KERA radio story:
JEROME WEEKS: In addition to real estate, the late Trammell Crow acquired a vast collection of Asian art.
Yet it became the source for one of the smallest though highly prized museums in Texas, the Trammell and Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art.
Crow developed his love for Asian treasures from his business dealings in the Far East. He and his wife, Margaret, visited China in 1976 – their first of 14 visits. Amy Hofland, director of the museum, says that Trammell Crow began by collecting jade. Then his interest expanded to almost anything Asian that spoke to him.
HOFLAND: “It was a relationship we hear about often with collectors. It was passionate, it was driven. He collected tiny pieces of jade that would fit into your pocket and large architectural forms that grace our galleries today. So he was whimsical about his collection and incredibly determined.”
Crow collected more than six thousand pieces from China, Japan, India and Southeast Asia. The artworks originally graced the family’s ranch, office buildings and the Anatole Hotel. To display some 560 or so of the best works, the Crow family adapted two pavilions behind the Trammell Crow Center in the Arts District.
The Crow Collection of Asian Art opened in 1998. It has been called ‘a jewel box of a museum.’ It has only 10,000 square feet of galleries. That’s not even one-fifth the size of the Nasher Sculpture Center, the other small museum in the Arts District.
HOFLAND: “But the spaces work well in that our focus is on small, pocket exhibitions. We like to take people on a journey but not a long one.”
It’s a journey anyone can take. The museum shares Trammell Crow’s love of Asian art by being free of charge.
Photo: Crow Collection