A history lesson on The McNay Museum of Modern Art in San Antonio, TX

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Let’s paint a picture — it’s the 1940s and this is your home. | 📸 : @SATXtoday team

Art enthusiasts gather around for a history lesson on one of San Antonio’s most prestigious art institutions — The McNay.

SATX is home to several art museums that serve the local community as hubs for local and international art + splendid architecture.

🖼️ Where it all started

The McNay Museum of Modern Art was founded in 1954 — making it the first modern art museum in Texas.

  • The museum originated from Marion Koogler McNay’s fortune.
  • The avid art collector and philanthropist acquired 700+ works throughout her life.
  • The iconic Spanish Colonial Revival house — which embodies the McNay — was built by San Antonian architects Atlee and Robert Ayres.
  • Marion was heavily involved in the design process of the house, even creating some tilework patterns and ceiling stencils that adorn the estate.

Throughout her life, Marion utilized her power and influence to support Southwestern artists. In 1942, she offered her home to the San Antonio Art Institute to prevent its closure.


The museum has expanded its footprint since 1954 to fit more acquisitions. | 📸 : @SATXtoday team

After Marion’s death in 1950, her house and art collection became what we know today as The McNay with an official opening in 1954.

The museum serves as both an educational place to learn about art history + an idyllic escape from the real world.

If you ever want to get lost among the captivating pieces of art, here are a few things to keep in mind during your visit:

  • Admissions is $20 with various discounts for teens, seniors, college students, military, and infants.
  • Parking is free on property.
  • Be sure to explore the garden grounds where you can find trails, fountains, sculptures + a koi pond.

The featured exhibition, “Donald Moffett + Nature Cult + The McNay,” includes Marion’s first major acquisition — Diego Rivera’s “Delfina Flores.”

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