New Book | Architecture at the End of the Earth

Posted in books by Editor on January 31, 2016

From Duke UP:

William Craft Brumfield, Architecture at the End of the Earth: Photographing the Russian North (Duke University Press, 2015), 256 pages, ISBN: 978-0822359067, $40.

514ki0DtxWL._SX373_BO1,204,203,200_Carpeted in boreal forests, dotted with lakes, cut by rivers, and straddling the Arctic Circle, the region surrounding the White Sea, which is known as the Russian North, is sparsely populated and immensely isolated. It is also the home to architectural marvels, as many of the original wooden and brick churches and homes in the region’s ancient villages and towns still stand. Featuring nearly two hundred full color photographs of these beautiful centuries-old structures, Architecture at the End of the Earth is the most recent addition to William Craft Brumfield’s ongoing project to photographically document all aspects of Russian architecture.

The architectural masterpieces Brumfield photographed are diverse: they range from humble chapels to grand cathedrals, buildings that are either dilapidated or well cared for, and structures repurposed during the Soviet era. Included are onion-domed wooden churches such as the Church of the Dormition, built in 1674 in Varzuga; the massive walled Transfiguration Monastery on Great Solovetsky Island, which dates to the mid-1550s; the Ferapontov-Nativity Monastery’s frescoes, painted in 1502 by Dionisy, one of Russia’s greatest medieval painters; nineteenth-century log houses, both rustic and ornate; and the Cathedral of St. Sophia in Vologda, which was commissioned by Ivan the Terrible in the 1560s. The text that introduces the photographs outlines the region’s significance to Russian history and culture.

Brumfield is challenged by the immense difficulty of accessing the Russian North, and recounts traversing sketchy roads, crossing silt-clogged rivers on barges and ferries, improvising travel arrangements, being delayed by severe snowstorms, and seeing the region from the air aboard the small planes he needs to reach remote areas.

The buildings Brumfield photographed, some of which lie in near ruin, are at constant risk due to local indifference and vandalism, a lack of maintenance funds, clumsy restorations, or changes in local and national priorities. Brumfield is concerned with their futures and hopes that the region’s beautiful and vulnerable achievements of master Russian carpenters will be preserved. Architecture at the End of the Earth is at once an art book, a travel guide, and a personal document about the discovery of this bleak but beautiful region of Russia that most readers will see here for the first time.

William Craft Brumfield is Professor of Slavic Studies at Tulane University. Brumfield, who began photographing Russia in 1970, is the foremost authority in the West on Russian architecture. He is the author, editor, and photographer of numerous books, including Lost Russia: Photographing the Ruins of Russian Architecture, also published by Duke University Press. Brumfield is the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship and was a Fellow at the National Humanities Center. In 2002 he was elected to the State Russian Academy of Architecture and Construction Sciences, and in 2006 he was elected to the Russian Academy of Fine Arts. He is also the 2014 recipient of the D. S. Likhachev Prize for Outstanding Contributions to the Preservation of the Cultural Heritage of Russia. Brumfield’s photographs of Russian architecture have been exhibited at numerous galleries and museums and are part of the Image Collections at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Call for Articles | Material Fictions, Special Issue of ECF

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on January 31, 2016

From the Call for Articles:

Material Fictions
Special Issue of Eighteenth-Century Fiction, proposed for Autumn 2018

Completed manuscripts due by 15 July 2017

Edited by Eugenia Zuroski Jenkins and Michael Yonan

Liotard_JE_Tea_Set-300x216ECF invites manuscripts exploring material cultures of the long eighteenth century and the fictions crafted in and through objects, built environments, and other material entities. How did eighteenth-century things tell stories? How did the design of objects engender particular narratives, whether personal, political, or social? Did things collaborate with texts to generate broader fictions, or did they posit counter-fictions to written literature? What kinds of methodologies might we cultivate to ‘read’ eighteenth-century material culture, and what insight might such readings yield? Conversely, what might the material thing’s resistance to being ‘read’ tell us about the methods of interpretation and analysis we bring to the eighteenth century? This special issue will be an opportunity to explore the intersections between literary and cultural studies, art history, anthropology, and other fields. It is an opportunity to ask what the eighteenth century specifically can bring to the larger interdisciplinary project of material culture studies.

Deadline for manuscripts: 15 July 2017
Manuscripts: 6,000–8,000 words, French or English
Publication of this special issue is proposed for the autumn of 2018.
Editors Eugenia Zuroski Jenkins, McMaster University, and Michael Yonan, University of Missouri.

