Texas Tech Museum Hosts Exhibition of the Art and Collections of Anthony Quinn

While Anthony Quinn is best known as an actor, he also was a skilled artist and a prolific art collector. A traveling exhibition of the actor’s own art and selected works from his collection will open at the Museum of Texas Tech University on June 22.


[EDITOR’S NOTE: For more information on the exhibition and images, go to http://www.depts.ttu.edu/communications/Quinn/quinn-exhibit.php]

While Anthony Quinn is best known as an actor, he also was a skilled artist and a prolific art collector. A traveling exhibition of the actor’s own art and selected works from his collection will open at the Museum of Texas Tech University on June 22.

The exhibition, "Anthony Quinn: A Lifetime of Creating and Collecting Art," runs through Nov. 30 and is free and open to the public.

"This art collection is as complex and sophisticated as Anthony Quinn. At the same time it reflects the honesty and sincerity of the person behind the image on the silver screen," said Gary Edson, museum executive director. "My favorite Quinn movie is the 1954 film "La Strada" directed by Federico Fellini. The Quinn character, Zampano, with all his faults is a compelling character that disguises self-doubt with bluster and cruelty. I do not suggest that those were elements of Quinn’s life, rather that he had the intuitive insight to capture those conflicting qualities in his portrayal of the chain-breaking bully who ends the film in an outpouring of remorse. The Quinn art collection draws upon all the emotions. It is a gathering of objects that appealed to the actor’s sense of beauty and reason. When the parts and pieces are placed in the proper order, an image that is more than Anthony Quinn the actor and artist appears."

Quinn’s collection contains more than 3,000 works from around the world. From his immense collection, 100 pieces have been selected for the traveling exhibition. The collection ranges from his own paintings and sculpture to artists such as Renoir and Matisse, to African art and found objects he regarded as appealing.

"Mr. Quinn traveled all over the world and enjoyed going to places not everyone went to buy art," said Benjamin Bergenholtz, curator of the Anthony Quinn Trust. "He had very progressive tastes and the exhibit reflects that."

Quinn began collecting African art at an early age. The exhibition features 18th century ancestor masks and works by South African artists involved in the anti-apartheid movement of the 1970s and 1980s.

Religion played an important part in Quinn’s life and that too is reflected in his art and in this the exhibition.

Quinn also embraced the post-World War II and contemporary works of European artists such as Karel Appel, Jean Jansem, Henry Moore and Alexander Archipenko.

His own Mexican ancestry played a role in his art. Quinn was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, in 1915, during the Mexican Revolution. His half-Irish father Francisco and Mexican-Indian mother Manuela were supporters of Pancho Villa.

"Mr. Quinn saw beauty in everything," said Bergenholtz. "The exhibit is a good cross-section of his collection. I believe that those viewing the exhibit will walk away understanding that one doesn’t have to be rich to have art in your home or to enjoy art. Anthony Quinn came from a very poor background, but he always loved art, always collected art. The heart of the matter is that art is everywhere."

Quinn, who died in 2001 at the age of 86, appeared in more than 200 films and won two Oscars.

For more information about the exhibition and to see a sampling of the art, go to www.museum.ttu.edu. The Museum of Texas Tech University is located at 4th Street and Indiana Avenue, on the university campus. Museum hours are 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, until 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, and 1-5 p.m. on Sunday. The Museum is closed on Monday. For more information contact David Dean, director of information services, at (806) 742-2442, or e-mail museum.texastech@ttu.edu.