Founded in 1964, the Aldrich Contemporary Museum is a venue dedicated to supporting innovative artists and their works, which reflect the world around us and serve as a beacon that inspires creative thinking. The Aldrich is the only museum in Connecticut that revolves around contemporary art, and is one of the few remaining independent, non-collecting contemporary art museums in the entire US.
Through the museum’s programs, visitors of all ages and from all walks of life can connect with contemporary art through a variety of innovative platforms, including tours, presentations, and interactive workshops all led by curators, artists, museum educators, and experts from different fields.
History of the museum
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum was founded by Larry Aldrich, a philanthropist and avid supporter and collector of contemporary art. Born in Manhattan on June 13, 1906, Aldrich rose to fame as a fashion designer. Along the way, he became interested in collecting fresh, interesting works, which started with purchases of works made by Renoir and Utrillo in the 1940s.
Aldrich’s taste transitioned from Impressionist and Expressionist works to contemporary art, which became the center of his attention. With the New York art scene slowly gaining momentum, his funding paved the way for the Whitney Museum of American Art and The Museum of Modern Art to acquire several contemporary works for their permanent collections.
In 1964, Aldrich’s steadily growing collection of contemporary pieces prompted him to open his very own museum in Ridgefield, where he also resided. A stylish 18th century building along Ridgefield’s historic Main Street, which grabbed his attention with its expansive backyard and spacious rooms and high ceilings ideal for displaying art.
The museum was officially opened in November 1964, and was one of the first museums in the country purely devoted to contemporary art.
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