CT Modern Driving tour

Welcome to the Connecticut Modern Driving Tour, a self-guided tour of sites located throughout the state that relate to mid-twentieth century modern art and architecture.

To find out more, click on the links below to view each site’s location, parking and visitation guidelines, and a brief description. Some sites have special open house dates; please read the description closely for more details.

Many of the sites on this tour were designed and built during the period of mass suburbanization of the post-World War II era. The story of Connecticut’s connection with modern art and architecture starts about 15 years earlier in 1927 when Chick Austin was appointed Executive Director of the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, CT and in 1933 when Alexander Calder moved his studio from Paris, France to Roxbury, CT. The influence, genius, and clout of these two men laid the groundwork for the moves of other important figures in the fields of art and architecture to the Nutmeg State.

Connecticut’s proximity to New York City made the state a fertile ground for postwar suburban expansion. Not only were many homes being built, but public spaces like the ones on this tour were constructed to serve a swelling population. As a result, the artists and architects addressed in this tour, including Phillip Johnson, Landis Gores, Marcel Breuer, Sol LeWitt, Louis Kahn, and Wallace Harrison, found plenty of work in the state.

This driving tour complements the Bruce Museum’s exhibition, Connecticut Modern: Art, Design, and the Avant-Garde, 1930-1960 (September 23, 2023 to January 7, 2024). While the sites below are listed in an order specific to their period and location, they can be toured in any order that suits you.

C Austin by George Platt Lynes 1936

Photo of A. Everett Austin Jr. by George Platt Lynes, 1936.
Photograph Collection, RG9_1_F344,
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art Archives, Hartford, CT.

Alexander Calder with Steel Fish, near his studio in Roxbury, CT, 1934 Photograph by James Thrall Soby © 2023 Calder Foundation, New York

Alexander Calder with Steel Fish, near his studio in Roxbury, CT, 1934
Photograph by James Thrall Soby
© 2023 Calder Foundation, New York

The Bruce Museum would like to thank the following people for their help in creating the Connecticut Modern Driving Tour:

Craig Bassam, Scott Fellows, and Tracy Seem, BassamFellows

Wendy Bayor, Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek

Bob Burns and Cecelia Feldman, Mattatuck Museum

Christa Carr, The Glass House

Roland Coffey, Yale University Art Gallery

Kristin Dwyer, The Yale Center for British Art

The Rev. Dr. David van Dyke, Ann Hart, and Jane Love, The First Presbyterian Church

Nancy Geary, New Canaan Museum & Historical Society

Beryl Gilothwest, Calder Foundation

Erin Monroe, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art

Meaghan Rosenblatt, Hotel Marcel

The Connecticut Modern Driving Tour is generously funded by a grant from the Connecticut Humanities Council.


Share with a friend