Art News

Dallas Museum of Art gives important Islamic art collection proper due

Dallas Museum of Art gives important Islamic art collection proper due

Keir Collection bowl from the Dallas Museum of Art
The Keir Collection of Islamic Art Gallery will open at the DMA in spring 2017. Photo courtesy of the Dallas Museum of Art

The Dallas Museum of Art is about to give one of the world’s most important private collections of Islamic art a proper showcase. Opening in spring 2017 off the museum’s concourse, the Keir Collection of Islamic Art Gallery will showcase more than 100 works from the Keir Collection, including a number that have never before been seen.

Recognized by scholars as one of the most geographically and historically comprehensive of its kind, the Keir Collection encompasses almost 2,000 works spanning three continents and 13 centuries of Islamic cultural production — from rock crystal to metalwork, ceramics, textiles, carpets, and works on paper.

In 2014, the DMA finalized a long-term loan agreement with the trustees of the Keir Collection, which led to the first ever North American exhibition, “Spirit and Matter: Masterpieces from the Keir Collection of Islamic Art,” which opened at the DMA in September 2015. The agreement also made the DMA the third largest repository of Islamic art in the United States.

The new installation and dedicated art gallery will increase the number of works on view from the collection, while retaining several important masterworks that were on view in “Spirit and Matter.”

The gallery will also showcase one of the most important holdings of luster pottery and rock crystals in the world, as well as display a series of rare manuscripts and painted miniatures, including a 16th-century Indian Khamsa of Nizami manuscript and pages from the 1330 Shahnama known as “The Demotte Shahnama.” The celebrated rock crystal ewer, one of only seven in the world and the only one in the United States, will also be on view.

“Now that ‘Spirit and Matter’ has introduced North American audiences to the Keir Collection for the first time in its history, the dedicated Keir Collection Gallery will deepen and enrich visitors’ appreciation for the 13 centuries of vibrant Islamic artistic traditions that the collection encompasses,” says Dr. Sabiha Al Khemir, DMA’s senior advisor for Islamic art, in a release.

“As an internationally engaged institution with a legacy of fostering cross-cultural understanding, the DMA is proud to inaugurate the first-ever dedicated gallery space for the Keir Collection, which will illuminate the artistic traditions of the Islamic world for our local and national audiences,” adds DMA director Dr. Agustín Arteaga.

The gallery’s projected opening is April 18, 2017.