New Book | Collecting the World: Hans Sloane

Posted in books, lectures (to attend) by Editor on May 12, 2017

From the Royal College of Physicians:

James Delbourgo, The Life and Curiosity of Hans Sloane
Royal College of Physicians, London, 7 June 2017

This lecture by Professor James Delbourgo explores the astonishing story of Sir Hans Sloane, a young Irish doctor who became one of the greatest physicians, collectors, and figures of the eighteenth century. Wednesday, 7 June 2017, 18:00–20:00. Please note that places for this free event are extremely limited and advance booking is essential. For additional details, please see the Royal College of Physicians website.

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From Harvard UP:

James Delbourgo, Collecting the World: Hans Sloane and the Origins of the British Museum (Cambridge: Belknap Press, 2017), 544 pages, ISBN 978  06747  37334, $35 / £28 / €32.

In 1759 the British Museum opened its doors to the general public—the first free national museum in the world. James Delbourgo’s biography of Hans Sloane recounts the story behind its creation, told through the life of a figure with an insatiable ambition to pit universal knowledge against superstition and the means to realize his dream.

Born in northern Ireland in 1660, Sloane amassed a fortune as a London society physician, becoming a member of the Whig establishment and president of the Royal Society and Royal College of Physicians. His wealth and contacts enabled him to assemble an encyclopedic collection of specimens and objects—the most famous cabinet of curiosities of its time. For Sloane, however, collecting a world of objects meant collecting a world of people, including slaves. His marriage to the heir of sugar plantations in Jamaica gave Sloane access to the experiences of planters and the folkways of their human property. With few curbs on his passion for collecting, he established a network of agents to supply artifacts from China, India, North America, the Caribbean, and beyond. Wampum beads, rare manuscripts, a shoe made from human skin—nothing was off limits to Sloane’s imagination. This splendidly illustrated volume offers a new perspective on the entanglements of global scientific discovery with imperialism in the eighteenth century. The first biography of Sloane based on the full range of his writings and collections, Collecting the World tells the rich and complex story of one of the Enlightenment’s most controversial luminaries.

James Delbourgo is Associate Professor of History at Rutgers University.

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List of Illustrations
List of Maps

Introduction: The Original Sloane Ranger

I. Empire of Curiosities
1  Transplantation
2  Island of Curiosities
3  Keeping the Species from Being Lost

II. Assembling The World
4  Becoming Hans Sloane
5  The World Comes to Bloomsbury
6  Putting the World in Order
7  Creating the Public’s Museum

Conclusion: The Man Who Collected the World






Exhibition | The Lure of Italy: Artists’ Views

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on May 12, 2017

Giovanni Battista Lusieri, A View of the Bay of Naples, Looking Southwest from the Pizzofalcone towards Capo di Posilippo, 1791; watercolor, gouache, graphite, and pen and ink on six sheets of paper; unframed: 102 × 272 cm  (Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 85.GC.281).

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Press release (20 April 2017) for the exhibition now on view at The Getty:

The Lure of Italy: Artists’ Views
The Getty Center, Los Angeles, 9 May — 30 July 2017

Curated by Julian Brooks with Annie Correll

For centuries, Italy has fascinated travelers and artists alike. From the crumbling ruins of ancient Rome to the crystal-clear light of Venice, artists have found inspiration not only in the cities but also in the countryside and in Italy’s rich history and culture. The Lure of Italy: Artists’ Views explores the numerous ways Italy’s topography, history, and culture have motivated artists to create works of extraordinary beauty and resonance. The exhibition, selected from the Getty Museum’s permanent collection of drawings and watercolors, includes several important recent acquisitions, including works by Francesco Guardi and Richard Parkes Bonington.

Claude-Joseph Vernet, The Entrance to the Grotto at Posillipo, ca. 1750; pen and brown ink with brown and gray wash over black chalk, 34 × 49 cm (Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 97.GG.53).

