Exhibition | The Luther Effect

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on April 19, 2017

Johann Valentin Haidt, First Fruits (Erstlingsbild),1748
(Herrnhut: Unitätsarchiv der Evangelischen Brüder-Unität, GS 463)

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From the exhibition website:

The Luther Effect: Protestantism—500 Years in the World
Der Luthereffekt 500 Jahre Protestantismus in der Welt
Deutsches Historisches Museum at Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, 12 April — 5 November 2017

The German Historical Museum (DHM) welcomes Martin-Gropius-Bau visitors on a trip through five centuries and across four continents. Marking the Reformation’s 500th anniversary, The Luther Effect shows the diversity and history, as well as the conflict potentials of Protestantism in the world. What impact has Protestantism had on other denominations and religions? How did Protestantism change through these encounters? And not least, how have people of different cultures adopted, shaped, and lived Protestant doctrine? Starting with Reformations in the 16th century, the exhibition highlights a global history of effect and counter-effect as seen in the examples of Sweden, the United States, South Korea, and Tanzania.

An impressive display of around 500 original exhibits in an exhibition space measuring some 3,000 square meters (32,000 square feet), the exhibition includes exceptional artworks and compelling, meaningful everyday objects from the era. Many of these extraordinary exhibits are being shown in Germany for the first time, to mark the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Modern media is used to give background information, enriching the exhibition.

Reformations, 1450–1600

The Reformation was a European event. Since the 16th century, various paths of reform had been leading to a renewal of the Church and life in general. Martin Luther’s Reformation was one of these. However, from a global perspective, other paths such as the Reformed Church or the Anglican Church in England were more influential. The Catholic Church also underwent a process of reform.

Undisputed beliefs and centuries-old practices were called into question. Soon proponents and opponents of reform were fighting not only against each another but also among themselves. The more radical movements like the Anabaptists were persecuted and marginalised not only by Catholics, but by Lutherans and the Reformed as well. The competition forced Luther, the Reformed, Anabaptists, Anglicans, and Catholics to clarify their own positions and to set themselves apart from others. The different reform paths developed into denominations that continue to evolve dynamically to this day.

One Land, One Religion: Sweden as a Lutheran Great Power, 1500–1750

King Gustav Vasa of Sweden, influenced by the Lutheran Reformation, broke with the Pope in Rome in 1527. This contributed to the spread of various reformist ideas in the Swedish Empire. But it was the Synod and the Parliament of Uppsala in 1593 that first established the Lutheran Church as the binding confession of Sweden, resulting in a Lutheran State Church and a confessionally unified state in Sweden.

The Swedish State Church brought the evolution of a new religious culture. The community that emerged saw itself as the protective power of Lutheranism. Swedish rulers and their armies fought on Europe’s battlefields for Sweden’s great power status and Luther’s doctrines. At home in Sweden, the State Church became increasingly restrictive. Church discipline, and the conversion of the Sámi who lived in the north of the country, were intended to consolidate the Lutheran faith and foster a common identity.

The United States of America: The Promised Land?, 1600–1900

Protestantism was brought to the British colonies of North America, later the United States, through the immigration of various groups, churches, and confessions, which accounts for the diversity of American Protestantism. A state church does not exist in the United States; instead, there is a vast landscape of independent churches. Protestantism in the USA developed its unique profile under the influence of charismatic revivalist preachers beginning in the 18th century. This gave rise to new confessions and numerous social reform movements. The so-called Black Churches of African Americans also emerged in the course of this development. Protestantism contributed significantly to the creation of the American nation and the formation of its self-understanding. It shaped the notion of America as the Promised Land, and of Americans as the Chosen People. These concepts gave rise to ideas that continue to influence American society to the present day.

Korea: Boom Land of Protestantism, 1850–2000

In the Republic of Korea (South Korea), numerous religions lead a relatively peaceful coexistence. Almost 30 percent of South Koreans consider themselves Christian, and slightly fewer than two-thirds of them are Protestant. This makes South Korea the only East Asian country where a significant proportion of the population is Protestant.

Protestant missionaries could not settle permanently in Korea until the mid-1880s. At this time, the first Protestant communities, founded by Korean laypeople, already existed. Using the Korean alphabetic script Han’gul to translate the Bible proved to be an important instrument for the missions. After the division of the land and the Korean War 1950–53, most Christians fled the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) to the South. Since the 1960s, South Korea has developed rapidly into an industrialised state. At the same time, the religious landscape has changed drastically: in 1950, three percent of South Koreans were Protestant, and by 1995 the number had already risen to around 20 percent. The relation to North Korea, including the possible reunification of the country, is a key issue in South Korea, and for the Protestant churches as well. On such questions the churches take very diverse positions.

Tanzania: Mission and Self-Reliance Today

The country of Tanzania has been shaped by migration and by the more than 130 ethnic groups who coexist there in a largely peaceful atmosphere. Among the many forms of Tanzanian Protestantism, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT) plays a major role. With more than 6 million members in 24 dioceses, the ELCT is now the largest Lutheran Church in Africa and the second largest in the world. It traces its origins back to German, Scandinavian, and American missionary societies that were active in the region which had become the colony known as German East Africa (then encompassing today’s Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, and part of Mozambique). In addition, the Moravian Brethren, the Anglican Church, and charismatic movements were instrumental in the spread of Protestant faith communities.

