Exhibition | Master Drawings Unveiled: 25 Years of Major Acquisitions

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on December 12, 2016


François Boucher, Academic Study of a Reclining Male Nude, ca. 1750
(Art Institute of Chicago, Regenstein Endowment Fund).

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Press release (8 June 2016) from AIC

Master Drawings Unveiled: 25 Years of Major Acquisitions
Art Institute of Chicago, 27 August 2016 — 29 January 2017

The Art Institute of Chicago presents 84 hitherto unexhibited masterful drawings carefully and thoughtfully acquired over the last quarter century in an exhibition titled Master Drawings Unveiled: 25 Years of Major Acquisitions.  Building upon an established and world-renowned collection, these masterpieces range from the French and Italian schools of the 17th century to Swiss, German, and Austrian Romanticism, midcentury Realism, Belgian Symbolism and into the mid-20th century. The recent acquisitions will be on display from August 27, 2016 to January 29, 2017 and provide visitors a full range of artistic achievement, featuring key works by François Boucher, Henri Fantin-Latour, Edgar Degas, Odilon Redon, Francis Picabia, Grant Wood, and other iconic figures.

The exhibition is a culmination of the legacy and focus of curator Suzanne Folds McCullagh, who along with Mark Pascale, Martha Tedeschi, and Douglas Druick strategically acquired the works to reinforce the strengths of the collection and add new dimensions and greater depth. The selected works offer a “leap through the ages,” says McCullagh. “This is only the tip of the iceberg, not including gifts or bequests, or works that have been or will be shown in other exhibitions here. We have acquired over 9,000 prints and drawings since 1991; this installation reveals some of the areas we have sought to develop through purchases. The range of the materials means the show offers something for everyone.”

Among the works never-before-seen in Chicago are three studies for beloved works in the permanent collection. A full-scale study of A Young Peasant Woman Drinking her Café au Lait, 1881, is almost the same size as the painting (Gallery 246). There is a final compositional study for Puvis de Chavanne’s Sacred Grove, Beloved of the Arts and the Muses, 1883/84 (Gallery 245). And, most surprising of all is the large abstract planning drawing for Gustave Caillebotte’s Paris Street; Rainy Day, 1877 (Gallery 201).


Exhibition | Doctrine and Devotion: The Spanish Andes

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on December 12, 2016

Now on view at AIC:

Doctrine and Devotion: Art of the Religious Orders in the Spanish Andes
Art Institute of Chicago, 19 March — 25 June 2017


Unidentified artist, active in Potosí, Bolivia, Genealogical Tree of the Mercedarian Order, mid-18th century (Thoma Collection).

Presenting 13 paintings by South American artists from the 17th through 19th century, this focused exhibition introduces visitors to images promoted by several Catholic orders at work in the Spanish Andes—the Dominicans, Franciscans, Mercedarians, and Jesuits—examining the politics of the distinct iconographies each group developed as they vied for devotees and dominion.

Francisco Pizarro arrived in Peru with a mandate from Charles V to impose Spanish law and order, as well as the Roman Catholic religion, upon the indigenous Inca society that he encountered. The enormous task of converting the indigenous peoples of Spain’s overseas territories to Christianity fell largely to missionaries from several religious orders rather than parish clergy. For a native population that had no written language tradition, the missionaries relied heavily on works of art to illustrate their sermons and lessons and help them gain converts.

In the wake of the Protestant Reformation, the Catholic church embraced the use of images both as pedagogical tools and instruments of devotion, and the religious orders in South America relied on them in similar ways—as didactic materials employed in the teaching of new converts, and in later years as a means of spreading devotions specific to their own interests. While their ultimate goals were the same, each religious order promoted images specific to their own histories, identities, and goals. This exhibition explores examples of the iconographies that were particular to each group.

Doctrine and Devotion: Art of the Religious Orders in the Spanish Andes is generously supported by the Carl and Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation.




Exhibition | Shakers and Movers

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on December 12, 2016


Now on view at AIC:

Shakers and Movers: Selections from the Collection of Dr. Thomas and Jan Pavlovic
Art Institute of Chicago, December 2015 — Fall 2017

For Shakers, work was a form of worship, and objects were expressions of their attempt to create heaven on earth. They employed unique techniques to build furniture that was like their faith: honest, simple, and humble. Featuring over 20 such objects generously loaned by collectors Thomas and Jan Pavlovic, this exhibition—the first of its kind at the Art Institute—shows the range of items made by the Shakers in the late 18th and 19th centuries. Presented within the chronology of the permanent collection galleries, the exhibition considers Shakers in the larger context of American furniture production, demonstrating the artistic exchange and innovation that defined the country’s early history.

