Exhibition | Napoleon the Strategist

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on April 26, 2018

From the press release for the exhibition:

Napoleon the Strategist / Napoléon stratège
Musée de l’Armée, Paris, 6 April — 22 July 2018

Following on from the presentation of Napoleon’s political vision with the 2013 exhibition Napoleon and Europe and an exploration in 2016 of his fall and his legend with Napoleon in Saint Helena: His Fight for His Story, in spring 2018 the Musée de l’Armée will tackle another aspect of the history of Napoleon, whose skills as a ‘military genius’ are universally recognised.

Any examination of Napoleon the strategist has to start by defining the notion of strategy and how it evolved. For it was in Napoleon’s time that the notion became inextricably linked to power and the abilities of the person wields it. The word ‘strategy’ emerged in the military world, gradually taking on the meaning and form that are now applied more broadly to politics, the economy, finance, and communications. The idea behind the exhibition is therefore to train the spotlight on strategy, the intangible expression of Napoleonic thinking where the skill lies in mastering a vast range of parameters and their interactions. The exhibition will draw on maps, documents illustrating the master strategist’s deliberations, and objects—vestiges, symbols and representations of historical facts—that embody the tangible reality that strategic thinking seeks to control.

To ensure that the theme is as widely accessible as possible, Napoleon’s role will be illustrated in the context of his era, including a description of his education, abilities, and the means available to him and to his enemies. The exhibition sets out to show the strategist at work, explain the issues at stakes and how campaigns progressed, and get to the heart of the action to analyse his most famous battles, defeats as well as victories.

Although the new event is separate from the permanent collection galleries devoted to the Revolution and the Empire, it contributes to them with a complementary viewpoint. Multimedia tools will offer an immersive experience to help visitors grasp what is an abstract and complex notion. The permanent galleries will feature new digital installations providing a more narrative and explanatory approach to Napoleon’s strategic ideas. Visitors will be able to move freely between these two approaches. The visit continues on the Invalides site with an exploration of the Dome church, home to Napoleon’s tomb.

François Lagrange and Émilie Robbe, eds., Napoléon stratège (Paris: Lienart, 2018), 296 pages, ISBN: 978-2359062328, 29€.

New Book | European Porcelain in the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Posted in books, catalogues by Editor on April 25, 2018

Distributed by Yale UP:

Jeffrey Munger, with an essay by Elizabeth Sullivan, European Porcelain in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2018), 288 pages, ISBN: 9781588396433, $65.

The quest to discover the process of making porcelain was one of the defining aspects of post-Renaissance Europe, and it had significant artistic, technical, and commercial ramifications. This beautifully illustrated book showcases ninety works, spanning the late 16th to the mid-19th century, and reflecting the major currents of European porcelain production. Each work is shown in glorious new photography, accompanied by analysis and interpretation by one of the leading experts in European decorative arts. Featuring blue-and-white wares from Italy, rare examples of German Meissen, French Sèvres, British Chelsea porcelain, and much more, this is a long-overdue survey of the greatest porcelain treasures from The Met’s vast collection.

Jeffrey H. Munger is former curator, and Elizabeth Sullivan is former associate research curator, both in the Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Exhibition | France Viewed from the Grand Siècle

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on April 24, 2018

Now on view at the Louvre:

France Viewed from the Grand Siècle: Drawings by Israël Silvestre (1621–1691)
Musée du Louvre, Paris, 15 March — 25 June 2018

Curated by Bénédicte Gady and Juliette Trey

While Israël Silvestre’s engravings circulated widely, his drawings remain relatively unknown. The Musée du Louvre is home to a remarkable collection of them, to be shown to the public for the first time.

After training as an engraver under Jacques Callot, Israel Silvestre very quickly turned to the cityscape. Small and picturesque, his early ‘views’ were of his native Nancy and the cities he passed through on the several journeys he made between Paris and Rome. By contrast, his mature works offer broad panoramas of the French capital, with its royal festivities and the changes it was undergoing, and outlines of the cities conquered by Louis XIV in Lorraine and the Ardennes. In addition, his series devoted to the handsome Ile-de-France châteaux—Vaux-le-Vicomte, Meudon, Montmorency, Versailles—brought a fresh eye to architecture and gardens.

The exhibition is organized by Bénédicte Gady and Juliette Trey of the Department of Prints and Drawings, Musée du Louvre.

