Exhibition, Study Group, and Conference | Chinese Wallpaper

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on January 31, 2014

This posting depends upon the terrific communication channels maintained by an impressive network of people: Courtney Barnes of Style Court, Emile de Bruijn of Treasure Hunt for the National Trust, and the UCL-based project team for The East India Company at Home, 1757–1857. Anyone interested in participating should follow these links to contact the relevant parties. -CH

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From the latest East India Company at Home Newsletter (January 2014). . .

On 28 January [2014] Helen [Clifford] assisted with the Chinese Wallpaper Study Day held at the National Trust Office at Grosvenor Gardens, London. This event was organised as a means of drawing together those who are active in the Chinese Wallpaper Study Group, begun by Emile de Bruijn, to exchange information and help plan for a major international conference on the subject which we hope will be held this summer. Over 25 attendants included academics, students, curators, conservators, entrepreneurs and property managers.

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From Woburn Abbey:

Peeling Back the Years: Chinese Wallpaper at Woburn Abbey
Woburn Abbey and Gardens, Bedfordshire, opens 11 April 2014

Curated by Her Grace, The Duchess of Bedford and Lucy Johnson

hinese white male pheasant on a rock amongst tree peonies; detail from Chinese wallpaper hung in ‘His Grace’s Bedchamber’, April-May 1752 by Crompton & Spinnage

Chinese white male pheasant on a rock amongst tree peonies; detail from Chinese wallpaper hung in the 4th Duke of Bedford’s private bedchamber at Woburn Abbey, 1752 by Crompton & Spinnage

This exhibition tells the fascinating history of a decorative element with which we all live, in its most inventive and luxurious form. It begins by following one room’s story from the height of opulence in 1752 as the 4th Duke of Bedford’s private bedchamber, to its changing status as the housekeeper’s room, visitor entrance, tribute to the 4th Duke and current exhibition room.

Explore Woburn’s two distinct periods of Chinoiserie in both the house and garden. The recently discovered mid-18th-century wallpaper fragments in the family, private and State apartments were amongst the earliest Chinese wallpapers made for the European market and have not been seen since these rooms were redecorated in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The second wave of Chinoiserie decoration in the early 19th century shows how taste and designs changed. The V&A has loaned a wallpaper photographed in Lady Ermyntrude’s sitting room in January 1884 and Endsleigh House Hotel, a wallpaper hung when Endsleigh was built as a family fishing lodge. Woburn is also collaborating with the National Trust Wallpaper Trail, and comparisons will be made with related wallpapers at Belton House, Felbrigg Hall, Ightham Moat, Penrhyn Castle, Saltram and Uppark.

A trail of artworks in the collection will show how the passion for Chinoiserie influenced the collecting taste of the Dukes of Bedford. A second trail of Chinoiserie features and Oriental plants will explain how this influence extended into the gardens, winner of the 2013 Georgian Group Architectural Award for Restoration of a Georgian Garden or Landscape.

Experience the processes which allow us to unravel a room’s history. Inventories and invoices show how these wallpapers were discovered, purchased and hung. Watch the story of the discovery, conservation and recreation of the wallpaper found in the 4th Duke’s private bedchamber unfold. See and handle materials used to make and conserve Chinese wallpapers and understand how we care for them today. Peeling Back the Years: Chinese Wallpaper at Woburn Abbey is included within the price of a standard admission ticket to Woburn Abbey and Gardens. Events for all age groups will be held throughout 2014 where visitors can meet the experts and engage in creative design.