Shakers were well known for their austere and rigid lifestyle. Believers lived in separate men’s and women’s dormitories and practiced celibacy and communal ownership. Their worship, however, could be quite lively; the name Shaker derives from the frenzied, whirling dancing that took place at services. Following the arrival of the first Shakers from England in 1774, the group peaked in the mid-19th century, boasting more than 6,000 members from Maine to Kentucky. Though only one Shaker community survives today, the impact of Shakers on American culture has endured, particularly in art and design. The Pavlovics’ collection—passionately assembled over the last 40 years—exemplifies the virtuosic craftsmanship synonymous with this influential utopian religious community.

New Book | American Silver in the Art Institute of Chicago

Posted in books, catalogues by Editor on December 12, 2016

Due for a February release from Yale UP:

Elizabeth McGoey, ed., American Silver in the Art Institute of Chicago (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2017), 266 pages, ISBN: 978 0300  222364, $50.

68e5e5f6cf61d240926995950c4cd0dcThe history of American silver offers invaluable insights into the economic and cultural history of the nation itself. Published here for the first time, the Art Institute of Chicago’s superb collection embodies innovation and beauty from the colonial era to the present. In the 17th century, silversmiths brought the fashions of their homelands to the colonies, and in the early 18th, new forms arose as technology diversified production. Demand increased in the 19th century as the Industrial Revolution took hold. In the 20th, modernism changed the shape of silver inside and outside the home. This beautifully illustrated volume presents highlights from the collection with stunning photography and entries from leading specialists. In-depth essays relate a fascinating story about eating, drinking, and entertaining that spans the history of the Republic and trace the development of the Art Institute’s holdings of American silver over nearly a century. Contributors include Debra Schmidt Bach, David Barquist, Jennifer Goldsborough, Judith Barter, Medill Higgins Harvey, Patricia Kane, Barbara Schnitzer, Janine Skerry, Ann Wagner, Gerald W. R. Ward, Deborah Dependahl Waters, Beth Carver Wees, and Elizabeth Williams.

Elizabeth McGoey is Ann S. and Samuel M. Mencoff Assistant Curator of American Decorative Arts at the Art Institute of Chicago.




Call for Papers | Design and Displacement: Graduate Student Symposium

Posted in Calls for Papers, graduate students by Editor on December 12, 2016

From H-ArtHist:

Design and Displacement
26th Annual Parsons/Cooper Hewitt Graduate Student Symposium on the History of Design
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, New York, 7–8 April 2017

Proposals due by 23 January 2017

The challenges faced by vast numbers of migrants and refugees worldwide—uprooted by war, persecution, or ecological crises or relocating in search of economic opportunity—are giving rise to innovative design solutions. Although often urgent, these crises are unfortunately rarely new. This symposium attempts to take a broader historical view of the relationship of design and decorative arts to the displacement and movement of people and populations since the Renaissance. From French Huguenot artisans emigrating to England in the early 18th century to artisans exiled in the wake of the 1848 revolutions to the Bauhaus’s re-establishment after its dissolution by the fascists to designers’ migrations all over the world, the movement of populations has spurred great change in the cultural landscape, including the creation of opportunities for new cross-cultural synthesis. Migrations also inspire architectural solutions, such as temporary housing for displaced persons during wartime or natural disasters or more substantial interventions into the landscape, such as buildings erected to accommodate the exponential growth of cities like Lagos or Rio de Janeiro. Papers might consider historical or contemporary designers or whole populations. The symposium also seeks to address issues of national and transnational identity as well as anti-immigrant sentiment.

Proposals are welcome from graduate students at any level in fields such as art history, history of design, design studies, fashion studies, history of the decorative arts, urban studies, cultural anthropology, history of architecture, consumer studies, design and technology, media studies, museum studies, food studies.

The symposium’s Catherine Hoover Voorsanger Keynote speaker will be Jeremy Aynsley, professor of design history at the University of Brighton (UK) and chair of the Design History Society. Professor Aynsley’s research interests concern late-19th- and 20th-century design in Europe and the United States, with a particular focus on design in modern Germany, which he has explored in major exhibitions and academic publications including Nationalism and Internationalism in Design in the 20th Century (1994), Graphic Design in Germany 1890–1945 (2000), and Designing Modern Germany (2009). He is especially interested in the phenomenon of the migration of Modernism and is currently working on a project about German graphic designers in the United States on the eve of World War II. The keynote address will be given on Friday evening, April 7, 2017, and the symposium sessions will be held in the morning and afternoon of Saturday, April 8.

To submit a proposal, send a two-page abstract, one-page bibliography, and a CV to Ethan Robey, Associate Director, MA Program in the History of Design and Curatorial Studies, robeye@newschool.edu.

The symposium is sponsored by the MA History of Design and Curatorial Studies program, offered jointly by Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum and Parsons School of Design.

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