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Thomas J. Loughman, associate director of program and planning at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Mass., has been appointed the 11th director and CEO of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, it was announced Thursday.

The current director, Susan Lubowsky Talbott, announced her retirement a year ago, on Dec. 19, 2014. Loughman, 44, who was introduced to the Atheneum staff on Thursday, will assume his duties at the nation's oldest public art museum on Feb. 1.

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New York’s Coney Island has long attracted a human merry-go-round of strivers, oddballs, hucksters, thrill-seekers, sun-worshippers—and some famous artists, too.

With its new show, “Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861-2008,” the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Conn., dives into the oceanfront playground’s role as a muse to painters, photographers, filmmakers and other artists. The museum calls the show the first one dedicated solely to art about Coney Island and the largest museum exhibition to focus entirely on the entertainment mecca in Brooklyn, N.Y. It opens Jan. 31 before starting a three-city U.S. tour.

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The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hardford, CT announced the appointment of Oliver Tostmann as the institution’s new Susan Morse Hilles Curator of European Art. Tostmann, who previously served as a curator at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, will officially assume his position at the Wadsworth on October 28,2013.

An expert on Renaissance and Baroque artists, Tostmann has lectured extensively throughout the United States and Europe and his writings have been widely published. He will oversee the Wadsworth’s comprehensive European art collection, which includes 900 paintings, 500 sculptures, and 3,500 works on paper. Tostmann said, “I am delighted and honored to work in such a renowned institution. To explore the Wadsworth’s collection of European art is simply irresistible, and I embrace its commitment to scholarship.”

The Wadsworth Atheneum is the oldest free public art museum in the United States and boasts an impressive collection of baroque paintings, French and American Impressionist paintings, Hudson River School landscapes, modernist masterpieces, and extensive holdings in early American furniture and decorative arts.  

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From October 10, 2013 through January 13, 2014, the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) will present Caravaggio’s Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy, one of the artist’s earliest masterpieces. The painting, which is on loan from the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, CT, will be exhibited alongside the DIA’s own painting by Caravaggio, Martha and Mary Magdalene.

Salvador Salort-Pons, the DIA’s executive director, Collections Strategies and Information, said, “Caravaggio influenced many painters from other European countries who came to Rome to learn the master’s dramatic and realistic style. Visitors will be able to explore two of the best Caravaggios in America side by side in the same gallery.” Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy is most likely the first religious scene that Caravaggio painted, a genre for which he is admired. It is also one of the artist’s few nightscapes, showcasing Caravaggio’s masterful use of light.

While Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy is one of the Italian master’s first religious paintings, Martha and Mary Magdalene is one of Caravaggio’s first known religious works staged in an interior. Side by side, the paintings will allow patrons to compare and contrast two of artist’s most spiritually and emotionally charged early works.

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The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, CT presents An Artificial Wilderness: The Landscape of Contemporary Photography, the institution’s first photography exhibition in nearly a decade. An Artificial Wilderness is pulled almost entirely from the Atheneum’s permanent collection (save one private loan) and explores man’s relationship to the natural landscape.

The exhibition features works by 16 prominent photographers and spans from the 1960s to the present. Works by Andy Goldsworthy, Ed Ruscha, Olafur Eliasson and Louise Lawler are on view and explore such themes as construction, destruction and humanity’s disregard for the physical world.

An Artificial Wilderness: The Landscape of Contemporary Photography will be on view at the Wadsworth Atheneum through January 5, 2014.

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Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Sale on May 14, 2013 in New York will include one of the most important paintings by Barnett Newman (1905-1970) ever to appear at auction. Onement VI (1953) is a seminal work by the American artist and one of the most significant pieces from the Abstract Expressionist movement. The painting, which measures 8 ½ feet x 10 feet, is expected to garner anywhere from $30 million to $40 million. The canvas will go on view at Sotheby’s on May 3, 2013 until it appears at auction later that month.

Newman, one of the foremost artists of the 20th century, was a pioneer of color field painting as well as a key Abstract Expressionist. As an exhibitions organizer at the Manhattan-based Betty Parsons Gallery in the 1940s, Newman played a fundamental role in the careers of many of his friends including Mark Rothko (1903-1970), Jackson Pollock (1912-1956), and Clyfford Still (1904-1980).  

Onement VI, a massive canvas consumed by rich blue paint and sliced down the middle by a light blue streak, was a gift from the artist to his wife, Annalee. The painting remained in her collection for almost a decade and was acquired in 1961 by the well-known collectors Frederick and Marcia Weisman. That same year the painting appeared in an exhibition titled Abstract Expressionists Imagists at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum that helped define the modern art movement.

Onement VI is the final work in a series of six paintings by Newman. Four of the paintings are held in major art institutions including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, CT, and the Allen Memorial Art Museum in Oberlin, OH. Onement V currently resides in a private collection.

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Thursday, 07 March 2013 03:49

Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art

Founded by Hartford art patron Daniel Wadsworth (1771–1848) in 1842, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art is America’s oldest public art museum. A luxury once reserved for the wealthy, Wadsworth set out to make art accessible to all social classes. Using his own collection as the foundation, Wadsworth quickly expanded the museum’s holdings, accepting works from Samuel Colt’s wife, Elizabeth Hart Jarvis Colt, and financier, J. Pierpont Morgan. Many works remain in the museum’s permanent collection.

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Bodies and Shadows: Caravaggio and His Legacy opened on Sunday at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). The exhibition is devoted to the Italian painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, (1517-1610) one of the most historically influential artists, best known for his use of lighting as well as his sensitivity to the physical and emotional state of his subjects.

The show at LACMA will feature an unprecedented eight works by Carvaggio himself. Fifty additional paintings will explore his influence on painters from France, Spain, and the Netherlands including Georges de La Tour, Gerrit van Honthorst, Velazquez, and Simon Vouet. The exhibition will be on view through February 10, 2013.

Bodies and Shadows was co-organized by LACMA, the Musee Fabree, the Musee des Augustins, and the Wadsworth Athenaeum Museum of Art. All four museums are members of the consortium the French Regional American Museum Exchange. The exhibition will travel to the Wadsworth Athenaeum after LACMA from March 8, 2013 through June 15, 2013.

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