Enfilade

New Book | L’imaginaire des grottes dans les jardins européens

Posted in books by Editor on December 23, 2014

Published by Hazan and available from Artbooks.com:

Hervé Brunon and Monique Mosser, L’imaginaire des grottes dans les jardins européens (Paris: Hazan, 2014), 399 pages, ISBN: 978-2754104890, 125€ / $190.

12386-13870-thickboxDès l’Antiquité, puis de la Renaissance à nos jours, les grottes artificielles constituent un topos incontournable dans la création des jardins de toute l’Europe, soumis à d’infinies variations de formes, au gré des changements de goût, de l’excentricité des mécènes et de la fantaisie des concepteurs. Ce sont des milliers de grottes qui furent aménagées au cours des cinq derniers siècles selon des échelles extraordinairement variées allant de la simple niche abritant une petite fontaine à l’immense chaos naturel transformé en paysage sublime. Beaucoup ont disparu, en raison de l’extrême fragilité de ces décors précieux, mais d’admirables réalisations témoignent encore de cet engouement jamais démenti, notamment en Allemagne, en France, en Italie ou au Royaume-Uni, au Portugal et en Russie, en Finlande et Ukraine.

En rendant compte sans volonté d’exhaustivité—à travers plus d’une centaine d’exemples illustrés grâce à des prises de vue actuelles d’excellente qualité—de la richesse de ce patrimoine relativement méconnu, l’ouvrage vise à explorer les enjeux de cette fascination ininterrompue pour les grottes de jardin et à mettre en lumière l’inventivité formelle et technique à laquelle elles ont donné lieu. Il ne s’agit pas d’aborder les grottes en tant que motifs autonomes et isolés, mais bien de les inscrire tant dans leur contexte spatial et culturel, en considérant le rôle qu’elles tiennent dans la composition et la poésie du jardin, l’écriture du relief et des eaux miroitantes ou jaillissantes, la narration de la statuaire, et la manière dont elles révèlent les aspirations de chaque époque ou de chaque individu.

Une centaine de documents iconographiques—illustrations encyclopédiques, peintures allégoriques, portraits, décors de théâtre, etc.—permettent d’évoquer leur arrière-plan à la fois artistique, littéraire, scientifique, technique, religieux, philosophique ou encore anthropologique. Si le jardin opère comme microcosme, la grotte constitue à son tour un monde en réduction, une cristallisation de l’imaginaire s’incarnant dans des formes sensibles qui puisent à la réalité des lieux et poussent le vocabulaire ornemental à son paroxysme, qu’il relève du rustique, du grotesque ou encore de la rocaille. L’accumulation des matériaux et l’intensité des effets sonores et lumineux produisent des fantasmagories théâtrales ; la pénombre, les anfractuosités favorisent une intimité qui renvoie aux origines. Dépassant le simple catalogue par pays ou par périodes, les douze chapitres diachroniques de ce livre embrassent une série de catégories littéraires, esthétiques ou anthropologiques, qui, du primordial au profane en passant par le tellurique, le merveilleux et le diluvien, déclinent la poétique profonde des éléments et des émotions à l’œuvre dans la grotte. Un patrimoine exceptionnel à travers toute l’Europe redécouvert ici. Une iconographie non moins exceptionnelle. Un livre prestigieux présenté dans un coffret.

Hervé Brunon, historien des jardins et du paysage, est chargé de recherche au CNRS et directeur adjoint du Centre André Chastel (UMR8150, Paris), Laboratoire de recherche en histoire de l’art (du Moyen Âge à l’immédiat contemporain). Il est membre du comité de rédaction des revues Les Carnets du paysage et Projets de paysage : revue scientifique sur la conception et l’aménagement de l’espace, et fait partie du comité scientifique consultatif de la Fondazione Benetton Studi Ricerche (Trévise) et du conseil de l’enseignement et de la recherche de l’École nationale supérieure du paysage de Versailles. Il enseigne également à l’École nationale supérieure d’architecture de Versailles. Il est l’auteur de nombreuses publications, parmi lesquelles: Le Jardin, notre double: sagesse et déraison (direction, Autrement, 1999); Les Éléments et les métamorphoses de la nature: Imaginaire et symbolique des arts dans la culture européenne du XVIe au XVIIIe siècle (codirection; William Blake & Co, 2004); Rosario Assunto: Retour au jardin: Essais pour une philosophie de la nature, 1976–1987 (édition critique et traduction, Les Éditions de l’Imprimeur, 2003); Le Jardin contemporain: Renouveau, expériences et enjeux (avec Monique Mosser, Scala, 2006); Le Jardin comme labyrinthe du monde: Métamorphoses d’un imaginaire de la Renaissance à nos jours (direction, Presses de l’université Paris-Sorbonne/Musée du Louvre, 2008).

