Decades: Looking Back/Moving Forward, 1920 – 1939

Posted on: November 2nd, 2023


Looking Back/Moving Forward

1920 – 1939
December 15, 2023 – April 27, 2024

As we look forward to celebrating MMofA’s sixtieth anniversary in October 2024, we are launching an innovative series of exhibitions that will immerse our members and visitors in the art, history, and innovations of the decades leading up to the sixties. This trip through time is scheduled in experiential exhibitions of two decades each, and the second, 1920 – 1939, will open on December 15th.

The 1920s and 30s were a time of explosive change. The population of the United States increased significantly, and urban cities grew. The methods and means of transportation changed, and cars zoomed along the streets. Manufacturing helped make everyday items — like washing machines, vacuum cleaners, refrigerators, and cars — affordable for households. Women’s role in society, as well as fashion, changed dramatically, and cultural and artistic movements flourished. It was a time of boom and bust.

Visitors shouldn’t worry if they can’t remember their history lessons from the early twentieth century because we will have timelines on our walls tracing monumental events and what was happening in the art world at the same time.

The exhibition features artists such as Lamar Baker, Saul Berman, Fred Emanuel Shane, and Grant Wood along with historic dresses and accessories from the History Museum of Mobile’s collection. Historic photographs throughout the gallery have been generously provided by the Historic Mobile Preservation Society (HMPS) and the Doy Leale McCall Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of South Alabama.

This Decades installation, as well as the exhibitions that precede and follow this iteration (all leading up to the extravaganza of the 60th anniversary!), will recreate what it was like to be alive then, not only experiencing political and historical events but navigating the personal lives of work, home, family, and leisure as well.

Support for this exhibition is provided by:

The J.L. Bedsole Foundation
City of Mobile
Alabama State Council on the Arts
National Endowment for the Arts


Posted on: August 28th, 2023


July 28, 2023 — ongoing

ART IN FOCUS features works from a variety of mediums and themes. The six galleries focus on: Mississippi’s first true modern artist, Dusti Bongé; American Prints; American Glass; the world of Still Lifes; Childhood; and our faithful friends and companions, Pets! The installations include works by notable figures in the history of art and design, as well as lesser-known artists. Many traditional and unique works fill these galleries designed to excite and stimulate your creativity. Just a few of the artists in these exhibitions are Walter Cade III, Betty Sue Matthews, Joe Price, Mark Rothko, Tut Altman Riddick, John Paul Thomas, Sabrina Knowles, Bruce Larsen, Walter Inglis Anderson, Raymond Creekmore, and Karel Appel.

Plan your visit to see ART IN FOCUS in MMofA’s Katharine C. Cochrane Gallery.



Contemporary Alabama

Posted on: June 6th, 2023

Contemporary Alabama

June 6, 2023 – ongoing

The selection of work in this exhibition opens a small window into the world of the visual arts in Alabama. The artists included here have either been born or have lived in the state. They represent different movements and used varying methods and materials to create paintings, drawings, sculpture, glass, ceramics, jewelry, and furniture. The work shown spans from the 1950s to today and is a mere glimpse of the many talented artists associated with our state.

Support for this exhibition provided by:

City of Mobile
Alabama State Council on the Arts
National Endowment for the Arts


E.O. WILSON: A Photographic Tribute by Alex Harris

Posted on: August 22nd, 2022

E.O. Wilson
A Photographic Tribute by Alex Harris

October 7, 2022 — present

Duke University professor and photographer Alex Harris approached famed naturalist and scientist, Edward O. Wilson, after reading Wilson’s evocation of his Southern childhood in The Naturalist and Anthill. Following their meeting, Harris and Wilson collaborated on a book about Wilson’s native world of Mobile, Alabama. The photographer and the naturalist joined forces to capture the rhythms of this storied Alabama Gulf region through Wilson’s lyrical words and Harris’s photographic images capturing the mood of Mobile’s radical transformation city as it adapted to the twenty-first century. Their book became a universal story, one that tells us where we all come from and why we are here, and was titled “Why We Are Here: Mobile and the Spirit of a Southern City,” followed by an exhibition of the same title in 2012, presented at the Mobile Museum of Art.

Ten years after that first exhibition, a selection of Harris’s photographs and Wilson’s evocative quotations are presented once again in a tribute exhibition and program celebrating the work and life of E.O. Wilson (1929-2021).

