Exhibition | In Sparkling Company: Glass and Social Life

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on February 17, 2020

Pair of covered green vases, ca. 1765 and a pair of vases, 1750–75, probably from the workshop of James Giles, London, gilded copper-green lead glass (Corning, New York: Corning Museum of Glass, 2003.2.4 A-B, 54.2.4 A-B).

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Press release (30 October 2019) for the exhibition:

In Sparkling Company: Glass and Social Life in Britain during the 1700s
Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York, 9 May 2020 — 3 January 2021

Curated by Christopher Maxwell

The Museum’s spring exhibition, In Sparkling Company: Glass and Social Life in Britain during the 1700s, will open May 9, 2020. With exhibition design by Selldorf Architects, In Sparkling Company will present the glittering costume and jewelry, elaborate tableware, polished mirrors, and dazzling lighting devices that delighted the British elite, and helped define social rituals and cultural values of the period. Through a lens of glass, this exhibition will show visitors what it meant to be ‘modern’ in the 1700s, and what it cost.

The exhibition will also include a specially created virtual reality reconstruction of the remarkable and innovative spangled-glass drawing room completed in 1775 for Hugh Percy, 1st Duke of Northumberland (1714–1786), and designed by Robert Adam (1728–1792), one of the leading architects and designers in Britain at the time. An original section of the room (which was dismantled in the 1870s), on loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, will be on view in North America for the first time as part of the exhibition. It will be accompanied by Adam’s original colored design drawings for the interior, on loan from the Sir John Soane’s Museum, London.

“One medium that is often overlooked in scholarly discussions of 18th-century art, design, and material culture is glass,” said Christopher L. Maxwell, Curator of European Glass at CMoG, who has organized the exhibition. “In Britain, developments in glass formulas and manufacturing techniques resulted in new and better types of glass, from windowpanes and mirrors to heavy, clear ‘crystal’ tableware, perfectly suited to the tastes and needs of Britain’s growing urban elite whose wealth derived from new enterprises in finance, manufacture, international trade and colonial expansion. In Sparkling Company will demonstrate the many functions and meanings of glass in the exuberant social life of the 1700s.”

The smooth, ‘polished’ and reflective properties of glass perfectly embodied 18th-century ideals of sociability, in what is considered by many as the ‘age of politeness.’ As urban centers grew in size and prosperity, sociability became ever more sophisticated. The terms ‘polite’ and ‘polished’ were often used interchangeably in the numerous etiquette manuals eagerly read by those wishing to take their place in the polite world. Examples of such literature will be displayed alongside fashionable glass of the period, including embroidered costume, mirrors, a chandelier, cut glass lighting and tableware, and paste jewelry that accessorized and defined the lives of the ‘polished’ elite.

In the 1700s Britain was a prosperous and commercial nation. Its growing cities were hubs of industry, scientific advancement, trade and finance, and its colonies were expanding. British merchants navigated the globe carrying a multitude of cargoes: consumable, material, and human. Underpinning Britain’s prosperity was a far-reaching economy of enslavement, the profits of which funded the pleasures and innovations of the fashionable world, among them luxury glass. Alongside the beauty and innovation of glass during this period, the exhibition will consider the role of the material as a witness to colonization and slavery. Using artifacts and documents relating to the slave trade, it will reveal a connection that permeated all levels of British society.

From glittering costume and elaborately presented confectionery, to polished mirrors and dazzling chandeliers, glass helped define the social rituals and cultural values of the period. While it delighted the eyes of the wealthy, glass also bore witness to the horrors of slavery. Glass beads were traded for human lives while elegant glass dishes, baskets and bowls held sweet delicacies made with sugar produced by enslaved labor.

In Sparkling Company: Glass and Social Life in Britain during the 1700s will include important examples of 18th-century British glass, including:

• Glass embroidered costume: a spectacular men’s coat intricately decorated with glass ‘jewels’ made around 1780; a pair of women’s shoes covered in glass beads; shoe buckles set with glass paste jewels; jewelry and other accessories.
• Cut glass lighting and tableware, all made possible through the perfection of British lead ‘crystal’ in the late 1600s and exported throughout Europe and the British colonies in America and beyond.
• A number of large mirrors, which became the tell-tale sign of a fashionable interior, and reverse-painted glass meticulously decorated in China for the British luxury market.
• Opulent glass dressing room accessories, including a magnificent gilded silver dressing table set, with a looking glass as its centerpiece, made in about 1700 for the 1st Countess of Portland; perfume bottles, patch boxes, a dazzling cut glass washing basin and pitcher and an exquisite blue glass casket richly mounted in gilded metal, used in the ‘toilette’ a semi-public ritual of dressing which was adopted from France for men and women alike and became a feature of British aristocratic life in the 18th century.

