Exhibition | Printing the Pastoral

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on June 2, 2019

Jean-Baptiste Huet, Activities on the Farm, ca.1795, copperplate-printed cotton, 89 × 72 inches
(Saint Louis Art Museum)

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Press release (15 May 2019) for the exhibition:

Printing the Pastoral: Visions of the Countryside in 18th-Century Europe
Saint Louis Art Museum, 24 May — 1 December 2019

Curated by Genevieve Cortinovis and Heather Hughes

The Saint Louis Art Museum presents Printing the Pastoral: Visions of the Countryside in 18th-Century Europe, a free exhibition examining the early development of one of the most recognizable textile genres: copperplate-printed cotton, popularly known as toile.

Nicolaes Berchem, ‘The Shepherd Playing the Flute’, etching; sheet: 8 × 6 inches (Saint Louis Art Museum).

Toile has remained popular since its inception more than 250 years ago, when technological advances allowed textile printers to exploit the type of copperplates long used by artists to print on paper. Artisans were then able to create nuanced, intricate designs, and their creativity flourished. The emergence of copperplate-printed textiles coincided with the taste for scenes of country life and other pastoral imagery in Europe. Middle- and upper-class audiences clamored for fabrics patterned with idyllic scenes of shepherds, ladies on swings, amorous couples, and village celebrations. Textile printers responded, drawing inspiration from a wide variety of sources.

This exhibition reveals the nostalgia for pastoral themes common to 18th-century textile consumers and art collectors by pairing furnishing fabrics, ceramics, and paintings with prints by—or after—Rembrandt van Rijn, Nicolaes Berchem, Paulus Potter, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, and François Boucher. A reconstructed bed, complete with coverlet and curtains, illustrates the visual impact of these innovative fabrics in the 18th-century home. Printing the Pastoral includes a number of textiles never before exhibited at the museum, including a recent gift of printed cottons from Richard and Suellen Meyer and a loan from the Missouri History Museum of an important early English copperplate-printed textile.

The exhibition is curated by Genevieve Cortinovis, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Assistant Curator of Decorative Arts and Design, and Heather Hughes, senior research assistant and manager of the Study Room for Prints, Drawings and Photographs.

Associate textile conservator Miriam Murphy installs Printing the Pastoral: Visions of the Countryside in 18th-Century Europe at SLAM.

Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw Named Director of History at NPG in DC

Posted in museums by Editor on June 2, 2019

From the press release (23 May 2019) . . .

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery has appointed Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw, undergraduate chair and associate professor of history of art at the University of Pennsylvania, as the museum’s new director of history, research and scholarship / senior historian. Shaw will work with the History, Curatorial, and Audience Engagement departments to strengthen the museum’s scholarly programs and be a thought leader on the connections between portraiture, biography and identity in America. Shaw is the first woman to hold this senior position at the National Portrait Gallery.

“I have long admired Gwendolyn’s scholarship and her particular focus on looking at contemporary issues through the lens of both history and portraiture,” said Kim Sajet, director of the National Portrait Gallery. “Her research has spanned chronologies from the 17th century through today, merging interests in fine arts with those of popular culture. I am looking forward to having Gwendolyn help us think in fresh ways about our nation’s history as we reinstall our galleries in conjunction with a major upgrade to our lighting systems, and I know she will introduce audiences to larger social, historical, economic, and political topics of conversation and debate.”

Shaw is already well known to the National Portrait Gallery. She is a current member of the PORTAL = Portraiture + Analysis advisory board, the museum’s scholarship and research arm; and in 2016 she served as the senior fellow and host scholar of the museum’s Richardson Symposium: Racial Masquerade in American Art and Culture. Recent books published by the Portrait Gallery feature her writing. For example, her essay “‘Interesting Characters by the Lines of Their Faces’: Moses Williams’s Profile Portrait Silhouettes of Native Americans” was written in 2018 for the exhibition catalogue Blackout: Silhouettes Then and Now, and she also penned “Portraiture in the Age of the Selfie,” the lead essay for the catalogue that accompanied the 2016 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition.

Shaw, who received her doctorate in art history from Stanford University, has focused for more than two decades on race, gender, sexuality, and class in the art of the U.S., Latin America, and the Caribbean. In 2000, she was appointed assistant professor of history of art and African and African American studies at Harvard University, and in 2005, she began teaching at the University of Pennsylvania. Since 2012, she has served as the chair of the undergraduate program in the History of Art Department. Shaw has published extensively, and her most widely read titles include Seeing the Unspeakable: The Art of Kara Walker (2004) and Portraits of a People: Picturing African Americans in the Nineteenth Century. She has curated several major exhibitions, notably Represent: 200 Years of African American Art for the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2015) and Kara Walker: Virginia’s Lynch Mob and Other Works, for the Montclair Art Museum in New Jersey (2018).

%d bloggers like this: