“Harvard Art Museums,” by Phil Radoff

Harvard Art Museums

It’s not exactly around the corner from 60 Turner Street, but the Harvard Art Museums are worth the trouble to get there. Many BOLLI members probably recall the days when a trip to Harvard’s museums required visitors to make a choice: Do I want to see the great collection of paintings in the Fogg’s Maurice Wertheim rooms? How about works by Gustav Klimt, Edvard Munch, and various 20th century German-speaking artists at the Busch-Reisinger–or perhaps the Chinese jades and Greek vases in the Sackler? Fortunately, since 2014, visitors can have it all in a single building, now referred to simply as the Harvard Art Museums, located just across Harvard Square at 32 Quincy Street. It’s still necessary to prioritize. Even though the three sets of collections are now available in one place, you can’t expect to see them all in a single visit. When we recently stopped in at the Museums, we were drawn immediately to the Wertheim rooms on the first floor, which house a splendid assortment of Impressionist, Post-impressionist, and later paintings by the likes of Monet, Van Gogh, Cézanne, and Picasso.

“Mother and Child,” Picasso

We spent so much time admiring the Wertheim collection, that when we looked up it was time for lunch at the small first-floor cafeteria and a quick stop in the gift shop. After a perusal of some pre-Raphaelite paintings and the Sargent and Eakins canvasses on the second floor, it was time to go–and we hadn’t yet checked out the upper floors. Clearly another visit was called for. Sunday admission to the Museums is free, and on some days there are also student-led museum tours (check the Museums’ website). Parking on Garden Street (about a ten-minute walk from the Museums) and other neighborhood streets is also free on Sundays. If you plan to go, be sure to reserve tickets via the website.

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