May Director’s Message
Our thanks to the thousands who visited the museum last weekend for this year’s installation of Fine Art & Flowers. Once again the museum’s Women’s Committee orchestrated this enthusiastic welcome to spring.
When a rare opportunity to bring a masterpiece to the Wadsworth presented itself, work began here with the hopes of connecting our community with a singular work of art. Giorgione’s painting known as La Vecchia (The Old Woman) arrives May 15. Installed in a newly renovated space on the second floor of the Avery building through August 4, this recently conserved loan from the Gallerie dell’Accademia di Venezia, is coming thanks to the Foundation for Italian Arts and Culture (FIAC). An allegory and hyperrealistic portrait, La Vecchia is a reminder of the inevitability of aging and the fleeting nature of life. Along with the Wadsworth’s important Italian Renaissance paintings by Sebastiano del Piombo, Tintoretto, and Jacopo Bassano, visiting the Giorgione is an occasion to learn about Venice circa 1500 where the artist thrived.
The Giorgione is the first of three examinations of portraiture this summer followed by Tom Burr / MATRIX 182 (June 6-September 8) and Be Seen: Portrait Photography Since Stonewall (June 22-September 15). Tom Burr’s MATRIX exhibition of sculptural portraits are unlike Giorgione’s naturalistic portrayal of age. Rather than a one-to-one likeness, Burr presents us with larger-than-life figures from queer history and modernism reduced to plywood. A celebration of the accomplishments of portrait photographers in the 50 years since Stonewall, Be Seen takes a contemporary view of portraiture and how people can be captured with new detail by a camera. Each of these exhibitions speak to their time, yet hold lasting messages still relevant today.
On International Museum Day, Saturday, May 18 we celebrate our shared experience through art with a variety of free programs. Along with art museum colleagues across America and the thousands of members of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) worldwide, the Wadsworth participates with a day full of tours in multiple languages, a gallery talk discussing Yayoi Kusama’s Pumpkin (2018), and performances of world music. If it has been a while since your last visit, this is a great day to reconnect with the Wadsworth.
The strong response to our annual appeal along with recurring support from our corporate sponsors ensures we are well equipped to ignite curiosity and connect our community with the visual arts. Thank you to the Travelers Foundation, Lincoln Financial Foundation, The Hartford, and Ensworth Charitable Foundation for the recent contributions of incredible consequence to benefit the education programs that serve so many in our city, state, region, and beyond.
Thomas J. Loughman
Image: Giorgione (c. 1477/78-c. 1510), La Vecchia, 1502-08. Oil on canvas, 26 3/4 x 23 1/4 in. (68 x 59 cm), Gallerie dell’Accademia, cat. 272, © G.A. VE Photo Archive, Courtesy of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities-Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice.