Conference | Sculpture and Parisian Decorative Arts in Europe

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on July 13, 2015

From H-ArtHist:

The Role of Sculpture in the Design, Production, Collecting,
and Display of Parisian Decorative Arts in Europe, 1715–1815

Mons, Belgium, 29 August 2015

An international conference on the occasion of Mons European Capital of Culture 2015 and Waterloo 1815–2015 on Saturday, 29 August 2015

Between 1715 and 1830 Paris gradually became the capital of Europe, “a city of power and pleasure, a magnet for people of all nationalities that exerted an influence far beyond the reaches of France,” as Philip Mansel wrote, or as Prince Metternich phrased it, “When Paris sneezes, Europe catches cold.” Within this historical framework and in a time of profound societal change, the consumption and appreciation of luxury goods reached a peak in Paris. The focus of this one-day international conference will be the role of the sculptor in the design and production processes of Parisian decorative arts—from large-scale furniture and interior decoration projects to porcelain, silver, gilt bronzes, and clocks.

In the last few years a number of studies were carried out under the auspices of decorative arts museums and societies such as the Furniture History Society and the French Porcelain Society. It now seems appropriate to bring some of these together to encourage cross-disciplinary approaches on a European level and discussion between all those interested in the materiality and the three-dimensionality of their objects of study. The relationships between, on the one hand, architects, ornemanistes and other designers, and on the other sculptors, menuisiers, ébénistes, goldsmiths, porcelain manufacturers, bronze casters, and other producers, as well as the marchands merciers, will be at the heart of the studies about the design processes.

A second layer of understanding of the importance of sculpture in the decorative arts will be shown in the collecting and display in European capitals in subsequent generations, particularly those immediately after the French Revolution, as epitomised by King George IV. Overall, the intention of this conference is to shed light on the sculptural aspect of decorative arts produced in Paris in the long 18th century and collected and displayed in the capitals of Europe. Without pretending to be exhaustive, this study day—and its publication—hopes to bring together discussions about the histories and methodologies that could lead to furthering the study of hitherto all too often neglected aspects of the decorative arts.

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S A T U R D A Y ,  2 9  A U G U S T  2 0 1 5

Maison de la Mémoire de Mons, ancien couvent des Sœurs Noires, rue des Sœurs Noires 2, accessible via the porch on rue du Grand Trou Oudart, Mons

9.00  Registration and coffee

9.45  Welcome and introduction by Jean Schils/Werner Oechslin/Léon Lock

10.00  Session 1: Sculpture as a theme / sculpture as an object, within French decorative arts
Chair: Guilhem Scherf, Musée du Louvre, Paris
• Luca Raschèr, Koller Auktionen, Zürich, Humanité et bestiaire en bronze sur les meubles français du XVIIIe siècle
• Charles Avery, Cambridge, An elephantine rivalry: The ménagerie clocks of Saint-Germain and Caffiéri
• Virginie Desrante, Cité de la Céramique, Sèvres, Petite sculpture et objets de luxe, le biscuit de Sèvres: Une révolution esthétique
• Xavier Duquenne, Brussels, Le sculpteur de la cour Augustin Ollivier, de Marseille, au Palais de Charles de Lorraine à Bruxelles

12.15  Lunch

13.15  Session 2: The role of the sculptor within the design and production processes
• Jean-Dominique Augarde, Centre de Recherches Historiques sur les Maîtres Ébénistes, Paris, De Houdon à Prud’hon, la collaboration entre sculpteurs et bronziers d’ameublement de 1760 à 1820
• Audrey Gay-Mazuel, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, Du dessin au montage, les sculpteurs dans l’atelier de l’orfèvre parisien Jean-Baptiste-Claude Odiot (1763–1850)
• Jean-Baptiste Corne, Ecole du Louvre/Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris, Le sculpteur ornemaniste à la veille de la Révolution. Une condition sociale en mutation?

15.00  Coffee

15.30  Session 3: French sculptural decorative arts in international perspective
Chair: Werner Oechslin, ETH Zürich/ SBWO Einsiedeln
• Léon Lock, University of Leuven, Comment la rocaille parisienne conquit Munich: Le rôle de l’architecte et ornemaniste François Cuvilliés (Soignies 1695–Munich 1768)
• Guido Jan Bral, Brussels, Les ducs d’Arenberg, mécènes des arts décoratifs parisiens à Bruxelles (1765–1820)
• Timothy Clifford, Former Director, National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh, Title to be confirmed.

