Gothic to Goth: Romantic Era Fashion & Its Legacy


Gothic to Goth: Romantic Era Fashion & Its Legacy
March 5, 2016–July 10, 2016

Gothic to Goth: Romantic Era Fashion & Its Legacy was the first exhibition to fully explore the Romantic era as a formative period in costume history. Presenting historic garments alongside literary works, paintings, prints, and decorative arts, the exhibition examined how European fashions from the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque eras influenced and inspired new styles created between 1810 and 1860.

1976.33 detailGothic to Goth illustrated how early nineteenth century costume—just like fine and decorative art, architecture, interior design, literature, and music—moved away from the order and rationality of the previous half-century to embrace imagination and emotion, originality and vision, and individuality and subjectivity as guiding principles. The exhibition culminated with a look at recent Goth and Steampunk fashions, revealing their roots in the rich imagination and aesthetic of Romanticism.

Lynne Z. Bassett, Costume and Textile Historian and museum consultant, organized the exhibition.

A 128-page, full-color illustrated catalogue, including an extended essay by Bassett, accompanied the exhibition.




Exhibition Programs:
March 31, 2016 | From Downton to Gatsby: Jewelry & Fashion from 1890-1929
April 1, 2016 | Member Morning: Gothic to Goth
April 27, 2016 | Art Talk: American Gothic
May 11, 2016 | Art Talk: Dark Glamour
May 14, 2016 | Second Saturdays for Families: Steampunk!
May 22, 2016 | Gallery Talk & Sunday Serenades: Romantic Realms
June 30, 2016 | Film: Possession
June 30, 2016 | Gallery Talk: Literary Fashions
July 7, 2016 | Walking Talk: Gothic Revival Architecture in Hartford

Gothic to Goth Tours
Join a docent for a tour of Gothic to Goth: Romantic Era Fashion & Its Legacy Saturdays & Sundays at 2:30 pm from March 5, 2016–July 10, 2016. Tours are free with museum admission and meet by the Museum Shop.

Mobile Tour
Use your smartphone (or borrow an iPod from the Information Desk) to access the museum’s free WiFi and take the Gothic to Goth Mobile Tour. Look for the tour icon on the wall labels, and enter the number to hear new perspectives on selected objects in this exhibition.

Elle Décor, March 2016, Romantic Movement by Mieke Ten Have
Hartford Magazine, March 2016, Wearable Art by Christopher Arnott
Vogue, March 4, A New Exhibition Shows How Fall’s Goth-Fest Has Roots in 19th-Century Romanticism by Laird Borrelli Persson
The Art Newspaper, March 11, A Gothic revival at Wadsworth Atheneum by Victoria Stapely-Brown
The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 13, Short Hops: Nearby road trips and quick getaways
Hartford Courant, March 24, Wadsworth’s ‘Gothic to Goth’ Celebrates Romantic-Era Fashion by Susan Dunne
The Wall Street Journal, April 5, ‘Gothic to Goth: Romantic Era Fashion & Its Legacy’ Review by Laura Jacobs
The New York Times, April 15, Gothic to Goth: Exploring the Impact of the Romantic Era in Fashion by Susan Hodara

Exhibition Credit
Gothic to Goth: Romantic Era Fashion & Its Legacy is sponsored by The Coby Foundation, Ltd., The Costume & Textile Society of the Wadsworth Atheneum, and The Stockman Family Foundation. Additional support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Howard and Bush Foundation Publication Fund, Arethusa al tavolo, Susan O’Connor, and numerous other individuals. Educational programming is supported by a generous grant from The Edward C. & Ann T. Roberts Foundation and The Costume & Textile Society of the Wadsworth Atheneum.

web-coby logo stationeryPrintLayout 1ghac logo



Images (clockwise from top left):
Dress (detail), c. 1845, American, Silk, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Gift of Miss Elizabeth J. Ratmond, 1965.219A,B; E.B. Kellogg and E.C. Kellogg, Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut, 1845, Color lithograph, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Gift of James Junius Goodwin, 1935.434; House of Coniglio (Beverley Coniglio, American, born 1972), Bee-Baby necklace, 2015, Designed by House of Coniglio, Found materials including watch, ceramic doll, rhinestones, and gold-filled chain, Collection of House of Coniglio; Dress with evening bodice (detail), c. 1850, American, Silk, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Gift of the Estate of Matta Grimm Lacey, 1976.33B,C