Exhibition | Shells: Magic and Science

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on February 23, 2014

From the MIA:

Shells: Magic and Science
Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 23 November 2013 — 8 June 2014

eorge Wolfgang Knorr German, 1705-1761 Plate B. II., from “Deliciae Naturae Selectae,” 1750-1772 Etching, hand-colored The Minnich Collection, The Ethel Morrison Van Derlip Fund P.19,046

George Wolfgang Knorr, Plate B. II., from Deliciae Naturae Selectae, 1750–72, etching, hand-colored.

Shells are common yet precious, abundant yet desirable—among the first things a child instinctively collects. From prehistoric shacks to the courts of Baroque Europe, their translucent texture and fantastical forms have been integrated into everyday objects, decoration, and an incredible variety of art. They are also as central to modern studies of the natural world as the discovery of new lands, their perfection embodying—and ultimately resolving—the dilemma of creation and evolution. This importance is reflecting in the mania for shell collecting, particularly during the late 16th and early 17th centuries when nautilus and conches were mounted in precious metals, adorned with gems, and displayed in magnificent Wunderkammern—the “wonder rooms” or “cabinets of curiosities.”

This exhibition encompasses our passion for shells throughout the ages, gathering treasures from such Twin Cities institutions as the Wangensteen Historical Library, the James Ford Bell Library, the Bell Museum of Natural History, and the MIA itself. Together, they comprise an intriguing patrimony
of prints and precious antique books on natural history, while testifying to
the still-burning fever of shell-collecting.

Exhibition | Imperial Nature: Flora, Fauna, and Colonialism in India

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on February 23, 2014

Press release (23 January 2014) from the MIA:

Imperial Nature: Flora, Fauna, and Colonialism in India
Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 18 January — 20 April 2014

Curated by Risha Lee

mia_6011339-300x215European and Indian histories have long been interlaced. During the 17th and 18th centuries, as English colonial rule intensified, the two cultures melded and converged, producing bold depictions of nature. Imperial Nature: Flora, Fauna, and Colonialism in India at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA) showcases these representations, commissioned by Indian princes and increasingly powerful European colonial patrons, to reveal an artistic and scientific confluence that reshaped the way we view the natural world. The exhibition features twenty-nine works on paper, two textiles, a film, and multimedia elements.

One of the MIA’s newest curators, Dr. Risha Lee, Jane Emison Assistant Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art, organized the exhibition. “Imperial Nature will be the first exhibition of historical Indian art in nineteen years at the museum,” she stated. “Beautiful works of art grew out of this complex period in Indian history, and we are thrilled to present such rare depictions of nature to Minnesota audiences.”

At the heart of the exhibition are eleven ‘Lady Impey’ paintings on loan from the private collection of Elizabeth and Willard Clark, major collectors of Asian art from whom the MIA received a large gift of Japanese works in 2013. A British colonialist in Calcutta, Lady Mary Impey commissioned Indian painters to illustrate birds from her private menagerie, resulting in several hundred images that owe as much to European natural science as India’s rich painterly tradition. Before Lady Impey’s time, botany had a colonial enterprise in India, owing to the commercial and medicinal value of Indic plants. In the time of Lady Impey’s bird paintings, botany became an elevated science, lifted above the realm of mere commodity. In Imperial Nature at the MIA, the paintings will be exhibited for the first time. The exhibition will also feature artworks on loan from the Nancy Wiener Gallery and Arader Gallery.

Imperial Nature is composed of five distinct sections:
• India’s global trade networks in the 17th and 18th centuries
• Princely Indian paintings of nature
• Lady Impey’s Menagerie
• Natural History in India, including selections from the Hortus Indicus Malabaricus, a 17th-century Dutch multivolume work on the identification and function of Indian plants
• Charulata, a film by Satyajit Ray depicting the Indo-European encounter in colonial Calcutta

In addition, the exhibition features an ambient soundtrack of birdsong consisting of birds portrayed in Lady Impey’s paintings. As the exhibition is located in the Cargill Gallery in the MIA’s lobby, the subtle sounds will immediately welcome visitors into the alluring elements of Indian depictions of nature.

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Risha Lee and Catherine Asher ǀ Imperial Nature: Flora, Fauna, and Colonialism in India
Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Thursday, 3 April 2014, 7:00pm

Risha Lee and Catherine Asher will speak on topics related to Imperial Nature: Flora, Fauna, and Colonialism in India, on view through April 20. This exhibition showcases representations of nature, commissioned by Indian princes and increasingly powerful European colonial patrons, resulting in an artistic and scientific confluence that reshaped ideas about the natural world. Admission: $10; $5 MIA members; free for members of the Asian Art Affinity Group. To reserve tickets, call (612) 870-6323 or reserve tickets online.

Risha Lee is the Jane Emison Assistant Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art at the MIA. Catherine Asher is a professor of art history at the University of Minnesota.

Lecture | Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell on the Art of Beauty

Posted in lectures (to attend), Member News by Editor on February 23, 2014

From the MIA:

Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell | The Art of Beauty
Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 8 March 2014


Naples, Box for toilet articles, ca. 1745
(Minneapolis Institute of Arts)

Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell reveals four centuries’ worth of beauty secrets using rare surviving toilette objects and images from the MIA and other collections. The tools of the toilette testify to changing tastes and lifestyles as the ostensibly private ritual of dressing has long been a public performance of consumption and display, chronicled in fashion plates, portraits, and caricatures.

