This terrific museum covers Colorado's most illustrious artist, Vance Kirkland (1904-81), in grand fashion, while also presenting a world-class collection of decorative arts. Kirkland was a watercolor painter focused on Western landscapes when he started experimenting, combining oils and watercolors on one canvas. The Denver arts establishment discounted his modern ideas, but Kirkland later won accolades for creating his own artistic universe in his stunning paintings, about 60 of which are on display here. First built in 1911, his preserved brick studio has an unusual harness he used for painting on flat canvases facedown (dating from his "dot" period). The museum's decorative-arts collection, located here and in a separate gallery across the street, includes more than 3,300 pieces ranging from teacups to armchairs, and there are also more than 700 works by notable Colorado artists other than Kirkland.
- © Frommer's 2013
- Highly Recommended 2010