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Miniature works of art on view at the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City
England. Teapot (detail), ca. 1765. Earthenware with lead glaze. H: 5 1/2 inches. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Right: Lynne Collins. Whieldon Ware Cauliflower Tea Pot, ca. 1983. Earthenware. H: 7/16 inch. The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures. Photo by John Lamberton.

KANSAS CITY, MO.- Miniatures have captured human imagination for centuries, and now a selection of room settings, ceramics, furniture and silver has been sprinkled throughout The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. The miniatures are on loan from The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures, T/m, in Kansas City while it undergoes renovation.

“This is such a great collaboration and we are happy to support our neighbors at The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures while their building is being renovated,” said Julián Zugazagoitia, Menefee D. and Mary Louise Blackwell CEO & Director of the Nelson-Atkins. “People have always been fascinated with miniatures. This is a fun exhibition that will spark a dialogue between our celebrated collection and their miniature sisters. It is also an homage to T/m’s founders, Mary Harris Francis and Barbara Marshall, who shared a passion for miniatures and our city.”

Highlights from the Collection of The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures is on view in the Atkins Lobby, the European galleries P11 and P21 and the American galleries 212 and 211. Some of the miniatures on view are replicas of works in the permanent collection of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. All are masterful examples of the art of miniaturization.

“Many people don’t know that contemporary miniatures are amazing works of art,” said Karin Jones, Assistant Curator, Architecture, Design and Decorative Arts. “The artists spend hours studying original, full scale works of art. It can take months, or even years, to create one of these tiny, detailed objects.”

Artists such as Obadiah Fisher, Kevin Mulvany, Susie Rogers and William R. Robertson visit museum collections and carefully study originals. The artists often use the same materials as those in the full-size work, but sometimes they must make substitutions or alter details in order to serve the illusion of reality.

A piece of full-size furniture, for example, might be recreated in miniature using pearwood or rosewood, since its tighter grain more closely resembles the wood grain of full-sized works. These precisely-made replicas capture the essence of an object or room, and artists spare no attention to detail in creating them.

“Most of our collection will be in storage for more than a year, so we are ecstatic to have this opportunity to display a few of our miniature masterpieces at the Nelson-Atkins,” said Jamie Berry, Executive Director of The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures. “We hope it whets visitors’ appetites to view the full collection when The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures reopens in the spring of 2015.”

Much of T/m’s collection of more than 46,000 toys was amassed by co-founder Mary Harris Francis, who began collecting dollhouses in the 1970s. Harris partnered with Barbara Marshall to open the museum in 1982. Francis coveted well-loved, antique toys, while Marshall sought fine-scale miniatures, of which the museum now has 21,000. After years of acquiring, they opened the museum in the Tureman mansion on the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus in order to share their passion with the world.

The exhibition will be on view until February 2015.

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