New Book | The Backstory of Wallpaper: Paper-Hangings, 1650–1750

Posted in books by Editor on March 2, 2014

An interesting example of a self-published book (easily accessible through Barnes & Noble and Amazon) that many scholars may find extremely useful. It’s among the titles under consideration for Historic New England’s 2014 Book Prize . . .

Robert M. Kelly, The Backstory of Wallpaper: Paper-Hangings, 1650–1750 (Lee, Massachusetts: Wallpaper Scholar, 2013), 190 pages, ISBN: 978-0985656102, $30.

9780985656102_p0_v1_s600Wallpaper design has captivated Western consumers for 300 years, but this book looks closer—at wallpaper use. It tells how single-sheet wallpaper developed in Europe, found wide acceptance in England and France, and was successfully transplanted to the North American colonies. By 1750, wallpaper was well-established and poised for phenomenal growth.

Robert M. Kelly has been working with wallpaper as a paperhanger, consultant, and writer for over 30 years. He attended the Attingham Summer School program in 1993. He has worked at the White House, Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, Martin Van Buren’s Lindenwald estate, The Gracie Mansion in New York City, and many other governmental sites. He’s written over 50 articles on wallpaper, many for the Wallpaper History Society Review.

An interview with Robert Kelly appears at Kunstpedia.

Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture

Posted in exhibitions, resources by Editor on March 2, 2014

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Press release (21 May 2013) for the collaboration Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture:

A first-time collaboration among eleven founding institutions and numerous other organizations throughout the state, Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture highlights Massachusetts furniture-making, from the 1600s to the present day, through a series of exhibitions, symposia, public programs, and a dedicated website. Founding institutions consist of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts; Concord Museum; Fuller Craft Museum; Historic Deerfield; Historic New England; Massachusetts Historical Society; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; North Bennet Street School; Old Sturbridge Village; Peabody Essex Museum; and Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library. Never before have so many renowned institutions in the Northeast joined forces to exhibit, study, and promote a single topic in the field of American Decorative Art. Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture is an unprecedented celebration of the Bay State’s remarkable furniture-making legacy. From the earliest products of newly arrived immigrants in the 1600s, to the outstanding work of present-day studio furniture-makers, Massachusetts holds one of the most prominent places in American furniture-making history.

Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture will include seven museum exhibitions, each focusing on a different aspect of Massachusetts furniture-making. The Massachusetts Historical Society will mount a display of documented Boston furniture from private collections, supplemented with rarely seen items in the Society’s collection, including relevant paintings, prints, account books, and ledgers. The exhibition at Historic Deerfield will take a fresh look at two centuries of furniture-making in western Massachusetts, showcasing a wealth of objects, many of which are new acquisitions. The Concord Museum’s exhibition will explore the remarkable life and career of William Munroe through the objects he made and a rare collection of shop records and Old Sturbridge Village will explore the career of prominent Federal-period artisan Nathan Lombard. The exhibition at the Fuller Craft Museum will feature contemporary studio furniture from the Bay State over the past half century and the final exhibition, slated to open at the Peabody Essex Museum in 2014, examines the career of eminent Salem cabinetmaker Nathaniel Gould. In addition, Winterthur Museum has installed fifty of its finest pieces of Boston furniture in an exhibition titled Boston Furniture at Winterthur and numerous other institutions throughout the state will highlight key pieces of Massachusetts furniture in their collections. (more…)

Subject of Art History Added to Oxford Bibliographies

Posted in resources by Editor on March 2, 2014

Under the direction of Editor-in-Chief Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann, Art History is the latest subject to be added to OUP’s subscription-based resource Oxford Bibliographies (as of January 2014). At present there are only 50 articles—ranging from ‘Art of the Aztec Empire’ to ‘Yuan Dynasty Art’—with plans for a few dozen more to be added in the coming months. And so for now, the resource is better at showcasing potential than providing a truly useful, comprehensive collection of bibliographies. That said, Dorothy Johnson’s entry for Jacques-Louis David provides a promising glimpse of what the future might entail, and the larger Oxford Bibliographies project ranked among Choice’s Top Ten Internet Resources for 2013 (along with ARTstor). All of the usual concerns about expensive, subscription-based resources, inevitably, remain relevant. -CH

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From the Art History page of Oxford Bibliographies:

Art history is a vast discipline, geographically, historically, and intellectually. In its initial centuries, art history dealt with Western art, but the boundaries of the field have since expanded. The canon continues to be redefined as histories of art in regions that had previously been ignored are brought into the mainstream. Traditional emphases on European art have been reduced, as the discipline reaches world-wide dimensions in which connections as much as differences have increasingly come into focus. Originating as a study much informed by ancient art, and then by the art of the Renaissance, the historical dimension of the discipline has also continuously advanced with time. More and more works and types of objects are made throughout the world, and art historians’ interests have increasingly shifted to more recent art. In the past half century art historians have also engaged more and more with questions of theory, method, and the history of the discipline. New approaches, often borrowed from other fields, have proliferated.

As a result of all this flux and ferment, it has become progressively more difficult to grasp the literature of the field, and to gain an orientation to current and perennial problems. Oxford Bibliographies in Art History responds to these needs and offers a trustworthy pathway through the thicket of information overload. Whether an expert in contemporary European art needs to read up on the art of ancient China for a book project or an undergraduate student needs to start a research paper on iconography in Renaissance art, Oxford Bibliographies in Art History will provide a trusted source of selective bibliographic guidance.

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