New Book | Nicolas Party: Pastel

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on October 17, 2021

The catalogue for the exhibition is now available:

Nicolas Party, ed., Pastel (New York: The FLAG Art Foundation, 2021), 216 pages, ISBN: ‎978-1949172522, $50. Contributions by Nicolas Party and Dodie Kazanjian; conversation with artists Louis Fratino, Loie Hollowell, Billy Sullivan, Robin F. Williams, moderated by FLAG Founder Glenn Fuhrman; essay by Melissa Hyde, “‘Dust From a Butterfly’s Wing’: The Gentle Art of Pastel, A Short History.”

In 2019, Nicolas Party transformed The FLAG Art Foundation in New York into a rose-colored stage set for a suite of soft pastel, Rococo-inspired murals that serve as a foil to, and occasional backdrop for, a selection of pastels from the 18th century to the present. Pastel commemorates the exhibition, its celebration of the pastel medium, and the range of contemporary artists who are giving new energy to this uniquely fragile medium. Artists in the exhibition included Rosalba Carriera, Mary Cassatt, Edgar Degas, Louis Fratino, Marsden Hartley, Loie Hollowell, Julian Martin, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Chris Ofili, Jean-Baptiste Perronneau, Billy Sullivan, Wayne Thiebaud, and Robin F. Williams.

Nicolas Party (b. 1980, Lausanne, Switzerland) is an artist living and working in Brussels and New York. He earned a BA in Fine Art at the Lausanne School of Art in 2004 and an MA at The Glasgow School of Art in 2009. More information is available here.

Exhibition | Writing History: Voltaire and the Kings

Posted in exhibitions, on site by Editor on October 16, 2021

Jean César Macret, Réception de Voltaire aux Champs Elisées par Henri Quatre.

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Now on view at the Château de Voltaire:

Ecrire l’histoire: Voltaire et les rois
Château de Voltaire à Ferney, 16 septembre 2021 — 5 janvier 2022

Organized by Andrew Brown and François Jacob

On a parlé, de manière facétieuse, du « roi Voltaire » : sans être roi, Voltaire (1694–1778) n’en a pas moins fréquenté de nombreuses têtes couronnées. On le rencontre à la cour, que ce soit celle de Louis XV ou de Frédéric II de Prusse. Il entretient avec nombre de monarques une importante correspondance. Désireux de se faire apprécier par les souverains, attendant beaucoup d’eux, il met sa plume au service de leur gloire et de leur postérité : n’est-il pas l’auteur de La Henriade ? Ne le considère-t-on pas, avec l’Histoire de Charles XII et Le Siècle de Louis XIV, comme un des fondateurs de l’historiographie moderne ? Ses ouvrages, tout autant que ses amis influents, lui permettent d’être promu « Historiographe de France » en 1744–45 et d’entrer à l’Académie française en 1746.

Château de Voltaire is located in Ferney-Voltaire (Ain) in France, close to the Swiss border and Geneva. It was Voltaire’s home between 1761 and 1778. Acquired by the French State in 1999, it came under the care of the Centre des monuments nationaux in 2007. After a series of restoration projects, including a three-year closure, the house reopened in May 2018 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, 2018).

L’exposition Écrire l’histoire : Voltaire et les rois propose de redécouvrir les relations que Voltaire entretint, tout au long du Siècle des Lumières, avec les cours européennes. Familier des princes, le philosophe utilise en effet sa plume pour servir les monarchies et sa propre renommée dans toutes les cours éclairées. À celle des rois de France, qu’il fréquenta avec les péripéties que l’on connait, sous le Régent, Louis XV et Louis XVI, il connut toutes les situations d’un courtisan, l’intérêt, l’affection, les grandes dignités, la prison, l’exil. Mais Voltaire ne se contente pas d’être conteur, poète ou philosophe : il entretient avec les souverains des relations parfois mouvementées, voire passionnelles. C’est ainsi que si Frédéric II le nomme d’abord Chambellan en récompense de son art et de ses conseils, il rompt ensuite brutalement avec lui.