Monique Mosser est historienne de l’art, de l’architecture et des jardins, est ingénieur au CNRS (Centre André Chastel, UMR8150, Paris). Elle codirige, au sein de l’École nationale supérieure d’architecture de Versailles, le Master « Jardins historiques, patrimoine, paysage ». Elle a enseigné l’histoire des jardins à l’École nationale supérieure du paysage, à l’École de Chaillot, à l’École d’architecture de Genève. Engagée de longue date dans l’action culturelle et la défense du patrimoine, elle a organisé de très nombreuses expositions, tant en France qu’en Italie et d’autres pays d’Europe. Pionnière en matière d’histoire des jardins en France, elle a présenté, dès 1977, l’exposition Jardins, 1760–1820: Pays d’illusion, terre d’expérience à la Caisse nationale des monuments historiques et des sites (Hôtel de Sully) et joué, depuis, un rôle actif dans la politique menée par le ministère de la Culture sur le sujet. Auteur de nombreux articles et catalogues, elle a codirigé, avec Georges Teyssot, le livre de synthèse : Histoire des jardins de la Renaissance à nos jours (1990), publié en italien, anglais, français et allemand. Elle a été responsable d’une collection d’ouvrages sur le paysage et les jardins aux Éditions de l’Imprimeur (Besançon), où sont parus une vingtaine de titres.

Exhibition | Martin van Meytens the Younger

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on December 22, 2014

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Martin van Meytens, Joseph de France with his Family, 1748
(Stockholm, National Museum)

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Press release (via ArtDaily) for the exhibition:

Martin van Meytens the Younger
Winter Palace, Belvedere, Vienna, 18 October 2014 — 8 February 2015

In Martin van Meytens the Younger (1695–1770) the Belvedere is presenting a preeminent European master of the Baroque age. As the preferred portraitist at Maria Theresa’s imperial court, Meytens impressively captured influential personalities of his period’s intellectual, artistic, and political spheres. The Belvedere is the first museum to highlight this important figure of the Austrian art scene in a monographic exhibition, which is on view from 18 October 2014 to 8 February 2015 in the Baroque ambience of the Winter Palace. Of Dutch origins and born in Sweden, Martin van Meytens the Younger developed his specific style, for which he borrowed from diverse European models and which he later successfully passed on to numerous students, during several lengthy sojourns in France, England, and Italy. Originally trained as a painter of miniatures, Meytens perfected monumental painting over the years while always remaining true to portraiture, apart from a few forays into other figural genres. The focus of this exhibition is on his fascinating portraits and the art of his most important pupils, including that of Joseph Hickel.

Martin van Meytens, Portrait of a Man Wearing a Traditional Hungarian Costume, ca. 1740/1750 (Vienna: Belvedere)

Martin van Meytens, Portrait of a Man Wearing a Traditional Hungarian Costume, ca. 1740/1750 (Vienna: Belvedere)

“It is a great joy for me personally that the first monographic show on Martin van Meytens is taking place in Vienna—the city where the artist, following extensive stays in a number of other countries, spent more than half of his life and where he left behind impressive traces,” says the Belvedere’s director Agnes Husslein-Arco. Like no other artist, Martin van Meytens the Younger succeeded in documenting the protagonists of the legendary age of Maria Theresa in his portraits. “The precisely painted facial features, the detailed rendering of elaborate garments, and the unmistakable clues to the sitters’ social standing and profession still convey a lively impression of this period, which was probably not as glamorous as it appears in the paintings,” Agnes Husslein-Arco adds. Unlike the other genres, portraiture necessitated the artist’s direct confrontation with the ‘original’, i.e., the person of the sitter or patron. “Those who had their portraits painted by Meytens had to abandon themselves to his art and artifice,” curator Georg Lechner explains.

