Mia Stories

  • Mia Stories is the museum beyond the walls, outside the frame, at the lively intersection of life and art. From behind-the-scenes buzz to inspiring connections with current events, it’s the museum in conversation.

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Once at Mia: Titian and the fern-filled, plush-curtained heyday of grand unveilings

The painting landed in Minneapolis like a pope: Titian’s The Temptation of Christ, purchased by the Minneapolis Institute of Art in late 1925. A Titian. There were less than a dozen Titians in America at the time. Now we—a 10-year-old museum in a part of the country that was a forested frontier just a couple . . . Keep reading »


“State of the Art” opening-night speaker Sonya Clark on unraveling Confederate flags, the politics of hair, and the relativity of race

Sonya Clark didn’t plan to be ubiquitous in Minnesota. It just happened, one invitation after another, such that she will have artworks in three Twin Cities exhibitions this winter, at the Minnesota Museum of American Art, at All My Relations gallery, and in Mia’s upcoming “State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now” survey of . . . Keep reading »

The Smoker

Once at Mia: Manet, Mr. Dayton, and the inside story of a beloved painting

Édouard Manet’s Le Fumeur (The Smoker) was unveiled at Mia in 1968 by Anthony Clark, then director of the museum. A solitary person with a pipe was sort of a 19th-century meme, and  Manet made various drawings and etchings of his subject, a  comfortably bewhiskered man believed to be his neighbor, that have circulated widely—they’re in the collections of . . . Keep reading »

Four Elements

How the century-old mystery of these Four Elements drawings was solved

They were among the first works to enter Mia’s collection, large-scale female allegories of the Four Elements (from left to right): Air, Water, Fire, and Earth. Mrs. C. J. (Ella) Martin had spotted them at the gallery of Edmund Brooks, a Minneapolis dealer specializing in rare books, and she bought the set expressly to give them to the new museum. . . . Keep reading »

MIA 1; Early Museum History

Once at Mia: Room for wonder

It’s hard to know what these schoolchildren—boys standing, girls on the floor—thought of the Charleston Drawing Room and the adjacent dining room, moved to Mia from one of the finest colonial mansions in Charleston, South Carolina. The period rooms opened in 1931 as a memorial from the Bell family. Judging from the setup and the clothing, this photo was . . . Keep reading »