Symposium | Morgan: Mind of the Collector

November 10, 2017 – November 11, 2017 all-day

J. Pierpont Morgan (1837–1913) spent over 20 years traveling the globe gathering the largest collection of art and cultural artifacts of his time. Estimated to have exceeded 20,000 works of art, Morgan’s collections represent a broad historical, artistic and geographic range. Acting on his father’s wishes, Morgan’s son donated more than 1,350 works collected by his father to the Wadsworth Atheneum in his native Hartford.

In fall 2017, the museum will mark the centennial anniversary of Morgan’s extraordinary gift and its historical impact with an exhibition, Morgan: Mind of the Collector. The Wadsworth Atheneum will host an international symposium in conjunction with the exhibition to examine and showcase the latest research about Morgan’s collection and how he shaped the identity of the collector in the modern age.


Wadsworth Atheneum Members/Students $45
Non-Members $60
Includes lunch, coffee, and receptions

Click here to register online. Questions may be directed to

Hotel Discounts are available for the attendees of the conference at the Hartford Marriott Downtown, 200 Columbus Blvd. Hartford, CT 06103, phone number 860-249-8000.


Friday, November 10
12:00–1:00: Welcome and Registration

 1:00: Welcome, Tom Loughman, Director, Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford

1:15–1:45: Introduction: Neil Harris, University of Chicago
“Morgan the Collector”

 1:45: Session 1: Morgan and the Biblical Lands (chair, Steven Tinney, University of Pennsylvania)

1:45–2:15: Yelena Rakic, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
“Discovering the Ancient Near East”

 2:15–2:45: Lyle Humphrey, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh
“Morgan in Egypt”

 2:45–3:15: John Bidwell, Morgan Library & Museum, New York
“Morgan’s Bibles”

3:15–3:30: Discussion

3:30–3:45: Break

 3:45: Session 2: The Romance of History (chair, Christine Brennan, Metropolitan Museum of Art)

3:45–4:15: Christine Brennan, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
“Was it ‘the great feature of his collecting?’ Morgan and Medieval Art”

4:15–4:45: Roger Wieck, Morgan Library & Museum, New York
“Morgan and Manuscripts”

 4:45–5:15: Discussion

5:15: Exhibition Viewing and Reception


Saturday, November 11
10:00: Session 3: Building a Beautiful Life (chair, Colin Bailey, Director, Morgan Library & Museum)

10:00–10:30: Wolfram Koeppe, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
“Creating a Treasury: Morgan’s obsession with precious objects”

10:30–11:00: Linda Roth, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford
“Mr. Morgan’s London House”

 11:00–11:30: Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
“J. Pierpont Morgan’s ‘Artistic House’ at 219 Madison Avenue”

 11:30–11:50: Discussion

12:00–1:00 Lunch

1:00: Session 4: The Politics of Collecting: The Global Network (chair, Inge Reist, Center for the History of Collecting at the Frick)

1:00–1:30: Catherine Scallen, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland
“Turning to the Experts”

 1:30–2:00: Jennifer Tonkovich, Morgan Library & Museum, New York
“Morgan before the Old Masters: Collecting Paintings 1870-1890”

 2:00–2:30: Barbara Pezzini, National Gallery, London
“Morgan and Agnew’s: the business and pleasure of collecting British paintings”

 2:30–3:00 Discussion

3:00–3:15 Break

3:15: Session 5: Crafting a Legacy (chair, Jennifer Tonkovich, Morgan Library & Museum, New York)

3:15–3:45: Charlotte Vignon, Frick Collection, New York
“Morgan and The Duveen Brothers: the impact of an exceptional collector on exceptional dealers”

 3:45–4:15: Jo Briggs, Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore
“Morgan and His Fellow American Collectors”

 4:15–5:00: Discussion and Concluding Remarks

5:00–7:00: Reception and Exhibition Viewing



The symposium Morgan: Mind of the Collector is generously funded by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.