DIA to Raise $100 Million for Its Independence

Posted in museums by Editor on January 31, 2014

For the most recent developments leading up to this announcement, Lee Rosenbaum provides useful coverage at CutureGrrl). Also, see Julia Halperin’s article at The Art Newspaper. From the DIA press release (29 January 2014)…

Detroit Institute of Arts to raise $100 Million toward Detroit’s Revitalization

As an anchor and investor in Detroit’s Midtown neighborhood, an educational resource for students and residents of Detroit, the tri-county area and all of Michigan and a provider of creative programs for numerous social service and community organizations in the City of Detroit and beyond, the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) is pleased to confirm its participation in the plan being facilitated by Judge Gerald Rosen, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, to help bring an end to the City’s bankruptcy, expand support for Detroit’s pensioners and protect the museum’s collection for the public in perpetuity. (more…)

New Book | European Paintings: Copying, Emulating and Replicating

Posted in books by Editor on January 31, 2014

A review of the May 2012 conference, which generated this collection of papers is available here. From Archetype:

Erma Hermens, ed., European Paintings, 15th–18th Century: Copying, Emulating and Replicating (London: Archetype Publications, 2014), 144 pages, ISBN: 978-1909492066, £40 / $85.

1385397273_EPCover6inchInspired by the European project Bosch & Bruegel: Four Paintings Magnified, this book contains papers which explore how art historical and technical examination of 15th- to 18th-century European paintings conducted in tandem can, not only address key subjects such as meaning, materials and manufacturing techniques, but also allow fresh perspectives on the prevailing workshop practices of copying, replicating and emulating paintings.

This book—to be published in association with CATS (Centre for Art Technological Studies and Conservation, Denmark)—will also be available for free access online from late December 2013.


Preface – Jorgen Wadum and Erma Hermens

1. Copies of Prototypes by Quentin Massys from the Workshop of his son Jan: the case of the butter Madonna – Maria Clelia Galassi

2. Emulating van Eyck: the significance of grisaille – Noëlle Streeton

3. Pieter Brueghel as a copyist after Pieter Bruegel – Christina Currie and Dominique Allart

4. An unpublished copy of Hieronymus Bosch’s Temptation of Saint Anthony – Catheline Périer-D’Ieteren

5. Two versions of a Boutsian Virgin and Child painting: questions of attribution, chronology and function – Eva de la Fuente Pedersen and Troels Filtenborg

6. A Technical Study of portraits of James VI and I attributed to John de Critz (d. 1642): Artist, workshop and copies – Caroline Rae and Aviva Burnstock

7. Calling authenticity into question: investigating the production of versions and copies in Tudor portraiture – Sophie Plender & Polly Saltmarsh

8. Materials as Markers: how useful are distinctive materials as indicators of master or copyist? – Libby Sheldon and Gabriella Macaro

9. Michiel van Mierevelt, copy master: Exploring the oeuvre of the Van Mierevelt workshop – Anita Jansen and Johanneke Verhave

10. The problem of the portrait copies painted by Rubens in Madrid, 1628–29 – Jeremy Wood

11. Assumption of the Virgin by studio of Peter Paul Rubens from the National Gallery of Art in Washington: between master’s piece and student’s copy – Julia Burdajewicz

12. After Raphael: The Hunterian Entombment copy examined in the context of copying practices in early 17th-century Rome – Helen Howard, Erma Hermens and Peter Black

13. The Strawberry Girl: repetition in Reynolds’s studio practice – Alexandra Gent, Rica Jones and Rachel Morrison

14. Joseph Booth’s chymical and mechanical paintings – David Saunders

Exhibition | The Monuments Men of the Nelson-Atkins

Posted in exhibitions, films, museums by Editor on January 30, 2014

Press release (21 January 2014) from the Nelson-Atkins:

The Monuments Men of the Nelson-Atkins
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, 5 February — 9 March 2014


Paul Gardner (1894–1972), director of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of art from 1933 to 1953 (Nelson-Atkins Archive)

As excitement builds for the release of the Sony film The Monuments Men, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art applauds six real-life Monuments Men who either worked in or closely with the museum. Monuments men and women, commissioned by Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II, were tasked with the protection, recovery, and preservation of millions of Europe’s masterpieces during the Nazi occupation.

“The men and women involved in this selfless effort to keep art objects safe during a dangerous time in history showed immense courage,” said Julián Zugazagoitia, CEO and Director of the Nelson-Atkins. “We are deeply in their debt for preserving these treasures for humanity.”

A display of archival materials will be on view in Bloch Lobby that includes postcards, manuscripts, newspaper clippings, and biographies of the Nelson-Atkins’ Monuments Men.

“My research has shown that these six men brought to their military duties the same passion for art and culture that made them so valuable to the Nelson-Atkins,” said MacKenzie Mallon, a researcher in the European Painting & Sculpture Department who has been working on this project for many months. “They took their responsibilities as protectors of these monuments very seriously.”

Augustus the Strong, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland

Nicolas de Largillière, Augustus the Strong, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, ca. 1714–15. Oil on canvas, 58 x 46 inches (146 x 116 cm)
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City.

The museum employed four of the Monuments Men and maintained strong ties with two others. Paul Gardner, the first director of the Nelson-Atkins, served as Director of the Fine Arts Section of the Allied Military Government in Italy. Another former director, Laurence Sickman, was assigned to General Douglas MacArthur’s Tokyo headquarters after the Japanese surrender and served as a technical advisor on collections and monuments, making trips to China and Korea to assess the level of damage to monuments in those countries. He was awarded the Legion of Merit for his war services.

The first curator of European Art at the museum, Patrick J. Kelleher, served as the head of the Greater Hesse Division of the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives section. Otto Wittmann, Jr., the first curator of Prints for the museum, was part of the OSS Art Looting and Investigation Unit (ALIU).

Langdon Warner served as the Asian art advisor to the Trustees of the Nelson-Atkins in 1930 and was a close colleague of Sickman. He helped found the American Defense-Harvard Group, a precursor of the Roberts Commission, Roosevelt’s task force. James A. Reeds served with the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives section in France in 1944. He taught linguistics at University of Missouri at Kansas City and served as a docent for the Nelson-Atkins.


The Kansas City Star (Sunday, 15 September 1940).

One of the finest examples of 18th-century portraiture at the Nelson-Atkins, Nicolas de Largillière’s Augustus the Strong, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, was found by the Monuments Men in a bomb-rigged salt mine in Alt Aussee, Austria and returned to Clarice de Rothschild, whose family owned the painting. It was purchased by the Nelson-Atkins in 1954 after Rothschild sold it to an art dealer in New York. During World War II, the Nelson-Atkins also served as a safe house for more than 150 paintings and tapestries from collections on the East and West coasts.

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt from Missouri recently introduced a bipartisan bill that would award Congressional Gold Medals to all 350 of the men and women referred to as Monuments Men. “The Nelson-Atkins has a rich history which is only enhanced by the individuals who have worked there,” said Senator Blunt. “These Monuments Men protected historical artifacts from destruction and saved these treasures for future generations. I am proud to introduce legislation to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the men and women who fought to preserve this priceless history.”

The Monuments Men, starring George Clooney and Matt Damon, will be released nationally on February 7. The film is based on the book The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert M. Edsel, who continued his investigation into the soldiers who rescued cultural treasures in Saving Italy. The latter book discusses the heroism of former Nelson-Atkins director Paul Gardner. Edsel has created the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art, which honors the legacy of the Monuments Men. For more information, visit monumentsmenfoundation.org.

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Writing about the film for The NY Times, Tom Mashberg offers this important reminder:

Tom Mashberg, “Not All Monuments Men Were Men,” The New York Times (29 January 2014).

The art-hunting team, officially known as the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Section, grew to more than 300 people in the postwar years. The women never numbered more than a few dozen, but, like the men, they were dedicated scholars and at times notable heroes.

Rose Valland, whose role is depicted briefly by Cate Blanchett in the film, was a French Resistance operative who spied on the Nazis and showed herself able to shoot and drink with the boys. Edith A. Standen was a captain in the Women’s Army Corps who went on to a career at the Metropolitan Museum of Art [serving as curator of textiles from 1940 to 1970]. And Ms. Hall was a Smith College graduate who came to the task from a career focused on the study of Asian art. . . .

