Notes & Queries | Image of the British Museum

Posted in notes & queries by Editor on February 3, 2013

Yesterday, Arlene Leis posted a question to C18-L regarding this print. Since, however, the list (like most listservs) doesn’t allow for attachments, I thought it might be useful to include the query here. -CH

This small picture (10 x 12 cm)  is from a lady’s pocket book, circa 1780. Tents are set-up around the garden wall, but in the middle are rows of tiny triangles. Does anyone know what these might be? Also, I would appreciate any information pertaining to the camp set up in the museum’s garden.

Arlene Leis

Please feel free to respond with comments below.

Exhibition | Salvaging the Past: Georges Hoentschel

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on February 3, 2013

From the BGC:

Salvaging the Past: Georges Hoentschel and French Decorative
Arts from The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Bard Graduate Center, New York, 4 April — 11 August 2013

eorges Jacob (1739–1814); gilder: Louis–François Chatard (ca. 1749–1819). Armchair from Louis XVI's Salon des Jeux, Château de Saint-Cloud. French (Paris), 1788. Carved and gilded walnut; gold brocaded silk. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1906 (07.225.107).

Georges Jacob; gilder: Louis–François Chatard. Armchair from Louis XVI’s Salon des Jeux, Château de Saint-Cloud, 1788. Carved and gilded walnut; gold brocaded silk (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1906 — 07.225.107)

Focusing on a remarkable but little-known collection that entered the Metropolitan Museum as a gift of J. Pierpont Morgan in the early twentieth century, Salvaging the Past: Georges Hoentschel and French Decorative Arts from The Metropolitan Museum of Art features more than 200 objects of primarily medieval art and French eighteenth-century paneling, furniture, metalwork, textiles, paintings, and sculpture, as well as late nineteenth-century art pottery, most of which have rarely been viewed since the 1950s. The fourth in a series of collaborations between The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the BGC, the exhibition provides the first comprehensive examination of Georges Hoentschel—a significant figure in the history of collecting—and illuminates an understudied and critical chapter of the Metropolitan’s history.

Drawn primarily from the Metropolitan Museum’s holdings, with loans from other public and private collections in the United States and France, the exhibition tells the story of this unique collection in four sections. The first introduces Georges Hoentschel, who was an enterprising and successful decorator during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when France witnessed a great scientific, industrial, and social transformation and the newly moneyed bourgeoisie adopted a lifestyle based on an aristocratic model. As director of the Parisian decorating firm Maison Leys, Hoentschel catered to these affluent clients, creating for them interiors in historic French styles. In this section of the exhibition, ephemera, family papers, photographs, and a film presentation will outline his story within the context of Belle Époque Paris.

Section of the interior of 58 Boulevard Flandrin, Paris to be recreated in the Bard Graduate Center exhibition. Photographed circa 1906. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Thomas J. Watson Library, Presented by J. Pierpont Morgan.

Section of the interior of 58 Boulevard Flandrin, Paris (ca. 1906) to be recreated in the Bard Graduate Center exhibition.

The second and largest section presents selections from the eighteenth-century holdings of the collection in installations inspired by historic photographs of Hoentschel’s densely arranged showroom-museum in Paris, where the objects served as models for his interior decorating business. Delicately carved woodwork, decorative paintings, and exquisitely chased gilt-bronze mounts are featured here. Highlights include a chair made for Louise-Élisabeth of Parma, daughter of Louis XV; an armchair made for Louis XVI; and a panel from shutters originally installed in a room outside the chapel at Versailles.

The third section displays medieval artworks, including sculpture, ivories, and metalwork, and includes one of the finest surviving examples of French Limoges enamelwork—a twelfth-century reliquary container, or chasse. Also shown here is Jean Barbet’s Ange du Lude, on loan from the Frick Collection, a rare bronze angel dated 1475, one of the most remarkable works from Hoentschel’s collection.

The final section presents examples of Hoentschel’s stoneware and those of his friend the sculptor and potter Jean-Joseph Carriès (1855–1894). Some of these ceramics were originally exhibited in the Union Centrale des Arts Décoratifs’ pavilion at the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris, for which Hoentschel created interiors in art nouveau style, unique in his oeuvre. A chair from this pavilion, loaned by the Musée des Arts décoratifs, Paris, is displayed, along with a selection of furnishing textiles used by Hoentschel in interior design commissions.

The exhibition is organized by the Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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From Yale UP:

Daniëlle Kisluk-Grosheide, Deborah L. Krohn, and Ulrich Leben, eds., Salvaging the Past: Georges Hoentschel and French Decorative Arts from The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013), 320 pages, ISBN: 9780300190243, $85.

9780300190243Georges Hoentschel (1855–1915) was a leading French interior designer in historic styles, head of a decorating firm, and ceramicist during the Belle Epoque. He found inspiration for his designs in medieval and 18th-century French art, which he avidly collected, amassing more than 4,000 pieces of furniture, woodwork, metalwork, sculpture, paintings, and textiles. After visiting Hoentschel in Paris, the American financier J. Pierpont Morgan acquired the collection and bequeathed it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1906 and 1916–17. These works greatly enriched the museum’s medieval art department and became the nucleus of its decorative arts department, profoundly influencing American tastes in the early 20th century. Through texts, early documentary photographs, and images of newly conserved works, Salvaging the Past goes behind the scenes to explore the history and influence of this remarkable collection.

Daniëlle Kisluk-Grosheide is curator of European sculpture and decorative arts at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Deborah L. Krohn is associate professor of Italian Renaissance decorative arts at Bard Graduate Center. Ulrich Leben is a visiting professor and special exhibitions curator at Bard Graduate Center and associate curator for the furniture collection at Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire.