Robert Adam, Design for the end wall of the drawing room at Northumberland House, 1770–73, pen, pencil, and colored washes, including pink, verdigris, and Indian yellow on laid paper, 52 × 102 cm (London: Sir John Soane’s Museum, SM Adam, volume 39/7; photo by Ardon Bar Hama).

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Glass Drawing Room for the Duke of Northumberland

Over the course of the 18th century, domestic interiors were transformed by the increasing presence of clear and smooth plate glass. A remarkable example is the lavish drawing room designed by the celebrated British architect Robert Adam for Hugh Percy, 1st Duke of Northumberland (1714–1786) and his wife, the Duchess Elizabeth Percy (1716–1776), and completed in 1775. This unique room, measuring 36 by 22 feet, was paneled between dado rail and architrave with red glass panels sprinkled on the reverse with flakes of metal foil, like large-scale glitter. Similarly spangled green glass pilasters, large French looking glasses, and intricate neo-classical ornament in gilded lead completed the dazzling scheme. The room was altered in the 1820s and finally dismantled in the 1870s, when Northumberland House was demolished. Many of the panels were acquired by the V&A Museum in the 1950s, but their poor condition meant that they could only be partially displayed. The panels on display at The Corning Museum of Glass incorporate newly-conserved elements from the V&A’s stores.

In Sparkling Company will feature a virtual reality reconstruction of the drawing room, created by Irish production house Noho. Visitors to the exhibition will be transported into the interior, experiencing the original design scheme—last seen almost 200 years ago. This will be the first virtual-reality experience ever offered at CMoG. Visitors will also be able to see Robert Adam’s design drawings, on loan from the Sir John Soane’s Museum, London, and a section of the original Northumberland House Glass Drawing Room on loan from the V&A Museum, which has never been on view in North America.

In Sparkling Company: Glass and Social Life in Britain during the 1700s will include loans from the Victoria and Albert Museum; Sir John Soane’s Museum; the Museum of London; the Fashion Museum, Bath; Royal Museums Greenwich; Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); Penn State University Library; Cleveland Museum of Art; and The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue, In Sparkling Company: Reflections on Glass in the 18th-Century British World (The Corning Museum of Glass, 2020). Publication contributors include Marvin Bolt, Kimberly Chrisman Campbell, Jennifer Chuong, Melanie Doderer Winkler, Christopher Maxwell, Anna Moran, Marcia Pointon, and Kerry Sinanan.

Exhibition | British Baroque: Power and Illusion

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on February 11, 2020

John James Baker, The Whig Junto, 1710, oil on canvas, 319 × 365 (London: Tate, from the collection of Richard and Patricia, Baron and Baroness Sandys, accepted by HM Government in Lieu of inheritance tax and allocated to Tate in 2018, T15046).

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From the press release (3 February 2020) for the exhibition:

British Baroque: Power and Illusion
Tate Britain, London, 4 February — 19 April 2020

Curated by Tabitha Barber, with David Taylor and Tim Batchelor

British Baroque: Power and Illusion is the first ever exhibition to focus on baroque culture in Britain. From the Restoration of Charles II in 1660 to the death of Queen Anne in 1714, the exhibition explores the rich connections between art and power in this often-overlooked era. The show includes many new discoveries and works displayed in public for the first time, many on loan from the stately homes for which they were originally made.

The baroque is usually associated with the pomp and glory of European courts, epitomised by that of Louis XIV, but baroque visual culture also thrived in Britain under very different circumstances. From the royal court’s heyday as the brilliant epicentre of the nation’s cultural life, to the dramatic shift in power that saw the dominance of party politics, this exhibition shows how magnificence was used to express status and influence. As well as outstanding paintings by the leading artists of the day, including Sir Peter Lely, Sir Godfrey Kneller and Sir James Thornhill, the show also uncovers pivotal works by lesser known names.

British Baroque begins by exploring art’s role in the construction of a renewed vision of monarchy, including portraits of Charles II and idealised representations of his power. It looks at the splendour, colour and vivacity of the Restoration court, as well as the critiques of its tone and morals. Portraits by Lely, including Barbara Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland with her son, as the Virgin and Child 1664, were used to illustrate the important position held by royal mistresses while works by Jacob Huysmans, such as Catherine of Braganza c.1662–64, shaped the independent visual identity of the Queen consort.

The visual and devotional differences between Protestant and Catholic worship are examined in the religious art of the period. Emotionally charged altarpieces from the contentious Catholic chapels of Mary of Modena and James II are on show, as well as beautiful carvings by Grinling Gibbons and Thornhill’s designs for the painted dome of St Paul’s Cathedral. Another theme explored is the wonder and artifice of still life and perspective trompe l’oeil, including works by Samuel van Hoogstraten collected by members of the Royal Society, Chatsworth’s famous violin painted as if hanging on the back of a door, and the hyper-real flower paintings of Simon Verelst which looked so real that they fooled the diarist Samuel Pepys.

Godfrey Kneller, Portrait of Matthew Prior, 1700 (Cambridge, Trinity College).

The profound visual impact and drama of baroque architecture is represented with works by the great architects of the age: Wren, Hawksmoor, and Vanbrugh. Architectural designs, lavish prints, and wooden models relating to the significant buildings of the age, such as St Paul’s Cathedral, Hampton Court Palace, and Blenheim Palace, are shown alongside vast painted birds-eye views of estates. As well as architecture, the exhibition looks at the awe-inspiring illusion of painted baroque interiors. Mythological mural paintings, which frequently carried contemporary political messages, were designed to overwhelm spectators and impress upon them the power, taste, and leadership of their owners.

War and politics dominated the reigns of William III and Anne. The exhibition includes heroic equestrian portraiture, panoramic battle scenes, and accompanying propaganda. Victories such as Blenheim celebrated individuals such as the Duke of Marlborough, but they also embodied the might of the nation on a European stage. The show concludes with the dignified grandeur of portraiture made in the last two decades of the Stuart period, when party politics offered an alternative avenue to power. As well as imposing portraits of courtiers and aristocrats, the new political elite is seen in Kneller’s depiction of the Whig Kit-Cat Club and John James Baker’s enormous group portrait The Whig Junto from 1710.

British Baroque: Power and Illusion is curated by Tabitha Barber, Curator, British Art 1550–1750, Tate Britain, with David Taylor, Curator of Pictures and Sculpture, National Trust, and Tim Batchelor, Assistant Curator, British Art 1550–1750, Tate Britain. It is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue and a programme of talks and events in the gallery.

Tabitha Barber and Tim Bachelor, British Baroque: Power and Illusion (London: Tate Publishing, 2020), 176 pages, ISBN 978-1849766814, £25 / $35.

Exhibition | The Cloth that Changed the World

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on January 29, 2020

Opening in April at the ROM:

The Cloth that Changed the World: India’s Painted and Printed Cottons
Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, 4 April — 27 September 2020

Made with novel cotton, vivid colours and exuberant design, the painted and printed cottons of India changed human history; they revolutionized art, fashion, and science wherever they went around the globe. Featuring pieces from the Museum’s world-renowned collection and several important international loans, this ROM original exhibition explores how over thousands of years India’s artisans have created, perfected, and innovated these printed and painted multicoloured cotton fabrics to fashion the body, honour divinities, and beautify palaces and homes.

Exploring the fascinating stories behind the making and trade of these glorious pieces past and present, The Cloth that Changed the World considers India’s textile innovations and their influences on fashion, trade, and industry around the world in places as far as Cairo, Japan, Sumatra, London, and Ottawa. They were the luxury fabric of their day, coveted by all, and one of the great inventions that drew foreigners to India’s shores hungry for more. Discover how through trade-routes, encounters, and exchange, these cloths connected cultures, inspired imitation and, quite literally, changed the world. Experience how India’s designers and makers today are innovating for new times and audiences.

Sarah Fee, ed., with a preface by Sven Beckert, Cloth that Changed the World: The Art and Fashion of Indian Chintz (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2020), 312 pages, ISBN: 978-0300246797, $50.