Benedicte Gady and Juliette Trey, La France vue du Grand Siècle: Dessins d’Israël Silvestre (1621–1691) (Paris: Lienart, 2018), 208 pages, ISBN: 978-2359062311, 29€.

Call for Papers | Excess! at UAAC

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on April 24, 2018

Along with the HECAA session at this year’s UAAC Conference, readers may be interested in this panel organized by Ersy Contogouris and Marie-Ève Marchand. Details and a full list of panels (68 in all) are available here»

Excess! | Universities Art Association of Canada
Department of Fine Arts, University of Waterloo, Ontario, 25–27 October 2018

Proposals due by 1 May 2018

As a transgression of a norm that is culturally contingent, excess has tended to be condemned in the West as a moral failing. Yet, it can also be a strategy for empowerment, agency, and creativity (Skelly, 2017, 2014; Potvin & Myzelev 2009). And though it often manifests itself as overabundance, its counterpart—including vacuum, censorship, or prohibition—can also be a form of excess. This panel seeks to investigate different manifestations of excess in visual art and material culture. At what point does ‘a lot’ becomes ‘too much’? Are there degrees of excess (a moderate vs. an excessive excess)? Who decides? What are the emotional, visual, environmental, conceptual, or other modalities, effects, and responses to excess? What are the gendered, sexualized, racialized, geographical, cultural, class-specific, or other valences of excess? And how can some mediums or materials in themselves be markers of excess? We welcome explorations into these and other displays of excess in art and design from historians, curators, and practitioners. Submissions for presentations in French or English should include an abstract (of up to 300 words) and a short biobibliography (of up to 150 words) and should be sent to Ersy Contogouris (ersy.contogouris@umontreal.ca) and Marie-Ève Marchand (marie- eve.marchan@mail.concordia.ca) using the form available as a PDF file here. For more information, please contact the session organizers.

Exhibition | Slaves of Fashion: New Works by The Singh Twins

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on April 23, 2018

Now on view at the Walker Art Gallery:

Slaves of Fashion: New Works by The Singh Twins
Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, 19 January — 20 May 2018
Wolverhampton Art Gallery, 21 July — 16 September 2018

Slaves of Fashion: New Works by The Singh Twins explores the history of Indian textiles, Empire, enslavement and luxury consumerism, and the contemporary relevance of these issues in the world today. Focusing on the relationship between Britain and India, hidden details of Europe’s colonial past and its legacies are uncovered, including current debates around ethical trade and responsible consumerism.

The exhibition showcases almost 20 new artworks by the internationally-renowned artists, Amrit and Rabindra Singh. Primarily known for their entirely hand-painted work in the Indian miniature tradition, The Singh Twins’ new work combines traditional hand-painting techniques with digitally created imagery. The series includes 11 digital fabric artworks displayed on lightboxes, with each one highlighting a different theme relating to India’s textile industry. A further nine paper artworks explore the relationship between trade, conflict, and consumerism in an age of Empire and the modern day. Also included in the exhibition are 40 highlights from over 100 objects across National Museums Liverpool’s collection, which have inspired the exhibition.

This exhibition is a collaboration between National Museums Liverpool, The Singh Twins, and Professor Kate Marsh, University of Liverpool. Slaves of Fashion: New works by The Singh Twins has been developed in partnership with Wolverhampton Art Gallery, and the exhibition will tour to Wolverhampton Art Gallery from 21 July to 16 September 2018.

The artworks in this exhibition reflect the artists’ views, not those of the Walker Art Gallery or National Museums Liverpool

Call for Papers | Artisans of the Surface in Early Modern Europe

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on April 23, 2018

From H-ArtHist:

Artisans of the Surface in Early Modern Europe, 1450–1750
King’s College London, 20–21 September 2018

Proposals due by 8 June 2018

This workshop focuses on the practices of a range of artisans (tailors, barbers, cooks, cheesemakers, gardeners, and agronomists) and their relationships with the fields of meteorology, botany, natural history, medicine, earth sciences, and veterinary medicine. These artisans and their practices shared a set of skills related to the observation and manipulation of human and non-human surfaces. We will explore how, and if, practical knowledge about the surface of things and bodies (and their storage and preservation in relation to specific environmental conditions) led to the concept of nature and matter as composed of layers, and how such a framework contributed to the demise of traditional Galenic and Aristotelian views on nature.

