Enfilade

Exhibition | Showstoppers: Silver Centrepieces

Posted in exhibitions, lectures (to attend) by Editor on May 10, 2017

Thomas Pitts, Epergne, London, 1759
(Leeds Museums and Galleries)

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Opening this weekend at Temple Newsam:

Showstoppers: Silver Centrepieces
Temple Newsam House, Leeds, West Yorkshire, 13 May — 16 October 2017

Curated by Rachel Conroy

Silver is a seductive, glamorous material and the centrepiece is one of its most wondrous uses. Showstoppers takes two iconic eighteenth-century centrepieces from Temple Newsam’s renowned historic silver collection and presents them alongside contemporary masterpieces by artists Junko Mori and Miriam Hanid. The exhibition showcases the continuation and reinvention of traditional silversmithing techniques and celebrates women in silver, as makers and owners.

S A T U R D A Y ,  1 0  J U N E  2 0 1 7

Silversmithing Demonstration
An exciting opportunity to see artist silversmith Miriam Hanid demonstrating chasing and engraving in the Great Hall. 11.00–12.00 and 12.30–1.30. Free with general admission.

Surtouts, Epergnes and Grands Platts Menages: Silver and Ceramic Centrepieces
Join James Lomax for a survey of the wondrous array of silver and ceramic centrepieces produced in England during the eighteenth century. 2.00–3.00. Free with general admission, but booking required.

Exhibition Tour
Join exhibition curator, Rachel Conroy, for a tour of the exhibition. 3.00–3.45. Free with general admission, but booking required.

O T H E R  E V E N T S

Artist Talk: Miriam Hanid
9 June, 2.00–3.00
Miriam will explain how she started her silversmithing journey and how her capabilities have now developed into creating large commissions for a range of collectors and private clients. Followed by a tour of the exhibition. £7 (including admission), booking required.

Silver and Yachts: The Glamorous Possessions of Women at Temple Newsam
5 July, 2.00–3.00
Curator Rachel Conroy will tell the stories behind some of the most luxurious objects in the collection that were owned by or connected to women. Free with general admission, but booking required.

Shining Silver Commissions from the Sheffield Assay Office Collection: The Work of Junko Mori
16 September, 2.00–3.00
Emma Paragreen (Sheffield Assay Office) will give a brief introduction to the history and work of the Sheffield Assay Office and then focus on two examples of work commissioned by Sheffield Assay Office from Junko Mori. Free with general admission, but booking required.

An Eye for Design: Rosalinde Gilbert, Fashion Designer and Collector
14 October, 2.00–3.00
In this talk, Hanne Faurby (V&A) will introduce Rosalinde Gilbert, a fashion designer working in wartime London. Charlotte Johnson (V&A) will then discuss the Gilbert Collection, formed by Rosalinde and her husband Arthur, examining how Rosalinde’s background in design may have informed their collecting practices. Free with general admission, but booking required.

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Seminar | Collecting Ancien Régime France from Boston

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on May 10, 2017

François Boucher, Halt at the Spring, 1765, oil on canvas, 82 × 114 inches
(Boston: MFA, 71.2)

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Seminars in the History of Collecting
David Pullins | Collecting Ancien Régime France from Boston between 1789 and 1848
The Wallace Collection, London, 22 May 2017

This seminar addresses the opportunities provided by revolutions in France for Boston collectors James Swan and Edward Preble Deacon—Swan in 1789 and Deacon in the 1840s—to gather French royal furnishings and paintings of the highest calibre. Swan (1754–1831) served as the official United States agent to the French revolutionary government between 1794 and 1796. He supplied grain, ammunition and sundry goods for which he was willing to receive, in lieu of cash, confiscated royal furniture, textiles and metalwork. At the end of the 1840s, at a time of political unrest in France, Deacon (1813–1851) acquired for his Boston home François Boucher’s monumental Halt at the Spring (1765) and Return from the Market (1767) and exceptional panelling designed by Claude-Nicolas Ledoux for the hotel Montmorency (c. 1770), which had been demolished in 1848.

The Swan and Deacon collections come remarkably early in the history of collecting ancien régime material culture in the Americas and provided the foundation of the European holdings of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In this seminar, I propose to look in particular at how exemplary works from ancien régime France were installed in expressly built Boston interiors and how these collections were perceived in early America through an examination of journals and the popular press. Embodying a level of craftsmanship to which early American industrialists could only aspire, they also held a peculiar political status as plunder from a royalist faction—albeit one that had, within living memory, helped the United States secure its independence from the British monarchy.

The Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre, Monday, 22 May, 5:30pm.

Dr David Pullins (History, Theory Criticism, Department of Architecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and The Frick Collection).

 

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Exhibition | We the People: American Folk Portraits

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on May 10, 2017

Press release (27 March 2017) from Colonial Williamsburg:

We the People: American Folk Portraits
Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, Colonial Williamsburg, from 6 May 2017

Jacob Frymire, Portrait of Daniel Clarke, ca. 1791, oil on canvas (Colonial Williamsburg: 2016.100.2, gift of Julie Lindberg).