A variety of Protestant churches rapidly developed, driven forward by devout Tanzanians. From the outset, the missions aimed to establish financially independent churches and parishes. Today, their influence extends beyond Tanzania’s borders. Missionaries from Tanzania work throughout the continent. With a heedful view of the European churches, they see themselves as preserving the original Lutheran ideals.

Transformation and Schism: Installation by Hans Peter Kuhn

Exclusively for the exhibition, the Berlin artist Hans Peter Kuhn transforms the atrium of the Martin-Gropius-Bau into a gigantic artwork out of aluminum tubing, light, and sound. The installation Transition approaches the worldwide effects of the Reformation from an artistic perspective and makes the processes of the transformation of the relationship of Man to God and the schism of the Church doctrines triggered by the Reformation palpable and perceptible.

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Published by Hirmer, the catalogue is distributed in North America and Japan by The University of Chicago Press:

The Luther Effect: Protestantism—500 Years in the World (Munich: Hirmer Verlag, 2017), 400 pages, ISBN: 978  37774  27225, $54.

To mark the occasion of the five-hundredth anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in 2017, The Luther Effect offers a vivid and rich journey across five centuries and four continents, detailing the visual history of the growth of Protestantism around the world. The book examines how Protestantism has affected—and been affected by—encounters with diverse denominations, cultures, and lifestyles throughout the centuries. It explores how Protestantism has adapted and transformed and how different people around the world have adopted, modified, and followed its doctrine. Including two hundred and fifty stunning color plates and looking specifically at the art and cultural objects created in response to and in celebration of the religious movement, The Luther Effect presents the first comprehensive global history of Protestantism’s influence, reverberations, and reception.





The British Library Set To Expand

Posted in resources by Editor on April 19, 2017

British Library at St Pancras site and surroundings, including (center) the British Library, (right) St Pancras Station, and (top) the Francis Crick Institute (Photo by Ian Hay).

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Press release (11 April 2017) from the BL:

The British Library has selected a consortium led by property developer Stanhope, working with architects Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, as preferred partner for a project to develop a 2.8 acre site to the north of its Grade I Listed building at St Pancras in London as a major new centre for commerce, knowledge, and research.

At the heart of the development will be 100,000 sq ft of new British Library spaces for learning, exhibitions, and public use, including a new northern entrance and a bespoke headquarters for the Alan Turing Institute, the national centre for data science research. The development will also include new commercial space for organisations and companies that wish to be located at the heart of London’s Knowledge Quarter, close to the Francis Crick Institute and the other knowledge-based companies, research organisations, amenities, and transport links located at King’s Cross and St Pancras.

The Stanhope consortium was appointed following a Competitive Dialogue procurement process that began in late 2015. Stanhope have 30 years’ experience of developing complex central London projects, including Broadgate, Paternoster Square, and the Tate Modern Switch House building. Stanhope are backed by strong financial partners and current projects include the regeneration of Television Centre, White City. Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners are well-known for buildings such as the Grade I Listed Lloyds Building and the recent British Museum extension.

Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Karen Bradley said: “The British Library is one of our finest cultural institutions, housing an unparalleled collection of knowledge. This innovative project will increase access to the Library’s first-class collections, providing new exhibition spaces, learning opportunities, and facilities for visitors from Britain and around the world to enjoy. It is a significant commitment to digital research and data science, and I am pleased the expansion will provide a bespoke headquarters for the Alan Turing Institute.”

Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said: “This new development alongside the Francis Crick Institute will be another gem in the crown of London’s Knowledge Quarter and an ideal location for commercial and life-sciences investment in an area already synonymous with pioneering thinking and Britain’s leadership in research. Our Industrial Strategy will support the development of projects like this to ensure the UK has the environment and skills we need to maintain our position at the forefront of innovation.”

Deputy Mayor for Business, Greater London Authority, Rajesh Agrawal, said: “This is another exciting development for London’s flourishing Knowledge Quarter, our world-leading life sciences sector and our rapidly growing reputation for data science. It is a huge vote of confidence in the capital post-Brexit. London is one of the greatest scientific cities on the planet. We are internationally renowned as a bastion of research and innovation and one of the most attractive places in the world for life and data science companies to do business. This new investment, just a stone’s throw from the Francis Crick Institute, is another huge boost to London’s role as a global capital of science and innovation. As well as leading to world-changing discoveries, products, and services, it will deliver new jobs and demonstrate that London is open to the world’s greatest scientific minds.”

