Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Curtain Rises on a Reinvented Westmoreland Museum of American Art

The museum premieres with a new visual facade, expanded space and lots more to see, including bright new stars in the collection.




a side-by-side aerial comparison of teh former westmoreland museum of American art (left) and a rendering of the renovated and expanded building (right)

 

There are no second acts in American lives, wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald, but in the life of an American art museum with a mission that is all American, all the time, the phrase may be fallacy.

Closed for the past two years for a multimillion-dollar expansion and renovation, The Westmoreland Museum of American Art has thrown open its doors — new glass ones — to invite visitors inside for a second major act. What’s more, new stars — as in major works of art — have joined the cast. 

During the entr’acte, there’s been a major metamorphosis that begins with the exterior. Gone are the four massive stone columns that formed the entrance portico; their commanding presence had been the visual essence of this cultural acropolis atop Greensburg’s Main Street hill. Like a pentimento, the remainder of the original south-facing brick-and-stone Georgian front façade now peeks from behind a new aluminum and precast-concrete veil.
 


a rendering of the atrium and glass staircase leading to new gallery spaces
 

This brise soleil marries past and present, linking the museum’s original building from 1959 and a west-wing addition from 1968 with the new zinc-clad cantilevered addition to the east. That striking new signature feature, akin to a square telescope, thrusts itself out from the hilltop, its “lens” — a sizable picture window — focusing and framing the cityscape below.

New York City-based Ennead Architects created the new addition as well as the overall redesign of the complex. The firm’s other projects include the William J. Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Ark.

“This is a dynamic building for the 21st century designed by an award-winning architectural firm with transparency and accessibility in mind,” says Judith O’Toole, the museum’s Richard M. Scaife director and CEO.

The Westmoreland Museum of American Art was born from a bequest by Mary Marchand Woods, a Greensburg resident with a vision to create an important cultural institution for her town. The Westmoreland has grown up since 1959, becoming an ever-expanding cultural presence not only in the community but also in western Pennsylvania and beyond. 

Space — and more of it — was a major factor fueling the growth spurt: The latest addition adds 13,287 square feet to an existing 30,000, making room for a collection that has expanded from around 3,000 works of art to about 3,450 — thanks in part to several recent major gifts from local collectors. About 532 works of art are displayed from the permanent collection, compared with about 400 works previously. 

For the museum’s reopening, chief curator Barbara Jones created a special exhibition, “Making The Westmoreland Museum of American Art,” (through April 17) which chronicles the Westmoreland’s history.

In addition to physically expanding, the Westmoreland also has pushed its timeline for art beyond the previous bookends of 1750 and 1950. Fittingly, the new east wing, also the site for traveling exhibitions, will present work representing more recent developments in American art history, from the 1950s to the present day.

That opportunity has been helped significantly by a major gift from local collectors Diana and Peter Jannetta. Think names such as Ellsworth Kelly, Donald Judd, Richard Anuszkiewicz, Sol LeWitt and more. Another name is Dale Chihuly, whose blown-glass chandelier now hangs in the museum’s north entrance. A special exhibition, “All About Color and Geometry: Selections from the Diana and Peter Jannetta Gift of Art,” (through April 17) introduces the new arrivals.
 


"california coast" by albert bierstadt
 

Another special exhibition, “A Passion for Collecting: Selections from the Richard M. Scaife Bequest,” (through Feb. 14) features a treasure trove of some 220 works from the late-19th and early-20th centuries. Artists such as George Inness, John Frederick Kensett, Jasper Francis Cropsey and William Merritt Chase bolster the museum’s holdings in such areas as American Impressionism and Boston School painting, Hudson River School, California School and marine painting. 

Further adding to museum holdings are 55 figurative works by 35 American sculptors from the collection of Michael Nieland. See a sampling now, and watch for a special show in 2017.

If you’ve been to the Westmoreland, expect reunions with familiar faces, places and things from the permanent collection, enhanced with explanations and new ways to appreciate those favorites. 

“So we beat on, boats against the current ...” to finish with another Fitzgerald line. Not into the past, as the line concludes, but forward and with the stage set for the future, as indicated by a new Westmoreland mantra: “Our vision is to be a preeminent museum of American art.”  

The Westmoreland Museum of American Art
221 N. Main St., Greensburg
724/837-1500, thewestmoreland.org
 

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

Stop Using Uber and Lyft, Renting a Bike is Better

You'll save money and have an easier time hopping between neighborhoods on a Healthy Ride bicycle.

America’s “Gratest” Celebration of Cheese is Coming to Pittsburgh

Sample cheese of every rind during the American Cheese Society’s annual Festival of Cheese.

The 400-Word Review: Skyscraper

If you want "Die Hard" with half the brains but three times the building, the new Dwayne Johnson flick will do a passing job.

A Pop-Up Bar in Pittsburgh that Serves a Sober Alternative

Empath provides the vibe and social space of a bar, as well as stepped up beverage service ... without the alcohol.

Watch: 12 Questions with WTAE's Sally Wiggin

The WTAE anchor was voted Best Journalist by readers of Pittsburgh Magazine. She answers 12 random questions ranging from her most memorable vacation to who should portray her in a movie.