Getty Research Institute Acquires a Rare Set of Chinese Battle Prints

Posted in museums by Editor on February 3, 2013

Press release (17 January 2013) from The Getty:

Pictures of the Campaigns against the Gurkhas

Ping ding Kuoerke zhan tu, or Pictures of the Campaigns against the Gurkhas
(i.e., Nepalese), China, ca. 1793 (LA: The Getty Research Institute)

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The Getty Research Institute (GRI) has acquired an extraordinarily rare suite of battle prints from about 1793 that depict the Chinese Emperor Qianlong’s (reign era, 1736–1795) successful military campaign against invading armies from Nepal. These eight large-format copper engravings represent the complete set of prints commissioned by the Emperor to commemorate his 1792 victory. Printed in China, this set is one of seven so-called ‘Conquest’ suites.

“The rarity of these prints makes them an extraordinary addition to the GRI’s stellar collections depicting ‘China on Paper,’ highlighting cross-cultural relationships between Europeans and Chinese,” said Marcia Reed, Chief Curator at the Getty Research Institute. “Because the GRI holds strong collections of related works, it’s extremely beneficial to bring the collections already in place and these prints together for future research and publication.”

The scenes show dynamic landscapes of undulating mountains which seem to envelope the troops marching and fighting amidst their peaks and valleys. One plate depicts the victorious emperor being carried towards a yurt in front of a grand hall. The defeated soldiers of the enemy are grouped on the left, all on their knees. Each print includes a poem at the top of the engraved print; the poems were based on the Emperor’s own personal commentary on the scenes.

Prints such as these made their way into China from Europe in the 1700s and the emperor would have been given gifts of panoramic battle prints by visiting European dignitaries. In 1765 he ordered drawings to be made from monumental paintings commemorating his recent victories. These drawings, made by Jesuits employed by Qianlong’s court, were sent to Paris for engraving and printing. Created by Europeans for a Chinese audience, the prints were very European in appearance, with Chinese visual tropes incorporated in the drawings. When the prints were received at court, poetry was added to them—a very Chinese touch.

The Pictures of the Campaigns against the Gurkhas break away from this hybrid imagery. Though inspired by a European tradition and using French printing techniques, the drawings are notably Chinese in composition and style.

As part of the GRI’s special collection, these prints will now be available for scholarly research. The GRI’s vaults hold rare and unique collections in art history and visual culture from around the world, including more than 27,000 prints ranging from the Renaissance to the present.

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Additional information and illustrations are available at Amy Hood’s posting on the Getty’s blog, The Iris»

Call for Papers | The Art of Lying in the Eighteenth Century

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on February 3, 2013

From Hélène Bremer:

The Art of Lying in the Eighteenth Century
Amsterdam, 17-18 January 2014

Proposals due by 15 March 2013


Thomas Rowlandson, Transplanting Teeth, 1787

On Friday January 17 and Saturday January 18, 2014 the annual conference of the Werkgroep 18de Eeuw will be held in Amsterdam. The major theme of the conference is: The Art of Lying.

Lying and cheating were daily practice in the eighteenth century. That is, if we believe the many pamphlets, newspapers, comedies, criminal biographies and criminal records. Before one knew one had lost his money, goods, reputation or health. Despite the severe penalties on stealing and murdering and despite all Enlightenment ideals, trickery and deceit seem to have been rather mainstream. Historical criminologists have shown that it is a misconception to think that cheating only existed in the lower classes or in the margins of eighteenth century society. In each social class fraud and corruption were common. Persons like Casanova and Cagliostro were operating in the highest circles. Some of the wealthiest people were specialized in real estate fraud and illegal speculation, not to mention the corruption in politics and in the (para)medical sector. At the same time, an anti-movement started. Eighteenth-century ‘philosophes’ were fascinated by the truth and the late eighteenth-century revolutions could not have taken place without the desire to eradicate corruption.

The conference aims for an interdisciplinary and international approach to the phenomenon of fraud and corruption. Topics may include an international affair such as the South Sea Bubble, the corruption of regents, the medical  malpractice of quacks or the vicissitudes of a local thief. We will also focus on the ways in which the criminal world was represented in the media. Possible key questions to be addressed are:

• What was the top 10 list of famous con men in the eighteenth century, nationally and internationally?
• What was the relationship between truth and lying in the eighteenth century?
• To what extent were corruption and fraud considered to be normal?
• Could one survive without lying?
• Can we consider the Enlightenment movement as a response or an antidote to this culture of lying?
• How were con men, thieves and murders punished and sentenced?
• How did the late eighteenth-century revolutions contributed to a transformation of a culture of lying into a more just society?
• Why became the genre of criminal biography so popular in the eighteenth century? And why in general do we find so many crooks, thieves and swindlers in eighteenth-century literature?
• In what sense did literature and the arts play an active part in combating fraud?
• Can we state that neither the Enlightenment nor the Judeo-Christian tradition – both considering lying as a sin – have been able to change human nature?

Historians, art historians, criminologists, philosophers, sociologists, economists, literary and medical historians, are all invited to give an inspiring lecture of approximately twenty minutes. We also welcome scholars who want to bridge the gap between past and present. Please submit proposals (approximately 300 words in Dutch or English) before March 15, 2013 by email to: devriesmarleen@hotmail.com. Contributors will be notified that their proposal has been accepted by April 1, 2013.

Note: On Friday, January 17, we will host one or more guest speakers from abroad. This day will therefore be in English, and all lectures should be conducted in English. The language for Saturday, January 18, will be Dutch.

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