The development project is a key part of the British Library’s Living Knowledge vision to become ever more open, creative, and innovative in the delivery of its purposes. The objectives of this development include:
• More exhibition spaces, increasing public access to the Library’s vast world-class collections
• New facilities for learners of all ages, with expanded programmes for schools, colleges, families, adult learners, and local communities
• Improved public areas and accessibility, with more places to sit and study
• An enhanced offering for business users, building on the success of the Library’s Business & IP Centre
• A new northern entrance close to the Francis Crick Institute and the main St Pancras Station concourse
• A permanent home for the Alan Turing Institute, the UK national centre for data science
• Flexible accommodation for third-party companies, institutions, and research organisations seeking to work at the heart of the Knowledge Quarter
• Environmental improvements including enhanced East-West connectivity for local people walking between Somers Town and St Pancras

HM Treasury and the Library’s sponsor department, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport have approved the Full Business Case for the project. The Development Agreement with Stanhope is to be finalised this summer, with the design and planning process—including close working with Camden Council, local communities and other neighbours and stakeholders, and an agreed solution to accommodating Crossrail 2 requirements into the development—taking place over the next eighteen months.

Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library, said: “We are delighted to have secured such high-calibre partners to help realise our vision of the British Library’s London campus as a truly open, creative centre for knowledge. Sir Colin St John Wilson’s Grade I Listed building was one of the great public projects of the last century, and this new partnership will help us to preserve and respect its unique character while creating much-needed extra space both for our growing public audiences and the dynamic research communities in London’s Knowledge Quarter.”





Opening Wednesday: Museum of the American Revolution

Posted in museums by Editor on April 18, 2017

Museum of the American Revolution, Philadelphia. Robert A.M. Stern Architects LLP

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From the Museum:

The Museum of the American Revolution, which opens in the heart of historic Philadelphia on April 19, 2017, will explore the dynamic story of the American Revolution using its rich collection of Revolutionary-era weapons, personal items, letters, diaries, and works of art. Immersive galleries, theater experiences, and recreated historical environments will bring to life the events, people, and ideals of our nation’s founding and engage people in the history and continuing relevance of the American Revolution. The Museum is a private, non-profit, and non-partisan organization.

The Museum of the American Revolution will bring to life the events, people, and ideals of the founding of the United States and inspire a deep appreciation of the importance of the struggle that established a nation. With original artifacts, immersive galleries, dynamic theaters, and recreated historical environments, the experience will take visitors on a chronological journey from the roots of conflict in the 1760s through the creation of the American republic. Along the way, visitors will learn about the rise of the armed resistance to British taxation, the creation of the Declaration of Independence, the long years of warfare that achieved victory, and the Revolution’s continuing relevance.

The Museum rises three stories above the street, encompassing 118,000 total square feet, including permanent and temporary exhibit galleries, theaters, education spaces, collection storage, a café, a retail store, offices, and a welcoming rotunda. Located at the corner of Third and Chestnut Streets, the state-of-the-art building was designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects. Visitors enter the Museum through a domed bronze-cladded entrance on Third Street into the rotunda, which features a dramatic window looking out to the activity on Chestnut Street. The cross-vaulted ceiling features an illuminated laylight representing the six-pointed star from Washington’s Standard flag, which is in the Museum’s collection.

The ground floor interior is organized around a skylit central interior court featuring terrazzo floors and an elliptical staircase, which provides a dramatic pathway to the Museum’s second  floor exhibition galleries. Serving as the crossroads of the Museum, the Main Court also provides access to a 190-seat theater where visitors will view the Museum’s orientation film; 5,000 square feet of temporary exhibition and program space; a retail shop; and a café with seating on a terrace that opens to the sidewalk on Third Street.

At the top of the sweeping Grand Staircase, the second floor features 18,000 square feet of galleries and a 100-seat theater dedicated to George Washington’s Headquarters Tent. The third floor includes staff offices and an elegant special event and programs space with views of Carpenters’ Hall, the First Bank of the United States, and Independence Hall through nearly floor-to-ceiling windows and an open-air balcony.

The Museum’s lower level includes classrooms for students and other groups, collection storage, and will later include a discovery center, where children can explore their own role in making history.


Now Open: American Revolution Museum at Yorktown

Posted in exhibitions, museums by Editor on April 18, 2017

From the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation:

2017 is a pivotal year at Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, two premier living-history museums in two corners of America’s Historic Triangle that offer year-round experiences, compelling special exhibitions, events, and programs that immerse visitors into the story of America’s beginnings.

The Grand Opening Celebration of the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown March 23–April 4 culminates the museum’s 10-year transformation from the Yorktown Victory Center. The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown presents a renewed national perspective on the meaning and impact of the Revolution through introductory film, timeline, expansive gallery exhibits with nearly 500 artifacts, interactive displays and experiential theaters, and new settings for hands-on interpretive experiences in expanded re-creations of a Continental Army encampment and Revolution-era farm. The celebration launches the new museum with daily highlights of one of America’s 13 original states in the order that they ratified the Constitution, with a dedication ceremony on April 1. Patriotic festivities include gallery tours, living-history programs, artillery firings, flag-raising ceremonies, military musical performances, military re-enactments, lectures, and children’s activities.

