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The Director

July Director’s Message

Juneteenth at the Wadsworth


Dear Friends,
Summer is finally here! The past few weeks have seen the hallmarks of summer in Connecticut, not least of which was another fabulous Travelers Championship, and at the museum we gathered for Father’s Day Jazz Brunch and the ­Wadsworth’s and The Amistad’s annual family celebration of Juneteenth.
Thank you for coming out to support the Wadsworth as we opened  Be Seen: Portrait Photography Since Stonewall. This major undertaking could not have been possible but for the tremendous history of our arts community and the engagement of a number of community partners. At once, it is a most elegant showcase of the great work of 27 major artists. From another perspective, the show chronicles the quick and innovative use of both photography and portraiture by them as America navigated questions of civil rights and notions of civil society. Our great ambition is that everyone can come to appreciate the artistic accomplishments on view in this show.
Opening of Be Seen: Portrait Photography Since Stonewall
Just in time for the 4th of July holiday, a special installation centered on John Trumbull’s The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776 (1832) anchors a selection of more recent works–from Fritz Scholder to Vito Acconci to Sheila Pree Bright–that offer modern portraits expressing American freedom. Meanwhile, upstairs, we are putting the finishing touches on two extended installations: The Bauhaus Spirit at the Wadsworth Atheneum and Sport and Leisure: Sailing on the Sound. The first commemorates the 100th anniversary of the founding of the legendary art and design school in Germany through furniture, prints, textiles, and paintings by its key artists Albers, Breuer, and Klee. The second reveals the story of Connecticut’s waterways transforming from practical highways of trade into sites of leisure in the 19th century. And back on view in the Morgan Memorial are paintings by Matisse, Picasso, Munch, and other European masters. Stop in and see these wonderfully wide-ranging projects.
Three notable voices from academia are leading programs this month which you may not want to miss. John Paoletti (Emeritus, Weslyan) discusses Giorgione’s La Vecchia on Wednesday, July 10; Classicist Andrew Lear leads a tour of the collection highlighting the queer histories surrounding works of art from antiquity to today on July 13; culinary historian Alexandra Leaf discusses Van Gogh’s works that relate to food as a talk preceding a special dinner featuring dishes from her book Van Gogh’s Table at the Auberge Ravoux on July 26.
Finally, on behalf of our board and staff, a sincere thank you to all who donated to the 2019 annual fund. With your support we are better equipped to meet our community’s future and do so with greater impact.
Enjoy the summer and see you on your next visit to the museum,
Thomas J. Loughman
Director and CEO