Eighteenth-Century Fiction, ecf@mcmaster.ca

En français:

Les Fictions matérielles

La rédaction sollicite des articles pour un numéro spécial consacré aux cultures matérielles du XVIIIe siècle et aux fictions conçues dans et à travers les objets, les environnements bâtis et d’autres entités matérielles. Au XVIIIe siècle, comment les objets ont-ils raconté des histoires? Comment la conception d’objets a-t-elle engendré des récits particuliers, qu’ils soient personnels, politiques ou sociaux? Comment les objets collaborent-ils à la composition textuelle générant des fictions plus larges, ou introduisant de la contre-fictions au sein de la littérature? Quels types de méthodologies peut-on cultiver (ou non) à la « lecture » la culture matérielle du XVIIIe siècle, et que pourraient apporter ces idées à notre lecture? Ce numéro spécial sera l’occasion d’explorer les intersections entre les études littéraires et culturelles, l’histoire de l’art, l’anthropologie, et d’autres domaines. C’est l’occasion de demander comment le XVIIIe siècle peut contribuer au plus grand projet interdisciplinaire d’études de la culture matérielle. Ce numéro est ouvert à la discussion de toutes sortes de représentations des cultures matérielles et ne se limite pas à la fiction narrative.

La date limite est le 15 juillet 2017 (6 000 – 8 000 mots).
La publication est proposée pour l’automne 2018.
Les rédacteurs: Eugenia Zuroski Jenkins de l’Université McMaster et Michael Yonan de l’Université de Missouri.

Eighteenth-Century Fiction, ecf@mcmaster.ca

Exhibition | The Power of Prints: The Legacy of Ivins and Mayor

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on January 30, 2016


Paul-César Helleu, Madame Helleu Looking at the Watteau Drawings in the Louvre, ca. 1896, drypoint, 38.8 × 51 cm (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, 59.599.19)

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Goya is the the important eighteenth-century offering here: Ivins was responsible for those acquisitions. Press release (21 January 2016) from The Met:

The Power of Prints: The Legacy of William M. Ivins and A. Hyatt Mayor
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 26 January 26 — 22 May 2016

Curated by Freyda Spira

The history of the Metropolitan Museum’s collection of works of art on paper—now one of the most important and most comprehensive in the world—began 100 years ago with the unlikely and astonishing story of its first two curators, neither of whom was trained as an art historian. Together, they challenged convention, engaged the public, and revolutionized the study of these works. Organized to commemorate the department’s centennial, the exhibition The Power of Prints: The Legacy of William M. Ivins and A. Hyatt Mayor sheds light on the fascinating careers of its founding curators and reveals how, from the very beginning, they artfully composed the print collection as a visual library: a corpus of works of art on paper—from the exceptional to the everyday. The story of this great American collection will be told through prints by Andrea Mantegna, Albrecht Dürer, Marcantonio Raimondi, Jacques Callot, Rembrandt van Rijn, Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, Honoré Daumier, James McNeill Whistler, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Mary Cassatt, Edward Penfield, and Edward Hopper, among others.

Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, The Garroted Man (El agarrotado), ca. 1778–80, etching, 32.7 x 21.4 cm (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund, 1920, 20.22)

Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, The Garroted Man (El agarrotado), ca. 1778–80, etching, 32.7 x 21.4 cm (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund, 1920, 20.22)

In 1916, William Mills Ivins (1881–1961) abandoned a successful law career to accept the job of founding curator of the Met’s Department of Prints. Although he was hired specifically to acquire the works of well-known 19th-century artists and old masters, Ivins set out instead to amass examples of technical, social, and historical interest as well. Notably, he championed the works of Goya, whose challenging and sometimes gruesome imagery was not appreciated in America at that time. Ivins first encountered these works as a student in Paris; the brutal images of war affected him profoundly and, in time, changed the course of his life. Almost all of the Met’s collection of nearly 300 Goya prints—one of the largest anywhere—was acquired by Ivins.

Before joining the Museum in 1932, Alpheus Hyatt Mayor (1901–1980) had studied modern languages, literature, and poetry, and worked as an arts critic, teacher, and occasional actor. Like Ivins, he was also an avid bibliophile with wide-ranging interests, a voracity for knowledge, and passion for social history. Brought on to assist Ivins and, eventually, to continue his legacy, Mayor expanded on Ivins’s foundational work by adding a new focus on lithography and popular prints. Pushing the boundaries of what had traditionally been collected as printed matter, he acquired for the Museum some of the most renowned American collections of popular prints. To Mayor, these items had value, because of the information they contained about all aspects of culture. He also recognized their future potential for research in diverse fields, from anthropology to urban planning.

