Today I arrived safely in Minneapolis to attend the Public Library Association's National Conference. With an afternoon to myself before obligations, I walked down to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, which is seven blocks directly south of the Minneapolis Convention Center. I then spent several hours wandering through the classically beautiful museum.
I think the strength of the MIA is the Asian collection. I was most impressed with its four traditional Asian rooms, including the 17th century Chinese reception room with its twelve paneled painted screen and a Japanese tea garden. The serenity of the rooms is very appealing. Other highlights of the Asian rooms are many elegant Japanese prints and scrolls, large horse sculptures from the Near East, and sculptures of the Hindu gods and goddesses.
As a full-purpose art museum, the MIA has rooms with Egyptian, Greek, and Roman art and artifacts. There is an entire room of Roman busts in which only one still has a nose. The museum also cover the full history of European art, including one room devoted to the Italian Renaissance. I especially liked the two paintings by Fra Angelico. Bonnie would have liked some of these paintings, particularly the one with colorful angel wings.
I did not see any item in the museum that I already knew from looking at art books (if you do not count the Monet haystack), but there were nice pieces nonetheless. Pastoral Landscape by Claude Gellée (called Le Lorrain), Fanatics of Tangier by Ferdinand-Victor-Eugène Delacroix, and Portrait of Mlle. Hortense Valpinçon by Edgar Degas were my favorites. There were numerous works by Vuillard and Corot.
In the decorative arts area were beautifully done period rooms with antique furniture and wall coverings. I really liked the dark paneling in the Queen Anne's room.
If you are ever in Minneapolis and if you enjoy art, the MIA is a must to see. It is free everyday. There is a #11 bus to the museum, so you do not have to walk as I did. Schedule about three hours, allowing time for a snack in the coffee shop.