New Book | Seeing Satire in the Eighteenth Century

Posted in books, Member News by Editor on January 25, 2013

From the Voltaire Foundation:

Elizabeth C. Mansfield and Kelly Malone, eds., Seeing Satire in the Eighteenth Century, SVEC 2013:02 (Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, 2013), 320 pages, ISBN-978-0729410632, £65 / €80 / $106.

coverA moment in history when verbal satire, caricature, and comic performance exerted unprecedented influence on society, the Enlightenment sustained a complex, though now practically invisible, culture of visual humor. In Seeing Satire in the Eighteenth Century contributors recapture the unique energy of comic images in the works of key artists and authors whose satirical intentions have been obscured by time.

From a decoding of Gabriel de Saint-Aubin’s Livre de caricatures as a titillating jibe at royal and courtly figures, a reinterpretation of the man’s muff as an emblem of foreignness, foppishness and impotence, a reappraisal of F. X. Messerschmidt’s sculpted heads as comic critiques of Lavater’s theories of physiognomy, to the press denigration of William Wilberforce’s abolitionist efforts, visual satire is shown to extend to all areas of society and culture across Europe and North America. By analysing the hidden meaning of these key works, contributors reveal how visual comedy both mediates and intensifies more serious social critique. The power of satire’s appeal to the eye was as clearly understood, and as widely exploited in the Enlightenment as it is today.

Elizabeth C. Mansfield’s research encompasses modern and early modern European art. Her publications include an award-winning book on the classical legend of Zeuxis ‘Selecting Models’. She is currently Vice-President of Scholarly Programs at the National Humanities Center. Kelly Malone is a scholar of the literature and culture of eighteenth-century England. She is currently Associate Professor of English at Sewanee, the University of the South.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊


Introduction, Elizabeth C. Mansfield and Kelly Malone — Seeing satire in the Age of Reason
1. Emmanuel Schwartz — Satire unmasked by reading
2. Eric Rosenberg — The impossibility of painting: the satiric inevitability of John Singleton Copley’s Boy with a Squirrel
3. Julie-Anne Plax — Watteau’s witticisms: visual humor and sociability
4. Emily Richardson — ‘Tu n’as pas tout vü!’: seeing satire in the Saint-Aubin Livre de Caricatures
5. Melissa Lee Hyde — Needling: embroidery and satire in the hands of Charles-Germain de Saint-Aubin
6. Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell — ‘He is not dressed without a muff’: muffs, masculinity, and la mode in English satire
7. Trevor Burnard — ‘A compound mongrel mixture’: racially coded humor, satire, and the denigration of white Creoles in the British Empire 1784-1834
8. Reva Wolf — Seeing satire in the peepshow
9. Steven Minuk — Swift’s satire of vision
10. Michael Yonan — Messerschmidt, the Hogarth of sculpture
11. Katherine Mannheimer — Anatomizing print’s perils: Augustan satire’s textual bodies
12. Marcus C. Levitt — ‘Women’s wiles’ in Mikhail Chulkov’s The Comely Cook
List of illustrations

Master Drawings New York, 2013

Posted in Art Market by Editor on January 25, 2013

Press release (October 2012) from Master Drawings New York:

Master Drawings New York, 2013
New York, 25 January — 2 February 2013

logoThe highly acclaimed Master Drawings New York returns to Manhattan where dealers from around the world are holding coordinated exhibitions in art galleries located on New York’s Upper East Side. This annual event, which has attracted four new international dealers this year, enables both collectors and curators to view a broad range of master works dating from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries. Exhibitors hail from the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, and the USA. During this week, their finest drawings are all displayed within walking distance of each other, allowing connoisseurs to buy drawings across a broad range of prices, styles, and centuries. A preview at all galleries on Friday January 25 from 4 to 8 pm enables collectors to view the exhibitions before the opening weekend.

New York dealer Les Eluminures are exhibiting the intensely colourful Presentation in the Temple (ca. 1520/30) by Netherlandish artist Simon Bening (1483/4–1561). The vibrancy of expression with which Bening depicts these biblical characters lends the work, almost 500 years old, a remarkable vitality. Fellow New Yorker Margot Gordon, who organises the event with London-based Crispian Riley-Smith, is showing a 17th-century study for the ‘Sala di Apollo’ at the Palazzo Pitti by Pietro da Cortona (1596–1669), which highlights the movement and dynamism of the artist’s work.


