Enfilade

Exhibition | Good Hope: South Africa and the Netherlands from 1600

Posted in books, catalogues, conferences (to attend), exhibitions by Editor on February 17, 2017

Nederland, Amsterdam, 14-02-2017. Tentoonstelling Goede Hoop in het Rijksmuseum. Foto: Olivier Middendorp

Installation view of the exhibition Good Hope: South Africa and The Netherlands from 1600 at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, 14 February 2017; photo by Olivier Middendorp.

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Now on view at the Rijksmuseum:

Good Hope: South Africa and the Netherlands from 1600
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 17 February — 21 May 2017

Curated by Martine Gosselink

The arrival of the Dutch changed South Africa forever. The population’s composition and the introduction of slavery by the VOC (the Dutch East India Company) resulted from ties with the Netherlands. But this also applies to the language, Afrikaans, the legal system, the protestant church, the introduction of Islam, the typical façades, and Dutch names on the map. The relationship with South Africa also changed the Netherlands. The Boer Wars around 1900, countless ‘Transvaal districts’ in Dutch cities, and the violent anti-apartheid struggle of the 1980s symbolise a continuously tempestuous relationship. In this exhibition, around 300 paintings, drawings, documents, photos, items of furniture, souvenirs, tools, and archaeological discoveries give a vivid impression of the culture shared and the influence reciprocated by the two countries.

15502_bigRobert Jacob Gordon’s landscape panoramas, several metres long, occupy a prominent place in the exhibition. This Dutch traveller illustrated 18th-century South Africa, giving the country an identity. The imposing portraits of children born after 1994—when apartheid was abolished—by the South African photographer Pieter Hugo illustrate South Africa’s future. Along with the exhibition, the NTR (Dutch public-service broadcaster) will be broadcasting a seven-part TV series presented by Hans Goedkoop. The exhibition is produced under the directions of Martine Gosselink, Head of the History Department at the Rijksmuseum.

“The Good Hope exhibition illustrates a significant aspect of Dutch colonial history in all its nuances—a tale that is both painful and striking, but more especially disturbing and recognisable.”
–Adriaan van Dis, Dutch writer, Africa specialist, and the exhibition’s narrator

Symposium—Good Hope for a New Generation: Reflections on Diversity and Change in South Africa and the Netherlands, 5 April 2017

The aim of this symposium is for the Dutch and South Africans to learn from each other in building an open and diverse nation where talents can develop. For this symposium, two South African speakers are invited to reflect on the past and especially on the future of the new generation.

Martine Gosselink, Maria Holtrop, and Robert Ross, eds., Good Hope: South Africa and the Netherlands from 1600 (Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, 2017), 376 pages, ISBN: 978  94600  43130, €35.

A richly illustrated book accompanies the exhibition, containing 56 contributions from 26 authors from the fields of literature, language, art history, archaeology, politics, and journalism.

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Exhibition | In the Name of the Lily: French Printmaking

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on February 3, 2017

Press release for the exhibition now on view in Bremen:

In the Name of the Lily: French Printmaking in the Age of Louis XIV
Im Zeichen der Lilie: Französische Druckgraphik zur Zeit Ludwigs XIV
Kunsthalle Bremen, 1 February — 28 May 2017

Pierre Drevet after Hyacinthe Rigaud, Portrait of Louix XIV, 1714/15, 39 × 52 cm (Kunsthalle Bremen).

Pierre Drevet after Hyacinthe Rigaud, Portrait of Louis XIV, 1714/15, 39 × 52 cm (Kunsthalle Bremen).

This exhibition presents outstanding French prints from 1650 to 1715, an era in which the magnificence of Absolutism reached its climax. During the reign of Louis XIV, a principal task of the fine arts was to spread the glory and splendour of the Sun King as a statesman, general, and patron far beyond the borders of his own country. Prints were especially suited to this purpose. They were easy to transport; they could be produced in great numbers; they were sold individually or sumptuously bound together; and they could unequivocally serve political aspirations. Engravings after paintings in the King’s collections, views of his palaces, and images of his military victories advanced them to highly respected prestige objects.

In 1660, Louis XIV freed engravers from the restrictions of the guild system and elevated them to the rank of free artists. In 1663 they were allowed to enter the Royal Academy, which provided standardized training and thereby ensured an extraordinarily high level of technical skills. The precision and inventiveness of engravers such as Gérard Edelinck, Robert Nanteuil, Pierre Drevet, and Jean Audran—who used subtle graduated tonality, sophisticated lighting, and elaborately worked surfaces—contributed significantly to the formation of a French style that set the standard for later printmaking.

The engraver Anton Würth (b. 1957), who has explored the aesthetic quality of 17th-century French engravings in depth, has been invited to make a guest contribution.

