The New Britain Museum of American Art

“Sleeping Children” by William Henry Rinehart (1825-1874) at The New Britain Museum of American Art. The original sculpture was a memorial for the children of benefactor Hugh Sisson.

New Britain Museum of American Art
Made at a time of high infant mortality, Sleeping Children was considered an allegory of death – mourning followed by potential reunion in heaven. It gives one pause.

Another summer is coming to a close and I think it important to appreciate a local museum that offers one a spirit of contemplation. End of summer is always a thoughtful time as the garden, still full of life, is also poised to wind down to cold once again.

The New Britain Museum is the first museum in the country dedicated to American Art. We visit when the spirit moves and are NEVER disappointed. (Last year we greatly enjoyed a talk on jazz that included both the story of the Thomas Hart Benton murals and the music of his day). Wine and cheese. What a blast! Stay tuned for the fall calendar. Check out the music on September 6. 

The New Britain Museum has a great range of varied artwork. Here are a few I particularly enjoyed.

New Britain Museum of American Art
Beatrice Lavis Cuming-1903-1974. Cuming chose local factory workers as subjects from New London’s Electric Boat Company. In the 1940s many of the workers were women. Cuming incorporated a modified Cubist style that captures the dynamism of the industrial age.
New Britain Museum of American Art
The impressionist style of Russian immigrant Ivan Olinsky (1878-1962) is evidenced in this painting of Venice and the Feast of the Redemption. Love the light and colors looking toward Piazza San Marco in Venice.
The New Britain Museum of American Art
“Sunprints” aka Photogrammetry Connecticut- based artist Ellen Carey calls her photogram “Dings and Shadows”. Carey considers her “process as subject” that she believes is similar to conceptual and abstract art.

Photograms are made using a “camera-less” process first developed by William Henry Fox Talbot in 1834 and perfected by a protege, Anna Atkins, that uses a light source to create an image on highly light sensitive photo paper.  More on photograms

Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975) was one of the great American artists and is in great supply at The New Britain Art Museum. In fact, it’s one reason we brought our out- of- state family there on pilgrimage. In addition to being a celebrated painter, Benton senior was also a musician and drew together many other talented amateur musicians to play weekly. 

New Britain Museum of American Art
A black and white image of a full color oversize mural by Benton. The inset is a photo of Benton and his son, Thomas P Benton playing music together, a regular Saturday night affair at the Benton Home on Martha’s Vineyard.

And how exactly did a small museum in New Britain capture a collection of virtually priceless artwork? One story cleverly written- fact or fiction? You decide.

New Britain Museum of American Art
A whole room dedicated to functional Shaker art included this great round “confetti” rug made from early 20th century recycled bits of cotton chair tapes and jute backing. I didn’t touch it but I’m sure it’s cozy!

Wondering what artists are represented at the New Britain Museum? Try this! E- museum is a catalog of every piece in the museum. More general museum info here. 

New Britain Museum of American Art
Several red tomatoes have moved inside to join our summer meals. Many more are waiting outside in full green. Beautiful in green too! Let’s hear it for Fort Hill Farm plants!

You never know what garden plants will wind up on your new scarf from Paola Prints. New designs in process for Fall 2019.We have a few in stock for that “must have” gift. And you have can have it within one week.

Michael Kiwanuka is a British Indie and folk singer, son of Ugandan parents who escaped the Amin regime. He studied at the University of Westminister, worked as a session guitarist, supported Adele on tour. He’s has been nominated for many awards, winning the BBC’s Sound of 2012, among others. One More Night.

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