Exhibition | The Treasury Collection: Works by Maria Sibylla Merian

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on May 18, 2017

Now on view at the Cromhouthuis (with thanks to Hélène Bremer for noting it and the related symposium). . .

The Treasury Collection: Works by Maria Sibylla Merian
Cromhouthuis, Amsterdam, 31 March — 18 June 2017

This year is the 300th anniversary of the death of naturalist and artist Maria Sibylla Merian (1647–1717). On view at the Cromhouthuis, The Treasury Collection: Works by Maria Sibylla Merian features her colourful paintings and illustrations of caterpillars, butterflies, and other insects. This valuable and fragile collection is part of the Artis Library Collection from the University of Amsterdam.

Maria Sibylla Merian was born in Frankfurt in 1647 and moved to Amsterdam in 1691. Merian was an independent woman with modern ideas that she carried over into her research as a naturalist. For example, she felt it was important to see the creatures she was researching in their natural environment. This conviction lay at the basis of her journey to Surinam where she worked on her most well-known book, Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium. The focus of this richly illustrated work, just as in her book Raupen wunderbare Verwandlung, is the metamorphosis of caterpillar to butterfly. The exhibition illustrates beautifully how Merian worked on the interface between art and science.

The exhibition was designed by Florian Seyd and Ueli Signer from The Wunderkammer. They took their inspiration from the antique books and original prints in the collection of the Artis Library (UvA) and combined this with specimens and objects from nature. British writer Redmond O’Hanlon made a special audio guide for the exhibition, available for free at the entrance.

To commemorate the 300th anniversary of the death of Merian, the Maria Sibylla Merian Society is holding an international symposium on her work, 7–9 June. The exhibition—a collaboration between Artis Library, the University of Amsterdam, and the Amsterdam Museum—is part of the symposium programme.




Conference | Maria Sibylla Merian

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on May 18, 2017

From the conference website and programme:

Maria Sibylla Merian Conference
Amsterdam, June 7–9 June 2017

Maria Sibylla Merian (1647–1717) is one of the more intriguing figures of scientific, artistic, and commercial culture of the early modern period. Born in Frankfurt and later based in Nuremberg, Wieuwerd, and Amsterdam, her scientific interest in entomology led her eventually to Surinam, where, as in Europe, she studied the metamorphoses of insects in their natural habitat. She translated her minute observations into powerful artistic representations that still attract the attention of many scholars, such as biologists, art historians, and science historians. Modern artists and novelists also find inspiration in her work and life.

The aim of the conference is to bring together new research and projects relating to Maria Sibylla Merian. With her life and work as a focal point this conference will also explore topics that relate to Merian from a broader perspective, such as the religious context of her work, early modern book production, Merian’s social network, Surinam as a colony, and entomological research.

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

12.00  Registration and coffee

12.50  Introduction

13.00  Welcome from Karen Maex, Rector Magnificus, University of Amsterdam (TBC)

13.10  Redmond O’Hanlon, Maria, the Jungle and Bird-Eating Spiders

13.40  Kay Etheridge (Gettysburg College, Pennsylvannia), A Biologist to the Bone

14.20  Kate Heard (Royal Collection, London), ‘One of the Most Curious Performances … That Ever Was Published’: Merian in the Royal Collection

15.00  Tea break

15.30  Kurt Wettengl (TU, Dortmund), Merian’s Launch Pad

16.15  Henrietta McBurney (Art curator and author, Cambridge), The Influence of Merian’s Work on the Art and Science of Mark Catesby

T H U R S D A Y ,  8  J U N E  2 0 1 7

8.30  Registration and coffee

8.50  Introduction

9.00  Welcome from José van Dijk, President of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and Distinguished University Professor, Utrecht University

9.10  George McGavin (Research Associate of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History), Endless Forms Most Beautiful and Most Wonderful

9.50  Katarina Schmidt-Loske (Research Center of Historical Biology – Biohistoricum — at the Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig, Leibniz-Institute for Animal Biodiversity, Bonn), Pupa, Chrysalis, and Cocoon

10.30  Coffee break

11.00  Alicia Montoya (Radboud University, Nijmegen), Maria Sibylla Merian’s Eighteenth-Century Readers: The Evidence from Library Auction Catalogues, 1700–1800