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This ROM blog posting from 6 July 2018 looks back to the museum’s 1970 exhibition:

The Origins of Chintz
Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, 8 April — 28 May 1970

“Chintz… the exotic fabric from India that caught Europe’s fancy… So popular it was banned in England and France… Revolutionized Europe’s textile printing industry.”

Thus exclaimed the brochure that accompanied the ROM’s landmark exhibition, The Origins of Chintz, which opened in April, 1970, now nearly fifty years ago. Occupying the whole of the central ground gallery, known today as Currelly’s Court, the exhibition displayed nearly 100 towering examples of Indian ‘chintz’. . . .

Half of the one hundred objects displayed in the ROM exhibition Origins of Chintz came from the ROM’s own great holdings, particularly the 1934 donation from the estate of Harry Wearne (1852–1929), a British-born textile and wall paper designer. London’s Victoria & Albert (V&A) museum loaned almost forty treasures, including its unique ‘Garrick bed’: these Indian chintz bed coverings are famous both for their grandeur and for the impassioned letters that Mr. Garrick sent to customs officials in London begging for their return; the fabrics had been impounded during the aforementioned import ban on Indian chintz, meant to protect local British silk and linen weavers. A few additional masterpieces—including a seventeenth-century hanging from a Deccan Indian court palace—came on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, and Austrian Decorative Art Museum of Vienna. . . .

The full posting is available here»

Exhibition | Ukiyo-e Prints from the Mary Ainsworth Collection

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on January 27, 2020

Katsushika Hokusai (Japanese, 1760–1849), Fuji in Clear Weather (Red Fuji), from the series Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji, early 1830s
(Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, Ainsworth Bequest, 1950.711)

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Press release for the exhibition (via Art Daily). . .

Ukiyo-e Prints from the Mary Ainsworth Collection
Chiba City Museum of Art, 13 April — 26 May 2019
Shizuoka City Museum of Art, 8 June — 28 July 2019
Osaka City Museum of Fine Arts, 10 August to 29 September 2019
Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, Ohio, 14 January — 14 June 2020

Curated by Kevin Greenwood

In 1950, the Allen Memorial Art Museum received a surprise gift of more than 1,500 Japanese woodblock prints featuring actors, courtesans, and landscapes of the ‘floating world’ of 17th- to 19th-century Japan. This bequest became a cornerstone of the Allen’s renowned Asian art collection, and 200 of the works traveled back to Japan last year for a tour of museums in Chiba (near Tokyo), Shizuoka, and Osaka. Now more than 100 of these prints are on view in Ukiyo-e Prints from the Mary Ainsworth Collection, an Oberlin exhibition that runs through June 14, 2020.

Mary Andrews Ainsworth (1867–1950) graduated from Oberlin College in 1889 and made her first sea voyage to Japan in 1906. The country had recently emerged from centuries of isolation and was beginning a period of rapid industrial development. Ainsworth, however, was attracted to an earlier Japan: that of the Edo period (1603–1868). In this more peaceful era, a world of entertainment arose—ephemeral pursuits made even more popular through the wide distribution of color woodblock prints known as ukiyo-e, or ‘pictures of the floating world’.

“The Ainsworth collection represents the history and evolution of Japanese woodblock printmaking, with high-quality examples of the major subjects, styles, and artists of ukiyo-e. Together, they convey much of the richness and complexity of Japan’s print tradition,” said Kevin R. E. Greenwood, the Allen’s Joan L. Danforth Curator of Asian Art. “We were approached by one of Japan’s leading ukiyo-e scholars to do this exhibition, which confirms the importance of Ainsworth’s collection,” he said. “In the process of working together, we discovered some impressions not known in any other collections.”

Ukiyo-e Prints from the Mary Ainsworth Collection is presented in four sections that span the history of the medium. Early prints (1680–1770) were monochrome, often with hand-coloring added; the carbon-black ink was made from pine soot. Around 1745, with the invention of a way to register, or align, wooden blocks, artists such as Ishikawa Toyonobu began printing in two colors: red and green. These benizuri-e prints, or ‘crimson-printed pictures’, sometimes included a third color, yellow, brown, or indigo. In the 1760s, Suzuki Harunobu was the first major producer of prints using more than three blocks.

