Amon G. Carter, the man behind the Star-Telegram, loved Western artists Charles Russell and Frederic Remington, much like fellow collector Sid Richardson. When Carter died in 1955, in his will he mandated the creation of a museum, hoping he could provide something to the underprivileged that he had been denied while growing up poor in Crafton, Texas.
Carter’s daughter, Ruth Carter Stevenson, became the driving force behind the museum’s development, commissioning renowned architect Philip Johnson for the project. Johnson created a simple and elegant design with large, two-story windows underneath a portico on the building’s front side.
The museum’s collection started with Carter’s amassed works of Russell and Remington and was aggressively expanded by the museum’s first two directors, Mitchell Wilder and Jan Keene Mulhert. In the 30 years after opening in 1961, the museum acquired paintings such as Georgia O’Keeffe’s Red Cannas and William Merritt Chase’s Idle Hours, as well as important sculptures, books, and, most notably, photography, which has developed into a collection of more than 30,000 prints by nearly 400 photographers.
Today, The Amon Carter Museum has masterworks from the pop art style of Stuart Davis’ Blips and Ifs to William Hartnett’s Attention, Company! Special exhibits often run two at a time; past exhibits include collections of African-American art, watercolors of Fort Worth landmarks, and many photography series. Usually there are around 700 works on display at the museum, and a 160-seat auditorium hosts lectures and other events on a regular basis. Free public tours are offered Thursday through Sunday at 2 pm with no reservation required.