The William Benton Museum of Art at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, has placed on long term loan to the New Britain Museum of American Art 30 masterpieces by American artists from the early 19th century to the present. These paintings, which are seldom seen at Storrs because of lack of gallery space, include such significant artists as Benjamin West, Rembrandt Peale, Dwight Tryon, Robert Henri, George Bellows, Walt Kuhn, Max Weber and Jimmy Ernst. Also included is a major triptych by the leading woman illustrator of the 20th century Violet Oakley.
The paintings are located in 10 galleries throughout the NBMAA and are identified by a “Best of the Benton” icon on their object labels. The Oakley for example is located in the Museum’s Low Illustration Gallery. An explanatory guide will be available to visitors at the front desk as well.
Over the next year, programs will be developed incorporating this significant loan in the public activities of the Museum. A reception will be held in honor of President Michael J. Hogan, Dean David G. Woods, School of Fine Arts and the director of the Benton Museum, Dr. Thomas Bruhn, date to be determined.
In August, 2008, the Museum entered into a partnership agreement with UConn to share their collections on a regular basis. This unprecedented loan of key works from the permanent collection of the Benton Museum of Art represents the first time these works have been loaned as a group. The collection demonstrates the quality of the permanent collection, its depth and breadth. Stylistically representative are Colonial portraits, Hudson River School paintings, Academic paintings, Impressionism, The Eight, Early Modernism as well as contemporary art.
NBMAA director Douglas Hyland says, “The Benton is a leading University Art Museum with a collection of astounding richness and we are most grateful to President Hogan and Dean Woods, and Director Bruhn for this major loan which complements and enhances our collection beautifully.”
Benton Director Thomas Bruhn says, “The Benton Museum is very pleased that thirty of its American paintings will be on exhibit at the New Britain Museum of American Art over the next year. As one of the finest museums of American art in the country, New Britain offers the perfect setting for these paintings, and this loan continues the already successful and fruitful collaboration between the two institutions.”
This is not the first time that the two institutions have collaborated. Through UConn’s corporate membership, all students, faculty and staff are admitted free to the New Britain Museum. Additionally, UConn students serve as interns throughout the year in various museum departments. And for many years the NBMAA has hosted the University of Connecticut School of Medicine’s Medicine & Art Program, which trains medical students in the art of observation.