The second part of the show, Beauties and Actors (1770–1800), includes works by Kitagawa Utamaro, Chobunsai Eishi, and other artists who helped to popularize the many theaters, tea houses, and celebrities of the pleasure district in Edo (now Tokyo). Ukiyo-e artists not only made prints for sale to Japan’s growing merchant class, but also were hired to produce posters and advertisements for theatrical performances.

The third section, Hokusai and Kuniyoshi (1780–1850), highlights the rise of landscapes in Japanese printmaking, which was due in part to the introduction of a chemical pigment called Prussian blue. Six prints from Katsushika Hokusai’s series Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji are included, along with Utagawa Kuniyoshi’s prints of bridges, ferries, and heroes from history and legend.

The final section (1830–1858) is devoted to prints by Utagawa Hiroshige I. Works by this prolific artist comprise more than half of the Ainsworth collection. The exhibition presents thirty-six works by Hiroshige I, including nine from his 1830s series Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō and thirteen from his 1857 series One Hundred Famous Views of Edo—prime examples of some of the finest woodblock prints ever produced in Japan.

“This extensive exhibition and its accompanying catalogue have been years in coming to fruition,” said Andria Derstine, John G. W. Cowles Director of the Allen. “We are thrilled to present, for the first time in decades, such a large portion of our Ainsworth collection, both at the Allen and to enthusiastic audiences in Japan.”

Organized by Kevin R. E. Greenwood, Joan L. Danforth Curator of Asian Art, with Masako Tanabe and Marie Matsuoka, Chiba City Museum of Art; Saori Oishi, Shizuoka City Museum of Art; Eri Yoshida, Weikado Bunko Art Museum; Tatsuya Akita and Yasuko Kikuchi, Osaka City Museum of Fine Arts; Hiromi Sone, Mangosteen, Inc.; and Luoying Sheng ’20, AMAM curatorial assistant in Asian art education.

Exhibition | Piranesi Drawings: Visions of Antiquity

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on January 16, 2020

Opening next month at The British Museum, with a catalogue from Thames & Hudson:

Piranesi Drawings: Visions of Antiquity
The British Museum, London, 20 February — 9 August 2020

Curated by Sarah Vowles

Celebrating the 300th anniversary of the birth of Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720–1778), Piranesi Drawings: Visions of Antiquity explores the artist’s celebrated skill as a draftsman. The Venetian-born artist is best known for his dramatic etchings of the architecture and antiquities of his adopted home city of Rome and for his extraordinary flights of spatial fancy, such as Le Carceri (‘Prisons’). This exhibition, however, presents the Museum’s complete collection of Piranesi’s drawings, exploring the formidable quality of his pen and chalk studies and tracking his artistic evolution.

Sarah Vowles is the Hamish Swanston Curator of Italian and French Prints and Drawings at the British Museum. Hugo Chapman is the Simon Sainsbury Keeper of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum.

Sarah Vowles, with an introduction by Hugo Chapman, Piranesi Drawings: Visions of Antiquity
(London: Thames & Hudson, 2020), 144 pages, ISBN: 978-0500480618, £20 / $30.

Exhibition | Open-Air Painting in Europe, 1780–1870

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on January 9, 2020

Jean Honoré Fragonard, Mountain Landscape at Sunset, ca. 1765, oil on paper, 8 × 13 inches
(Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, Chester Dale Fund, 1997.22.1)

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From the press release (6 December 2019) for the exhibition:

True to Nature: Open-Air Painting in Europe, 1780–1870
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., 2 February — 3 May 2020
Fondation Custodia, Paris, 13 June — 13 September 2020
Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 6 October — 31 January 2021

Curated by Mary Morton, Ger Luijten, and Jane Munro

An integral part of art education in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, painting en plein air (‘in the open air’) was a core practice for artists in Europe. Intrepid painters—developing their abilities to quickly capturing effects of light and atmosphere—made sometimes arduous journeys to study landscapes at breathtaking sites, ranging from the Baltic coast and Swiss Alps to the streets of Paris and ruins of Rome. True to Nature: Open-Air Painting in Europe, 1780–1870 presents some 100 oil sketches made outdoors across Europe by artists such as Carl Blechen, Jules Coignet, André Giroux, Anton Sminck Pitloo, Carl Frederik Sørensen, and Joseph Mallord William Turner. On view in the West Building of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, from February 2 through May 3, 2020, the exhibition presents dozens of recently discovered studies and explores issues of attribution, chronology, and technique.