16.55  Conclusions and discussion

17.15  Reception

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Free for members of the Low Countries Sculpture Society and of the Maison de la Mémoire of Mons, but registration compulsory: info@lcsculpture.org. Seating is limited so book early to avoid disappointment. Non-members €25 per person.

Optional Lunch
Full sit-down on-site lunch €25 per person, to be booked and paid in advance. Closing date for lunch applications and payments: Wednesday 26 August 2015 at 12 noon.

Hotel Accommodation and Travel from Paris
Hotel rooms have been pre-booked for foreign participants. Anyone wishing to take over these reservations, please contact us. A limited number of train tickets from Paris to Valenciennes and back (with transfer by car to/from Mons) is also available.

By bank transfer or by credit card (details/forms available on request)

Gala Evening on Friday, 28 August
Those who register for the international conference, will receive an invitation to attend the Gala Evening organised the night before in a spectacular country house not far from Mons. This evening will see the launch of the European Sculpture and Decorative Arts Library Appeal.


Exhibition | Scottish Artists 1750–1900: From Caledonia to the Continent

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on July 13, 2015

Press release (5 May 2015) from the Royal Collection Trust:

Scottish Artists 1750–1900: From Caledonia to the Continent
The Queen’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh, 6 August 2015 — 7 February 2016
The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, London, 18 March — 9 October 2016

Allan Ramsay, Queen Charlotte with her two Eldest Sons, ca. 1764-69 (London: Royal Collection Trust, RCIN 404922)

Allan Ramsay, Queen Charlotte with her two Eldest Sons, ca. 1764-69 (London: Royal Collection Trust, RCIN 404922)

From the romantic landscapes of Caledonia to exotic scenes from the Continent, a new exhibition at The Queen’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse is the first dedicated to Scottish art in the Royal Collection. Bringing together over 80 works, including paintings and drawings by the celebrated artists Allan Ramsay and Sir David Wilkie, Scottish Artists 1750–1900: From Caledonia to the Continent tells the story of royal patronage and of the emergence of a distinctive Scottish school of art.

Allan Ramsay (1713–1784) was the first Scottish artist of European significance. A pre-eminent figure of the Enlightenment, the intellectual movement that swept across Europe in the 18th century, Ramsay maintained close friendships with philosophers such as David Hume and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. In 1760 he was commissioned to paint George III’s State portrait and subsequently became the first Scot to be appointed to the role of Principal Painter in Ordinary to His Majesty. Depicting the King in sumptuous coronation robes and breeches of cloth of gold, Ramsay produced the definitive image of George III and the most frequently copied royal portrait of all time.

Ramsay worked as a court artist, painting members of the royal family and producing copies of the coronation portrait for the King to send as gifts to ambassadors and governors. He enjoyed a good relationship with the Queen Consort, and his painting Queen Charlotte and her Two Eldest Sons, 1764, considered to be among Ramsay’s greatest works, combines the grandeur of a royal portrait with the intimacy of a domestic scene.

Over half a century later, Fife-born artist Sir David Wilkie (1785–1841) gained even wider recognition than Ramsay. His vivid, small-scale scenes of everyday life, inspired by those of the Dutch masters, were shown at the Royal Academy to great acclaim. Wilkie attracted the attention of the Prince Regent (the future George IV), who was acquiring 17th-century Dutch and Flemish genre paintings for his own collection. The artist’s reputation was sealed with two high-profile royal commissions – Blind-Man’s-Buff, 1812, and The Penny Wedding, 1818, which shows the uniquely Scottish custom of wedding guests contributing a penny towards the cost of the festivities and a home for the newly married couple.

George IV’s visit to Scotland in 1822, the first by a reigning British monarch for nearly two centuries, offered a major opportunity for royal patronage. Artists were given prime access to all of the events in the two-week programme, which was masterminded by the writer Sir Walter Scott. The entrance of the King to his Scottish residence is captured in Wilkie’s The Entrance of George IV to Holyroodhouse, 1822–30. The King is shown being presented with the keys to the Palace, while crowds of enthusiastic spectators clamber over every part of the building to see him.