Martin van Meytens the Younger was born in Stockholm in 1695 the son of Martin Mijtens the Elder (1648–1736), who was also active as a portraitist. His parents, who originally came from Southern Holland, had emigrated to Sweden. Having first been trained by his father, the younger Meytens embarked on a study tour of several years as early as 1714, which led him to his parents’ native country, as well as to England, France, Italy, and, finally, to Vienna. “Emperor Charles VI enabled this very likeable and widely travelled artist to study in Italy for an extensive period of time when he was still very young, so that from 1731 on the Habsburg dynasty and, above all, the empire’s aristocracy had an accomplished and versatile portraitist at their disposal,” Georg Lechner points out.

Martin van Meytens cannot be assigned to any particular painting tradition, such as the Swedish, French, or Roman school. His personal style, which is characterised by precise drawing and partly intense colours, is much too distinctive for categorisation. Having been highly interested in alchemy and physics, he immersed himself in the development of his own materials, namely paints, besides his activities as an artist, receiving a patent from the imperial government for the production of mineral paints in 1743. Moreover, Martin Meytens the Younger is said to have had a written and spoken command of several languages, so that he can probably be most fittingly described as a European citizen who was proud of his Swedish origins.

The beginnings of Meytens, who today is known primarily for his life-sized portraits, lie in miniature painting, which was greatly appreciated at the time. Meytens, a student of his compatriot Charles Boit (1662–1727), soon acquired considerable fame in this genre and achieved a special brilliance in the enamel technique. Even the Russian tsar and the Swedish king tried to lure him to their courts, but Meytens decided for Vienna. He entered the service of the Habsburg family and became a successful portraitist of the court and the aristocracy. In 1732 he was officially appointed ‘imperial chamber painter’. The names of those whose likenesses, physiques, and social ranks he depicted in his paintings almost resemble a Who’s Who of the age of Maria Theresa. They include such statesmen as Johann Christoph von Bartenstein or Wenzel Anton von Kaunitz-Rietberg, as well as members of the Batthyány, Liechtenstein, Pálffy, and Schwarzenberg families. However, they only represent one aspect of his oeuvre. Besides more than a dozen of self-portraits, he also painted such artist colleagues as Johann Gottfried Auerbach, the costume designer and Maria Theresa’s drawing teacher Antonio Bertoli, and the librettist Pietro Metastasio. Held in high esteem particularly by Maria Theresa, Meytens was finally appointed director of the Vienna Academy and filled this position until his death in 1770.

The precision in the rendering of laces, fabrics, and other details is characteristic of the works by Martin van Meytens the Younger and his collaborators. Such paintings as Maria Theresa in a pink lace dress have thereby even gained documentary importance. This special focus on textiles and accessories sometimes also stands out in portraits that were produced outside the artist’s workshop or by his followers. Frequently, the actual portrait even appears to be a neglected element. The meticulous representation of motifs recalls Lucas Cranach the Elder, whose flourishing workshop was also known for its extraordinary precision and sharpness with regard to details, which occasionally even gives the impression of a certain degree of steeliness. Whereas Meytens was so successful during his lifetime just because of the great precision of his works, this very characteristic of his style would later meet with disapproval among critics.

61qlvtl72hLIt can hardly be estimated how many paintings left Meytens’s studio over the decades. In any case, the demand for his paintings was so high that the artist was soon no longer able to cope with the workload by himself and therefore employed numerous pupils and collaborators. Among the most talented of them were Sophonias de Derichs (1712–1773), who also came from Sweden, and Joseph Hickel (1736–1807). They worked entirely in the master’s manner so that their share in the individual works has remained hidden for both patrons and art lovers of the past and present. Moreover, Meytens hardly ever signed his works. Scholars therefore also depend on archival materials and contemporary engravings after Meytens’s works for their attributions, as these documents and reproductions usually mention the names of both painter and sitter. The following generation of artists represents the transition from the type of official Baroque portraiture they had been taught by
Meytens to a distinctly drier style that was in keeping with the
age of Josephinism and the Enlightenment.

