A Note from our CEO

August 22, 2023

Dear Friends, 

I really don’t know why so many non-profits end their fiscal year in June, but it is a common practice and one that our museum follows. As we move into a new fiscal year, it is a good time to take stock of our successes and reflect on the lessons we have learned. More importantly it is a time to express our gratitude to all of you who provided us with the financial and emotional support needed to continue bringing exciting art to Hartford and far beyond.

We are so grateful to you for your dedication to art, creativity, and our community. Public support through donations and museum memberships are the Wadsworth’s primary means of support, quite frankly it is how we pay our bills. We simply could not do all that we do without your support — thank you.

Picasso’s War

We have had quite a few new visitors at the museum because of the bestselling book Picasso’s War, How Modern Art Came to America by Hugh Eakin. It features a chapter on the Wadsworth as we were the first American museum to present a retrospective of Picasso’s work, even before the groundbreaking exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. By coincidence, we have completely restaged our modern collection, re-telling the story of modern art and putting significant works from our American collection in dialogue with their European counterparts. Four of the five Picassos in our collection are on display, (one is currently on loan to the Cincinnati Art Museum) as are other important works of the movement that we have not had on view in years.

Always Something New to See

We have made a lot of changes to our galleries recently under the leadership of our director, Matthew Hargraves, and over the course of the next year you will see a lot more as we seek to tell new stories.

There are several new acquisitions on display with more to come in the fall. We have added a significant piece to our Cabinet of Art and Curiosity—a wonderful 18th-century miniature clock by the master jeweler Johann Heinrich Köhler of the Dresden Court. This clock was once part of J. Pierpont Morgan’s collection of European decorative arts, and we are pleased to be able to reunite it with other items from the Morgan collection that make up the foundation of our Cabinet of Art and Curiosity. Morgan’s son donated a significant portion of his father’s impressive collection of European decorative arts to the Wadsworth in honor and memory of his father who grew up in Hartford. We are launching a beautiful new book on the Morgan collection honoring the 40-year tenure of our wonderful curator, Linda Roth — it’s a great visual tour of the collection with stunning photography.

In our European galleries you will now find a significant sculpture of Sainte Genevieve by leading nineteenth-century woman sculptor Félicie de Fauveau. Commissioned by her friend and patron, the Duchesse de Berry, the mother of Henri, Comte de Chambord, claimant to the French Throne, this is the most important sculpture by Fauveau in the United States.

The rotunda outside our café features a newly acquired sculpture, The Mower by Sir Hamo Thornycroft—a key work of the New Sculpture movement in Britain created at the same time as Rodin was working in France. It was Thornycroft’s father who did extensive restoration work on our marble sculpture of Venus by Pietro Francavilla in Avery Court while it was part of the Royal Collection in London. You may notice that this work will be part of some exciting developments in Avery Court as I type — stay tuned!

Summer of Great Cinema

Good news for CT cinephiles — film is back at the Wadsworth! If you haven’t already seen promotions for our Summer of Great Cinema, have a look at the phenomenal line-up of movies showing in our theater through the end of August. A fall and winter season will be announced very soon. There will be popcorn…

Why you need to be a member…

Many of you reading this are already members but all of you are interested in art and culture. Our summer calendar is quite full and looking ahead to the fall, you will want to come to see us often – frankly, that can add up if you are paying general admission. A membership is an investment in the arts and cultural life of Greater Hartford and a personal economy. But most of all, it’s a way to take an active role and support the life of the museum. I hope you will consider it, and that we’ll see you in the galleries soon.



Jeffrey N. Brown
President & CEO
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art

Images (top to bottom, left to right): Visitors looking at Picasso paintings in Highlights of Surrealism & Modernism; Johann Heinrich Köhler, Miniature Clock, c. 1720. Carnelian bust probably 17th century or earlier, Silver-gilt, silver, gemstones, carnelian, polychrome enamel. The Elijah K. and Barbara H. Hubbard Decorative Arts Fund, purchased in honor of Linda H. Roth for forty years of service to the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art; Félicie de Fauveau, Sainte Genevieve (detail), 1841. Carrara marble, partly gilt. Purchased through the gift of James Junius Goodwin; Visitors enjoying a program in the Wadsworth’s theater, located on the lower level of the Avery building.