Enfilade

Exhibition | Paintings of the Abbés Desjardins

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on June 21, 2017

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Press release for the exhibition now on view at the MNBAQ:

The Fabulous Destiny of the Paintings of the Abbés Desjardins / Le Fabuleux Destin des Tableaux des Abbés Desjardins
Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec, 15 June — 4 September 2017
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rennes, 14 October 2017 — 28 January 2018

Curated by Daniel Drouin and Guillaume Kazerouni

This exhibition highlights the bicentennial of the arrival in Canada of some 200 paintings initially done by renowned artists for churches in Paris in the 17th and 18th centuries. These paintings, confiscated during the French Revolution and reunited by clergyman Philippe-Jean-Louis Desjardins (1753–1833) , were shipped to Québec City to be sold to the rapidly growing parishes and religious congregations at the time. Fairly unfamiliar in France, this important body of religious paintings was researched recently. The history of the paintings is marked by two major periods—their use in France and their 19th-century use and impact in the Province of Québec. First, thanks to recent discoveries in France resulting in new attributions, more is known about the background for their creation. Several big names in French painting were involved—artists such as Claude Vignon, Simon and Aubin Vouet, Frère Luc, Charles-Michel-Ange Challes, Jean-Baptiste Corneille, Daniel Hallé, Pierre Puget, Michel Dorigny, Louis Boulogne le jeune, Joseph Christophe, Pierre Dulin, Samuel Massé, Jean-Jacques Lagrenée, François-Guillaume Ménageot, and Matthias Stomer—several of whom were French Court painters.

Philippe-Jean-Louis Desjardins, through his brother Louis-Joseph (1766–1848), chaplain to the Augustines de l’Hôtel-Dieu de Québec, was very aware of the situation of Québec churches. The clergy and religious communities were booming and did not have sufficient art of devotional calibre. In 1817 and 1820, nearly 200 paintings made the voyage to Quebec. They would go on to be reframed and sold on site before being placed in various churches and chapels. Alongside this, a new cohort of Canadian artists such as Jean-Baptiste Roy-Audy, Joseph Légaré, Antoine Plamondon and Théophile Hamel would get their training by restoring French works and copying them at the request of sponsors, thereby making up for the shortage of painters in the British colony. This period saw the birth of Canadian painting, but also the creation of the first art collections in Québec and the appearance of the first museum.

A selection of some 40 French paintings and 20-or-so Québec copies of French masterpieces that have disappeared, as well as of genuine Québec work, are on display in the Pierre Lassonde Pavilion using contemporary staging. Only the French paintings from the Québec exhibition will cross the ocean again in the fall of 2017, bound for the Musée des beaux-arts de Rennes, the MNBAQ’s partner in this great museological adventure.

Once Upon a Time… Philippe-Jean-Louis et Louis-Joseph Desjardins

Philippe-Jean-Louis and Louis-Joseph Desjardins were born in Messas, France. They both studied theology at the Seminary of Orléans, and then in Paris and Bayeux. The former was ordained in 1777 and the second in 1790. During the Revolution, the two brothers, faithful to their values, fled France to England. The elder arrived in Québec City in 1793—followed by his younger sibling the following year—and held various positions, including vicar general, Séminaire professor, and chaplain of the Augustines de l’Hôtel-Dieu and of the Ursulines. The youngest was initially a missionary in Baie-des-Chaleurs before becoming vicar, then pastor, of Notre-Dame de Québec, the chaplain of the Augustines and the Superior of the Ursulines.

Philippe returned to France in 1802. His interest in the Diocese of Québec and his experience made it clear to him that painters able to meet local demand were few and far between. On returning home, he also realized that the family business was in dire financial straits. It dawned on him that there was simple solution: combine both interests by selling paintings in Lower Canada and using the profits to help his family.

Between 1803 and 1810, he acquired paintings in circumstances that remain largely unknown. The first shipment was in 1816. Four rolls and a case totaling 120 paintings left the port of Brest bound for New York City. On site, the imports had to be cleared and transportation to Québec City arranged. In the winter of 1817, the works of art made the voyage to Québec City in a sleigh. Once there, the works were delivered to Louis-Joseph in the outer chapel of the Augustines, which was transformed into a workshop where several young artists remounted the pieces and restored them before the art was sold to various parishes and communities. The same scenario was repeated in 1820, but this time with some sixty paintings.

The 17th-Century Desjardins Paintings

Most of the Desjardins paintings are 17th-century French works and, with a few exceptions, work from Italian and Northern schools. The composition of this ensemble speaks volumes about the taste of the French at the time of the Revolution. It reflects the conservation choices made in separating the works that would be placed in the newly created museums from those destined to be sold and saved by amateurs like Philippe Desjardins. As a result, the generation of painters of the 1640s, appreciated for their classicism by the curators who formed the nucleus of French national collections, such as Jacques Stella, Laurent de La Hyre, Eustache Le Sueur, Philippe de Champaigne, Sébastien Bourdon and obviously, their model, Nicolas Poussin, is either totally absent or is represented by work incorrectly attributed even before it arrived in Québec City. Only a few paintings by Philippe de Champaigne and his studio are the exception to the rule.

The strength of the Desjardins paintings lies in the art from the opposite ends of the century. Christ in the Garden of Olives, a rare canvas by Quentin Varin, introduces a remarkable ensemble from the 1630s, with two paintings by Simon Vouet and several works by his pupils and followers such as Michel Dorigny and Jean Senelle. For the second half of the century—basically the years 1680 to 1690—there are some interesting anonymous paintings such as Angels and Shepherds Adoring the Child Jesus, but especially the great paintings by Daniel Hallé, Brother Luc, Jean-Baptiste Corneille and Louis de Boullogne, including The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, one of the masterpieces of the exhibition.

