Enfilade

Getty Research Institute Acquires Rare Gastronomy Collection

Posted in museums by Editor on December 5, 2018

Press release (26 November 2018):

Costume of the Cook (left) and Costume of the Boilermaker (right), Nicolas I de Larmessin, ca. 1690s (Getty Research Institute, 2018.M.15).

The Getty Research Institute announced the acquisition of a collection of hundreds of rare books, prints, and manuscripts related to the culinary arts from the 15th to the 19th centuries assembled by culinary authority Anne Willan and her husband Mark Cherniavsky—the Anne Willan and Mark Cherniavsky Gastronomy Collection. Additionally, a donation from Willan will support ongoing research grants known as the Cherniavsky Library Research Grants.

“Mark had a talent for finding great examples of rare prints and early cookbooks and books about food and has built an exceptional collection,” said Getty Research Institute Chief Curator Marcia Reed. “Over the years Mark and Anne have been wonderful contributors and friends to the GRI, donating important rare books, lending works to our exhibitions, and hosting educational programs. We are grateful to Anne for her generous gift of this collection as well as her support of related scholarship in honor of her late husband, and our friend, Mark.”

Named in honor of Mark Cherniavsky and in celebration of the Anne Willan and Mark Cherniavsky Gastronomy Collection, the Cherniavsky GRI Library Research Grants will support and encourage research relating to antiquarian books, culinary research and other related topics. These grants will be awarded to up to two scholars a year and are made possible by a gift from Anne Willan. Willan is a celebrated author, cooking educator and founder of the prestigious Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne, which operated in Paris and Burgundy, France, from 1975 until 2007.

This extraordinary collection of rare books and prints on gastronomy from the 15th through the 19th century offers unique insight into the visual culture of food. The elaborate art of culinary preparation, consumption, and display reveals food’s status as a symbol of political and social power. Amassed by antiquarian cookbook collectors Anne Willan and Mark Cherniavsky over a period of 50 years, the collection comprises nearly 200 books published before 1830 and hundreds from the 19th and 20th centuries.

Highlights include Johannes Cassianus’s De institutis coenobiorum, Collationes partum (Venice, 1491), which describes fasting and feasting within a monastic order; M. Emy’s L’art de bien faire les glaces d’office (Paris, 1768), which opens with an evocation of cupids making ice cream; and Antonin Carême’s Le Maître d’hôtel francais (Paris, 1823), which contains recipes for dinners given for, among others, Tsar Nicholas I, George IV, and Prince Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand.

The collection’s many early modern books, which illustrate elaborate feasts, celebrations, and processions, complement the Getty Research Institute’s unparalleled festival collection. Also included is Willan’s working library of cookbooks, her professional archives, and the archives of Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne, which she founded.

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