Located next to Yorktown National Battlefield, the Yorktown Victory Center opened in 1976 as one of three Virginia visitor centers for the Bicentennial of the American Revolution. Structural and exhibit improvements were implemented in the 1990s, broadening the museum’s focus to encompass the entire Revolution. The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown is the realization of a master plan adopted in 2007. The plan called for replacing the 1976 facility, with the new building positioned on the 22-acre site to allow for continued operation throughout construction, and repositioning and reconstructing the encampment and farm. A new 80,000-square-foot building opened in March 2015, with a theater for showings of Revolution-theme films, an illustrated timeline spanning the second half of the 18th century, and a gift shop and cafe. An important element of the new building is an education center, with five classrooms and a separate entrance, to serve student groups and the general public with dynamic, interactive learning experiences.

The museum’s inaugural special exhibition—AfterWARd: The Revolutionary Veterans Who Built America—debuts June 10 and follows the post-war stories of veterans of the Siege of Yorktown and how they went on after the war to shape the America we know today. A series of plays, performances and public lectures June through November feature Revolutionary War veterans James Lafayette, Alexander Hamilton, the Marquis de Lafayette and Henry Knox as well as issues facing modern-day veterans.

At Jamestown Settlement, a museum of 17th-century Virginia history and culture, visitors this spring can experience new interactive gallery exhibits exploring the Powhatan Indian, English and west central African cultures that converged in the 1600s. As part of a phased gallery enhancement, touch-screen panels allow visitors to compare and contrast each culture’s language, religion, government, economy and family structure. Jamestown Settlement’s expansive gallery exhibits debuted in 2006 in time for America’s 400th Anniversary commemoration in 2007, and are now being refreshed a decade later with new technology.

Four hundred years after the 1617 death of Pocahontas in England, her image and legend live on. Using depictions of Pocahontas from across the centuries, Jamestown Settlement presents Pocahontas Imagined, a special exhibition opening July 15 that illuminates the reasons behind her enduring legacy as well as her impression on popular culture and art. The six-month exhibition features Pocahontas memorabilia, advertisements, and interactive experiences.

Outdoors, visitors can examine artistic patterns, lines, and colors in objects found in Jamestown Settlement’s re-created Powhatan Indian village, ships and fort. Public lectures in partnership with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts take place September 5, September 13, and October 3.

Jamestown Settlement is located on Route 31 at the Colonial Parkway next to Historic Jamestowne, administered by the National Park Service and Jamestown Rediscovery (on behalf of Preservation Virginia). The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown is located on Route 1020 in Yorktown near Yorktown Battlefield, administered by the National Park Service.




2017 Charles Eldredge Prize | Transporting Visions

Posted in books by Editor on April 18, 2017

Press release (13 April 2017) from the Smithsonian:

Jennifer L. Roberts, Transporting Visions: The Movement of Images in Early America (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2014), 240 pages, ISBN: 978-0520251847, $60 / £42.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum has awarded the 2017 Charles C. Eldredge Prize for Distinguished Scholarship in American Art to Jennifer L. Roberts, the Elizabeth Cary Agassiz Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University, for her book Transporting Visions: The Movement of Images in Early America (University of California Press, 2014). The jurors wrote in a joint statement: “Roberts’s adventurous account provides an exciting indication of where the field of American art is going as it pushes analysis of visual material into new terrain.”

The three jurors who awarded the $3,000 prize were Jennifer Greenhill, associate professor of art history at the University of Southern California; Jessica May, deputy director and Robert and Elizabeth Nanovic Chief Curator at the Portland Museum of Art, Maine; and Akela Reason, associate professor of history at the University of Georgia.

The jurors continued: “Transporting Visions: The Movement of Images in Early America [is] a book of rare ambition whose impact on the field is undeniable. Methodologically sophisticated in its treatment of the material properties of objects on the move—the literal ‘weight and heft’ of things in the physical world—Roberts demonstrates just how much art historians have to contribute to contemporary, cross-disciplinary debates about the complex meanings of matter. The arguments about John Singleton Copley, John James Audubon, and Asher B. Durand are elegantly conceived and tightly crafted, making the book truly a pleasure to read. Rarely does such a field-shaping book come along.”

Roberts is the Elizabeth Cary Agassiz Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University. She teaches American art from the colonial period to the present, with particular focus on issues of landscape, expedition, material culture theory, and the history and philosophy of science. Roberts is the author of Mirror-Travels: Robert Smithson and History (2004) and Jasper Johns/In Press: The Crosshatch Works and the Logic of Print (2012). She is the co-author of the forthcoming catalog raisonné of Jasper Johns’ monotypes and is working on a book, The Matrix, about the broad cultural and philosophical implications of the physical operations of printing. She received a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University (1992) and earned her doctorate in art history from Yale University (2000). Roberts currently holds a Harvard College Professorship that was awarded for distinguished research and undergraduate teaching. She will occupy the Slade Professorship in Fine Arts at Cambridge University in 2019.

Roberts will give the annual Eldredge Prize lecture at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in the spring of 2018. More information about the prize, along with a list of past winners, is available here.



