Enfilade

Exhibition | François Boucher: Rococo Artist

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on October 25, 2020

François Boucher, Shepherd and Shepherdess, 1760, oil on canvas, 81 × 65 cm
(Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe)

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Opening next month at the Staatliche Kunsthalle:

François Boucher: Künstler des Rokoko / Artiste Rococo
Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, 14 November 2020 — 7 February 2021

François Boucher (1703–1770) est encore considéré de nos jours comme l’artiste rococo français par excellence. À l’occasion du 250e anniversaire de sa mort, la Kunsthalle de Karlsruhe présente la première exposition en Allemagne qui lui soit exclusivement consacrée.

Bien que né dans un milieu modeste, Boucher s’est affirmé comme l’un des principaux artistes de son époque. Premier peintre du roi, il comptait parmi ses commanditaires la marquise de Pompadour ainsi que la margravine Caroline-Louise de Bade. Son style rayonna dans toute l’Europe et ses compositions furent reprises pour un grand nombre de tapisseries et de décors de théâtre, de meubles et de porcelaines.

La diversité des styles qu’il aborda et des sujets qu’il traita reste impressionnante jusqu’à l’heure actuelle. Ses élégantes scènes de genre ainsi que les représentations qu’il a données de paysages bucoliques et de sujets mythologiques se distinguent par leur inventivité, leur humour et l’ironie qui s’en dégage. Par leur exécution subtile et leur palette délicate, ses œuvres nous sensibilisent à la sensualité pouvant irradier d’une toile.

Ses dessins et ébauches à l’huile illustrent parfaitement sa manière de travailler. Tantôt puissantes et virtuoses, tantôt empreintes de retenue et témoins d’une introspection, ces esquisses s’affirment comme desœuvres d’art à part entière.

Artiste fascinant, Boucher, a ainsi développé un style très riche dont l’influence est perceptible jusque dans l’art moderne – Un style que l’exposition de la Kunsthalle permettra de redécouvrir.

L’exposition se complète par une installation sonore d’Elina Lukijanova qui reproduit des éléments stylistiques du Rococo à l’aide de bruits et de mots de notre époque.

Astrid Reuter, ed., François Boucher: Künstler des Rokoko (Cologne: Wienand, 2020), 336 pages, ISBN: 978-3868325812, 45€. With essays by Astrid Reuter, Barbara Bauer, Alexander Eiling, Peter Fuhring, Holger Jacob-Friesen, Melissa Hyde, Oliver Jehle, Françoise Joulie, Alastair Laing, Hans Plechinski, Aileen Ribeiro, Dorit Schäfer, Martin Schieder, Perrin Stein, Christoph Martin Vogtherr, and Kirsten Voigt.

Exhibition | The Torlonia Marbles

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on October 14, 2020

Notice of the exhibition appeared here at Enfilade last November; here’s the updated information; the catalogue is published by Electa.

The Torlonia Marbles: Collecting Masterpieces
I Marmi Torlonia: Collezionare Capolavori
Musei Capitolini at Palazzo Caffarelli, Rome, 14 October 2020 — 29 June 2021

Curated by Carlo Gasparri and Salvatore Settis

The Torlonia Marbles: Collecting Masterpieces presents 96 works selected from the 620 cataloged marbles belonging to the Torlonia Collection, the prestigious private collection of ancient sculptures, significant for the history of art, excavations, restoration, taste, museography, and archaeological studies. The exhibition is organized in five sections, telling the story of the collecting of ancient Greek and Roman marbles in reverse chronology beginning with the founding of the Torlonia Museum in 1875 by Prince Alexander Torlonia. The second section brings together the nineteenth-century finds of antiquity in the Torlonia properties. The next section addresses eighteenth-century collecting, with sculptures from the acquisitions of Villa Albani and the collection of the sculptor and restorer Bartolomeo Cavaceppi. A selection of sculptures owned by Vincenzo Giustiniani, one of the most sophisticated Roman collectors of the seventeenth century then follows, with the final section presenting pieces from collections of aristocratic families of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

Exhibition | The Piranesi Principle

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

Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Colosseum in Rome, Bird’s Eye View from the North, ca. 1760–70
(Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kunstbibliothek / Dietmar Katz)

