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The Director

September Director’s Message

Dear Friends,

September brings the unveiling of two landmark exhibitions at the Wadsworth Atheneum. Sublime North: Romantic Painters Discover Norway is this museum’s first presentation focused on leading figures from the advent of Norwegian landscape painting in the 19th century: Johan Christian Dahl, Thomas Fearnley, and Peder Balke. The majority of works are on loan from New York collector Asbjørn Lunde
–they are his lifetime collecting passion–and we’ve set them together with a handful of American and northern European landscapes in our own permanent collection to focus our attention on the truly international nature of this movement. A combination of real and imagined Norwegian vistas, the drama of these paintings is heightened by this era’s emphasis on the sublime. They broaden our view of 19th century landscape painting and, ultimately, tell a story of emerging Norwegian nationalism. Come visit this show in the third floor galleries of the Wadsworth building when it opens September 7.

Two weeks later we inaugurate Morgan: Mind of the Collector with a party for all museum members, and our Fall Community Day. Legendary financier J. Pierpont Morgan was born in Hartford in 1837 and grew up enjoying the Atheneum–his grandfather Joseph was one of the city’s leaders who joined Daniel Wadsworth in founding the museum in 1842. Years later, after his father Junius’ death in 1890, Morgan embarked on a 23 year campaign across the globe in search of rare artworks and artifacts–he collected more than 20,000 objects in that short time. He built a massive addition to the Wadsworth Atheneum and in 1917, per his will, 1,350 works of art which now form the core of our European decorative arts collection came to the museum as a transformative gift. This exhibition celebrates the centennial anniversary of that re-foundation, and sets us closer to Morgan’s remarkable career and vast collections. Nearly half of this show of manuscripts, rare books, prints and drawings, silver, porcelain, glass, enamels, and bronzes are on loan from The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Morgan Library in New York. Be sure to connect with this major exhibition.

Looking forward to seeing you soon at the museum,

Thomas J. Loughman
Director and CEO