“For many, Italy represented—and still represents today—a stunningly lush treasure of scenic wonder, with picturesque ancient sculptures, historic buildings, and dramatic landscapes,” says Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “This exhibition bears witness to the long-standing love affair that artists have had with the country of Italy.”

Italy—a collection of city-states until unification in the 1800s—has captured the imagination of artists for centuries, yet interest in the country peaked in the 1700s, when the region became a prime destination for wealthy travelers embarking on the Grand Tour from England, France, the Netherlands, Germany, and beyond. Artists journeying with them or working for them used pencil, ink, and watercolor to capture celebrated views and preserve vivid memories, creating works that encapsulate the essence and spirit of Italy.

Italian natives such as Guardi, Canaletto, and Giovanni Battista Lusieri responded to the tourist demand for souvenirs by crafting their own masterpieces. Guardi’s A Regatta on the Grand Canal (about 1778), a recent acquisition for the Getty, conveys with freshness and spontaneity the lively atmosphere of the annual gondola race (regatta) in Venice. The finish line is at left and spectators crowd the balconies of the nearby Palazzo Balbi, while the water bustles with decorated gondolas.

Further south, the Bay of Naples was another favorite destination of Grand Tourists. Lusieri’s huge, nearly nine-foot wide panorama, A View of the Bay of Naples (about 1791) is meticulously executed in tiny detail with watercolor. It was painted over a period of two years from the residence of Sir William Hamilton, the British envoy to the court of Naples, who commissioned it for his London home. The view looks towards the Capo di Posillipo and the so-called grotto there, a feat of ancient-Roman engineering.

Other highlights include sketches of enchanting sites with plunging perspectives through the rich Italian countryside, capriccio scenes caught between fantasy and reality, studies of ancient ruins, Roman landmarks and lauded works of art, and views of the most picturesque and awe-inspiring sights that Italy has to offer.

During his only visit to Venice, two years prior to his death at age 25 from tuberculosis, Richard Parkes Bonington made numerous pencil sketches and a handful of oil and watercolor studies of the city. The jewel-like Riva degli Schiavoni, from near San Biagio, Venice (1826) emphasizes his renowned ability to capture the effects of calm water and dramatic cloud formations in watercolor. This match of subject and media helped to make the magical atmosphere of the city the real subject of his work. “The extraordinary character of Italian cityscapes and landscapes pushed artists to the limits of their potential,” says Julian Brooks, senior curator of drawings at the J. Paul Getty Museum. “To render them effectively, the choices of media and technique became crucial.”

The Lure of Italy: Artists’ Views is curated by Brooks, with the assistance of Annie Correll, graduate intern in the Department of Drawings. The exhibition is presented in conjunction with Eyewitness Views: Making History in Eighteenth-Century Europe (9 May — 30 July 2017) on view in the Special Exhibitions Pavilion at the J. Paul Getty Museum.

The exhibition checklist is available as a PDF file here»

S E L E L E C T E D  P R O G R A M M I N G

Peter Björn Kerber, Venice vs. Rome: A Capital Contest
Saturday, May 13, 3:00pm
Pitting gilded gondolas against sumptuous coaches, Venice and Rome sought to surpass each other in staging the eighteenth century’s most spectacular festivals and celebrations. Peter Bjorn Kerber, curator of the exhibition Eyewitness Views: Making History in Eighteenth-Century Europe, explores the pictures Canaletto, Panini, and other leading painters produced to record these dazzling occasions.

Julian Brooks, The Bumpy Road to Beautiful Italy
Sunday, June 4, 3:00pm
With one eye on the practicalities and perils of travel in Italy in past centuries, Julian Brooks, senior curator of drawings at the Getty, discusses some of the works of art made by visitors to the country, and how they responded to—and fueled—the lure of Italy.

From The Getty Shop:

Julian Brooks, The Lure of Italy: Artists’ Views (Los Angeles: Getty Publications, 2017), 96 pages, ISBN: 978  160606  5198, $20.