11.40  Anja Grebe (Danube University, Krems), Changing the Discourse of Science: New Insights on Maria Sibylla Merian’s Impact on Entomology in Nuremberg and Beyond

12.20  Lunch break

13.50  Parallel Sessions | Biology and Art
• Yulia Dunaeva (Russian Academy of Science, St. Petersburg), Using Merian’s Books to Determine Zoological Specimens from the Kunstkamera Collection
• Carin Grabowski (Humboldt University, Berlin), Between Faithfulness and Construction: Re-assessing Merian’s Oeuvre
• Berit Møller (Conservator at the Royal Danish Collections), A Close Study of 50 Merian Paintings
• Jaya Remond (Max Planck Institute, Berlin), Seeing Nature Up Close: Composing Exotic Botanical Imagery in Northern Europe ca. 1600–1700

13.50  Parallel Sessions | Network
• Liesbeth Missel (Curator Wageningen University Library), Merian, Alida Withoos, and Agnes Block: An Oral Network of Scientists, Artists, and the Elite
• Christine Sauer (Stadtbibliothek Nürnberg), Painting Flowers with Needles
• Florence Pieters (Former Curator Artis Library, UvA), Maria Sibylla Merian’s Additions to alba amicorum
• Bert van de Roemer (University of Amsterdam), Merian’s Amsterdam Network

15.10  Tea Break

15.40  Parallel Sessions | History of Books and Collections
• Marieke van Delft (Curator Royal Library, The Hague), Surviving Copies of Merian’s 1705 Edition of Metamorphosis
• Leslie Overstreet (Curator Smithsonian Libraries), The Editions of Merian’s Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium
• Peter Kristiansen (Curator at the Royal Danish Collections), The Merian Drawings at Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen
• Hans Mulder (Curator Artis Library, UvA), Who Printed the Texts of Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium and Der rupsen begin, voedzel en wonderbaare verandering?

15.40  Parallel Sessions | Biography and Context
• Joris Bürmann (École normale supérieure, Paris), Maria Sibylla Merian at l’Église du Seigneur: A New Light on the Wieuwerd Context
• Amanda Pipkin (University of North Carolina), God’s Handiwork: Searching for Herbs and Insects on the Moors of Friesland
• Rose Marie Tillisch (University of Copenhagen), Garden of Eden: Depicted by Hildegard von Bingen (1098–1179) and Maria Sibylla Merian (1647–1717)
• Margot Lölhöffel (Nürnberg), Maria Sibylla Gräffin, née Merianin: Starting a Career in Nuremberg?

17.15  Drinks

19.00  Conference Dinner (Allard Pierson Museum)

F R I D A Y ,  9  J U N E  2 0 1 7

9.00  Registration and coffee

9.15  Erik de Jong (Artis-chair University of Amsterdam), Biophilia and Beauty in the Work of Maria Sibylla Merian

9.45  Group division and walk

10.00  Rotating Groups
• Artis Butterfly Garden
• Joos van de Plas, How Merian’s Legacy Influenced my Art Work
• Anita Walsmit Sachs, Science Meets Art, Art Meets Science

11.30  Lunch

12.00  Rotating Groups
• Artis Butterfly Garden
• Joos van de Plas, How Merian’s Legacy Influenced my Art Work
• Anita Walsmit Sachs, Science Meets Art, Art Meets Science

The program will also include a tour through Merian’s Amsterdam with Dirk Tang and a visit to the Merian exhibition at the Cromhouthuis (Amsterdam Museum).







Call for Papers | Furniture and the Domestic Interior, 1500–1915

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on May 18, 2017

From the Call for Papers:

Furniture and the Domestic Interior, 1500–1915
The Frick Collection, New York, 27 October 2017

Proposals due by 18 June 2017

The Furniture History Society and The Frick Collection invite submissions from PhD students, post-doctorates, and emerging museum scholars for a symposium dedicated to the history of furniture and interiors in Europe, Britain, and the United States. Furniture and the Domestic Interior, 1500–1915 is the Furniture History Society’s fourth Research Seminar, following previous academic events at the Wallace Collection in London (2015, 2012) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (2014).

This event aims to present current research by scholars at an early stage of their career on subjects in European and British furniture history. Topics relevant to the Frick’s distinguished collection of European furniture or Gilded Age setting are encouraged, as are those that have a particular focus on the history and influence of European furniture in the United States, either through design, manufacture, commissions, or collecting. In addition to presenting their work, participants will have the opportunity to study furniture in the Frick’s permanent collection with curatorial and conservation staff and discuss ongoing research in a seminar setting.

