Three Pieces That Embody The Kirkland Museum Of Fine And Decorative Art

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Photo: Vince Kirkland Studio (C/O)
Vance Kirkland’s Studio Workroom, preserved as part of Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art. Kirkland painted in this space from 1932 until 1981. For his later works, he sometimes suspended himself above his paintings in straps to accomplish large paintings.

This interview originally aired on Dec. 10, 2015.

The late Denver artist Vance Kirkland used to suspend himself above his canvases to paint. You can see his studio -- and the series of body straps he climbed into -- at the Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art.

The Kirkland's collection isn't limited to just the works of its namesake though. It also includes 40,000 pieces of fine and decorative art like sculpture, paintings, furniture and glassware. The museum's director, Hugh Grant, chose these pieces that are most representative of the entire collection.

Right now, you can see the pieces in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. The museum will remain open at its current location at 13th and Pearl until May 1. Then it will move to its new, expanded location in the Golden Triangle.

Artus Van Briggle Lamp (1903/1904)

Photo: Artus Van Briggle Lamp (C/O)"[This lamp] was made at the world famous Van Briggle Pottery [formerly] located in Colorado Springs. You have beautiful curling, sweeping forms in Art Nouveau. What you see in this vase are beautiful examples of flowers with their curving stems coming down on the vase itself. The artist very tragically died of tuberculosis in 1904 at the age of 35. So he had a very short career, but his wife took over and continued to design pottery and do pressings of his own designs as well, but she left in 1912. And for that reason...the most important examples of Van Briggle are before 1913, and they're dated generally."

Viktor Schreckengost Jazz Bowl (1931)

Photo: Schreckengost Jazz Bowl with Plate (C/O)"We have an example of one of the most important Art Deco ceramics done in America. It is a Jazz Bowl, made as a punch bowl. And we have an even more rare Jazz Plate. They were produced in 1931 by Schreckengost, a wonderful artist, and it was commissioned by Eleanor Roosevelt in 1930 for a New Year's Eve punch bowl while her husband was still governor of New York. There are about only 30 Jazz Bowls known and only about 10 Jazz Plates -but this is the only one in a public collection. It's carved on the outside with these marvelous images. It has 'jazz', 'dance', 'follies' -- words depicting all the jazz rage in New York."

Frank Lloyd Wright Stained Glass Windows (1904)Photo: Frank Lloyd Wright Window (C/O)

"[These windows] are from the famous Darwin Martin House in Buffalo, New York. Whether it's the middle of the day or twilight, they have this beautifully different quality to them. They do have some color, they're not the very bright windows that you sometimes see by Frank Lloyd Wright. These have very muted colors of gold and green and ambers."

Why these three pieces?

"It was daunting to choose. But I thought they were really important. One was, of course Colorado, the Van Briggle. And to get something Deco [the Jazz Bowl], we have a great Deco collection. And Arts and Crafts is the beginning of our collection [the Frank Lloyd Wright windows]."