Only a few minutes’ walk away from Bremen’s central market square, the Kunsthalle Bremen’s building has stood in the Wall gardens for over 150 years. The gallery’s private owner is to this day is the Kunstverein in Bremen (the Bremen Art Association), founded by the citizens of Bremen in 1823, making it one of the oldest art associations in Germany. With more than 9,000 members, it counts today one of the strongest memberships in the Federal Republic of Germany. As the city’s most distinguished art and cultural institution, its impact extends far beyond the region. Generous endowments, private donations, bequests by friends of the arts and allocations from the City of Bremen municipality form the basis for the gallery’s successful pursuit of its historic activity. Over the centuries, a rich and diverse collection has been assembled, containing outstanding paintings and sculptures as well as precious holdings of graphic art.

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Christien Melzer and Anton Würth, Im Zeichen der Lilie: Französische Druckgraphik zur Zeit Ludwigs XIV (Bremen: Kunstverein Bremen, 2017), 96 pages, ISBN: 978-3935127332.

im-zeichen-der-lilie-franzoesische-druckgraphik-zur-zeit-ludwigs-xiv_9783935127332Der französische Kupferstich erlebte zwischen 1650 und 1715 eine besondere Blüte. Ausstellung und Katalog Im Zeichen der Lilie. Französische Druckgraphik zur Zeit Ludwigs XIV. stellen vom 1. Februar bis 28. Mai 2017 erstmals in der Kunsthalle Bremen eine Auswahl von rund 70 Kupferstichen und Radierungen von 25 Künstlern des Barock vor. Die Zeitspanne umfasst in etwa die Regierungszeit des französischen Sonnenkönigs, Ludwig XIV., der alle Künste der Staatsräson unterordnete. In der Druckgraphik erkannte er ein Massenmedium par excellence, um seinen Ruhm über die Grenzen Frankreichs hinaus zu verbreiten und seine Macht zu festigen. Zahlreiche, teils monumentale Kupferstiche in ausgezeichneter Qualität und hervorragender Erhaltung spiegeln die Machtentfaltung des französischen Monarchen. Auf höchstem technischem Niveau zeigen sie die Besitztümer des Königs, seien es Gemälde, Tapisserien, Fresken oder Gebäude. Dramatische Schlachtenbilder illustrieren die militärischen Erfolge des Königs, brillante Porträts hn unterordnete. In der Druckgraphik erkannte er ein Massenmedium par excellence, um seinen Ruhm über die Grenzen Frankreichs hinaus zu verbreiten und seine Macht zu festigen. Zahlreiche, teils monumentale Kupferstiche in ausgezeichneter Qualität und hervorragender Erhaltung spiegeln die Machtentfaltung des französischen Monarchen. Auf höchstem technischem Niveau zeigen sie die Besitztümer des Königs, seien es Gemälde, Tapisserien, Fresken oder Gebäude. Dramatische Schlachtenbilder illustrieren die militärischen Erfolge des Königs, brillante Porträts halten die Subjekte seines Staatswesens für die Ewigkeit fest, prachtvolle Allegorien führen seine Tugenden vor Augen. Die präzisen und zugleich höchst sinnlichen Stiche von Gérard Edelinck, Robert Nanteuil, Pierre Drevet oder Jean Audran zeichnen sich durch subtil abgestufte Tonalitäten, eine raffinierte Lichtregie und differenziert ausgearbeitete Oberflächen aus und etablierten einen genuin französischen Stil, der geschmacksbildend für ganz Europa werden sollte.

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Exhibition | The Pursuit of Immortality: Portrait Medals

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on January 15, 2017

Opening in May at The Frick:

The Pursuit of Immortality: Masterpieces from the Scher Collection of Portrait Medals
The Frick Collection, New York, 9 May — 10 September 2017

Curated by Aimee Ng and Stephen Scher

9781911282068-frontcoverThe Frick Collection recently announced the largest acquisition in its history—a promised gift of approximately 450 portrait medals from the incomparable collection of Stephen K. and Janie Woo Scher. Representing the development of the art of the portrait medal from its inception in fifteenth-century Italy to the nineteenth century, the Scher collection is arguably the world’s most comprehensive and significant collection of portrait medals. Comments Director Ian Wardropper, “Henry Clay Frick had an abiding interest in portraiture as expressed in the paintings, sculpture, enamels, and works on paper he acquired. The Scher medals will coalesce beautifully with these holdings, being understood in our galleries within the broader contexts of European art and culture. At the same time, the intimate scale of the institution will offer a superb platform for the medals to be appreciated as an independent art form, one long overdue for fresh attention and public appreciation.”

To celebrate the promised gift, The Frick Collection will mount an exhibition this spring entitled The Pursuit of Immortality: Masterpieces from the Scher Collection of Portrait Medals. The exhibition will explore the flourishing of the medallic arts in major European centers of artistic production and will feature superlative examples by masters of the art such as Pisanello (Italy), Dupré (France), and Reinhart (Germany). Taking and fresh approach to the study of medals, which have often been viewed in the past as specialist objects closer to the field of numismatics, this exhibition will examine medals within the larger context of art, honoring them as a triumph of sculptural production on a small scale. Visitors to the show will encounter a number of renowned sculptors who were also masters of the medal.

