Lawrence Exhibition and Conference

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on September 8, 2010

Opening next month at the NPG in London is a major exhibition on Thomas Lawrence, which will then appear in New Haven in the first part of next year. As noted by The Art History Newsletter, Mark Brown of The Guardian offers a preview. As noted previously here at Enfilade, the Paul Mellon Centre will sponsor a two-day conference in conjunction with the show November 18-19.

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Thomas Lawrence: Regency Power and Brilliance
National Portrait Gallery, London, 20 October 2010 — 23 January 2011
Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 24 February — 5 June 2011

This will be the first exhibition in the United Kingdom since 1979 to examine Lawrence’s work and the first substantial presentation of this artist in the United States. It will present Lawrence as the most important British portrait painter of his generation and will explore his development as one of the most celebrated and influential European artists of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. By his untimely death in 1830, Lawrence had achieved the greatest international reach and reputation of any British artist. Based on new research and fresh perspectives, this exhibition will introduce Lawrence to a new generation of museum visitors and students. It will also contextualise his work in the light of recent scholarship on the art, politics and culture of the period. The exhibition will include the artist’s greatest paintings and drawings alongside lesser known works in order to provide a fresh understanding of Lawrence and his career. It will contrast his approach to sitters according to age and gender, juxtapose the power and impact of his public works with the intimacy and intensity of those portraits of his friends and family, trace his innovations as a draughtsman and painter, and place him within the broader contexts of the aesthetic debates, networks of patronage and international politics of his day.

Hamburger and Grafton on the Warburg Library

Posted in opinion pages, resources by Editor on September 8, 2010

From The New York Review Blog (1 September 2010) . . .

Jeffrey Hamburger and Anthony Grafton, “Save the Warburg Library!”

. . . both Labour and Tory governments seem bent on rearing hierarchies, crushing autonomy, and destroying morale. The idea, apparently, is to reconfigure the universities on a corporate model—not, however, the democratic model used by Google and other corporations that are flourishing now, but the older one of the 1950s, which did wonders for such British industries as shipbuilding and car manufacturing.

Particularly painful is the University of London’s attempt to disperse the unparalleled collections of the Warburg Institute. Named for a supremely imaginative historian of art and culture, Aby Warburg, the institute began as his library in Hamburg, which was devoted to the study of the impact of classical antiquity on European civilization. The library was rescued from Hamburg in 1933, following Hitler’s rise to power, thanks in part to the help of British benefactors. . . .

Recent articles in the German and Swiss press have called attention to the Warburg’s travails. If the University of London insists on following through with its plan, perhaps the German authorities can find the means to bring the Warburg back to its original home. That would certainly be preferable to watching as philistines demolish a great European institution.

The rest of this version of the essay can be found here at the New York Review Blog; a longer version will appear in the September 30 issue of The New York Review.

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