Le Siècle de Louis XIV, l’Histoire de Charles XII ou l’Essai sur les mœurs et l’esprit des nations connurent des succès d’édition durables : Voltaire fut rapidement considéré comme un des principaux historiens de l’Ancien Régime, celui grâce à qui on a pu repenser l’écriture de l’histoire. Certaines de ses œuvres furent copiées, ou imitées par des opposants : il n’est que de songer à La Beaumelle et à ses Mémoires de Madame de Maintenon.

L’exposition débutera dans le circuit de visite ordinaire du château, les appartements de Voltaire et de sa nièce, Madame Denis, où sont conservés des portraits royaux ayant appartenu à Voltaire : Catherine II, Frédéric II, Marie-Thérèse. Elle se poursuivra dans les salles d’exposition du rez-de-jardin pour évoquer Stanislas, le Sultan et bien d’autres.

Exposition présentée par le Centre des monuments nationaux, en partenariat avec les Associations voltairiennes de Ferney-Voltaire.

Online Seminar | The Perth Literary and Antiquarian Society, 1784–1914

Posted in lectures (to attend), online learning by Editor on October 16, 2021

From The Wallace Collection:

Mark Hall, The Perth Literary and Antiquarian Society, 1784–1914: Collecting Scotland, Collecting the World
Wallace Collection Seminars on the History of Collections and Collecting
Online, Monday, 25 October 2021, 5.30pm

Perth Museum & Art Gallery, Scotland, is currently managed on behalf of Perth & Kinross Council by the cultural trust, Culture Perth & Kinross. The Museum’s history as a local authority service dates back just over a century, to the first decade of the twentieth century. It is part of a history of collecting spanning four centuries, beginning in the late eighteenth century. Its formative iteration, both in terms of a collection and a physical museum, was the Perth Literary and Antiquarian Society, founded in 1784.

The Museum is looking back at this history as part of its project to create a new museum in Perth. In the context of that project, this contribution will summarise the collecting significance and history of the Perth Literary and Antiquarian Society from its Enlightenment origins and including its colonial legacy. In the presentation a range of collecting case studies will be discussed to further emphasis the local and international network of collectors and donors the Society relied on and to demonstrate the rich range of the collections. The case studies will include the Cambus Bronze Age sword, collecting John Knox, and the collectors Colin Robertson (1783–1842), David Ramsay (1794–1860), and the Riach Brothers—active respectively in America, Oceania, and the Middle-East.

Dr Mark Hall is Collections Officer for Culture Perth & Kinross, Perth Museum & Art Gallery, Scotland.

Please note that this seminar will take place on Zoom and YouTube, and will not be held at the Wallace Collection. Admission is free, and registration is required. More information and details of future seminars can now be found here.

New Book | Iconotypes: A Compendium of Butterflies and Moths

Posted in books by Editor on October 15, 2021

From the University of California Press:

William Jones, with an introduction by Richard Vane-Wright, Iconotypes: A Compendium of Butterflies & Moths, Jones’ Icones Complete (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2021), 688 pages, ISBN: 978-0520386501, $85.

William Jones’s Icones is one of the most scientifically important and visually stunning works on butterflies and moths ever created. Icones contains finely delineated paintings of more than 760 species of Lepidoptera, many of which it described for the first time, marking a critical moment in the study of natural history. Yet until now, it has never been published—the only existing manuscript copy is housed in the archives of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. With Iconotypes, Jones’s work is published for the first time, accompanied by expert commentary and contextual essays, and featuring annotated maps showing where each specimen was discovered.