Saturday, 8 March 2014 at 11:00am

Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell is an independent scholar and consultant for The Huntington Library Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, and Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, and has been a research scholar for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

HBA Publication Grant

Posted in opportunities by Editor on February 23, 2014

Historians of British Art Publication Grant
Proposals due by 1 March 2014 (extended from the original date of 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 revised deadline is March 1, 2014.

Exhibition | Caravaggio to Canaletto

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on February 23, 2014

My apologies for (once again) being so late with this exhibition, which recently closed at the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest. The catalogue, however, is still available from Artbooks.com. -CH

Caravaggio to Canaletto: The Glory of Italian Baroque and Rococo Painting
Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest, 26 October 2013 — 16 February 2014

Curated by Zsuzsanna Dobos


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The Museum of Fine Arts’ exhibition titled Caravaggio to Canaletto will present the leading styles, outstanding artist figures as well as the extraordinary wealth of genres, techniques, and themes of 17th- and 18th-century Italian painting through more than 140 works by 100 masters, including nine paintings—the highest number by a single artist included in the displayed material—by the period’s prominent painter genius, Caravaggio.

The backbone of the selection is formed by the 34 principal works from the internationally highly acclaimed Italian Baroque and Rococo collection of the museum’s Old Masters Gallery, which will be complemented by 106 masterpieces arriving in Budapest from sixty-two collections of eleven countries, such as the National Galleries in Washington and London, the Musée du Louvre in Paris, the Museo del Prado and the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid, the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence, the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin, the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden, the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, and the Galleria Borghese in Rome. The material commands international attention since such a large-scale, comprehensive exhibition surveying the entirety of Italian painting as the one in Budapest has not been put on for decades anywhere in the world.

Some years ago the Museum of Fine Arts set itself the ambitious goal of presenting 15th- to 18th-century Italian painting in two consecutive exhibitions, unprecedented in its scope in Hungary. The first one, titled Botticelli to Titian, held in 2009–2010, attracted 230 thousand visitors, and thus became one of the most successful shows in the history of the museum.

The next, representative exhibition devoted to 17th- and 18th-century Italian painting will be the closing event of the Italian-Hungarian Cultural Season 2013 in Hungary. The two centuries of Italian art surveyed by the exhibition were determined by the Baroque style, which prevailed during the period all over Europe. The early Baroque, which had started at the end of the previous century saw the rise of the naturalism of Caravaggio and his followers, as well as the Bolognese School of Classicism linked to the Carracci. High Baroque, which lasted more than fifty years, was characterised equally by the dynamic style of the so-called master decorators, Baroque Classicism, and early Romanticism. We can talk about the Late Baroque period from the last decades of the seicento, when the tradition of the great masters was carried on in a somewhat empty, routine-like way. The Baroque Era ended in the 18th century with the luxurious Venetian Rococo, while in the middle of the century, also referred to as settecento, the beginnings of Neoclassicism started to appear. The artists of the various painting schools and styles of the 17th and 18th centuries were driven by the same desire: to imitate reality, strive for realistic depiction and create the illusion of tangibility, for which they had the whole range of artistic means at their disposal.

The exhibition will survey the period in eight chapters, starting with Caravaggio, whose activity in Rome brought radical change to painting, going on to the Baroque replacing Mannerism, and ending with the development of Rococo and Classicism, and the introduction of their masters. The opening section will display two early works by Caravaggio—one of them Boy with a Basket of Fruit—which will be followed by some religious compositions of Caravaggist painting, including two versions of Caravaggio’s Salome. The third section will showcase classicising Baroque linked to the names of Lodovico, Agostino and Annibale Carracci, while the fourth unit will present the spreading and flourishing of Baroque art. The fifth section will give an overview of the bourgeois genres of the still-life, the landscape, the portrait and the genre portrait, followed by the part devoted to the main stylistic trends of the 18th century. The last two sections will provide a glimpse into 18th-century painting in Venice and introduce the veduta (townscape), which became a popular genre at that time, through four Venetian townscapes by Canaletto.

The exhibition is implemented at the highest standard, thanks to the collaboration of nearly fifty Hungarian and foreign curators specialising in the period, and is accompanied by a Hungarianand English catalogue. The exhibition is curated by Zsuzsanna Dobos, art historian at the Old Masters Gallery, Museum of Fine Arts.

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From Artbooks.com:

Dobos, Zuzsanna, ed., Caravaggio to Canaletto: The Glory of Italian Baroque and Rococo Painting (Budapest: Museum of Fine Arts, 2013), 458 pages, ISBN: 978-6155304187, $130.

127796Contents include

• J. Jernyei-Kiss, Italian Painting in the 17th and 18th Centuries
• J. Spike, Caravaggio and the Caravaggesque Movement
• D. Benati, The Carracci Academy: From Nature to History
• C. De Seta, The Grand Tour: The European Rediscovery of Italy in the 17th and 18th Centuries
• A. Vecsey, The Reception of 17th- and 18th-Century Italian Painting in Hungary: Taste and Collecting

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