For centuries Italy has fascinated travelers and artists. From the crumbling ruins of ancient Rome to the crystal-clear light of Venice, artists have found inspiration not only in the cities but also in the countryside and in the deep history and culture. From as early as the 1500s, artists visiting from France, England, the Netherlands, and Germany drew sketches to preserve vivid memories, often creating work of extraordinary atmosphere and beauty in the process. A growing number of tourists in the subsequent centuries fueled a further demand for souvenir views, spurring local artists to craft their own masterpieces.
This lovely book is a narrated assemblage of some of these beautiful views, which transport the reader effortlessly to Italy, rekindling memories, setting intentions, or provoking curiosity. The text provides new insights into the topographical renditions of Italian scenes over the centuries, while compelling illustrations of works from the Getty collection by artists such as Richard Parkes Bonington, J. M. W. Turner, Claude Lorrain, Giovanni Battista Lusieri, Canaletto, and many more capture the essence and spirit of Italy.

Julian Brooks is senior curator and head of the Department of Drawings at the J. Paul Getty Museum, where he has organized and co-organized numerous exhibitions. Among his many publications are Andrea del Sarto: The Renaissance Workshop in Action (Getty Publications, 2015) and Master Drawings Close-Up (Getty Publications, 2010).






Getty Research Institute Director Thomas Gaehtgens to Retire in 2018

Posted in museums by Editor on May 12, 2017

Press release (9 May 2017) from The Getty:

The J. Paul Getty Trust announced today that Thomas W. Gaehtgens, director of the Getty Research Institute, will retire in early spring 2018 after more than a decade of leading one of the world’s foremost institutions for art historical research. After his retirement, Gaehtgens, who is 77, will return to Germany, where he plans to continue to write and conduct independent research.

“Thomas Gaehtgens’s international standing as a leading scholar has enabled him to significantly broaden the vision and reputation of the Getty Research Institute,” said James Cuno, president and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust. “The GRI has always been known as one of the world’s largest and finest arts and architecture libraries, but under Thomas’s leadership the GRI has become a robust, international center of original scholarship. In addition to groundbreaking exhibitions and publications, Thomas’s commitment to the digitization of the GRI’s collection, and his enthusiasm for open access tools and research databases, has put the GRI, and by extension the Getty, at the forefront of the digital humanities. He is an energizing and inspiring leader who has created a culture of collaboration and spearheaded tremendous growth in research, collecting and innovating at the GRI. I’m grateful to him for his contribution and I know we will all miss him.”

Since becoming director of the Getty Research Institute (GRI) in 2007 Gaehtgens has overseen a dramatic expansion in the Institute’s research projects, scholars department, exhibitions program, and digital initiatives in addition to the robust growth of the GRI’s Special Collections. One of his important accomplishments was to move the GRI from an institution focused primarily on Western art to one with a more global approach, supporting collaborations with Chinese, Japanese, Indian, African, and above all Latin American institutions.

Under his stewardship, the GRI acquired many significant collections of archival material relating to art and architecture, including the archives of important artists, architects, art historians, dealers, curators, and scholars. Max Lieberman, Kathe Kollwitz, Man Ray, Robert Mapplethorpe, Harmony Hammond, Frederick Hammersley, Harry Smith, Lewis Baltz, Allan Sekula, Barbara T. Smith, and Ed Ruscha are among the many artists now represented in the GRI’s special collections. Architects in the collection now include John Lautner, Ray Kappe, Welton Beckett, and most recently Frank Gehry, whose archive was acquired in 2017. Dealer archives acquired under his tenure include the tremendously important Knoedler Gallery archives, which chronicles the flow of Western art between Europe and the US throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. Recently, the GRI acquired the archive of the notable Margo Leavin Gallery. Scholar/writer/curator archives are an especially important collecting area, with archives from Svetlana Alpers, Annette Michelson, Ada Louise Huxtable, and Thomas Hines recently added to the GRI’s  collections.

Among these acquisitions, the Harald Szeemann Archive and Library, acquired in 2011, stands out for its sheer scale (it is more than 1,500 linear feet of archival documents and photographs) and its great art historical significance. As the largest single archival collection ever acquired by the Getty Research Institute, the Harald Szeemann Archive and Library is the massive collection of letters, papers, books, and research of the most famous curator of the post-World War II era, who was an ardent advocate of modern and contemporary art, from Dada, surrealism, and futurism, to conceptualism, postminimalism, performance art, and new forms of installation and video art. It is this essential resource for the study of 20th century art and art history that will cap Gaehtgens’ time at the Getty Research Institute; he will stay at the GRI to oversee the completion of the bulk of the digitization and organization of the archive and the presentation of the major scholarly exhibition derived from Szeemann’s archive presented at the GRI in 2018.

“It has been an outstanding privilege to serve for so many years the philanthropic mission of the Getty, as the donor himself expressed it, to extend ‘the advancement of knowledge and appreciation of the fine art’ at this unique ensemble of collaborating institutions,” said Gaehtgens. “There is no way I could express my gratitude to the Trustees for their confidence and to the whole Getty community, this exceptionally devoted, lively and multilingual staff. And I would like to acknowledge the members of the GRI council who were so wonderfully supportive during my tenure.”

“Of course, I especially want to praise my colleagues at the GRI, for participating and sharing with me 10 years of unforgettable common adventures and accomplishments in a spirit of energetic advancement and serene collegiality,” Gaehtgens continued. “I will miss my Getty colleagues in Berlin. But I am sure we will stay in contact to continue our scholarly exchanges and keep the grown friendship alive. ”

Gaehtgens transformed the GRI from an institution that primarily hosted scholars to one that employs its major resources to advance an exceptionally active scholarly program and supports staff to participate in projects and publications. In recent years GRI’s scholar program—with themes such as ‘Connecting Seas’, ‘Display of Art’, ‘Art and Anthropology’, ‘Art and Materiality’, and ‘Object, Value, Canon’—has attracted an unexpectedly high number of applications, opened a new field of research, and often inspired other institutions internationally. In 2009 Gaehtgens directed the creation of the Getty Research Journal, an annual publication by the Getty Research Institute that presents scholarship by members of the GRI’s research community. Featuring the work of established and emerging art historians, museum curators, and conservators from around the world, the articles present original research related to the Getty’s collections, initiatives, and projects. Shorter texts highlight acquisitions and tools for scholarship under development at the Getty. In addition to the Getty Research Journal, the GRI publishes about 10 art historical books and exhibition catalogs a year.

Digital initiatives have been especially important to Gaehtgens in his time at the Getty. In 2011 the GRI launched the Getty Research Portal, which offers free access to the world’s art libraries. The GRI has also created the Scholars’ Workspace, a digital tool for art historical collaboration and publication. The GRI further leads the way in online provenance research and provides widely used tools such as the Getty Vocabularies in linked-open data. And hundreds of thousands of GRI images and publications are available online through the GRI’s standard-setting open access practices.

Since the Getty Center opened in 1997, the Getty Research Institute galleries have presented a robust  schedule of exhibitions drawn from or relating to the GRI’s collections. In 2013, Gaehtgens oversaw the addition of a larger gallery in the Getty Research Institute, tripling the GRI’s exhibition space. In recent years, the GRI exhibitions program has also expanded to include off-site exhibitions, traveling exhibitions, and collaborations with other institutions, including the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Getty Conservation Institute. Last year, the GRI collaborated with the Getty Conservation Institute to present Cave Temples of Dunhuang: Buddhist Art on China’s Silk Road, which featured life-size recreations of the caves of Magao as well as rare international loans such as the Diamond Sutra.

Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A., 1945–1980, an unprecedented multi-institution collaboration launched in 2011, established the Getty, and especially the Getty Research Institute, as leading experts in 20th-century Los Angeles art. The subsequent Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A. was made possible by the Getty Research Institute’s unparalleled collections and research on Los Angeles architecture. And the upcoming Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA positions the Getty and the GRI at the forefront of new scholarship on Latin American art from the ancient to the contemporary. The GRI will participate with four exhibitions, one of which, Golden Kingdoms: Luxury and Legacy in the Ancient Americas, together with the Getty Museum and the Metropolitan Museum in New York, got Gaehtgens’s special support. The exhibition is dedicated to the Pre-Columbian period and will provide new ways of thinking about materials, luxury, and the visual arts in a global perspective.

An international search for a new director of the Getty Research Institute will be conducted by the J. Paul Getty Trust.

About Thomas Gaehtgens
Thomas W. Gaehtgens received his doctorate in 1966 at the Institute of Art History at the Universität Bonn and his habilitation in 1972 at the Universität Göttingen. In 1979, he was a Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton. Between 1980 and 2006 he served as professor at the Freie Universität in Berlin. He was a Getty Scholar at the J. Paul Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities, Santa Monica, from 1985 to 1986. In 1992, he organized the 26th International Congress of Art History in Berlin and served as the president of the Comité International d’Histoire de l’Art (CIHA) from 1992 to 1996. Professor Gaehtgens taught at the Collège de France in 1995 and held the position of European Chair at the Collège de France between 1998 and 1999. He was director of the Deutsches Forum für Kunstgeschichte/Centre allemand d’histoire de l’art in Paris, an organization he founded in 1997. In 2004, he received an honorary doctorate at the Courtauld Institute of Art. Since 2007, he has been the director of the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. Professor Gaehtgens was awarded the Grand Prix de l’Académie Française pour la Francophonie in 2009. In 2011, he received an honorary doctorate from the Paris-Sorbonne, and was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In recognition of his influential scholarship, Gaehtgens was awarded the prestigious Prix Mondial Cino del Duca 2015 by the Institut de France. His research interests include eighteenth- to twentieth-century French and German art history, as well as the history of the museum.

Summary of Publications by Thomas Gaehtgens
Versailles als Nationaldenkmal (1984); with Jacques Lugand, Joseph-Marie Vien: Peintre du Roi (1988); Anton von Werner: Die Proklamierung des Deutschen Kaiserreiches, ein Historienbild im Wandel preußischer Politik (1990); Die Berliner Museumsinsel im Deutschen Kaiserreich: Zur Kulturpolitik der Museen in der wilhelminischen Epoche (1992); with Krzystof Pomian, Le XVIIIe siècle (1998); L’art sans frontières, Paris-Berlin: Les relations artistiques franco-allemandes (1999); and L’art, l’histoire, l’histoire de l’art (2011). He has also edited a wide range of books and authored many articles about French and German history of art from the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries and is currently completing a book manuscript on the shelling of Reims cathedral and the intellectual conflict between Germany and France during the First World War.




Conference | The Country House Revived?

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on May 12, 2017

From the conference programme:

The 15th Annual Historic Houses Conference: The Country House Revived?
Dublin Castle, 19–21 June 2017

The focus of this conference is the survival and revival of historic houses in Ireland, the UK, and Europe in the course of the last fifty years. Across Europe increasing numbers of houses are opening their doors to the public, presenting and interpreting their histories in imaginative ways, looking to engage with local communities, and to diversify in terms of commercial activities. This holds true for houses in private ownership as well as for those in the guardianship of national heritage organisations, local authorities, or other bodies. Historic houses and their landscapes are uniquely poised to take advantage of international and domestic trends in cultural tourism and heritage learning. The historic house in all its manifestations remains a constant feature in the curriculum, from scholarly study to heritage, conservation, and management training, and the creative arts. The enduring relevance of the historic house is also defined by its role as an important economic driver at local, regional, and national levels.