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A very brief posting appeared here at Enfilade in February. Here’s the expanded version; from the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin:

The Piranesi Principle: Marking the 300th Birthday of the Great Italian Master
Das Piranesi-Prinzip: Zum 300. Geburtstag des großen italienischen Meisters

Kunstbibliothek, Berlin, 4 October 2020 — 7 February 2021

Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720–1778) was one of the great polymaths of the 18th century. He carved out an international career as an archaeologist, artist, collector, designer, publisher and author. The principle behind his success was to grasp the multifaceted nature of reality and transform it into something new. He found inspiration everywhere: in the artifacts of bygone epochs and faraway regions, in images from science, technology and opera, and even in denunciations and defeats. This exhibition celebrating the 300th anniversary of his birth brings this Piranesi principle back to life in all its creativity. It is centred around Piranesi’s masterpieces of engraving, his books, pamphlets, satirical illustrations, and drawings from the collections of the Kunstbibliothek and the Kupferstichkabinett, some of which are being shown for the very first time.

Piranesi’s Rome

The exhibition begins with a trip back through time to Piranesi’s Rome. While today’s tourists marvel at the city’s ancient ruins in an urban setting, in the 18th century the Venetian-born artist lived and worked in a city surrounded by a landscape of ruins, in which monuments overgrown by plants protruded from the ground. It was in this context that Piranesi found the motifs for his images and architectural visions, collected artefacts for his ‘Museo’, and conducted research into art and architectural history—the results of which he published in monumental works such as the Antichità Romane (1756). And it was here that he found his clientele and his audience: artists, art scholars, archaeologists, antiques and art dealers came from all over the world to make their fortune in the ‘eternal city’—or, like Piranesi himself—to earn their immortality.

Piranesi’s Stage

Opera and theatre have been influential mass media since the Baroque era. Performances took place not only in private residences, but also on the street and in public squares, where religious festivities were staged as elaborate spectacles. In the 18th century, theatre was a big business, for which artists designed stage sets and decorations, and in doing so revolutionised the viewing habits of their audiences. Piranesi, who had already become acquainted with this scene in Venice, picked up on these ideas and used them to dramatise his compositions. Both his Vedute (Views) and his famous Carceri (Prisons) largely owe their magic to the influence of the theatre of the time.

Piranesi’s Laboratory

As well as the dream factory of theatre, the technical imagery of the sciences was another a source of great fascination for Piranesi. Imagining his workshop as a laboratory, he experimented with creating futuristic images in order to find ways to communicate the findings of his research on archaeology and art with scholars and the public alike. In the section Piranesi’s Laboratory, the exhibition focuses on the monumental display panels, reconstructions and maps that made him famous within the sciences far beyond Italy, and saw him named a member of the Society of Antiquaries in London in 1757 and an honorary member of the Accademia di San Luca in Rome in 1761. His images are ground-breaking and ahead of their time above all because of their resemblance to a computer desktop featuring a multitude of windows open simultaneously. They succeeded in sealing Piranesi’s status as a pioneer of visual communication.

Piranesi’s Palazzo

This section takes viewers to the central site of his work: Palazzo Tomati, not far from the Spanish steps, where Piranesi resided from 1761 onwards, ran a large workshop, and opened his ‘Museo’ (a warehouse of antiques and self-manufactured objects) to tourists and art scholars. The drawings by Piranesi that are held by the Kunstbibliothek, including his renowned fireplace designs, provide important information about his work process. Piranesi was open to everything: he drew on both Roman and Egyptian antiquity, Etruscan and Greek art, and often came up with daring hybrid forms. Even the wastepaper in his studio provided points of departure and stimulus for his creative processes. Recycling and re-using were part of his daily routine in the workshop, especially as paper was a valuable resource. The exhibition makes evident how the recto and verso of his prints, drawings and notes were used over and over again for new sketches.