This workshop also aims at getting past the dichotomies between quantitative and qualitative knowledge and between natural philosophy and the arts, and so we intend to broaden the focus to include a set of artisans who have traditionally remained invisible from accounts of this ‘age of the new’. We will explore the many different ways in which ‘modern science’ emerged, the relationships between social and cognitive practices, and the contribution that non-mathematical sciences gave to the mental habits of observing, collecting, experimenting with, and manipulating natural matter.

We welcome proposals, in particular, that address the relationships between gardening, natural history, and medicine; cooking and knowledge; work on animal skin; leatherwork; or veterinary medicine. Proposals (up to 250 words) for 20-minute papers should be sent to Paolo Savoia at renaissanceskin@kcl.ac.uk by 8 June 2018.

New Book | The Queen’s Embroiderer

Posted in books by Editor on April 22, 2018

From Bloomsbury:

Joan DeJean, The Queen’s Embroiderer: A True Story of Paris, Lovers, Swindlers, and the First Stock Market Crisis (London: Bloomsbury, 2018), 400 pages, ISBN: 978-1632864741, £30.

From the author of How Paris Became Paris, a sweeping history of high finance, the origins of high fashion, and a pair of star-crossed lovers in 18th-century France.

Paris, 1719. The stock market is surging and the world’s first millionaires are buying everything in sight. Against this backdrop, two families, the Magoulets and the Chevrots, rose to prominence only to plummet in the first stock market crash. One family built its name on the burgeoning financial industry, the other as master embroiderers for Queen Marie-Thérèse and her husband, King Louis XIV. Both patriarchs were ruthless money-mongers, determined to strike it rich by arranging marriages for their children.

But in a Shakespearean twist, two of their children fell in love. To remain together, Louise Magoulet and Louis Chevrot fought their fathers’ rage and abuse. A real-life heroine, Louise took on Magoulet, Chevrot, the police, an army regiment, and the French Indies Company to stay with the man she loved.

Following these families from 1600 until the Revolution of 1789, Joan DeJean recreates the larger-than-life personalities of Versailles, where displaying wealth was a power game; the sordid cells of the Bastille; the Louisiana territory, where Frenchwomen were forcibly sent to marry colonists; and the legendary ‘Wall Street of Paris’, Rue Quincampoix, a world of high finance uncannily similar to what we know now. The Queen’s Embroiderer is both a story of star-crossed love in the most beautiful city in the world and a cautionary tale of greed and the dangerous lure of windfall profits. And every bit of it is true.

Joan DeJean is Trustee Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of ten books on French literature, history, and material culture, including most recently The Age of Comfort: When Paris Discovered Casual and the Modern Home Began and The Essence of Style: How the French Invented High Fashion, Fine Food, Chic Cafés, Style, Sophistication, and Glamour. She lives in Philadelphia and, when in Paris, on the street where the number 4 bus began service on July 5, 1662.

Symposium | Collecting Murillo in Britain and Ireland

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on April 21, 2018

From The Wallace Collection:

Collecting Murillo in Britain and Ireland
The Wallace Collection, London, 14 May 2018

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, The Annunciation, ca.1665–70 (London: The Wallace Collection, P68).

“Oh wonderful Spain. Think of this romantic land covered in Moorish ruins and full of Murillos.” Benjamin Disraeli’s 1830 letter attests to the prominent of Murillo in the minds British travellers and collectors. In celebration of the 400th anniversary of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo’s birth, the Wallace Collection, in collaboration with the Centro de Estudios Europa Hispanica, will be exploring this further by hosting an international one-day symposium on Monday, 14th May 2018 entitled Collecting Murillo in Britain and Ireland. Speakers include Thierry Morel, Veronique Gerard Powell, Xanthe Brooke, Hugh Brigstocke, Isabelle Kent, Xavier Bray, Claudia Hopkins, Thomas Bean, Hilary Macarney and Philip McEvansoneya. The papers delivered will form the basis of a new volume on the subject which will be published by CEEH.

Registration is available here»


9.30  Registration

9.50  Welcome

10.00  Session 1 | Early Displays of Works by Murillo in Britain
• Thierry Morel (Director and Curator at Large, Hermitage Museum Foundation), Sir Robert Walpole’s Spanish Pictures
• Véronique Gerard Powell (Honorary Senior Lecturer, Sorbonne University), From Lord Godolphin to John Blackwood and Lawrence Dundas: The First British Purchasers of Murillo

11.00  Tea and coffee

11.30  Session 2 | British Collectors in Seville and Madrid
• Xanthe Brooke (Curator of Continental European Art, Walker Art Gallery), Collecting Murillo in Seville: The Case of Julian Benjamin Williams (d.1866) and Frank Hall Standish (1799–1840)
• Hugh Brigstocke (Independent scholar), William Eden: The Discovery of Murillo with his Friends in Spain, Travel and Collecting
• Isabelle Kent (Enriqueta Harris Frankfort Curatorial Assistant, The Wallace Collection), The Curious Case of General Meade (1775–1849): His Collection in Madrid and Its Dissemination

13.00  Break for lunch

14.00  In-Situ Talk in the Great Gallery
• Xavier Bray (Director, The Wallace Collection) and Isabelle Kent, William Buchanan and James Irvine

14.30  Session 3 | Artists and Scholars, Travellers to Spain
• Claudia Hopkins (Lecturer, University of Edinburgh), ‘All Softness’: Murillo through British Artists’ Eyes
• Thomas Bean (Independent scholar), Hand-Book for Travellers in Spain and Richard Ford
• Hilary Macartney (Lecturer, University of Glasgow), Accessing Murillo: Stirling Maxwell’s Contribution to Scholarship, Collecting, and Taste in Britain

16.00  Session 4 | Other Major Collectors
• Philip McEvansoneya (Lecturer, Trinity College Dublin), Collecting and Displaying Murillo in Ireland


Conference | Structuring Fashion: Foundation Garments

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on April 20, 2018

From H-ArtHist and the Bavarian National Museum:

Structuring Fashion: Foundation Garments through History
Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, Munich, 13–14 September 2018

Organised by Johannes Pietsch and Jenny Tiramani

Registration due by 30 June 2018

This conference will focus on undergarments that have shaped fashionable silhouettes. It will cover a broad timespan from the Middle Ages up to the 21st century. Conducted in English, the event will be held in Munich to celebrate a special exhibition and the launch of an exciting new book. The Bayerisches Nationalmuseum preserves the world-famous pair of silk bodies worn by Countess Palatine Dorothea Sabina around 1598. This extremely rare garment will be presented to the public exclusively from September to December 2018, coinciding perfectly with the publication of this pair of bodies in the new volume of the Janet Arnold series Patterns of Fashion 5: The Cut and Construction of Bodies, Stays, Hoops and Rumps, c.1595–1795, presenting over 40 garments in great detail. Internationally renowned experts including Valerie Steele (FIT New York), Alexandra Palmer (ROM Toronto), Peter McNeil (UTS Sydney), Amalia Descalzo (ISEM Madrid), and Denis Bruna (MAD Paris) will be among the speakers of the conference.

Seats are limited to 160 (and only 50 for the excursion), so anyone planning to participate should register soon. Registration ends on 30 June 2018.

T H U R S D A Y ,  1 3  S E P T E M B E R  2 0 1 8

9:30  Morning Session
• Jenny Tiramani, Patterns of Fashion and Un-Fashion
• Beatrix Nutz, ‘Petites mameletes, … Dures comme pumete’: Shaping the Medieval Ideal of Beauty
• Amalia Descalzo Lorenzo, Spanish Artificial Undergarments in the Habsburg Period
• Johannes Pietsch, Establishing Identity: Stays and Bodices in Germany, 1600–1800

13.15 Lunch break

14:15  Afternoon Session
• Denis Bruna, Early 18th-Century Panniers in Contemporary Sources
• Sébastien Passot, From Garsault to the Encyclopedia: The Mechanical Construction of Hoops and Stays in 18th-Century French Literature
• Peter McNeil, ‘Conspicuous Waist’: From Macaroni Men to the ‘Despots of Fashion’, 1760–1830
• Thessy Schoenholzer Nichols, Bodice for an Active Life: It Does Not Have to Be ‘Hard to Hold’—Case Histories of Female Upper Dresses, from the Late Middle Ages to the 18th Century, in Italy

17:15  Guided tours

20:00  Evening event

F R I D A Y ,  1 4  S E P T E M B E R  2 0 1 8

9:00  Morning Session
• Adelheid Rasche, Crinolonomania and More: Caricatures on Hoop Petticoats
• Pernilla Rasmussen, Robe the Cour at the Swedish Court
• Luca Costigliolo, The Evolution of the Drafting Method of Patterns for Bodies, Stays, and Corsets

11:15  Lunch break and guided tours

15:15  Afternoon Session
• Kerstin Hopfensitz, From Heubach to the World: A Centre of German Corset Production
• Alexandra Palmer, The Origin of the Species: Christian Dior’s New Look Woman
• Valerie Steele, The Corset in Modern Fashion

On Saturday, 15 September, an additional excursion to the Miedermuseum will be offered; this small museum dedicated to corsetry is situated in Heubach, a former centre of the European corset industry.


