Cover image for The art museums of Louis I. Kahn
The art museums of Louis I. Kahn
Loud, Patricia Cummings.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Durham, [NC] ; London : Duke University Press, 1989.
Physical Description:
xi, 303 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 31 cm
General Note:
Exhibition catalog published on the occasion of an exhibition seen at the following museums: Duke University Museum of Art, November 10-December 31, 1989, Yale University Art Gallery, Kimbell Art Museum and San Francisco Museum of Art.

"Published by the Duke University Press in association with the Duke University Museum of Art."
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
NA6695 .L69 1989 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



The art museum has become a prestige commission for contemporary architects, and for several decades reference has been made to a "museum building boom." Among these new museums, those of Louis Kahn are especially admired. This significant American architect, who ranks in this century with Frank Lloyd Wright both as a creator and as an influence, has made a special contribution to the architecture of museums and has helped create a subtle but telling change in the concept of what a late twentieth-century museum building should be.
After a brief look at the development of a tradition in museum architecture, this study examines Kahn's three art museums: the Yale University Art Gallery, the Kimbell Art Museum, and the Yale Center for British Art. It traces the development of each museum through museum through its various stages: the background of the institutions and the commissions, the programs for the buildings, their designs and evolutions, their constructions, and the evaluations of the completed buildings. Material on Kahn's plans for a museum for the De Menil collection, begun shortly before his death, is also included.
Accompanying the text are illustrations of the buildings, including Kahn's personal sketches, architectural plans and sections, and presentation perspective drawings. Photographs of the finished buildings present the transformed vision of the architect in tangible form, showing that the museums, while related, are individualized accomplishments. This is the first comprehensive study of Kahn's museums.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

A lavishly illustrated account of the three art museums designed by Kahn, one of the major architects of the third quarter of the 20th century, this book is, in effect, both a catalog for a traveling exhibition of drawings and models of these three works and a thoroughly researched and well-written monograph. Also included are Kahn's unexecuted designs for the de Menil Collection, conceived in the last three years before his death in 1974. In addition to substantial chapters on the Yale University Art Gallery, the Kimbell Art Museum, and the British Art Center at Yale, each extensively illustrated with drawings in the exhibition, there is an introductory account of museum architecture from the late 18th century to c. 1940 and to Kahn's career. Not a biography or complete study of his work, such as Romaldo Giurgola and Jaimini Mehta's Louis I. Kahn (CH, Apr'76) or Heinz Rommer and Sharad Ihaveri's Louis I. Kahn, Complete Works, 1935-1974 (2nd rev. ed., 1987; 1st ed., CH, Jun'77), this is a valuable study of three of his major buildings and of a type (museums) very important in the post-WW II era. Good bibliography and footnotes. D. Stillman University of Delaware