Enfilade

The Burlington Magazine, February 2020

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions, journal articles, reviews by Editor on February 28, 2020

The eighteenth century in The Burlington:

The Burlington Magazine 162 (February 2020) — Northern European Art

Anton von Maron, Portrait of Johann Joachim Winckelmann, 1767, oil on canvas, 136 × 99 cm (Weimar: Stadtschloss).

E D I T O R I A L

• “The National Trust at 125,” p. 87.

A R T I C L E S

• Gauvin Alexander Bailey, “A Bavarian Pilgrimage Shrine in Seventeenth-Century Paraguay,” pp. 115–25. The Jesuit priest Anton Sepp was one of the first Germanic missionaries to be admitted to the Spanish territories in South America. Arriving in 1691, he brought with him a copy of the miracle-working sculpture of the Virgin of Altötting in Bavaria, and in 1697 he emphasised the German character of his mission by commissioning a version of the octagonal chapel in which the original was housed.

• Clare Hornsby, “J. J. Winckelmann and the Society of Antiquaries of London: New Documents,” pp. 126–35. Three new documents in the archive of the Society of Antiquaries, published here for the first time, provide evidence about Winckelmann’s aspirations for promoting his works in antiquarian circles in England. They include the first statement in English of his theory of art history, written in 1761.

R E V I E W S

• Arthur Wheelock, Review of the exhibition De Wind is Op!: Climate, Culture and Innovation in Dutch Maritime Painting (New Bedford Whaling Museum, 2019–20), pp. 150–52.

• Olivier Bonfait, Review of Gaëtane Maës, De l’expertise artistique à la vulgarisation au siècle des Lumières: Jean-Baptiste Descamps (1715–1791) et la peinture flamande, hollandaise et allemande (Brepols, 2016), pp. 171–72.

• Anna Arabindan Kesson, Review of Sarah Thomas, Witnessing Slavery: Art and Travel in the Age of Abolition (Yale University Press, 2019), pp. 172–74.

 

Exhibition | De Wind is Op!

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on February 28, 2020

Johanes de Blaauw, Whaleship D’Vergulde Walvis (‘The Golden Whale’) Passing the Tollhouse at Buiksloot on the IJ River, North of Amsterdam, 1759, oil on canvas, 55 × 68 cm (New Bedford Whaling Museum, Kendall Whaling Museum Collection, 2001.100.4604).

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Now on view at the New Bedford Whaling Museum:

De Wind is Op! Climate, Culture and Innovation in Dutch Maritime Painting
New Bedford Whaling Museum, 2 July 2019 — 15 May 2020

Curated by Christina Connett Brophy and Roger Mandle

De Wind is OP! explores our extraordinary collections of Golden Age Dutch and Flemish paintings through a fresh lens. These works interpret around the themes of wind, climate, and sea as the drivers behind a uniquely Dutch national identity represented in maritime works of art of this period. Dutch artists arguably invented seascape painting, and were the first to specialize in this genre. Their influence reverberates in all that followed, from the work of J.M.W. Turner to Winslow Homer to New Bedford artists William Bradford and Albert Pinkham Ryder. The exhibition includes up to 50 paintings, prints, and other related artifacts drawn from the Museum’s Dutch collections, one of the largest and important of this genre outside of the Netherlands. There will also be a complementary exhibition in the fall of 2019 of European and American prints, paintings, and charts related to wind and climate themes.

The sea and seafaring shaped the Dutch collective identity. They were a political entity without precedence, and the art world followed the new cultural and societal models unique to the newly formed Dutch Republic. The Dutch were a dominant superpower in all things maritime, including worldwide trade, military strength, and whaling. They were a world emporium, trading timber, grain, salt, cloth, luxury materials throughout the global waterways. This was a time of great artistic production to keep up with a high demand for collecting, when a baker was as likely to have fine artwork in his home as a banker. Popular taste was for greatly refined compositions, exquisiteness of detail, and plausible reality. Dutch openness to innovation allowed them to manipulate their own watery landscapes with dams and wind power and to design ship modifications that maximized successful access to the Northern seas and the dramatic fluctuating climate during the Little Ice Age. Vulnerability to tidal deluge and to tempests at sea carried moral and nationalistic themes in paintings from this era. These themes and others are the foundation of the exhibition.

