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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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Hurrah. Another American museum has gotten it right, bracing against the tide of disastrous new buildings and additions that ruin and sometimes cripple so many of these institutions.

The cause for celebration is a makeover at the venerable Wadsworth Atheneum here, which opened its doors in 1844 and is this country’s oldest art museum in continuous operation. It joins a growing list of successful expansions and refurbishments that may mark the end of an era of architectural indulgence that began in 1978 with the opening of the National Gallery’s East Wing, the putative mother of useless event spaces that nourish neither art nor the people who love it.

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At the Wadsworth Atheneum, they called it the Leak Tour, and sometimes the Horror Tour.

It wasn’t led by docents, but by the new director, Susan L. Talbott. In 2008, she guided board members and prospective donors through the many places where water was seeping into the exhibition galleries of the country’s oldest continuously operating art museum, founded in 1842.

“I was getting calls night after night, in the middle of the night, about the leaks,” said Ms. Talbott, who recalled the efforts made to move some of the 50,000 works in its fine arts collection to safer spots after each breach was discovered.

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On Saturday, January 31, 2015, the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut, will unveil its reinstalled collections of post-war and contemporary art. Featuring work from 1945 to the present, the collections will be housed in three dedicated galleries that have been newly renovated and refurbished over the past year.

The Wadsworth’s illustrious post-war and contemporary holdings will be divided between the Huntington Gallery, where mid-century abstract painting and sculpture by artists such as Ellsworth Kelly, Willem de Kooning, Alexander Calder, Helen Frankenthaler, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Tony Smith will be displayed; the Hilles Gallery, which will feature works by Robert Rauschenberg, Kara Walker, Cindy Sherman, Andy Warhol, Chuck Close, and Richard Tuttle; and the Colt building’s mezzanine gallery, where one of Sol LeWitt’s famed wall drawings will be on view as well as works by other minimalists and conceptualists.

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In our era of rapid prototyping and 3D printing, technologies that promise to transform the production of everything from medical devices to skyscrapers, it is easy to lose sight of how three-dimensional objects came into being in the predigital age. One way into this question is through drawing. What role did it play in the production of Renaissance sculpture, some of the most ambitious and technically accomplished ever produced? Or, as Columbia University art historian Michael Cole puts it, “Why did sculptors draw?”

his is the problem at the center of “Donatello, Michelangelo, Cellini: Sculptors’ Drawings from Renaissance Italy,” currently on view at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and co-curated by Mr. Cole and Oliver Tostmann, formerly of the Gardner and now Curator of European Art at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Conn.

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From April 25 through April 27, the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut, will host its 33rd annual Fine Art & Flowers show. The event will feature around 50 floral arrangements, each inspired by a specific painting from the museum’s collection. Florists, garden clubs, and interior designers from all over New England will participate in the highly-anticipated event.

Paintings in this year’s show include everything from Baroque masterpieces to contemporary works. All proceeds from the Fine Art & Flowers event will benefit the Wadsworth’s special exhibitions, educational programs, and operating expenses. Visitors are invited to nominate their favorite floral display for the People’s Choice Award.

The Wadsworth Atheneum is the oldest public art museum in the United States and boasts one of the most extensive European art collections in the country, with exceptionally strong Old Master and Impressionist holdings. The museum is in the midst of a $33 million renovation and plans to reinstall its collection of European paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts before the restoration concludes in September 2015.

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Monday, 27 January 2014 15:11

Wadsworth Atheneum Receives Major Gift

The Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, CT has received a $9.6 million gift from the estate of Charles H. Schwartz, a former museum member. The generous donation, which is the largest bequest in the Atheneum’s history, will help the museum establish an endowment to develop its collection of English and European art from the 18th century and earlier.

The Wadsworth Atheneum is the oldest public art museum in the United States and boasts one of the most extensive European art collections in the country, with exceptionally strong Old Master and Impressionist holdings. The museum is in the midst of a $33 million renovation project and plans to reinstall its collection of European paintings, sculpture and decorative arts before the restoration wraps up in September 2015.  

Schwartz, who joined the museum in 1987, was a member of the Society of Daniel Wadsworth -- the Atheneum’s premier membership program -- until he passed away in 1995. Schwartz was an avid collector of Old Master paintings as well as European decorative arts. David W. Dangremond, the President of the museum’s Board of Trustees, said, “It is an honor to receive such a transformative gift from a man who was a visionary in his own collecting endeavors, and who was a dear friend to many in the Wadsworth family. Museums thrive on the generosity and foresight of donors like Charles Schwartz.”

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