When oil baron Algur Meadows (1899–1978) headed to Spain in search of black gold, he came up short. But he didn't come home empty-handed. Having fallen in love with Spanish art, Meadows went on a buying spree and collected what many consider to be the best collection of Spanish art outside of Spain. In his own words, it was to be a "Prado on the prairie."

The museum had a shaky start because it turned out Meadows had been taken quite a bit. But today, the fakes have been culled from the collection and now it's a parade of great Spanish masters, several of whom have multiple entries (the collection has 6 paintings by Goya). Among the "Mona Lisas" here are Ribera's Retrato de un Caballero de Santiago and Goya's El Corral de los Locos. The collection also features works from Picasso, Dali, Miro, Velazquez, and Zubaran.

All are hung salon-style (walls are crowded with art from ceiling to near the floor) in a hushed, neo-classical yet modern building on the campus of SMU. Art afficionados will find it all so much catnip, but those who need to be coaxed a bit in museums may be dismayed by the terse wall text and the overwhelming number of paintings on display.

In addition to its permanent collection, the Meadows has forged a partnership with the Prado which often loans pieces to this smaller collection. So you never know exactly what will be on view when you visit.