The full article is available here»

Call for Papers | A Dialogue of the Arts: Architecture and Interiors

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on January 30, 2014

Conference and Edited Volume | A Dialogue of the Arts
The Relationship of Exterior and Interior: Descriptions of Architecture and Interiors
Institute of History of Art, University of Zurich, 23–24 October 2014

Proposals due by 28 February 2014

Keynote Speaker: Cornelia Jöchner (Ruhr-Universität Bochum Kunstgeschichtliches Institut)

The project A Dialogue of the Arts is a long-term concept, which includes Early Modern Times to the present and this for all places, exploring the possibilities of widening and enriching the methods of History of Art. The papers presented at these biannual conferences are subsequently published.

A Dialogue of the Arts: The Relationship of Exterior and Interior: Descriptions of Architecture and Interiors in Literature of Early Modern Times to the Present

During the earlier conferences of 2010 and 2012, which dealt with Descriptions of Architecture in Literature of Early Modern Times to the Present and Descriptions of Interior Design in Literature of Early Modern Times to the Present, the third conference is devoted to the relationship of architectural interior and exterior aspects and this again relying on literature of different languages from Early Modern Times to the present. The first two conferences have shown us that literary descriptions of different times and languages witness the time in which they are written: they are on the one hand an important contribution for understanding the development of methods; on the other hand they can disclose new interdisciplinary dialogues. The presentations and the following publication of the foregoing conference have shown clearly that literary texts of different genres like prose, poetry, travelogues, diaries as well as letters and other categories are door openers not only for new art historian perceptions, but also can give hints to new methods of our discipline. This means not only the breaking up of the periodical conception of history of art, but also the architectural and spatial categories defined by history of art.

These are also the intentions of the third conference, dedicated to the relation of inside and outside of architecture in literary descriptions. How far and how deep literary descriptions can scrutinize the methods of art history and in which extent this will be possible. Furthermore, the conference is interested in papers showing new perspectives for the discipline, being able to engage and continue new dialogues for the different shifts of time and genres. We particularly encourage the submission of proposals that crosscut cultural contexts, present diachronic perspectives or establish relationships between different universes.

Submissions for a 30-minute presentation and edited volume should be forwarded to the Scientific Committee, which will proceed to a peer review. Submissions should be sent by email to barbara.vonorelli@khist.uzh.ch until 28th February 2014, with “CFP Dialogue of the Arts 2014” as the subject. The abstracts should include only title and a maximum of 500 words; the abstract must be accompanied by a separate file with a curriculum vitae (maximum: 1 page), that must include personal identification elements, the submission title, academic affiliation and a selection of a maximum of 5 bibliographic references.

Working Languages: English / German / French / Italian

Lecture | Richard Taws on the Dauphin and his Doubles

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on January 29, 2014

This evening’s installment in the Birkbeck Forum for Nineteenth-Century Studies:

Richard Taws | Proofs of Life: The Dauphin and his Doubles in Nineteenth-Century France
Birkbeck Forum for Nineteenth-Century Studies, Keynes Library, London, 29 January 2014

The next event of the spring term for the Birkbeck Forum for Nineteenth-Century Studies will feature Richard Taws (UCL) presenting on ‘Proofs of Life: The Dauphin and his Doubles in Nineteenth-Century France’ on Wednesday 29 January 2014 from 6.00 to 8.00pm in the Keynes Library, 43 Gordon Square, London, WC1H 0PD.

This paper will consider the authenticating agency attributed to images of the dauphin Louis-Charles, the son and heir of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, as they circulated globally in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Louis-Charles died at the age of ten in the Temple prison in 1795, yet rumours soon spread that he had been freed in a secret royalist escape plot and continued to live somewhere, most probably in the French colonies or North America. During the course of the nineteenth century the numerous images of Louis-Charles produced before, during and after the French Revolution were invoked regularly as the primary standard of proof against which to judge the many imposters who subsequently came forward from around the world, accompanied by lurid tales of adventure, to announce themselves the ‘lost’ dauphin. The appropriation of eighteenth-century images of Louis-Charles by these pretenders, as well as the paintings, prints and photographs they had made of themselves, were, in a rapidly transforming media ecology, closely connected to competing claims about the utility of different media in the production of the French past.

Exhibition | Visions and Nightmares

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on January 28, 2014

From the exhibition press release:

Visions and Nightmares: Four Centuries of Spanish Drawings
The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, 17 January — 11 May 2014

Curated by Edward Payne


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It was traditionally assumed that Spanish artists rarely drew, but recent research has demonstrated that drawing was, in fact, central to artistic practice in Spain. Visions and Nightmares: Four Centuries of Spanish Drawings explores the shifting roles and attitudes toward the art of drawing in Spain, as well as the impact of the Catholic Church and the nightmare of the Inquisition on Spanish artists and their work. It is the first exhibition of Spanish drawings ever to be held at the Morgan Library & Museum, whose holdings in this area are relatively small but strong.

On view in the Clare Eddy Thaw Gallery through May 11, the exhibition features more than twenty drawings spanning the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries. Works by well-known artists such as José de Ribera, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, and Francisco Goya are presented alongside sheets by equally talented but less familiar artists, including Vicente Carducho, Alonso Cano, and Eugenio Lucas. Complementing the drawings is a display of contemporary Spanish letters and volumes, notably a lavish 1780 edition of Cervantes’ Don Quixote.

“With one of the world’s most important collections of master drawings, the Morgan is committed to developing exhibitions that explore important subjects that may be less familiar or have been overlooked,” said William M. Griswold, Director. “The practice of drawing in Spain is relatively unexplored, by comparison to that in Italy or France, but the extraordinary works in this show demonstrate an artistry and themes unique to their country of origin.”

Among the drawings in the exhibition is one of many sheets preparatory for a series of fifty-six paintings that Vicente Carducho designed for the Charterhouse of El Paular. In the foreground, Father Andrés is tortured using a device called la garrucha; the background reveals his subsequent murder by a mob. Squared for transfer to the oil sketch that preceded the final painting, the drawing bears an inscription by the patron indicating that the suspended figure should be larger and more centrally placed. Carducho incorporated this correction into the finished canvas.

José de Ribera was drawn to violent subjects—notably, the flaying of St. Bartholomew and his pagan counterpart, Marsyas, a satyr who challenged Apollo to a musical contest. As punishment for losing the competition and for his sin of pride, Marsyas was tied to a tree and skinned alive. This drawing depicts the bound satyr screaming, his skin still intact. In a variation on the theme, Ribera portrays Marsyas with human (rather than goat) legs, thus connecting this mythological subject to the artist’s numerous other drawings of bound figures.

On view are three drawings by Alonso Cano, including his masterpiece on paper: a monumental design for the altarpiece of the Chapel of San Diego de Alcalá. Composed of seventeen joined sheets, the work is highly finished, indicating that it was a presentation drawing, offering the patron different options to consider. King Philip IV became patron of the chapel in 1657; his coats of arms appear at the lower left and right of the drawing.

Renowned for his paintings of religious themes, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo made this preparatory drawing for one of his many versions of the Immaculate Conception. The loose, sketchy handling of this sheet is typical of the artist’s later style. The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception—the belief that the Virgin was born free of original sin—was especially popular in seventeenth-century Spain. Here the abstract ideal is embodied by the figure of the Virgin standing on a crescent moon.

Visions and Nightmares includes four drawings by Francisco Goya. Toward the end of his life, the artist drew increasingly for his own pleasure, executing eight albums now lettered A through H and variously named. Pesadilla (Nightmare)—one of two drawings on view from the so-called Black Border Album—depicts a disheveled woman astride a flying bull, her eyes bulging as she screams in terror. Although the image of a woman and bull traditionally personified the European continent, Goya’s drawing seems to symbolize the turmoil in Spain following the Peninsular War.

Eugenio Lucas’s ominous drawing depicts Death reading from an oversized book supported by the back of a kneeling man who serves as a human lectern. Moody and macabre, this sheet recalls the threat of the Inquisition. Also on view is another sheet by Lucas, which depicts a figure shrouded in white, its arms extending toward the top of the page. The latter drawing may be seen as the pendant to Death Reading from a Human Lectern—the two works representing death and resurrection, respectively.