Antonio González Velázquez, The Apparition of the Virgin del Carmen to Saint Simon Stock, black chalk, sepia ink and brown wash on laid paper, 1780

18th- and 19th-century European drawings are one of the strengths of the 2013 edition of Master Drawings New York. Madrid based dealer José de la Mano Galería de Arte is bringing The Apparition of the Virgin del Carmen to Saint Simon Stock (1780), a stately biblical scene depicted in black chalk, sepia ink and brown wash on laid paper by Antonio González Velázquez (1723–1793). The drawing reveals Velázquez’s subtlety of stroke and includes fascinating sketches around the border. Paolo Antonacci from Rome, a first time exhibitor at Master Drawings New York, brings Paolo and Francesca Surprised by Giangiotto Malatesta by Giuseppe Cades (1750–1799) in ink and brown wash on paper while Crispian Riley-Smith is exhibiting a pencil and watercolour by Cornelia Maris Haakman (1787–1834) of Tulips, Carnations, Blue Bells in a Vase with a Still-Life of Butterfly and Snail (1806). London dealer James Mackinnon is bringing a pencil and watercolour drawing of The Monastery Cloister at Amalfi (1840) by Achille Vianelli (1803–1894). The roof of the cloisters vaulting above the habited monks creates an atmosphere of peace and contemplation in an Italian midday heat. Parisian dealer Laura Pecheur is bringing a vibrant pencil and watercolour on paper signed by Lorenz Frölich (1820–1908), of a Fisherman from Capri (ca. 1850).

Drawing 24

Giuseppe Cades, Paolo and Francesca Surprised by Giangiotto Malatesta, ink and brown wash on paper

Moving into the 20th century, London dealer Stephen Ongpin Fine Art is bringing The Sleeping Child, a dream-like watercolour sketch by French symbolist Odilon Redon (1840–1916). The blooming, cloud-like forms and feverish colours of the sketch typify Redon’s drawings, described by Huysmans as, “[defying] classification; unheeding, for the most part, of the limitations of painting.” New York dealer Sigrid Freundorfer Fine Art is exhibiting an ink on paper sketch of Albert Einstein drawn by his friend Josef Scharl (1896–1954) in Princeton in 1950, which is signed by both Scharl and Einstein. Moeller Fine Art, also from New York, is showing The Academician (The Poet) (1954), a colourful oil pastel and ink on paper by Richard Lindner (1901–1978). Described by Claude Clement as “full of urban energy, and driven by weird eroticism,” Lindner was also in Einstein’s circle and an eminent academic until his death in 1978.

Call for Papers | British Country House at NACBS

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on January 24, 2013

I’m hoping to put together a panel for this year’s NACBS meeting in Portland. Please email me with any questions! -CH

Session on the British Country House at NACBS
North American Conference on British Studies, Portland, 8-10 November 2013

Proposals due by 18 February 2013

This session seeks to bring together scholars working on the full range of topics associated with country houses in British history – including architecture, the decorative arts, and gardens. Papers might address material aspects as well as larger contextual approaches that situate particular families and houses within narratives of power, patronage, the history of taste, and British identity. Please email a 200-word proposal and a CV to CraigAshleyHanson@gmail.com by 18 February 2013 (the complete panel will need to be submitted together in March).

Exhibition Review | Versailles and the Antique

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on January 24, 2013

Reviewed for Enfilade by Hélène Bremer

Versailles et l’Antique
Château de Versailles, 13 November 2012 — 17 March 2013

Curated by Alexandre Maral, Geneviève Bresc-Bautier, Jean-Luc Martinez, and Nicolas Milovanovic, with scenography by Pier Luigi Pizzi

Galerie de Pierre basse

Galerie de Pierre basse (Room 1) Versailles et l’Antique
© EPV / Th. Garnier

The entrance through the Gallerie de Pierre Basse (Room 1) of the Palace of Versailles has been changed dramatically for the exhibition Versailles and Antiquity. The public is usually barred from this part of the palace, allowed only to peek down a rather dark hallway containing a collection of sculpture dedicated to heroes of French history. Instead, for now, these statues are discretely draped with white tissue, and the public enters alongside a selection of masterpieces from Louis XIVth’s sculpture garden. The finest marble sculpture from the collections of the French court, now in the collections of the Louvre and the Palace of Versailles, suggest a new Rome, created at Versailles by the Sun King and presently revived by the exhibition curators. This exceptionally ambitious show brings together not only marbles, but also bronzes, tapestries, paintings, drawings, decorative and ephemeral objects to explore the relationship between Versailles and Antiquity.

