Sheldon Museum of Art
Front (east) entrance
R St & N 12th St|
Lincoln, Nebraska U.S.
|NRHP reference #||13000676|
|Added to NRHP||September 3, 2013|
In 1888, The Sheldon Art Association was founded as the Haydon Art Club. It got its name in honor of the British painter, Benjamin Robert Haydon. The Haydon Art Club held an annual art exhibit and supplied art education to the university. In the early 1900s, the club underwent a reorganization and was incorporated under its new name, the Nebraska Art Association.
The Sheldon Art Association is a non-profit organization that has over 500 members.
The Sheldon Museum of Art was initially known as the University of Nebraska Art Galleries, and was then formerly known as Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery. The museum's name was changed in 2008, along with the support organization that supports the museum, which is now known as the Sheldon Art Association, formerly the Nebraska Art Association.
The museum exhibited its collection in locations around the university, including Morrill Hall, until a dedicated building was completed in 1963. Located at the junction of 12th and R Streets, on the city campus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the Sheldon was designed by architect Philip Johnson and is a U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
In 1956, Norman Geske was the first director of the Sheldon Museum of Art, and is widely credited with establishing the Sheldon's modern art collection, as well as other regional cultural programs and institutions like Interstate 80 Bicentennial Sculpture Project, the Museum of Nebraska Art in Kearney and the Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center, originally known as the Sheldon Film Theater.
The Sheldon houses both the Sheldon Art Association collection (founded in 1888 as the Haydon Art Club), and the University of Nebraska collection, initiated in 1929. Together they comprise more than 12,000 works of art in all media. This comprehensive collection of American art includes prominent holdings of 19th-century landscape and still life, American Impressionism, early Modernism, Geometric abstraction, Abstract Expressionism, Pop art, Lyrical Abstraction, Color Field painting, Minimalism and Contemporary Art.
In the sculpture garden, more than 30 monumental sculptures are exhibited year-round. Among them are works by Gaston Lachaise, Jacques Lipchitz, Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, David Smith, Lyman Kipp, William G. Tucker, Bryan Hunt, Mark di Suvero, Michael Heizer, and Richard Serra.
In 1998, Man in the Open Air, a 1915 bronze sculpture by Elie Nadelman, was stolen from the sculpture garden. Police speculated that it had been taken in the course of post-game revelry following the university football team's victory in the Orange Bowl. About a week later, it was recovered on the university's East Campus. The gallery's director hypothesized that the thief or thieves had been unaware of the work's value, estimated at over $500,000, and, after learning this, had placed it where it would be discovered by security guards during their rounds. Following $15,000 in restoration and repair, the sculpture was put on display inside the building.
The Sheldon's exhibition program comprises approximately 20 exhibitions per year and focuses on American art in all media. The curatorial staff organizes exhibitions drawn from the permanent collection, many of which circulate nationally. The program also includes exhibitions organized by peer institutions throughout the United States. Educational programs such as symposia, lectures, children's workshops and tours are organized in conjunction with each exhibition.