Visions and Nightmares also includes items from the Morgan’s collections of printed books, letters, and music manuscripts. One highlight is a deluxe edition of Don Quixote, commissioned by the Royal Spanish Academy and printed in Madrid in 1780. In addition to lavish engravings, the volume includes editorial revisions to the text, a biography of Cervantes, and the first map to chart Quixote’s itinerary. Also on view is a letter written by Goya to his lifelong friend Martín Zapater, in which he relates the exciting news that he was appointed painter to the Spanish king Charles III, the most prestigious position for an artist in Spain.


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P U B L I C  P R O G R A M S

Visions and Nightmares: Four Centuries of Spanish Drawings
Friday, February 7, 6:30 pm
An informal tour with exhibition curator Edward Payne, Moore Curatorial Fellow, Drawings and Prints. Free with museum admission.

Blancanieves (2012, 104 minutes) Director: Pablo Berger
Friday, February 28, 7 pm
“Snow White” is retold in 1920s Seville, with imagery inspired by Francisco Goya. Spain’s Academy Awards submission for Best Foreign Film in 2013, starring Maribel Verdú and Daniel Giménez Carlos. In Spanish with English subtitles. Free with museum admission.

From Inquisition to Enlightenment: Drawing in Spain
Wednesday, March 5, 6:30 pm

Edward Payne, the Morgan’s Moore Curatorial Fellow, will lead this discussion on Spanish drawings with Jonathan Brown, the Carroll and Milton Petrie Professor of Fine Arts, Institute of Fine Arts, NYU, and scholar Lisa Banner. They will explore how new research has altered the perception of the role of drawing in Spain from the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries, a period that witnessed the horror of the Inquisition, the rise of the Catholic Church, and the intellectual curiosity of the Enlightenment. The exhibition Visions and Nightmares will be open at 5:30 pm for program attendees. Tickets: $15; $10 for members; and free for students with valid ID; 212-685-0008 x560; themorgan.org/programs.

Call for Articles | ABO Public: Forum for Women in the Arts, 1640–1830

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on January 28, 2014

ABO Public: An Interactive Forum for Women in the Arts, 1640–1830
Proposals due by 15 March 2014; final contributions due by 15 April 2014

ABO: Interactive Journal  for Women in the Arts, 1640–1830 is pleased to announce ABO Public: An Interactive Forum for Women in the Arts, 1640–1830.

Launching in April 2014, ABOPublic is a new public scholarship forum that integrates public and academic interests through intersecting feminist perspectives on gender, sexuality, race, class, privilege, geography, politics, culture, and the arts. Each issue may explore different themes related to eighteenth-century studies. ABOPublic invites submissions that  consider any of the topics below or other topics relating to eighteenth century studies. For our first issue, we are particularly interested in (although not limited to) submissions that explore the nature of public scholarship in the eighteenth century, or public scholarship about the eighteenth century. Consider it our “meta issue.”

Bawdy Houses
Brewing/Alcohol Production
Children’s Literature and Public Scholar Programs
Coffee Houses and Coffee House Culture
Faith-Based Furniture
Fashion/Fashion Culture/Material Culture
Female Pirates
Girl’s Education
Gossip/Secret Histories
Midwifery and Medicine
Natural History and Science
Postcolonial Approaches to the Eighteenth Century
Publishing and Print Culture
Queer Approaches to the Eighteenth Century
Religion and Missionary Work
The Theater and Performance
Women’s Roles in Whaling
Women of Color and the Eighteenth Century
Women and Travel

Submissions should fit into one of the following categories. See the categories below for a more detailed description:

Bluestocking Salon
The Eighteenth Century in Popular Culture
Public Pedagogy/New Media Pedagogy
News and Discoveries

Proposals must be submitted through our online submission form before March 15, 2014. Final contributions must be received by April 15, 2014 for publication in the March issue. Before submitting a proposal, please review our submission guidelines. General inquiries may be sent to abopublic@aphrabehn.org.