Between the early 1780s and 1810, Jones, a wine merchant, painted in painstaking detail hundreds of species of Lepidoptera, drawing from his own collection and the collections of prominent amateur naturalists. For every specimen, Jones included the known species name, the collection, and the geographical location in which it was found. In this enhanced facsimile, Jones’s historical references are clarified and modern taxonomic names are provided together with notes on which paintings serve as iconotypes. Contextual commentary by specialist entomologist Richard Vane-Wright gives an account of Jones’s life, his motivation for collecting butterflies and creating the Icones, and evaluates the significance of Jones’s work. This lavish volume intersperses contemporary maps showing the locations of each specimen, expert essays on the study of lepidoptery since ancient Egyptian times, the development of taxonomy after Linnaeus, the roles of collectors and natural history artists during the late 1700s to mid-1800s, and the steep decline of butterflies and moths over the last fifty years. Iconotypes is a beautiful collector’s object for fans of natural history and illustrations of butterflies and moths, as well as artists, designers, and bibliophiles.

Richard I. Vane-Wright is an entomologist and taxonomist who has been associated with London’s Natural History Museum for nearly sixty years. A specialist on butterflies, he retired from the museum in 2004 as Keeper of the Department of Entomology. He is the author of three books, most recently Butterflies: A Complete Guide to Their Biology and Behavior. He is also involved with biodiversity conservation and local entomological projects.

New Book | Conchophilia

Posted in books by Editor on October 15, 2021

From Princeton UP:

Marisa Anne Bass, Anne Goldgar, Hanneke Grootenboer, and Claudia Swan, with contributions by Stephanie Dickey, Anna Grasskamp, and Róisín Watson, Conchophilia: Shells, Art, and Curiosity in Early Modern Europe (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2021), 224 pages, ISBN: 978-0691215761, £40 / $50.

Among nature’s most artful creations, shells have long inspired the curiosity and passion of artisans, artists, collectors, and thinkers. Conchophilia delves into the intimate relationship between shells and people, offering an unprecedented account of the early modern era, when the influx of exotic shells to Europe fueled their study and representation as never before. From elaborate nautilus cups and shell-encrusted grottoes to delicate miniatures, this richly illustrated book reveals how the love of shells intersected not only with the rise of natural history and global trade but also with philosophical inquiry, issues of race and gender, and the ascent of art-historical connoisseurship.

Shells circulated at the nexus of commerce and intellectual pursuit, suggesting new ways of thinking about relationships between Europe and the rest of the world. The authors focus on northern Europe, where the interest and trade in shells had its greatest impact on the visual arts. They consider how shells were perceived as exotic objects, the role of shells in courtly collections, their place in still-life tableaus, and the connections between their forms and those of the human body. They examine how artists gilded, carved, etched, and inked shells to evoke the permeable boundary between art and nature. These interactions with shells shaped the ways that early modern individuals perceived their relation to the natural world, and their endeavors in art and the acquisition of knowledge. Spanning painting and print to architecture and the decorative arts, Conchophilia uncovers the fascinating ways that shells were circulated, depicted, collected, and valued during a time of remarkable global change.

Marisa Anne Bass is Professor of Northern European Art, 1400–1700 at Yale University. Her books include Insect Artifice and Jan Gossart and the Invention of Netherlandish Antiquity. Anne Goldgar is the Garrett and Anne Van Hunnick Professor of European History at the University of Southern California. Her books include Tulipmania and Impolite Learning. Hanneke Grootenboer is Professor of the History of Art and Chair of the department at Radboud University Nijmegen. Her books include Treasuring the Gaze and The Pensive Image. Claudia Swan is the Mark S. Weil Professor of Art History and Archaeology at Washington University in St. Louis. Her books include Art, Science, and Witchcraft in Early Modern Holland and Rarities of These Lands.


Anne Goldgar — Introduction: For the Love of Shells

Part I: Surface Matters
1  Claudia Swan — The Nature of Exotic Shells
2  Anna Grasskamp — Shells, Bodies, and the Collector’s Cabinet

Part II: Microworlds of Thought
3  Marisa Anne Bass — Shell Life, or the Unstill Life of Shells
4  Hanneke Grootenboer — Thinking with Shells in Petronella Oortman’s Dollhouse

Part III: The Multiple Experienced
5  Róisín Watson — Shells and Grottoes in Early Modern Germany
6  Stephanie S. Dickey — Shells, Prints, and the Discerning Eye

