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Winterthur

WINTERTHUR

WINTERTHUR. Opened to the public in 1951 just outside of Wilmington, Delaware, Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library is a 966-acre country estate that principally includes a museum of the American decorative arts, a naturalistic garden, and a research library and academic center. Winterthur was the home of Henry F. du Pont, who assembled the core of the decorative-arts collection, arranged it in period rooms now numbering 175, created the garden in conjunction with the designer Marian Coffin, and began the library and graduate programs. Du Pont remained an active presence at Winterthur until his death in 1969. A nonprofit board of trustees and a professional staff now provide oversight and direction.

Du Pont graduated from Harvard University in 1903 and returned to Winterthur to manage the house and eventually the estate for his father, Henry Algernon du Pont. The land, which had been in the du Pont family since 1867, was settled in 1837 by Jacques Antoine Biderman, a business partner of the du Ponts, who named the estate Winterthur after the Swiss city that had been his ancestral home.

Henry F. du Pont, who would inherit Winterthur in 1926, created a great American country estate, modeled in part on European examples. He redesigned and expanded the gardens. He reorganized the farm and established one of the finest dairy herds in the United States. In the 1920s, he began to collect American antiques and interior architectural elements, which would lead to a dramatic expansion of his home.

Since 1951, Winterthur has been a distinguished museum of art and history, a showcase for a preeminent collection of American decorative arts. Ongoing garden restoration has helped to reclaim du Pont's original vision. The research library has evolved into a leading center for the study of material culture and the American arts with an active fellowship program. Winterthur also supports a nationally recognized publications program, conservation labs, and two leading graduate programs. The Winterthur Program in Early American Culture, founded in 1952, and the Winterthur–University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation, founded in 1974, are joint masters programs with the University of Delaware that have now graduated over 500 curators, conservators, and others who have helped to reshape the study and practice of material culture and the decorative arts.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Cantor, Jay E. Winterthur: The Foremost Museum of American Furniture and Decorative Arts. 2d ed. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1997.

Eversmann, Pauline K., and Kathryn H. Head. Discover the Winterthur Estate. Winterthur, Del.: Winterthur Publications, 1998.

GaryKulik

See alsoArt: Decorative Arts .

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Winterthur

Winterthur (vĬn´tərtōōr´), city (1990 est. pop. 85,200), Zürich canton, N Switzerland. An industrial center, it is an important rail junction and has manufactures of railroad equipment (including locomotives and diesel engines) and cotton textiles. It is also a cultural center with an old music festival and two excellent art collections. Winterthur was ruled by the counts of Kyburg (whose castle stands south of the city) until 1264, when it passed to the Hapsburgs. It became a free city of the Holy Roman Empire in 1415 and in 1467 was bought by Zürich.

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