Disclosure – This trip to the Toledo Museum of Art was part of a press trip sponsored by Ohio State Park Lodges. That being said, admission to the museum is FREE for everyone (you just pay $5 for parking if you need it) and it was such an amazing experience that I can’t wait to go back. PS I was super impressed that they have some and recharging stations set aside for electric vehicles.
Confession time – when I heard we were going to the Toledo Museum of Art, my first reaction was, “Toledo HAS an art museum?” Dumb, right? Of course they have arts in a city the size of Toledo but I just had honestly never heard of it before. So, second reaction was, “Oh it’s going to be one of those very local type museums – lots of folk art, lots of art by local area artists I’ve never heard of before.” Now, there’s nothing wrong with that, especially for an art-lover like me but I have to say, I was shocked to find out that the Toledo Museum of Art, built in 1912, actually holds some of the world’s major works of art! As you can see above, I was pretty excited to see Monet’s Water Lilies for the first time in person. We’ve all seen pictures of it but being so close that you can see all those tiny little details, all the texture of the brush strokes is an amazing experience.
Then I found out that there was a Rossetti at the museum and I was practically squealing with delight! (Unfortunately my photos of it didn’t turn out – a good excuse to go back and see it again, right?). Rossetti is one of my top 3 favourite artists of all time. The above paintings, Portrait of a Woman by Van Cleeve, Elizabeth I by an unknown artist, and Portrait of a Lady by Holbein were some of my other favourites in the museum.
Apollo by Matisse (pictured above)
Other must-see pieces of art in the museum are: The Wheat Field with Reaper, Auvers by Van Gogh; The Crowning of Saint Catherine by Rubens; The Washerwoman and The Woman Drawing Water at the Cistern by Chardin; Hester, The Architect’s Dream by Cole; The Comtesse de Ceres by Vigee-Le Brun; The Countess of Sussex and Her Daughter by Gainsborough, Apollo by Matisse (above); and Washerwoman by Renoir (see below).
One of the things I really appreciated about the Toledo Museum of Art is that there truly is something for everyone there. Art collections include Ancient, Islamic, American, Middle Ages, Renaissance, Impressionism and more. There’s a family center where children and their caregivers can learn more about art and actually make some for themselves! There are guided baby tours – trained educators take babies up to 18 months old and their caregivers on a half hour tour of large, colourful paintings that stimulate the child’s brain and facilitate early visual literacy skills.
Washerwoman by Renoir (pictured above)
Touring the museum on your own but just aren’t sure where to begin? The museum has put together a variety of pamphlets that will help you focus on a theme for your visit. Themes include: Hair (that’s right – art in which hair plays a major design role), Greatest Hits (a focus on some major pieces in the collection), Against the Odds (art by inspiring artists who didn’t let physical or mental adversity stand in their way), and Date Night (pieces that will help spark conversation or set the right mood). This is such a brilliant idea! Too many times people visit a museum only to feel a bit lost OR they avoid the museum because they feel like they don’t know enough about art. These guides help visitors focus and give some background into the art.
BUT WAIT – there’s more! The Toledo Museum of Art also has a Glass Pavilion. Ohio is well known for its glass works factories and so it’s only natural that the museum pay homage to that history with a collection of gorgeous works of art made out of glass. See my separate blog post about the Glass Pavilion here for a taste of what you can expect there. And yes, the Glass Pavilion is all included in your FREE admission to the museum!
Upcoming.current special exhibits at the Toledo Museum of Art: Looks Good on Paper: Masterworks and Favorites (until Feb. 8, 2015), Speaking Visual: Learning the Language of Art (until Jan. 25, 2015), InSight: Contemporary Sensory Works (from Nov. 5, 2014 – Jan. 4, 2015), 95th Toledo Area Artists’ Exhibition (Nov. 21, 2014 – Jan. 4, 2015)