Georg Lechner, Rolf H. Johannsen, Anne-Sophie Banakas, Birgit A. Schmidt, Agnes Husslein-Arco, Martin van Meytens der Jüngere (Vienna: Belvedere, 2014), 160 pages, ISBN: 978-3902805546, €29.

Early Flight Collection Lands at the National Air and Space Museum

Posted in museums by Editor on December 22, 2014

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Miniature watercolor painting of a balloon over a French military camp, ca.1794 (Smithsonian Institution: Evelyn Way Kendall Ballooning and Early Aviation Collection, NASM2014-06559)

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Press release (19 December 2014) from The Smithsonian:

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum has acquired the Evelyn Way Kendall Ballooning and Early Aviation Collection. The collection has more than a thousand works of art, prints, objects, books, photos, and manuscript materials documenting the history of flight from the late 18th to the early 20th century, most of which have never been exhibited. This rare collection was donated to the museum by the Norfolk Charitable Trust.

The sight of the first colorful balloons rising into the air in 1783 generated an unprecedented wave of excitement across Europe. Tens of thousands of spectators crowded the streets of Paris to catch a glimpse of human beings in flight. Due to this excitement, people flocked to print shops to obtain images of the balloons and the men and women who flew them, and consumers rushed to buy memorabilia featuring balloon motifs.

Beginning in the 1920s, Evelyn Way Kendall (1893–1979), the wife of textile manufacturer Henry P. Kendall, began to search antique shops and auction catalogs on two continents for items commemorating the birth of flight. By the 1960s, she had built one of the largest, most diverse and comprehensive collections of historic art and artifacts documenting the birth of the air age in private hands. Highlights of the collection include oil-and-water color paintings of balloon flights in Europe, America and Japan. More than 400 historic prints and engravings depict early flights and the men and women who first braved the skies. Other treasures include 18th-century miniature paintings of the first balloon flights on a variety of small objects; delicately painted ladies fans created in Paris before the French Revolution; a large oil painting showing T. S. C. Lowe’s Civil War balloon equipment during the Peninsula Campaign of 1862; a colorful hatbox covered in wallpaper commemorating a balloon flight from Cincinnati in 1835; and scrapbooks filled with newspaper clippings chronicling the history of ballooning from the 1780s to the 1890s.

The Ontario-born Kendall and her husband, world-class collectors with broad interests, have donated other collections of art, artifacts and manuscripts to the Royal Ontario Museum, the University of South Carolina and the New Bedford Whaling Museum. With the support of the Norfolk Charitable Trust, work is underway at the museum to catalog and conserve the collection. Plans for exhibition of the collection are underway but a definitive date has not been determined.

“We look forward to sharing the riches of the Kendall Collection with the millions of visitors who pass through the doors of the museum each year,” said Tom Crouch, the museum’s senior curator of aeronautics. “It will enable us to present the story of the birth of flight through objects that communicate the sense of wonder that inspired those who witnessed those first forays into the air.”

Exhibition | American Encounters: The Simple Pleasures of Still Life

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on December 21, 2014

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Jean-Siméon Chardin, Pipes and Drinking Pitcher, 1737
(Paris: Musée du Louvre)

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Press release (10 December 2014) from the High Museum:

American Encounters: The Simple Pleasures of Still Life 
Musée du Louvre, Paris, 5 February — 27 April 2015
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 16 May — 14 September 2015
High Museum of Art in Atlanta, 26 September 2015 — 31 January 2016

The Musée du Louvre, the High Museum of Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and the Terra Foundation for American Art have announced the final installation in their four-year collaboration focusing on the history of American art. Opening at the Louvre, American Encounters: The Simple Pleasures of Still Life explores how late 18th- and early 19th-century American artists adapted European still-life tradition to American taste, character and experience. The culminating presentation of the American Encounters series—which has aimed to broaden appreciation for and dialogue about American art both within the U.S. and abroad—The Simple Pleasures of Still Life follows previous installations examining important genres in American art, including portraiture, landscape and genre paintings.

