Daniel Wadsworth

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Daniel Wadsworth (1771–1848) of Hartford, Connecticut, was an American amateur artist and architect, arts patron and traveler. He is most remembered as the founder of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in his native city.

View of Monte Video, Seat of Daniel Wadsworth, Esq., oil on panel, 1828, Thomas Cole. Wadsworth Atheneum

Early life and education[edit]

Daniel Wadsworth was descended from some of the first Puritan settlers of the Connecticut colony. His father Jeremiah Wadsworth was one of the most wealthy men in Hartford, and his mother was also from an elite family. The senior Wadsworth was involved in trade, manufacturing, banking, and insurance. Young Daniel was educated partly at home; he was introduced to the great art and architecture of the royal courts of Europe by his father, who traveled there with him.

Marriage and family[edit]

Wadsworth married Faith Trumbull in 1794. He later got acquainted with her uncle, John Trumbull, one of the period’s most celebrated historical painters.

Career[edit]

Wadsworth worked at art and architecture, but did not need to support himself by either.

In later years, he became a leading patron of painters Thomas Cole, considered at the time the greatest landscape artist in the United States, and Frederic Edwin Church, also of Hartford and the Hudson River school. Determined to promote American artists, Wadsworth donated a lot on Main Street in Hartford for the Wadsworth Atheneum. He provided many of the art objects initially displayed from his personal collection. He also helped Lydia Sigourney with the publication of her first books.

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