Display | Gainsborough and the Landscape of Refinement

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on December 4, 2013

As noted at ArtDaily (2 December 2013) . . .

Master Drawings New York | Gainsborough and the Landscape of Refinement
Lowell Libson at Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York, 24 January — 1 February 2014


Thomas Gainsborough, Figures Resting in Woodland Landscape, signed 1784, 232 x 291 (Lowell Libson)

The exhibition is centered round a group of landscape drawings made by Gainsborough in the last two decades of his life but includes twelve drawings by Gainsborough spanning the full length of his career, from Gainsborough’s earliest recorded landscape study—completed when the artist was only 18—to a preparatory drawing for one of his last ‘Fancy pictures’ A Boy with a Cat, now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, which was completed the year before his death. Three of the drawings are previously unpublished and exhibited to the public for the first time here.

Thomas Gainsborough (1727–1788) was one of the Britain’s greatest artists, famed for his engaging portraits and evocative landscape paintings, he is also universally acknowledged as one of the finest European draughtsman of the eighteenth century. Despite this reputation, there have been very few exhibitions dedicated to Gainsborough’s drawings. These are not topographical works but imagined landscapes which Gainsborough created by drawing models he created using rocks and wood found in his garden and, as one writer noted, ‘distant woods of broccoli.’

Gainsborough was fascinated by a limited number of landscape features—herds of cattle, serpentine roads, clumps of trees and hilly horizons—often obsessively playing with these features time and time again, each time creating completely new works. This creative repetition—or refinement—was given expression in Gainsborough’s fascination with different techniques.

No two drawings in the exhibition are handled in the same way as Gainsborough explored different combinations of chalks, pencil, ink washes and watercolour in each work. Many of the drawings in the exhibition have provenances stretching back to the eighteenth century, one is inscribed as a present from ‘the ingenious artist’ to the daughter of a friend, another was in the collection of the celebrated surgeon, Dr John Hunter, who treated Gainsborough in his final illness. This group is the largest concentration of Gainsborough drawings to be offered by an art gallery since the celebrated exhibition mounted by Knoedler in 1914. It is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with scholarly entries written by the leading Gainsborough authority, Hugh Belsey.

The exhibition is free and open daily from Friday 24 January to Saturday 1 February, 2014 Mitchell-Innes & Nash, 1018 Madison Avenue, New York. Monday to Saturday, 11–6; Sunday, January 26, 2–6; Tuesday, 28 and Thursday, 30 January, 11–8.

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Press release (15 August 2013) from Master Drawings New York:

Master Drawings New York
New York, 25 January — 1 February 2014


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In a fifteen block stretch of the Upper East Side’s ‘Gold Coast’ in New York, close to 30 of the most acclaimed international dealers in master drawings will show the latest artworks entering the market during the eighth edition of Master Drawings New York, January 25th through February 1, 2014 with a Preview Friday January 24th from 4 to 8pm. Timed to coincide with New York’s major January art-buying events, including the Old Master auctions and The Winter Antiques Show, Master Drawings New York includes top dealers from the US as well as the UK, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy. Originally conceived as an annual walkthrough, Master Drawings New York has grown into a ‘must see’ event with a number of New York dealers making their galleries available to their overseas colleagues for the week. (more…)

Call for Papers | Carlo Fontana (1638–1714), A Celebrated Architect

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on December 4, 2013

Carlo Fontana (1638–1714), A Celebrated Architect
Palazzo Carpegna, Accademia Nazionale di San Luca, Rome, 22–23 October 2014

Proposals due by 15 February 2014

The conference is dedicated to the architect Carlo Fontana (Rancate 1638 – Roma 1714) on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of his death. The protagonist of Roman architecture as the Baroque was waning, Fontana—descending from a famous dynasty of Ticinese architects—organized the teaching and the practice of architecture based on the exercise of drawing and geometry. His workshop thus prefigured modern design studios. The propagandistic usage of graphic sheets and printed volumes illustrating and diffusing Fontana’s works and ideas constituted yet another factor of his modernity. In fact, Fontana understood perfectly the dimension of intellectual and creative freedom of print, liberating himself from a dependence on patrons and from morphological and typological conventions of his time.

The projects of Carlo Fontana range from artifacts of domestic use, interiors, civil, religious and military architecture to the most challenging urban and territorial infrastructures (ports, aqueducts, grain warehouses, etc.). These design and entrepreneurial features are comparable, then, to the great architectural studios of the 19th and 20th century, confirming Fontana’s actuality. Such an innovative organization of his workshop attracted students from all over Europe: Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach, Nicodemus Tessin, Lucas von Hildebrandt, Filippo Juvarra, Francesco Specchi, and James Gibbs, to name a few. In Fontana’s studio, students could learn innovative typologies, modern and experimental techniques, at the same time measuring themselves up to the great Roman construction tradition, both ancient and modern. Their direct contact with monuments was favored by the works Fontana executed on antique buildings to make them fit for new usages and new representations.

Proposals should thus encompass and explore, but by no means be limited to, the above mentioned aspect always bearing in mind the cosmopolite and European horizon that characterizes the production, the teaching and the thought of architect Carlo Fontana. Abstracts (3000 characters with spaces) together with a short CV (500 characters with spaces) containing principal publications, should be sent by e-mail with the subject CFP-Fontana before 15 February 2014 to Giuseppe Bonaccorso at the following addresses: convegnofontana2014@gmail.com; bonaccorso@ing.uniroma2.it.

Languages: Italian and English

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