Master Simon Vouet and His Entourage

Around 1630, a new generation of artists who had trained in Italy came back to France. The most notable return was that of Simon Vouet, in 1627. After a brilliant career primarily in Rome, the painter was recalled to Paris by Louis XIII. At that time, Philippe de Champaigne and Claude Vignon—whose works are exhibited in this gallery—were beginning their careers and the biggest workshop in the city was that of Georges Lallemant, which was soon surpassed by Vouet’s. Alongside private assignments, in which Vouet excelled, the artist received commissions for religious art throughout his career.

The Desjardins paintings feature a particularly important set of works by Vouet and his entourage. This is undeniably one of the strong points of the ensemble and of this exhibition. The master himself is represented by two canvases. Saint Francis of Paola Resuscitating a Child is one of the last commissions by Vouet before his death, while The Apparition of the Virgin and Child Jesus to Saint Anthony, revealed here after its de-restoration, is situated at the very beginning of the painter’s Parisian career, just after he returned from Italy. Around these two altarpieces are paintings in which Vouet’s influence and the propagation of his artistic manner are palpable.

Jean-Jacques Lagrenée, The Entombment, 1770, oil on canvas, 155 × 205 cm
(Québec City, MNBAQ, 1970.115; photo: Patrick Altman)

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The 18th-Century Desjardins Paintings

The Desjardins paintings consist of fewer 18th-century works—mainly French—than 17th-century ones. However, chronologically, they cover the entire century. It comprises a body of work done for the churches of Paris by the most important artists of the time. At first there were originals or copies by all the big names (Collin de Vermont, Restout, Cazes, Massé or Vanloo), but several have disappeared since. The absence of a Boucher or a Fragonard is not surprising, since religious commissions occupied only a very minor place in their respective work.

The second half of the century, which marks a renewal of history painting and a gradual return to the antique model, is illustrated through Challe’s paintings for the Louvre Oratory, Lagrenée’s two masterpieces from the Abbey of Montmartre, and the large painting by Menageot. This work by well-known painters is complemented by paintings by less famous artists such as Godefroy and Preudhomme (Ursulines de Québec chapel). As a result, the paintings from the 18th century provide a far more exhaustive portrait of their era than their 17th-century counterparts. It must be borne in mind that the paintings of the Enlightenment were still very recent at the time when the Revolution broke out and did not always enjoy the same prestige as the works of the Grand Siècle.

Jean-Jacques Lagrenée, The Incredulity of St Thomas, 1770, oil on canvas, 156 × 206 cm
(Québec City, MNBAQ, 1970.114; photo: Patrick Altman)

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The Desjardins Paintings, Joseph Légaré and Art Museums in Québec

Starting in the early 1820s, self-taught Québec painter Joseph Légaré purchased several canvases from among the Desjardins paintings, some of which were the inspiration for his numerous copies. His collection would pave the way for the creation of the first two art museums in Québec in the 19th century.

As early as 1829, Légaré exhibited his collection in the meeting room of the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec. In 1833, he moved it to his three-storey residence on Sainte-Angèle Street. In association with lawyer Thomas Amiot, he inaugurated the Québec Gallery of Paintings in 1838. However, Légaré’s ventures did not seem to spark much interest, and the gallery folded in 1840. Undaunted, in 1852 the painter opened the Quebec Gallery in his new home at the corner of Sainte-Ursule and McMahon Streets. Légaré died in 1855, but his widow kept the museum open until her death in 1874. Monseigneur Thomas-Étienne Hamel, Superior of the Séminaire de Québec and Rector of Laval University, bought the collection.

This acquisition laid the foundation for the Pinacotheque at Laval University as North America entered a period of museum-mania. Even before the inauguration of the first building of the Art Association of Montreal (the future Montréal Museum of Fine Arts) in 1879, the City of Québec had an art museum, thanks to Joseph Légaré’s determination. The Desjardins paintings imported some 60 years earlier formed the core of the museum’s collection.

The Augustines and Ursulines de Québec Paintings

As we have seen, the Abbés Desjardins had special ties with the Augustines de l’Hôtel-Dieu and the Ursulines de Québec, ties that went well beyond the paintings themselves. From the outset, the former were an integral part of the adventure by lending their buildings for the reception, uncrating and remounting of the paintings and by extending their hospitality to the painters involved and customers from everywhere in Québec. François-Guillaume Ménageot’s The Virgin Placing Saint Teresa under the Protection of Saint Joseph, usually found on the left lateral altarpiece of the exterior chapel of the Augustines, attests to this significant episode in the life of the paintings.

Several generations of Ursulines have venerated Christ Exposing his Sacred Heart to Margaret Mary Alacoque, by Pierre-Jacques Cazes, usually strategically placed in the exterior chapel, a place of worship which is the permanent home of the greatest number of Desjardins paintings. Seven paintings are displayed there, including Brother André’s The Meal at the House of Simon, the biggest of all the Desjardins paintings, at 3.66 metres high by 6.10 metres wide.

Copying and Distribution of the Desjardins Paintings

The Desjardins paintings played a crucial role in the growth of painting in Lower Canada by stimulating the budding careers of artists who, after having done copies of certain works, diversified their output. Since at the time there were no fine arts academies or schools in Lower Canada, these painters were able to learn the basics by borrowing to various degrees from the French academic tradition made available through this pool of 17th- and 18th-century paintings.

The inventory of the copies—a little over 120 done in the 19th century—shows that one quarter of the Desjardins paintings were used as templates by Québec artists. The most of the copies were in the chapel of the Séminaire de Québec, at the Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame-de-Québec and in Joseph Légaré’s collection. The copies found their way to nearly 70 parishes or collectors, the result being considerable visibility for these paintings in our churches.

