New Book | Common Land in English Painting, 1700-1850

Posted in books by Editor on January 3, 2013

From Boydell & Brewer:

Ian Waites, Common Land in English Painting, 1700-1850 (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2012), 216 pages, ISBN: 978-1843837619, $90.

common-land-in-english-painting-1700-1850During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, much of England’s common land was eradicated by the processes of parliamentary enclosure. However, despite the fact that the landscape was frequently viewed as unproductive, outmoded and unsightly, many British landscape painters of the time – including Constable, Gainsborough and Turner – resolutely continued to depict it.

This book is the first full study of how they did so, using evidence drawn not only from art-historical picture analysis, but from contemporary poems and novels, and the contemporary pamphlets, essays and reports that advanced the rhetoric of both agricultural improvement and new theories on landscape aesthetics. It highlights a deep-rooted social and cultural attachment to the common field landscape, and demonstrates that common land played a significant but – until now – underestimated role in both the history of English art and of the formation of an English national identity, reflecting what are still highly sensitive issues of
progress, nostalgia and loss within the English countryside. Recasting common land as a recurrent facet of English culture in the modern period, the numerous paintings, drawings and prints featured in this book give the reader a comprehensive and evocative sense of what this now almost wholly lost landscape looked like in its hey-day.

Ian Waites is Senior Lecturer in History of Art and Design at the University of Lincoln.

Horowitz Foundation Funds Institute for American Arts at BGC

Posted in resources by Editor on January 3, 2013

Recently announced by the BGC:

The Bard Graduate Center is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a grant of $1 million by the Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for the Arts to establish the Center’s first named institute.

“The study of American material culture and art has always been a cornerstone of the BGC academic mission,” said Dean Peter N. Miller. “This magnificent commitment from the Horowitz Foundation will not only enhance the BGC’s existing program and provide essential financial support to our students, but also enable us to think big.”

Over the past several years, the Horowitz Foundation has generously supported the BGC through grants for exhibitions on topics of American material culture presented by the BGC Gallery. This latest award will provide a firm foundation to sustain and grow a key aspect of the Center’s academic program. Among the Horowitz Institute’s teaching, research, and scholarship components will be:

• A fellowship awarded to a PhD student with an approved dissertation topic focusing on an aspect of American material culture

• The Materials of American Art program to provide MA students with first-hand exposure to materials and techniques used to create objects and opportunities to engage with artists and artisans working in a variety of media

• A prize for the best Qualifying Paper on a topic in American art

• The establishment of the Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation Seminars for advanced discussion of a wide range of topics and issues in architecture, decorative arts, design, and collecting involving American material culture

• The creation of a book prize for the best manuscript in the field of American art and culture to be awarded in the name of Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz

“I founded the BGC in 1993 with the conviction that the aspirations and habits of civilization are revealed through art and objects, which are fundamental to our lives,” said Dr. Susan Weber, BGC Founder and Director. “The Horowitz Institute will benefit future professors, curators, and authors who will one day be making valuable contributions to the scholarship in the field. We extend our deepest gratitude to the directors of the Horowitz Foundation for this significant commitment that will serve both student need and the wider academic community.”

The Raymond and Margaret Horowitz Foundation was established by an extraordinary couple. New Yorkers to the core, they collected American Impressionist art avidly, beginning in the early 1960s, when there were few others interested in this genre. Mr. and Mrs. Horowitz scoured galleries in New York and Boston, and bought singular examples in oil, watercolor, pastel, charcoal, and print media. In 1999, forty-nine Impressionist and Realist paintings and works on paper from the collection were exhibited at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, and the response was resounding.

“The Horowitz Foundation was formed to better the education, exhibition, and scholarship in the field of American art. Thus far grants have been made to many institutions, museum and university alike. We are proud to assist the Bard Graduate Center in their work, which has been consistently thoughtful in approach and brilliant in execution,” commented Warren Adelson, Director of the Horowitz Foundation.

American Material Culture at the BGC

From its inception in 1993, the BGC has seen the study of American decorative arts and material culture as a cornerstone of the graduate program. Several members of the faculty specialize or teach in areas pertaining to American art, design, and cultural history. Among them are Ken Ames, one of this country’s leading authorities on American silver; Catherine Whalen, a specialist in American craft; and David Jaffee, a specialist in the material culture of early America. An anthropologist, Aaron Glass focuses his research on the material culture of Native American cultures, particularly those found in the Northwest Coast. Ivan Gaskell, Pat Kirkham, Michele Majer, and Amy Ogata teach and publish in aspects of American material culture ranging from costumes and textiles to architecture, design, film, and history.

Organized by the academic programs department and open to the general public, BGC’s Seminar Series is a venue for advanced intellectual discussion in New York City and an expression of the range of methods and approaches for studying the cultural history of the material world. In 2007, the BGC inaugurated a special series focused on New York and American Material Culture. Since then leading scholars of American history from such venerable institutions as Yale, Brown, Winterthur, the University of Virginia, and the Getty Institute have come to the BGC to examine a wide range of topics related to architecture, decorative arts, design, and collecting.

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