Though a centuries-old tradition in Europe, still-life painting was slow to take hold in the U.S., increasing in popularity over the course of the 19th century, an era of remarkable political, economic and social transformation. The subjects depicted in American still lifes evolved throughout these decades, drawing on and expanding the traditions of Dutch-style tabletops laden with fruits and vegetables and ornate French bouquet arrangements in the selection, arrangement and depiction of objects imbued with New World symbolism. As the country became more cosmopolitan, a result of its growing industrial and economic power, art patronage in the Gilded Age increasingly focused on the representation of wealth in pictures of exotic objects popular among the upper classes. The subjects of still-life painting during this period served as evocative emblems—whether of regional identity, moral values or eclectic collecting—and reflect the story of an evolving nation.

“This focused presentation could not be a more fitting conclusion to the American Encounters series,” said Stephanie Mayer Heydt, Margaret and Terry Stent Curator of American Art at the High Museum of Art. “Each individual painting, intimately scaled and packed with lush imagery rife with symbolic and historical meaning, invites close observation and tells the story of a young nation finding its voice. We’re thrilled to share this distinctly American experience and educate audiences about the history of American art both at home and abroad.”

Added Guillaume Faroult, curator, Department of Paintings, Musée du Louvre: “Our partnership over the past four years has allowed for unprecedented opportunities for scholarship, engagement and creative exchange. Collectively, we have been able to provide a much richer, holistic narrative of the development of American art than any of the institutions could have presented alone. This collaboration has had a significant impact on the understanding and appreciation for American art in Paris and beyond, and we look forward to continuing the dialogue fostered by this installation series.”

The ten masterpieces in the The Simple Pleasures of Still Life speak to the diversity of the still-life genre in the U.S. and range from works by artists De Scott Evans, Martin Johnson Heade, Joseph Biays Ord, William Sydney Mount and Raphaelle Peale to trompe l’oeil masterworks by John Haberle, William Michael Harnett and George Cope. Two paintings by John-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin and Abraham Mignon demonstrate the European examples frequently emulated by American artists first experimenting with still life in the early 1800s. The presentation at the High will be supplemented with four additional paintings drawn from the museum’s extensive holdings in American art, including works by William Mason Brown, Joseph Decker and John Frederick Peto.

Highlights

• Pipes and Drinking Pitcher (1737) by Chardin, the most popular French still-life painter of the 18th century, depicts an unusual subject for the artist that subtly conjures sensory pleasures. (Musée du Louvre)

• Corn and Cantaloupe (c. 1813) by Peale demonstrates how American artists adopted the European “tabletop composition” to feature distinctly American horticulture: the ear of corn and a Maryland-specific variety of cantaloupe grown on the plantation of the painting’s original owner. (Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art)

Civil War-era Apples on a Tin Cup (1864) by Mount juxtaposes opposing symbols of the apple—the iconic American fruit and a common gift from children to Union soldiers during the Civil War—atop an empty, battled-worn army-issued cup to create a poignant contrast between sustenance and absence in a nation weary from war. (Terra Foundation for American Art)

• Still Life with Bust of Dante (1883) by Harnett is a trompe l’oeil painting illustrating the late 19th-century trend towards collecting eclectic and exotic objects made available through rapidly expanding international commerce. (High Museum of Art)

The partners have collaborated to produce a small catalogue for each installation in the series. The illustrated book for American Encounters: The Simple Pleasures of Still Life will feature an essay by Heydt that charts the rise of the still-life tradition in the 19th century and infusion of American symbolism into a traditionally European genre. The book will be published by the High Museum of Art, produced by Marquand Books, and distributed by the University of Washington Press. A lecture on the exhibition by Stephanie Heydt will be held at the Louvre auditorium on Wednesday, February 4 at 12:30pm. (more…)

Call for Papers | Crash and Burn: Destruction in American Art

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on December 21, 2014

As posted at H-ArtHist:

Crash and Burn: Destruction in American Art
The Courtauld Institute of Art, London, 5–6 June 2015

Proposals due by 15 February 2015

Destruction has long occupied a central position in the construction of an American national image. From Cotton Mather’s description of Boston as ‘the City of Destruction’ to the 9/11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina, the sheer visual force of destruction has repeatedly left an indelible mark on the collective psyche. As historians such as Richard Slotkin and Kevin Rozario have demonstrated, violent and destructive episodes have been inextricably linked with the apparently opposing forces of creation and regeneration so central to American self-imaging. This symposium will elaborate on such historical accounts to examine how the idea of destruction has shaped and been shaped by American art and visual culture.

