Amon Carter Museum

Philip Johnson
1961; additions in 1964, 1977, the latter by Johnson/Burgee, which were removed to make way for the much larger addition by Johnson and Alan Ritchie, which opened in 2002. The facade and 1961 structure have remained essentially the same, with some adjustments for Texas weather.

This museum is named for Amon G. Carter, Sr. (1879-1955) whose collection of works by Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell is housed in the museum and whose foundation purchased part of the land on which the museum stands. Although this is still an early work by Philip Johnson, who with Mies was one of the originators of the "international style," it is less unadorned than "pure" works in that style. Still it uses repetition--a five-bay portico with flat arches--and a tinted glass curtain wall, here with elegant bronze mullions. Creamy native Texas shellstone is used for the exterior and parts of the interior.
Johnson created a processional entrance with granite steps in a series of landings and platforms. This entryway leads to the great portico, or loggia, in the style of many Classical and Renaissance Italian buildings.
The two-story portico is supported by tapered limestone pillars, concave on 4 surfaces, which terminate in small bases in a cross-shape. Initially, these tapered columns were controversial, described as "ballet-classicism." The main entrance leads into a two-story lobby and exhibit hall of Texas shellstone, expensive brown teak, and a pink granite floor.
The museum is sited on so-called "museum hill" looking toward the downtown skyline. This position provides a way of uniting visually the museum and the city. Ths museum is now part of the "museum district" with the Kimbell Art Museum by Louis Kahn and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth by Tadao Ando nearby.
The sunken garden on the east is aligned with the museum to city axis as are the three sculptures by Henry Moore on a single base, designed by Johnson. For additional views, see Moore's Upright Motives.

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© 2003 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.

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