“The Gallery is fortunate to have one of the finest public collections of landscape sketches by 18th- and 19th-century European painters, largely due to acquisitions made by the late Philip Conisbee during his time as the Gallery’s senior curator of European paintings from 1993 to 2008,” said Kaywin Feldman, director, National Gallery of Art, Washington. “True to Nature builds on recent scholarship as well as the discovery of paintings that have come to light since the 1996 exhibition organized by Conisbee, In the Light of Italy: Corot and Early Open-Air Painting. That exhibition sparked curatorial and collector interest in this genre, and True to Nature continues to expand our understanding of this relatively unstudied, yet central, aspect of European art history. The Gallery is grateful to work with the Fondation Custodia, Collection Frits Lugt, and the Fitzwilliam Museum to bring together highlights from the best collections of European landscape sketches from this period.”

True to Nature begins as European artists would have in the late 18th and early 19th century—in Rome. The study of ancient sculpture and architecture, as well as of Renaissance and baroque art, was already a key part of an artist’s education, but Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes’s influential treatise on landscape painting, published in 1800, went further to recommended that young artists develop their skills by painting oil sketches out of doors. Valenciennes advised exploring the Roman countryside, as he had in Study of Clouds over the Roman Campagna (c. 1782/1785). This section includes examples by a range of European artists who followed his advice, such as Michel Dumas, Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg, and Johan Thomas Lundbye. Also included is The Island and Bridge of San Bartolomeo, Rome (1825/1828) by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot. Corot was a key figure in 19th-century landscape painting, bringing the practice of open-air painting back to France and inspiring a younger generation of impressionist painters.

Other sections focus on both natural and man-made features that proved challenging to painters, such as waterfalls, trees, skies, coastlines, and rooftops. Examples include rare studies by well-known artists such as John Constable’s Sky Study with a Shaft of Sunlight (c. 1822, Fitzwilliam Museum), Jean Honoré Fragonard’s Mountain Landscape at Sunset (c. 1765), and Odilon Redon’s Village on the Coast of Brittany (1840–1916, Fondation Custodia) as well as sketches by lesser-known painters like Louise-Joséphine Sarazin del Belmont, one of the few known women artists active during this period. True to Nature illustrates how pervasive plein-air painting became across Europe with examples by many Belgian, Danish, Dutch, German, Swiss, and Swedish artists who studied in Italy before returning home to paint their native surroundings. Sketches by Carl Blechen include an example from his time in Italy, View of the Colosseum in Rome (1829, Fondation Custodia), as well as a study made at home in Germany, View of the Baltic Coast (1798-1840), Fondation Custodia).

The exhibition is organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, the Fondation Custodia, Collection Frits Lugt, Paris, and the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. The exhibition is curated by Mary Morton, curator and head of the department of French paintings, National Gallery of Art, Washington; Ger Luijten, director, Fondation Custodia, Collection Frits Lugt, Paris; and Jane Munro, keeper of paintings, drawings and prints, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Ger Luijten, Mary Morton, and Jane Munro, eds., with additional contributions by Michael Clarke, Ann Hoenigswald, and Anna Ottani Cavina, True to Nature: Open-Air Painting in Europe, 1780–1870 (London: Paul Holberton Publishing, 2020), 256 pages, ISBN: 978-1911300786, £45 / $55.


Exhibition | Dutch Drawings of the Eighteenth Century

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on January 7, 2020

Jan van Huysum (1682–1749), A Crab, 18th century, watercolour and pencil on laid paper, 18 × 29 cm
(Frankfurt am Main: Städel Museum)

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Opening in the fall at the Städel Museum:

Dutch Drawings of the Eighteenth Century / Niederländische Zeichnungen des 18. Jahrhunderts
Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, 1 October 2020 — 10 January 2021

