Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art

Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford: Hours, Address, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art Reviews: 4.5/5

Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art

Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
The first public art museum in the United States features 50,000 pieces ranging from ancient to contemporary, the largest collection of Hudson River School paintings in the world, an impressive array of Pilgrim-era furnishings and European and American art.
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577 reviews
Very good

Mattapoisett, MA53 contributions
Dec 2021 • Friends
Fabulous experience. We bought tickets because we wanted to see the "By My Hand" exhibit of Italian female artists from 1500 to 1800. We also took advantage of the daily Highlights Tour. It was just fabulous. Ernesto, the docent who guided us through, was phenomenal in that he brought us chronologically from thousands of years ago to current era and explained periods of art by examining various works. It was such an informative experience - I really want to go back (even though it's more than a two hour ride each way). The museum itself is lovely - architecture is interesting, collections are excellent, and I was surprised to learn that this museum is the oldest public art museum in the United States. This is a must see if you are in the Northeast.
Written December 10, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Susan M
New York City, NY109 contributions
Sep 2021
This is an outstanding art museum. I've traveled to more than 40 countries, and the collection and exhibitions at the Wadsworth Atheneum stand up to the finest art museums anywhere.

The encyclopedic collections are superb and beautifully displayed with very readable wall text. The galleries are stunning. It was a great pleasure spending the afternoon there. The shop has a good selection of art books and other items.

It is a must when visiting Hartford!
Written September 6, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Kevin S
Boston, MA70 contributions
Aug 2021
This impressive medium-sized museum really does have a remarkably diverse collection of well-presented works of art. If you like modern art and design, they have some great examples. If you like European Old Master paintings or ancient art, they have those, too! It would be difficult to name favorites but there are masterpieces by Georgia O'Keeffe, Toulouse Lautrec, Alice Neal, Joan Miro, and Caravaggio, just to name a few. The curators also do a great job of interspersing eye-catching decorative art pieces throughout, and who doesn't love that giant, orange Alexander Calder just outside?! The guides here are especially helpful and friendly, the parking is easy, and there are always several small special exhibitions that add to the experience. Save time for the tempting gift-shop as well . . .
Written August 16, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Santa Barbara, CA142 contributions
Aug 2021
Who knew that such an extensive and amazing museum was located in Hartford? We went as an afterthought when we went to see the Mark Twain house and some other things in Hartford. We were all amazed at the extensive collections housed in the fantastic architectural gems that comprise this museum.

Whatever you want to see, they have it! There are multiple collections, along with extensive art, history and examples of antiquities, juxtaposed to modern art decorating the walls. Quite simply stunning and well worth the trip to Hartford.

The special value was that it was free to enter on a Friday afternoon! Quite special and they even had some music playing from 6-8pm!
Written August 13, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Miami Beach, FL109 contributions
May 2021
I very much enjoyed visiting the Wadsworth. During these strange COVID times, they waived admission, and that alone made the visit worthwhile. The collection is strong in American and European works, not particularly strong in non-Western art, although there are Chinese and Egyptian works (and I don't mean to criticize the collection, only to inform).
Written May 1, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Windsor, CT349 contributions
Apr 2021
My husband and I have visited the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut, multiple times, most recently on Sunday, April 18th, 2021. This museum, which is definitely worth visiting, is highly recommended and a great value, being free at the time of our visit and I believe will be free until sometime in July, based on what I read in the newspaper.

The way this write-up is structured is that I first provide ‘General Information About Our Visit’ including Some Minor Issues. Then I talk about the Special Exhibits and then the Permanent Collection, in particular, the parts of the Permanent Collection that we enjoy the most.

General Information About Our Visit Including Some Minor Issues:

The museum has a great mixture of various types of artwork, addressing art from multiple perspectives, including cultural, historical and political, depending upon what is applicable. Our primary focus this time was on the multiple special exhibits, especially, ‘Paul Manship: Ancient Made Modern’. We also enjoyed the permanent collection, in particular, the Hudson River School/Landscape paintings, which are all very beautiful, as well as the other paintings/artwork that I mention later in this write-up. All the art throughout this museum is nicely curated with very good write-ups providing excellent supporting background information with great details, including time period of the artwork and cultural, historical and political impact. .