Screen shot 2013-01-22 at 7.45.51 PMThe renowned opera-stage-designer Pier Luigi Pizzi is responsible for the scenography of the installation. He has described the exhibition as a play in which the works of art are the characters and the stage breathes the spirit of the seventeenth-century French court. The subject of the play is the taste of the insatiable collector, Louis XIV. Within the spaces of the palace, Pizzi has managed to accommodate these ‘actors’, which here communicate with each other and invite visitors to follow along, from one spectacular scene to the next (though I imagine many may fail to appreciate the full production with not a single explanatory panel to be found in the whole exhibition).

In early modern Europe, all important courts collected antiquities in order to suggest their magnificence. Materials like porphyry, marble, alabaster, and bronze enhanced the prestige of such collections while tapestries and paintings comparing sovereigns with Classical gods and goddesses symbolized the court’s power.

In France this mode of collecting began with François I. After he failed to acquire the Laöcoon group in 1515 (and again in 1520) from Pope Leo X, his agent Francesco Primaticcio finally gained permission to make casts from the work, and a bronze copy was made for the Palace at Fontainebleau. The French collection of antiques grew only slowly under Henry II, who received the sculpture of Diane chasseresse from Pope Paul IV in 1556 (it serves as the emblem of the exhibition), and subsequent sovereigns largely lost interest altogether. In the seventeenth century, however, cardinals Richelieu and Mazarin assembled large collections of antiquities, most of which eventually entered the collection of Louis XIV. While the king had long been interested in collecting antiquities (under the guidance of Mazarin), his ambitions were fueled by a remark made by Bernini in 1665 during the sculptor’s visit to France. After Louis XIV showed him the royal collection, Bernini judged that it consisted of “ornaments for ladies.” Embarrassed, the king hurried to improve the collection, adding important, large, masculine (read powerful) sculpture. At the time it was not necessary to display genuine antique marbles; but instead, reassembled works and contemporary sculpture inspired by the antique could do as well. Within a short time, the collection at Versailles grew steadily, and the newly built Hall of Mirrors was adorned with gods and goddesses in marble, vases in porphyry as well as with classically-themed ceiling and wall paintings. References to antiquity intensified among all art forms, with Versailles celebrated as the new Rome.

Salle du Maroc « Héros et héroïnes antiques » © EPV / Th. Garnier

Salle du Maroc (Room 3) Versailles et l’Antique
© EPV / Th. Garnier

This exhibition claims to reconstruct a Versailles not seen since the French Revolution. On offer is not, however, a display of antiquities as they appeared at the court of Louis XIV, but the creation of an ambiance. Walking from the sculpture garden in the Gallerie Basse up the stairs to the Salle de Constantine (Room 2) with its reconstructed Palais de Soleil would have been a rather different experience in the seventeenth century. The importance of antiquity is nonetheless clear from the enormous quantity of objects on display. Using the rooms of the palace instead of temporary exhibition spaces preserves the court’s atmosphere. One wanders from intimate cabinets (Rooms 4 and 5) filled with precious objects and paintings, into a light-filled sculpture gallery dedicated to the gardens of Marly (Room 6), to rooms containing mythological paintings (Rooms 7 and 8). The exhibition includes a historical sequence, and dixhuitièmists will be especially interested in the Quatrième Salle de Crimée (Room 8) dedicated to the persistence of antiquity in the eighteenth century. In particular, the room examines eighteenth-century taste through paintings by Nattier and Drouais of court ladies disguised as Diana or Flore, along with the changing relationship between politics and aesthetics.

Quatrième salle de Crimée « Permanence de l'Antique au XVIIIe siècle » © EPV / Th. Garnier

Quatrième salle de Crimée (Room 8) Versailles et l’Antique
© EPV / Th. Garnier

Near the show’s conclusion (Room 9), the presentation of the grand projet to reconstruct the palace during the eighteenth century is interesting for its references to the antique (especially to the monuments of Rome), but this architectural departure is probably a bit much for the average visitor at the close of such an extensive exhibition (180 of the 200 objects on display have already asked a lot of viewers’ attention). Showing this material in a separate venue may have helped insure it receives the attention it merits.

Finally, the Salle de la Smalah (Room 10), dedicated to the Fêtes à l’antique, displays an impressive table ornament in the form of a antique colonnade in front of a sculpture of Apollo, in turn flanked by an enormous barometer made for Louis XV and XVI. Rather, however, than providing a satisfying finale to the proposed play, this last installation left me feeling oddly alone on the middle of the stage, longing for a re-enactment.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Alexandre Maral and Nicolas Milovanovic, eds., Versailles et l’Antique (Paris: Artlys, 2012), 336 pages, ISBN: 978-2854955125, 49€ / $95.