Whether through the kind of dramatic cataclysm predicted in Thomas Cole’s The Course of Empire, or the ruined aftermath captured by the post-industrial landscapes of photographer Lewis Baltz, images of destruction in American art have often engaged with the most pressing historical questions of their time. Intensifying the paradoxes between artistic creation and destruction, American art has sometimes been directly engaged in the destructive act itself. As the recent ground-breaking exhibition Damage Control: Art and Destruction Since 1950 made clear, the efforts of conceptual artists to incorporate destruction as an artistic technique not only threatened to destroy the art object, but offered a powerful comment on contemporary social phenomena including urban renewal and ecological devastation. The capacity of artworks from earlier periods to embody such social and environmental concerns is a subject that merits increased scholarly attention.

The symposium will attempt to establish a genealogy for the destructive impulse as it was specifically activated in American art, charting its evolution from the colonial era to the present. How do American artists reconcile destruction with their own processes of creation? What motivated artists to incorporate destruction into their art, and how have these contextual meanings changed over time? The symposium will interrogate destruction as a theme addressed by artists through their work, but also consider those external forces that have seen the artwork itself subjected to the forces of destruction. Papers can consider works of art of all mediums and periods, as well as a wider range of visual and material culture.

Please submit abstracts of 150–200 words in English, along with a short biography of approximately 100 words to destructionsymposium@gmail.com by 15 February 2015. Speakers and attendees alike will be invited to submit proposals to present further work in a related workshop to be held at Tate later in 2015, as part of their Refiguring American Art initiative.

Organised by Hélène Valance, Terra Foundation for American Art Postdoctoral Fellow, The Courtauld Institute of Art, and Alex J. Taylor, Terra Foundation Research Fellow in American Art, Tate.

 

Exhibition | Joshua Reynolds: Experiments in Paint

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on December 20, 2014

From the press release for the exhibition:

Joshua Reynolds: Experiments in Paint
The Wallace Collection, London, 12 March — 7 June 2015

Curated by Lucy Davis, Mark Hallett, and Alexandra Gent

A room hung with pictures is a room hung with thoughts. –Joshua Reynolds (1784)

The Wallace Collection’s spring exhibition will offer a fresh perspective on the work of a towering figure of British painting, Joshua Reynolds. Although widely regarded as one of the most important and influential painters of the period, Reynolds’s reputation as an ‘establishment’ artist masks his unquenchable thirst for innovation and his experimental approach to the practice and materials of painting. The exhibition explores Reynolds’s painting techniques, pictorial compositions and narratives through the display of 20 paintings, archival sources and x-ray images.

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Joshua Reynolds, Mrs. Abington as Miss Prue in ‘Love for Love’ by William Congreve, 1771 (New Haven Yale Center for British Art)

Joshua Reynolds: Experiments in Paint will draw upon the significant works within the Wallace Collection and major loans from the UK, other European countries and the USA, all chosen to reveal Reynolds’s compositional and narrative experimentation and his unorthodox choice of materials, admixtures of paint and complex layering techniques. The exhibition reveals discoveries made during a four-year research project into the outstanding collection of twelve Reynolds paintings at the Wallace Collection.

With support from the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, TEFAF, the Hertford House Trust, various private donors, and Trusts and drawing on the research expertise of the National Gallery in London and the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, the exhibition spans most of Reynolds’s career and includes portraits, ‘fancy’ pictures and history painting.

On display will be celebrated portraits such as Nelly O’Brien (c.1762–64), Mrs Abington as Miss Prue (1771) and Reynolds’s own Self Portrait Shading the Eyes (1747–49) together with experimental studies and a canvas showing how Reynolds observed the effects of different combinations of colour and media. Collectively, alongside the hidden stories behind the paintings, archive resources and x-ray-images, the exhibition demonstrates the diversity of Reynolds’s artistic production, his highly original approach to image-making, composition and narrative, and prompts us to review opinions and perceptions of this truly experimental artist.

