Starting with a castle-like structure, they added four wings over time, making the layout quite confusing. There are two courtyards with central skylights that caused glare on many works, especially bad when they were protected by glass. This made photography tough.
A monumental stabile by Alexander Calder in a public courtyard outside the Wadsworth Atheneum announces the presence and affirms the importance of Art. Shaped geometrically like a pre-historic beast, its legs are tall enough to form an entrance arch. It is complemented by a graceful, multi-stream fountain.
|Alexander Calder, 1898-1976|
Two entrance halls are decorated with exciting murals by Sol LeWitt.
|Sol LeWitt, 1928-2007|
|Sol LeWitt, 1928-2007|
Any art museum that can exhibit major works by Caravaggio and Orazio Gentilleschi side by side, has to be considered a major player.
Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy, c. 1596
|Orazio Gentileschi, 1565-1639|
Judith and Her Maidservant with the Head of Holofernes, 1621-1624
The Wadsworth Atheneum is well-grounded in Old Masters. These two painters from the 1700s are not famous in art history, but these portraits are very polished and appealing.
|Giacomo Ceruti, 1698-1767|
Girl with a Dove, 1730s
|Pompeo Batoni, 1708-1787|
Portrait of Sir Humphrey Morice, 1762
Although Gustav Klimt is known for his modern, sensuous designs, my favorite of his work is in this polished 18th century style.
|Gustav Klimt, 1862-1918|
Two Girls with Oleander, c. 1892
By contrast, Renoir used a frank and intimate style in this late portrait of his wife.
|Auguste Renoir, 1841-1919|
Madame Renoir with Bob, c. 1910
|Pablo Picasso, 1881-1973|
The Artist, 1963
Although Edvard Munch usually worked in a loose but figurative style, and is associated with anguish, this lyrical landscape comes remarkably close to abstraction.
|Edvard Munch, 1863-1944|
Winter Landscape at Hvitsten, c.1918
The world of dreams and illusions was everything to Salvador Dalí. His Surreal paintings often reflect the relativity of perception; sometimes this image looks like one thing, sometimes another.
|Salvador Dalí, 1904-1989|
Apparition of Face and Fruit Dish on a Beach, 1938
Even though the Wadsworth's European collection is strong, their American collection is even better. In portraiture, the earliest Americans worked in a traditional style that reflected their European heritage. One of America's first important artists was Charles Willson Peale. He named all his children for artists and they all became artists, and good ones, too.
|Rembrandt Peale, 1778-1860|
Rubens Peale, 1834
In this portrait, John Singer Sargent took a more intimate, casual approach that might be compared with Renoir's portrait of his wife.
|John Singer Sargent, 1856-1925|
Ruth Sears Bacon, 1887
One of the premier portraitists of the 20th century was Alice Neel. Her works use a bold, loose style that expresses the depth of the sitter's personality.
|Alice Neel, 1900-1984|
Rose Fried's Nephew, 1963
|Chuck Close, b. 1940|
|Albert Bierstadt, 1830-1902|
In the Yosemite Valley, 1866
|Frederic Edwin Church, 1826-1900|
Hooker and Company, 1846
|Childe Hassam, 1859-1935|
Nymph of the Siren's Grotto, 1909
|George Luks, 1867-1933|
Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, late 1920s
Twentieth century American artists tended to focus on various forms of perception and to emphasize formal values such as shape and form. In this painting, O'Keeffe simplifies and abstracts the form of a tree and upends our usual mode of perception.
|Georgia O'Keeffe, 1887-1986|
Lawrence Tree, 1929
By contrast, Stanton MacDonald-Wright minimized form, treating the subject in terms of light and color.
|Stanton Macdonald-Wright, 1890-1973|
American Synchromy No. 1, 1919
The dominant trend in the middle decades of the 20th century in the U.S. was abstract expressionism, in which artists gave up on visual subjects and occupied themselves with the expressive powers of paint.
|Helen Frankenthaler, 1928-2011|
Sea Picture with Black, 1959
So there was competition among artists to come up with a unique approach to painting, but you don't have to be edgy to be a great artist.
|Norman Rockwell, 1894-1978|
The Young Lady with the Shiner, 1953
Lunch in the museum cafe was good. Dan had crab cakes and ice tea. I had a chicken salad; the chicken had unique spicing, not to heavy.
In the evening we ate together at the American Steakhouse near the motel. I had the salad bar. Dan had sirloin tips and the salad bar. The wine was cheap but drinkable. Dan was happy with the low prices and the people watching was very good. It's the kind of place you take a big family to celebrate a birthday.