This is how you experience the Taft Museum of Art during the renovation



The Taft Museum is closed for almost a year while the historic mansion Lytle Place is being renovated and the infrastructure is being updated. However, the museum is reinventing its collection in two temporary exhibitions.

In a new light, treasures from the taffeta opens on July 3rd in the museum’s special exhibition. It displays around 80 of the museum’s best works of art, including pieces by Rembrandt, Whistler, and John Singer Sargent.

Curator Tamera Muente explains that the works will be presented in a new context under three topics relevant to the modern audience. For the first time, the museum is presenting its collection thematically.

“We take a look at power and wealth. We take a look at gender, race and class, as well as nature and the environment and how human relationships with nature are complicated, ”she says.

The museum’s collection is “fairly traditional” with many European influences. The museum opened in the 1930s with works from the personal collection of Anna Sinton Taft and Charles Phelps Taft. Muente explains how the exhibition uses these new lenses for viewing.

“We look at things like topics. We look at the materials that objects are made of and, in the case of some objects, the artists who made them, ”she says. “We dig really deep and I think the stories we reveal are going to surprise people.”

It expresses the exhibition’s potential to reach a new audience by combining “art of the past” with current issues.

“You can explore many different topics – social context, historical context – through a work of art made (for example) in 1609 … how relevant (it) is to what is interesting today. This exhibition will really do that” says Münte.

In a new light, treasures from the taffeta runs from July 3, 2021 – May 1, 2022.

Borrowed Gemstones

While the Taft Museum is closed, a second exhibition is planned, with around 40 works on display off-site. Borrowed Gemstones from the Taft Museum of Art opens July 23 and is free at the Cincinnati Museum Center. It will include landscapes and portraits by master painters including Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Charles François Daubigny and Thomas Gainsborough.

According to Muente, the museum is pleased to display part of its collection in a space dedicated to the history of Cincinnati.

“There we tell the story of how taft collecting and how their philanthropy has influenced the community, and share some of those interesting stories that bring these works from the 17th to 19th centuries and make them relevant to the 21st century . “

This exhibition runs from July 23, 2021 to February 21, 2022.


When the Taft Museum reopens next year, visitors can expect new interpretations of most of the works. Muente notes that many items did not have explanatory text before the renovation work. After completion, the modernized museum will also offer new information for regular visitors.

Not all of the museum’s works will be removed during the restoration. The historic Duncanson murals that adorn the entrance hall of the house will be covered and monitored during the renovation.

The Cincinnati artist Robert S. Duncanson is considered the most famous African American artist of the Civil War. The eight murals at Taft House were commissioned by one of the house’s previous owners, Nicholas Longworth, who the Cincinnati Art Museum says recognized and nurtured Duncanson’s talent. According to the Taft Museum of Art, they are considered “the most significant wall paintings in the United States before the Civil War”.

You can still see one of Duncanson’s paintings in the temporary exhibition. Duncansons The Temple of Sybil, Tivoli, Italy – on loan from the Cincinnati and Hamilton Counties Public Libraries – featured prominently under the Gender, Race, and Class section.

The Taft Museum of Art is a financial supporter of Cincinnati Public Radio.


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