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Recently constructed Lester Wing of the museum as seen from Elm Street

The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art is an art museum on the University of Oklahoma campus in Norman, Oklahoma.



The museum has become well known in art circles [1] for its fine art collections, including paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and photographs.[2] The museum features works in American, Native American, Asian, Contemporary and European art, as well as photography.

The main collections are:

  • The Weitzenhoffer Collection, a collection of paintings by various Impressionists, including Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Mary Cassatt, Vincent van Gogh, Camille Pissarro, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir.[3] Valued at over $50 million, it is considered the most important collection of Impressionist art ever donated to a university.[4][5]
  • The Fleischaker Collection, a large collection of more than 350 pieces of Native American and southwestern paintings, sculpture and ceramics, including some of the most famous works by Russian Taos painters Leon Gaspard and Nicolai Fechin.[6]
  • The McGhee Collection, which features dozens of Eastern Orthodox icons dating back to the 15th century.
  • The Thams Collection, containing 32 paintings by members of the Taos Society of Artists. Together with the Taos paintings in the Fleischaker Collection, this gift give OU one of the world's leading collections of Taos art.[7]
  • The State Department Collection was purchased by the museum in 1948 from the controversial Advancing American Art collection. Hailed as a "cultural Marshall Plan," this traveling exhibit was created by the Department's Office of International Information and Cultural Affairs to demonstrate to the world America's cultural superiority in the mid 20th century. Highly criticized as too abstract, it was dismantled by congress after only two years and sold to various institutions.[8] Highlights of the collection include works by Georgia O'Keeffe and Edward Hopper
  • The Santa Fe Indian School collection [1]

There are also special exhibits held to present traveling collections.


The Fred Jones Jr. Museum was founded in 1936 by OU art professor Oscar Jacobson, who became the museum's first director and served in that post until his retirement in 1950. It originally featured only 250 works, all of which were collected by Jacobson. After a donation later that year of hundreds of pieces of East and Central Asian art by Lew Wentz and Gordon Matzene of Ponca City, Oklahoma, the university moved the museum to the former library building, which is now Jacobson Hall. Under Jacobson's tenure as director, the museum greatly expanded its collection of Native American art, including many works by the Kiowa Five, who had studied under Jacobson in the 1920s.

The collection continued to grow until, in 1971, a building just for the large collection was built, and it as officially established as the Fred Jones Jr. Memorial Art Center. In 1992 it was re-named the Fred Jones, Jr., Museum of Art. When current OU president David Boren arrived at OU in 1994, he and his wife Molli Shi Boren began a campaign to expand the museum's collections, which has resulted in many of the museums most valuable acquisitions.

In 2003, it became apparent that the original facilities could not properly display enough of the museum's rapidly growing collection, which now included each of the major collections described above. Construction began on a $14 million new wing to the museum, which, when complete two years later, doubled the museum's size. Designed by Washington, D.C. based architect Hugh Jacobson, its signature "hut-like" design has made it one of the most recognizable buildings on campus.[9]

Following the museum's 2007 purchase of the Eugine B. Adkins Collection, which contains over 3,000 pieces of Native American art, weaving, and jewelry, the museum has undertaken a campaign to renovate and expand its original 1971 building. The project, which is expected to be completed in 2011, will add over 10,000 square feet of new space to the museum and modernize the entire 40 year old facility (which is to be renamed the Stuart Wing).[10]

Since 1997, Eric McCauley Lee has been the director of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art. He holds a doctorate in art history from Yale University. [2]



External links

Coordinates: 35°13′N 97°26′W / 35.22°N 97.44°W / 35.22; -97.44



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