collection of the walker art center


Free Digital Art Publications!

Art publications are expensive to produce and difficult to update. Because of this, the Getty Foundation has worked with a handful of collaborators such as the Art Institute of Chicago, the Walker Art Center, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to help solve this problem. Check out the list of completely free publications below. 

Living Collections Catalogue: On Performativity from the Walker Art Center.

The Rauschenberg Research Project from San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Monet Paintings and Drawings at the Art Institute of Chicago from the Art Institute of Chicago.

Renoir Paintings and Drawings at the Art Institute of Chicago from the Art Institute of Chicago.

The Camden Town Group in Context from the Tate.

The World of the Japanese Illustrated Book from the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

Southeast Asian Art at LACMA from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Dutch Paintings of the Seventeenth Century from the National Gallery of Art.

Chinese Painting & Calligraphy from the Seattle Art Museum.
Frida Kahlo: Photographs of Myself and Others

Frida Kahlo: Photographs of Myself and Others comprises a cache of rare and never before-published materials from the Vicente Wolf Collection. Few artists have fully captured the public’s imagination with the power of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. As an incomparable artist, political activist, and the wife of celebrated muralist Diego Rivera, Kahlo’s life was alternately joyous and tragic. This astonishing collection brings together portraits of Kahlo by such luminaries as Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Tina Modotti, Julien Levy, and Lucienne Bloch as well as snapshots of Frida and Diego at work and at home. Selections from the collection have been featured in the major exhibition, Frida Kahlo, organized by the Walker Art Center and later shown at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. This book presents a fresh and captivating look at the iconic artist, her exuberant husband, and their coterie of famous friends.

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Making the Most of the Day

By Lauren Matison                                                                        

If you travel for a living, as I do, it is so important to know how to make the most of each day on the road. And when we travel writers do get some time off to just enjoy a destination—without having to take notes—we don’t want sightseeing to feel like work. These insider tips will allow you to spend more time enjoying and experiencing and less time planning and worrying.

1. Skip the lines.

There is a whole city to be explored and waiting in long lines at museums isn’t the best use of your time. Most major cities offer culture cards that make it a breeze to bypass lines and go straight to the exhibits. With the Paris Pass and Barcelona Card, you get fast entry to the best museums, plus free use of all public transportation. The CityPass, available in 11 cities—including New York, San Francisco and Toronto—provides travelers with skip-the-line privileges and up to 50 percent off museum admission. Buy the passes online, in advance, so it’s one less thing you have to worry about doing on the trip.

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The Walker Idea Houses

In 1941, the Walker Art Center broke ground on a new exhibit unlike any other: a house. Called Idea House, the home was designed to be a showcase for modern building materials, contemporary furnishings, and an efficient floor plan. It was built near the Walker Art Center, off of Vineland Place, and opened to the public in June of 1941. More than 56,000 people toured it in the three months it was left open to the public.

In 1947 a second home, Idea House II, was built nearby. While the first Idea House had emphasized efficiency, Idea House II was a critique of the post-war housing boom. The exhibit’s press release noted that “…excessive demand for housing has opened flood gates for cheap construction, impossible designs, shoddy materials and indiscriminate taste.” Idea House II featured a sensible open floor plan, movable screens and partitions, a separate “children’s apartment” and modern appliances including a dishwasher.

While Idea House II attracted fewer visitors than the first, it was widely covered in the national press and attracted attention from the art, architecture and design communities. Inspired by the Walker’s work, the Museum of Modern Art in New York embarked on a similar exhibit in 1949.

The Walker had originally planned for 10 total houses to be built, but the second turned out to be the last. The two houses were available for tours by appointment through the mid-1950s but were mostly used as housing for the Walker’s staff and guests. The first was demolished in 1961 to make way for the original Guthrie Theater building, and Idea House II was demolished in 1969 for a Guthrie expansion. In 2000, the Walker reconstructed the living room from Idea House II as part of an exhibit called “The Home Show.”


This post was researched and written by James K. Hosmer Special Collections volunteer Nick Steffel. The photographs are from the Minneapolis Historic Photographs Collection.