CatalogueVersailles was a new Rome in several ways: in its grandiose size, in its ambition to endure through the centuries, and in the many references to the great models of Antiquity. In the 17th century, Antiquity was an incomparable absolute, which the most ambitious sovereigns wished to rival: Louis XIV created Versailles as the seat of power to bring back the grandeur of Antiquity. The exhibition examines the presence of Antiquity in Versailles from two angles: the acquisition of antique fragments and commissions of copies by the kings, and the re-appropriation of antique models and figures by artists. It brings back to Versailles about fifty antiques that it possessed during the Ancien Régime. The interpretation of Antiquity and its mythology are evoked through about two hundred works from the principal French and foreign collections (the Louvre, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Besançon, Uffizi Gallery of Florence, Archaeological Museum of Naples, etc.): sculptures, paintings, drawings, engravings,
tapestries, pieces of furniture, objets d’art.

Available from ArtBooks.com»

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

The website of the Palace of Versailles provides additional information, including a series of videos. Full descriptions of each section of the exhibition are available as a PDF file here»

New Book | Encountering China

Posted in books by Editor on January 23, 2013

From Bucknell University Press:

Rachana Sachdev and Qingjun Li, eds., Encountering China: Early Modern and European Responses (Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 2012), 230 pages, ISBN 978-1611484823, $35.

photo.aspEncountering China addresses the responses of early modern travelers to China who, awed by the wealth and sophistication of the society they encountered, attempted primarily to build bridges, to explore similarities, and to emulate the Chinese, though they were also critical of some local traditions and practices. Contributors engage critically with travelogues, treating them not just as occasional sources of historical information but as primary, literary texts deeply revelatory of the world they describe. Contributors reach back to the earliest European writings available on China in an effort to broaden and nuance our understanding of European contact with the Middle Kingdom in the early modern period. While the primary focus of these essays is the external gaze – European sources about China – contributors also tease out aspects of the Chinese world-view of the time, thus generating a conversation between Chinese literary and historical texts and European ones.

Rachana Sachdev is associate professor of English and coordinator of Asian studies at Susquehanna University. She has published several articles on early modern gynecological discourses; the most recent, “Of Paps and Drugs: Nursing Breasts in Shakespeare’s England,” appeared in English Language Notes 47, 2 (Fall/Winter 2009). Her current research project focuses on representations of infanticide and position of children in Asia in the European travel writing from the early modern era. A brief section of the chapter on Ming China, “Contextualizing Female Infanticide: Ming China in Early Modern European Travelogues” was recently published in ASIANetwork Exchange (Fall 2010).

Qingjun Li is Assistant Professor of Asian Studies and Chinese Language at Belmont University. She holds her Ph.D. in English from Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU). She is also Associate Professor of English at Zhengzhou University, Peoples Republic of China, where she has been twice recognized as the Teacher of Excellence. She is author of three books and numerous articles, including her recent essay, “Pound’s Poetic Mirror and the China Cantos: The Healing of the West,” Southeast Review of Asian Studies 30 (2008). Her research interests are in Chinese American literature, women’s literature, and comparative literature.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊


Rachana Sachdev — Introduction

Rachana Sachdev — European Responses to Child Abandonment, Sale of Children and Social Welfare Policies in Ming China

Qingjun Li — Of Golden Lilies and Gentlewomen: Constructions of Chinese Women in Early Modern European Travel Narratives

Daniel Dooghan — Earlier Moderns: The Novel Form as National Development in China and Europe

Ning Ma — “A Strong Resemblance”: Samuel Richardson, Chinese Talent-Beauty Novels, and a Secret Origin of “World Literature”

Ronnie Littlejohn — “Magicians, Enchanters, and Professional Crooks”: Early Modern Understandings of Daoism

Terry Logan Mazurak — Buddhism and Idolatry

About the Contributors

East India Company Annouces Two Research Posts

Posted in fellowships, graduate students by Editor on January 23, 2013

The East India Company at Home project recently announced two post-doctoral researcher posts. Both are funded by the AHRC, and each lasts for three months beginning on 14 February 2013. Applications are due 1 February 2013. Click on each heading below for more information.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

East India Company at Home / Osterley Park and House Project Post

Research Associate (EICH), Ref:1305745

Applications are invited for a post-doctoral researcher based in the Department of History at UCL to work with Osterley Park and House (a National Trust property based in Hounslow) and a UCL research team (The East India Company at Home, 1757-1857 project). The post is for three months duration and will be funded by the AHRC project entitled Indian Ocean material worlds at Osterley, c. 1700 to the present.

