New Acquisition at The Brooklyn Museum: Painting by Brunias

Posted in exhibitions, the 18th century in the news by Editor on January 28, 2011

Press release from the Brooklyn Museum (as noted at ArtDaily) . . .

Agostino Brunias, "Free Women of Color with their Children and Servants in a Landscape," oil on canvas, ca. 1764-96 (Brooklyn Museum)

The Brooklyn Museum has acquired, by purchase from the London Gallery Robilant + Voena, Agostino Brunias’s (1730–96) painting Free Women of Color with Their Children and Servants in a Landscape (circa 1764–96), a portrait of the eighteenth-century mixed-race colonial elite of the island of Dominica in the West Indies. Brunias, a London-based Italian painter, left England at the height of his career to chronicle Dominica, then one of Britain’s newest colonies in the Lesser Antilles. The painting depicts two richly dressed mixed-race women, one of whom was possibly the wife of the artist’s patron. They are shown accompanied by their mother and their children, along with eight African servants, as they walk on the grounds of a sugar plantation, one of the agricultural estates that were Dominica’s chief source of wealth. Brunias documented colonial women of color as privileged and prosperous. The two wealthy sisters are distinguished from their mother and servants by their fitted European dresses.

The painting is a Caribbean version of contemporaneous English works made popular by artists such as William Hogarth and Thomas Gainsborough, whose art often depicts the landed gentry engaged in leisurely pursuits. Free Women of Color with Their Children and Servants in a Landscape and other Caribbean paintings by Brunias celebrate the diversity of European, Caribbean, and African influences in the region. (more…)

Christoph Vogtherr Announced as New Director of the Wallace

Posted in the 18th century in the news by Editor on January 28, 2011

From The Wallace:

The Chairman, Sir John Ritblat, and the Trustees of the Wallace Collection are most pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Christoph Vogtherr as the next Director of the Collection upon the retirement of Dame Rosalind Savill DBE next October 2011. ‘Having run a fully international competition, it is very satisfying to find the right balance of scholarship and leadership from within the Wallace Collection itself, and that the appointment of Dr Vogtherr has the wholehearted endorsement of the Board of Trustees’ says Sir John Ritblat, Chairman of the Trustees.

Dr Christoph Martin Vogtherr is a specialist scholar/curator in eighteenth-century French painting. He was born in 1965 and studied Art History, Medieval History and Classical Archaeology at Berlin (Freie Universität), Heidelberg and at Trinity College, Cambridge. He received his Ph.D. from the Freie Universität in 1996 with a thesis on The Early History of the Berlin State Museums (published in 1997). After two years as a Research Assistant at the Akademie der Künste (Academy of Fine Arts), Berlin, he became Curator of French and Italian Paintings at the Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten (Foundation Prussian Palaces and Gardens) in Potsdam and Berlin in 1997. He curated exhibitions on Chardin, Pater and on the patronage of the Prussian Royal house and initiated an interdisciplinary research project on French paintings in the collection of Frederick II sponsored by the Getty Foundation. His catalogue raisonné of the paintings by Antoine Watteau, Jean-Baptiste Pater and Nicolas Lancret in Berlin and Potsdam appeared in December 2010. Since 2007 he has been Curator of Pictures pre-1800 at the Wallace Collection, from 2008-10 he was Acting Head of Collections, and is the curator of two exhibitions on Watteau which will open at the Wallace Collection in March 2011. He will take up his appointment on 24 October 2011.