The Pursuit of Immortality: Masterpieces from the Scher Collection of Portrait Medals is organized by Aimee Ng, Associate Curator at the Frick, and Stephen K. Scher, an esteemed art historian as well as a collector. Accompanying the exhibition is a richly illustrated exhibition catalogue including an essay by Aimee Ng. (In the spring of 2018, a catalogue of the entire Scher Collection will be published, featuring essays by leading medals scholars and illustrated entries about each of the almost one thousand medals in the collection.)

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Aimee Ng, The Pursuit of Immortality: Masterpieces from the Scher Collection of Portrait Medals (London: Giles, 2017), 64 pages, ISBN: 978  19112  82068, £15 / $20.

Accompanying the exhibition is a richly illustrated exhibition catalogue including an essay by Aimee Ng. In the spring of 2018, a catalogue of the entire Scher Collection will be published, featuring essays by leading medals scholars and illustrated entries about each of the almost one thousand medals in the collection.

Aimee Ng is associate curator at The Frick Collection, New York, and a specialist in Italian Renaissance art. She has held curatorial and academic positions at the Morgan Library & Museum, where she was postdoctoral fellow at the Morgan’s Drawing Institute in 2014, and at Columbia University, where she earned her Ph.D. She was guest curator of The Poetry of Parmigianino’s ‘Schiava Turca’ (2014) and organizing curator of Andrea del Sarto: The Renaissance Workshop in Action (2015–16).

Exhibition | Alexandre Lenoir’s Museum of French Monuments

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on January 14, 2017

I’m nearly a year late with this posting, but the catalogue is still available. CH

From the Louvre:

Un Musée révolutionnaire: Le musée des Monuments français d’Alexandre Lenoir
A Revolutionary Museum: Alexandre Lenoir’s Museum of French Monuments
Musée du Louvre, Paris, 7 April — 4 July 2016

Curated by Geneviève Bresc-Bautier and Béatrice de Chancel-Bardelot

9782754109376-001-tDating from 1795, the Museum of French Monuments was France’s second national museum, coming in the wake of the Louvre, founded in 1793. It played a major part in the birth of the notion of heritage and the emergence of medieval history. However, it was closed in 1816 and its contents are currently to be found in institutions in France—the Louvre’s Department of Sculptures, the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, the basilica of Saint-Denis, the Musée de Cluny, Notre Dame, various churches in the Paris diocese—and abroad: mainly in the Metropolitan Museum in New York, but also in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The exhibition recounts the pioneering achievement of Alexandre Lenoir as museum curator, exhibition designer, and fervent heritage protector. It also explores the establishment and history of the Museum of French Monuments, whose exhibition style had a powerful influence on the sensibility and the arts of the period.

Organized by Geneviève Bresc-Bautier (Musée du Louvre), and Béatrice de Chancel-Bardelot (Musée de Cluny-Musée National du Moyen Âge).

From Hazan:

Geneviève Bresc-Bautier and Béatrice de Chancel-Bardelot, eds. Un Musée révolutionnaire: Le musée des Monuments français d’Alexandre Lenoir (Paris: Hazan, 2016), 380 pages, ISBN: 978 27541  09376, €45.

Alexandre Lenoir (1761–1839), fervent défenseur des arts face au vandalisme révolutionnaire, fut le créateur et l’administrateur du musée des Monuments français de 1791 à sa fermeture en 1816 et à la dispersion de ses collections.L’exposition qui se tiendra dans le hall Napoléon du musée du Louvre du 7 avril au 4 juillet 2016 s’attache dans un premier temps à présenter l’histoire et l’influence de cette institution et de son fondateur sur l’historiographie et la conservation du patrimoine français. Dans un second temps, l’exposition dévoile au public plusieurs ensembles de sculptures tels qu’ils étaient exposés au musée des Monuments français, notamment les statues-colonnes de Gaillon représentant Jeanne d’Arc et Louis XII ou encore le tombeau de Valentine Balbiani et du cardinal René de Birague. Plus qu’un catalogue d’exposition, la publication accompagnant cet événement constitue un véritable ouvrage de référence sur le musée des Monuments français. Dirigé par les commissaires d’exposition Geneviève Bresc-Bautier et Béatrice de Chancel, il rassemble vingt-huit textes d’historiens de l’art accompagnés de plus de deux cent cinquante illustrations, notamment les nombreuses vues de salles à l’aquarelle de Jean-Lubin Vauzelle qui font revivre un instant ce musée aujourd’hui disparu.

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Exhibition | Classicisms

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on January 9, 2017

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Tommaso Gherardini, Classical Relief (detail), 1765, oil on canvas (Chicago: Smart Museum of Art, Gift of the Collection of Edward A. and Inge Maser, 2008.23).

