Nasher Sculpture Center

Nasher Sculpture Center

“We felt strongly that it had to be art that we wanted to live with, so the works really had to become members of the family. It wasn’t a question of the quality of the work or the formal considerations about art in general, but what it meant to us. Each piece has a story behind it.”
- Raymond Nasher



To be an international focal point and catalyst for the study, installation, conservation and appreciation of modern and contemporary sculpture.

Open since 2003 and located in the heart of the Dallas Arts District, the Nasher Sculpture Center is home to one of the finest collections of modern and contemporary sculptures in the world, the Raymond and Patsy Nasher Collection, featuring more than 300 masterpieces by Calder, de Kooning, di Suvero, Giacometti, Hepworth, Kelly, Matisse, Miró, Moore, Picasso, Rodin, Serra and more. The longtime dream of the late Raymond and Patsy Nasher, the museum was designed by world-renowned architect Renzo Piano in collaboration with landscape architect Peter Walker. The Nasher Sculpture Center presents rotating exhibitions of works from the Nasher family collection as well as special exhibitions drawn from other museums and private collections. In addition to indoor gallery space, the museum contains an auditorium, education and research facilities, a cafe and a store.

The Nasher Sculpture Center is committed to creating an inclusive and thoughtful environment that embodies the interrelated ideals of diversity, equity, access, and inclusion.



The birth and growth of the Raymond and Patsy Nasher Collection started more than 50 years ago. In 1950, the Nashers traveled to Mexico, where they became interested in pre-Columbian art and bought the first works in what would become a sizable collection of objects from ancient Latin America. They soon bought other ethnographic and archaeological works and also acquired a number of important American modernist paintings and prints. Mr. Nasher often credits this early involvement with pre-Columbian and other tribal arts as having whetted the Nashers’ appetite for, and appreciation of, modern three-dimensional works.

By the late-1960s, the Nashers had made their first significant acquisitions of modern sculpture. These included Jean Arp’s Torso with Buds (1961), two major bronzes by Henry Moore, Three Piece No. 3: Vertebrae (1968) and Two Piece Reclining Figure No.9 (1968, no longer in the Collection), and Barbara Hepworth’s large and powerful Squares with Two Circles (Monolith) (1963, cast 1964). In rapid succession, they went on to acquire works by, among others, Joan Miró, Alexander Calder and Isamu Noguchi.

These works set a high standard for acquisitions to follow and excited them about the prospect of surrounding themselves with great art in their home. Mr. Nasher liked the idea that he might use sculptures to enliven spaces in his commercial real estate developments and eventually began to rotate groups of works through his highly successful NorthPark Center. The Nashers' guiding principle for acquisitions was simple: the works had to move them personally.

During the 1980s, the collection grew at an accelerating pace. Outstanding works by many of the great masters of modern sculpture were added. Simultaneously, the Nashers became more deeply involved with work by living artists, exhibiting an eclectic and adventuresome taste that embraced diverse and sometimes challenging objects. Some of the first major acquisitions in this area include Claes Oldenburg’s Pile of Typewriter Erasers (1970-74), Richard Serra’s Inverted House of Cards (1969-70), Donald Judd’s Untitled (1976), and Roy Lichtenstein’s Double Glass (1979). Works by younger artists such as Anish Kapoor, Richard Deacon, Jeff Koons, Scott Burton, and Martin Puryear soon followed.

By 1987, the Nasher Collection had gained international recognition and was one of the first exhibitions in the Dallas Museum of Art’s new downtown building. The Collection was subsequently presented in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain; the Forte di Belvedere, Florence, Italy; and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel.

In October 1996, the collection was exhibited in A Century of Sculpture: The Nasher Collection at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City in February 1997.

