Honolulu Museum of Art
art museum in Honolulu, Hawaii



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Honolulu Museum of Art
art museum in Honolulu, Hawaii
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900 S Beretania Street
Honolulu, Hawaii
United States

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Amateurs start Hawaii's Honolulu Museum of Art

In 1927 Anna Rice Cooke opened the Honolulu Academy of Arts to give Hawaii’s ethnically diverse keiki (children) a place to see their various cultures visually represented. An extremely generous woman, Anna used her personal art collection, family land (tearing down her house in the process), and $25,000 to start the project. Without any formal training or education she and some female family members meticulously catalogued the family art to start the original 500 piece collection which has since grown to over 50,000 pieces. In short, she was awesome.

Architect Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue died of a nerve condition nicknamed 'Americanitis' (nothing to do with an excess of freedom or guns) three years before the museum’s completion. The design combines his signature Spanish style and Hawaiian architecture with a series of simple and elegant open-aired courtyards, white walls, and a tiled roof. He also designed El Fureidis which was used for the outside shots of Tony Montana’s house in 1983s Scarface.

The word 'academy' was dropped and the name was changed to the Honolulu Museum of Art in 2012 after it was discovered that only 13% of tourists recognized the building as a museum and not a school. A recent merger with the Contemporary Museum (known as The Spalding House) also may have impacted the decision.

Located across a park from the Honolulu Museum of Art School and the Blaisdell Concert Hall (home of the Honolulu Opera and my favorite farmer’s market) the museum is an architectural and cultural oasis in a city where rapid growth has led to a lot of ugly buildings. It boasts a theatre, huge collection of Asian art, and the orientation center for Doris Duke’s estate Shangri La (tobacco heiress with a penchant for Islamic art). Access to the museum library, café, gift shop, and gardens are on the house. A purchased ticket will gain you same day admission to the Contemporary Museum or you can get into both for free on the 3rd Sunday and first Wednesday of every month.

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Honolulu Museum of Art

The Honolulu Museum of Art (formerly the Honolulu Academy of Arts) is an art museum in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. The museum is largest of its kind in the state, and was founded in 1922 by Anna Rice Cooke. The museum has one of the largest single collections of Asian and Pan-Pacific art in the United States, and since its official opening on April 8, 1927, its collections have grown to more than 50,000 works of art.


The Honolulu Museum of Art was called “the finest small museum in the United Statesˮ by J. Carter Brown, director of the National Gallery of Art from 1969 to 1992. It presents international caliber special exhibitions and features a collection that includes Hokusai, van Gogh, Gauguin, Monet, Picasso and Warhol, as well as traditional Asian and Hawaiian art. In 2011, The Contemporary Museum gifted its assets and collection to the Honolulu Academy of Arts; in 2012, the combined museum changed its name to the Honolulu Museum of Art.

The museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and is registered as a National and State Historical site. In 1990, the Honolulu Museum of Art School was opened to expand the program of studio art classes and workshops. In 2001, the Henry R. Luce Pavilion Complex opened with the Honolulu Museum of Art Café, Museum Shop, and Henry R. Luce Wing with 8,000 square feet (740 m2) of gallery space.

Collections and holdings

The Honolulu Museum of Art has a large collection of Asian art, especially Japanese and Chinese works. Major collections include the Samuel H. Kress collection of Italian Renaissance paintings, American and European paintings and decorative arts, art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, textiles, contemporary art, and a graphics collection of over 23,000 works on paper. Other collections include the James A. Michener collection of ukiyo-e prints and the Hawaiian art collection, which chronicles the history of art in Hawaiʻi.

