The Walters Art Museum

Baltimore, United States

The Walters Art Museum

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The Walters Art Museum, located in Mount Vernon-Belvedere, Baltimore, Maryland, United States, is a public art museum founded and opened in 1934. It holds collections established during the mid-19th century. The Museum's collection was amassed substantially by major American art and sculpture collectors, a father and son: William Thompson Walters, (1819–1894), who began collecting when he moved to Paris as a nominal Southern/Confederate sympathizer at the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861; and Henry Walters (1848–1931), who refined the collection and made arrangements for the construction of a later landmark building to rehouse it. After allowing the Baltimore public to occasionally view his father's and his growing added collections at his West Mount Vernon Place townhouse/mansion during the late 1800s, he arranged for an elaborate stone palazzo-styled structure built for that purpose in 1905–1909. Located across the back alley, a block south of the Walters mansion on West Monument Street/Mount Vernon Place, on the northwest corner of North Charles Street at West Centre Street.

The mansion and gallery were also just south and west of the landmark Washington Monument in the Mount Vernon-Belvedere neighborhood, just north of the downtown business district and northeast of Cathedral Hill. Upon his 1931 death, Henry Walters bequeathed the entire collection of then more than 22,000 works, the original Charles Street Gallery building, and his adjacent townhouse/mansion just across the alley to the north on West Mount Vernon Place to the City of Baltimore, "for the benefit of the public." The collection includes masterworks of ancient Egypt, Greek sculpture and Roman sarcophagi, medieval ivories, illuminated manuscripts, Renaissance bronzes, Old Master European and 19th-century paintings, Chinese ceramics and bronzes, Art Deco jewelry, and ancient Near East, Mesopotamian, or ancient Middle East items. Dorothy Miner became its first Keeper of Manuscripts in 1934 and held the post until her death in 1973.

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