Joshua Reynolds: Experiments in Paint has been curated by Dr Lucy Davis, Curator of Old Master Pictures at the Wallace Collection, Professor Mark Hallett, Director of Studies in British Art at the Paul Mellon Centre and Alexandra Gent, also responsible for paintings conservation for the Reynolds Research Project. Director of the Wallace Collection, Dr Christoph Martin Vogtherr initiated the Reynolds Research Project. The Wallace Collection is a leading centre for the study of Joshua Reynolds and owns twelve important paintings by the artist dating from 1759 until the end of his career, covering several important aspects of his oeuvre: bust-length, half-length and full-length portraits of male and female sitters, ‘fancy’ pictures and a rare history painting.

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From Paul Holberton:

Lucy Davis and Mark Hallet, eds., Joshua Reynolds: Experiments in Paint (London: Paul Holberton Publishing, 2015), 192 pages, ISBN: 978-0900785757, £30 / $50.

9780900785757_p0_v2_s600One of Britain’s most important and influential painters, Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723–1792) is justly celebrated for his dynamic portraiture, his poignant ‘fancy pictures’, his ambitious history paintings and his role as the first President of Britain’s Royal Academy.

This catalogue, published to accompany a major exhibition at the Wallace Collection, provides a fresh perspective on the artist, focusing on his innovative, often highly experimental approaches to the practice and materials of painting. Building on the many discoveries made during a four-year research project into the outstanding collection of the artist’s works at the Wallace Collection, Joshua Reynolds: Experiments in Paint investigates his radical manipulation of pigments, oils, glazes and varnishes. It traces his experiments with colour, tone and handling, reveals his continual temptation to rework and revise his pictures, and illuminates his highly creative responses to the new exhibition culture of his day. It also suggests the extent to which the artist’s work was founded upon a radical agenda of pictorial assemblage, in which he mixed anew the motifs, narratives and visual effects he drew from in the great art of the past. Finally, it demonstrates how Reynolds’s innovations as a painter were often the product of collaboration—in part, with his assistants and his students, but, more importantly, with his patrons and subjects, with whom he continually explored the possibilities of gesture, expression, performance and role-play.

The catalogue features an introduction, seven essays by leading scholars, curators and conservators, a chronology of the artist’s life and career, and detailed entries on a range of Reynolds’s pictures, at the centre of which are the Wallace Collection’s own collection of works by the artist.

Call for Papers | Joshua Reynolds and Artistic Experiment

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on December 20, 2014

From the call for papers:

Challenging Materials: Joshua Reynolds and Artistic Experiment in the Eighteenth Century
The Wallace Collection, London, 15 May 2015

Proposals due by 13 February 2015

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Joshua Reynolds, Portrait of Mrs. Mary Robinson, 1783–84 (London: The Wallace Collection)

This conference, which accompanies the exhibition Joshua Reynolds: Experiments in Paint at the Wallace Collection, is designed to investigate and contextualise the artist’s famously experimental practice. Building upon the technical findings of the Reynolds Research Project at the Wallace Collection, and also on a range of recent conservation projects on Reynolds’s paintings, it will explore his distinctive manipulation of paint as a medium. Papers are encouraged that will offer new perspectives on Reynolds’s experimental forms of pictorial composition, narrative and allusion, and to look afresh at the dynamic interactions between the artist, his sitters and his models in the studio.

As well as focusing on Reynolds’s own art in detail, the conference seeks to place his experimental activities within the context of wider artistic, cultural and scientific practices of the eighteenth century. How did his own attitudes to the fundamental materials of his profession—to pigments, oils, varnishes and glazes—relate to those of other artists, both from his own period and before? How did his distinctive engagement with the conventions of portraiture, fancy pictures and history painting compare to the ways in which other practitioners reworked such pictorial genres? Can we contextualise his painting within a broader project of cultural experimentation and innovation in the period, one that is also visible in the spheres of literary, theatrical and musical production? And, finally, might it be helpful to understand his work in relation to the forms of scientific and technological experimentation that developed in the Georgian era, whether institutionalised or unofficial? The Challenging Materials conference is designed to address such questions, and in doing so to shed fresh light not only on Reynolds’s own work, but also on the visual culture of which it was a part.

This one-day conference is being organised by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and the Wallace Collection. It will take place at the Wallace Collection and includes a morning viewing of Joshua Reynolds: Experiments in Paint. Substantial time will be granted for discussion; refreshments, lunch and a drinks reception will also be provided.