The Department of European and American Art has paintings by Josef Albers, Francis Bacon, Edward Mitchell Bannister, Romare Bearden, Jean-Baptiste Belin, Bernardino di Betti (called Pinturicchio), Abraham van Beyeren, Albert Bierstadt, Carlo Bonavia, Pierre Bonnard, François Boucher, Aelbrecht Bouts, Georges Braque, Mary Cassatt, Paul Cézanne, Giorgio de Chirico, Frederic Edwin Church, Jacopo di Cione, Edwaert Colyer, John Singleton Copley, Piero di Cosimo, Gustave Courbet, Carlo Crivelli, Jasper Francis Cropsey, Henri-Edmond Cross, Stuart Davis, Edgar Degas, Eugène Delacroix, Robert Delaunay, Richard Diebenkorn, Arthur Dove, Thomas Eakins, Henri Fantin-Latour, Helen Frankenthaler, Bartolo di Fredi, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Jan van Goyen, Francesco Granacci, Childe Hassam, Hans Hofmann, Pieter de Hooch, Adélaïde Labille-Guiard, Philip Guston, William Harnett, George Inness, Alex Katz, Paul Klee, Nicolas de Largillière, Sir Thomas Lawrence, Fernand Léger, Morris Louis, Maximilien Luce, Alessandro Magnasco, Robert Mangold, the Master of 1518, Henri Matisse, Pierre Mignard, Amedeo Modigliani, Claude Monet, Thomas Moran, Giovanni Battista Moroni, Grandma Moses, Robert Motherwell, Alice Neel, Kenneth Noland, Georgia O'Keeffe, Amédée Ozenfant, Charles Willson Peale, James Peale, Pablo Picasso, Camille Pissarro, Fairfield Porter, Robert Priseman, Robert Rauschenberg, Odilon Redon, Diego Rivera, George Romney, Francesco de' Rossi (called Il Salviati), Carlo Saraceni, John Singer Sargent, Gino Severini, Frank Stella, Gilbert Stuart, Thomas Sully, Yves Tanguy, Jan Philips van Thielen, Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, Bartolomeo Vivarini, Maurice de Vlaminck, William Guy Wall and James McNeill Whistler.

The collection also includes three-dimensional works by Alexander Archipenko, Robert Arneson, Leonard Baskin, Lee Bontecou, Émile Antoine Bourdelle, Alexander Calder, Dale Chihuly, John Talbott Donoghue, Jacob Epstein, David Hockney, Donald Judd, Jun Kaneko, Gaston Lachaise, Wilhelm Lehmbruck, Roy Lichtenstein, Jacques Lipschitz, Aristide Maillol, John McCracken, Claude Michel (called Clodion), Henry Moore, Elie Nadelman, George Nakashima, Louise Nevelson, Isamu Noguchi, Hiram Powers, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, George Rickey, Auguste Rodin, James Rosati, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Lucas Samaras, George Segal, David Smith, Mark di Suvero, Tom Wesselmann and Jack Zajac. The permanent collection is presented in 32 galleries and six courtyards.


The Honolulu Museum of Art occupies 3.2 acres (13,000 m2) near downtown Honolulu. The museum is open to the public Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is free to members, children and for some events, but otherwise a fee is charged. Some events and certain days offer free admission to all. Guided tours are offered several times daily. Tours in the Japanese language, for the hearing impaired and specialty group tours for 10 or more are also available.


The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from Tuesday to Sunday. Closed on Monday.

Honolulu Museum of Art Spalding House

The museum's second location, Spalding House (formerly The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu), is located in Makiki Heights and includes galleries, a café, and a sculpture garden. On permanent view is David Hockney's installation "L'enfant et les sortilèges," the artist's interpretation of his original stage designs for the 1981 Metropolitan Opera production.

Doris Duke Theatre

The Doris Duke Theatre at the museum seats 280. It hosts movies, concerts, lectures, and presentations. The theatre is also home to Hawaii's GLBT film festival the Rainbow Film Festival. It is currently run by Theatre Manager, Taylour Chang.

Robert Allerton Art Library

In 1927, the Research Library opened with 500 books. In 1955, it was expanded and named for Robert Allerton. The collection includes 45,000 books and periodicals, biographical files on artists, and auction catalogues dating to the beginning of the 20th century. The museum has over 8,000 woodblock prints, many of which were gifts from James A. Michener. More than 2,000 Japanese ukiyo-e prints are digitized and available for viewing online. The library is a non-circulating research facility. The library reading room is open on Wednesdays.

Honolulu Museum of Art School

Arts education is another facet of the museum. The Honolulu Museum of Art School (formerly the Academy Art Center at Linekona) offers studio art classes and workshops, and hosts exhibitions showcasing the island's folk and contemporary artists. The school offers arts education programs for children with special needs and public school students and maintains a lending collection for educators, students, and community groups.

Shangri La: Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art

Doris Duke (1912–1993) built Shangri La with the help of American architect Marion Sims Wyeth. Duke's collection of Islamic art was assembled over 60 years.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Honolulu Museum of Art.