We keep finding superior art collections in upstate NY. Auburn, Cooperstown, Glens Falls, Corning, and now Utica.
It was once called "The City that God Forgot". Maybe that was an outsider's impression, but this neat little burg has been harboring greatness all along.
The Art Insitute is celebrating 75 years in the community and, according to the history, the founding families have been collecting great art here for more than 150 years. Great indeed.
Had a few hours and simply pulled into the back parking lot and started through the new wing.
There's Picasso and Mondrian and many more right there in the back hallway. Take the stairs to the main floor and you find yourself in the Philip Johnson-designed open cube. It takes your breath away---quiet, enveloping, bright.
Each side gallery is full of treasures. Couldn't stop ourselves from practically dashing through the whole before starting over at a slow pace. American artists galore and bits of the best of European art too.
Current exhibit of Warhol is many of the best from the Pittsburgh museum. A nice treat.
The staircases are so inviting and touchable. The exhibits well-planned and full of local and wordly interest. Something as simple as a handmade Adirondack dresser becomes the centerpiece that draws you to a gallery of nature art from the 19th c. You have to remind yourself not to touch.
Very nice gallery store with loads of gifts and books, many on local history and art. Friendly staff at every turn.
And did not realize that the modern portion of the museum was only part of the attraction. Followed the signs to the Terrace Cafe and found ourselves in a glass-enclosed walkway leading to the Fountain Elms, the family mansion next door. It had started raining---one of those brisk summer showers when the sky doesn't even get dark. As we entered the walkway we could hear water outside and inside and realize we're walking toward the original fountain of Fountain Elms, set right in our path. The sound and sight was almost surreal. We simply stood there until the rain stopped.
You enter the back hall again here and the house becomes a large work of art you walk through.
Go up to the main floor and you're in another world, one that hasn't been seen since 1912.
Since there were no inheriting children, the family portraits remain on the walls, much of the furniture in place and the details of the home have been exquisitely maintained. Everything from reproduction carpets to wallpaper to curtains keep drawing your eye toward the paintings that are hanging where the family loved them.
Up the stairs, more rooms and even another gallery of contemporary art which seems to fit perfectly.
When you find the Terrace Cafe, it really does have a terrace. Beautifully decorated and a perfect retreat on a summer afternoon, indoors or out. Service was relaxed, food was carefully prepared, prices very affordable.
We would eat lunch here every day if we could.
And don't forget that the museum is free, so splurge on lunch, ice cream, a cookie, and a lingering coffee.
Then walk through the museum and gardens one more time. It's worth it.
Absolutely can not recommend this enough.
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