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From the Smart Museum of Art:

Classicisms
Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago, 16 February — 11 June 2017

Curated by Larry Norman and Anne Leonard

Classicism, as an aesthetic ideal, is often associated with a conventional set of rules founded on supposedly timeless notions such as order, reason, and decorum. As a result, it can be understood as rigid, outdated, or stodgy. But classicism is actually far from a stable concept—throughout history, it has given rise to more debate than consensus, and at times has been put to use for subversive ends.

Organized by the Smart Museum of Art and informed by an interdisciplinary planning process involving faculty members from across the University of Chicago, Classicisms explodes the idea of classicism as an unchanging ideal. The exhibition features 70 objects spanning diverse genres, eras, and media—paintings, ancient and modern sculpture, cast plaster replicas, and works on paper. Together with a scholarly catalogue, the exhibition traces classicism’s meanings across the centuries from varying artistic, cultural, and ideological perspectives to reveal a multifaceted concept with a complicated history.

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Distributed by The University of Chicago Press:

9780935573572Larry F. Norman and Anne Leonard, ed., Classicisms (Chicago: Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago, 2017), 184 pages, ISBN: 978  0935  573572, $30. With essays by Richard T. Neer, Susanna Caviglia, Andrei Pop, Frederick A. de Armas, Benjamin Morgan, Jennifer Wild, Rebecca Zorach, and Glenn W. Most; and other contributions from Rainbow Porthé, Ji Gao, Esther Van Dyke, Caitlin Hoff, Rebecca Crisafulli, and James Nemiroff.

This volume explodes the idea of classicism as an unchanging ideal. Through essays and other contributions from an interdisciplinary group of scholars, it traces the shifting parameters of classicism from antiquity to the twentieth century, documenting an exhibition of seventy objects in various media from the collection of the Smart Museum of Art and other American and international institutions. With its impressive historical and conceptual reach—from ancient literature to contemporary race relations and beyond—this colorfully illustrated book is a dynamic exploration of classicism as a fluctuating stylistic and ideological category.

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Exhibition | Images and Revolts in Book and Prints

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on January 5, 2017

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Now on view at the Bibliothèque Mazarine:

Images and Revolts in Book and Prints, 14th–Mid-18th Century
Images & Révoltes dans le livre et l’estampe, 14e–milieu du 18e siècle
Bibliothèque Mazarine, Paris, 14 December 2016 — 17 March 2017

Curated by Tiphaine Gaumy

Since the late Middle Ages, revolts and uprisings have marked European history. For a long time, historians believed that due to the extent of illiteracy, opponents had very few means of self-expression. However, the increase and widespread appearance of contesting images during periods of insurgency provides evidence of a visual and popular culture existing long before the French Revolution. Significant examples can be observed during the Bohemian Hussite movement in the 15th century or during the Peasants War in the Holy Roman Empire (1525).

An iconography of revolts emerged and spread, especially on ephemeral and scarcely preserved materials, but also in manuscripts, and very soon on new media. Opponents expressed their discontent through pamphlets and prints. In response, authorities tried to contain the dissemination of seditious images and to display, through other images, their own legitimacy and authority. This visual production raises many questions. How did rebels influence their creation? How did technical innovations (printing) or spiritual ones (reformation, iconoclasm…) determine their spread, form and content? Can historians trust them?

The exhibition features a broad variety of images, from rebellions of Flemish cities in the 14th century, to peasants revolts and religious troubles of the 15th and 16th centuries, uprisings and revolutions in the mid-17th century (in France, Portugal, Naples, the British Isles), and Jansenist protests in the 18th century. They form an unknown and astonishing visual legacy and a key testimony to understanding the political culture of Europe.

An exhibition organised by the Bibliothèque Mazarine, in collaboration with the ANR project Culture des révoltes et révolutions.

Stéphane Haffemayer, Alain Hugon, Yann Sordet, and Christophe Vellet, eds., Images & Révoltes dans le livre et l’estampe, XIVe–milieu du XVIIIe siècle (Paris: Bibliothèque Mazarine & Editions des Cendres, 2016), 315 pages, ISBN: 979  1090853  096, 38€.

Exhibition | House Style: Five Centuries of Fashion at Chatsworth

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on January 3, 2017

house-style-five-centuries-of-fashion-at-chatsworth

Mario Testino, Stella Tennant (in Junya Watanabe) with Her Grandmother the Duchess of Devonshire (in Oscar de la Renta), from British Vogue (December 2006). © Mario Testino.

