The Brooklyn Museum frequently hosts fascinating special exhibitions. It is also home to an impressive permanent collection of more than 1.5 million works, not all of which are on display at a given time. In this post, we take a look at some of the more significant works that you can expect to see on any visit to the museum, so long as they are on loan for special exhibitions at another museum.
A Storm in the Rocky Mountains, Mt. Rosalie, 1866
Albert Bierstadt is perhaps best known for reorganizing landscapes, exaggerating their scale, creating visual depth, and depicting dramatic weather patterns. This work features Mt. Rosalie, so named by the landscape artist for the wife of his traveling companion, Rosalie Osborne Ludlow, who married Bierstadt after divorcing Ludlow. Mt. Rosalie is today known as Mt. Evans, the highest summit of the Rockies’ Chicago Peaks.
Nude Woman Drying Herself, ca. 1884
Best known for his depictions of dance, Impressionist painter Edgar Degas certainly left his mark on the art world. This work, one of the French artist’s bathing scene, provides a rare and unusually intimate glimpse into the life of an upper-class 19th-century woman. Some art historians believe this painting was a draft for a more fleshed-out work that Degas never painted.
Francisco de Goya
Portrait of Don Tadeo Bravo de Rivero, 1806
This early 19th-century work illuminates the class and rank of its subject. In it, colonial Peruvian nobleman Dan Tadeo Bravo de Rivero wears a flashy scarlet uniform and a prominent rank-revealing medal. The nobleman’s dog is depicted as a loyal subject.
Houses of Parliament, Sunlight Effect, 1903
At the turn of the 20th century, Claude Monet painted a series of at least 19 oil paintings depicting the Palace of Westminster. This particular painting focuses on the visual effects of London’s fog and smoke.
Karl L.H. Mueller
“Chinese Argument” Figural Group, ca. 1882
In 1882, Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, a 10-year moratorium on Chinese labor immigration to the United States. Mueller’s “Chinese Argument” depicts a white child and black child sharing an Eagle’s nest, with the black child holding a lower stature than the white child. Below the nest, a Chinese man is seen desperately and hopelessly trying to join the children. The work was created as a statement against discrimination.
Brooklyn Bridge, 1949
After spending three decades in New York, acclaimed painter Georgia O’Keefe left the City that Never Sleeps for the painted deserts of New Mexico. Before making the move, O’Keefe painted The Brooklyn Bridge for the first time. This iconic oil painting is aptly housed in the Brooklyn Museum.
Pierre de Wiessant, Monumental, 1887
One of the most prolific sculptors of all time, dozens of Rodin’s works can be found far from his native France. This bronze piece, sculpted in 1887, was commissioned by the French Third Republic following an embarrassing defeat at the hands of Prussia. The sculpture’s subject is 14th-century French hero Eustache de Saint-Pierre
Lilly Martin Spencer
Kiss Me and You’ll Kiss the ‘Lasses, 1856
Not a lot of female artists painted self-portraits in the mid-nineteenth century. Even fewer painted such confident self-portraits as Lilly Martin Spencer’s Kiss Me and You’ll Kiss the ‘Lasses, which depicts the successful artist and family breadwinner making fruit preserves in her home. The message the painting sends is that any male who dares advance on her will be given a healthy dose of molasses, and not in the mouth.
A Little Taste Outside of Love, 2007
This contemporary work of art flips the conventional artistic tradition of a woman basking in her own beauty on its head, challenging the representation and objectification of black women. Whereas a black maidservant commonly appears attending to a white subject in earlier American art, the black woman in this painting takes center stage and is the work’s sole human subject.