I am a native Denverite and have a few scattered memories of the Denver Art Museum from my childhood. One of the earliest was from a visit with my mother when I was in the first grade in 1987. Only one thing has remained with me from that visit: the towering totem poles in the American Indian art's Northwest Coast gallery. Their size and intricacy is impressive to me still, but as a child they were gargantuan. I remember wondering how they were ever installed.
In 1990, I came with my grandmother and a family friend. What I remember from that visit is more of an incident than an artwork. There was a 17th-century textile on the Asian art floor, and I remember my grandmother reaching to touch it. Luckily there was a docent nearby. She reprimanded her, and I scolded her as well.
Years later in 2001, I came with my brother to see European Masterpieces: Six Centuries of Paintings from the National Gallery of Victoria. I was struck by a John William Waterhouse painting called Ulysses and the Sirens. This had been several years before I read Homer, but I was familiar with the general plot of The Odyssey. In the painting, Ulysses was strapped to the mast of a boat as six falcon-women hover about him singing. This was the first Waterhouse piece I saw and he has subsequently become one of my favorite artists.
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Image: The DAM's Northwest Coast art gallery on level two of the North Building features both historic and contemporary monumental totem poles.