As a result of Ivins’s and Mayor’s prescient collecting, the department now houses innumerable unique masterpieces, lauded for their exceptional artistry, as well as popular prints such as posters and trade cards that were printed in large numbers and never intended to last. By employing a conversational and colloquial tone in texts they drafted to describe these works, Ivins and Mayor transformed the way information about art objects was written. Excerpts from the writings of Ivins and Mayor will be included on labels throughout the exhibition.

To a certain extent, the history of the department is also the history of a series of extraordinary gifts and purchases of works of art. The gift of some 3,500 prints by paper manufacturer Harris Brisbane Dick led to the hiring of Ivins, to oversee them. An early gift of 10 prints by the artist Mary Cassatt came from Ivins’s friend Paul J. Sachs, assistant director at the Fogg Museum at Harvard University. (Sachs’s brother—also a friend of Ivins—gave an additional seven.) Engravings, woodcuts, and two woodblocks by Dürer entered the collection through gift and purchase from Junius Spencer Morgan, a noted collector of the artist’s works. Between 1949 and 1962, Mayor purchased more than 16,000 engravings, woodcuts, and mezzotints from Franz Joseph II, prince of Liechtenstein. The American sculptor Bessie Potter Vonnoh donated her entire collection of French and American posters of the 1890s. From Jefferson R. Burdick, the Museum received 300,000 examples of printed ephemera from the late 19th to the mid-20th century.

Just as Ivins and Mayor did, the exhibition will consider printed matter as the entrée to the information age, recognizing prints as functional objects that spread information to an ever-expanding audience and reflect a changing society. In the age of digital photography and the Internet, the power of prints, or the ability to disseminate images in identical form to a mass market, has special relevance to how we see, understand, and engage with works of art.

Arranged thematically and by technique, the exhibition has four parts. In the first section, the idea of taste is addressed in terms of Harris Brisbane Dick’s foundational gift of French, British, and American etchings and how it affected the collecting of etchings by the likes of Rembrandt and Goya. The second section considers engravings, amassed from the beginning with a focus on Renaissance artists such as Mantegna and Dürer. The third section shows the use of printed images in the spread of knowledge. Several rare early books, illustrated by woodcuts will be displayed. The books represent firsts of their kind on topics as diverse as costume, anatomy, and architecture. The final section features examples by Daumier, Toulouse-Lautrec, and other 19th-century artists whose works entered a truly mass market in the form of lithographs. Also in this section will be selected popular prints and ephemera from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Power of Prints: The Legacy of William M. Ivins and A. Hyatt Mayor is organized by Freyda Spira, Associate Curator in the Metropolitan Museum’s Department of Drawings and Prints. Exhibition design is by Zoe Alexandra Florence, Exhibition Designer; graphics are by Ria Roberts, Graphic Designer; and lighting is by Clint Ross Coller and Richard Lichte, Lighting Design Managers, all of the Museum’s Design Department.

An illustrated checklist is available here»

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The catalogue is distributed by Yale UP:

Freyda Spira and Peter Parshall, The Power of Prints: The Legacy of William M. Ivins and A. Hyatt Mayor (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2016), 192 pages, ISBN: 978-1588395856, $35 / £25.

9781588395856Metropolitan Museum curators William M. Ivins and his protégé A. Hyatt Mayor not only assembled a vast collection of prints, from Renaissance masterworks to ephemeral works, but also expanded the appreciation of prints as aesthetic objects, socio-historical documents, and tools of communication. More radically, by discussing these prints in accessible language, they changed our notions of how art reaches the wider public. Drawing on previously unpublished material, including personal letters and departmental records, this is the first comprehensive exploration of the lives, careers, theories, and influence of Ivins and Mayor. Also included are 120 exceptional prints that represent the breadth and depth of their acquisitions, including works by Dürer, Rembrandt, Callot, Goya, Whistler, Cassatt, and Toulouse-Lautrec.

Freyda Spira is associate curator in the Department of Drawings and Prints, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Peter Parshall was formerly the Jane Neuberger Goodsell Professor of Art History and the Humanities at Reed College and curator and head of the Department of Old Master Prints at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Call for Papers | Art History for Artists

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on January 30, 2016


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Conference organizers stress that they welcome papers addressing the latter half of the eighteenth century, too! Details are available from the conference website. From the CFP:

Art History for Artists: Interactions between Scholarly
Discourse and Artistic Practice in the 19th Century
Berlin, 8–9 July 2016

Proposals due by 1 March 2016

The conference seeks to examine the shaping of art history as a discipline during the 19th century in relation to artistic training and exchanges between artists and scholars. The development of art history has been associated with an array of socio-political and economic factors such as the formation of a bourgeois public, the politics of national identity and state legitimacy or the needs of an expanding art market. This conference aspires to explore yet another, less studied dimension: the extent to which the historical study of art was also rooted in an intention to inform contemporary artistic production.

The scholarship produced by the first generations of art historians in this period was intertwined with their interest in the art of their time, its quality and future development. Throughout the century many art historians made studies entirely dedicated to contemporary art and sought to provide artists with new ideals. The connection between scholarly discourse and artistic practice was also validated at an institutional level. Since the late 18th century courses in art history, along with courses in history, archaeology, art theory and aesthetics, had been systematically incorporated into the curricula of art academies, schools of design, academies of architecture and polytechnics. These spaces of art education were among the first institutional homes of art history, and played an important role in the shaping of the discipline well before the establishment of autonomous university chairs—a development largely overlooked in the history of art history, but also in the history of art education.

The historical study of art questioned academic normativity and multiplied the aesthetic models available for artists. Reacting against the growing commodification of art, many artists claimed a new role as creators for art history and for the museum, as an alternative to the market. At the same time, the influx of empirical knowledge on past art was often seen as a burden for artistic creativity. The overall reflective turn upon art and its past, tainted by the Hegelian announcement of the end of art, influenced the work of artists in multifarious ways that remain to be explored.

Three main axes of inquiry will be privileged:

1. Scholarly courses in art education: institutional frameworks
Based on concrete cases, papers may address the training in art history, archaeology, art theory and aesthetics offered in institutions of art education and consider the artistic, political or economic considerations linked to its introduction to the curriculum. Topics of interest may include teaching approaches and goals, the media and technologies of illustration (prints, casts, museum collections, photography), or the profile of professors.
What was the impact of a systematised art historical and theoretical knowledge on academic doctrines, practical training and the overall objectives of art education? How did the particular institutional framework of art education and exposure to the problems of artistic practice affect the scholarly discourses produced in this context? Did teaching artists, architects or craftsmen generate different objects of study, focuses, methods and ultimately a different kind of scholarship to that produced at universities or in museums?

2. The art historian and the present
Based on case studies, papers may explore the changing attitudes of art historians, archaeologists and art theorists towards their engagement in contemporary artistic production. From the 1870s onwards, primarily in Germany, such an engagement was downplayed in the name of objective and unbiased scholarship detached from practical considerations, alongside the growing academic recognition of art history and other art-related disciplines and their presence in the university. Nonetheless, the complex entanglement of scholarly discourse and contemporary art never really abated even well after this date.
A main focus of the conference is also on the extent to which contemporary artistic experimentations provided art scholars with new perspectives for evaluating past artistic achievements or for studying aesthetic experience. Papers exploring cases of fertile interactions or conflicts between artists and art scholars are particularly welcome.

3. The artist as producer of art discourse
This section seeks to explore the reactions of artists to the emergence of a community of professional specialists claiming control over art discourse and the formation of parallel or counter discourses by art practitioners. In focus here are the reformulations of art-historical canons by artists in their works, writings or teachings, as well as their contributions to art theory, aesthetics and criticism. Especially welcome are papers that look at artists’ attempts to visualise art history and explore the concerns shared by artists and historians about the various ways of representing history.

The conference will cover the period from the mid-18th century to the first two decades of the 20th century. Cases of peripheral, extra-European or colonial contexts, as well as contributions focusing on the circulation of teaching models, discourses and actors across institutions or national boundaries are particularly welcome. The conference languages will be English and German. Accommodation, and travel costs up to 100€ will be covered for all speakers. Full coverage of travel expenses may also be available, subject to grant approval.

The deadline for proposals is March 1st, 2016. Candidates will be informed within two weeks from this date on the outcome of their application. 25 minutes will be allowed for each paper. Please send proposals (max. 500 word abstract and short cv) to Eleonora Vratskidou: evratskidou@gmail.com.

Eleonora Vratskidou, Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellow-TU Berlin

Scientific Committee
Heinrich Dilly, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg Pascal Griener, Université de Neuchâtel
Hubert Locher, Philipps-Universität Marburg
Olga Medvedkova, CNRS-ENS (Centre Jean Pépin) Michela Passini, CNRS-ENS (IHMC)
Matthew Rampley, University of Birmingham Bénédicte Savoy, TU Berlin
Eleonora Vratskidou, TU Berlin

Exhibition and Blog | Mended Ways: The Art of Inventive Repair

Posted in exhibitions, resources by Editor on January 30, 2016

The exhibition closed last weekend, but anyone interested in the topic should have a look at Andrew Baseman’s blog Past Imperfect: The Art of Inventive Repair.

Mended Ways: The Art of Inventive Repair from the Collection of Andrew Baseman
The New York Ceramics and Glass Fair, 21–24 January 2016

36Before the invention of Krazy Glue, broken household items were brought back to life with flair and ingenuity. Mended Ways: The Art of Inventive Repair takes you back to a time when necessity was truly the mother of invention, as seen in Andrew Baseman’s collection of over 500 examples of 17th- to mid 20th-century mended ceramics and glassware.

A variety of early repair techniques shown will include metal staple/rivets, perfected in China by itinerant ‘china menders’; tinkers’ replaced handles, lids, and spouts on mugs, teapots and jugs; intricate and detailed silversmiths’ repairs, which only the wealthy could afford.

Extraordinary pieces include a 17th-century Dutch delft ewer with a replaced jeweled metal spout and handle; an American blown and cut crystal candlestick from the early 1900s incongruously stuck into a block of wood; a c. 1850 English lustreware creamer with tin straps and handle; and a set of six delicately painted early 18th-century Chinese export plates held together with enough hand forged metal staples to keep Frankenstein’s monster intact.

Other fascinating repairs include a Chinese Yixing teapot, c. 1700, with a magnificently carved replacement handle and engraved silver mounts; an 1830s transfer-printed jug from England with woven wicker handle; and an 18th-century Chinese export teapot with a record number of repairs including a sterling silver spout, metal rivets supporting the handle, and a replaced hand-painted lid with chain attached to handle. To illustrate what some of the pieces looked like before they took a tumble, intact examples will be shown for a side-by-side comparison.

Andrew Baseman writes the blog, Past Imperfect: The Art of Inventive Repair, which chronicles Baseman’s world-renowned collection of antique ceramics with inventive repairs, also known as ‘make-do’s’. His collection was featured in a cover story for the Home & Garden section of The New York Times. He is an expert on the subject and has lectured in the US and abroad. His lifelong passion for collecting and selling antiques began at an early age and continues to inspire his design work today.

For over 20 years, Baseman worked as a designer, decorator and stylist on diverse film and television projects including The Nanny Diaries, Eat, Pray, Love, The Americans, Gotham and The Normal Heart, working with notable directors Ryan Murphy, Bill Condon, Jane Campion, and others. In 2003, he founded Andrew Baseman Design, Inc., an interior design firm specializing in upscale residential interiors, creating luxurious homes for clients in the visual arts, including film and theatrical producers, fashion designers, and others. He is the author of The Scarf (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 1989), the classic illustrated art book chronicling the history of the printed scarf that reflects both his expertise and love of textiles.

New Book | Histories of Ornament: From Global to Local

Posted in books by Editor on January 29, 2016

From Princeton UP:

Gülru Necipoğlu & Alina Payne, eds., Histories of Ornament: From Global to Local (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016), 464 pages, ISBN: 978-0691167282, $60 / £42.

k10693This lavishly illustrated volume is the first major global history of ornament from the Middle Ages to today. Crossing historical and geographical boundaries in unprecedented ways and considering the role of ornament in both art and architecture, Histories of Ornament offers a nuanced examination that integrates medieval, Renaissance, baroque, and modern Euroamerican traditions with their Islamic, Indian, Chinese, and Mesoamerican counterparts. At a time when ornament has re-emerged in architectural practice and is a topic of growing interest to art and architectural historians, the book reveals how the long history of ornament illuminates its global resurgence today.

Organized by thematic sections on the significance, influence, and role of ornament, the book addresses ornament’s current revival in architecture, its historiography and theories, its transcontinental mobility in medieval and early modern Europe and the Middle East, and its place in the context of industrialization and modernism. Throughout, Histories of Ornament emphasizes the portability and politics of ornament, figuration versus abstraction, cross-cultural dialogues, and the constant negotiation of local and global traditions.

Featuring original essays by more than two dozen scholars from around the world, this authoritative and wide-ranging book provides an indispensable reference on the histories of ornament in a global context. Contributors include: Michele Bacci (Fribourg University); Anna Contadini (University of London); Thomas B. F. Cummins (Harvard); Chanchal Dadlani (Wake Forest); Daniela del Pesco (Universita degli Studi Roma Tre); Vittoria Di Palma (USC); Anne Dunlop (University of Melbourne); Marzia Faietti (University of Bologna); María Judith Feliciano (independent scholar); Finbarr Barry Flood (NYU); Jonathan Hay (NYU); Christopher P. Heuer (Clark Art); Rémi Labrusse (Université Paris Ouest Nanterre la Défense); Gülru Necipoğlu (Harvard); Marco Rosario Nobile (University of Palermo); Oya Pancaroğlu (Bosphorus University); Spyros Papapetros (Princeton); Alina Payne (Harvard); Antoine Picon (Harvard); David Pullins (Harvard); Jennifer L. Roberts (Harvard); David J. Roxburgh (Harvard); Hashim Sarkis (MIT); Robin Schuldenfrei (Courtauld); Avinoam Shalem (Columbia); and Gerhard Wolf (KHI, Florence).

Gülru Necipoglu is the Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Art and director of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard University. She is the author of The Age of Sinan: Architectural Culture in the Ottoman Empire (Princeton) and The Topkapi Scroll: Geometry and Ornament in Islamic Architecture. Alina Payne is the Alexander P. Misheff Professor of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University and Paul E. Geier Director of Villa I Tatti, The Harvard Center for Italian Renaissance Studies at Villa I Tatti in Florence. She is the author of The Architectural Treatise in the Italian Renaissance and From Ornament to Object: Genealogies of Architectural Modernism.

Exhibition | Hubert Robert, 1733–1808

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Caitlin Smits on January 29, 2016


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From the National Gallery of Art:

Hubert Robert (1733–1808), un peintre visionnaire
Musée du Louvre, Paris, 7 March — 30 May 2016
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 6 June — 2 October 2016

Known fondly as ‘Robert des ruines’ because of his penchant for painting ancient ruins, Hubert Robert was regarded during his lifetime as one of France’s most successful and prominent artists. In the first monographic exhibition showcasing Robert’s full achievement as a draftsman and painter, some 50 paintings and 50 drawings will chart his development in Rome and subsequent high level of accomplishment after his return to Paris. The exhibition will also focus on Robert’s lasting contribution to French visual culture and the fundamental role he played in promoting the architectural capriccio (caprice or fantasy), an art form in which famous monuments of antiquity and modernity were imaginatively combined to create striking and novel city scenes and landscapes.

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The English edition catalogue is published by Lund Humphries:

Margaret Morgan Grasselli with contributions from Yuriko Jackall, Guillaume Faroult and Catherine Voiriot, Hubert Robert (London: Lund Humphries, 2016), 288 pages, ISBN: 978-1848221918, £45.

original_be318300-beae-4ebe-9d73-fbc410220063Known fondly as ‘Robert des ruines’ because of his penchant for painting ancient ruins, Hubert Robert (1733–1808) was one of France’s most successful and prominent artists during his lifetime. This outstanding publication, which accompanies the first monographic exhibition of his work, illuminates Robert’s remarkable artistic achievements and his lasting contributions to French visual culture.

Robert’s skills were manifold—he enjoyed great success as a painter, draftsman, interior decorator and garden architect. During his time in Rome, he fostered close professional bonds with artists such as Piranesi, Panini and Fragonard, while in Paris he flourished under the patronage of several wealthy French supporters including the Marquis de Marigny, brother of the famed Madame de Pompadour. Robert’s work later addressed the demise of this glittering society through both ominous scenes of disaster and representations of vandalized royalist monuments. Upon his own release from imprisonment following the French Revolution, Robert completed a series of meditative variations on the Grande Galerie of the Musée du Louvre, of which he had been appointed curator in 1784.

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The French edition catalogue is published by Somogy:

Guillaume Faroult, ed., Hubert Robert (1733–1808) : un peintre visionnaire (Paris: Somogy, 2016), 544 pages, ISBN: 978-2757210642, 49€.

Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 9.35.55 PMHubert Robert fut l’un des créateurs les plus séduisants du siècle des  Lumières. Artisan de cet art de vivre poli, galant et souriant qui paraît l’une des quintessences de l’esprit français au XVIIIe siècle, l’artiste attire  d’emblée la sympathie. Il parvint à s’introduire dans les cercles les plus brillants de son temps,  édifiant une carrière exemplaire dans la France de l’Ancien Régime jusqu’au règne de Napoléon.

Formé à Rome vers le milieu du siècle, en pleine fièvre antiquaire, Robert  s’impose dès son retour à Paris comme « peintre d’architecture ». Le  philosophe Denis Diderot célèbre aussitôt la «poétique des ruines » du jeune artiste. La production de Robert fait preuve au cours de sa carrière d’une exceptionnelle dynamique d’amplification: les œuvres, les projets, les charges y atteignent une dimension considérable. L’artiste devient très recherché pour la production de vastes ensembles de décors peints. Il se lance enfin avec succès dans une forme d’« art total » en tant que créateur de jardins, dont le parc de Méréville (de 1786 à 1793) fut sans doute le chef-d’œuvre.

Frappé par le bouleversement historique de la Révolution française, il en consigne les premières manifestations en représentant, dès l’été 1789, La Bastille dans les premiers jours de sa démolition. En 1795, il réintègre sa fonction de conservateur du «Muséum national », c’est-à-dire du musée du Louvre qui vient d’ouvrir ses portes, et dont il avait préparé activement la création. Sans aucun doute, l’œuvre de Robert est parcourue par un sens de l’écoulement inexorable du temps et, par-delà, par une conscience de la marche de l’histoire, tour à tour triomphante ou déplorable, qui en constitue l’impressionnante grandeur.

Exhibition | Mavericks: Breaking the Mould of British Architecture

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on January 28, 2016


William Hodges and William Pars, The Pantheon, Oxford Street, London, 1770–72, by James Wyatt, oil on canvas (Leeds Museums and Art Galleries / Temple Newsam House)

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Press release (8 December 2015) from the RA:

Mavericks: Breaking the Mould of British Architecture
Royal Academy of Arts, London, 26 January – 20 April 2016

Curated by Owen Hopkins

Mavericks: Breaking the Mould of British Architecture is an installation that will chart the course of British architecture from the sixteenth century to the present day through the work of twelve maverick architects: Robert Smythson, Sir John Vanbrugh, James Wyatt PRA, Sir John Soane RA, Charles Robert Cockerell RA, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Charles Holden, H. S. Goodhart-Rendel, James Stirling RA, Cedric Price, FAT and Zaha Hadid RA.

Each of the twelve mavericks has charted his or her own course, often deliberately ignoring prevailing taste, fashion and ways of working. The installation comprises of images and photographs of these maverick architects’ work, situating their work within the broader context of architectural history, through an arresting colour-gradated design by Scott-Whitby Studio. Celebrating the original and the unorthodox, the installation will pose an intriguing alternative narrative to the history of British architecture.

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Owen Hopkins, Mavericks: Breaking the Mould of British Architecture (London: Royal Academy Publications, 2016), 128 pages, ISBN: 978-1910350393, £13 / $28.

The history of architecture is a story of continual innovation, and at certain points within that story come architects whose visions completely defy convention. Mavericks focuses on 12 such figures from the history of British archi­tecture, including Sir John Soane, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Cedric Price, and Zaha Hadid. From the stripped-back classicism of Soane’s Dulwich Picture Gallery to Hadid’s neofuturistic London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympics, the architects’ work is bold, frequently controversial, and often radical. It is architecture that actively resists being pigeonholed into a particular style or period. What connects this naturally disparate group of free creative spirits is the way each has charted his or her own course, often deliberately evading conventions of taste, fashion, and ways of working. This book offers a fresh take on their creations, establishing new and sometimes surprising historical connections while proposing an intriguing alternative narrative to the history of British architecture.

Owen Hopkins is Architecture Programme Curator at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, and has written widely on architecture for The Burlington Magazine, The Architectural Review, Apollo, Dezeen, RA Magazine, C20 Magazine, The Oxonian Review, Architects’ Journal and Building Design. He is author of Reading Architecture: A Visual Lexicon (Laurence King, 2012), Architectural Styles: A Visual Guide (Laurence King, 2014) and From the Shadows: The Architecture and Afterlife of Nicholas Hawksmoor (Reaktion, 2015).

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All events take place at the Geological Society, Piccadilly; £12 / reductions £6

Does Architecture Need Mavericks?
Thursday 4 February, 6.30–8pm

Owen Hopkins introduces the Mavericks book and installation and chairs a debate exploring the role of unorthodox approaches and original thinking in architecture.

Maverick Architects – A Thing of the Past?
Thursday 25 February, 6.30–8pm

Faced with the crushing weight of student debt and an increasingly risk-averse building industry, the panel explore if there is any future for mavericks in architecture.

After the Age of ‘Starchitects’
Monday, 7 March, 6.30–8pm

What might life be like after the signature-style, icon-obsessed—and male-dominated—age of the ‘starchitect’? The panel explores.

The Artist as Maverick Architect
Monday, 21 March, 6.30–8pm

Sean Griffiths, co-founder of FAT, one of the architects featured in Mavericks, chairs this discussion exploring the different perspectives artists can bring to the making of architecture.

Britain’s Greatest Maverick Building – The Debate
Monday, 18 April, 6.30–8pm

Do you have a favourite quirky or unusual building? Let us know on Twitter for a chance for it to be included in this debate looking for Britain’s greatest maverick building: @architecture_RA #Mavericks


Study Day | Exploring Lee Priory: A Child of Strawberry Hill

Posted in conferences (to attend), lectures (to attend), on site by Editor on January 28, 2016

Lee Priory Banner

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From Eventbrite:

Exploring Lee Priory: A Child of Strawberry Hill
Taddington Manor, Taddington, Near Cutsdean, Gloucestershire, 1 March 2016

Organized by Peter Lindfield

This study day, based at Architectural Heritage, Taddington Manor, Gloucestershire, explores the architecture of James Wyatt (1746–1813), the most famous architect of late Georgian Britain. The day will feature talks by experts on the architecture, interiors and furniture by James Wyatt, including the development of his architecturally-aware Gothic style at Lee Priory, Kent, before his most famous house, Fonthill Abbey, Wiltshire.

The relationship between Lee Priory and the most famous Gothic Revival house in Georgian Britain, Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill, will also be addressed. The conservator who worked on Strawberry Hill and a second, previously unknown, room saved from Lee Priory before its demolition in 1953, will speak about Wyatt’s work.

The highlight of the day will be the close examination of the second surviving room from Lee Priory, the Library Ante-Chamber. This room is currently for sale and the study day offers perhaps the last chance to be able to get up close and examine, under the guidance of experts, one of the most exciting Wyatt-related discoveries of the recent past.

Registration (£25) includes lunch and refreshments at Taddington Manor. Please do not hesitate to get in contact with the organiser, Dr Peter N. Lindfield, at: peter.lindfield@stirling.ac.uk. At time of booking, please advise of dietary or access requirements. Tuesday, 1 March 2016 from 10:30 to 16:30.

Art Institute of Chicago Receives $35Million Gift

Posted in museums by Editor on January 28, 2016

Dorothy Braude Edinburg, a life-long collector and longtime supporter of the Art Institute of Chicago died last year at the age of 94. Her estate has just given more than $35million dollars to the museum, building upon earlier donations that established the Harry B. and Bessie K. Braude Memorial Collection in honor of her parents, who themselves were collectors—initially of eighteenth-century French furniture, Chinese porcelain, and artists books (additional information is available at Crain’s).

From Art Daily:

Douglas Druick, President and Eloise W. Martin Director of the Art Institute of Chicago announced today the largest bequest of funds in the museum’s history. The gift from long-time, generous benefactor and collector Dorothy Braude Edinburg provides more than $35 million to acquire new works of art to build on the Art Institute’s strong holdings in Prints and Drawings and Asian Art. Coming on the heels of the largest gift of art in the museum’s history, the Edlis/Neeson Collection in April 2015, the Edinburg gift offers exciting new momentum and opportunity to realize the museum’s ambitious long-range plan.

Dorothy Braude Edinburg (1920–2014)

Dorothy Braude Edinburg (1920–2014)

“It was my great privilege to know and work with Dorothy for more than two decades, and we are thrilled and immensely grateful to receive this unparalleled bequest,” said Druick. “Together, with the leadership of Chair and Curator of Prints and Drawings Suzanne Folds McCullagh and our curatorial teams, we proudly embraced Dorothy’s extraordinary collection, and we will use this incredible funding to carry Dorothy’s vision forward—to inspire, educate, and delight future generations through the collection and presentation of exceptional art.”

David Hilliard, long-time Trustee of the Art Institute of Chicago and collector and connoisseur of prints and drawings, shared, “It was inspiring to see Dorothy build such an important and world-class collection—over the course of 23 years, Dorothy gifted the museum more than 1,500 works across six centuries and from many fields. This generous bequest ensures her collection will continue to inspire and educate the public, and embodies the excellence and mission of the Art Institute. It’s an honor to support the stewardship of her legacy.”

In 2013, through a landmark gift of more than 1000 works of art to the museum, Dorothy Braude Edinburg established the Harry B. and Bessie K. Braude Memorial Collection in her parents’ honor. The collection’s breadth and scope of European prints and drawings, Chinese and Korean stonewares and porcelains, and Japanese printed books, continues to spark a deeper artistic dialogue across and within the museum’s permanent collection.

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