From the V&A: The Château de Juvisy Appeal

Posted in museums by Editor on December 18, 2013


Pierre-Denis Martin, The Château de Juvisy,
165cm x 265cm, ca. 1700

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From the V&A:

We need your help to raise £500,000 to make this significant acquisition in time for the opening of the Europe 1600–1800 galleries.

The next stage of the V&A’s FuturePlan sees the opening of our redeveloped Europe 1600–1800 galleries. To complete these galleries we need your help to make one of our most ambitious acquisitions to date—a major Baroque oil painting of the Château de Juvisy, by Pierre-Denis Martin, court painter to Louis XIV. An accurate depiction of a French château and gardens from the 17th century is very rare, and unusually for an architectural portrait of this kind, the scene is bursting with human activity. Martin provides an extraordinary and vivid insight into the many aspects of château life and there are currently no paintings like it in any museum in the UK.

4.men-horseback-1000The painting will play a pivotal role in Gallery 5 of our seven redeveloped Europe 1600–1800 galleries, which will focus on the rise of France during 1660–1720. The painting will be displayed in a prominent position and the vast panorama, measuring 165cm x 265cm, will be the first thing you will see as you enter the space, setting the tone for the whole gallery. The arrival of Louis XIV is believed to be depicted in the foreground, and the gallery will explore the tastes and styles of his regency.

With the design of the new galleries complete and the building work now under way, we urgently need your support to ensure that we can purchase this significant centrepiece. The V&A has already managed to secure a large proportion of the £1,300,000 it will cost to purchase the painting, but we are not there yet. We urgently need your support to help raise £500,000 for this important painting to become a part of our collection. Your contribution towards this appeal, however large or small, will be vital to ensuring that we can make this ambitious acquisition in time.

Donate here»

The painting was only recently recognized as the work of Pierre-Denis Martin by Alan Rubin of Pelham Galleries; more information is available in this article, “Going Dutch: Buyers Aplenty at the Maastricht Art Fair,” The Economist (17 March 2010).

Exhibition | Wallpaper from the Deutschen Tapetenmuseums

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on December 17, 2013


Orangerie, Kassel
(Wikimedia Commons, November 2005)

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While this exhibition of wallpapers in Kassel addresses primarily the nineteenth century, there are eighteenth-century examples, and it’s useful to draw attention to the collection of the German Wallpaper Museum (Deutschen Tapetenmuseums), which includes some 23,000 objects. With plans for a new home in the works, the current exhibition is mounted in Kassel’s Orangerie, which itself dates to the opening decade of the eighteenth century. From the exhibition description:

Aufgerollt. Tapeten: Vom Entwurf an die Wand
Westpavillon der Orangerie, Kassel, 13 September 2013 — 12 January 2014

TapetenmuseumJeder kennt sie, fast jeder hat sie: Tapeten. Seit dem 18. Jahrhundert begeistern die in allen nur denkbaren Farben und Motiven gedruckten Wanddekore. Ob geometrisch oder malerisch, farbenfroh oder dezent, ob im 18. oder im 21. Jahrhundert entstanden: Bevor die Tapete ihre Wirkung als Wandschmuck entfalten kann, sind zahlreiche Arbeitsschritte notwendig, die von der Inspirations- und Entwurfsphase, über die Produktion bis hin zur Vermarktung reichen. Die Sonderausstellung des Deutschen Tapetenmuseums zeigt Objekte aus dem reichen Schatz der Sammlung, die dieses faszinierende Thema insbesondere für das 19. und frühe 20. Jahrhundert beleuchten. Gezeigt wird eine Vielfalt an Vorlagewerken, Tapetenentwürfen und Handdruckmodeln ebenso wie das fertige Produkt Tapete. Musterbücher und Werbebilder mit gesamten Wandabwicklungen lassen die Möglichkeiten der Vermarktung von Tapeten lebendig werden.