We always enjoy this museum and hope that you have the opportunity to enjoy it as well. We only wish we had more time to see all this museum has to offer, which definitely is quite a bit!! We thank the museum for offering free admission at this point in time. It is definitely a great value. However, we can’t wait until when the museum starts to be open for more days a week and not just for their reduced hours. In addition, we would like more flexibility in terms of the time we arrive at the museum, than with needing to have timed tickets.

Our visit to the museum took about an hour and a half, based on the amount of time available to us. However, it could easily have taken more than four hours to really see and absorb all the artwork that was on display. We parked on the street on the side of the Hartford Public Library for this visit. This parking was free on Sunday there, and was a short walk to and from the museum. There was also validated parking for a $3 flat rate for museum visitors with ticket validation based on the museum’s website, which is the Preferred Parking, located at the Connecticut Convention Center Garage. 100 Columbus Boulevard, Hartford CT, 06109. The website provides directions to this parking.

Some Minor Issues:

Although the museum provides a good map, we often go to the museum to view the Special Exhibits, but they are usually hard to find due to the way the museum is laid out. So I bring a list of the exhibits with me to the museum and ask for directions to each Special Exhibit as we enter the museum. However, it would be helpful for the museum to provide a list of the Special Exhibits as you enter the museum along with the directions to each. That way you won’t miss any of the current Special Exhibits and you will know where they are located.

The other thing that we have experienced is that it was not easy to navigate from gallery to galley, based on how the museum is laid out and how the traffic flow is being controlled due to COVID-19. You feel like you are going in circles and you have to go up and down from the same floor multiple times to get to different galleries on it. It is definitely more walking than expected or even necessary.

Special Exhibits:

‘Paul Manship: Ancient Made Modern’’:

This exhibit is well done and is located on the third floor, 3R of the Avery Building, based on my notes. It is nicely laid out with a lot of space between the various pieces on display. Paul Manship’s approach to his artwork is interesting, unique, and nicely depicted throughout the exhibit where he modernized mythology by introducing a distant sense of motion to his sculpture and emphasizing surface detail. He blended styles from diverse places and time periods into a ‘mixed style”. He melded antiquity with modernism with his classical and ancient sources giving an allure of antiquity in the modern urban life experience, in particular in New York, where he provided cultural inspiration through his famous pieces of artwork in Rockefeller Center and the Bronx Zoo. .

He blended iconography from multiple sources adding complexity to their meaning and storylines using different sources both distant and immediate. Native American Imagery reflected on the complicated representation of Indigenous people at the turn of the 20th century by non-Native artists. His imagery of ‘Indian and Pronghorn Antelope’, depicts the mythical idea prevalent in American visual culture, but also challenges it by referencing other cultures, blending native imagery with visuals from Greek and Egyptian sources. This definitely was an interesting approach!!

The ‘Discovery, Change, and Innovation: Major Events in Manship’s Era’ provided an interesting timeline and good context. We recommend this exhibit, including reading the write-ups that provide good background information.

‘Todd Gray/MATRIX 185’:

This is a very unique exhibit, located on the first floor off of Avery Court. It addresses the enduring impact of European colonialism, slavery and the American diaspora through photography using imagery of African people and landscapes with European imperial gardens and monuments and constellation images taken with the Hubble Telescope. The concept of the exhibit, which uses a collage of photographs to take us on a complex journey across time and space about history, identity and politics through Africa, Europe and the cosmos, is definitely thought-provoking, interesting and unique, but not really our type of art. We definitely had to read the write-up about this exhibit to understand what it represents.

‘The Dance on the Volcano: German Expressionism at the Wadsworth Atheneum’:

This exhibit is located off of the Great Hall on the first floor of the Morgan Building near the Antiquity to the Renaissance Section of the museum. It depicts a timeframe of daring themes in art, using strong colors, flattened forms and distorted perspectives, artwork tied to Expressionism. Although this exhibit was relatively small it was interesting from the perspective of its historical significance, including Georg Tappert’s Geisha-Revue , which memorializes the feverish artist life in Berlin, Germany on the brink of World War I. .

