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New Britain Museum of American Art

The New Britain Museum of American Art holds one of the most fascinating collections of American art in the country.  Located on Lexington Street in New Britain, the museum has free parking for guests as well as free admission every Saturday from 10 a.m.-noon.  Not only is the museum an excellent source for information about American art, it was “designated the first museum of strictly American Art in the Country”.  The permanent collection of over ten thousand works of art includes paintings, drawings, graphics, sculptures, photography and more.

The collection ranges from colonial era work to twentieth-century, and the pieces are arranged throughout the museum in a way that allows you to travel from one era to the next seamlessly.  One of the most impressive of their collections is that of Impressionist work, including work by Mary Cassatt, Theodore Robinson, Childe Hassam and more.  The museum also possesses an interesting collection of Native American artwork and artwork featuring Native Americans in one of the upstairs galleries.

One of the most striking pieces in the museum is The Gravity of Color by artist Lisa Hoke.  The entire piece is made from plastic and paper cups, paint, and hardware and stretches from floor to ceiling in a fantastic three-dimensional display of color.

 

The Gravity of Color by Lisa Hoke, 2008

by Lisa Hoke, 2008

The Gravity of Color by Lisa Hoke, 2008

 

One of the most impressive features of the museum is the dedication shown towards education about American art.  The museum offers numerous tours ranging from a brief overview tour to specialized tours like the American Masterpieces Tour, or What is American in American Art?  There are also special events and artist demonstrations monthly, more information for tours and demonstrations can be found on http://www.nbmaa.org

This museum is worth a visit, especially as an American I couldn’t help but to feel an attachment to the work.  The museum itself is small, giving an intimate setting to spend with the pieces, and removing the urgency you can feel in larger museums to make sure you see all the work.  I would recommend it to Connecticut natives for an afternoon out, as well as those visiting from other states or countries.  Although small, it gives an accurate and moving representation of American art and how it has evolved into what it is today.

 

Sources

http://www.nbmaa.org

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