Das Schaufenster bietet einen Einblick in die fantastische Sammlung des Deutschen Tapetenmuseums, die mit fast 23.000 Objekten nahezu lückenlos die Geschichte der Tapete dokumentiert. Von 1976 bis 2008 im Hessischen Landesmuseum ausgestellt, wurde die Sammlung 2010 in ein fachgerechtes Depot verlagert. Ein Museumsneubau ebenso wie eine neue Dauerausstellung sind in Planung.

Call for Papers | The Visual Arts in Wales

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on December 17, 2013

Wales / Iâl / Yale: Graduate Student Symposium
Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut, 5 April 2014

Proposals due by 22 January 2014

This one-day graduate student symposium considers the visual arts in Wales.

For centuries, Wales has been an integral and yet distinct part of the United Kingdom. Its history, language, and landscape have inspired artists of all kinds–from painters, sculptors, and architects to musicians, dancers, and poets.

Yale University itself has deep and enduring ties to the country. Founded in 1701 as the Collegiate School, it was renamed Yale College in 1718 after Elihu Yale (1649–1721), the original benefactor who was of Welsh ancestry. Indeed, the surname Yale comes from the Welsh place name Iâl. Elihu Yale himself is buried in his ancestral home in the churchyard of St. Giles Church, Wrexham, while Wrexham Tower at Yale University’s Saybrook College is modeled after St. Giles’s tower and incorporates an inscribed stone sent to the university as a gift from the church.

The symposium coincides with two exhibitions opening at the Yale Center for British Art in spring 2014 that feature Welsh artists and depictions of Wales: Richard Wilson and the Transformation of European Landscape Painting (March 6–June 1, 2014) is the first major exhibition devoted to the Penegoes-born artist in thirty years and explores
Wilson’s work in its broader European contexts, focusing on his transformative experience in Rome, where he spent nearly seven years in the 1750s; and, Art in Focus: Wales (April 4–August 10, 2014), the Center’s eighth annual Student Guide exhibition, presents depictions of Welsh landscape in the Center’s collections and their significance to
the history of landscape in British art.

Papers are invited on all topics relating to the visual arts in Wales including, but not limited to:
•    standing stones, cromlechs, and stone circles in Wales
•    medieval wall paintings in Welsh churches
•    the production of Insular manuscripts in Wales
•    landscape painting in Wales
•    bardic imagery and Welsh nationalism
•    the development of schools of art and architecture in Wales
•    photography and Wales
•    art and industry in Wales
•    the architectural heritage of Wales
•    public sculpture in Wales
•    Welsh modernism in accounts of British modernism
•    the historiography of art in Wales
•    Welsh artists abroad
•    Welsh art now

We invite proposals for 25-minute papers on this theme from graduate students working in any discipline. Cross-disciplinary and comparative studies are particularly welcome. Please e-mail abstracts of no more than 300 words by January 22, 2014.

Lars Kokkonen
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Research Department
Yale Center for British Art

Travel and accommodations will be provided for speakers arriving from outside the New Haven area, and meals will be provided for all.

Exhibition | The Remondini & Eighteenth-Century Print Culture

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on December 17, 2013

This is the last week for a small exhibition I worked on with one of my exceptional students, Paula Manni (having graduated with her B.A. in May, she’s currently an intern at the Detroit Institute of Arts). Pedagogically, the project was immensely gratifying and provided more evidence for me of just how much one can do with online projects at basically no (economic) costs whatsoever. While we developed the online component primarily for a popular audience (iPads were available in the gallery), I was thrilled to receive—just one week after the exhibition opened—an email from a UK museum that owns several prints from the same Prodigal Son series and to learn that their images have been manipulated and combined with other prints in really interesting ways, further highlighting the interactive character of these sorts of perspective views. The bibliography for the exhibition provides a useful starting point for anyone working on zograscopes and vue d’optique prints generally. Paula and I shall continue to update the site occasionally , so I would welcome suggestions for sources we should add. As is typically the case with any project involving Google, there are terrific, telling measures of assessment: search for ‘Remondini’ and ‘Prodigal’, and among the top results will be the Prodigal Son among the Harlots-CH

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A Prodigal Story for the Marketplace: The Remondini and Eighteenth-Century Print Culture
The Center Art Gallery, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1 November — 17 December 2013