Nationalmuseum Sweden Acquires Mirror from the 1690s

Posted in museums by Editor on April 18, 2018

Attributed to Burchard Precht, mirror, 1690s (Stockholm: Nationalmuseum, NMK 114/2017; photo by Bukowskis).

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Press release (17 April 2018) from the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm:

A mirror just acquired by Nationalmuseum is among the most magnificent examples of Swedish Baroque ever produced. The ornately carved and gilded frame contains engraved, inset plate glass. The mirror’s unusually well-documented origins go back to the initial commission.

Count Wrede (1641–1712) was a top official who had earned the unwavering trust of King Karl XI. Following a career as Viborg County Governor, he contributed to preparations for the compulsory restitution of alienated estates in 1680. He was the Lord Marshall for the 1682 session of the Parliament. He subsequently held a number of prominent official positions. Promoting mercantilism in the private sector was among Wrede’s obsessions. It wasn’t long before he was elevated to countship and became one of the wealthiest Swedes alive. His political fortunes declined, however, after he advocated a more defensive military policy than Karl XII was pursuing. In 1711, he was pushed out of nearly all his positions.

Attributed to Burchard Precht, mirror, 1690s (Stockholm: Nationalmuseum, NMK 114/2017; photo by Bukowskis).

The frame of the large, 195-centimetre mirror features a lace border, acanthus, cornucopia, grape clusters and flowers. The inset plate glass is adorned with engraved, scattered flowers. The top of the mirror brandishes a meticulously engraved coat of arms for the Wrede lineage. Though not signed, the mirror is most certainly the handiwork of Burchard Precht (1651–1738). As the leading sculptor of his day, he received many royal and ecclesiastical projects, often in collaboration with court architect Nicodemus Tessin the Younger. Born in Bremen and educated in Hamburg, he emigrated to Stockholm in the 1670s. His workshop produced furniture, frames and crests for the court and nobility. The evidence strongly suggests that he was able to polish and silver glass. No wonder he is regarded as one of the first Swedish mirror craftsmen. The high quality of plate glass is due to the requirement back then that mirrors be imported.

Engraving the glass with an artistic touch was a daunting challenge. The technique had been resurrected in Europe during the early seventeenth century and had become a coveted skill. A handful of engravers passed through Sweden from the 1650s to 1680s. After Kristoffer Elstermann arrived in the 1690s, engraving assumed its rightful place in the Swedish glassmaking tradition. The first time Elstermann shows up in the accounts is 1691, when he received an order from Queen Dowager Hedvig Eleonora for the new royal chapel at the Tre Kronor castle. He had his own workshop and later obtained projects from the Kungsholm Glassworks as well. He was skilful at engraving various motifs that went well with the surface and shape of the particular object. He exerted a major influence on Swedish engraving until his death in 1721. The glassworks have never produced such high-quality engravings as during that period.

The panels in the frame of the Wrede mirror have the same types of scattered flowers as the glasswork used, but their placement is less standardized than later on. The noble coat of arms at the top typifies the dexterity of Elstermann’s works. More than likely, he engraved it himself. Precht’s mirrors also became more streamlined and formulaic as time went on. Cast pewter strips replaced sculptured wood, and the engraved adornment of the frame was painted white. No portents of such austerity are visible in this mirror, which is why it can be dated with so much exactitude to the 1690s.

Wrede’s impact on the appearance of the mirror cannot be overestimated. It’s hard to miss signs of his close association with the court and contemporary vogues, including new ornamentation techniques and Precht’s carved, gilded furniture. He had the financial resources to purchase such an exquisite object, and the cornucopia is a nod to his mercantilist inclinations. The same mindset no doubt convinced him that the mirror should be produced in Sweden to the extent possible.

The records clearly show that his daughter Sophia inherited the mirror when she married Erik Axelsson Sparre in 1707. It has been passed down from generation to generation ever since.

Acquisition of the mirror by Nationalmuseum was made possible by an Axel Hirsch endowment. The museum has no funds with which to purchase handicrafts and works of art but is wholly reliant on donations and private foundations.

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