New Exhibition At McNay Art Museum Honors San Antonio Arts Visionary Robert L. B. Tobin

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Exhibition on View Through April 26, 2020

San Antonio, TX (January 6, 2020)
– The McNay honors the legacy of San Antonio arts advocate Robert Lynn Batts Tobin (1934­­­–2001) in its latest exhibition, Robert L. B. Tobin: Collector, Curator, Visionary, opening Thursday, January 9. This presentation reintroduces Robert L. B. Tobin to new generations of San Antonians through a mix of beloved artworks and theatre designs he acquired expressly to share with the public. Throughout his life, Tobin amassed an eclectic collection of important artworks, theatre arts masterpieces, and books dating from the 15th century through the 21st century, now known as The Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts.

“Robert was truly visionary,” said Richard Aste, McNay Director and CEO. “He saw before so many public and private US collectors the equal value of the theatre arts and fine arts, and he used his influential collecting practice to remove any artistic hierarchies that privileged one over the other.”

Tobin’s lifelong love of art, performance, and artists, was encouraged at an early age by his mother Margaret Batts Tobin. Margaret was an admired civic leader and founding trustee of the McNay since its inception in 1954. In 1984, the Tobin Library Wing, a gift from Margaret to her son, opened at the McNay. It houses objects from Tobin’s unparalleled collection—including more than 12,000 scene and costume designs, sketches, drawings, costumes, maquettes, and rare books.

Robert L. B. Tobin gifted The Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts to the McNay in a series of five bequests between 1984 and, posthumously, 2004. Now, the McNay features two exhibitions annually focused on diverse aspects of the theatre arts.

Robert L. B. Tobin: Collector, Curator, Visionary
welcomes visitors with a replica of the entryway into Tobin’s New York City home, setting the McNay’s stage to tell the story of his hospitality and generosity. Throughout the exhibition, groups of artworks reflect Tobin’s unique creative vision—and encourage viewers to ponder the underlying question, “what is fine art, and what is functional design?”

“Tobin, on his own terms and according to his own vision, collected designs that continue to inspire future generations of theatre makers to this day,” said R. Scott Blackshire,PhD, Curator, Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts. “The McNay is honored to build on his vision and legacy by inviting our community to experience the Collection—and to learn more about theatre arts, perhaps for the first time. Immerse yourself in the world of artworks, theatre designs, rare books, stage models, costumes, and sculptures as Robert L. B. Tobin envisioned.”

Robert L. B. Tobin: Collector, Curator, Visionary 
is organized for the McNay Art Museum by R. Scott Blackshire, PhD, Curator, Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts, and Timothy J. Chagolla Retzloff, Tobin Theatre Arts Fund Assistant Curator, The Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts.

This exhibition is a program of The Tobin Theatre Arts Fund.


About McNay Art Museum

The McNay Art Museum engages a diverse community in the discovery and enjoyment of the visual arts. Built in the 1920s by artist and educator Marion Koogler McNay, the Spanish Colonial Revival residence became the site of Texas’s first modern art museum when it opened in 1954. Today, 200,000 visitors a year enjoy works by modern masters including Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Edward Hopper, Joan Mitchell, Alice Neel, Georgia O’Keeffe, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The 23 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds include sculptures by Robert Indiana, Luis A. Jiménez Jr., George Rickey, Joel Shapiro, and Kiki Smith. The 45,000 square-foot Jane & Arthur Stieren Center for Exhibitions, designed by internationally renowned French architect Jean-Paul Viguier, features three significant exhibitions annually.

For almost 65 years, the McNay has enchanted visitors with its art, architecture, and ambiance. The museum offers rich and varied exhibitions as well as rotating displays in the Main Collection Galleries from the 20,000 works in the collection; more than 45,000 adults, teachers, students, and families take advantage of a variety of education programs and innovative educational resources.

Due to a maintenance issue, the museum will close at 5 p.m. today. Tonight’s Gallery Talk will be rescheduled for a later date. We will return to regular hours tomorrow.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and look forward to welcoming you soon.