Enfilade

Exhibition | Bound for Versailles

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on April 3, 2021

Opening this summer at The Morgan:

Bound for Versailles: The Jayne Wrightsman Bookbindings Collection
The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, 25 June — 26 September 2021

Binding by Jacques-Antoine Derome for Marie Leczinska, with the queen’s arms under mica. Le Pseautier de David, traduit en francois, avec des notes courtes, tirées de S. Augustin, & des autres Peres. Nouvelle edition, Paris: Chez Louis Josse et Charles Robustel, 1725. W 1028.

In the spring of 2019 Jayne Wrightsman bequeathed to the Morgan an exceptional collection of books bound for the highest echelons of 18th-century French society. Owned by kings, queens, dukes, and duchesses, the books are monuments of fine printing, elegant engraved illustration, and artistic binding by the most renowned craftspeople. Elaborately decorated bookbindings provided a canvas for an individual to signal their wealth and taste through bookbinders who reflected the trends and developments in contemporary artistic styles.

The books on display showcase the important role women—such as Madame Adélaïde (daughter of King Louis XV) and Queen Marie-Antoinette—had as book owners and collectors. Book illustrations by François Boucher, Jean-Baptiste Oudry, and Charles-Nicolas Cochin capture the visual ethos of the 18th century, while the artisan binders (male and female) at the workshops of Luc-Antoine Boyet, Antoine-Michel Padeloup, Nicolas-Denis Derome, and others produced bindings worthy of the shelves at Versailles. This exhibition honors Mrs. Wrightsman’s gift and her collecting acumen in recognizing the important role bookbinding played in the decorative arts and the cultural life of the Ancien Régime.

Bound for Versailles: The Jayne Wrightsman Bookbindings Collection is made possible with support from the Jamie and Maisie Houghton Fund and the Parker Gilbert Fund, and with assistance from the Malcolm Hewitt Wiener Foundation.

Exhibition | Bibiena Drawings from the Jules Fisher Collection

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on April 3, 2021

Opening in May at The Morgan:

Architecture, Theater, and Fantasy: Bibiena Drawings from the Jules Fisher Collection
The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, 28 May — 12 September 2021

For nearly a century, members of three generations of the Bibiena family were the most highly sought theater designers in Europe. Their elaborate stage designs were used for operas, festivals, and courtly performances across Europe: from their native Italy to cites as far afield as Vienna, Prague, Stockholm, St. Petersburg, and Lisbon. Beyond these performances, the distinctive Bibiena style survives through their remarkable drawings. This exhibition is the first in the United States in over thirty years to celebrate these talented draftsmen and marks the promised gift to the Morgan of a group of Bibiena drawings from the collection of Jules Fisher, the Tony-winning lighting designer. These drawings demonstrate the range of the Bibienas’ output, from energetic sketches to highly finished watercolors. With representations of imagined palace interiors and lavish illusionistic architecture, this group of drawings will highlight the visual splendor of the baroque stage.

Arnold Aronson, Diane Kelder, John Marciari, and Laurel Peterson, Architecture, Theater, and Fantasy: Bibiena Drawings from the Jules Fisher Collection (London: Paul Holberton, 2021), 96 pages, ISBN: 978-1913645045, £17 / $25.

Arnold Aronson is professor of theatre in the MFA Theatre Program at the Columbia University School of the Arts. Diane Kelder is professor emerita of art history at the Graduate Center, CUNY, and consulting curator of the Fisher collection. John Marciari is the Charles W. Engelhard Curator of Drawings and Prints and curatorial chair at the Morgan Library & Museum. Laurel Peterson, formerly the Moore Curatorial Fellow at the Morgan Library & Museum, is an independent scholar.