Piranesi’s Arena

Finally, in the section Piranesi’s Arena, the exhibition presents Piranesi as a polarising figure in the international art scene. Four people in his life are presented to exemplify this tension, beginning with fellow Venetian Pope Clement XIII (1693­–1769), who was particularly important due to his role as a patron, and then looking at three antagonists who infuriated Piranesi to such an extent that he resorted to unusual artistic weapons. He dedicated an entire publication to taking down the argument of French art scholar Pierre-Jean Mariette (1694­–1774), who had questioned the significance of Roman antiquity, with words and pictures. The name of his Irish patron, Lord Charlemont (1728–1799), who had withdrawn funding for one of his largest projects, was visually erased from public memory. And to express his displeasure in a dispute with French archaeologist Bertrand Capmartin de Chaupy (1720–1798), he produced a detailed and masterfully elaborate depiction of his own excrement.

An exhibition of the Kunstbibliothek – Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin and the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, in cooperation with the Kupferstichkabinett – Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin

The exhibition and catalogue were jointly conceived by students, curators, and researchers at the Kunstbibliothek and the Department for Art and Visual History at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. An exhibition catalogue, edited by Georg Schelbert and Moritz Wullen, will be published by E.A. Seemann Verlag, Leipzig, 144 pages, 135 colour illustrations, ISBN 978-3865024435 (German edition), 978-3865024442 (English edition), €27.

Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Vignette: Satire targeting Bertrand Capmartin De Chaupy, 1769
(Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kunstbibliothek / Dietmar Katz)

 

 

 

 

Exhibition | A Superb Baroque: Art in Genoa, 1600–1750

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

The exhibition was scheduled to be on view at the NGA this past summer; it will now arrive in Washington after appearing in Rome. From the NGA:

A Superb Baroque: Art in Genoa, 1600–1750 / La Superba e il Barocco
Scuderie del Quirinale, Rome, 25 March — 1 August 2021
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 26 September 2021 — 9 January 2022

Curated by Jonathan Bober, Piero Boccardo, and Franco Boggero

By the 17th century, Genoa was the banking center of Europe with a functioning republican government and enormous wealth that enabled its artists and their patrons to create a singularly rich and beautiful expression of baroque style, with works of extraordinary material sumptuousness, visual splendor, and exuberant feeling. The first major presentation of the Genoese baroque in the United States, this landmark exhibition—accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog—presents some 130 paintings, sculptures, decorative arts, drawings, and prints ranging from 1600 through 1750.

Forming the core of the exhibition are works by the school’s well-known painters—Bernardo Strozzi, Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, and Alessandro Magnasco—as well as key works by other Italians and foreigners drawn to the city’s flourishing environment—Peter Paul Rubens, Giulio Cesare Procaccini, Orazio Gentileschi, Anthony van Dyck, and Francesco Solimena. Some of the very finest works by such native painters as Valerio Castello, Domenico Piola, and Gregorio De Ferrari are also on view. Monumental decorative ensembles from churches and residences are represented by corresponding oil sketches and presentation models, several grand in scale themselves. Also included are full-size statues by masters—Pierre Puget, Filippo Parodi, and Anton Maria Maragliano—terracotta sketches, and exquisite bronze repetitions of monumental groups, as well as spectacular ceremonial silver from early in the period.

Among the drawings and prints featured are many by the same artists who executed the paintings and objects, with some connected to them. These works reveal the striking characteristics of Genoese draftsmanship: complex techniques, pictorial elaboration, and autonomous function. In fantasy and fluency, the etchings—particularly those of Castiglione and Bartolomeo Biscaino—surpass those of any other Italian school.

The exhibition is curated by Jonathan Bober, Andrew W. Mellon Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings, National Gallery of Art; Piero Boccardo, Superintendent of the City Collections of Genoa; and Franco Boggero, director, historic and artistic heritage section, Soprintendenza Archeologia, Belle Arti e Paesaggio, Genoa.

The exhibition is organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and the Scuderie del Quirinale, Rome, with special cooperation from the City and Museums of Genoa. The exhibition is made possible by the Robert Lehman Foundation. Additional funding is provided by The Exhibition Circle of the National Gallery of Art.