Illustration Credits

Print Market | Mad about Mezzotint at the Court of George III

Posted in Art Market, books, catalogues by Editor on October 15, 2021

From Isaac and Ede:

Mad about Mezzotint at the Court of George III
Reindeer Antiques, London, 6 October — 5 November 2021

This exhibition organized by David Isaac of Isaac and Ede celebrates the bicentenary of the 60-year reign of King George III (1738–1820) through one mezzotint portrait for each year of his reign. Meet the movers and shakers, the courtiers and courtesans, the duchesses and dandies of the period. Each mezzotint was printed in the year it represents, so there are 61 prints to cover the years 1760–1820 with a couple of extras thrown in for good measure. Royalty and aristocracy dominate throughout the opening decades, but as the country finds itself increasingly at war with America, France, Spain (and practically everyone else), we see a predominance of naval and military heroes taking centre stage. Towards the end of our period, we begin to see the emergence of the self-made man, and the entrepreneurial spirit of that would come to symbolize the Victorian era. To be held at Reindeer Antiques, 81, Kensington Church Street, London W8 4BG.

Printed catalogues are available: UK £30 including P&P / USA £47 including P&P. View a PDF of the catalogue on Issuu. The catalogue is also distributed by Paul Holberton Publishing:

David Isaac, Mad about Mezzotint at the Court of George III (London: Isaac and Ede, 2022), 148 pages, ISBN 978-1913645359, £30.

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Note (added 6 July 2022) — The original posting did not include catalogue details from PHP.

Exhibition | Aquatint: From Its Origins to Goya

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on October 14, 2021

From the NGA:

Aquatint: From Its Origins to Goya
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 24 October 2021 — 21 February 2022

Curated by Rena Hoisington

A new printmaking technique—aquatint—swept through 18th-century Europe, yielding an extraordinary range of works, from images of erupting volcanoes, amorous couples, and mysterious tombs, to Russian exotica, biting caricatures, and moonlit vistas. The first American exhibition to survey the medium’s development in France, England, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, and Spain, Aquatint: From Its Origins to Goya presents some 100 early and exceptional impressions, many of which have recently been acquired by the National Gallery of Art. By supplementing the line work of etching, aquatint offered an exciting method for multiplying ink-and-wash drawings that render tone in subtle ways.

Aquatint flourished outside the official circles of European art academies in the hands of three kinds of artists—professional printmakers, amateurs (art lovers), and peintre-graveurs (painter-printmakers). Each played a distinctive and significant role in publicizing, disseminating, and advancing the aquatint medium. Professional printmakers combined it with other intaglio printmaking techniques to reproduce highly prized drawings by old master and contemporary artists. Amateurs, an elite group of like-minded collectors, embraced drawing, etching, and aquatint to not only expand their art-historical and connoisseurial knowledge, but also cultivate relationships with artists. Peintre-graveurs revisited, re-created, and circulated their designs through aquatint to build their reputations and broaden their audiences, dramatically expanding the formal vocabulary and expressive potential of the medium.

Rena Hoisington, Aquatint: From Its Origins to Goya (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2021), 288 pages, ISBN: ‎ 978-0691229799, $60.

Supported by the Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw Charitable Trust and written by Rena M. Hoisington, curator and head of old master prints at the National Gallery of Art, a book illustrated with rare works from the National Gallery’s collection of early aquatints accompanies the exhibition. It provides an engaging narrative about the medium’s flourishing as a cross-cultural and cosmopolitan phenomenon that contributed to the rise of art publishing, connoisseurship, leisure travel, and drawing instruction as well as the spread of neoclassicism.

