November 6, 2007 at 1:00 am

It began with an art show

'Meeting of David and Abigail' by Rubens (DIA)

1883 The Art Loan Exhibition, the city's first major art show, opens with almost 5,000 works of art on display for 10 weeks.

1885 A group of wealthy Detroiters founds the Detroit Art Museum.

1888 The Detroit Art Museum opens in a Richardsonian Romanesque building at East Jefferson Avenue and Hastings Street. (The building was demolished in 1960 for the Chrysler Expressway.)

1889 Detroit News founder James E. Scripps donates 70 European paintings, including Rubens' "Meeting of David and Abigail."

1919 The Detroit Art Museum -- renamed the Detroit Institute of Arts -- and its collection are given to the City of Detroit.

1922 The museum acquires an 1887 van Gogh "Self Portrait," the first van Gogh in any American museum.

1924 William R. Valentiner is appointed DIA director, the first professionally trained art historian to lead the museum.

1927 The new DIA building, designed by Paul Philippe Cret, opens on Woodward Avenue.

1930 Valentiner acquires "The Wedding Dance" by Pieter Brueghel the Elder, one of the DIA's prizes.

1932 Mexican muralist (and communist) Diego Rivera paints "Detroit Industry," a two-year mural project that he, and most critics, regarded as his finest work.

1943 Edsel B. Ford, one of the museum's greatest benefactors, dies.

1945 Edgar P. Richardson succeeds Valentiner as director.

1960 The DIA encloses open garden court in the midst of the European galleries with a glass pyramidal roof, creating the Kresge Court.

1962 Willis F. Woods succeeds Richardson as director.

1966 The South Wing, designed by Gunnar Birkerts, opens to house the museum's African galleries. (The North Wing opens in 1971.)

1970 Anna Thompson Dodge bequeaths the museum the 18th-century French contents of her Grosse Pointe music room, now the centerpiece of the new DIA's "Fashionable Living" exhibit.

1973 Frederick J. Cummings succeeds Woods as director.

1976 $1 million from Eleanor Ford establishes the Department of African, Oceanic and New World Cultures.

1985 Samuel Sachs II succeeds Cummings as director.

1991 As part of reductions across state government, Gov. John Engler reduces funding to the DIA by $2.4 million. Annual state support ultimately fell from about $16 million in the late '80s to 955,000 this year.

1998 The museum shifts from being a city of Detroit entity to a nonprofit under the control of its Founders Society.

1999 Graham Beal becomes DIA director, succeeding Samuel Sachs II who left to direct New York's Frick Collection.

2000 The DIA exhibits "Van Gogh: Face to Face," which draws a record 315,000 visitors.

2007 (May) Museum closes to wrap up its renovation and reinstallation.

2007 (November) The DIA completes extensive renovations, and 5,000 works of art are reinstalled in a completely re-themed museum.

You can reach Michael Hodges at (313) 222-6021 or">

Architectural drawing of the Paul Cret design for the DIA building (DIA)
Arts patron Edsel B. Ford and museum director William R. Valentiner in ... (DIA)
Current DIA Director Graham Beal (Donna Terek / The Detroit News)