Exhibition | British Drawings from the Cleveland Museum of Art

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on March 20, 2013

Some of the offerings for those of you who will be in Cleveland next month for ASECS. From the museum’s website:

British Drawings from the Cleveland Museum of Art
Cleveland Museum of Art, 8 February — 26 May 2013

The British drawings at the Cleveland Museum of Art have received less attention than the renowned Italian and French drawings but are eminently worthy of such. The collection includes works by some of the best-known artists in the history of English art, such as Thomas Gainsborough, William Blake, J. M. W. Turner, and Edward Burne-Jones. Important recent acquisitions include a highly finished wash drawing exemplary of John Flaxman’s neoclassical style, an 18th-century double-portrait in pastel by Daniel Gardner, and a watercolor in pristine condition describing the Surrey countryside at sunset by Samuel Palmer. The exhibition features approximately 50 works from the collection along with a small group of loans from private collections, ranging from the 18th century through the Edwardian period, and will be accompanied by a collection catalogue. This is the inaugural exhibition of a new series exploring highlights from the Cleveland Museum of Art’s collection of drawings.

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From the publisher:

Heather Lemonedes, British Drawings: The Cleveland Museum of Art (London: D. Giles, 2013), 152 pages, 978-1907804229, $45.

CLEVLAND_COVER_lowresThis volume, the first in a new series, presents outstanding drawings from the permanent collection of works on paper at the Cleveland Museum of Art. It features 50 highlights, along with a small group of loans from private collections, ranging from the 18th century through to the Edwardian period. Fragile and light sensitive, opportunities to see such treasures are rare and for that reason are all the more to be celebrated. Many are published here for the first time, such as Francis Cotes’s breathtaking portrait of Lady Mary Radcliffe and an exquisite female nude drawn in coloured chalk by William Mulready.

Heather Lemonedes is curator of Drawings at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Prior to her arrival at the museum in 2002, she worked as a specialist in the Print Department at Christie’s, New York and supervised the Print Study Room at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. She was awarded a Samuel H. Kress
Foundation Travel Fellowship in the History of Art for
research on her dissertation, “Paul Gauguin’s Volpini
Suite,” in 2004.

Cleveland Museum of Art Acquires Newport Desk and Bookcase

Posted in museums by Editor on March 20, 2013

Press release (9 February 2013) from the Cleveland Museum of Art:

Newport desk

Desk and Bookcase, Newport, Rhode Island, ca. 1780-95. Plum pudding mahogany, red cedar, chestnut, white pine and brass; 240 x 108 x 65 cm. (Cleveland Museum of Art)

Donated to the Cleveland Museum of Art by Daniel Harvey Buchanan, a retired Case Western Reserve University professor, in memory of his wife Penelope Draper Buchanan and her mother Dorothy Tuckerman Draper, this desk and bookcase dates from ca. 1780-95, a rich period of cabinetmaking in Newport, Rhode Island, just after the American Revolution. The work is attributed to the master cabinetmaker John Townsend or his brother Thomas Townsend based on stylistic similarities to other known case pieces by this leading cabinetmaking family of Newport. Commissioned by Oliver Wolcott, Sr., a signer of the Declaration of Independence from Connecticut, the desk has an unbroken provenance from its first owner by descent through the Wolcott, Tuckerman, Minturn and Draper families to its final owners, Penelope and Harvey Buchanan.

Dorothy Draper (1889–1969), Penelope Buchanan’s mother, displayed the desk and bookcase in her fashionable New York apartment at the Carlyle Hotel until coming to live in Cleveland in 1965. Dorothy Draper was a world-renowned interior designer and established the first interior design company in the United States in 1923. She had a regular column in Good Housekeeping Magazine and in 2006, Dorothy Draper was honored in a retrospective exhibition of her work by the Museum of the City of New York. According to Stephen Harrison, curator of decorative art and design, “This gift celebrates the extraordinary stewardship of one family in preserving such an important relic of American history from the eighteenth century. Such a gift is transformative in the development of our American collections. We could not have otherwise acquired such a masterpiece in the American furniture market today.” Harrison further stated, “This work will join other colonial-era masterpieces in the museum’s American galleries as a testament to the remarkable craftsmanship of American cabinetmakers in the eighteenth century.”

The quality of the workmanship in this desk and bookcase is superb and displays masterful embellishments known only to the finest Newport case pieces. For example, the use of “plum pudding” mahogany, a type of wood that is extremely rare and named for the blemishes in it that resemble the raisins in a plum pudding along with inset panels with canted corners (a decorative angled corner). Only one other example exhibiting canted corners on the upper panels is known to exist, making this piece extremely rare in the world of Newport furniture. The case also has stop-fluted corner pilasters (columns); carved “cupcake” finials (flattened finial with a corkscrew extending from it); and highly sophisticated drawer details. In addition, it retains its original brass pulls and escutcheons, and there is evidence of original finish inside the desk top. The Oliver Wolcott Desk and Bookcase augments the Cleveland Museum of Art’s small but choice collection of early American furniture and is now on view in the American Colonial Gallery.

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