Curated by Annett Sandfort

With nearly 600 works, the Städel Museum has one of the most extensive and artistically significant collections of eighteenth-century Dutch drawings outside the Netherlands. From 1 October 2020 to 10 January 2021, the Stadel is for the first time dedicating an exhibition to this valuable collection. On display will be eighty representative drawings by artists who are hardly known today, but who were often very successful in their time, as well as by art-loving amateurs who drew at a high level. The exhibition will bring together preparatory drawings for large-format wall and ceiling decorations by Jacob de Wit; book illustrations by Bernard Picart; Dutch topographies by Cornelis Pronk, Paulus Constantijn la Fargue, and Hendrik Schepper; atmospheric landscape drawings by Jacob Cats, the brothers Jacob and Abraham van Strij, and Franciscus Andreas Milatz; decorative floral and fruit still lifes by Jan van Huysum and his numerous successors; as well as depictions of exotic animals by Aert Schouman and satirical genre scenes by Cornelis Troost and Jacobus Buys. The selected works impressively illustrate the revaluation and emancipation of the drawing in the Netherlands in the eighteenth century, as well as the preference for picturesquely executed, coloured drawings and the repeatedly sought-after examination of the art of the seventeenth century, the Netherlands’ Golden Age. The exhibition and accompanying catalogue of holdings impressively illustrate the spectrum and quality of the collection of eighteenth-century Dutch drawings in the Städel Museum.

Curated by Annett Sandfort (Collection of Prints and Drawings, Städel Museum), with support from the Stiftung Gabriele Busch-Hauck.

Cornelis Troost (1696/1697–1750), Suijpe Steijn, 1742, gouache paint on laid paper, 41 × 62 cm
(Frankfurt am Main: Städel Museum, photo by U. Edelmann)

Exhibition | Goya: Avant-Garde Genius, the Master and His School

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on January 4, 2020

Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes, Woman with a Fan, detail, ca. 1805–10
(Paris: Musée du Louvre)

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Now on view in Agen, as described in the press kit:

Goya: Avant-Garde Genius, the Master and His School
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Agen, 8 November 2019 — 10 February 2020

Curated by Adrien Enfedaque, Juliet Wilson-Bareau, and Bruno Mottin

The City of Agen and its Fine Arts Museum, located between Bordeaux and Toulouse in the southwest of France, will present, over the winter of 2019–2020, an outstanding exhibition with a fresh and unexpected view on Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (1746–1828) and his work. Through a selection of works in several media (paintings, drawings, engravings), the exhibition will demonstrate the essential characteristics that remain constant in Goya’s work and reveal the role played by his collaborators in his studio.

The Museum’s scientific team is assisted in this project by one of the specialists of Goya’s work Juliet Wilson-Bareau and the event has received personal support from the French Minister of Culture. Nearly 90 works loaned by museums and private collections around the world (France, Germany, Hungary, Spain, Switzerland, UK, USA) will be on display in the Jacobins’ Church (Église des Jacobins), an Agen architectural jewel and an emblematic place for the Museum’s temporary exhibitions.

In the late nineteenth-century, Count Damase de Chaudordy (1826–1889) bequeathed a substantial collection to his birthplace Agen. As French ambassador to the court of Madrid, he bought many works, such as five of six paintings by Goya from the private collection of Federico de Madrazo, former first painter of the queen and director of the Prado Museum. These paintings had already been catalogued by Charles Yriarte in 1867 and came directly from the collections of Goya’s son Don Xavier (1784–1854) and grandson Don Mariano (1806–1874) Marquis of Espinar.

This ambitious project is reminiscent of the blockbuster exhibition organized in 1993 From Fortuny to Picasso, which attracted more than 25,000 visitors. It was the first major exhibition at the Jacobins’ church and the result of a collaboration with the Prado Museum in Madrid. It has been the origin of precursory research on Spanish painters of the 19th century. The curator at the time, Yannick Lintz, now Head of the Department of Islamic Arts at the Louvre museum, keeps a benevolent eye on Agen’s projects and supports this exhibition.

As part of the Catalog of Desires, a device set up by the Ministry of Culture to facilitate the circulation in France of iconic works of national collections, the Agen Museum has been designated as a pilot museum. It has the honour to present to the public Woman with a Fan, a famous painting by Goya which has been on loan from the Louvre since April 27, 2019. In the picture, the artist depicts a buxom young woman with great subtlety. The minimalist shades of gray, celadon greens, and whites are remarkable, especially in the delicate work of the long mittens. The identity of the young woman remains uncertain today. The painting is original in its intimate approach focusing on the character’s psychology.