E.O. Wilson Day in Mobile, introduced by Mobile writer and filmmaker, Ben Raines, will be presented at the Mobile Museum of Art on Friday, October 7, 2022, 5 – 7:30 pm; the program of speakers and filmed selections will be followed by a reception and exhibition opening in the museum gallery.

This program is sponsored by The Carolyn W. Saunders Foundation, with additional support from the following partnering organizations:

Alabama Coastal Foundation, Alabama School of Math and Science, The Audubon Society, City of Mobile, Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Downtown Alliance, E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation, GulfQuest National Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico, The Longleaf Alliance, Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, Mobile Botanical Gardens, Mobile Bay National Estuary Program, Mobile Baykeeper, Mobile County, Mobile Museum of Art, The Nature Conservancy of Alabama, Scenic98Coastal, Seamen’s Foundation, The Sierra Club, South Alabama Land Trust, University of South Alabama Biology Department

PASSION FOR COLLECTING: The Schoenknecht – Paul Collection

Posted on: August 12th, 2020

Passion for Collecting

The Schoenknecht-Paul Collection
donated to the Mobile Museum of Art
August 12, 2020 – Ongoing

Charles (Chuck) Schoenknecht and Ward Paul met in college fifty years ago and have been amassing works on paper, postcards, photographs, costume jewelry, coins, books, silver tableware, paintings, glass, and ceramics ever since. One of Paul’s personal goals – which he accomplished – was to collect a representative ceramic from every commercial producer in America from the late 19th century to the 1950s. This exhibition features some of those pieces, as well as European works in styles of the times.

Dr. Paul Richelson
1939 – 2020
In Memoriam

European Art: 17th – 19th Centuries

Posted on: July 23rd, 2020

European Art

From the Permanent Collection
17 – 19th Centuries

In Pursuit of Beauty

Rich color, paint translated into lace, light, and water, bucolic pastures and delicate china—this selection of Western European 18th and 19th century work from our permanent collection is made of these.

The artists who created these pieces were intent on astonishing their affluent patrons with tour de force technique, brilliant composition, and romantic subject matter.

Beauty was pursued in earnest. Photography, Realism, Expressionism, Abstractionism—all were yet to come. This elegant, gentrified world was not to be disturbed.

– Melissa Mutert, Curator

Ann B. Hearin Gallery

Posted on: November 12th, 2013

We are currently gathering information for our online galleries. Please check back soon.

Smith Gallery

Posted on: November 12th, 2013

We are currently gathering information for our online galleries. Please check back soon.

Asian Art – Mary and Charles Rodning Gallery

Posted on: November 12th, 2013


Mobile has a long tradition of connections with Asia. Not only did Asian goods pass through its port, the azaleas and camellias that flourish in the Azalea City (Mobile) originally came from China and Japan. In the late 19th and early 20th century many travelers, particularly Christian missionaries, made their way to and from the Far East from Mobile.

Perhaps the most famous Mobile resident with ties to Asian Art was the man who actually was responsible for the scholarly American interest in Chinese and Japanese art, Massachusetts born-Harvard educated, Ernest Fenollosa (1853-1908). For a few years after 1900 he lived in Spring Hill, with his second wife, author Mary McNeil Scott, not far from the Museum. Together they created a Japanese garden, now lost, but the currently expanding Charles Wood Japanese Garden is in-part a tribute to him. His posthumous 2 volume “Epochs of Chinese and Japanese Art” (1912) represents the first serious study of Asian art.

Sources for Asian art are many and varied. Early Chinese art such as the bronzes and ceramics were buried as grave goods to accompany the deceased in the afterlife, a continuity of ritual and daily life. The wall paintings (frescoes) and hanging scrolls and sculptures come from sanctuaries, temples, and private home altars where they were part of Buddhist worship. For the rulers and well placed individuals in the courts, exquisitely crafted bronzes, ceramics, enamels, and textiles were created and inherited. Functionality was important, but sometimes they were just beautiful objects. And for hundreds of years there have been collectors who privately displayed and enjoyed these works, usually very selectively, not en masse as is the contemporary fashion. The many appreciative foreign travelers of the last 150 years have brought them to the West.

Our collection has been built mainly through gifts, with a few purchases. Of particular significance is the recent gift of the David and Inger Duberman Collection of Chinese Cloisonné from the 16th – 19th centuries, much of which is included in this exhibition. Formed over many years of travel and diplomatic postings, David and Inger wanted this lifetime’s effort of collecting to find a new home in Mobile’s art museum.