Laurier Lacroix, Guillaume Kazerouni, and Daniel Drouin, Le Fabuleux Destin des Tableaux des Abbés Desjardins: Peintures des XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles des musées et églises du Québec (Gent: Snoeck Publishers, 2017), 312 pages, ISBN: 978 94616 14162, 39€.

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Exhibition | Fired by Passion: Masterpieces of Du Paquier Porcelain

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

Du Paquier Manufactory, Tureen from the Service for Czarina Anna Ivanovna,; ca. 1735; hard-paste porcelain, 23.2 × 36.5 × 28.9 cm (The Frick Collection; gift of from the Melinda and Paul Sullivan Collection, 2016).

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Now on view at The Frick:

Fired by Passion: Masterpieces of Du Paquier Porcelain from the Sullivan Collection
The Frick Collection, New York, 8 June 2017 — 12 August 2018

Curated by Charlotte Vignon

The Frick Collection announces a new year-long installation in the Portico Gallery, Fired by Passion, inspired by the generous gift of fourteen pieces of Du Paquier porcelain made to the Frick in 2016 by Paul Sullivan and Trustee Melinda Martin Sullivan. The Du Paquier Manufactory was established in Vienna in 1718 by Claudius Innocentius du Paquier, an entrepreneur and official at the Viennese Court, and was only the second manufactory in Europe to produce true porcelain, after the Royal Meissen Manufactory, outside Dresden. Although in operation for only twenty-five years, Du Paquier left an impressive body of inventive and often whimsical work, forging a distinct identity in the history of European porcelain production.

Fired by Passion presents about forty tureens, drinking vessels, platters, and other objects produced by Du Paquier between 1720 to 1740, which were coveted by aristocrats in Vienna and throughout Europe. In addition to exploring the rivalry between the Du Paquier and Meissen manufactories, the exhibition highlights the eclectic mix of references—many of them East Asian—that inspired Du Paquier porcelain. Splendid examples with coats of arms and heraldic symbols from commissions across Europe also illustrate the manufactory’s success and influence beyond Vienna. Fired By Passion is organized by Charlotte Vignon, Curator of Decorative Arts, The Frick Collection.

Meredith Chilton and Claudia Lehner-Jobst, Fired by Passion: Vienna Baroque Porcelain of Claudius Innocentius du Paquier (Stuttgart: Arnoldsche Art Publishers, 2009), 1432 pages, ISBN: 978 38979 03043 (English) / ISBN: 978 38979 03081 (German), $200.

The first comprehensive publication on this important porcelain manufactory, this work has been made possible through a five-year research program conducted by the Melinda and Paul Sullivan Foundation for the Decorative Arts. The objects shown, many of them for the first time here, are in major public and private collections. This 3-volume set presents the distinctive style and the exciting history of Du Paquier porcelain in the context of Baroque Vienna.

Extensive additional information, including photographs of all objects in the exhibition, is available here»

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Note (added 14 June 2017) — The original version of this posting mistakenly listed the date of the catalogue as 2017; in fact, it appeared in 2009.

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Exhibition | Cristóbal de Villalpando: Mexican Painter of the Baroque

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on June 12, 2017

Press release from The Met:

Cristóbal de Villalpando: Mexican Painter of the Baroque
Palacio de Cultura Banamex – Palacio de Iturbide, Mexico City, 9 March — 4 June 2017
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 25 July — 15 October 2017

Curated by Ronda Kasl, Jonathan Brown, and Clara Bargellini

Cristóbal de Villalpando, Moses and the Brazen Serpent and the Transfiguration of Jesus (detail), 1683; oil on Canvas. Col. Propiedad de la Nación Mexicana, Secretaría de Cultura, Dirección General de Sitios y Monumentos del Patrimonio Cultural Acervo de la Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Inmaculada Concepción, Puebla, Mexico.

Cristóbal de Villalpando (ca. 1649–1714) emerged in the 1680s not only as the leading painter in viceregal Mexico, but also as one of the most innovative and accomplished artists in the entire Spanish world. Opening July 25 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the exhibition Cristóbal de Villalpando: Mexican Painter of the Baroque features his earliest masterpiece, a monumental painting depicting the biblical accounts of Moses and the brazen serpent and the Transfiguration of Jesus that was painted in 1683 for a chapel in Puebla Cathedral. Newly conserved, this 28-foot-tall canvas has never been exhibited outside its place of origin. Ten additional works, most of which have never been shown in the United States, will also be exhibited. Highlights include Villalpando’s recently discovered Adoration of the Magi, on loan from Fordham University, and The Holy Name of Mary, from the Museum of the Basilica of Guadalupe.

Born in Mexico City around mid-century, Cristobal de Villalpando may have begun his career in the workshop of Baltasar de Echave Rioja (1632–1682). Villalpando’s rise to prominence coincided with the death of Echave Rioja in 1682, just one year before Villalpando painted his ambitious Moses and the Brazen Serpent and the Transfiguration of Jesus. Villalpando was celebrated in his lifetime, rewarded with prestigious commissions, and honored as an officer of the Mexico City painters’ guild.

The exhibition begins with Villalpando’s masterful Moses and the Brazen Serpent and the Transfiguration of Jesus, which was painted to decorate a chapel in Puebla Cathedral that was dedicated to a miracle-working image of Christ at the Column. In wealth and importance, Puebla Cathedral was second only to the Metropolitan Cathedral in Mexico City.

