Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art was founded in 1842 by Daniel Wadsworth, one of the first major American art patrons. The museum’s collections of nearly 50,000 works of art span 5,000 years and feature the Morgan collection of Greek and Roman antiquities and European decorative arts; world-renowned baroque and surrealist paintings; an unsurpassed collection of Hudson River School landscapes; European and American Impressionist paintings; modernist masterpieces; the Serge Lifar collection of Ballets Russes drawings and costumes; the George A. Gay collection of prints; the Wallace Nutting collection of American colonial furniture and decorative arts; the Samuel Colt firearms collection; costumes and textiles; African American art and artifacts; and contemporary art.
Wadsworth Atheneum, 1844. Ithiel Town and Alexander Jackson Davis, Architects.
Daniel Wadsworth originally planned to establish a “Gallery of Fine Arts,” but he was persuaded to create an atheneum, a term popular in the 19th century used to describe a cultural institution with a library, works of art and artifacts, devoted to learning history, literature, art, and science.
The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art is the oldest continuously-operating public art museum in the United States.
Morgan Memorial Building, 1915. Benjamin Wistar Morris, Architect.
The Morgan Memorial Building—the first Beaux-arts museum building in the U.S.—is the largest of the five interconnected buildings of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. The building spans 35,961 square feet. In 1907 renowned financier J. Pierpont Morgan proposed building the Morgan Memorial in honor of his father, and pledged $500,000 for construction. Benjamin Wistar Morris, who also designed the adjoining Colt Memorial, was selected as architect and the final price tag for the Morgan Memorial was $750,000.
The Morgan Memorial Building, fully opened to the public in 1915, provided exhibition space for the Wadsworth Atheneum’s growing fine arts collection. In 1917, J.P. Morgan, Jr., presented the Wadsworth Atheneum—per his father’s will—with more than 1,300 objects from J. Pierpont Morgan’s collection of decorative arts, many of which have been on view in the building over the years.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ GALLERIES ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Morgan 1: European Galleries
Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, The Building of the Trojan Horse, c. 1773-74, Oil on canvas, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund, 1950.658
Morgan 2: Baroque Art to 1900
Cabinet of Art & Curiosities
Jeremias Ritter, Nautilus Snail, c. 1630, Nautilus shell and silver-gilt, figurine, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917.260
Avery 1: European & American Art, 1900 – 1945
/ Contemporary Art
Avery 2: American Decorative Arts, 1600s to 1865
Eliphalet Chapin, High Chest, 1775-85, Cherry and pine, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Gift of Society for Savings, 1993.52
Eero Saarinen, Manufactured by, Knoll International, a division of Knoll, Inc. Womb Chair and Ottoman, c. 1961-74, Plastic, foam rubber, wool fabric, and chrome-plated metal, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Koopman and Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Schiro, 1976.93
Stanford White, Settee, c. 1886, Wood, gilding, and silk, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Gift of the Estate of Anne Wells Cheney through Clifford D. Cheney, 1944.339.
Avery 3: American Art — 1700s / 1950
Wadsworth 1: Post War & Contemporary Art Galleries
Huntingon Gallery, featuring the Wadsworth Atheneum’s Post-War Art collection
Mark Rothko (American, born Latvia, 1903-1970) Untitled, 1949. Oil on canvas. Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Gift of Tony Smith, 1967.16
Images & copy courtesy of Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
600 Main Street Hartford CT, 06103
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