Exhibition | Goya

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on October 13, 2021

Francisco de Goya, Still Life with Golden Bream (Besugos), 1808–12, oil on canvas, 45 × 63 cm
(The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 94.245)

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Press release (via Art Daily) for the exhibition:

Fondation Beyeler, Basel, 10 October 2021 — 23 January 2022

Curated by Martin Schwander and developed by Isabela Mora and Sam Keller

275 years after his birth, the Fondation Beyeler presents one of the most significant exhibitions ever devoted to Francisco de Goya—one of modern art’s major trailblazers. For the first time, rarely displayed paintings from Spanish private collections will be shown alongside key works from distinguished European and American museums and private collections. The exhibition brings together around 70 paintings and more than 100 masterful drawings and prints. Today, as during the artist’s lifetime, Goya’s works present viewers with a unique sensory and intellectual experience. For the past two centuries, his complex and ambiguous oeuvre has acted as a beacon and a landmark for many artists. The exhibition is organised by the Fondation Beyeler in collaboration with the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid.

Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (1746–1828) occupies a paradoxical position in European art history as one of the last great court painters and a forerunner of the figure of the modern artist. In order to convey the uniqueness of Goya’s work, which spans a period ranging from Late Rococo to Romanticism, and do justice to the formal and thematic wealth of his painted, drawn, and printed oeuvre, the exhibition presents the full spectrum of genres and recurring motifs. Arranged chronologically, it features large-scale stately paintings as well as sketchbook pages, focussing on Goya’s late work.

The exhibition at the Fondation Beyeler presents both the established court painter and the inventor of enigmatic and disturbing pictorial worlds, his religious and his secular images, his depictions of Christ and of witches, portraits and history paintings, still lifes and genre scenes. Next to paintings commissioned by the royal family, the aristocracy and the bourgeoisie, the show features works created by Goya within a self-conquered space of artistic freedom, among them cabinet paintings often intended only for highly private display. With rebellious resolve, Goya was one of the first artists in the history of European art to push back against the rules and dogmas that constrained artistic creation, instead making a stand for artists’ impulse and inventiveness (‘capricho’ and ‘invención’). Highlights of the exhibition include the portrait of the Duchess of Alba (1795) and the iconic Clothed Maja (La maja vestida, 1800–07), as well as the rarely displayed Maja and Celestina on a Balcony and Majas on a Balcony (1808–12), the latter two on loan from European private collections.

Francisco Goya y Lucientes, María Amalia de Aguirre y Acedo, marquesa de Montehermoso, 1810, oil on canvas, 170 × 103 cm (Private Collection).

The exhibition will further feature small-format genre scenes, held for the most part in Spanish private collections and hitherto only rarely shown outside Spain. In these paintings—as in his drawings and prints—Goya gave free rein to his innermost inspiration. For the first time since their only display to date at the Museo Nacional del Prado, the Fondation Beyeler will thus show the full series of eight remaining history and genre pictures from the Madrid collection of the Marqués de la Romana. They will be joined by the four celebrated, rarely loaned panels with genre scenes from the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid.

In his genre scenes and history paintings, Goya depicts events from everyday life in Spain around 1800—socially, politically, and religiously troubled times. Recurring settings include markets and bullrings, prisons and ecclesiastical institutions, lunatic asylums, and the courts of the Inquisition. Depictions of witches are another key motif, used by Goya to expose the superstition of his time. Next to a group of etchings from The Disasters of War (Los desastres de la guerra, 1811–14), the exhibition will also feature a selection of prints from the 1799 Caprichos series, among them the celebrated plate no. 43, programmatically titled The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters, which displays Goya’s resigned and melancholy realisation that neither reason nor irony and sarcasm can fight off irrationality. Goya’s enigmatic and unfathomable pictorial worlds have been held in high regard ever since the age of early 19th-century French Romanticism. Among modern artists, Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró, Francis Bacon and the Surrealists viewed Goya as a kindred spirit. And he remains a major reference for many contemporary artists, among them Marlene Dumas and Philippe Parreno.

Commissioned by the Fondation Beyeler, renowned French artist Philippe Parreno (b. 1964) has created a film based on Goya’s iconic Black Paintings series (Pinturas negras, 1819–24), which will premiere at the exhibition. The 14 murals were originally painted in Goya’s residence on the outskirts of Madrid and were most likely not intended for public viewing. Now in the collection of the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid, the paintings are so fragile that they cannot leave the museum.