‘A Love of Wood: Chaim Gross’s I Love My Baby’:

This was the last day for this exhibit which was small with a very unique wood-carving. It had interesting write-ups providing good context to what was on display.

On-Going Exhibits:

‘Design in the American Home, 1650 to 1850’:

This exhibit is located on the first floor off of Avery Court. We have seen this exhibit multiple times in the past and have always enjoyed it. On display is beautiful well restored/preserved furniture, always worth seeing. The exhibit is like a walk back through time. The write-ups provide great historical context and are quite educational.

Permanent Collection – The Parts We Enjoy the Most:

During our visit, as we have done in the past, we also enjoyed the permanent exhibits. The European and American paintings displayed in Salon Style in the Great Hall on the first floor of the Morgan Building, off of Avery Court, are beautiful and always nice to see. Also, off the Great Hall, is the Antiquity to the Renaissance Section of the museum, which includes: East Asian Antiquities, Egyptian, Greek and Roman artwork and, Medieval and Renaissance Europe artwork. The artwork in this section is nicely laid out, quite interesting, and very nicely preserved, being very impressive with historical significance. The write-ups within these exhibits are very educational and make you feel like you are taking a nice walk back through ancient time. These write-ups include: ‘Arts of China: the Qing Dynasty’; ‘Renaissance Art’; ‘Medieval Art’; ‘Early Christian and Byzantine Art’; ‘Living in the Ancient World’; and ‘Greek Colonization and Trade’. Before we leave the first floor of the Morgan Building we also like to take a look into the Victorian ‘Goodwin Parlor’, which is beautifully furnished.

We always enjoy seeing the very exquisite Hudson River School landscape paintings located on Level 3 of the Avery Building in the American Art Section of the museum which has pieces from the time period of 1700s – 1950. The Hudson River School paintings include multiple impressive landscape paintings by world-renowned artists who followed the unique Hudson River School approach, which has always been one of our favorites. Also in this section of American Art is Early American and Late 19th Century Art and Design, which we enjoy.

The second floor of the Avery Building includes the impressive Samuel Colt Collection as well as the Wetmore Parlor in the American Decorative Arts Section of the Museum, which has pieces from the 1600s – 1865. The second Floor of the Morgan Building includes European Art including the interesting and unique Cabinet of Art and Curiosity as well as the large collection of Baroque Art from multiple time periods and art tied to the French Revolution and Neoclassical, Romanticism, Impressionist and Post-Impressionist movements. .

Again, we recommend this museum and hope that you have the opportunity to enjoy it as much as we have for a great mixture of various types of artwork.
Written April 28, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Ron S
New York City, NY4,904 contributions
Apr 2021
Although the collection is not really large they have a few very good paintings, mostly 19th and 20th century. Terrific early Klimt canvas, Munch, Magritte, Chagall, Dali, Ernst, a couple of good Van Goghs,. Also they have one painting by Pavel Tchelitchev on display, albeit only one even though they have a few more in the vault. Old masters are represented by Hals, van Dyck, Goya. The American section has a couple of Andrew Wyeth paintings, Sargent. The only problem they keep the surrealists in glassed frames and the light reflects so badly in the room that the colors and the paintings are difficult to see (thus 3 stars).
Written April 25, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

60 contributions
Apr 2021
We only had a short amount of time, as we were waiting for our flight. I fully appreciated the temperature testing, as well as the social distancing at the door.
The museum was bright and cheery, with works of art from many different periods and modes. The people who worked there were pleasant and helpful.
I enjoyed the fact tht it was not crowded (I don't know if it was Covid, driven, or just a slow day). I appreciated the fact that it was free.
Written April 13, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Maria K
Manchester, NH40 contributions
Mar 2021 • Couples
It was so rainy out that we decided to go into the museum. I'm glad we did. It was well thought out and well put together. Definitely covid spacing friendly. Love the artwork. Great job guys
Written March 28, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Stephen Z
Palm Beach Gardens, FL35 contributions
Mar 2021 • Solo
I lived across the street for five years and was a member. This is a wonderful museum with an outstanding permanent collection and always has traveling collections on display.
Written March 14, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art is open:
  • Wed - Fri 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Sat - Sun 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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