Ideal candidates will hold (or have recently submitted) a PhD in history or a related subject and have a proven track record of high quality research on the East India Company, 18th-20th-century British or colonial history or material culture history of the 18th and/or 19th centuries as well as a demonstrable interest in public engagement.

Interview date: Wednesday 6th or Thursday 7th February 2013

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Legacies of British Slavery / East India Company at Home / British Library Project Post

Research Associate (East Meets West), Ref:1305932

Applications are invited for a post-doctoral researcher based in the Department of History at UCL to work with the British Library and with two UCL research teams (from the East India Company at Home project and the Legacies of British Slave-ownership project). The post is for three months’ duration and will be funded by the AHRC project entitled East Meets West: Caribbean and Asian colonial cultures in British domestic contexts.

Ideal candidates will hold (or have recently submitted) a PhD in history or a related subject and have a proven track record of high quality research on the colonial history of the 18th and/or 19th centuries as well as a demonstrable interest in public engagement.

Interview date: Wednesday 6th or Thursday 7th February 2013

Fellowship | YCBA Postdoctoral Research Associateship

Posted in fellowships by Editor on January 22, 2013

YCBA Postdoctoral Research Associateship
Applications due by 4 March 2013

The Yale Center for British Art (YCBA) is offering a Postdoctoral Research Associateship (PRA) in the
Department of Paintings and Sculpture. The position is intended for a recent recipient of the PhD (degree
granted within the last three years) in a field related to British art. The PhD must be in hand by the time
the position begins. The PRA may be held for up to three years. It is expected that the post-holder will
pursue long-term professional employment during the period of hire. The PRA will receive an annual salary
of $45,000, plus standard Yale benefits. Funding to allow the PRA to attend one professional conference
annually, and modest travel funds for undertaking work on behalf of the department as well as for personal
research, as determined by the departmental head, will also be provided.

The PRA will report directly to the Senior Curator of Paintings and Sculpture and the Curator of Paintings and
Sculpture. Primary duties will consist of research associated with the collection of paintings and sculpture
and the exhibition program of the Center, including contributing to the ongoing scholarly cataloguing of the
collection, assisting with major international loan exhibitions overseen by the Department, assisting with
the reinstallation of the permanent collection of paintings and sculpture scheduled for 2015, and supporting
the research activities of the Senior Curator and the Curator. The PRA will be given one day a week to pursue
research in his/her own areas of specialization, and is expected to give talks at scholarly conferences, publish,
and engage with the wider art-historical community. Applicants should consult the job description for full
details of the requirements of the position.

The deadline for receipt of applications is March 4, 2013. Interviews are expected to take place the following
month. Applications should be made online at britishart.yale.edu/about-us/opportunities. Applicants should
refer to the job description on the website, then complete the application form and upload a cover letter, CV,
and a writing sample. Three letters of recommendation should be forwarded directly by referees to
ycba.research@yale.edu. Enquiries about the position can be addressed to Lisa Ford, Associate Head of
Research, at lisa.ford@yale.edu, tel +1 203 432 9805

Call for Articles | Histories of Conservation

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on January 22, 2013

From the Art History Supplement:

Call for Articles: Histories of Conservation
Art History Supplement, Issue 3.2 (March 2013)

Submissions due by 25 February 2013

In a recent fund raising email campaign (December 17, 2012), Michael Gallagher, conservator in charge of the Department of Painting Conservation at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, stated: “Imagine a picture coated in a thick varnish, making the artist’s original brushwork almost undetectable. Then, imagine removing that discolored
surface to reveal the true painting beneath – it is painstakingly careful work, but exhilarating when the picture returns to the gallery with its integrity restored.” This could be the formula through which, according to Gallagher, general public might have the chance to approach, discover and enjoy or be thrilled by great art and old masters.

The above assessment for role of conservation, considering the “original brushwork” of the “true painting” may reveal a modernist aspect of purity and uniqueness that brings along pleasure in the eye of the beholder and thus viewer. From such a starting point, any conservation theory, or better conservation practice, is both indicating a way of “contemporary” thinking about “past” using historical mechanisms in its expression and, in the same time, it is
characteristic of the environment in which it was produced and of the environment it was practiced and cultivated. Humanistic, religious or strictly (micro-) political receptions and appropriations of a past suggest each time a certain way a particular culture has used, wittingly or not, material culture, being at its disposal, for a firm reason.

“Reception” is regarded here as the act of decoding a past; while “appropriation” is considered here to be the product of re-encoding the same past be the same someone who practiced the decoding.

