Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin, OH

It’s the end of February and we are expecting the temperature to be in the 60’s — remember, this is Cleveland, OH.  So a friend and I decided to drive to Oberlin to see the campus of Oberlin College.  We drove around the town to get an overview and then decided to check out Allen Memorial Art Museum.

What a gem in the middle of this small town.  The beautiful Italian Renaissance building housed the traditional art and a modern addition was added on for the contemporary collections.  I was immediately impressed with the quality of their art work.  I inquired at the desk how the museum had gotten its start.  And like similar stories I had heard (e.g., Andrew Mellon donated his collection and provided the endowment that began The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC), Dr. Dudley Peter Allen and his wife Elisabeth Severance Allen were the principal benefactors of the Allen Memorial Museum in 1917.  Sixty years later Ruth Coates Roush funded the Modern and Contemporary Art for the museum.

Ceiling of interior of art museum

The thing that impressed me was the variety and quality of art represented: ancient to modern; European, African, Asian, Middle Eastern and American.

Sculpture of a Chinese dragon

Me in front of Tall Waterfall by Pat Steir (American, b. 1940)

Having studied art as part of my interior design curriculum, there were  several artists that I recognized.  They have works by Tintoretto, van Dyck, Rembrandt, Peter Paul Rubens, Ingres, Picasso, Braque, Monet, Cézanne, Matisse, Gorky, Franz Kline, Joan Miró, Mark Rothko, and many, many more.

If you have a free afternoon, I recommend visiting Oberlin and spending some time at the Allen Memorial Art Museum. You will not regret it.


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