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Press release (via Art Daily):

House Style: Five Centuries of Fashion at Chatsworth
Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, 25 March — 22 October 2017

Curated by Hamish Bowles

In 2017 Chatsworth will present its most ambitious exhibition to date, exploring the history of fashion and adornment: House Style: Five Centuries of Fashion at Chatsworth. Hamish Bowles, International Editor-at-Large at American Vogue, will curate this landmark show with creative direction and design by Patrick Kinmonth and Antonio Monfreda, the duo behind some of the most memorable fashion exhibitions of recent years. House Style will give unprecedented insight into the depth of the Devonshire Collection and the lives of renowned style icons from Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire to Stella Tennant.

index-pperlThe exhibition will bring to life the captivating individuals from the Cavendish family, including Bess of Hardwick, one of the most powerful women of the 16th century; the 18th-century ‘Empress of Fashion’ Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire; and Adele Astaire, the sister and dance partner of Fred Astaire. Deborah Devonshire and Nancy Mitford (two of the Mitford sisters), model Stella Tennant, and John F. Kennedy’s sister ‘Kick’ Kennedy will also be central to the show. Telling the rich history of both international style and the Devonshire Collection, the exhibition will demonstrate the power of fashion to illuminate these extraordinary characters.

House Style will be woven throughout one of Britain’s finest stately homes, including the largest and grandest room of the Baroque house, the Painted Hall, the Chapel, and the lavishly decorated State Music Room. Layering art history, fashion, jewellery, archival material, design, and textiles, the exhibition will be organised by theme, including Coronation Dress, The Devonshire House Ball, Bess of Hardwick and the Tudor influence, The Georgiana Effect, Ducal Style, Country Living, The Circle of Life, and Entertaining at Chatsworth.

Highlights of the exhibition will include exceptional couture designed by Jean Phillipe Worth and Christian Dior, together with influential contemporary garments from designers such as Gucci, Helmut Lang, Margiela, Vivienne Westwood, Erdem, Alexander McQueen, Christopher Kane, and Vetements. The show will also feature personal family collections, including items belonging to the current Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, such as a Givenchy bolero worn on the Duchess’s wedding day. These pieces will be displayed alongside livery, uniforms, coronation robes, and fancy-dress costumes, demonstrating the varying breadth of fashion and adornment from the collection throughout the generations.

Important artworks will also be on display, including rare costume designs from the 1660s by Inigo Jones, Surveyor to the King’s Works and one of the most notable architects of 17th-century England. Contemporary artist T. J. Wilcox will be showing his intimate filmed portrait of Adele Astaire, which contains the only extant film of the star, found at Chatsworth in 2015.

Hamish Bowles commented: “To be let loose in the wardrobe rooms, the gold vaults, the muniment room, and the closets, cupboards, and attics of Chatsworth, in search of sartorial treasures has been a dream come true for me. Chatsworth is a real treasure house and the characters of generations of Cavendish family members who have peopled its rooms and gardens and landscapes is revealed as vividly through their choice of clothing and adornments, as through the canvases and lenses of the great artists and photographers who have memorialised them through the centuries. In House Style, we hope to bring these compelling and fascinating people and the very different worlds they inhabited to life, through the clothes and the jewels that they wore.”

Alessandro Michele, Creative Director at Gucci, commented: “Chatsworth is unlike anywhere else in the world—a place full of charm, history, and rituals. It is a piece of England, of Europe, and the contemporary world, all at the same time. You can see history everywhere, yet everything is alive.

This exhibition proves how much historical objects are an incredible source of inspiration for creating the present. Thus far the house has been speaking, now House Style gives a voice to the wardrobes of its inhabitants and guests.”

Patrick Kinmonth commented: “The patina of Chatsworth House itself is one of the greatest treasures of the collections, and looking at the surfaces and materials of clothes worn over hundreds of years in these very rooms proves to be a novel way to rediscover both the house and the wonderful things in it. Clothes and personal objects (especially jewels), in turn bring ghosts and visions of remarkable characters to the surface of the place, and we hope to conjure the presence of these remarkable men and women who have animated, loved and created this unique ensemble of great art, furniture, and personal style in its many layers.”

Hamish Bowles, ed., House Style: Five Centuries of Fashion at Chatsworth (New York: Rizzoli, 2017), 192 pages, ISBN: 978  0847  858965, $45. With a foreword by the Duke of Devonshire, an introduction by the Countess of Burlington, and essays and texts by Hamish Bowles, Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell, Charlotte Mosley, Sarah Mower, Diana Scarisbrick, and Lady Sophia Topley.

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Exhibition | Enlightened Princesses

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on December 30, 2016

Press release (2 November 2016) for the exhibition:

Enlightened Princesses: Caroline, Augusta, Charlotte, and the Shaping of the Modern World
Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 2 February — 30 April 2017
Kensington Palace, London, June 22–November 12, 2017

Curated by Joanna Marschner

51zjtb2cxlThis exhibition will be the first to explore the instrumental roles played by Caroline of Ansbach (1683–1737), Augusta of Saxe-Gotha (1719–1772), and Charlotte of Mecklenberg-Strelitz (1744–1818) in the promotion of the arts, sciences, medicine, education, charity, trade, and industry in Britain over the course of the long eighteenth century. “The princesses had sweeping intellectual, social, cultural, and political interests, which helped to shape the courts in which they lived, and encouraged the era’s greatest philosophers, scientists, artists, and architects to develop important ideas that would guide ensuing generations. The palaces and royal gardens they inhabited served as incubators for enlightened conversation and experimentation, and functioned as platforms to project the latest cultural developments to an international audience. Their innovative contributions across disciplines held great signi cance centuries ago and continue to inform our lives,” said Amy Meyers, Director of the Yale Center for British Art, and organizing curator at the Center.