Curated by Craig Ashley Hanson and Paula Manni with Joel Zwart

Banner Image with Bold Text

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Founded in the mid-seventeenth century, the Remondini publishing firm produced prints and books on a massive scale for nearly two hundred years, marketing their paper commodities not only across Europe but also in the American colonies and parts of Asia. Based in Bassano, Italy (45 miles northwest of Venice), the firm targeted a large, popular audience. By offering a wide array of printed materials, ranging from religious pictures and texts, to genre scenes, to sweeping landscape views (often copying the works of others without permission), the firm appealed to the interests—and budgets—of an emerging middle class audience.

Highlighting Calvin College’s own Prodigal Son series of six etchings produced by the Remondini firm in the 1780s—copies after a series first published by Georg Balthasar Probst around 1770—this exhibition situates the prints within the visual culture of the period. While there is a tendency to address eighteenth-century prints as ‘art’ simply because of their age, exploration of the original publishing context allows us to see these pictures as both belonging within and contributing to an expanding popular culture that conflated entertainment, religion, and the marketplace. Most of the items included in the exhibition were never intended to be framed (much less hung on a gallery wall) but were instead expected to be handled and seen through perspective-enhancing viewing devices—variously described as diagonal mirrors, optical pillar machines, or (most commonly today) zograscopes.

Kenwood House Restored

Posted in on site by Editor on December 16, 2013

From The Guardian:

Nicholas Lezard, “Kenwood House Restored,” The Guardian (13 December 2013).

The refurbishment of Kenwood House on Hampstead Heath is complete and its treasures are once again on show to the public. Nicholas Lezard in praise of a stately pile we all own.

kenwood-south-frontKenwood House, a classically styled Georgian villa perched on top of a hill on the northern edge of Hampstead Heath, commanding a spectacular view over the City of London, might have ceased to be in the early years of the 20th century. In the place of the top-of-the-milk-coloured pile, freely available to all to wander through, there’d be the kind of proto-McMansions you see on the opposite side of Hampstead Lane, no access to the grounds, and the open space of Hampstead Heath would be many acres smaller. . . .

It is hard, from a contemporary view of the super-rich, for us to understand what could possibly have motivated the Earl of Iveagh, Edward Cecil Guinness, great-grandson of Arthur Guinness, to buy the house from the Earl of Mansfield, fill it with one of the most valuable art collections in the country, and then leave it for the free use of the public after his death. But then philanthropy had always been a Guinness tradition. . .

And philanthropy is an integral part of Kenwood’s tradition: the first Earl of Mansfield, Kenwood’s first significant owner, was responsible for a landmark judgment in 1772 that was a step towards the abolition of slavery; he also had a half-black great-niece, Dido Belle, whose freedom he carefully emphasised in his will. (You will see a reproduction of a portrait of her at Kenwood with her cousin, Elizabeth Murray, in which she smilingly touches her cheek just in case you had missed the fact of her skin colour.)

For the last year or so, though, Kenwood House has been closed and under scaffolding: its slates cracked, its facade peeling. It had to be patched up before things got any worse. But what is interesting is the way it has been done: the restoration meant chipping through the layers of paint and gilt accumulated over centuries, and bringing back the house as it would have looked to the first earl. The surprise begins before you even enter: the creamy facade is now a more austere sandstone (or, rather, sandstone effect).

The idea is to make visitors feel that they are entering a home, and not a property from which yards of velvet ropes politely, but unambiguously, exclude them. We are to experience the place as the gentlemen and women of the 18th century would have; which was one of the ideals expressed in Lord Iveagh’s bequest. . . .

The full review is available here»

Alastair Smart’s review for The Telegraph (28 November 2013) is available here»

Patrick Baty was among those who consulted for the project (back in 2010 his blog featured a posting on the paint color Invisible Green for the fencing).

The Library or ‘Great Room’ at Kenwood House was built and decorated to Robert Adam designs between 1767 and 1770 as part of the Scottish architect’s remodeling of the villa. The photo on the left shows a 1960s restoration scheme, recently proved to be inaccurate. The current restoration, pictured on the right, depends upon over 400 paint chip samples, a newly discovered inventory, and some of Adam’s original drawings. Photos from English Heritage.