In this forthcoming issue of Art History Supplement, papers are sought dealing with conservation stories about receptions and appropriations of a certain, or not, past from a particular culture. “Histories of conservation” issue is planned to explore uses of the past, reasons for such, and primarily the why a certain reception or appropriation took place through conservation (aka restoration), from late medieval to modern times.

Peabody Essex Museum Appoints Its First Curator of American Art

Posted in museums by Editor on January 22, 2013

Press release (6 October 2012) from the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA:

Austen Barron BaillyThe Peabody Essex Museum announced the appointment of Austen Barron Bailly as the museum’s first George Putnam Curator of American Art. Bailly joins PEM’s curatorial team following her post as the head of the American Art department at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and previous positions held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Wildenstein & Co., Inc. in New York.

Selected for her interdisciplinary and adventuresome curatorial approach, Bailly joins PEM at the cusp of the museum’s landmark $650 million campaign and expansion project. In her curatorial capacity at PEM, Bailly will lead the development of a multi-faceted American art program focusing on exhibitions, new interpretation in the galleries, and expanding the museum’s collection which currently includes paintings, decorative arts, photographs, folk art, and textiles representing over 300 years of New England and American art and culture.

“Austen brings a fresh and exciting perspective to the field that will greatly accelerate and enhance the museum’s presentation of American Art in the years to come,” said Lynda Roscoe Hartigan, PEM’s James B. and Mary Lou Hawkes Chief Curator.

A native of New Orleans, Bailly earned her PhD in art history from the University of California, Santa Barbara and her MA from Williams College. She will begin her new position as PEM’s George Putnam Curator of American Art in January, 2013. George and Nancy Putnam are long-time PEM Trustees who have made an indelible contribution to the museum’s future with their endowment of Bailly’s position, and that of a future Curator of Fashion and Textiles, for whom a national search is in progress.

PEM announced a comprehensive $650 million Campaign in October 2011, designed to advance the museum’s mission to celebrate outstanding artistic and cultural creativity in ways that transform people’s lives. To date, the museum has received gifts and pledges totaling $570 million. The Campaign includes a $350 million addition to the current $280 million endowment, $200 million for a 175,000-square-foot expansion designed by Rick Mather Architects, and $100 million to support creative new installations of the collection, several infrastructure improvements to existing facilities and other advancement initiatives. The $350 million endowment increase will cover all increased operating and program costs for an expanded facility; support continued development of the museum’s distinctive exhibitions, publications, curatorial and education programs; and enable continuation of a strong financial base. The expansion, set to open in 2017, will add up to 75,000 square feet of new galleries; a new restaurant and roof garden; new public program and education space; and essential improvements to collections storage, exhibition processing and conservation functions.

At Auction | Americana Week at Christie’s

Posted in Art Market by Editor on January 21, 2013

Press release (20 December 2012) from Christie’s:

Four Sales Feature American Arts, English Pottery, and Chinese Export Art
Christie’s, New York, 24-28 January 2013

Screen shot 2013-01-20 at 3.21.53 PM

Chippendale carved mahogany block-and-shell bureau table signed by John Townsend (1733-1809), Newport, ca. 1770

Highlights include a newly discovered John Townsend bureau table; an exceptional silver teapot by Paul Revere; a Bartlam teabowl, the earliest porcelain made in Colonial America; and an extremely rare dish from the ‘Lady Martha Washington States China’ tea service.

Christie’s is delighted to announce Americana Week 2013, a series of public viewings and sales devoted to fine and rare examples of American artistry and craftsmanship. Included in the week are sales of Important American Silver (January 24), Important American Furniture, Folk Art and Prints (January 25), English Pottery (January 28) and Chinese Export Art (January 28). The Americana series of sales will offer over 400 lots, including a number of rare survivals from the 18th and 19th centuries and many works never before offered at auction.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Important American Silver (Sale 2669) January 24, 10am

nyr-2669lChristie’s is pleased to announce the sale of Important American Silver as the first auction in the Americana Week series.  Leading the sale is an extraordinary and rare silver tea pot by patriot and silversmith Paul Revere, Boston, circa 1782 (estimate: $150,000-250,000).  This drum-form teapot is fashioned in a classical style, typical of the early Federal period and one of the examples of Revere’s work after his return from the Revolution. There are only four other known drum-form teapots by Revere, with three in public collections− the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Yale University Art Gallery.