This painting—the first in a series of important ecclesiastical commissions—marks a breakthrough in Villalpando’s work, in terms of its grand scale and its audacious conception and execution. He signed it Villalpando inventor, an inscription that distinguishes the artist’s intellectual achievement from his manual skill and asserts his professional status as the learned practitioner of a noble art. In a bold and erudite arrangement, Villalpando juxtaposed the Old Testament story of Moses and the brazen serpent with the New Testament account of the Transfiguration—an unprecedented pairing of subjects. The two biblical events are staged within a single, continuous sacred landscape that encompasses the wilderness of Exodus and the holy mounts of Calvary and Tabor. Life-size figures of every age and gender, clothed and nude and in an astounding variety of poses and attitudes, populate the composition. The painting’s lower half features the story of Moses making and using the image of the brazen serpent according to God’s instructions to heal Israelites bitten by poisonous serpents. This episode provides a scriptural precedent for the making and use of images in worship, while also affirming the importance of art and artists. The upper half of the composition represents the transfiguration of Jesus’s corporeal body into light, a scene that demanded nothing less than the materialization of light in paint, which Villalpando attained through shimmering color and fluid brushwork.

Ten additional paintings by Villalpando will demonstrate his intense striving as an inventor; his great originality and skill; his ability to convey complex subject matter; and his capacity to envision the divine.

Catalogues in English and Spanish published by Fomento Cultural Banamex will accompany the exhibition. Essays address the major themes of the exhibition. The catalogues will be available for purchase in The Met book shop. A series of exhibition tours will complement the exhibition.

The exhibition was curated by Ronda Kasl, Curator of Latin American Art in The American Wing at The Met; Jonathan Brown, Carol and Milton Petrie Professor of Fine Arts, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University; and Clara Bargellini, Professor, Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. The work of Dr. Brown and Dr. Bargellini was commissioned by Fomento Cultural Banamex. At The Met, the exhibition is designed by Michael Langley, Exhibition Design Manager; graphics are by Mortimer Lebigre, Graphic Designer; and lighting is by Clint Ross Coller and Richard Lichte, Lighting Design Managers, all of the Museum’s Design Department.

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Exhibition | Casanova: The Seduction of Europe

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on June 1, 2017

From the Kimbell Art Museum and Distributed Art Publishers (DAP) . . .

Casanova: The Seduction of Europe
Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, 27 August — 31 December 2017
The Legion of Honor, San Francisco, 10 February — 28 May 2018
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1 July — 8 October 2018

Jean-Marc Nattier, Portrait of Manon Balletti, 1757, oil on canvas, 54 × 47.5 cm (London: National Gallery). Balletti was the fiancée (1757–60) of Giacomo Casanova and then wife (1760–74) of the architect Jacques-François Blondel.

Casanova: The Seduction of Europe explores the 18th century across Europe through the eyes of one of its most colorful characters, Giacomo Casanova (1725–1798). Renowned in modern times for his amorous pursuits, Casanova lived not only in Italy, but in France and England, and his travels took him to the Ottoman Empire and to meet Catherine the Great in Saint Petersburg. Bringing together paintings, sculpture, works on paper, furnishings, porcelains, silver, and period costume, Casanova will bring this world to life. Following its display in Fort Worth, the exhibition will be on view at the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Frederick Ilchman, Thomas Michie, C.D. Dickerson III, and Esther Bell, with texts by Meredith Chilton, Jeffrey Collins, Nina Dubin, Courtney Leigh Harris, James Johnson, Pamela Parmal, Malina Stefanovska, Susan Wager, and Michael Yonan, Casanova: The Seduction of Europe (Boston: MFA Publications, 2017), 344 pages, ISBN: 978 087846 8423, $45.

In 18th-century Europe, while the old order reveled in the luxurious excesses of the Rococo style and the Enlightenment sowed the seeds of revolution, the shapeshifting libertine Giacomo Casanova seduced his way across the continent. Although notorious for the scores of amorous conquests he recorded in his remarkably frank memoirs, Casanova was just as practiced at charming his way into the most elite social circles, through an inimitable mix of literary ambition, improvisational genius and outright fraud. In his travels across Europe and through every level of society from the theatrical demimonde to royal courts, he was also seduced by the visual splendors he encountered.

This volume accompanies the first major art exhibition outside Europe to lavishly recreate Casanova’s visual world, from his birthplace of Venice, city of masquerades, to the cultural capitals of Paris and London and the outposts of Eastern Europe. Summoning up the people he met and the cityscapes, highways, salons, theaters, masked balls, boudoirs, gambling halls and dining rooms he frequented, it provides a survey of important works of 18th-century European art by masters such as Canaletto, Fragonard, Boucher, Houdon, and Hogarth, along with exquisite decorative arts objects. Twelve essays by prominent scholars illuminate multiple facets of Casanova’s world as reflected in the arts of his time, providing a fascinating grand tour of Europe conducted by a quintessential figure of the 18th century as well as a splendid visual display of the spirit of the age.

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2017 AAMC Awards Announced

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions, Member News by Editor on May 30, 2017

Jean-Antoine Watteau, The Portal of Valenciennes, ca. 1710–11, oil on canvas, 32.5 × 40.5 cm (New York: The Frick Collection, purchased with funds from the bequest of Arthemise Redpath, 91.1.173 / photo: Michael Bodycomb).

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Congratulations to Aaron Wile! His essay “Watteau and the Inner Life of War”—from the catalogue Watteau’s Soldiers: Scenes of Military Life in Eighteenth-Century France , published in conjunction with the exhibition that Wile also curated for The Frick Collection—was awarded the 2017 Prize for ‘Best Article, Essay, or Extended Catalogue Entry’ from the Association of Art Museum Curators (AAMC).

A full list of awards is available here»

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Exhibition | Lives Bound Together: Slavery at Mount Vernon

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on May 19, 2017

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Now on view at Mount Vernon:

Lives Bound Together: Slavery at George Washington’s Mount Vernon
The Donald W. Reynolds Museum, Mount Vernon, 1 October 2016 –30 September 2017

Mount Vernon was George Washington’s home. It was also home to hundreds of enslaved people who lived and worked under Washington’s control: in 1799, there were 317 men, women, and children enslaved at Mount Vernon’s five farms, which covered 8,000 acres. They made up more than 90% of the population of the estate.