Surveyed as a whole, the Nasher Collection demonstrates considerable balance between early modern works and art of the postwar period, abstraction and figuration, monumental outdoor and more intimately scaled indoor works, and the many different materials used in the production of modern art. Perhaps its single most distinguishing feature, however, is the depth with which it represents certain key artists, including Matisse (with nine sculptures), Picasso (seven), Smith (seven), Medardo Rosso (seven), Moore (seven), Miró (four), and Giacometti (10). Such well-rounded perspectives on the development of these masters provide, in effect, a series of mini-retrospectives within the Collection’s overall historical spectrum.


The Building

The main floor of the 55,000-square-foot building is divided into five pavilions. Walls are clad in two-inch thick slabs of Italian travertine, entirely concealing the facility’s environmental and security systems and providing a quiet setting for the presentation of sculpture. The facades at each end are clear glass, allowing the pavilions to visually extend into the garden and creating a seamless continuity between the museum’s indoor and outdoor spaces.

A unique barrel-vaulted glass ceiling is suspended above the galleries, atop narrow steel ribs and supported by thin, stainless steel rods. An innovative cast aluminum sunscreen, specifically designed for the museum, floats above the roof and allows controlled natural light to filter into the galleries, providing the optimum illumination for viewing sculpture.

The three central pavilions on the main floor serve as galleries, while the outer two accommodate offices and public space, including a store and cafe.

The lower level includes a smaller gallery for the display of light-sensitive works, a conservation lab, educational and research facilities and an auditorium that opens to a terraced garden.


The Garden

In addition to the indoor galleries, the one-and-a-half-acre sculpture garden features approximately 25 large-scale sculptures.

The gently sloping garden enclosed by travertine-clad walls provides an oasis of art and nature in the midst of the vibrant urban core.

A variety of mature foliage, including magnolias, cedar elms, live oaks, crepe myrtles, willows and holly, defines intimate viewing spaces and creates “outdoor rooms” intended for quiet reflection and contemplation of the featured works.


Renzo Piano

Winner of the Pritzker Prize for Architecture in 1998, Renzo Piano has designed several critically acclaimed art museums; foremost among them are the Beyeler Museum in Basel, the Menil Collection in Houston and Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris (in collaboration with Richard Rogers). He has been praised as an architect who has the genius to meld art, architecture and advanced engineering to create some of the most remarkable museums in the world.

Beyond his work on art museums, Piano is noted for his design of the Kansai International Air Terminal in Osaka, Japan; the Museum of Science and Technology in Amsterdam; and a cultural center in Nouméa, New Caledonia. Piano contributed to the dramatic restoration of Berlin’s Potsdamer Platz, both as master planner and architect.

Piano has also worked on the rehabilitation of historic buildings, including the Lingotto Factory renovation in Turin, Italy, and the revitalization of the Old Harbor in Genoa, Italy, among many others.

In addition to his design for the Nasher Sculpture Center, Mr. Piano’s recent projects include expansions of the Art Institute of Chicago, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; new facilities for the Morgan Library in New York City; The California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, California; The New York Times building in New York City; and a master plan for Columbia University.

Visit Renzo Piano Building Workshop


Peter Walker

With a career spanning more than four decades, Peter Walker has made a significant impact on the field of landscape architecture. The scope of Mr. Walker’s landscape projects is expansive and varied – ranging from gardens to cities and corporate headquarters to academic campuses. Regardless of geography or environment, his designs shape the landscape in a variety of stylistic and cultural inflections, always putting clarity and modernity of vision in the service of specific site requirements.

Mr. Walker designed the landscapes at the World Trade Center Memorial in New York; Federal Triangle in Washington, D.C. (with I.M. Pei Architects); Disney City in Orlando, Florida; the Sony Center Berlin (with Murphy/Jahn Architects); and the Toyota Municipal Museum of Art in Toyota City, Japan. He also designed the Tanner Fountain at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Library Walk at the University of California at San Diego, and a landscape development plan and enhancement project for the campus of The University of Texas at Dallas.

Mr. Walker is also an instructor and has served as chairman of the Landscape Architecture Department at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and at the University of California at Berkeley.

Visit Peter Walker & Partners

Nasher Sculpture Center
2001 Flora Street
Dallas, Texas 75201
Stay Connected

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.