The Detroit Institute of Arts' vast collection has some undeniable visitor favorites. The series of murals entitled Detroit Industry, by Mexican artist Diego Riviera, is 27 panels depicting laborers at the Ford Motor Company. The murals were considered Marxist propaganda by some critics in 1932 and 1933, when they were painted.
Founded in 1885, the Detroit Institute of Arts has been one of the city's top cultural attractions for more than a century. Self Portrait, one of Vincent Van Gogh's most recognizable works, was the first of the artist's paintings to be acquired by a US museum. Van Gogh painted his self portrait during a stay in Paris in the summer of 1887.
With more than 100 galleries spread across 658,000 square feet, the DIA houses one of the nation's top collections of art. The public's fascination with the Titanic makes this 1883 work by Titanic victim Francis David Millet a hit. It's title Reading the Story of Oenone.
The Nightmare – the most famous work by Anglo-Swiss painter Henry Fuseli – depicts both a woman having a nightmare and the contents of her dream as well. Critics at the time considered the painting scandalous due to its overtly sexual themes.
The 1875 painting Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket is perhaps most famous for the controversy surrounding it. Art critic John Ruskin accused the painting by James Abbott McNeill Whistler as being a public insult, which caused a devaluation in Whistler's works. The artist then sued Ruskin for libel, where he won a single farthing that he had to split with the art critic. The trail bankrupted him.
Robert S. Duncanson, the man behind Ellen’s Isle, Loch Katrine, was one of the first African American painters of the 19th century. The oil on canvas work was painted in 1871 and is one of several Duncanson works on display at the Detroit Institute of Arts.
Acquired in 1922, The Window was the first painting by Henri Matisse in a US museum collection. Matisse painted the still life in 1916, and in a letter, he wrote about the painting: ""Through the window of the drawing room one sees the green of the garden and a black tree trunk, a basket of forget-me-nots on the table, a garden chair and a rug."
Fashioned after the Beaux Arts style of European house museums, the building that houses the Detroit Institute of Arts on Woodward Avenue was designed by French-American architect Paul Philippe Cret. Some of his other notable works include the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia and the Duke Ellington Bridge in Washington, DC.
The DIA is in the news due to Detroit's financial woes. Christie's auction house estimates city-bought museum assets between $452 and $866 million in value, precisely why cash-strapped Detroit is seeing its beloved institution with new eyes. Other museum assets - both publicly funded and donated - bring the total asset value much higher.