CINCINNATI — The Taft Museum of Art celebrates its historic house’s bicentennial year with two self-organized exhibitions, A Splendid Century: Cincinnati Art 1820-1920 (October 3, 2020–January 24, 2021) and Built to Last: The Taft Historic House at 200 (now on view).

The Taft’s bicentennial exhibitions are a precursor to the historic house’s upcoming Bicentennial Infrastructure Project, which is set to begin in 2021.

The National Endowment for the Humanities announced in early 2020 that the Taft had been awarded the competitive Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge Grant in the maximum amount of $750,000, to help preserve and renovate the Cincinnati gem. The Taft also recently received a prestigious grant from the National Park Service as part of the Save America’s Treasure’s program in August 2020, in the maximum amount of $500,000.

“The museum’s historic house has stood on Pike Street for two centuries,” Louise Taft Semple President/CEO, Deborah Emont Scott said. “And as the caring stewards of the house, it is our responsibility to ensure that the house and its art collection remains an enduring part of our community.”

A Splendid Century: Cincinnati Art 1820-1920 opens in the Taft’s Fifth Third Gallery on October 3 to the public. It will feature Cincinnati art and artists spanning the first 100 years of the house’s existence including rarely seen works from local private collections and museums from around the region. The wide-ranging exhibition will include paintings and sculptures by beloved Cincinnati artists including Hiram Powers, Robert S. Duncanson, Elizabeth Nourse, Frank Duveneck, Henry Farny, Dixie Selden and others, as well as ceramics from Rookwood Pottery.

“Nearly 60 works of art will tell the story of the city’s arts scene as the Taft’s historic house residents would have experienced it and contributed to it—creating a picture of Cincinnati visual culture during the Golden Age of art in the Queen City,” the Taft’s associate curator, Tamera Muente, said.

The show, which has been in the planning stages for the past three years, also examines how the century was not “splendid” for all people, highlighting individual works of art that reveal the stories of historically underrepresented groups, including women and Black and indigenous people through ‘more to the story’ labels throughout the exhibition.

Concurrently on view, the Taft also organized a Sinton Gallery exhibition, Built to Last: The Taft Historic House at 200, which showcases the remarkable artifacts and stories left behind by the home’s residents and other key figures, illuminating the architectural jewel’s 200-year transformation.

Experience the Exhibition:

In conjunction with the exhibitions, the Museum’s public programs will celebrate the historic house’s bicentennial year. A complete list of offerings and details will be made available at; highlighted programs include:

ONLINE WORKSHOP | Drawing Your Environment

(1-3 p.m. Saturday, October 17)

Throughout history, artists have been influenced by the environments in which they live. In this workshop, participants will create a contemporary landscape drawing with artist Samantha Haring. Drawings will be inspired by the landscape paintings in the exhibition A Splendid Century. $20 Taft members; $35 non-members. Suitable for all skill levels. No previous drawing experience required.

ONLINE PROGRAM | Assembling A Splendid Century

(6:30 p.m., Thursday, October 29)

Associate curator Tamera Lenz Muente sifted through hundreds of works of art to put together A Splendid Century. In this talk, she will share behind-the-scenes stories, fascinating historical facts, and surprising connections she uncovered during the creation of this exhibition. Along the way, you will gain an appreciation for how the Baum, Longworth, and Taft families helped shaped 100 years of art in Cincinnati. Bring your questions for the live Q&A at the end of the talk.

Information provided

Recommended for you