Exhibition | Detroit before the Automobile

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on October 27, 2014


Edward Walsh, View of Detroit and the Straits,
Taken from the Huron Church
, 1804
(University of Michigan: William L. Clements Library)

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Now on view at the University of Michigan, as noted at Art Daily:

Detroit before the Automobile: The William L. Clements Library Collection
University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, 18 October 2014 — 18 January 2015

In spite of the economic reverses of the last few decades, Detroit is still perceived by most Americans as the cradle of the automotive industry and the testing ground for twentieth-century innovations in manufacturing that changed the world. ‘Motown’, however, was already two centuries old by the time the Model T rolled off the first assembly line. Detroit before the Automobile examines the first 200 years of the city’s history using rare books, manuscripts, maps, and graphics from the extensive collection of the University of Michigan’s William L. Clements Library.

Detroit was founded by the French in 1701 as a trading center and agricultural settlement. In 1760 it passed to the British and became an important post for them during the American Revolution. It was ceded to the United States by the peace treaty of 1783, although the United States did not actually take control of the city until 1796. In 1805, Detroit became the capital of the Michigan Territory, but it was destroyed by fire the same year. Rebuilt to a radical new design, the town and fort were taken by the British at the outset of the War of 1812 and then recovered by the United States in 1813. In 1817 it saw the birth of the University of Michigan. During the nineteenth century, Detroit matured and grew in importance as a shipping center with a developing industrial base of shipbuilding, rail-car construction, stove manufacturing, and similar industries that ensured the city would have the infrastructure and transportation network needed to greet the infant auto industry at the dawn of the twentieth century.

The Clements Library has a rich variety of primary sources documenting the history of Detroit before 1900, from maps outlining the distinctive ‘ribbon farm’ land pattern of the French, to plans of the town, and prints charting the city’s increasing size and the height of its buildings. Together this array of primary documents brings to life the early history of one the oldest cities in the Midwest.

The exhibition is part of the U-M Collections Collaborations series, co-organized by and presented at UMMA and designed to showcase the renowned and diverse collections at the University of Michigan. The U-M Collections Collaborations series is generously supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


Richard Wilson Online Catalogue Now Available

Posted in exhibitions, resources by Editor on October 27, 2014

Wilson_Online_CoverThe Richard Wilson Online catalogue raisonné has been compiled by Dr Paul Spencer-Longhurst (Senior Research Fellow) with the collaboration of Professor David Solkin (Curator of the exhibition, Richard Wilson: The Landscape of Reaction, 1982–83) and Kate Lowry (formerly Chief Conservator at the National Museum Wales, Cardiff), with the assistance of Maisoon Rehani (Project Coordinator) and Peter Thomas (Technical Project Consultant).

Richard Wilson Online is the outcome of intensive ongoing research undertaken since 2009 to re-establish Richard Wilson’s (1713/14–1782) status and redefine his output in celebration of the tercentenary of his birth. The website is launched as a work-in-progress designed to provide an up-to-date and freely accessible record of Wilson’s autograph paintings and works on paper. It complements and extends the public interest in and academic focus on his achievements stimulated by the exhibition, Richard Wilson and the Transformation of European Landscape Painting, on show at the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, USA, and Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, Cardiff in 2014.

Accessing Richard Wilson Online


Call for Papers | ISECS 2015 Panel—For the Greater Glory of Portugal

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on October 27, 2014

call for papers

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Now accepting proposals for this panel for next year’s ISECS Congress in Rotterdam:

For the Greater Glory of Portugal: Cultural Policy and Artistic Trade in the Age of João V
ISECS Congress, Rotterdam, 26–31 July 2015

Proposals due by 12 January 2015 (though earlier submissions are very much encouraged)

Organiser: Dr. Pilar Diez del Corral Corredoira, Art History Institute, New University of Lisbon: pilarddcc@gmail.com; pcorral@fcsh.unl.pt

João V (1689–1750) propelled Portugal into the arena of international politics and raised the country’s prestige to new and unprecedented levels. His imperial policies affected vast swathes of territory in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. With his huge spending on art, music, and luxury items—intended to strengthen his position within European—he can be seen as a second Sun King. It is surprising, therefore, that relatively little interest has been shown in his kingship by non-Portuguese historians.

This panel will be devoted to analyzing Joao’s V artistic policy in Europe after the Treaty of Utrecht. One example of this was his massive print collection, intended to cover all areas of knowledge in a kind of Encyclopédie avant la lettre. The king used diplomatic channels to gather this, putting some of his best ambassadors and diplomats in Rome, Paris, London, and The Hague in charge. He was also extremely interested in developing strong ties with the Church in Rome. He supported lavish ambassadorial entrées, made substantial donations to the Pope and became (in absentia) one of the most generous patrons of art in Rome. He commissioned hundreds of masterpieces, namely the magnificent sculptures for his palace in Mafra and the sumptuous chapel of San Rocco in Lisbon, and he and his courtiers became some of the most influential collectors in the new Grand Tour.

Topics might include (but are not restricted to):

• The cultural milieu and artistic trade involving the embassies
• The print collection and the Mariettes
• The Boendermaker Atlas
• The art markets in Rome, Paris, and The Hague
• Collectors and diplomats as trading agents for the king

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