These three German princesses, who all married into the British royal family, played an important part in the shaping of their nation’s culture during a time of change that in its complexity and dynamism would presage our own age. “Until this point, their contributions have been little understood and it is the aim of this exhibition to demonstrate how they influenced the interests of their era in the most vibrant of ways and left a legacy that resonates in the world today,” said Joanna Marschner, Senior Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, and lead curator of this exhibition. Caroline and Charlotte became queens consort to George II and George III respectively, while Princess Augusta never achieved this distinction but held the titles of Princess of Wales and Princess Dowager, and was mother to King George III.

Nearly three hundred magnificent objects have been drawn together from numerous public and private collections from across Britain, Europe, and the United States, including the Royal Collection Trust; Royal Society; British Museum; National Portrait Gallery, London; and Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., as well as Historic Royal Palaces and the Yale Center for British Art. The exhibition will feature works by the most influential artists of the period, such as Hans Holbein the Younger, Allan Ramsay, Mary Delany, George Stubbs, Thomas Gainsborough, Joshua Reynolds, and Johan Joseph Zoffany, as well as craftsmen such as Josiah Wedgwood and Matthew Boulton, and architects such as William Kent and William Chambers.

A rich variety of objects will offer a glimpse into the princesses’ private lives, their courts, and their legacy. The exhibition will bring together state portraits of the royal women, musical manuscripts, elaborate court costume, botanical and anatomical renderings, the Princesses’ own scientific instruments, architectural drawings and garden designs, royal children’s artwork, rare books and manuscripts, and much more. The display also will include a work created by the artist Yinka Shonibare MBE (RA), for this exhibition. It is inspired by the meeting, in 1753, between Princess Augusta and Mrs. Eliza Lucas Pinckney, the owner of a profitable slave plantation in South Carolina in the British colonies of North America. A letter written by Mrs. Pinckney to a friend, detailing the encounter, will be featured in the exhibition as a special loan from the collection of The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in the State of South Carolina. The dress worn by Mrs. Pinckney on this occasion, made of silk produced on her plantation, will be lent to the Yale Center for British Art from the Smithsonian Institution.

E X H I B I T I O N  T H E M E S

The exhibition will be organized according to five basic themes. Grand oil portraits by Joseph Highmore of Queen Caroline of Ansbach (ca. 1735), Allan Ramsay of Augusta, Dowager Princess of Wales (1769), and Johan Joseph Zoffany of Queen Charlotte (1771) will set the stage for the exhibition.

The Court as a Stage

In the world of the palaces, the royal court operated as a stage, not only in the literal sense for the performance of music, dance, and theater but also as a political and cultural arena in which the intricate power plays between and among monarch, consort, and courtier took place. In their furnishing of the spaces, Caroline, Augusta, and Charlotte constructed a visual statement of the authority of the Hanoverian dynasty–past, present, and future– under which the patronage of music and the arts would flourish. Yet at the same time they had to navigate the inherently political nature of public and private life (even family life) at court during a period that saw an information revolution, initiated by the mass circulation of newspapers, journals, and magazines providing commentary, debate, and critique. Art illustrative of this theme includes works by Hans Holbein the Younger, such as Lady Lister (ca. 1532–43), drawn together in celebration of the distinguished pedigree of royal ancestry, and displayed alongside images of the royal children, the future hope of the dynasty, represented by such works as a lively genre scene by Phillippe Mercier, ‘The Music Party’: Frederick, Prince of Wales with his Three Eldest Sisters (1733).

Cultures of Learning: Powerful Conversations

At the heart of their social circles, Caroline, Augusta, and Charlotte built relationships with leading cultural and intellectual figures of their age, including politicians, clergymen, natural philosophers, gardeners, architects, authors, playwrights, and composers. While each princess developed these connections in different ways and with different priorities, their interests often overlapped or had a common focus, such as in science, medicine, philanthropy, and especially maternity, the care of infants, and the commercial interests of the state in Britain and abroad. Their pursuits in this area are re ected in objects on display including an oil portrait by John Vanderbank of Sir Isaac Newton (1726); Thomas Gainsborough’s splendid grand manner portrait of his friend, the musician Carl Abel, later acquired by Queen Charlotte for whom he provided music; and Allan Ramsey’s beautifully nuanced portrait of Charlotte’s medical adviser, Dr. William Hunter.

