Mind of the Collector

September 23–December 31, 2017

Artworks in Morgan Mind of the Collector

J. Pierpont Morgan collected more than 20,000 works of art in only 23 years. Discover the legendary financier’s passionate pursuit of global culture in Morgan: Mind of the Collector.

Morgan’s story as a collector is not as well known as the story of his business career despite the groundbreaking quantity, scope, and character of his unprecedented collection. His broad acquisitions included sculpture, manuscripts, rare books, prints and drawings, paintings, and decorative arts including silver, porcelain, glass, tapestries, enamels, ivories and bronzes. Morgan: Mind of the Collector unites more than 100 of these rare objects to illuminate Morgan’s pursuit of global culture, commemorating his collecting achievements and exploring his motivations, buying decisions, and impact on the evolution of art collecting and museums in America.

J. Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913) was born in Hartford, and his family was the third generation of Morgans to support the Wadsworth Atheneum—his grandfather Joseph was one of the institution’s founders, and both Pierpont and his father Junius contributed generously to the museum. Following Junius’ death in 1890, Pierpont commissioned and funded the Morgan Memorial building his his father’s honor, and that structure now houses Pierpont’s ultimate gift to the Wadsworth Atheneum. In 1917, in accordance with his father’s will, Jack Morgan dispersed more than 1,350 objects from Pierpont’s collection to the Wadsworth Atheneum “for the instruction and pleasure” of the public, forming the core of the museum’s European decorative arts collection. Morgan: Mind of the Collector corresponds with the centennial anniversary of that transformative gift.

Profiling what he collected and how, Morgan: Mind of the Collector assesses this remarkable man and his colossal achievement with fresh eyes and the distance of a century. Featuring stellar works of art from the Wadsworth Atheneum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Morgan Library, this exhibition delves into J. Pierpont Morgan’s storied collecting history and explores his enduring legacy.


Docent-guided tours of Morgan: Mind of the Collector are Saturday and Sunday at 2:30pm, from October 1 through December 30, 2017.

Click to access the Morgan: Mind of the Collector Mobile Tour from any location on your smartphone, tablet, or computer.

Exhibition Programs

September 22 | Member Preview
October 4 | Gallery Talk
October 5 | Art After Dark: Treasure Trove
October 14 | Second Saturdays for Families: Think Ink
October 22 | Four Nations Ensemble Concert Series: Redefining Rococo
October 27 | Gilded Age Happy Hour
November 10–11 | Morgan: Mind of the Collector Symposium
November 12 | Film Event: Titanic
November 16 | Member Morning

Film Series

September 30 | Coco Before Chanel
October 1 | Cairo Time
October 5 | An Ideal Husband
October 12 | The Age of Innocence
October 14 | A Room with a View
October 15 | Death in Venice
October 27 | Ragtime
October 29 | Tipping the Velvet

Exhibition Support

Major support provided by the Decorative Arts Council of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, The Zachs Family Foundation, Duff Ashmead and Eric Ort, and The David T. Langrock Foundation. Additional support provided by JPMorgan Chase & Co., the Morris Joseloff Exhibition Fund, Dr. Tim McLaughlin and Dr. Marian Kellner, Michael and Genevieve Pfaff, Agnews Gallery, London, and Mr. and Mrs. David Horvitz. 


Educational programming support provided by The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, and Connecticut Humanities.
Exhibition program support provided in part by the Frazar B. Wilde, Jr. Trust. Support for the Wadsworth Atheneum provided in part by the Greater Hartford Arts Council’s United Arts Campaign.