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The press release (26 November 2013) provides details, and here, Susan Jenkins, Senior Curator at English Heritage, together with Jane Findlay, Kenwood’s Audience Development Manager, offers a video introduction:

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From English Heritage:

When Lord Iveagh bequeathed Kenwood and his incredible art collection to the nation in 1927, he did so with the intention that it should be open and free for the public to enjoy. Today English Heritage, with generous support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and a number of other donors, is furthering his legacy with a major programme of work—Caring for Kenwood. The work saw the house restored and re-presented to be enjoyed by generations to come.

On the new displays (with tense silently updated from future to present). . .

Eight rooms in Kenwood House are represented and reinterpreted. The rooms have been redecorated to focus on the two key areas of historic significance at Kenwood—the principal Adam Rooms and the Iveagh Bequest.

The Adam rooms are represented to show as accurately as possibly the original interior scheme designed and intended by Robert Adam, and visitors will be encouraged to relax and enjoy the new interiors, take in the view and discover the stories of Kenwood through new interpretation devices and archival material. The rooms displaying the Iveagh Bequest are presented to suggest an 18th-century gentleman’s lifestyle—in keeping with Lord Iveagh’s original wishes.

The new interpretive scheme highlights Kenwood’s equally fascinating social and political history, with links to law reform, slavery, brewing and philanthropy told through the lives of the people who lived and worked at Kenwood. With family trails, an interactive dolls house, original letters and architectural designs to leaf through there’s lots of way you can uncover Kenwood’s stories.

To support the project:

Our commemorative mug features a charming illustration of Kenwood House and the Dairy by Emma Bridgewater’s husband, Matthew. It is made of cream-coloured earthenware in Stoke-on Trent, home to pottery manufacturing since the 17th century. Each mug is individually hand-decorated, making each one unique. It is a lovely mug to use, as well as a great way to remember and preserve this important London landmark. This mug has been made exclusively for English Heritage with 50% of sales going directly towards the Caring for Kenwood project. Made in England; hand-decorated; dishwasher and microwave safe; .3 litre/half-pint capacity; 9cm high, 8.5cm wide, £20.

The British Library to Crowdsource a Million+ Images

Posted in resources by Editor on December 16, 2013


This posting by Ben O’Steen, excerpted below, comes from the British Library’s Digital Scholarship Blog (12 December 2013); for the complete text and full links, readers should consult the original posting. The image above is my own fairly arbitrary selection: added to the BL’s Flickr site on 10 December 2013, this illustration of the Austrian Schloss Hof (enlarged in the 1720s) comes from page 457 of Az Osztrák-magyar monarchia irásban és képben (1885). Stay tuned for details of the project after the new year. CH

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A Million First Steps

We have released over a million images onto Flickr Commons for anyone to use, remix and repurpose. These images were taken from the pages of 17th-, 18th- and 19th-century books digitised by Microsoft who then generously gifted the scanned images to us, allowing us to release them back into the Public Domain. The images themselves cover a startling mix of subjects: There are maps, geological diagrams, beautiful illustrations, comical satire, illuminated and decorative letters, colourful illustrations, landscapes, wall-paintings and so much more that even we are not aware of.

Which brings me to the point of this release. We are looking for new, inventive ways to navigate, find and display these ‘unseen illustrations’. The images were plucked from the pages as part of the ‘Mechanical Curator’, a creation of the British Library Labs project. Each image is individually addressible, online, and Flickr provies an API to access it and the image’s associated description.

We may know which book, volume and page an image was drawn from, but we know nothing about a given image…

Next Steps

We plan to launch a crowdsourcing application at the beginning of next year, to help describe what the images portray. Our intention is to use this data to train automated classifiers that will run against the whole of the content. The data from this will be as openly licensed as is sensible (given the nature of crowdsourcing) and the code, as always, will be under an open licence.

