Exhibition | American Weathervanes

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on April 16, 2021

This summer at the American Folk Art Museum (with the catalogue already available from Rizzoli). . .

American Weathervanes: The Art of the Winds
American Folk Art Museum, New York, 23 June 2021 — 2 January 2022

Organized by Robert Shaw and Emelie Gevalt

American Weathervanes: The Art of the Winds is the first exhibition in more than four decades to highlight the beauty, historical significance, and technical virtuosity of American vanes fashioned between the late seventeenth and early twentieth centuries. The exhibition includes the graceful figure of Fame blowing a trumpet and standing en pointe like a celestial ballerina, attributed to well-known manufactory E.G. Washburne & Co. in New York City; a Dove of Peace designed by George Washington for his home in Mount Vernon; and an eagle possibly made in the foundry of revolutionary patrior Paul Revere. In addition to weathervanes, the exhibition will also include beautifully articulated wood sculptures by Harry Leach that functioned as patterns for weathevane molds for the Cushing & White and L.W. & Sons manufactories in Waltham, MA., watercolors of historic weathervanes painted for the Index of American Design, and rare archival materials that illuminate the development of the weathervane in the United States of America.

Robert Shaw is a critically acclaimed author, curator, and art historian who has written and lectured extensively on many aspects of American folk art. He has curated exhibitions at the Dallas Museum of Natural History, the Fenimore Art Museum, the National Gallery of Art, and the Shelburne Museum, where he served as curator from 1981 to 1994.

Robert Shaw, American Weathervanes: The Art of the Winds (New York: Rizzoli Electa, 2021), 256 pages, ISBN: 978-0847863907, $75.


New Book | Enlightened Animals in Eighteenth-Century Art

Posted in books by Editor on April 16, 2021

From Bloomsbury:

Sarah Cohen, Enlightened Animals in Eighteenth-Century Art: Sensation, Matter, and Knowledge (London: Bloomsbury Visual Arts, 2021), 264 pages, ISBN: 978-1350203587, $170 (also available in ebook and PDF formats).

How do our senses help us to understand the world? This question, which preoccupied Enlightenment thinkers, also emerged as a key theme in depictions of animals in eighteenth-century art. This book examines the ways in which painters such as Chardin, as well as sculptors, porcelain modelers, and other decorative designers portrayed animals as sensing subjects who physically confirmed the value of material experience.

The sensual style known today as the Rococo encouraged the proliferation of animals as exemplars of empirical inquiry, ranging from the popular subject of the monkey artist to the alchemical wonders of the life-sized porcelain animals created for the Saxon court. Examining writings on sensory knowledge by La Mettrie, Condillac, Diderot and other philosophers side by side with depictions of the animal in art, Cohen argues that artists promoted the animal as a sensory subject while also validating the material basis of their own professional practice.

Sarah Cohen is Professor of Art History and Women’s Studies at the University at Albany, SUNY, USA. She has published extensively on representations of the body, both human and animal. Her first book Art, Dance and the Body in French Culture the Ancien Régime was published in 2000.


1  The Social Animal
2  The Sensitive Animal
3  Monkey Artists
4  The Language of Brutes
5  Animating Porcelain
6  The Soul of Matter


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