Photo Essay: The New Kirkland, a Major Addition to Denver's Museum Landscape

The compact Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art moves to an expansive new space in the Golden Triangle, transforming itself into a cultural powerhouse.
The Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art has long been an overlooked gem, housing its vast collection of art and objects in a small building on a quiet street in Denver's Capitol Hill. That should change with its move this month to larger quarters at 12th and Bannock streets, just a few blocks from the Denver Art Museum, the Clyfford Still Museum and the History Colorado Center. 

Here's a look at the new building.

The Kirkland has three major collections pulled together under one roof: international decorative art, Colorado and regional art and works by the late Colorado abstract expressionist painter Vance Kirkland. All photos by Daniel Tseng.

The Kirkland has tens of thousands of objects, many from the golden ages of design. Its art deco collection of household objects is especially impressive.

Architect Jim Olson, founding principal of Seattle-based Olson Kundig, designed the new museum. The project cost just under $30 million.

The new museum has about 65 percent more display space than the previous location. The objects, though, are still arranged in the Kirkland's signature "salon" style, with multiple paintings on each wall. All photos by Daniel Tseng.

The move included bringing Vance Kirkland's original studio along for the ride. Kirkland famously draped himself over his paintings as he worked, using straps hung from the ceiling. All photos by Daniel Tseng.

An important part of the Kirkland's mission involves bringing recognition to Colorado artists.

The Kirkland Museum originally opened in 2003, but its collection continued to expand and it quickly out grew its location. The cost of the move was covered by the Merle Chambers Fund.

The museum's holding include various decorative art from about 1875 to about 1990, with examples of every major design period from Arts & Crafts to Postmodern.

Vance Kirkland (1904–1981) was known for his "drip" paintings though he worked in various styles during his career. All photos by Daniel Tseng.
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