Tax Credit Brought Mister Rogers Flick to Pittsburgh

The granting of the credit means the majority, if not most of the movie starring Tom Hanks, will indeed be shot in the Pittsburgh area.

Compelling World Cup Worth a Periodic Embrace

The competition is as fierce as the fans are passionate and both can be appreciated without a firm grasp of the details.

Jeff Goldblum Day is Causing a Stir in the ’Burgh

Local venues will be celebrating the native actor Friday with Goldblum-themed merchandise and events.

Willow Restaurant in the North Hills Lands a New Chef

Aaron Allen comes to Willow by way of 2-star Daniel in New York City. Plus, Greta Harmon joins the staff of the Ohio Township hideaway as the restaurant's new bar manager.

Pittsburgh Developer Offers Location for Riverfront Swings

A developer in the South Side may fulfill KDKA anchor Ken Rice’s wish for shaded benches along the city’s riverfronts.

Head to the North Hills for Two Blooming Garden Tours

The Wexford Garden and Pond Tour and the Southern Butler County Garden Club tour both take place this weekend.

I Do, Now Let’s Have Some BBQ

A five-course meal doesn’t fit with every wedding. These laid-back couples opted for casual — and delicious — cuisine perfect for their outdoor and barn receptions.

Expert Opinions on How HQ2 Could Change Pittsburgh

From jobs to housing to technology, six areas which would be impacted if Amazon chose Pittsburgh for its HQ2.

The 400-Word Review: The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter

The Netflix exclusive Josh Brolin flick is pleasant enough, but light on laughs.

The 400-Word Review: The First Purge

The prequel to the horror series has plenty to say. It's just no good at saying it.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags


America’s “Gratest” Celebration of Cheese is Coming to Pittsburgh

America’s “Gratest” Celebration of Cheese is Coming to Pittsburgh

Sample cheese of every rind during the American Cheese Society’s annual Festival of Cheese.

Comments

Watch: 12 Questions with WTAE's Sally Wiggin

Watch: 12 Questions with WTAE's Sally Wiggin

The WTAE anchor was voted Best Journalist by readers of Pittsburgh Magazine. She answers 12 random questions ranging from her most memorable vacation to who should portray her in a movie.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
A Pop-Up Bar in Pittsburgh that Serves a Sober Alternative

A Pop-Up Bar in Pittsburgh that Serves a Sober Alternative

Empath provides the vibe and social space of a bar, as well as stepped up beverage service ... without the alcohol.

Comments

Willow Restaurant in the North Hills Lands a New Chef

Willow Restaurant in the North Hills Lands a New Chef

Aaron Allen comes to Willow by way of 2-star Daniel in New York City. Plus, Greta Harmon joins the staff of the Ohio Township hideaway as the restaurant's new bar manager.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Six Underrated Kennywood Rides You Need to Try Again

Six Underrated Kennywood Rides You Need to Try Again

Leave enough time in your next visit to Kennywood to revisit some old favorites and these underrated gems.

Comments

The Five Best Spots to Get Pittsburgh-Themed Merchandise

The Five Best Spots to Get Pittsburgh-Themed Merchandise

Looking to show off your Pittsburgh love? Get your favorite city printed on basically anything at these local shops.

Comments


Stop Using Uber and Lyft, Renting a Bike is Better

Stop Using Uber and Lyft, Renting a Bike is Better

You'll save money and have an easier time hopping between neighborhoods on a Healthy Ride bicycle.

Comments

Five Essential July Events in Pittsburgh

Five Essential July Events in Pittsburgh

Parking-lot punk, polished Potter and other July attractions.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Compelling World Cup Worth a Periodic Embrace

Compelling World Cup Worth a Periodic Embrace

The competition is as fierce as the fans are passionate and both can be appreciated without a firm grasp of the details.

Comments

Pirates Can Be Show Stoppers if They Follow Brault's Lead

Pirates Can Be Show Stoppers if They Follow Brault's Lead

A Broadway musical about the life and times of the Pittsburgh Pirates? The idea might not be as farfetched as you think.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The 400-Word Review: Skyscraper

The 400-Word Review: Skyscraper

If you want "Die Hard" with half the brains but three times the building, the new Dwayne Johnson flick will do a passing job.

Comments

The 400-Word Review: The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter

The 400-Word Review: The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter

The Netflix exclusive Josh Brolin flick is pleasant enough, but light on laughs.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
I Do, Now Let’s Have Some BBQ

I Do, Now Let’s Have Some BBQ

A five-course meal doesn’t fit with every wedding. These laid-back couples opted for casual — and delicious — cuisine perfect for their outdoor and barn receptions.

Comments

Want Unique Wedding Photos? Track Down the Furries

Want Unique Wedding Photos? Track Down the Furries

Anthrocon returns this weekend for its 22nd annual convention. Here’s the story of one local couple who took advantage of the fact their wedding coincided with the annual gathering.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Head to the North Hills for Two Blooming Garden Tours

Head to the North Hills for Two Blooming Garden Tours

The Wexford Garden and Pond Tour and the Southern Butler County Garden Club tour both take place this weekend.

Comments

Cocktails in the Garden: How to Plant a Happy Hour

Cocktails in the Garden: How to Plant a Happy Hour

Plant and grow the ingredients you need to make a fresh summer drink.

Comments