Since its founding in 1837, Tiffany & Co. has set the standard for American silver designs and has been credited with some of the most important innovations in the field. A superb selection of rare and important pieces include an important silver-mounted and stone-set ebony ‘Viking’ bowl, designed by Paulding Farnham, New York, 1902 (estimate: $100,000-150,000); a silver, mixed-metal and hardstone three-piece tea service, New York, circa 1880, which is one of Tiffany & Co.’s most successful creations in the Japanesque style (estimate: $100,000-150,000); and an important silver and stone-set ‘Aztec’ paper knife, designed by Paulding Farnham, New York, circa 1902, which once belonged by Albert C. Burrage, a mining engineer and owner of a the 256-foot steam yacht Aztec (estimate: $60,000-90,000).

Additional highlights include a rare set of three silver casters, mark of Simeon Soumaine, New York, circa 1740, virtually unknown in American colonial silver with only two other complete sets recorded (estimate: $100,000-150,000); and a rare set of six silver cans with heraldic engraving, mark of Daniel Boyer, Boston, circa 1750, which was originally owned by the Kitchen family, one of the most prominent merchant families in the Salem at the turn of the 18th century (estimate: $50,000-80,000).

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Important American Furniture, Folk Art, and Prints (Sale 2670) January 25, 10am

nyr-2670lOne of the lead highlights of the Americana Week sales is an important Chippendale carved mahogany block-and-shell bureau table signed by John Townsend (1733-1809), Newport, circa 1770 (illustrated above, estimate: $700,000-900,000). The iconic four-shell form displays the height of John Townsend’s talents and the renowned block-and-shell design of 18th-century Newport. One of less than ten known to survive, this newly discovered piece is an exceedingly rare example of the form bearing the signature of arguably colonial America’s greatest cabinetmaker. Written with a flourish in the cabinetmaker’s distinctive hand, Townsend’s signature appears on the underside of the top drawer and demonstrates the pride taken by the cabinetmaker in his most exceptional pieces. The rococo brasses are also a rarity as they retain much of their original coating, which was baked onto the plates at the time of their manufacture in England. The table was likely acquired in the 19th century by the prominent Pell family of New York during their sojourns in Newport, the summer destination for elite society of the period. The bureau table is known to have furnished the Pell House in New York State’s Tuxedo Park, the exclusive enclave founded by Pierre Lorillard IV in 1885 and home to prominent New York collecting families as that of Mr. and Mrs. J. Insley Blair. Property of direct descendants of the Pell and Coster families, the bureau table was recently discovered in New York City and has never before been offered at auction. Several comparable bureau tables attributed to Townsend are housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago Winterthur Museum, Yale University Art Gallery, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

A Queen Anne carved maple armchair attributed to John Gaines III of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 1735-1743 ($200,000–300,000), offered by WEA Enterprises,  will also lead Americana week. The chair has been praised extensively by experts in American furniture and was described by legendary dealer Albert Sack in 1950 as “A great masterpiece of pure Colonial design… No price is too great for a chair of this quality.”  One of only two armchairs assuredly attributed to Gaines, this example is extraordinarily well preserved and serves not only as an icon of early American regional design but also as a critical evidence of the practices of the Gaines shop. The chair is distinctive in its large, outsweeping ram’s-horn arms that are beautifully complemented and balanced by an archetypal crest and pronounced Spanish feet. Its closest counterpart housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this “robust and gusty” piece has not appeared on the open market since 1974.

The remarkable painting of Penn’s Treaty by Edward Hicks’ (1780-1849) depicts the iconic American legend of William Penn’s treaty with Delaware tribal chiefs (estimate: $600,000-900,000). A Bucks County Pennsylvania native, Hicks worked as a sign painter and coach maker early in life, later becoming a well renowned Quaker minister and painter, who it is said, taught the gospel with his paintbrush. Penn’s Treaty was incorporated as a staple scene for Hicks’ Peaceable Kingdom series, which is a painted sermon depicting the prophecy of Isaiah preaching the theme of peace that still has meaning for us today. Representing in equal measure the artist’s Quaker conviction and his patriotic fervor, Penn’s Treaty is modeled on John Boudell’s 1775 print image of the painting by Benjamin West. The humble craftsman origins visible in Hicks’ painting style are hallmarks of the American folk vernacular painting style that is at once valued for its aesthetic singularity as well as its narrative richness.