Royal Women: Education, Charity, and Health

Attitudes regarding royal child-rearing changed rapidly over the lifetimes of Caroline, Augusta, and Charlotte. There were shifts in methodology and focus in response to the evolving contemporary philosophies about childhood, sentimentality, and the freedom of the individual. The princesses were active contributors to the educational programs devised for their children, the future promise for the dynasty, and sought to draw them into worlds outside the palace walls. In their public roles as encouragers and protectors, the princesses sought involvement with ambitious and wide-reaching public philanthropic projects, organizations, and societies, especially those connected with health and social welfare. A precious silk satin baby robe (1762) belonging to George, Prince of Wales (later George IV), the eldest child of George III and Queen Charlotte, compares poignantly with tokens left by unmarried and impoverished mothers as they consigned their children to the Foundling Hospital. The hospital was a charity supported by all three of the princesses, which reflected their concern for progressive social change.

Political Gardening

Caroline, Augusta, and Charlotte created and recast each other’s gardens, which were by turns political and social spaces, as well as private retreats. They drew in the products of empire; plants and animals were collected from many continents, not only for their beauty and rarity but also their economic value. Likewise, the development of the collections of animals and birds brought back from the exploration of these ‘new’ worlds were an important feature in the royal gardens. In the design of their gardens, the princesses explored contemporary garden philosophies and exercised their architectural ambitions. Many of their landscapes, which they invested with message, were made to
be shared, not just with the community of gardeners, philosophers, and scientists the princesses drew into their circle, but with a wider community of the middling sort, which allowed a new relationship between monarchy and subject to be brokered. The gardens served each princess well but each manifestation was different, reacting to a volatile commercial environment as well as a changing perception of the bonds between and among the dynasty, nationhood, and empire.

Over the course of the long eighteenth century these three royal women seized the opportunities of a dynamic age, and their determined and imaginative promotion of the arts, sciences, medicine, education, charity, trade, and industry, shaped not only society and politics of their own time but were the forbearers of much of the beliefs and policies that continue in modern British culture. A brilliant watercolor by Mark Catesby, The Painted Finch and the Loblolly Bay (ca. 1722–26), and an intricate cut-paper collage by Mary Delany, Cactus Grandi orus, melon thistle (1778), serve as evidence of the princesses’ interest in Britain’s widespread imperial range.

To Promote and Protect: The Princesses and the Wider World

In working to promote and encourage the arts and science, Caroline, Augusta, and Charlotte supported and championed national products and allowed their interest to be used by enterprising industrialists, which helped win hearts and minds for the new regime. The development of new industrial technologies enabled mass-produced consumer goods, ensuring for the first time the dissemination of the image of the British monarchy, in a way that today is recognized as a ‘brand’, for a domestic and international audience. In the furnishing of their homes and the development of their gardens, the princesses celebrated the fruits of empire. The first British incursions into the Americas began in the sixteenth century, burgeoned in the seventeenth century, and matured over the first half of the eighteenth century. Following the War of Independence, these efforts would be succeeded by increased colonial expansion (Caribbean, India, Africa, China, and Australasia). Masterpieces that reflect the imperatives of empire which helped to brand the character of the British monarchy internationally will include one of the Center’s treasured works, a painting by William Verelst, Audience Given by the Trustees of Georgia to a Delegation of Creek Indians (1734–35), and a painting by George Stubbs of a zebra belonging to Queen Charlotte (1763).

C R E D I T S  A N D  P U B L I C A T I O N

Enlightened Princesses: Caroline, Augusta, Charlotte, and the Shaping of the Modern World is a collaboration between Historic Royal Palaces and the Yale Center for British Art. Lead curator Joanna Marschner, Senior Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, is assisted by Samantha Howard, Curatorial Assistant. The organizing curator at the Center, Amy Meyers, Director, is assisted by Lisa Ford, Assistant Director of Research; Glenn Adamson, Senior Research Associate; and Tyler Griffith, Postdoctoral Research Associate. The exhibition will be accompanied by a publication of the same title, a beautifully illustrated catalogue of works edited by Joanna Marschner, with the assistance of David Bindman and Lisa Ford. Co-published with Historic Royal Palaces in association with Yale University Press, this book will feature contributions by an international team of scholars.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

The catalogue is scheduled for March publication from Yale UP:

Joanna Marschner, ed., with David Bindman and Lisa Ford, Enlightened Princesses: Caroline, Augusta, Charlotte, and the Shaping of the Modern World (New Haven: Yale Center for British Art, 2017), 592 pages, ISBN: 978  0300  217100, $85.

Caroline of Ansbach (1683–1737), Augusta of Saxe-Gotha (1719–1772), and Charlotte of Mecklenberg-Strelitz (1744–1818) were three German princesses who became Queens Consort—or, in the case of Augusta, Queen in Waiting, Regent, and Princess Dowager—of Great Britain, and were linked by their early years at European princely courts, their curiosity, aspirations, and an investment in Enlightenment thought. This sumptuously illustrated book considers the ways these powerful, intelligent women left enduring marks on British culture through a wide range of activities: the promotion of the court as a dynamic forum of the Hanoverian regime; the enrichment of the royal collection of art; the advancement of science and industry; and the creation of gardens and menageries. Objects included range from spectacular state portraits to pedagogical toys to plant and animal specimens, and reveal how the new and novel intermingled with the traditional.