House Bell, ca. 1784–88; Copper alloy, iron (Mount Vernon).

Through household furnishings, art works, archaeological discoveries, documents, and interactive displays, the exhibition, which spans 4,400 square feet throughout all seven galleries of the Donald W. Reynolds Museum, demonstrates how closely intertwined the lives of the Washingtons were with those of the enslaved. Nineteen enslaved individuals are featured throughout the exhibit, represented with life-size silhouettes and interactive touchscreens providing biographical details.

More than 350 items are on view—seeds and animal bones, ceramic fragments, and metal buttons unearthed from archaeological excavations around the estate, as well as fine tablewares and furniture from the Washington household, providing insights into the enslaved community’s daily lives and work. Guests gain a better understanding of Washington’s changing views towards slavery, culminating in his landmark decision to include in his will a provision freeing the slaves that he owned. Visitors will have an opportunity to view original manuscript pages from George Washington’s will, written in July 1799, showing his decision to free the slaves he owned. The exhibition profiles 19 individuals enslaved at Mount Vernon, using George Washington’s extensive records to piece together what is known of their lives in interactive displays.

Susan P. Schoelwer, ed., with an introduction by Annette Gordon-Reed, Lives Bound Together: Slavery at George Washington’s Mount Vernon (2016), 172 pages, ISBN: 978  970931  9170, $20.

Lives Bound Together provides fresh research on this important topic, with brief biographies of 19 enslaved individuals, 10 essays, and 130 illustrations, including paintings, prints, and household furnishings from the Mansion, artifacts excavated by archaeologists from the slave quarters, documents, maps, and conjectural silhouettes that suggest the presence of the enslaved.

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Exhibition | Peter the Great: A Tsar in France, 1717

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

Press release for the exhibition at Versailles, with thanks to Elizabeth Jane Timms for noting it:

Peter the Great: A Tsar in France, 1717
Grand Trianon, Château de Versailles, 30 May — 24 September 2017

Cuarated by Gwenola Firmin, Thierry Sarmant, and George Vilinbakhov

The exhibition Peter the Great: A Tsar in France, 1717 will be on display in the Grand Trianon from 30 May to 24 September 2017. It is dedicated to Tsar Peter the Great’s trip in and around Paris in May and June 1717 and will commemorate the 300th anniversary of this diplomatic visit. The fruit of exceptional collaboration between the Palace of Versailles and the Hermitage Museum, the exhibition will present over 150 works including paintings, sculptures, decorative artworks, and tapestries, as well as plans, medallions, scientific instruments, books and manuscripts, two thirds of which belong to the collections of the prestigious museum in Saint Petersburg.

A member of the house of Romanov and son of Tsar Alexis Mikhailovich (1645–1676) and Nataliya Naryshkina (1651–1694), Peter I (1672–1725) embarked on a second journey to the West twenty years after the Grand Embassy, which took him to Europe for the first time in 1697–98. He arrived in France on 21 April 1717 and remained until 21 June. He stayed at Versailles twice and was accommodated in the Grand Trianon, from 24 to 26 May and from 3 to 11 June. The exhibition will lead visitors step by step through the trip, which, although official, nonetheless allowed a certain amount of freedom since Peter I, being little accustomed to French etiquette and with his imposing figure and unpredictability, departed from protocol on multiple occasions. His encounter with Louis XV particularly shocked onlookers when, flouting the ceremonial custom of the court, he spontaneously took the young king, aged 7, in his arms. A number of memorialists, including Saint-Simon, the Marquis de Dangeau and Jean Buvat, left precious testimonies allowing us to retrace the journey.

Although there were political and economic aims to the stay—a project for an alliance with France against Sweden and the signature of a trade agreement—the reforming Tsar and founder of modern Russia most particularly wanted to see the finest of France in order to adapt certain models for his own empire. During the two months that Peter the Great spent in Regency Paris, his visits and discussions with French people provided him with food for thought and had an influence on the works he started in 1703 in Saint Petersburg and the surrounding area.

Pierre le Grand: Un Tsar en France, 1717 (Paris: 2017), 240 pages, ISBN: 978  23590  62014, 38€.

Curators
• Gwenola Firmin Curator in charge of paintings from the 18th century at the Palace of Versailles
• Thierry Sarmant Chief curator, head of the Archives historic Center, historic department of the Defence
• George Vilinbakhov Vice-director of the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg

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Exhibition | The Lure of Italy: Artists’ Views

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on May 12, 2017

Giovanni Battista Lusieri, A View of the Bay of Naples, Looking Southwest from the Pizzofalcone towards Capo di Posilippo, 1791; watercolor, gouache, graphite, and pen and ink on six sheets of paper; unframed: 102 × 272 cm  (Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 85.GC.281).

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Press release (20 April 2017) for the exhibition now on view at The Getty:

The Lure of Italy: Artists’ Views
The Getty Center, Los Angeles, 9 May — 30 July 2017

Curated by Julian Brooks with Annie Correll

For centuries, Italy has fascinated travelers and artists alike. From the crumbling ruins of ancient Rome to the crystal-clear light of Venice, artists have found inspiration not only in the cities but also in the countryside and in Italy’s rich history and culture. The Lure of Italy: Artists’ Views explores the numerous ways Italy’s topography, history, and culture have motivated artists to create works of extraordinary beauty and resonance. The exhibition, selected from the Getty Museum’s permanent collection of drawings and watercolors, includes several important recent acquisitions, including works by Francesco Guardi and Richard Parkes Bonington.

Claude-Joseph Vernet, The Entrance to the Grotto at Posillipo, ca. 1750; pen and brown ink with brown and gray wash over black chalk, 34 × 49 cm (Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 97.GG.53).

“For many, Italy represented—and still represents today—a stunningly lush treasure of scenic wonder, with picturesque ancient sculptures, historic buildings, and dramatic landscapes,” says Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “This exhibition bears witness to the long-standing love affair that artists have had with the country of Italy.”

Italy—a collection of city-states until unification in the 1800s—has captured the imagination of artists for centuries, yet interest in the country peaked in the 1700s, when the region became a prime destination for wealthy travelers embarking on the Grand Tour from England, France, the Netherlands, Germany, and beyond. Artists journeying with them or working for them used pencil, ink, and watercolor to capture celebrated views and preserve vivid memories, creating works that encapsulate the essence and spirit of Italy.

Italian natives such as Guardi, Canaletto, and Giovanni Battista Lusieri responded to the tourist demand for souvenirs by crafting their own masterpieces. Guardi’s A Regatta on the Grand Canal (about 1778), a recent acquisition for the Getty, conveys with freshness and spontaneity the lively atmosphere of the annual gondola race (regatta) in Venice. The finish line is at left and spectators crowd the balconies of the nearby Palazzo Balbi, while the water bustles with decorated gondolas.

Further south, the Bay of Naples was another favorite destination of Grand Tourists. Lusieri’s huge, nearly nine-foot wide panorama, A View of the Bay of Naples (about 1791) is meticulously executed in tiny detail with watercolor. It was painted over a period of two years from the residence of Sir William Hamilton, the British envoy to the court of Naples, who commissioned it for his London home. The view looks towards the Capo di Posillipo and the so-called grotto there, a feat of ancient-Roman engineering.

Other highlights include sketches of enchanting sites with plunging perspectives through the rich Italian countryside, capriccio scenes caught between fantasy and reality, studies of ancient ruins, Roman landmarks and lauded works of art, and views of the most picturesque and awe-inspiring sights that Italy has to offer.

During his only visit to Venice, two years prior to his death at age 25 from tuberculosis, Richard Parkes Bonington made numerous pencil sketches and a handful of oil and watercolor studies of the city. The jewel-like Riva degli Schiavoni, from near San Biagio, Venice (1826) emphasizes his renowned ability to capture the effects of calm water and dramatic cloud formations in watercolor. This match of subject and media helped to make the magical atmosphere of the city the real subject of his work. “The extraordinary character of Italian cityscapes and landscapes pushed artists to the limits of their potential,” says Julian Brooks, senior curator of drawings at the J. Paul Getty Museum. “To render them effectively, the choices of media and technique became crucial.”

The Lure of Italy: Artists’ Views is curated by Brooks, with the assistance of Annie Correll, graduate intern in the Department of Drawings. The exhibition is presented in conjunction with Eyewitness Views: Making History in Eighteenth-Century Europe (9 May — 30 July 2017) on view in the Special Exhibitions Pavilion at the J. Paul Getty Museum.

The exhibition checklist is available as a PDF file here»

S E L E L E C T E D  P R O G R A M M I N G

Peter Björn Kerber, Venice vs. Rome: A Capital Contest
Saturday, May 13, 3:00pm
Pitting gilded gondolas against sumptuous coaches, Venice and Rome sought to surpass each other in staging the eighteenth century’s most spectacular festivals and celebrations. Peter Bjorn Kerber, curator of the exhibition Eyewitness Views: Making History in Eighteenth-Century Europe, explores the pictures Canaletto, Panini, and other leading painters produced to record these dazzling occasions.

Julian Brooks, The Bumpy Road to Beautiful Italy
Sunday, June 4, 3:00pm
With one eye on the practicalities and perils of travel in Italy in past centuries, Julian Brooks, senior curator of drawings at the Getty, discusses some of the works of art made by visitors to the country, and how they responded to—and fueled—the lure of Italy.

From The Getty Shop:

Julian Brooks, The Lure of Italy: Artists’ Views (Los Angeles: Getty Publications, 2017), 96 pages, ISBN: 978  160606  5198, $20.

For centuries Italy has fascinated travelers and artists. From the crumbling ruins of ancient Rome to the crystal-clear light of Venice, artists have found inspiration not only in the cities but also in the countryside and in the deep history and culture. From as early as the 1500s, artists visiting from France, England, the Netherlands, and Germany drew sketches to preserve vivid memories, often creating work of extraordinary atmosphere and beauty in the process. A growing number of tourists in the subsequent centuries fueled a further demand for souvenir views, spurring local artists to craft their own masterpieces.
This lovely book is a narrated assemblage of some of these beautiful views, which transport the reader effortlessly to Italy, rekindling memories, setting intentions, or provoking curiosity. The text provides new insights into the topographical renditions of Italian scenes over the centuries, while compelling illustrations of works from the Getty collection by artists such as Richard Parkes Bonington, J. M. W. Turner, Claude Lorrain, Giovanni Battista Lusieri, Canaletto, and many more capture the essence and spirit of Italy.

Julian Brooks is senior curator and head of the Department of Drawings at the J. Paul Getty Museum, where he has organized and co-organized numerous exhibitions. Among his many publications are Andrea del Sarto: The Renaissance Workshop in Action (Getty Publications, 2015) and Master Drawings Close-Up (Getty Publications, 2010).