The sale also features a superb group of early American needlework samplers from The Stonington Collection. These needleworks were amassed by Dolf Fuchs, a textiles commodities entrepreneur who was born in Switzerland, immigrated to the United States in 1953 and settled in Stonington, Connecticut where he lived in a late 18th-century home. A textile and early American history enthusiast, Fuchs cherished his collection of 18th- and 19th-century needlework samplers for their beauty, rarity, and unique history. Primarily worked by young women as instructive exercises, early American needleworks such as 25 works being offered illustrate the skills of these young women through their technical mastery and whimsical designs. Highlights include an exquisitely crafted needlework pictorial of a prominent ship worked by Nancy Winsor (1778-1850), Providence, Rhode Island, dated December 4, 1786 (estimate: $80,000-120,000) and a wool and silk needlework pictorial of a courting couple famously part of the “Fishing Lady” pictures, Boston, 1750-1760 (estimate: $30,000-50,000).

One of the rarest works at auction is an American (John Bartlam) soft paste porcelain teabowl, circa 1765-70, (estimate: $30,000-50,000). This tiny teabowl has only recently been identified as an example of the earliest porcelain made in Colonial America. Printed with Chinoiserie vignettes that mysteriously include palmetto trees, it is confirmed through archeological evidence and scientific analysis of the clay to have been made at the factory operated by the Staffordshire potter John Bartlam at Cain Hoy, outside of Charleston, South Carolina. Three other such teabowls are known, two in public collections, the decorations on all four corresponding exactly to sherds found at Cain Hoy in what has now been identified as the kiln site of Bartlam’s short-lived production.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

English Pottery (Sale 2671) January 28, 10am

ecatOn January 28, Christie’s will offer over 50 lots of English Pottery, including a selection of early English saltglazed stoneware, redware and creamware formed by William Burton Goodwin. Collected mainly in the 1920s and 30s, these rare works were on loan to the Portland Museum of Art, Portland, Maine from 1983 to 2012. Highlights include a Staffordshire saltglazed seated camel teapot and cover, circa 1750 (estimate: $5,000-7,000); and a wonderfully amusing comparison of a Staffordshire glazed redware teapot and cover, circa 1745 (estimate: $6,000-8,000). A rare survival is a Staffordshire saltglazed stoneware enameled ‘Littler’s’ blue puzzle-jug, circa 1755-1760 (estimate: $10,000-15,000). This ‘Littler’s’ blue puzzle-jug is the only example of this form and type extant. Marked with an ‘L’, it is also potentially documentary.

Other highlights include a unique London delft polychrome dish, circa 1660, which is painted with the story of Abraham and Isaac (estimate: $50,000-70,000); and a pair of English delft dated models of shoes dated 1727, London or Bristol (estimate: $15,000-20,000). These two shoes are molded with a left and right buckle indicating that they were intended as a true pair. As shoes were considered symbols of good luck and often given as a token of affection, the initials and date inscribed on the soles of the present pair indicate that it may have been commissioned as a betrothal or wedding gift.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Chinese Export Art (Sale 2671) — January 28, 2pm

ecatAs the grand finale of Americana Week, the sale of Chinese Export Art on January 28 will feature 110 works, a striking selection of Chinese porcelain and works of art made to order for American and European traders in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. A particularly strong group of American market pieces is led by a very rare Chinese export ‘Lady Washington States China’ dish, circa 1795 (estimate: $20,000-40,000), which was presented to Martha Washington by Andreas van Braam Houckgeest in 1796. Van Braam (1739-1801), was a successful director of the Dutch East India Company, and designed the ‘States China’ himself, as an appropriate introductory gift for the First Lady.

The sale also features a rare Chinese export ‘Philadelphia’ punchbowl, circa 1815 (estimate: $20,000-30,000). This apparently unique and unrecorded punchbowl has strong Philadelphia associations and must have been commissioned by a member of one of the leading China Trade families of that city. The finely painted bowl depicts Centre Square, Philadelphia and the sides showing two views of the War of 1812 engagement between the U.S.S. Constitution (‘Old Ironsides’) and the HMS Guerriere. The interior has three delicately rendered grisaille fish, exact duplicates of those on the famed Schuylkill Fishing Company bowl.

Additional highlights include a Chinese export ‘orange Fitzhugh’ armorial dinner service, circa 1805-1810 (estimate: $70,000-100,000); a very rare Chinese export blue and white ‘Mr. No-body’, late 17th-century, inspired by the woodcut frontispiece of the 1606 popular play by Thomas Heywood, No-body and Some-body, (estimate: $40,000-60,000); a rare pair of Chinese export famille rose ‘porcelain production’ fishbowls, mid-18th-century, which displays very rare decoration of highly romanticized views of different stages of manufacturing Chinese porcelain (estimate: $100,000-150,000).

%d bloggers like this: