Exhibition | In the Library: Growth and Development of the Salon Livret

Posted in books, exhibitions by Editor on June 26, 2016


Explication des peintures, sculptures, et autres ouvrages, de messieurs de l’Académie royale (Paris, 1767). Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art Library, David K. E. Bruce Fund.

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Press release (31 May 2016) from the NGA:

In the Library: Growth and Development of the Salon Livret
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., 20 June — 16 September 2016

Curated by Yuri Long

Documenting the history of the Paris Salon from its emergence in the late 17th century through its decline during the early 20th century, In the Library: Growth and Development of the Salon Livret presents over 60 examples of literature related to the Paris Salon drawn from nearly 250 years of exhibitions. On view in the East Building Study Center, the exhibition includes a variety of publications that document the rise and fall of the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture and its exhibition, which came to be known as the Salon.

Beginning as a checklist for the works on view, the livret (‘little book’ or catalog) was first published for the Salon of 1673. Appearing then as little more than a pamphlet in decorative wrappers, the livret developed over time into a full catalog. During the latter half of the 19th century livrets included not only additional entries but also supplemental information about the juries, the artists, and the rules of the organization. And throughout the 19th century, new printing technologies—from lithography to photography—allowed for the inclusion of increasingly more faithful reproductions of exhibited works in the livrets.

Developments beyond the academy can also be seen in the growing amount of literature surrounding Salon exhibitions. Art criticism, a new type of writing in the 18th century, evolved alongside the official exhibition livrets as authors began writing commentaries about the Salon. Later, the political upheavals of and following the French Revolution affected the administration of the Salon, whose own controversies, such as the dissatisfaction of member artists, persisted through the 19th century. By the early 20th century, independent exhibitions, each with its own published catalog, had become more frequent and contributed to the declining influence and importance of the official Salon.

Coinciding with the exhibition, the National Gallery of Art Library will publish Documenting the Salon: Paris Salon Catalogs, 1673–1945, compiled and edited by librarian John Hagood. As a bibliography, it lists the publications in the library by and about the organizations that hosted Salons in Paris. Two essays analyze the form and function of Paris Salons and Salon publishing in the ancien régime and in the 19th century. Written by Yuriko Jackall, assistant curator, department of French paintings, and Kimberly A. Jones, associate curator, department of French paintings, they reveal the history and taste of collecting as well as how the Paris Salon grew from a forum for elite, privileged artists and viewers into a more inclusive event. Documenting the Salon is made possible by a grant from The Florence Gould Foundation and will be distributed to museums, libraries, and art research organizations in the US around the world.

Organized by the National Gallery of Art and curated by Yuri Long, rare book librarian, the exhibition is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The National Gallery of Art Library contains more than 400,000 books and periodicals, including more than 15,000 volumes in the rare book collection, with an emphasis on Western art from the Middle Ages to the present. The National Gallery of Art Library was founded in 1941, the year the Gallery opened to the public. In 1979, with the move to a seven-story facility in the Gallery’s new East Building and the establishment of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA), the library broadened its purpose and the scope of its collection. Its goal has been to establish a major national art research center, serving the Gallery’s curatorial, educational, and conservation staff, CASVA members, interns, visiting scholars, and researchers in the Washington art community.

New Book | The Grid and the River: Philadelphia’s Green Places

Posted in books by Editor on June 26, 2016

From Penn State UP:

Elizabeth Milroy, The Grid and the River: Philadelphia’s Green Places, 1682–1876 (University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2016), 464 pages, ISBN: 978-0271066769, $65.

978-0-271-06676-9mdPhiladelphians are fond of quoting a letter in which William Penn described his vision of a “greene country towne, which will never be burnt & always wholesome.” Today, Philadelphia’s public parks cover more than ten thousand acres—roughly 11 percent of the city’s area. They encompass extensive woodlands and waterways as well as the largest collection of historic properties in the state of Pennsylvania, including the Fairmount Water Works, the Philadelphia Zoo (the oldest zoo in the United States), and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The Grid and the River is the product of Elizabeth Milroy’s quest to understand the history of public green spaces in William Penn’s city. In this monumental work of urban history, Milroy traces efforts to keep Philadelphia ‘green’ from the time of its founding to the late nineteenth century. She chronicles how patterns of use and representations of green spaces informed notions of community and identity in the city. In particular, Milroy examines the history of how and why the district along the Schuylkill River came to be developed both in opposition to and in concert with William Penn’s original designations of parks in his city plan. Focusing on both the history and representation of Philadelphia’s green spaces, and making use of a wealth of primary source materials, Milroy offers new insights into the city’s political and cultural development and documents how changing attitudes toward the natural environment affected the physical appearance of Philadelphia’s landscape and the lives of its inhabitants.

Elizabeth Milroy is Professor and Department Head of Art and Art History in the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design at Drexel University.

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List of Illustrations


1  The Origins of Penn’s Squares
2  Patterns of Growth and Governance in the Centre City

3  The Liberty Lands
4  Suburban Villas in the Schuylkill Valley
5  Nurseries of National Virtue: Private Estates and Public Culture
6  Agriculture, Horticulture, and the Origins of the American Picturesque

7  Reviving Penn’s Plan
8  The Fairmount Water Works: Picturing Civic Virtue
9  Rural Cemeteries, River Parks, and the Search for Rational Recreation
10 Greening the Consolidated City
11 The Fairmount Park Commission: Park Building for Preservation and Conservation
12 Spatial Politics and the Centennial Exhibition
13 A Work Unfinished



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