The Taft Museum of Art is in full bloom this spring. Not only are the peonies in bloom and the outdoor gardens ripe for walking and resting, but there are three more weeks of a significant exhibit that has something for everyone.
Cincinnati’s Taft Museum of Art, which started as Charles and Anna Sinton Taft’s private collection before being given to the people of Cincinnati as a museum, has a permanent collection of art that includes Old Masters, landscapes, portraits, and other realistic art—all of which reflected the taste of the Tafts when they acquired it.
If you love realism, you likely love the Taft’s permanent collection. Dutch portraits by Rembrandt and Hals, The Cobbler’s Apprentice by Frank Duveneck, and the Duncanson murals are among the finest pieces in the museum's collection.
As far as temporary collections go, the Taft has much to offer. The Phillips Collection was assembled by Duncan Phillips and became America’s first museum of modern art. Parts of that collection, Winslow Homer to Georgia O’Keeffe: American Paintings from the Phillips Collection, are on loan to the Taft Museum through May 19th. This exhibition features exclusively American art, including works by the titular artists Winslow Homer and Georgia O’Keeffe, and includes works by Edward Hopper and Helen Frankenthaler, among others.
If you want to learn more about how realism in America turned into more abstract works, the Phillips collection at the Taft will help stretch your artistic boundaries.
The exhibit begins with more familiar landscapes, but through the 55-piece exhibit, you’ll see how American art moves towards Impressionism and into abstraction. “You can see how American artists experimented with new forms of artmaking and expressing themselves through art,” says Tamera Muente, associate curator at the Taft Museum. You can see for yourself how an artist might move from realism to abstraction; there’s a fun activity that shows you some of the thought behind abstraction. Both kids and adults can take tracing paper and create their own abstract drawing based on a realistic painting from the Taft collection. Or, for a more comprehensive perspective of the exhibit, stop in for a docent-led tour on Saturdays at 1:30 PM.
It’s easy to make a day of the Museum as well. First, there’s free parking (pretty rare downtown!), walk-up docent tours on Saturdays and Sundays at 1:30 PM (Saturday is the Phillips exhibit, Sunday is the permanent exhibit), free admission on Sundays, a café with weekend brunch (including $5 mimosas), and a lunch menu inspired by the Phillips exhibition. After lunch, the Lindner Family Café serves light bites all day, and you can make reservations at taftmuseum.org/dine, too.
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For more information, including hours, directions and admission prices, head to the Taft Museum’s website. Winslow Homer to Georgia O’Keeffe: American Paintings from the Phillips Collection runs through May 19th.