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Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

Taft Museum of Art Announces $5 Million Gift from Sallie Robinson Wadsworth to Endow Chief Curator Position

Press Release – CINCINNATI, OH—Deborah Emont Scott, Louise Taft Semple President/CEO of the Taft Museum of Art, today announced the endowment of the museum’s lead curatorial position. It was made possible by a $5 million gift from the late Sallie Robinson Wadsworth.

The position will be held by current Director of Curatorial Affairs and Chief Curator Lynne D. Ambrosini, PhD. Her new title will be Deputy Director and the Sallie Robinson Wadsworth Chief Curator.

“I am deeply grateful to Sallie Robinson Wadsworth for her extremely generous gift to secure the chief curator position at the Taft Museum of Art in perpetuity,” said Taft President/CEO Deborah Emont Scott. “The gift will continue to honor Sallie’s legacy in the Greater Cincinnati community.”

The Wadsworth endowment will ensure that self-organized exhibitions that advance scholarship are a priority for the Taft Museum of Art. It will allow Lynne Ambrosini to dedicate a significant percentage of her time to research and to producing Taft-organized exhibitions and publications. An assistant curator, who will aid in exhibitions and curatorial work, will also be hired, bringing the curatorial department to four people.

According to Taft Museum of Art Board Chair Gerry Greene, “Sallie’s passion, curiosity, and her philanthropic spirit inspired each and every one of us. We are thrilled that this gift will provide a substantial foundation for our continued success.”

“I am deeply honored to carry the new title that bears Sallie Robinson Wadsworth’s name,” said Lynne Ambrosini, “Over the past decades, she came to personify enlightened philanthropy in Cincinnati. Committed to advancing knowledge of the arts, Sallie combined immense generosity with a rare understanding of the role of scholarship in curatorial work; her presence has been inspirational to me and to my predecessors.”

Sallie Robinson Wadsworth grew up in Cincinnati, attended Walnut Hills High School, and earned her degree from Smith College. Sallie was a member of the first docent class of Taft Museum of Art, 1971–1972. She served as a board member of the Museum from 1985 until 2015.

Sallie supported the Taft Museum of Art with meaningful gifts throughout her life with special emphasis on scholarship and exhibitions. In 2013, the Sallie Robinson Wadsworth Endowment for Exhibitions was developed as part of the Taft’s successful $12 million endowment campaign. Most recently, Sallie and her husband, Randolph, supported the Taft’s first self-organized international exhibition, Daubigny, Monet, Van Gogh: Impressions of Landscape, and the research that informed the exhibition, as well as the associated catalogue and symposium. Sallie’s mother, Mrs. Margaret Robinson, was also an avid supporter and patron of the Taft.

Sallie passed away peacefully on November 22, 2017. A celebration of her life was held at the Taft Museum of Art on January 5, 2018.

Sallie Robinson Wadsworth was deeply committed to Greater Cincinnati and left a legacy of philanthropic support in the visual arts, music, and theater communities. She served as national secretary of the Victorian Society in America and served on the boards of Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, the Oxford Community Arts Center, the Ox-Act Community Theater, and the Jane Austen Society of North America, among other organizations. In addition to her many years with the Special Projects Pool of the Cincinnati Institute of Fine Arts (now ArtsWave), she served as President of the Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati and as the first woman Chairman of the Board of McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital, Oxford. Sallie and her husband, Randolph, were jointly major supporters of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and smaller musical groups.

Lynne Ambrosini has been at the Taft Museum of Art since 2004. Her area of scholarly specialization is 19th-century French painting and sculpture. Ambrosini’s publications include articles and books on Jean-François Millet, Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, and Auguste Rodin, among others, and she has been an invited speaker at numerous conferences and symposia on topics in French 19th-century art.

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