The Bass (Formerly the Bass Museum of Art)
With a collection of Renaissance and Baroque paintings, contemporary photography and much, much more, the Bass Museum draws visitors with appetites for the rare and eclectic. Since its founding in 1963, the museum has brought international fine arts straight to Miami Beach and expanded its historical Art Deco building to more than 35,000 sq. ft., making it one of the architectural wonders of Miami Beach. Japanese woodblock prints, Asian sculpture and ceramics, Rococo court paintings, 19th century landscapes, Latin American paintings, 16th century French tapestries, and works by Rembrandt, Daumier and Toulouse-Lautrec are just a few of more than 3,000 pieces that make up the Bass' permanent exhibits.
Backstory and Context
History of Bass Museum of Art
The Bass Museum of Art traces its history back to its founding in 1963, when the City of Miami Beach accepted a large and multifaceted donation from the esteemed private collection of local residents, John and Johanna Base. Thus, with such a broad and profound collection, the museum was able to open its doors a year later in the 1930s Art Deco building that previously housed the Miami Beach Library and Art Center.
As the museum attracted thousands of visitors every year due to its globetrotting collection, the museum doubled its size from 15,000 to 35,000 square feet to accommodate the growing collection in 2002. This new addition was designed by famed architect Arata Isozaki. Nowadays, the Bass Museum of Art continues to expand its collection while also reinvigorating its vision by offering the public more exhibition and educational programs.1
Exhibits and Important Works
The collection of art displayed at the Bass Museum of Art includes important works from around the globe coming from the Renaissance to the modern era. The original donation from John and Johanna Bass included some essential works from the Old Masters as well as over 500 European works from the 15th to the early 20th century.
This donation also included many textiles and sculptures, and due to John Bass’s upbringing in Austria, the Bass Museum of Art holds one of the most representative groups of Austrian paintings in the United States.
Additionally, one of the most important textiles (and arguably pieces) in the museum is the famous 16th century Flemish tapestry titled “The Salute Before the Tournament,” which was once part of Henry VIII’s collection at Knole House in England.2
In addition to its acclaimed collection of paintings and other works of art, the Bass Museum of Art stands as one of the premier educational centers for art in Miami. In fact, the museum’s vision is to stimulate creative interpretation of contemporary art that encourages further inquiry and exploration.
Thus, to provide greater artistic enlightenment in the community, the Bass Museum of Art offers a cutting-edge education program spanning from group tours to public programs, such as through art clubs, the “Beats After Sunset” on the beach, the ARTTALKS@thebass: Lecture Series, and more.3