Before there were photographs, people in the late 18th century to the middle 19th century who wanted images of themselves and their family members commissioned portraits from a broad range of artists, many of whom had little or no academic training. Today, we characterize these types of paintings that fall outside of academic tradition as folk portraiture. These often naïve depictions of individuals, children, families and couples are beloved for their charming characterizations. The world-class assemblage of these portrayals in the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum (AARFAM), one of the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg, is among the most popular with visitors. The museum celebrates its diamond anniversary in 2017 with We the People: American Folk Portraits, a long-term exhibition of more than 30 portraits which will open on May 6, 2017. The show will highlight new accessions on view for the first time as well as constant favorites.

“Colonial Williamsburg is blessed with one of the nation’s finest and most geographically diverse collections of American folk portraits. With their deeply human qualities, they are in many ways the heart of the Foundation’s folk art collection. It is highly fitting that they be featured in this special anniversary year,” said Ronald Hurst, the institution’s Carlisle H. Humelsine chief curator and vice president for collections, conservation, and museums.

Several portraits recently acquired by the AARFAM will be shown in We the People. Among them is an oil-on-canvas, Portrait of Daniel Clarke by Jacob Frymire, an itinerant painter who made this portrait in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, probably in 1791. While the young gentleman depicted has long been identified as Daniel Clarke, his name could refer to several men of the same name and appropriate age who lived in the region where Frymire worked. The well-dressed man, the red drapery behind him and the substantial brick building in the background suggest that either the subject was wealthy or the setting may have been aspirational. Portrait of the Jennison Family by Jefferson Gauntt (1805–1864) is another recently acquired painting to be shown. Gauntt depicts the close connections between the siblings in this strikingly unified composition. Each of the eight children born to the prosperous merchant William Jennison (1795–1866) is portrayed here physically connected or overlapping: a baby in arms, arms around shoulders, hand in hand. The group portrait descended in the family of the young male sitter to the far right of the canvas.

The itinerant artist John James Trumbull Arnold (1812–1865) painted another of the highlighted works to be displayed for the first time in We the People. Portrait of Mary Mattingly, an 1850 painting made in Mt. Savage, Maryland is one of three that the artist painted of this family’s members. Mary Mattingly is of the young daughter of Ellen and Sylvester Mattingly. She never married but lived independently and sold ice cream from her shop in Cumberland, Maryland. On the reverse of this portrait, like many of Arnold’s paintings, is the artist’s fancifully written signature and date; he used the same ornate script on his pen-and-ink self-portrait (also in the Colonial Williamsburg collection). Arnold described himself as a “professor of penmanship,” an occupation which may have predisposed him to a heavy reliance on linear definition of hands and facial features in his portraits.

“The beauty of this exhibition is that it provides us with the platform to exhibit long-term favorite portraits from the collection alongside new acquisitions,” said Laura Pass Barry, Juli Grainger curator of paintings, drawings and sculpture. “We have been fortunate over the past few years to acquire some wonderful examples of the form and we are thankful to the individuals who have helped to make this happen.”

Two Children, America, ca. 1810, oil on pine panel (Colonial Williamsburg: 1954.100.2, from the collection of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, gift of the Museum of Modern Art).

Included in We Are One are several favorites in the collection; one such example is Portrait of Mrs. Seth Wilkinson by The Wilkinson Limner, probably painted between 1827 and 1830 in New York State. Twenty portraits are attributed to the artist who painted Mrs. Seth Wilkinson, and because her likeness was among the first studied and possibly remains the best known, her name was adapted to identify her portrait painter. In this case, ‘limner’ means ‘painter’. Evidence about The Wilkinson Limner suggests that he began his career as a portraitist while incarcerated at the state prison in Charlestown, Massachusetts. About 1827, he began creating more opulent settings for his sitters, perhaps as a reflection of his newly regained freedom. It is also only fitting that an exhibition celebrating the 60th anniversary of the AARFAM includes a portrait that comes from the Mrs. Rockefeller’s collection. Such is the case with Two Children, an unusual American portrait painted ca. 1810. It is remarkable in several aspects including the placement of the two subjects within the painting’s overall design, which focuses on the children even as the darkened room, open door and temporarily-placed bench or chair in the background creates an air of mystery around them. The children seem to bridge two worlds; their setting seems to imply that they yearn to go outside but cannot.

We the People will not only offer a visual feast but will also debunk common misconceptions about American folk portraits, including whether or not the sitters are actually smiling and are wearing the same or stock clothing or costumes in their depictions. The topics of why subjects often appear with one hand in their coat pocket as well as whether or not the heads were added to pre-painted bodies will also be set straight. Research about many of the sitters and their portrait painters will also be shared throughout the exhibition to offer visitors a sense of who these people were.

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