 

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Exhibition | Eyewitness Views: Making History

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on May 8, 2017

Antonio Joli, Departure of Charles III from Naples to Become King of Spain, 1759, oil on canvas
(Madrid: Museo Nacional del Prado)

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Opening tomorrow at The Getty:

Eyewitness Views: Making History in Eighteenth-Century Europe
The Getty Center, Los Angeles, 9 May — 30 July 2017
Minneapolis Institute of Art, 10 September — 31 December 2017
The Cleveland Museum of Art, 25 February — 20 May 2018

Curated by Peter Björn Kerber

From Paris to Venice to Rome, Europe’s most iconic cities have played host to magnificent ceremonies and dramatic events—and artists have been there to record them. During the eighteenth century, princes, popes, and ambassadors commissioned master painters such as Canaletto and Panini to record memorable moments, from the Venetian carnival to eruptions of Vesuvius, inspiring what became the golden age of view paintings.

Giovanni Paolo Panini, The Musical Performance in the Teatro Argentina in Honor of the Marriage of the Dauphin, 1747, oil on canvas (Paris: Musée du Louvre)

This is the first exhibition to focus on view paintings as depictions of contemporary events. These reportorial works visually record occasions ranging from royal celebrations to state visits, religious ceremonies, sporting contests, and natural disasters. Their dates correspond to the golden age of European view painting from the beginning of the eighteenth century to the eve of the French Revolution. Through immersive compositions and a wealth of acutely observed detail, artists skillfully created the illusion that the viewer is present on the scene as history is made.

Memory & Manipulation

Members of the highest echelons of European society, from kings and popes to doges and ambassadors, commissioned view painters to commemorate the spectacular events staged at their command or for their benefit. In many cases, these noble patrons are themselves portrayed in the resulting canvases. While artists cultivated the impression that they were faithful chroniclers capturing an event on canvas just as they had witnessed it, they were in fact not above manipulating or ‘improving’ upon reality in order to meet the expectations of their status-conscious clientele.

Civic & Religious Ritual

In Europe’s major cities, the populace gathered throughout the year to commemorate local historic events, celebrate religious feast days, or participate in public rituals. Whether sacred or secular in character, these occasions were always imbued with civic pride. They were also among the few times when the different social classes interacted with each other and shared a common experience. Religious processions typically involved a revered object—such as the Blessed Sacrament, a relic, or a statue—that was carried through the streets with pomp and fanfare. A city’s deliverance from devastating epidemics of bubonic plague was commemorated with recurring festivals of thanksgiving and supplication, since the threat of a resurgence remained very real in the eighteenth century.

Festival & Spectacle

In eighteenth-century Europe, Venice was the undisputed capital of pageantry and entertainment. Undaunted by its political and economic decline, the Serene Republic and its aristocracy invested vast sums in maintaining its traditional ceremonies and dazzling its visitors—for example, by commissioning a new version of the Bucintoro, the lavishly gilded state barge used only on Ascension Day. Financial considerations were also brushed aside to provide extravagant entertainments for kings or princes staying in the city. The grandest of these special events was a ceremonial regatta. In Rome, a comparable level of opulence was seen in the French embassy’s celebrations of royal births and marriages.

Disaster & Destruction

Images of tragic events satisfied a desire for paintings that stimulated the imagination. Whether they showed devastation caused by warfare, fire, natural disaster, or political turmoil, these works offered viewers the thrill of witnessing a catastrophe. They stand apart from most other reportorial paintings in that they downplay the presence of rulers and nobility in favor of depicting the lower classes. Such figures were rarely intended to be recognizable likenesses of actual people. Instead, they serve as proxies through which viewers are able to funnel their own reactions to unfolding calamity.

From The Getty Store:

Peter Björn Kerber, Eyewitness Views: Making History in Eighteenth-Century Europe (Los Angeles: Getty Publications, 2017), 252 pages, ISBN: 978-160606  5259, $45.

Canaletto, Bernardo Bellotto, Luca Carlevarijs, Giovanni Paolo Panini, Francesco Guardi, Hubert Robert—these renowned view painters are perhaps most famous for their expansive canvases depicting the ruins of Rome or the canals of Venice. Many of their most splendid paintings, however, feature important contemporary events. These occasions motivated some of the greatest artists of the era to produce their most exceptional work. Little explored by scholars, these paintings stand out by virtue of their extraordinary artistic quality, vibrant atmosphere, and historical interest. They are imbued with a sense of occasion, even drama, and were often commissioned by or for rulers, princes, and ambassadors as records of significant events in which they participated.

Lavishly illustrated and meticulously researched, this volume provides the first-ever comprehensive study—in any language—of this type of view painting. In examining these paintings alongside the historical events depicted in them, Peter Bjorn Kerber carefully reconstructs the meaning and context these paintings possessed for the artists who produced them and the patrons who commissioned them, as well as for their contemporary viewers.

Peter Björn Kerber is assistant curator of paintings at the J. Paul Getty Museum.

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Exhibition | The Luther Effect

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on April 19, 2017

Johann Valentin Haidt, First Fruits (Erstlingsbild),1748
(Herrnhut: Unitätsarchiv der Evangelischen Brüder-Unität, GS 463)

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From the exhibition website:

The Luther Effect: Protestantism—500 Years in the World
Der Luthereffekt 500 Jahre Protestantismus in der Welt
Deutsches Historisches Museum at Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, 12 April — 5 November 2017

The German Historical Museum (DHM) welcomes Martin-Gropius-Bau visitors on a trip through five centuries and across four continents. Marking the Reformation’s 500th anniversary, The Luther Effect shows the diversity and history, as well as the conflict potentials of Protestantism in the world. What impact has Protestantism had on other denominations and religions? How did Protestantism change through these encounters? And not least, how have people of different cultures adopted, shaped, and lived Protestant doctrine? Starting with Reformations in the 16th century, the exhibition highlights a global history of effect and counter-effect as seen in the examples of Sweden, the United States, South Korea, and Tanzania.

An impressive display of around 500 original exhibits in an exhibition space measuring some 3,000 square meters (32,000 square feet), the exhibition includes exceptional artworks and compelling, meaningful everyday objects from the era. Many of these extraordinary exhibits are being shown in Germany for the first time, to mark the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Modern media is used to give background information, enriching the exhibition.