This exhibition was timed to coincide with the inaugural Summer Winds 2019 run by the New Bedford group Design Art Technology Massachusetts (DATMA), a creative and educational city-wide platform for discussion and exploration of wind energy. Multiple partners in the cultural sector contributed programs, exhibitions, and educational events to this initiative throughout the summer. De Wind is Op! is a major contribution to the Summer Winds project and serves as a cornerstone of summer programming events. The Museum partnered with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), Harvard Art Museums, and the Dutch Culture USA Program of the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to collaborate on a major symposium in fall 2019 to examine Dutch maritime artwork in accordance with the major exhibition themes.

Curators
Dr. Christina Connett Brophy, The Douglas and Cynthia Crocker Endowed Chair for the Chief Curator
Dr. Roger Mandle, Co-Founder of Design Art Technology Massachusetts (DATMA); Former Deputy Director and Chief Curator of the National Gallery of Art; and former President of the Rhode Island School of Design

A 41-page catalogue is available as a PDF file from the museum website.

At Sotheby’s | 1794 Charter for America’s First African Free School

Posted in Art Market by Editor on February 28, 2020

Press release, via Art Daily (27 February 2020). . .

Sotheby’s announced today that the Books & Manuscripts department will offer the 1794 land indenture for the use and benefit of New York City’s African Free School—founded by Founding Fathers Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and others—marking the establishment of the first such school in America. Making its auction debut at Sotheby’s 24 June Books & Manuscripts sale in New York, the document is estimated to achieve between $250,000 and $350,000. The indenture will be on public view at Sotheby’s New York galleries through 29 February, coinciding with the final week of Black History Month and showcase this integral piece of American civil rights history to the public.

Richard Austin, Head of Sotheby’s Books & Manuscripts Department in New York, commented: “We are thrilled to offer such a unique and historically important document in our upcoming June sale. The African Free School was an amazing symbol of the liberal democratic principles espoused by the country’s framers, and was a truly progressive institution at the time. To highlight the unprecedented achievement of the school and display the document in our galleries during Black History Month is an honor and we hope it will inspire others to reflect on the course of American history and social equality.”

Established by the New York Manumission Society—which was formed in 1785 by some of New York’s most elite and influential citizens, including John Jay and Alexander Hamilton—the African Free School was created with the aim, as they perceived it, of educating black children so that they might take their place as equals to white American citizens. As the present indenture states, the school was formed “for the humane and charitable purpose of Educating negro Children to the end that they may become good and useful Citizens of the State.” The mission of the Manumission Society in forming the school was to validate the tenet set forth in the Declaration of Independence just a few years before that “all men are created equal.” The Society also felt that education was an essential element in creating a populace capable of sustaining and furthering a democracy.

In addition to Hamilton and Jay, the New York Manumission Society counted luminaries as George Clinton, John Murray, Melancton Smith, and James Duane among its founding members. At a time when slavery was integral to the economic expansion in New York and America, these Founding Fathers and others began their mission of abolishing slavery in the state of New York by protesting the relatively common practice of kidnapping black New Yorkers—slaves and free men and women alike—in order to sell them into servitude elsewhere. The Society also provided legal assistance to free and enslaved blacks who were being abused, and in 1785 successfully lobbied for a law prohibiting the sale of imported slaves in the state of New York—before the state passed a gradual emancipation law in 1799. Slavery was officially abolished in New York State on July 4, 1827.

The African Free School was instituted on 2 November 1787, but was not built until 22 July 1794. Upon the land documented in the present indenture, a single-room schoolhouse was erected in lower Manhattan that would house around forty students, the majority of whom were the children of slaves. The members of the Manumission Society raised funds—or, in many instances, provided the funds themselves—for teachers’ salaries, supplies, and, eventually, for the creation of new buildings required to house the growing student population. In 1809, the trustees of the school hired Charles Andrews, and under his ardent leadership the school experienced significant expansion, with enrollment reaching 700 students by the end of his tenure.

By 1835, the African Free School model proved so successful that a total of seven schools were established throughout the city, which were then absorbed into the New York City public school system. By that time, the African Free School of New York had educated thousands of children, many of whom went on to become prominent abolitionists, artists, and entrepreneurs.