Applicants are requested to send a current CV and 300-word abstract outlining the topic of a 20-minute paper to grants@furniturehistorysociety.org and academic@frick.org by June 18, 2017. Limited assistance with travel expenses may be available on an as-needed basis; please describe any requests in the abstract. All applicants will be notified by July 11, 2017. The symposium is free, but online registration is required.

Cincinnati Receives $11.75million for Bimel Asian Art Endowment

Posted in museums by Editor on May 18, 2017

Press release (16 May 2017) from the Cincinnati Art Museum:

A Royal Couple and Women of the Court Playing Holi, ca. 1760, Mughal period, Mughal/India; opaque watercolor, gold, and silver on paper (Cincinnati Museum of Art, 1986.1174).

A landmark $11.75 million gift to the Cincinnati Art Museum to establish the Alice Bimel Endowment for Asian Art was announced at the museum’s 137th Annual Meeting of the Shareholders of the Cincinnati Museum Association on May 15. The largest single monetary gift in the museum’s history, the endowment will enhance collections in the arts of South Asia, Greater Iran, and Afghanistan.

During their lifetimes, the Bimels developed a fascination with South Asian art of all periods and extended their interests to include the regions of Greater Iran and Afghanistan. Their gifts to the Cincinnati Art Museum followed closely their own art collecting, study, and travel interests. In sum, Alice and Carl Bimel generously donated more than $14 million in addition to significant collection objects to the museum.

“It would be impossible to express in full our gratitude for what Carl and Alice Bimel have given to the public through their museum. The Bimels’ act of immense generosity will advance a key area of study that is immeasurably important and highly relevant in contemporary society. The Bimels gave countless volunteer hours, support and collections while they were with us. Now they add their vision to the future,” said Cameron Kitchin, the Louis and Louise Dieterle Nippert Director of the museum.

Newly appointed Curator of South Asian Art, Islamic Art and Antiquities, Dr. Ainsley Cameron, adds, “The opportunity to build an ambitious collection in a public museum today is rare. Alice and Carl Bimel have made that possible for Cincinnati. With this endowment, we can create an exceptional collection, one that represents the vibrancy and vitality prevalent in the arts of the region, from both the historic period and the contemporary.”

Alice and her husband, Carl, were longtime supporters of the museum who, with their passing, left a legacy of philanthropy. Alice died in 2008 and Carl in 2013. Alice was a Cincinnati Art Museum volunteer for more than 40 years, and was a member of the first docent class in 1960. In 1972, she was the first woman named to the museum’s board of trustees. She was one of the principal volunteers assisting with the museum’s fundraising efforts before the Development department was established in the fall of 1981. Alice was passionate about art and fiercely committed to the excellence of the Cincinnati Art Museum. She has been described as “thoughtful, energetic, patrician and deeply caring.” Former director Millard Rogers said in 1990: “Alice Bimel represents all the good qualities of volunteerism. She has provided many firsts through her insight and creativity; she is a worker as well as a leader, and has continued to be active long after others with less dedication and perseverance have quit.”

The Bimels traveled extensively throughout Asia. They collected miniature paintings and other South Asian works of art which are now in the Cincinnati Art Museum’s permanent collection, and also provided support for the purchase of acquisitions in other regions represented in the Art Museum’s Asian collections.

In 2004, the Cincinnati Art Museum dedicated its courtyard in honor of Alice in recognition of a major gift. Other gifts included endowing several galleries in honor of Alice and their daughters Carlyn and Natalie.   The Bimel family has previously provided more than $2 million in other endowments and gifts to the Cincinnati Art Museum since 1977. In 1998, Carl and Alice Bimel gifted the museum a 9th-century carved stone pillar from the Pala dynasty depicting a Serpent King and Queen. In 2008 the Art Museum celebrated a gift of Indian paintings from the Bimels that included exquisite works of art created in the 17th and 18th centuries at the royal Hindu courts of Rajasthan and the Punjab Hills. This gift enhanced the collection of courtly and sacred Indian paintings, most of which were given by the Bimels over many years. In 2006, Alice was awarded the Cincinnati Art Museum’s George Rieveschl Medal for Distinguished Service.


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