High Museum of Art in Atlanta

North America - Editor - 07 May 2007

High Museum of Art in Atlanta

It is within these forbiddingly bare, stark walls that tower up in the Atlanta skyline in the southeastern corner of the United States where you will find some of the finest and most exquisite art collections of both the classic and contemporary periods on exhibition.

It was, however, a far more humble beginning for the prestigious ‘High Museum of Art‘, which made its starting contribution being founded in 1905 as the ‘Atlanta Art Association’. More than 21 years would still pass before the High Museum would find its first home kindly donated by Mrs. Joseph M. High. The founding residence would serve its purpose for just 29 years before moving from Mrs. High’s family abode on Peachtree Street to a nearby brick structure.

As the ‘High’ grew in reputation over the years it seemed like nothing could go wrong; until 1962. A dark cloud would pass during this time with the tragic deaths of 122 of the High’s loyal art patrons in an unforeseen plane crash during a sponsored European tour. In their memory the Atlanta Arts Alliance would be formed, seeing the expansion and renovation of the existing museum come into fruition in 1968 as the Atlanta Memorial Arts Center.

The year 1983 proved to be a most exciting period for the High Museum with twenty million dollars being generated by an ingenious initiative led by Robert W. Woodruff, the Coca-Cola magnate with a $7.5 million challenge donation for a new facility. This donation exceeded expectations thereby allowing Richard Meier the renowned award winning architects' design to take shape in 1981 with the final opening in 1983.

The bold structure would become an artwork in its own right, receiving many awards. The most prestigious of them all however was the 1991 citation awarded by the American Institute of Architects for one of the “ten best works of American architecture of the 1980s”. The dramatic design was expanded by the great Italian architect, Renzo Piano which were revealed to the public on the 12 November 2005.

Last year saw an extraordinary partnership occurring between the High Museum of Art and the “Musee du Louvre” in Paris establishing the “Louvre Atlanta”. It is with this collaboration that the High will display one of the largest exhibitions in the United States beginning in 2006 and ending in 2009. This incredible display will contain some of the finest classic works from the Louvre’s permanent art collection, an unforgettable experience by any account. It is through the “Louvre Atlanta” that the remarkable history of the Louvre will be traced from the 17th century up to the present time line.


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