Reformations, 1450–1600

The Reformation was a European event. Since the 16th century, various paths of reform had been leading to a renewal of the Church and life in general. Martin Luther’s Reformation was one of these. However, from a global perspective, other paths such as the Reformed Church or the Anglican Church in England were more influential. The Catholic Church also underwent a process of reform.

Undisputed beliefs and centuries-old practices were called into question. Soon proponents and opponents of reform were fighting not only against each another but also among themselves. The more radical movements like the Anabaptists were persecuted and marginalised not only by Catholics, but by Lutherans and the Reformed as well. The competition forced Luther, the Reformed, Anabaptists, Anglicans, and Catholics to clarify their own positions and to set themselves apart from others. The different reform paths developed into denominations that continue to evolve dynamically to this day.

One Land, One Religion: Sweden as a Lutheran Great Power, 1500–1750

King Gustav Vasa of Sweden, influenced by the Lutheran Reformation, broke with the Pope in Rome in 1527. This contributed to the spread of various reformist ideas in the Swedish Empire. But it was the Synod and the Parliament of Uppsala in 1593 that first established the Lutheran Church as the binding confession of Sweden, resulting in a Lutheran State Church and a confessionally unified state in Sweden.

The Swedish State Church brought the evolution of a new religious culture. The community that emerged saw itself as the protective power of Lutheranism. Swedish rulers and their armies fought on Europe’s battlefields for Sweden’s great power status and Luther’s doctrines. At home in Sweden, the State Church became increasingly restrictive. Church discipline, and the conversion of the Sámi who lived in the north of the country, were intended to consolidate the Lutheran faith and foster a common identity.

The United States of America: The Promised Land?, 1600–1900

Protestantism was brought to the British colonies of North America, later the United States, through the immigration of various groups, churches, and confessions, which accounts for the diversity of American Protestantism. A state church does not exist in the United States; instead, there is a vast landscape of independent churches. Protestantism in the USA developed its unique profile under the influence of charismatic revivalist preachers beginning in the 18th century. This gave rise to new confessions and numerous social reform movements. The so-called Black Churches of African Americans also emerged in the course of this development. Protestantism contributed significantly to the creation of the American nation and the formation of its self-understanding. It shaped the notion of America as the Promised Land, and of Americans as the Chosen People. These concepts gave rise to ideas that continue to influence American society to the present day.

Korea: Boom Land of Protestantism, 1850–2000

In the Republic of Korea (South Korea), numerous religions lead a relatively peaceful coexistence. Almost 30 percent of South Koreans consider themselves Christian, and slightly fewer than two-thirds of them are Protestant. This makes South Korea the only East Asian country where a significant proportion of the population is Protestant.

Protestant missionaries could not settle permanently in Korea until the mid-1880s. At this time, the first Protestant communities, founded by Korean laypeople, already existed. Using the Korean alphabetic script Han’gul to translate the Bible proved to be an important instrument for the missions. After the division of the land and the Korean War 1950–53, most Christians fled the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) to the South. Since the 1960s, South Korea has developed rapidly into an industrialised state. At the same time, the religious landscape has changed drastically: in 1950, three percent of South Koreans were Protestant, and by 1995 the number had already risen to around 20 percent. The relation to North Korea, including the possible reunification of the country, is a key issue in South Korea, and for the Protestant churches as well. On such questions the churches take very diverse positions.

Tanzania: Mission and Self-Reliance Today

The country of Tanzania has been shaped by migration and by the more than 130 ethnic groups who coexist there in a largely peaceful atmosphere. Among the many forms of Tanzanian Protestantism, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT) plays a major role. With more than 6 million members in 24 dioceses, the ELCT is now the largest Lutheran Church in Africa and the second largest in the world. It traces its origins back to German, Scandinavian, and American missionary societies that were active in the region which had become the colony known as German East Africa (then encompassing today’s Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, and part of Mozambique). In addition, the Moravian Brethren, the Anglican Church, and charismatic movements were instrumental in the spread of Protestant faith communities.

A variety of Protestant churches rapidly developed, driven forward by devout Tanzanians. From the outset, the missions aimed to establish financially independent churches and parishes. Today, their influence extends beyond Tanzania’s borders. Missionaries from Tanzania work throughout the continent. With a heedful view of the European churches, they see themselves as preserving the original Lutheran ideals.

Transformation and Schism: Installation by Hans Peter Kuhn

Exclusively for the exhibition, the Berlin artist Hans Peter Kuhn transforms the atrium of the Martin-Gropius-Bau into a gigantic artwork out of aluminum tubing, light, and sound. The installation Transition approaches the worldwide effects of the Reformation from an artistic perspective and makes the processes of the transformation of the relationship of Man to God and the schism of the Church doctrines triggered by the Reformation palpable and perceptible.

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Published by Hirmer, the catalogue is distributed in North America and Japan by The University of Chicago Press:

The Luther Effect: Protestantism—500 Years in the World (Munich: Hirmer Verlag, 2017), 400 pages, ISBN: 978  37774  27225, $54.

To mark the occasion of the five-hundredth anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in 2017, The Luther Effect offers a vivid and rich journey across five centuries and four continents, detailing the visual history of the growth of Protestantism around the world. The book examines how Protestantism has affected—and been affected by—encounters with diverse denominations, cultures, and lifestyles throughout the centuries. It explores how Protestantism has adapted and transformed and how different people around the world have adopted, modified, and followed its doctrine. Including two hundred and fifty stunning color plates and looking specifically at the art and cultural objects created in response to and in celebration of the religious movement, The Luther Effect presents the first comprehensive global history of Protestantism’s influence, reverberations, and reception.

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