Goya: Avant-Garde Genius, the Master and His School is based on research from the Louvre and the Research and Restoration Centre of the Museums of France (C2RMF). The exhibition benefits from the technical and scientific advice of this latter institution, where two paintings of Goya’s followers (Goyesques) from the Museum of Agen are currently being studied and restored for the exhibition. It is a new approach to Goya’s work that will be proposed to better underline the singularity of his art and his way of working, from drawing to painting. This project could, in the long term, better define the artistic approach of Goya and the implication of the collaborators in his workshop. The aim of the exhibition is to provide both the large public and the painting connoisseurs with a unique opportunity to enjoy and admire many masterpieces that will also be analyzed in detail (through documentation and technical analysis).

General Commission
Adrien Enfedaque (Curator of the Museum of Fine Arts)

Scientific Advisers
Juliet Wilson-Bareau (Art Historian, London)
Bruno Mottin (Chief Curator of Heritage, Research and Restoration Centre of the Museums of France)

Goya: Génie d’avant-garde, le maître et son école (Paris: Snoeck Édition, 2020), 224 pages, ISBN: 978-9461615602, 25€.

For additional coverage, see Dalya Alberge’s article from The Observer (28 December 2019), available here»

Exhibition | A Grand Tour: Images of Italy from the Jundt Art Museum

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on January 3, 2020

From the Jundt Art Museum:

A Grand Tour: Images of Italy from the Permanent Collection of the Jundt Art Museum
Jundt Art Museum, Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington, 18 January — 9 May 2020

In his book Italian Hours, Henry James often commented on the tourist sites of urban Italy. In 1882, he noted, “The only way to care for Venice as she deserves it is to give her a chance to touch you often—to linger and remain and return.” James and other late-nineteenth-century Americans were continuing the British tradition of the Grand Tour in Italy, centered on its most important cultural cities and historic sites. This exhibition functions as a visual travelogue of the Italian peninsula using works of art from the collection of the Jundt Art Museum at Gonzaga University.

Both the exhibition and an accompanying book begin with sixteenth-, seventeenth-, and eighteenth-century European prints, byproducts of artists’ visits mostly to the urban centers of Rome and Florence, and conclude with twenty-first-century images. Significant portions of the objects in this exhibition result from the Bolker Collection and from the Fredrick and Genevieve Schlatter Endowed Print Fund. A Grand Tour utilizes the Jundt Art Museum’s collection to present artistic imagery of the canals of Venice, the Renaissance architecture of Florence, and the classical remains of Rome, but also sites in Milan, Pisa, Assisi, Naples, and Palermo as well as other cities and towns. We hope that this selection of 76 images of Italy will give pleasure as one introduction to a wide-ranging and astonishing topic and as an opportunity, as James writes, “to linger and remain and return.”

Exhibition | Master, Pupil, Follower

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on January 3, 2020

Pietro Giacomo Palmieri (1737–1804), Two Figures in a Landscape, red chalk on cream paper, 18 × 24 inches
(Collection of Jeffrey E. Horvitz, Boston, inv. no. D-I-43)

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From the Georgia Museum of Art:

Master, Pupil, Follower: 16th- to 18th-Century Italian Works on Paper
Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia, Athens, 21 December 2019 — 8 March 2020

Curated by Randy Coleman, Nelda Damiano, and Benedetta Spadaccini

Circle of the Gandolfi, Standing Academic Male Nude, Seen from the Rear, ca. 1775, charcoal on white paper with some foxing and repairs, 17 × 12 inches (Athens: Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia; extended loan from the collection of Giuliano Ceseri. GMOA 1995.184E).

This exhibition showcases approximately 30 drawings and prints dating from the 16th to the 18th centuries and drawn from the collections of Giuliano Ceseri of Lafayette, Louisiana, the Georgia Museum of Art, and the Jeffrey Horvitz Collection. Curators selected drawings and prints to represent specific artistic styles and Italian regional schools. An examination of the drawings has revealed some previously erroneous assumptions. In a few cases, new attributions have resulted; in others, authorship remains unresolved. The museum will publish a fully illustrated exhibition catalogue containing this scholarship and publishing important drawings by Giulio Romano, Claudio Ridolfi, Palma il Giovane, and Guercino for the first time. Other artists include Giulio Benso, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, Salvatore Rosa, and followers of Veronese and Tintoretto. The exhibition is curated by Robert Randolf Coleman, professor emeritus, Renaissance and Baroque art history, University of Notre Dame; Nelda Damiano, Pierre Daura Curator of European Art, Georgia Museum of Art; and Benedetta Spadaccini, Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milano.