Exhibition | Love & Play: A Pair of Paintings by Fragonard

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on January 27, 2014

From the museum’s press release:

Love & Play: A Pair of Paintings by Fragonard
Toledo Museum of Art, 24 January — 4 May 2014


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The original wardrobe malfunction might have originated more than 250 years ago, at the hands of a 20-something Frenchman named Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Fragonard was only beginning to discover his niche as a portrayer of thinly veiled eroticism when he painted an errant body part peeking out from his subject’s frilly 18th-century dress. The resulting work of art, Blind Man’s Buff, and its companion, The See-Saw, comprised a pair of paintings that must have delighted his patron with symbolic depictions of seduction.

The two works will be reunited for the first time in 25 years in a special focus exhibition at the Toledo Museum of Art titled Love and Play: A Pair of Paintings by Fragonard, on view January 24 until May 4, 2014 in Gallery 28. It’s the first in the Museum’s Encounters series, concentrated shows and installations that pair exceptional works of art in new or interesting ways.

Blind Man’s Buff, part of the Museum’s collection, and The See-Saw, on loan from the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid, will be displayed alongside two engraved copies of the paintings, a terracotta sculpture by Clodion and a small selection of French decorative arts of the period.

“They’re risqué, they’re provocative—and the artist intended these canvases to be seen together,” said Lawrence W. Nichols, William Hutton senior curator of European and American painting and sculpture before 1900. “So to reunite these two very important paintings by one of the most significant French artists of the 18th century is quite an exciting opportunity.”

Painted in Paris in the first years of the 1750s, they were likely commissioned by Baron Baillet de Saint-Julien and subsequently passed through the hands of private 18th-century collectors, a Parisian comte and a Rothschild. When they came onto the open market in 1954, they were finally separated. (more…)

Exhibition | Late Barbarians

Posted in today in light of the 18th century by Editor on January 26, 2014

Now on at London’s Gasworks:

Late Barbarians
Gasworks, London, 24 January — 9 March 2014

Matts Leiderstam, After Image (Portrait of a Gentleman), 2010

Matts Leiderstam, After Image (Portrait of a Gentleman), 2010

Gasworks presents the group exhibition Late Barbarians, which includes video, photography, and sculpture by Juan Downey, Lili Dujourie, Sidsel Meineche Hansen, Matts Leiderstam, and Chris Marker.

Focusing on the notion of corporeal memory, the exhibition explores how shifting social codes and cultural values have been embodied in historical Western European art and architecture. The exhibition takes its title from an expression by German sociologist Norbert Elias, which suggests that our future descendants may eventually consider us to have lived during an extended medieval period, implying that we share far greater affinities with our Barbarian ancestors than we might like to think. Similarly, the works on show question linear interpretations of history, invoking a present that is haunted by the gestures of our ancestors.

Paying particular attention to art historical representations of the body, works range from photographs that propose a queer re-reading of the gestures depicted in Renaissance paintings (Matts Leiderstam) to abstract, single-take “dances to camera” that attempt to divorce particular habits of the body from their entrenched social connotations (Lili Dujourie) and a virtual exhibition tour that takes place in the online world of Second Life (Chris Marker). In addition, Juan Downey’s video essay The Looking Glass (1981) decodes the iconography of the mirror in well-known artworks by Velázquez, Holbein and Picasso, and a new commission by Sidsel Meineche Hansen entitled His Head (2013–) comprises a clay sculpture and symposium that together examine the human head, separate from the body, as a symbol of patriarchy and power.

Late Barbarians is the second exhibition of The Civilising Process, a yearlong programme of exhibitions and events at Gasworks inspired by Elias’ eponymous 1939 book, which looks at the development of the tastes, manners and sensibilities of Western Europeans since the Middle Ages. Between October 2013 and November 2014 Gasworks is working with invited artists, designers, curators and researchers to tackle a wide range of issues raised by this book in an attempt to understand their relevance for contemporary debates and practices.

The Civilising Process comprises five exhibitions, a programme of interdisciplinary events, contributions to Gasworks’ online platform Pipeline, and a printed publication.

155 Vauxhall Street
London SE11 5RH United Kingdom

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