The Detroit Institute of Arts or DIA located near Wayne State University , Michigan , features one of the largest , most significant art collections in the United States. In 2003, the DIA had an art collection valued at approximately 1 billion dollars. With over 100 galleries, it now covers 658,000 square feet (61,130 m²).
Founded in 1885, the museum was originally located on Jefferson Avenue, but moved to a larger site on Woodward Avenue in 1927. The new Beaux-Arts building, was referred to as the “temple of art.” Two wings were added in the 1960s and 1970s, and a major renovation and expansion that began in 1999 was completed in 2007. The DIA’s collection is among the top six in the United States.
In 1949, the museum was among the first to return a work that had been looted by the Nazis, when it returned Claude Monet’s The Seine at Asnières to its rightful owner. A 1976 gift of $1 million from Eleanor Ford created the Department of African, Oceanic and New World Cultures.
In November 2007, the Detroit Institute of Arts building completed a renovation at a total cost of $158 million called Master Plan Project which added 58,000 additional square feet, bringing the total to 658,000 square feet. The renovated exterior of the north and south wings is covered with white marble acquired from the same quarry as the marble on the main building designed by Paul Cret. In December 2010, the museum installed new permanent gallery with special collections of hand, shadow, and string puppets along with programmable lighting and original backgrounds.
The museum covers 658,000 square feet that includes more than 100 galleries, a 1,150-seat auditorium, a 380-seat lecture/recital hall, an art reference library, and a state-of-the-art conservation services laboratory.
The DIA’s collection is among the top six in the United States, comprising a multicultural and multinational survey of human creativity from prehistory through the 21st century. The foundation was laid by William Valentiner which helped acquire many important works that established the framework of today’s collections. Among the notable acquisitions were Mexican artist Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry fresco cycle, which Rivera considered his most successful work, and Vincent Van Gogh’s Self Portrait, the first Van Gogh painting to enter a U.S. museum collection.
DIA features outstanding American, European, Modern and Contemporary, and Graphic art, and also significant works of African, Asian, Native American, Oceanic, Islamic, and Ancient art. Among these are the masterpiece sculpture Nail Figure from Zaire and a rare Korean Head of Buddha.
The collection of American art at the DIA is one of the most impressive due to the fact that works of American artists were collected immediately following the museum’s founding in 1883. Today the collection is a strong survey of American history, with acknowledged masterpieces of painting, sculpture, furniture and decorative arts from the 18th century, 19th century, and 20th century, with contemporary American art in all media also being collected.In addition to the American and European the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts are includes ancient Greek, Roman, Etruscan, Mesopotamian, and Egyptian material, as well as a wide range of Islamic, African and Asian art .