The manifests of images, with descriptions of the works that they were taken from, are available on github and are also released under a public-domain ‘licence’. This set of metadata being on github should indicate that we fully intend people to work with it, to adapt it, and to push back improvements that should help others work with this release.

There are very few datasets of this nature free for any use and by putting it online we hope to stimulate and support research concerning printed illustrations, maps and other material not currently studied. Given that the images are derived from just 65,000 volumes and that the library holds many millions of items.

If you need help or would like to collaborate with us, please contact us on email, or twitter (or me personally, on any technical aspects)

The Initial Layout

The images have been tagged to aid browsing and to provide new views on the works themselves. They are tagged by publication year (eg 1764, 1864, 1884), by book (eg 003927270, 000149253), by author (eg Charles Dickens) and by other means.

This structure is helpful but we can do better! We want to collaborate with researchers and anyone else with a good idea for how to markup, classify and explore this set with an aim to improve the data and to improve and add to the tagging. We are looking to crowdsource information about what is depicted in the images themselves, as well as using analytical methods to interpret them as a whole.

We are very interested to hear what ideas and projects people use these images for and we would ideally like to collaborate with those who have been inspired to explore them.

Finally, while they have been released into the public domain, we would like to direct you to a post by Dan Cohen titled “CC0 (+BY)” [26 November 2013]. There is no obligation for you to attribute anything to us, but we’d appreciate it. The dataset will develop over time, and will improve after all! …

Ben O’Steen’s full posting—including links, contact information, and examples—is available here»

HBA Publication Grant

Posted in resources by Editor on December 16, 2013

Historians of British Art Publication Grant
Proposals due by 15 January 2014

The Historians of British Art (HBA) invites applications for its Publication Grant. The organization grants a sum of $600 to offset publication costs for a book manuscript in the field of British art or visual culture that has been accepted by a publisher. Applicants must be current members of HBA. To apply, send a 500-word project description, publication information (name of press and projected publication date), budget, and CV to Renate Dohmen, Prize Committee Chair, HBA, brd4231@louisiana.edu. The deadline is January 15, 2014.

Exhibition | Vincoli d’Amore: Spose in Casa Gonzaga

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on December 15, 2013

From the Palazzo Ducale in Mantova:

Vincoli d’Amore: Spose in casa Gonzaga tra XV e XVIII secolo
Museo di Palazzo Ducale, Mantua, 18 October 2013 — 6 January 2014

Curated by Paola Venturelli and Daniela Ferrari

b18b5e6f8d778527daf73fff41802e412e4090Si inaugura venerdì 18 ottobre alle ore 16.30 nell’Atrio degli Arcieri la mostra Vincoli d’Amore. Spose in casa Gonzaga tra XV e XVIII secolo, a cura di Paola Venturelli e Daniela Ferrari e promossa dall’Archivio di Stato di Mantova in collaborazione con la Soprintendenza BSAE di Mantova. Insieme alle curatrici intervengono Giovanna Paolozzi Strozzi, Soprintendente e Direttore del Museo di Palazzo Ducale, Francesca Zaltieri, Assessore alla Cultura della Provincia di Mantova e Renata Casarin Presidente del Soroptimist International Club di Mantova.

Spose di casa Gonzaga o spose giunte in casa Gonzaga lungo un arco di tempo che coincide con gli anni del dominio di questa grande dinastia, dagli inizi del XV secolo all’aprirsi del XVIII. Solo di alcune conosciamo le fattezze. Di poche gli interessi, i pensieri e le attitudini, rimanendo la maggior parte quasi priva di spessore storico e relegata nello sfondo della Grande Storia. Pedine, le cui mosse, abilmente studiate, porteranno tuttavia a costruire la Grande Storia dei Gonzaga. I loro matrimoni, voluti per allacciare vincoli di parentela con i principali casati, italiani o d’Oltralpe, erano infatti il frutto di oculate strategie dinastiche. Vincoli, qualche volta “d’amore”, anche spirituale – sull’imitazione del matrimonio mistico di Santa Caterina -, che cambiarono il panorama esistenziale delle nostre protagoniste.