The catalogue is now available from Princeton UP:

Jonathan Bober, Piero Boccardo, Franco Boggero, Peter Lukehart, and Andrea Zanini, A Superb Baroque: Art in Genoa, 1600–1750 (Princeton: Princeton University Press in association with the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 2020), 384 pages, ISBN: 978-0691206516, $65 / £54.

Genoa completed its transformation from a faded maritime power into a thriving banking center for Europe in the seventeenth century. The wealth accumulated by its leading families spurred investment in the visual arts on an enormous scale. This volume explores how artists both foreign and native created a singularly rich and extravagant expression of the baroque in works of extraordinary variety, sumptuousness, and exuberance. This art, however, has remained largely hidden behind the facades of the city’s palaces, with few works, apart from those by the school’s great expatriates, found beyond its borders. As a result, the Genoese baroque has been insufficiently considered or appreciated.

Lavishly illustrated, A Superb Baroque is comprehensive, encompassing all the major media and participants. Presented are some 140 select works by the celebrated foreigners drawn to the city and its flourishing environment—from Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck, and Giulio Cesare Procaccini to Pierre Puget, Marcantonio Franceschini, and Francesco Solimena; by the major Genoese masters active for much of their careers in other settings—Bernardo Strozzi, Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, Filippo Parodi, and Alessandro Magnasco; and above all by the brilliantly synthetic but unfamiliar masters who worked primarily in Genoa itself—Gioacchino Assereto, Valerio Castello, Domenico Piola, and Gregorio De Ferrari. Offering three levels of exploration—essays that frame and interpret, section introductions that characterize principal currents and stages, and texts that elucidate individual works—this volume is by far the most extensive study of the Genoese baroque in the English language.

 

Exhibition | Tantra: Enlightenment to Revolution

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on October 2, 2020

From the press release for the exhibition:

Tantra: Enlightenment to Revolution
The British Museum, London, 24 September — 24 January 2021

Curated by Imma Ramos

A radical philosophy that transformed the religious, cultural, and political landscape of India and beyond is explored in a landmark new exhibition at the British Museum. Supported by the Bagri Foundation, Tantra: Enlightenment to Revolution charts the rise and spread of Tantra, a set of beliefs and rituals that first emerged in India around AD 500. The exhibition explores Tantra’s early medieval transformation of Hinduism and Buddhism, along with its links to the Indian fight for independence and the rise of 1960s counterculture in the West.

Tantra: Enlightenment to Revolution is the first major exhibition in the UK focusing on the history of Tantra and its global impact. It is the very first time the British Museum—which houses one of the biggest and most comprehensive collections of Tantric material in the world—will explore this subject in an exhibition. Over 100 objects will be on show, including masterpieces of sculpture, painting, prints, and ritual objects. Tantra’s impact is evident across Asia’s diverse cultural and religious traditions, but it remains largely unknown—or misrepresented—in the West. Little is known beyond its association to sex and yoga. The exhibition demonstrates that from its inception, Tantra has challenged political, sexual, and gender norms around the world and that it has always been linked to successive waves of revolutionary thought.

Tantra is a philosophy rooted in sacred instructional texts called ‘Tantras’. They take their name from the Sanskrit word ‘tan’, meaning ‘to weave’ or ‘compose’, and are often written in the form of a conversation between a god and goddess. The exhibition will feature four examples of some of the earliest surviving Tantras in the world, on loan from Cambridge University Library. Made in Nepal from around the 12th century, these texts outline a variety of rituals for invoking one of the many all-powerful Tantric deities, including through visualisations (imaginatively identifying with a deity) and yoga. Tantras often also described rituals that transgressed existing social and religious boundaries, such as sexual rites and engagement with intoxicants and the traditionally taboo. Such rituals affirmed all aspects of existence as sacred, including the body and the sensual, in order to achieve liberation and generate power. One example in the exhibition describes the benefits of actively engaging in sexual activity with a partner in order to ultimately transcend desire itself: ‘By passion the world is bound; by passion too it is released’.

A woman visiting two Nath yoginis, North India, Mughal, ca. 1750 (London: The British Museum).

