Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art: Norman, OK

Hey friend! Welcome to another post! Today, we are looking at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art in Norman, Oklahoma. This is a really cool art museum located on the campus of the University of Oklahoma (OU). There is over 40,000 square feet of exhibition space that features artworks from around the world!

TRAVEL TIP: Admission to the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art is FREE!

* All images were taken inside or outside of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art in Norman, Oklahoma.

Museum History

The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art has an interesting history. The collection began as the University of Oklahoma Museum of Art in 1936. Oscar Jacobson was the first director of the museum and the collection was first housed in Jacobson Hall. A permanent facility was built in 1971 with generous contributions by Mr. and Mrs. Fred Jones who wanted to honor their late son’s legacy. Fred Jones Jr. had been killed in a plane crash during his final year at the University of Oklahoma. The Museum would be christened the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art in 1992.

New collections have been acquired throughout the years as the museum has expanded. The collection contains pieces from around the world! The Lester Wing was added to the museum in 2005 to display more pieces as they were acquired. The Stuart Wing opened in October 2011 for the same purpose.

Collections

The collection at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art contains over 20,000 pieces ranging in date from the 16th century to present. The artists are from around the world! The collections at the museum are broken into 6 broad categories: Featured Collections, European Art, Art of the Americas, Asian Art, Contemporary Art, and Photography. Each broad category has several categories within, so, I recommend checking out their website HERE for more information. There’s also an option to take a virtual tour of the museum if you are interested!

Exhibitions

When I visited the museum in December 2021, the following exhibitions were on display:

  • A Life in Looking
  • Patrick Nagatani: Nuclear Enchantment
  • Weitzenhoffer French Impressionism Collection
  • Reinstallation of the Permanent Collection
  • Eugene B. Adkins Collection
  • Art Since 1960
  • Icons from the McGhee Collection

The Museum Mission Statement is as follows: “Through its growing collections, diverse exhibitions, and programs, the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art creates opportunities for the University family, the people of Oklahoma, and our national and international audiences to derive knowledge, understanding, and enjoyment from the visual arts.”

My Favorite Pieces

My favorite collection was the Aaron M. and Clara Weitzenhoffer Collection. This is one of the largest collections of French Impressionism that has been given to a public university. There were 22 paintings and 11 works on paper in the collection donated by Clara Weitzenhoffer. This collection contains works from Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Vincent Van Gogh, and many more. I admire the work of the four previously named artists and was very happy to see their works on display in Oklahoma (of all places)!

My favorite piece in this museum was Edgar Degas’ “Dancer at the Bar (Danseuse à la barre), c. 1885.” I have always loved the work of Degas, especially his series on the dancers.

Claude Monet’s “Riverbank at Lavacourt (La Berge à Lavacourt), 1879″ was a landscape piece that I liked. The colors in this piece are so peaceful!

There were 2 Pierre-Auguste Renoir painting that I liked as well: “Chrysanthemums, n.d.” and “Les Roses, 1878.” I have always loved flower paintings and really like the colors chosen for the two pieces below.

Vincent Van Gogh’s “Portrait of Alexander Reid, c. 1887″ is also on display. It is done in typical Van Gogh style and I think it’s really cool that it is on display in Oklahoma.

I also liked the portrait of Sitting Bull created by Andy Warhol! I had done a little bit of research about the museum before visiting, but I didn’t run across the Warhol piece until I was walking through the galleries – it was a pleasant surprise.

This museum also had a Frederic Remington piece! For more information on Remington pieces, please see my posts about The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum or the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art.

There was also a miniature replica of the Pioneer Woman statue on display. The large version of this statue is located in Ponca City in front of the Pioneer Woman Museum.

Concluding Thoughts

This was a really cool art museum to visit! I was pleasantly surprised with how many big name European artists they had on display. I also loved the display of art from North American artists and Indigenous peoples. Also, the museum security guards and front desk staff were exceptionally polite and very knowledgable! I hope you’ll go visit this museum in Norman!

Happy Traveling! I’ll talk to ya soon! 🙂

Sources

Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art – Website

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