Growing numbers of houses are engaging in numerous ways with the external world as opposed to feeling beleaguered and retreating behind closed doors. How do we assess this recent history? Every house operates under its own unique circumstances, influenced by governance, ownership, funding, scholarly investigation, national trends, or other factors. There is no single model for historic houses: each one makes different choices for creating a sustainable future. There are many definitions of the concept of ‘revival’. The Country House Revived? is aimed at a wide audience of owners, scholars, students, heritage professionals, policy makers, and the many people with a general interest in the built heritage. Papers will examine a variety of topics and perspectives from across Europe, comparing issues and experiences that have affinities as well as contrasts. The conference will also explore ways in which this sector of the built heritage can foster future collaborative activity.

Accompanying the conference will be a photographic exhibition illustrating a variety of houses from across Ireland, the UK, and Europe, and chronicling their recent past.

More information is available here»

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M O N D A Y ,  1 9  J U N E  2 0 1 7

11.00  Registration and Coffee

12.00  Welcome and Introduction

12.30  The Wider View 1
• Ben Cowell, Historic Houses Association
• Loyd Grossman, Heritage Alliance Speaker, Europa Nostra, TBC

13.45  Lunch

14.30  Case Studies 1
• John Munro, Ledreborg, Denmark
• Terezia Bardi, Esterhazy Palace, Hungary
• Elyze Storms-Smeets, Houses of Gelderland, Netherlands
• James Hervey Bathurst, Eastnor Castle, Herefordshire

15.45  Tea

16.15  Case Studies 2
• Stephanos Germenis, Blatna, Czech Republic
• Claudius Wecke, Branitz Castle and Park, Germany
• Hilary McGrady, Clandon Park and the National Trust
• Dorothea Depner, Castletown House, Co Kildare

17.30  Break

17.45  Terence Dooley, Reflections on the Historic Irish House Today

18.45  Tour and Reception, Dublin Castle

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

9.00  Coffee

9.30  Case Studies 3
• Koen de Vlieger-de Wilde, Kasteel d’Ursel, Belgium
• Balazs Banyai, Nadasdy House, Hungary
• Friederike Drinkuth, Country Houses in Mecklenberg Western-Pomerania
• Petr Svoboda, Uholicky, Czech Republic

10.45  Coffee

11.15  The Wider View 2
• Annie Tindley, Scottish Country Houses
• Kevin Baird, Irish Heritage Trust
• Rodolphe de Looz-Corswarem, European Historic Houses Association Speaker, European Cultural Tourism Network, TBC

12.30  Picnic Lunch Farmleigh

14.00  Depart for Castletown House

14.45  Tour of Castletown House

16.00  Ways and Means, Ireland
• Julian Gaisford St Lawrence, Irish Historic Houses Association
• Charles Colthurst, Blarney Castle, Co Cork
• Martin Colreavy, DAHRRG

17.15  Reception

18.15  Depart for Maynooth University

18.45  Tour of Pugin Buildings, Maynooth University

19.30  Dinner, Pugin Hall

22.00  Return to Dublin

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

9.00  Coffee

9.30  Ruins, Recovery, and Re-Use
• John Goodall, Country Life Magazine

• Julia Korensky, English Ruins
• Matthew Beckett, England’s Lost Heritage
• Merlin Waterson, Wentworth Woodhouse, Yorkshire

10.45  Coffee

11.15  Case Studies 4
• James Birch, Doddington Hall, Lincolnshire
• Britta Andersen, Gammel Estrup, Denmark
• Alexandre de Vogue, Vaux-le-Vicomte
• Frances Bailey, National Trust, Northern Ireland

12.30 Lunch

13.45  Scholarship and the Country House
• Martin Postle, Paul Mellon Centre, London
• David Adshead, Attingham Trust
• Leo Schmidt, BTU Cottbus, Germany
• Myles Campbell, Office of Public Works

15.00  Tea

15.30  Christopher Ridgway, How Stands the Country House Now?

16.15  Closing Remarks







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