The exhibition particularly explores Tantra’s radical challenge to gender norms. The Tantric worldview sees all material reality as animated by Shakti—unlimited, divine feminine power. This inspired the dramatic rise of goddess worship in India and confronted traditional gender roles. Goddesses and female Tantric practitioners are featured prominently in the exhibition, ranging from a 9th-century sandstone temple relief from Madhya Pradesh depicting the ferocious goddess Chamunda dancing on a corpse, to an 18th-century courtly painting showing female gurus offering Tantric initiation. These depictions transcended conventional images of womanhood as passive and docile. A number of contemporary works by female artists will be on display, highlighting the ongoing relevance of Tantra’s impact on gender. These works harness Tantric goddesses through the bodies of real women, including Sutapa Biswas’ 1985 mixed media work Housewives with Steak-Knives, which evokes the Tantric goddess Kali in a modern feminist form.

Tantra also became a tool of revolution during the fight for India’s independence in the late 19th century. Indian revolutionaries in Bengal harnessed Tantra for its insurgent potential during colonial rule, reimagining goddesses such as Kali as symbols of an independent India rising up against the British. Visitors will see dramatic sculptures and artworks of Kali wearing garlands of decapitated heads, which successfully exploited British fears of the goddess as a bloodthirsty ‘demon mother’. In the exhibition the true meaning behind her symbolism, tied to both destructive power and maternal strength, will be decoded.

The final section of the exhibition focuses on the 20th century and Tantra’s modern re-imaginings in Asia and the West. In the 1960s and 1970s, Tantric ideas and imagery inspired global countercultural movements and had an important impact on the period’s radical politics. In Britain and the USA, Tantra was interpreted as a movement that could inspire anti-capitalist, ecological, and free love ideals. The Tantra-inspired psychedelic posters that plastered the streets of London and San Francisco during this time are on show, as well as paintings, photographs, and sculptures illustrating Tantra’s enduring influence in art and popular culture.

The exhibition is organized by Dr. Imma Ramos, a curator of the South Asia collections at the British Museum.

Imma Ramos, Tantra: Enlightenment to Revolution (London: Thames & Hudson, 2020), 288 pages, ISBN: 978-0500480625, £35 / $50.

Exhibition | Exotic Switzerland? Looking Outward

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on September 19, 2020

Opening next week at the Palais de Rumine:, with additional information, including programming, available here»

Une Suisse exotique? Regarder l’ailleurs en Suisse au siècle des Lumières
Exotic Switzerland? Looking Outward in the Age of Enlightenment

Palais de Rumine, Lausanne, 24 September 2020 — 28 February 2021

Organized by Noémie Étienne

What is exotic? How long has this word been used? How do we define what is exotic and what is not? Is Switzerland exotic? In Europe, the Enlightenment is a key period in building up this view, of which we are still the heirs. This era was that of both human rights and the quadrangular trade, including trade in enslaved people. It can be reread critically. Swiss history is often only considered within the borders of Europe, but the Swiss maintained close and complex ties with distant countries.

Why This Exhibition?

This exhibition is the result of a collaboration between the team of Professor Noémie Étienne (Bern University, Swiss National Science Foundation) and the three museums of science and history of the Palais de Rumine. Exotic? will be presented in the large temporary exhibition rooms of the Palais. It offers a historical and critical perspective in order to understand the emergence of this view of the Other and the acts of classification that accompanied it. Indeed, nothing is ‘exotic’ in itself: exoticism is the product of representations, mediations, and translations, which assign a place to things and people in a given historical and political context. This exhibition depicts the image of a dynamic and complex Switzerland that became part of the world, mostly through individual initiatives. It also adds complexity to an idealised interpretation of the 18th century, which was certainly an era of great scientific and artistic innovation but also of the first economic globalisation, and colonisation.The issues of colonialism, power, gender, race and economy are at the heart of this exhibition, which aims at reflecting about Switzerland’s past, especially the careers of individuals who wished to take part in colonisation and international trade.

Who Were Swiss Travellers in the 18th Century?

