Detroit Institute of Arts

The Detroit Institute of Arts ( DIA) in Detroit, Michigan, is one of the most important art museums in the United States. It was founded in 1885. The collection includes more than 65,000 exhibits, starting with the art of ancient Egypt to contemporary art. One focus is the arts and cultural history of the United States since the 18th century. The fresco Detroit Industry in the middle of the museum is one of the most important works of Diego Rivera. Once the application for the bankruptcy by the city of Detroit and the future of the Detroit Institute of Arts is in question. It could be that parts of the collection will be sold to repay debt.


The Detroit Institute of Arts was founded in 1885. His first location it was in the Jefferson Avenue. As the collection grew restive and not enough space in the first museum building, it was moved in 1927 to a larger building, which was designed by Paul Cret at the Woodward Avenue. Great influence on the development of the collection had William Valentiner, a native of Berlin art historian, who was from 1924 to 1945 director of the museum. Due to his good contacts in Europe and the support of numerous patrons he could expand the collection considerably, saving important works for this. During his tenure, Diego Rivera was charged with the decoration of the courtyard. Addition, he graduated with a self-portrait of Vincent van Gogh 's first work of this painter of an American museum.

In the 1960s and 1970s, two new wings were built. 1999 began the renovation and expansion of the Detroit Institute of Arts, which was completed in 2007. In 2000, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the General Motors Center for African American Art set up to strengthen this area of the collection.

In December 2010, the Detroit Institute of Arts had the Culbertson Guidon auction to the collection expansion fund can. The Stander, 69 × 83 cm in size, was led by General Custer's cavalry unit in the lost June 25, 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn against the Lakota and Cheyenne. The auction was conducted by Sotheby's. The estimated price of two to five million dollar was ( with charge 2.2 million ) dollars reached just under a proceeds of 1.9 million. The flag had been acquired in 1890 for $ 54, but for some time already corresponded not to the collection and alignment was not issued.

In August 2012, certain citizens of the three counties of the metropolitan area that the owner of land with a market value of $ 200,000 or more to pay 20 dollars a year in addition for the next ten years. The revenue from this tax is to benefit the museum. The citizens of the counties Wayne County ( Michigan), Oakland County and Macomb County, from which so far 80 % of the visitors came, in return receive free admission to the museum.

After the city of Detroit in July 2013 had to apply for bankruptcy, the official receiver appointed by the State Kevyn Orr did appreciate the DIA collection by the auction house Christie's. According to the estimation, the collection could contribute $ 900 million to reduce the debt of 20 billion dollars in debt from Detroit at best. However, this approach met with great national and international criticism. However, Orr watched the preparations continue. In January 2014 gave nine foundations, among them want to apply the Ford Foundation, $ 330 million to save the museum. These should be supplemented by other private sponsors to 500 million. The museum is to be transferred to a charitable organization and therefore protected against access by the insolvency administrator. The foundations secure in return from a portion of the underfunded pension fund of the city, as announced Alberto Ibargüen from the Knight Foundation.


The building of the Detroit Institute of Arts was built in neo-classical style with white marble 1923-1927. In 1966, the South, 1971, the north wing was added. Their architect Gunnar Birkerts was. The building is 658,000 square feet and includes more than 100 galleries, where works of art are presented. The building also includes two lecture halls that offer 1150 and 380 people theater, and an art library. For the restoration, the museum has its own laboratory.

Compared to the Detroit Institute of Arts is the Detroit Public Library, which was also made of white marble and erbut in the neoclassical style.

South wing of the museum

Main hall of the museum

Ceiling of the main hall



The collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts includes American, European, Modern and Contemporary Art. The museum also has a collection of graphic art. Also, African, Asian, Native American, Oceanic and Islamic Art and antiques included in the collection of the DIA. The central piece in the collection is Diego Rivera's Detroit Industry mural that adorns the central courtyard. It extends over 434 square meters and is considered one of his most important mural projects. In the central hall the weapon collection of William Randolph Hearst is shown.

One focus of the collection is on American painting, sculpture and the applied arts since the 18th century. These stocks are among the most important in the United States. Among the artists represented include John James Audubon, George Bellows, George Caleb Bingham, Alexander Calder, Mary Cassatt, Frederic Edwin Church, Thomas Cole, John Singleton Copley, Leon Dabo, Thomas Wilmer Dewing, Thomas Eakins, Childe Hassam, Robert Henri, Winslow Homer, George Inness, Georgia O'Keeffe, Charles Willson Peale, Rembrandt Peale, Frederic Remington, Augustus Saint -Gaudens, John Singer Sargent, John French Sloan, Marylyn Dintenfass, Gilbert Stuart, Yves Tanguy, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Andy Warhol, William T. Williams, Andrew Wyeth, and James McNeill Whistler.

The collection includes works of European art from the 15th century through to the opposite wall. Among others, the Detroit Institute of Arts has a Madonna and Child by Giovanni Bellini, the Wedding Dance by Pieter Brueghel the Elder and Saint Jerome in his study by Jan van Eyck. In addition, the museum also features works by Benozzo Gozzoli, Albrecht Dürer, Lucas Cranach the Elder and Hans Holbein the Younger. Representative of the Baroque are about Gerard ter Borch, Diego Velazquez, Peter Paul Rubens, and Rembrandt van Rijn. Representatives of the late 18th and 19th century French art include Jean -Baptiste Carpeaux and François Rude. The French modernism is represented, among others Claude Monet, Odilon Redon, Eugène Boudin, Edgar Degas, Paul Cézanne, Eugène Delacroix, and Auguste Rodin. A cast of The Thinker by Rodin is situated at the main entrance of the museum building. A self-portrait of Vincent van Gogh and The Window by Henri Matisse were purchased in 1922 and were the first works of these two artists in American museums. Works of the German Expressionists such as Heinrich Campendonck, Franz Marc, Karl Schmidt- Rottluff, Max Beckmann, Karl Hofer, Emil Nolde, Lovis Corinth, Ernst Barlach, Wilhelm Lehmbruck, Erich Heckel, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Paula Modersohn -Becker, and Max Pechstein were already acquired early from the Detroit Institute of Arts. In addition, other expressionists such as Oskar Kokoschka, Wassily Kandinsky, Chaim Soutine and Edvard Munch are represented in the collection.

In the collection of antiquities are among other things a dragon relief from the Ishtar Gate in Babylon and Egypt Reslief a grieving woman. Also on display a collection of dolls from hand puppets, shadow puppets and marionettes is shown.

Pieter Brueghel the Elder, The Wedding Dance, 1566

Edgar Degas, Violinist and Young Woman, 1870-72

Paul Cézanne, Bathers, 1879

Vincent van Gogh, Self-Portrait, 1887

Auguste Rodin, The Thinker, 1880-82