 

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Exhibition | Wooden Sculptures, Busts, Reliquaries, and Shrines

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on December 25, 2016

Now on view at Pinacoteca Giovanni Züst:

Sculptures, Busts, Reliquaries, and Shrines from the Middle Ages to the Eighteenth Century
Legni Preziosi: Sculture, Busti, Reliquiari e Tabernacoli dal Medioevo al Settecento
Pinacoteca Giovanni Züst, Rancate, Switzerland, 16 October 2016 — 22 January 2017

Curated by Edoardo Villata

image003La mostra presenta una carrellata di sculture in legno dal XII al XVIII secolo— Madonne, Crocifissi, Compianti, busti, polittici scolpiti e persino un Presepe—provenienti da musei, chiese e monasteri del territorio ticinese, dove questi autentici capolavori sono stati oggetto di devozione e ammirazione per secoli. L’allestimento è stato curato da Mario Botta, che ha studiato, a titolo completamente gratuito, ogni dettaglio, affinché il visitatore sia immerso in un’atmosfera suggestiva e solenne, in cui la sacralità delle immagini esposte risulta pienamente valorizzata.

Edoardo Villata, Legni Preziosi: Sculture, busti, reliquiari e tabernacoli dal Medioevo al Settecento nel Cantone Ticino (Milan: Silvana, 2016), 208 pages, ISBN: 978  8836  634767, $55.

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The Burlington Magazine, December 2016

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions, journal articles, reviews by Editor on December 22, 2016

The eighteenth century in The Burlington (the issue is dedicated to ‘Art in Britain’):

201612-coverThe Burlington Magazine 158 (December 2016)

A R T I C L E S
• Lydia Hamlett, “Pandora at Petworth House: New Light on the Work and Patronage of Louis Laguerre,” pp. 950–55.
• Jennifer Melville, “Lady Forbes of Monymusk: A Rediscovered Portrait by Joshua Reynolds,” pp. 956–60.
• Brendan Cassidy, “A Portrait by Gavin Hamilton: Sir John Henderson of Fordell,” pp. 961–63.
• Alex Kidson, “David Solkin’s Art in Britain, 1660–1815 (Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 2015),” pp. 964–67.

L E T T E R S
• Peter Lindfield, “A Further Allusion to Strawberry Hill at Lee Priory, Kent,” p. 979.
• Nicholas Penny, “Hugh Honour,” p. 979.

R E V I E W S
• Susanna Avery-Quash, Review of Lucilla Burn, The Fitzwilliam Museum: A History (Philip Wilson Publishers, 2016), p. 980.
• Greg Smith, Review of the exhibition catalogue, Tim Barringer and Oliver Fairclough, Pastures Green & Dark Satanic Mills: The British Passion for Landscape (Giles, 2014), pp. 981–82.
• Barry Bergdoll, Review of Stefan Koppelkamm, The Imaginary Orient: Exotic Buildings of the 18th and 19th Centuries in Europe (Axel Munges, 2015), p. 982.
• Giles Waterfield, Review of the exhibition catalogue, Victoria Avery, Melissa Calaresu, and Mary Laven, eds., Treasured Possessions from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment (Philip Wilson Publishers, 2015), p. 988.
• Malcolm Bull, Review of the exhibition In the Light of Naples: The Art of Francesco de Mura (Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Rollins College, Winter Park, 2016; Chazen Museum, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2017; The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, 2017), pp. 1006–07.

S U P P L E M E N T
• Tim Knox, “Recent Acquisitions (2012–16) at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge,” pp. 1017–28.

Anglo-Indian desk. Production Place: Vizagapatam, near Madras, in Southern India. Rosewood inlaid with finely engraved ivory, with silver handles, c.1750-1760. On loan to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge from Lady Hayter since March 2012. Belonged to Sir Thomas Rumbold, 1st Baronet (1736-1791), a British administrator in India.

The Rumbold Desk, by an unknown craftsman from Vizagapatam, Southern India, ca. 1750–60, rosewood inlaid with ivory, silver handles, 76 × 113 × 62 cm. Accepted in Lieu of Inheritance Tax by HM Government and allocated to the Fitzwilliam Museum, 2016 (M.3–2016). This Anglo-Indian desk has been on loan to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge since 2012 and is one of the finest of a very small group of similar desks made for British patrons in India at Vizagapatam (near Madras), a centre for the manufacture of such luxurious ivory-inlaid furniture. It belonged to Sir Thomas Rumbold, 1st baronet (1736–91), a British administrator in India, who amassed a great fortune in the service of the East India Company and served as Governor of Madras from 1777 to 1780. 

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