Exhibition | Inventing Utamaro: A Japanese Masterpiece Rediscovered

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on April 15, 2017

Kitagawa Utamaro, Moon at Shinagawa (or Moonlight Revelry at Dozō Sagami), detail, ca. 1788; painting mounted on panel; color on paper
(Washington, D.C., Freer Gallery of Art, F1903.54)

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Press release (10 March 2017) for the exhibition:

Inventing Utamaro: A Japanese Masterpiece Rediscovered
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, 7 January — 26 March 2017
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Washington, D.C., 8 April — 9 July 2017
Okada Museum of Art, Hakone, 28 July — 29 October 2017

Curated by Julie Nelson Davis and James Ulak

Inventing Utamaro: A Japanese Masterpiece Rediscovered reunites for the first time in nearly 140 years three works by the legendary Japanese ukiyo-e (‘pictures of the floating world’) master, Kitagawa Utamaro (1753–1806). The exhibition is open at the Smithsonian’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery April 8–July 9.

Last seen together in 1879, the three paintings left Japan and traveled to Paris where they were separated and marketed by Siegfried Bing in the 1880s. Charles Lang Freer, founder of the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art, acquired Moon at Shinagawa in 1903, and today it is part of the Freer’s permanent collection. Cherry Blossoms at Yoshiwara, passed through several hands before entering the collection at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut, in the late 1950s. Snow at Fukagawa, held by the Okada Museum of Art in Hakone, Japan, was rediscovered in 2014 after missing for nearly 70 years. In 2014, the Okada Museum of Art announced the discovery and acquisition of Snow at Fukagawa. Whereabouts of that painting had been unknown since the late 1940s.

Separately conceived exhibitions inspired by the monumental triptych will occur at each of these museums, although all will be different in scope and content. Due to conditions of Freer’s will and bequest, the Sackler will be the only venue to show all three pieces. A facsimile of the Freer’s Moon at Shinagawa will be displayed at the other two locations.

Kitagawa Utamaro, Cherry Blossoms at Yoshiwara, ca. 1793; ink, gouache, gold and gold leaf on bamboo paper
(Hartford: Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art)

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The Sackler exhibition explores the carefully constructed persona of Utamaro and the many questions surrounding his work and subject matter. The trio, painted in ukiyo-e style, idealize Edo’s (modern day Tokyo) ‘floating world’—pleasure centers of leisure, consisting of numerous brothels, which served as diversions from the pressures of everyday life. Unusual in scale and meticulously detailed, the three paintings portray the romanticized lives and appearances of workers of these quarters. Little is known about Utamaro’s life, but to this day he is considered one of the greatest artists of the ukiyo-e genre.

Utamaro began his study of painting in the studio of Toriyama Sekien, who introduced him to the publisher Tsutaya Jūzaburō, forever transforming his career. Together, they promoted the pleasure quarter, setting the tone for Utamaro’s success and brand as a connoisseur of female beauty that was carried throughout his career.

By the 1890s, Japan and the West had become uncomfortable and overwhelmed with the changes, including societal changes, caused by modern industrialization and internationalism. In Paris, in particular, the craze for things Japanese and ‘Oriental’ found a uniquely receptive market for paintings and prints of Japan’s ‘courtesans’ and pleasure quarters.

The exhibition frames these reunited paintings in the context of two moments of ‘branding and marketing’: first, the clever selling of Utamaro’s persona in his own time as a connoisseur of women, someone perfectly suited to create accurate and emotionally resonant images of the ‘beauties’, and second, the adroit response of Japanese and Western art dealers to the special moment of receptivity to the Japanese ‘beauty’ in fin-de-siècle Paris. This created a uniquely receptive market and audience in the West, with Paris at its center, which craved a return to civilized behaviors and romanticized moments of pleasure.

At this time, a glamorized image of ‘old Edo’ began to emerge as Japan struggled to hold onto its traditional identity and values in the face of this rapid change. Japanese art became an embodiment of the desire for simpler times and Utamaro’s work captured a sense of this world before it had permanently passed into memory. The exhibition examines how these two moments in time—Paris during the end of the nineteenth century and the 1780s, when Utamaro created his paintings—are simultaneously separated and connected through the need for fantasy and escape. Utamaro, as a carefully constructed persona and brand, was deliberately marketed both as an artist and as a personality to advance the introduction of Japanese art to collectors in Europe and the United States.

Equally as carefully managed by international Japanese art dealers were depictions of the ‘floating world’, promoting a fantastical depiction that illustrated an unsullied and harmonious world—one in stark contrast to the fast-paced and often gritty world that replaced it. Dealers, striking upon the West’s desire for the exoticism of the ‘Orient’, made deliberate and self-conscious efforts in the late 19th century to refine the concept of what Japanese art could mean for Western consumers and expanded the market by introducing ukiyo-e, alongside binjutsu or fine art, to collectors. Through the carefully concerted efforts of art dealers, Utamaro became a predominant tour de force in the visual arts exported by Japan.