Proposals of no more than 300 words for 20-minute papers should be sent to Ella Fleming at efleming@paul-mellon-centre.ac.uk by Friday 13th February 2015. Please also include a short biography of c. 150 words in your application.

Fellowship with The Phillips Collection and GWU

Posted in fellowships by Editor on December 20, 2014

From H-ArtHist:

Postdoctoral Fellowship with The Phillips Collection and George Washington University
Applications due by 15 January 2015

The Phillips Collection, in partnership with the George Washington University, offers a postdoctoral fellowship to support research and teaching on topics in American, European, or non-western art, including photography, from 1780 to the present. The next fellowship term is July 2015 through June 2016.

The appointment carries a departmental affiliation with the George Washington University’s Department of Fine Arts and Art History and with The Phillips Collection. The fellow receives a stipend and generous benefits package, as well as various university/museum privileges, including access to facilities, libraries of institutions, equipment, support staff, curators, and faculty.

The fellowship is open to untenured scholars who have received their PhDs within the past five years. Applicants must have successfully defended their thesis prior to the application deadline (no later than January 15, 2015) and their doctoral degree must be conferred no later than June 30, 2015, prior to the start day of July 1, 2015. Preference will be given to applicants whose projects focus on subjects related to the museum’s areas of collecting and reinterpret the topic via innovative methodological approaches or alternative perspectives that may cross national boundaries and art historical time periods.

The next fellowship opportunity is July 2015 through June 2016. Deadline for receipt of the application is January 15, 2015. To apply, send a cover letter, CV, a one-page research proposal, a sample syllabus for a proposed undergraduate or graduate course, and two letters of reference. All application materials must be sent electronically in one PDF document to fellowships@phillipscollection.org. Letters of recommendation may be submitted together with the application materials or sent separately by the recommenders to the same e-mail address.

 

Hodson-Brown Fellowship, 2015–16

Posted in fellowships by Editor on December 20, 2014

Hodson-Brown Fellowship, 2015–16
Applications due by 15 March 2015

The C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience and the John Carter Brown Library invite applications for the Hodson Trust-John Carter Brown Fellowship, a unique research and writing fellowship. The deadline for applications for the 2015–2016 Hodson-Brown Fellowship is March 15, 2015. The fellowship supports academics, independent scholars, writers, filmmakers, novelists, and artists working on significant projects relating to the literature, history, culture, or art of the Americas before 1830.

Fellowship award: $20,000 plus housing and university privileges.
Duration: two months of research in Providence, RI (any time between September and May) and two months of writing in Chestertown, Md. (any time between May and August).
Residence: In Providence, a private room in the John Carter Brown Library’s Fellows’ Residence; in Chestertown, exclusive occupancy of a restored circa-1735 house.
Work space: In Providence, space in the John Carter Brown Library; in Chestertown, a private office in the circa-1745 waterfront Custom House, home of the Starr Center.

Additional information is available here»

Exhibition | Opulent Art: 18th-Century Dress from the Larson Collection

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on December 19, 2014

Robe Volante, France, ca. 1745, Brocaded silk, silk passementarie & linen
(Helen Larson Historic Fashion Collection FIDM Museum)

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From the FIDM Museum & Galleries:

Opulent Art: 18th-Century Dress from The Helen Larson Historic Fashion Collection
FIDM Museum & Galleries, Los Angeles, 10 February — 2 July 2015

Curated by Kimerly Chrisman-Campbell and Kevin Jones

Ladies and gentlemen living in 18th-century Europe dressed opulently. Luxurious silks, handmade laces and precious metal trimmings were de rigueur for those aligned with royal courts and attending state theaters. In this exhibition are displayed lavish garments and accessories spanning the century, including a rare Figaro costume worn by an actor portraying the rascal servant in Beaumarchais’s famed opera trilogy. The stories of this character’s hijinks undermining his aristocratic employer sparked revolutionary tensions with real life rulers, who tried unsuccessfully to ban the popular productions.

The exhibition is part of the programming for LA Opera’s Figaro Unbound: Culture, Power and Revolution at Play. More information is available here.

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