Permanent Collection - Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art

The Wadsworth Museum of Art has broad and rich permanent collection.

The European Art collection is a rich and diverse collection featuring approximately 900 paintings, 500 sculptures, 800 drawings, and 3,000 British and Continental prints. Paintings on display represent periods ranging from late medieval through the mid-twentieth century. Especially impressive are Baroque paintings, including masterworks by Caravaggio, Strozzi, Ribera, Zurbarán, Hals, van Dyck, and Claude Lorrain.


The American Decorative Arts collection uniquely embodies the history of material culture in New England and America. From elaborately carved and painted seventeenth century chests to the modern masterpieces of Marcel Breuer and Frank Lloyd Wright, this collection is filled with works ranging from the utilitarian to the luxurious. Connecticut craftsmen are celebrated through the fine examples of Samuel Loomis (1748-1814), maker of Colchester/Norwich style furniture, and Eliphalet Chapin (1741-1807), Connecticut's most renowned colonial cabinetmaker. Unique forms come to life in the modern meets natural ethos designs of George Nakashima (1905-1990).


The American Painting & Sculpture collection is one of the most distinguished of its kind in quality, range, and historical importance. More than 600 paintings, 200 sculptures, and 1,200 drawings and watercolors by approximately 400 artists constitute a nearly encyclopedic survey of fine art in the United States.

Contemporary art reflecting quality and diversity seldom seen in traditional art museums. The Contemporary Art Collection features works dating from 1945 to the present, numbers more than 3,000 objects, and emphasizes paintings and works on paper, but also includes significant examples of sculpture, photography and video. Although this department was not established until 1975, the Atheneum's engagement with contemporary art began in the early 1920s and has since become integral to the museum's identity and collection.


The Costume and Textiles collection holds about 2,500 textile objects and 5,000 costumes and accessories, ranging in time from Coptic to Contemporary, in size from thimbles to tapestries, and representing every continent. Many objects cross curatorial lines, like African American story quilts, Native American baskets, and contemporary fiber art.

The European Decorative Arts collection comprises approximately 7,000 objects; more than 1,300 of which are from the legendary collection of J. Pierpont Morgan, including ancient glass and bronzes, Italian maiolica, Venetian and façon de venise glass, nautilus cups, ostrich-egg ewers, mounted ivories, silver-gilt vessels, Meissen porcelain, and Vincennes and Sèvres porcelain.



< back to Museum's profile