Utamaro’s work was well known both in Japan and Europe and the exhibition places him in the larger context of Japonisme, the influence of Japanese art on Western art. Since the mid-1850s, Japan strategically sought exposure in world markets and eventually the demand for Japanese Edo-period works skyrocketed. Art dealers exported thousands of Japanese works to Europe and Northern America. The exhibition showcases Edo-period prints, books and paintings, mostly by Utamaro revealing his artistic persona and influence on the time as well as his skill at depicting female beauty. Other period works will also be on view with the common theme being beautiful women.

Kitagawa Utamaro, Snow at Fukagawa, ca. 1780s
(Hakone: Okada Museum of Art)

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“The rediscovery of Snow at Fukagawa has presented the unique opportunity to reunite these paintings,” said James Ulak, Sackler senior curator of Japanese art. “Seeing Utamaro as a successfully fabricated persona in his own time and at the moment that Charles Freer assembled his collection certainly frames our assessment in a new and deeply informative light.”

The exhibition includes significant loans from The British Museum, the John C. Weber Collection, and several anonymous private lenders. Important books, prints, and paintings from the Sackler’s permanent collection will also be on display. Programming information is available here.

Mitsubishi Corp. is the lead sponsor for Inventing Utamaro: A Japanese Masterpiece Rediscovered. Additional support is provided by the Anne van Biema Endowment Fund.















Conference | Women Artists and Patrons at the Late Medici Court

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on April 15, 2017

From H-ArtHist:

A Legacy of Ladies: Women Artists and Patrons at the Late Medici Court
The Medici Archive, Palazzo Alberti, 21 April 2017

Organized by Sheila Barker, Amy Fredrickson, and Julie James

The 2017 Jane Fortune Conference examines the deep imprint that women left on the artistic ferment of Baroque Florence, beginning under the regency of Archduchess Maria Maddalena of Austria and continuing through the last years of Electress Palatine. To do so, it will explore the cultural agency of both female patrons at the Medici court and the women artists who flourished there, from the mid seventeenth century to the early eighteenth century.

Only in recent years has attention been given to the complex web of female social patterns at the late Medici court. Vittoria della Rovere has been acknowledged as a key patron, yet her successors and their own patronage patterns have yet to be fully explored. The physical spaces used by noble women and their female households throughout Europe are essential to this study. Here, both heraldry and the displays of art collections helped to demarcate these spaces. Thanks to their talents, some low-born women were given a degree of access to female courts. Exacting standards of moral conduct were expected of them, mitigating against their social station. Juxtaposing women painters with the irreproachable embroiders and lacemakers and the potentially licentious singers and actresses opens a discussion about the social and behavioral aspects of female creativity in early modern Florence.


10:00  Introductory Remarks

10:15   Keynote Address
• Adelina Modesti, Women Artists at the Medici Court of Grand Duchess Vittoria della Rovere (1622–1694): Painters, Pastellists, Lacemakers, and Embroiderers

11:15  Morning Session
• Ilaria Hoppe, Uno spazio di potere femminile: Villa del Poggio Imperiale, residenza di Maria Maddalena d’Austria
• Silvia Benassai, ‘Io ho grande ardire, e non temo niente’: Violante Beatrice di Baviera, mecenate nella Toscana degli ultimi Medici
• Laura Windisch, Between Power and Privacy: Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici’s Patronage at Villa La Quiete
• Laura Cirri, Le Granduchesse di Toscana: la loro rappresentazione attraverso l’araldica

1:00  Lunch

14:45  Afternoon Session
• Lisa Goldenberg Stoppato, Agnese Dolci: New Attributions
• Sheila Barker, Suor Teresa Vitelli’s Natural History Paintings: Women Artists and the Scientific Culture of the Early Enlightenment
• Julie James, A Nun Artist at the Medici Court: The Religious Pastel Works of Suor Teresa Vitelli
• Amy Fredrickson, Giovanna Fratellini: Motives, Patronage, and Success within the Medici Court System
• Poiret Masse, Violante Siries Cerroti at the Medici Court, ca. 1724–37
• Francesca Fantappiè, Donne in carriera: attrici, cantanti, musiciste alla corte medicea

Moderators: Alessio Assonitis, Elisa Acanfora, Susanna Cecilia Berger, and Catherine Turrill Lupi

Exhibition | Treasures of the Hispanic Society of America

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on April 14, 2017

Manuel Chili, known as Caspicara, Four Fates of the Soul: Death, Soul in Heaven, Soul in Purgatory, and Soul in Hell, ca. 1775 (New York: The Hispanic Society of America).

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Press release (31 March 2017) for the exhibition:

Treasures of the Hispanic Society of America: Visions of the Hispanic World
Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 4 April — 10 September 2017

Curated by Mitchell Codding

Through September 10, the Museo del Prado will present the treasures of the museum and library of the Hispanic Society, an institution located in Upper Manhattan in New York, founded in 1904 by Archer Milton Huntington (1870–1955), one of America’s greatest philanthropists. Huntington created an institution that reflected an appreciation of Spanish culture and the study of the literature and art of Spain, Portugal, and Latin America. Treasures of the Hispanic Society of America: Visions of the Hispanic World brings together more than two hundred works of art including paintings, drawings, and sculpture, archaeological artifacts, liturgical vestments, furniture, and books and manuscripts from the library, creating a fascinating chronological and thematic experience of the highlights of the Hispanic Society’s vast collections.

Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, The Duchess of Alba, 1796–97, oil on canvas, 210 × 149 cm (New York: The Hispanic Society of America).

With this exhibition—which occupies all of the temporary exhibition galleries in the new extension—the Museo del Prado offers its visitors the privilege of enjoying one museum within another, as it did in 2012 with the exhibition The Hermitage in the Prado. In this case, the renovation of the Hispanic Society’s galleries has allowed the treasures of their collections of Spanish and Latin American art, along with rare books and manuscripts, to travel to Spain. Many of the works of art that will be shown have not previously been exhibited or were unknown, including the reliquary busts of Santa Marta and Santa María Magdalena by Juan de Juni and the Fates of Man by Manuel Chili, known as Caspicara. Others have recently been identified, such as the Map of Tequaltiche, which was thought to be lost. Besides the individual value of each work of art, this exceptional grouping gives context to the magnitude of the rich history of Hispanic culture in the Iberian Peninsula, America, and Philippines. Spanning more than 3,000 years, the collection shows a quality of art works that no museum outside of Spain can compete with, demonstrating the passion of a unique collector who put his resources and knowledge towards creating a Spanish museum in America.

The extraordinary selection of paintings includes master works such as Portrait of a Little Girl, Camillo Astalli and Gaspar de Guzmán, Conde-Duque de Olivares by Velázquez, Pieta by El Greco, The Prodigal Son by Murillo, Santa Emerenciana by Zurbarán, and the emblematic Duchess of Alba by Goya, especially conserved for this occasion at the Museo del Prado with the collaboration of Fundación Iberdrola. Also represented are paintings by Post-Impressionists and modern artists, such as Zuloaga, Sorolla, and Santiago Rusiñol. The selection of sculpture includes, among others: the Efigie of Mencía Enríquez de Toledo from the Workshop of Gil de Siloé, the terracotta The Mystical Marriage of Saint Catherine by Luisa Roldán, and Fates of Man, a group of polychromed wood sculptures by Manuel Chili, known as Caspicara.

The exhibition also includes a selection of important archaeological artifacts, among them Celtiberian jewelry, Bell-Beaker vessels, and a Visigothic belt buckle. Completing the survey is a significant selection of decorative arts, with Renaissance and Baroque metalwork, ceramics from Manises, Talavera and Alcora, and an exquisite Pyxis made of ivory with gold plated hinges. Alongside these objects are textiles including a Fragment of the tunic of Prince Felipe de Castilla and a Nazrid silk textile.

An innovative mounting technique will allow the important holdings of the library of the Hispanic Society to be appreciated in all their splendor; works include A grant (Privilegio) issued by Alfonso VII, king of Castile and León, Biblia sacra iuxta versionem vulgata. Bible in Latin; unique letters such as Holograph instructions for his son Philip, the Letter to Phillip II of Spain from Elizabeth I, Queen of England, and the Holograph letter, signed “Diego de Silva Velazquez” to Damián Gotiens; and various maps including Portolan Atlas by Battista Agnese and the Mapamundi by Juan Vespucci.

Juan Rodríguez Juárez, De Mestizo y de India produce Coyote, ca. 1716–20; Mexico, oil on canvas, 104 × 146 cm (New York: The Hispanic Society of America).

The first part of the exhibition (Galleries A and B) is organized chronologically and thematically by period in Spain and Latin America and comprises archaeological artifacts from sites on the Iberian Peninsula, Roman sculpture, magnificent ceramics, glass, furniture, textiles, silverworks, and Islamic and Medieval treasures as well as those from the Golden Age. Of particular relevance are Spanish paintings, in dialogue with the collections of the Prado, and colonial art closely related to the peninsula’s artistic legacy. Also included is a section dedicated to the library at the Hispanic Society, one of the most important in the world.

Gallery C offers a broad selection of the best Spanish painting from the 19th century through the early 20th century, including an exceptional collection of portraits of the leading Spanish scholars of that period, who worked closely with Huntington. After the First World War, Archer Huntington halted acquisitions, but maintained a close relationship with Spanish art and culture through his friendship with various painters, principally Joaquín Sorolla, who was commissioned to paint the famous series of large scale canvases depicting the regions of Spain for the Hispanic Society.

Accompanying the exhibition is a documentary projected in Gallery D, directed by Francesco Jodice, that transports the visitor to New York in the beginning of the twentieth century and narrates the history of the Hispanic Society and the passion of its founder, the philanthropist Archer Milton Huntington. The film contextualizes the origins of the early collecting practices of Huntington; the construction and inauguration of the headquarters of the Hispanic Society; Huntington’s collections and the fantastic holdings of the library; his relationship with Spain through Alfonso XII and the great Spanish intellectuals of the era; his friendship with Sorolla in New York; and the philanthropy of this great patron who wanted to remain anonymous during his entire life. The story is told by the director, Mitchell Codding, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Philippe de Montebello, and the curators. The film, which runs for approximately 20 minutes, was filmed in New York and at the Prado Museum and is in English with Spanish subtitles.

