Wadsworth Atheneum Nets $9.6M Gift

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The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut, has received a whopping $9.6-million gift from the estate of Charles H. Schwartz, the institution’s largest bequest ever, which will go toward creating an endowment to expand the museum’s collection of European and English art from the 18th century and earlier. Schwartz, whose friends knew him as “Bun,” was a member of the Wadsworth Antheneum’s foremost membership program, the Society of Daniel Wadsworth, until he died in 1995. He was a Connecticut resident and an Old Masters collector.

“The impact of a bequest of this size on the Wadsworth Atheneum is enormous,” the museum’s director and CEO, Susan L. Talbott, said in a statement. “We are already working to maximize the benefit of this generous gift to the museum in the years to come.”

Under the auspices of the Charles H. Schwartz Endowment Fund, the museum’s curator of European art, Oliver Tostmann, and curator of European decorative arts, Linda Roth, will oversee a complete re-hanging of the Wadsworth Atheneum’s galleries of European painting, decorative arts, and sculpture, ahead of the reopening of the museum’s Morgan Memorial Building. That $33-million renovation project is on track for a September 2015 completion.

“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,” museum board chairman David W. Dangremond said in a statement. “Museums thrive on the generosity and foresight of donors like Charles Schwartz.”

— Benjamin Sutton (@bhsutton)

(Image: Sol LeWitt, “Wall Drawing #1131, Whirls and Twirls (Wadsworth),” 2004. The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund, 2004.)