Newly Restored Dutch Panel Paintings

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on November 21, 2009

From the Museum Van Loon website:

Jurriaan Andriessen (1742-1819): A Beautiful View
Museum Van Loon, Amsterdam, 2 October 2009 — 4 January 2010


Jurriaan Andriessen, 1780

The exhibition Jurriaan Andriessen (1742-1819): een schoon vergezicht . . .  is the very first solo exhibition of this famous eighteenth-century wall panel painter, with works from — amongst others — the Rijksmuseum, the City Archives, and the Archive of the Royal Household, many of which have not been on display earlier. The occasion of this exhibition is the . . . ­completed restoration of the six Andriessen wall panels in the collection of the Museum Van Loon. Andriessen manufactured the paintings in 1780 for Drakensteyn Castle, where Princess Beatrix lived before her accession to the throne. Professor Maurits van Loon acquired the panels in the 1970s as a result of the special relationship between Drakensteyn Castle and the Van Loon house. Since those days, they embellish the wall of the ‘Drakensteyn Room’ in the museum. It is the only Andriessen ensemble presently open to the public.

In the eighteenth century, wall panels were a true trend in Dutch interiors. Contrary to present day wallpaper, they were actual paintings, mostly landscapes with wall-to-wall displays that made people feel ‘outside on the inside’. Jurriaan Andriessen was particularly popular in his day and had many commissions both in Amsterdam and the country. With the exhibition comes a publication: Richard Harmanni, Tonko Grever, and Laura Smeets, Jurriaan Andriessen (1742-1819): A Beautiful View (Zwolle, Waanders, 2009), ISBN: 9789040076534, $29.

American Stories at the Met

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on November 21, 2009

From the Met’s press release:

American Stories: Paintings of Everyday Life, 1765-1915
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 12 October 2009 – 24 January 2010

Ralph Earl, "Elijah Boardman," 1789 (NY: Met)

From the decade before the Revolution to the eve of World War I, many of America’s most acclaimed painters captured in their finest works the temperament of their respective eras. They recorded and defined the emerging character of Americans as individuals, citizens, and members of ever-widening communities. American Stories: Paintings of Everyday Life, 1765–1915 brings together for the first time more than 100 of these iconic pictures that tell compelling stories of life’s tasks and pleasures. The first overview of the subject in more than 35 years, the exhibition includes loans from leading museums and private lenders—and many paintings from the Metropolitan’s own distinguished collection. American Stories features masterpieces by John Singleton Copley, Charles Willson Peale, William Sidney Mount, George Caleb Bingham, Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, William Merritt Chase, John Sloan, and George Bellows, and notable works by some of their key colleagues.

The exhibition examines stories based on familiar experience and the means by which painters told their stories through their choices of settings, players, action, and various narrative devices. The artists’ responses to foreign prototypes, travel and training, changing exhibition venues, and audience expectations are examined, as are their evolving styles and standards of storytelling in relation to the themes of childhood, marriage, the family, and the community; the production and reinforcement of citizenship; attitudes towards race; the frontier as reality and myth; and the process and meaning of art making.

The exhibition is arranged in four chronological sections. The first—Inventing American Stories, 1765–1830—begins with artists who told stories through portraits. Serving their sitters’ self-conscious interest in how they appeared in the eyes of others, American portraitists often emulated British compositions. Although these artists focused on individuals and particular locales and relationships, the cleverest of them responded to broader narrative agendas and to the natural impulse to tell stories. In his portrait of his colleague Paul Revere (1768, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), John Singleton Copley embedded subtle narrative into a traditional single-figure format, with the silversmith’s gestures and gaze conveying volumes about the time in which he lived. As their patrons learned to read portraits for more than likeness and to appreciate artistic license, portraitists began to gratify their sitters by telling subtle personal stories in increasingly elaborate compositions. In his ingenious double-likeness of Benjamin and Eleanor Ridgely Laming (1788, National Gallery of Art, Washington), for instance, Charles Willson Peale implied the sexual bond that defined the Lamings’ marriage. Later in this period, some painters told grand stories in pictures produced for public exhibition, rather than purely for private enjoyment. In Gallery of the Louvre (1831–33, Terra Foundation for American Art, Chicago), Samuel F. B. Morse proposed that his compatriots must achieve cultural independence from Europe even while they learned from the Old World’s greatest artistic achievements.

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In addition to the materials contained at the Met’s website, there is an exhibition blog that’s updated regularly. The November 2009 issue of The Magazine Antiques includes an instructive article by Carrie Barratt and H. Barbara Weinberg, “American Artists as They Saw Themselves.”

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