Visions of the Hispanic World is the latest chapter in the decade-long collaboration between the Museo del Prado and the BBVA Foundation, involving the annual organization of a major exhibition event. This partnership has made possible such celebrated exhibitions as Passion for Renoir, The Hermitage in the Prado, El Greco and Modern Painting, and Bosch: The 5th Centenary Exhibition. Thanks to the Prado’s select network of relations with public and private lenders, these shows are the opportunity for an international public to view works that might otherwise never be seen under one roof. The exhibitions presented by the Prado and BBVA Foundation have met with an extraordinary response. In particular, those devoted to the Hermitage and Bosch successively broke the record of visits to the Madrid museum’s temporary exhibits, with over 580,000 spectators each.

Archer Milton Huntington, only son of one of the wealthiest families in The United States, from a young age possessed a profound interest in the Hispanic world. His education and numerous trips to Europe inspired an interest in collecting, always with the idea of creating a museum. In less than forty years, Huntington created a library and museum designed to elevate the study of Hispanic art through unparalleled collections in both scope and quality. At the same time, he published various facsimiles of important rare books and manuscripts. Huntington, in an effort to not deprive Spain of its artistic treasures, acquired most of his collection outside of the country. One can confirm, as did Jonathan Brown, that Huntington saw the Hispanic Society as an encyclopedic depository of Spanish art and literature. Huntington was one of the first Hispanists in the United States in the first half of the 20th century. For this reason he was awarded by numerous American universities. He was an active member of various Spanish museums and was invested as member of the Spanish Royal Academies. This exhibition pays homage to Huntington’s lifelong work for The Hispanic Society Museum & Library in the diffusion and study of Spanish culture in the United States of America.

Tesoros de la Hispanic Society of America (Madrid: Museo Nacional del Prado, 2017), 448 pages, ISBN: 978  84848  04079, 35€.




ASECS Awards, 2016–17

Posted in books, Member News by Editor on April 14, 2017

Recent awards from ASECS (with a full list available here) . . .

The Biennial Annibel Jenkins Biography Prize

Jane Kamensky (Professor of History and Pforzheimer Foundation Director of the Schlesinger Library, Harvard University), A Revolution in Color: The World of John Singleton Copley (New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2016).

Committee’s evaluation: Kamensky’s “brilliantly written study of an ambitious painter in colonial Boston and then England is a joy to read from beginning to end. Kamensky is a deft storyteller with a keen eye for irony and paradox, and she draws upon a transatlantic archive that includes printed, manuscript, and visual sources. She cross fertilizes between history and art history in dazzling ways, and readers are sure to learn a great deal about the craft, politics, and finances of painting in colonial America and on the Continent as well. In making visible the complexities of cultural identity in a time of vexed allegiances, the author brings texture and depth to our understanding of Copley’s world before, during, and after the American Revolution.”

The Biennial Annibel Jenkins Biography Prize is given to the author of the best book-length biography of a late seventeenth-century or eighteenth-century subject. The prize is named in honor of Annibel Jenkins, Professor of English (Emerita) at the Georgia Institute of Technology. A founding member of the Southeastern American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, she was an outstanding teacher and scholar who has been for many years one of the most active and encouraging members of the academic community in America.

Robert R. Palmer Research Travel Fellowship

Margo Bernstein (Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University) “Carmontelle’s Profile Pictures and the Things that Made Them Modern.”



Smithsonian American Art Museum Fellows Lectures, 2017

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on April 14, 2017

I’ve noted details for the session most relevant to the eighteenth century; the full schedule is available via the posting at H-ArtHist. –CH

Smithsonian American Art Museum Fellows Lectures
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C., 3–5 May 2017

The Smithsonian American Art Museum cordially invites you to attend three afternoons of lectures delivered by its research fellows. The talks will be held in the museum’s McEvoy Auditorium, located at 8th and G Streets NW, Washington, D.C. This event is open to the public, and no reservations are required. The talks will be available through a simultaneous webcast, available here. A wine reception will conclude the series on Friday evening. For further information, please e-mail SAAMFellowships@si.edu.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017, 2:00–3:40
Moderator: William H. Truettner (Curator Emeritus, Smithsonian American Art Museum)
• Emily Thames (Joe and Wanda Corn Predoctoral Fellow, Florida State University), Rendering Reform, Rendering Empire: José Campeche as Draftsman in Late Eighteenth-Century San Juan, Puerto Rico
• Jennifer Chuong (Predoctoral Fellow, Harvard University), Bedeviling the Stamp Act: Materiality and Protest in Revolutionary America [as Chuong notes below in the comments: “due to some late-breaking research finds, I will actually be talking about a different Revolutionary-era printer: that is, Benjamin Franklin, and his interest in paper marbling.”]
• Patricia Johnston (Terra Foundation Senior Fellow in American Art, College of the Holy Cross), The China Trade and the Classical Tradition in Federal America

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