La mostra è allestita negli ambienti in cui alcune delle protagoniste di questa esposizione hanno mosso i primi passi della loro vita coniugale. Presenti le duchesse Eleonora d’Asburgo ed Eleonora de’ Medici, ritratte nella supersite porzione della pala della Santissima Trinità, eseguita da Pieter Paul Rubens (ca. 1605), che domina la Sala degli Arcieri.

Oxford Art Journal, December 2013

Posted in books, journal articles, reviews by Editor on December 14, 2013

From the latest issue of the Oxford Art Journal:

3.cover• Tim Ingold, “Lines in Time / Review of Daniel Rosenberg and Anthony Grafton, Cartographies of Time: A History of the Timeline (2010),” Oxford Art Journal 36 (December 2013): 463–64.

• Mechthild Fend, “Allegory and Fantasy: Portraiture Beyond Resemblance / Review of Sarah Betzer, Ingres and the Studio: Women, Painting, and History (2012) and Melissa Percival, Fragonard and the Fantasy Figure: Painting and Imagination (2012),” Oxford Art Journal 36 (December 2013): 465–67

• Richard Taws, “Ruins and Reputations / Review of Nina Dubin, Futures and Ruins: Eighteenth-Century Paris and the Art of Hubert Robert (2010) and Elizabeth Mansfield, The Perfect Foil: François-André Vincent and the Revolution in French Painting (2012),” Oxford Art Journal 36 (December 2013): 467–70.

Scott Schaefer to Retire from the Getty

Posted in museums by Editor on December 14, 2013

Press release (12 December 2013) from the Getty:

Scott_SchaeferTimothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum, announced today that Scott Schaefer, the Museum’s senior curator of Paintings since 1999, will retire on January 21, 2014. Schaefer joined the Museum in February 1999, following a distinguished career at Sotheby’s, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Fogg Museum at Harvard, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, among others. Over the course of his career at the Getty, he contributed greatly to the growth of the Paintings collection, adding a total of 70 paintings and pastels, plus five sculptures during his four-year oversight of that department.

“Through his acquisitions, Scott has made an impact on every one of the Museum’s paintings galleries and, in particular, transformed our eighteenth-century French collection,” said Potts in announcing Schaefer’s retirement. “We will miss his discerning eye, keen intelligence
and above all his unswerving commitment to the Museum.”

Among his most important recent acquisitions are the Museum’s first paintings by Gauguin (Arii Matamoe, 1892, acquired 2008) and Watteau (The Italian Comedians, about 1720, acquired 2012), as well as Turner’s Modern Rome – Campo Vaccino, 1839 (acquired 2011) and Rembrandt Laughing, around 1628, a rare self-portrait by one of the world’s most beloved artists that entered the collection just a few months ago. Among the sculptures he acquired are works by Riccio, Houdon, and Gauguin. Schaefer approached collecting for the Getty with a keen appreciation of “the greater museum of Los Angeles,” ensuring that Getty acquisitions complement those of other L.A. institutions. He also developed an active program of individual loans that has allowed a number of major works from private and public collections to be seen in the context of the Getty’s collection.

“I am extremely proud to have played a role in the formation of the Getty’s collections,” said Schaefer. “For a young museum like the Getty, developing the collection is an important pursuit, and the Trustees have been enormously supportive. My horizons have been immeasurably broadened and my education significantly deepened by my many colleagues at both the museum and the trust as a whole. For this I am enormously grateful.”

Under his leadership, the Paintings department undertook a dynamic exhibition and publications program that included Rembrandt’s Late Religious Portraits (2005), and the two special installations Manet’s Bar at the Folies Bergère (2007) and Vermeer’s Woman in Blue Reading a Letter (2013), which rank among the most visited presentations at the Getty Center. He has also played major roles in planning for the upcoming Ensor exhibition and next year’s late Turner exhibition being developed in conjunction with Tate Britain.

Internationally, Schaefer represented the Getty Museum on the art advisory council of the Internal Revenue Service, as chair of the vetting committee for Frieze Masters in London, and on the vetting committee of TEFAF Maastricht. Locally, he serves on the art council of the Century City Chamber of Commerce.

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