50 YEARS OF

THE BENTON

For the past 50 years, The William Benton Museum of Art on the Storrs campus has been Connecticut’s State Art Museum. In that time it has amassed a permanent collection of more than 6,500 paintings, drawings, watercolors, prints, photographs, and sculptures, while serving as host to curated and traveling exhibitions dating from the 15th through the 21st centuries.

Exhibitions at The Benton have included works by Ansel Adams, George Bellows, Mary Cassatt, Salvador Dali, Guerrilla Girls, Winslow Homer, Käthe Kollwitz, Robert Motherwell, Norman Rockwell, Auguste Rodin, Cynthia Reeves Snow, and Frank Stella, among many others. The Museum’s array of special events includes gallery talks, campus art walks, academic and nonacademic discussions, musical performances, and family programs. — KENNETH BEST

In honor of The Benton’s fiftieth anniversary, we’ve culled photographs of pieces from favorite visiting exhibitions.

Speak Up! Speak Out!

Bread & Puppet Theater, 2015

1887 Silk Bodice donated by Mrs. Fitch Cheney in 1974

Photograph of puppets in main room at The Benton, Peter Morenus

The Art of Gaman:

Arts and Crafts from the Japanese American Internment Camps 1942–1946, 2008

1887 Silk Bodice donated by Mrs. Fitch Cheney in 1974

Painting of Japanese internment camps and images of postcards depicting internment camps from J.L. DeWitt

Rodin:

A Magnificent Obsession — Sculpture from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation, 2007

Steven Kern, center, director of the Benton Museum, center, and Thomas Bruhn, curator, upper right, look on as workers from Mariano Brothers of Bethel move a statue by Rodin into place at the Benton Museum.

Women’s Work, Women’s Dreams:

A Century of Swedish Women’s Arts, 2009

Piece by Eva Björkström

Image of a crocheted print of a woman in a red shirt

Barkley L. Hendricks:

Some Like It Hot, 2011

Left to right: New Year’s Day in the Quarry (Marl Hole), 2006 St. Mary’s Blues (Sky), 2006 View From Red Banks School, 2000 New Year’s Marl Hole, 2007 Top of Lamorna to You, 2004 Black River from the Elgin Road View, 2005

El Dia de Los Muertos:

Day of the Dead/Mexican Artifacts and Altars, 1998.

Cover of 1998 exhibition catalog

1998 Exhibition Catalog Cover

A Loan Exhibition of Shaker Craftsmanship Primarily from Hancock Shaker Village

Simple Gifts – Hands to Work and Hearts to God, 1978

Black and white print image of a farming town and a man with a napsack

Women of New England:

Dress from the Industrial Age, 1850–1900, 2012

1887 Silk Bodice donated by Mrs. Fitch Cheney in 1974.

Silk brown and gold Bodice on mannequin

From Amazing Stories to Weird Tales:

Covering Pulp Fiction, 2010

Virgil Finlay, Cover art for Famous Fantastic Mysteries, June 1942

Image of large green face overlooking a woman covered with stars standing among flames and people rioting

The Mystical Arts of Tibet

2002

Monks from Namyal Monastery in Ithaca, N.Y., created Mandala of Compassion as part of the Museum's Mystical Arts of Tibet exhibition. It took an entire week to complete the sacred sand painting, which was then dismantled and the sand poured into Mirror Lake.

Monks from Namyal Monastery in Ithaca, N.Y., created Mandala of Compassion as part of the Museum's Mystical Arts of Tibet exhibition. It took an entire week to complete the sacred sand painting, which was then dismantled and the sand poured into Mirror Lake.

Wood:

Installations and Drawings by Bryan Nash Gill, 1993

Bent, 1992 – yellow pine, twine, 11’ x 7’ x 8’

image of a large branch on a wooden floor

Below, find examples of pieces added to the museum’s permanent collection, one for each year from 1967 to 2016.

Discuss

  1. September 1974 I was a UCONN freshman, I had a work-study allotment as part of my financial aid package. I went to the Benton museum to apply for a position that was opened. I did not get the position and I never went back to the Benton (even though for four years I passed the museum on my way to classes) until approximately 2009 when on a very cold January day I happened to be in Storrs. The museum had a very interesting exhibit on Japanese Americans and WWII. At that time I realized I missed the opportunity to have experienced many exhibits that the museum had presented over that 35 year time span. I encourage everyone not to make that same mistake. Visit and appreciate the fine museum you have at your doorstep.

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