For the first time, seldom seen paintings from Spanish private collections, some of which have not changed hands since the artist’s lifetime, are shown alongside key works from the most prestigious European and American museums and private collections. Works will be on loan from major museums such as the Museo Nacional del Prado, the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, the Fundación Lázaro Galdiano and the Fundación Casa de Alba, all in Madrid, the Musée du Louvre in Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the National Gallery in London, the Gallerie degli Uffizi in Florence, the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin, the Sammlung Oskar Reinhart ‘Am Römerholz’ in Winterthur, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston.

Martin Schwander, ed., with text by Andreas Beyer, Helmut C. Jacobs, Ioana Jimborean, José Manuel Matilla, Gudrun Maurer, Manuela B. Mena Marqués, Colm Tóibín, Bodo Vischer, Francisco de Goya (Stuttgart: Hatje Cantz, 2021), 288 pages, ISBN: 978-3775746571 (English edition), $90. Also available in German.

New Book | Quakers and Their Meeting Houses

Posted in books by Editor on October 12, 2021

Distributed by Oxford UP:

Chris Skidmore, Quakers and Their Meeting Houses (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2021), 240 pages, ISBN: 978-1800857209, £40 / $75.

This book provides a fascinating account of the architecture and historical development of the Quaker meeting house from the foundation of the movement to the twenty-first century. The Quaker meeting house is a distinctive building type used as a place of worship by members of the Society of Friends (Quakers). Starting with buildings of the late-seventeenth century, the book maps how the changing beliefs and practices of Quakers over the last 350 years have affected the architecture of the meeting house. The buildings considered are illustrated, predominantly in colour, and are from England, Scotland, and Wales, with some consideration of colonial American examples. The book commences with an introduction that provides an accessible account of the early history of Quakerism, and it concludes with a consideration of whether there is a Quaker architectural style and of what it might consist.

Call for Papers | Grinling Gibbons and the Story of Carving

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on October 12, 2021

From ArtHist.net (5 October 2021) . . .

Grinling Gibbons and the Story of Carving
Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 24–25 June 2022

Organized by Jenny Saunt, Kira d’Alburquerque, and Ada de Wit

Proposals due by 10 January 2022

Grinling Gibbons (1648–1721) is the most celebrated carver in British history. His closely observed depictions of full-bodied natural forms, executed in hyperreal detail, captivated audiences of his own time as much as they captivate us today. But how much is really known about this man, his work, and its implications in terms of the way we think about carving now? As part of the year-long Gibbons tercentenary celebrations of 2021/22, this conference explores the story of Gibbons but also investigates broader themes around the subject of carving in a European context from 1600 to 1800.

On day one, an invited panel of speakers will present the latest research on Grinling Gibbons and his work. For the second day, we invite papers that explore all aspects of the processes of production and design in the story of carving in early modern Britain and in terms of international exchanges. Topics of interest are wide ranging and include design, sources, materials, methods, training, tools, techniques, business and workshop structures, branding, professional networks, and nineteenth- and twentieth century engagement with and reinterpretation of the carved work produced in this period. Intersections and interactions are of particular interest. In what ways did the lives and careers of practitioners contemporary to Grinling Gibbons and the careers of his assistants and apprentices relate to each other and how did this impact the work produced? What were the exchanges between carving and other related disciplines of the time, such as ship building, furniture production and frame making? Using examples of early modern practice, how can we expand our understanding of the meaning of design sources and processes, be that through print or other material or social cultures of the time; how did these interplay and how can they be questioned and quantified? How can we develop methodologies to investigate these makers and their understanding of their own working processes, their relationships with materials and tools, and what new insights can be gained from this type of exploration? How did such factors work together to create the type of physical forms that are so recognisable as the product of Gibbons’ world?

Papers should be 20 minutes in length and include a PowerPoint. Please send an abstract of 250–300 words, with name, title, institution, and short bio (100 words max) to grinling.gibbons@vam.ac.uk. The deadline for paper proposals is 10th January 2022. Notification for acceptance will be sent by 7th February 2022.

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