Trees and Ewing Collections, Lorado Taft sculptures, and the University's collection of contemporary American painting and sculpture.14

1. Board of Trustees Transactions, 2nd Report, November 18, 1868, p. 54.

2. Ibid., 8th Report, March 14, 1876, p. 172; Winton U. Solberg, The University of Illinois - 1867-1894, (Urbana, 1968), p. 171.

3. Board of Trustees Transactions, 7th Report, March 10, 1874, p. 92; Solberg, p. 172.

4. Board of Trustees Transactions, 19th Report, September 21, 1897, p. 193.

5. Ibid., 24th Report, June 20, 1908, p. 498.

6. Ibid., 39th Report, December 3, 1937, pp. 587-89.

7. Ibid., 42nd Report, January 26, 1944, p. 840.

8. Ibid., 49th Report, September 19, 1957, p. 897.

9. Allen S. Weller, 100 Years of Campus Architecture; at the University of Illinois, (Urbana, 1968), p. 30.

10. Board of Trustees Transactions, 50th Report, June 14, 1960, p. 1324.

11. Weller, p. 30.

12. Board of Trustees Transactions, 54th Report, September 20, 1967, p. 700.

13. Ibid., 55th Report, September 18, 1968, p. 61.

14. Ibid., 49th Report, September 19, 1957, p. 898.

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