After suffering a nervous breakdown, brought on by overwork and a series of family tragedies, Wilkie set off on a prolonged visit to the Continent. He was one of the first professional artists to visit Spain after the Spanish War of Independence of 1808–14. Wilkie’s travels proved to be a turning point in his art, which became much broader in style and took inspiration from contemporary events.  On the artist’s return in 1828, the King summoned Wilkie to Windsor and purchased five continental pictures—A Roman Princess Washing the Feet of Pilgrims, 1827, I Pifferari, 1827, The Defence of Saragossa, 1828, The Spanish Posada, 1828, and The Guerilla’s Departure, 1828—and commissioned The Guerilla’s Return, 1830. The same year, the King appointed Wilkie to the position of Principal Painter in Ordinary, a post that the artist continued to hold under William IV and Queen Victoria.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert saw their roles as patrons of the arts as part of the duty of Monarchy. Several pictures by Scottish artists were among the birthday and Christmas presents exchanged by the royal couple throughout their married life, including works by Sir Joseph Noël Paton (1821–1901), David Roberts (1796–1864), James Giles (1801–1870) and John Phillip (1817–1867). Queen Victoria had a deep love of Scotland and commissioned artists to record the country’s ‘inexpressibly beautiful’ scenery, including that of her recently acquired estate, Balmoral, in the Highlands. Among those artists was the Glaswegian William Leighton Leitch (1804–1883), who was appointed the Queen’s drawing master in 1846. Of all the Scottish artists whose work was collected by Victoria and Albert, it was William Dyce who was most in tune with Prince Albert’s tastes. Dyce was inspired by the early Italian art so admired by Albert, who purchased Dyce’s The Madonna and Child, 1845, and the following year commissioned a companion picture, St Joseph.

In the same period, the publication of travel books and growing interest in foreign cultures encouraged artists to seek inspiration abroad. David Roberts introduced British audiences to scenes of Egypt and the Holy Land, and was the first independent professional artist to travel extensively in the Middle East. A View of Cairo, 1840, shows the medieval Gate of Zuweyleh, and was one of Roberts’ first paintings of the region to be exhibited. Queen Victoria commissioned two Spanish pictures from Roberts as gifts for Prince Albert: A View of Toledo and the River Tagus, 1841, and The Fountain on the Prado, Madrid, 1841.

In the mid-19th century, there was a growing interest in Spanish culture, which was heavily romanticised in the literature of the day. When the artist John Phillip travelled to the country, his subject-matter changed from Scottish rural scenes to Spanish street life. Queen Victoria commissioned Phillip’s A Spanish Gypsy Mother, 1852, and purchased ‘El Paseo’, 1854, for Prince Albert. The Prince gave the Queen The Letter Writer of Seville, 1854, for Christmas. After a visit to the Royal Academy in 1858, Victoria acquired The Dying Contrabandista as a Christmas gift for the Prince that year. John Phillip was Queen Victoria’s favourite Scottish artist and, on his death in 1867, he was mourned by the monarch as ‘our greatest painter’.

Some notable Scottish works entered the Royal Collection in 1888, on the occasion of the opening of the Glasgow International Exhibition of Science, Art and Industry by the Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VII). This exhibition, held in Kelvingrove Park, was one of a series of international exhibitions and world fairs that dominated the cultural scene in the second half of the 19th century and the largest to be held in Scotland. The Prince and Princess of Wales were presented with ‘two elegant albums of paintings by members of the Glasgow Art Club’, including work by the Glasgow Boys: Sir James Guthrie (1859–1930), EA Walton (1860–1922) and Robert Macaulay Stevenson (1860–1952).

Scottish Artists 1750–1900: From Caledonia to the Continent is part of the Edinburgh Art Festival.

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Distributed in the U.S. by The University of Chicago Press:

Deborah Clarke and Vanessa Remington, Scottish Artists 1750–1900: From Caledonia to the Continent (London: Royal Collection Trust, 2015), 210 pages, ISBN: 978-1909741201, $25.

9781909741201Throughout its history, Scotland has produced a wealth of great works of art, and the Scottish Enlightenment in particular provided a powerful impetus for new forms of art and new artistic subjects. This survey of Scottish art in the Royal Collection brings together more than one hundred reproductions of works from the Enlightenment to the twentieth century to highlight the importance and influence of this period, while also sharing recent research on the subject.

The first book devoted to Scottish art in the Royal Collection, Scottish Artists fully explores this rich artistic tradition, incorporating discussions of artists whose inspiration remained firmly rooted in their native land, such as Alexander Nasmyth and James Giles, as well as artists who were born in Scotland and traveled abroad, from the eighteenth-century portraitist Allan Ramsay to David Wilkie, who traveled to London and is well-known for his paintings portraying everyday life. Broadly chronological, the book also traces the royal patronage of Scottish artists throughout the centuries, including works collected by monarchs from George III to Queen Victoria, and the official roles, Royal Limner for Scotland and King’s Painter in Ordinary.

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