Many Swiss People travelled beyond the borders, mostly individually. However, these journeys were often made under the aegis of a foreign crown and were often linked to economic, political, and religious networks that could go beyond the borders of the territory (Huguenot, banking, missionary, foreign service, and military networks). These travellers settled in the countries they visited and developed their careers in close cooperation with the peoples and territories concerned.The objects that were collected by artists and scientists in the 18th century were brought back to Switzeland and included in local collections. Two types of collection can be differentiated: on one hand, those made through intermediaries that accompanied British and French national explorations, and on the other hand those created directly by Swiss People. During these voyages, which lasted several years, the crews collected objects and specimens that they brought back to Europe and then traded or sold. At the same time, they kept travel journals and filled sketchbooks in which they described the objects and the contexts of what they collected as well as the peoples they encountered.

The nature of the objects that were collected by Swiss People has many commonalities with examples that can be studied in neighbouring countries. One of the characteristics was the use of collections for education, particularly due to the presence of cabinets in the Protestant Academies, such as in Lausanne and Zurich. This use was part of a pedagogical process that favoured a pragmatic view of things, and differentiated the cabinets of the Swiss Academies from the German ‘Wunderkammer’, the royal cabinets and the princely collections of European courts.

Innovation and Technology Transfer

The circulation of techniques and objects that came from the outside world promoted the development of new technologies all over Europe and especially in Switzerland. This was the case of the porcelain factories in Zurich and Nyon that produced for a local clientele. However, other factories that developed in Switzerland manufactured objects (watches, enamels) for export to China and Turkey. The cities of Basel, Geneva and Neuchâtel also produced printed textiles known as ‘Indian chintz’, imitating a technique used in India.

Is Switzerland Exotic?

Switzerland became gradually a subject of curiosity for travellers who were interested in its folklore and landscapes: it was therefore exotic for those who visited it. This movement was prepared from the 18th century onward by the inhabitants of the large cities: they built up an image of Alpine and rural cultures that was a great success and that can still be found today in advertising and in tourist marketing.

Public and Cultural Mediation

The exhibition aims at reaching all kinds of people, especially through a varied scientific and cultural programme, while putting forward a new approach to Swiss history. It will attempt to connect the images that were produced in the 17th and 18th centuries to imaginations by offering avenues for thinking about alterity today through a historical perspective and contemporary art (performances, sounds, images). In view of the sensitive subject, many mediation activities will accompany this exhibition: guided tours and workshops, of course, but also a play produced by high school students, short films made by the students of the Swiss film director Lionel Baier at the University of Art and Design ECAL, lectures in coffee grounds by the Women Telling The Future collective, lectures, and a partnership with the programme of the Vidy theatre.

Objects Displayed

The exhibition will bring together 150 pieces from more than 30 Swiss collections and cultural institutions. Most of these pieces are very rarely shown. The typologies of the objects are diverse: specimens of natural history, paintings, textiles, porcelains, non-European artefacts, archives, books and maps.

Contemporary Artists

There will be a selection of works by contemporary artists (Marie van Berchem, Fabien Clerc, Susan Hefuna, Senam Okudzeto and Uriel Orlow), giving a different perspective of the exhibited objects and of the more general aims of the exhibition.

Publications

The English edition of the catalogue is distributed in North America and Britain by The University of Chicago Press:

Noémie Étienne with Claire Brizon, Chonja Lee, and Étienne Wismer, Une Suisse exotique ? Regarder l’ailleurs en Suisse au siècle des Lumières (Dijon: Les presses du réel, 2020), 376 pages, ISBN: 978-2889280520, 40€.

Noémie Étienne with Claire Brizon, Chonja Lee, and Étienne Wismer, Exotic Switzerland? Looking Outward in the Age of Enlightenment (Lausanne: Diaphanes, 2020), 256 pages, ISBN: 978-3035802276, $40.

Why is an object, an artwork, or a person deemed ‘exotic’? How is the gaze built upon those things or people who seem to belong to other regions or cultures? This notion is studied here in relation to a specific context: the Enlightenment era from the Swiss perspective. The publication brings together for the first time research from academics and specialists of the museum world in order to rethink this time period and this geography. It assembles contributions of essays as well as shorter texts centered on pictures, objects, books, and natural specimens from Swiss museum collections. ‘Exotic’, in this context, means that which comes from elsewhere and can be used and ‘improved’ for the benefits of European powers. This adjective invites us to reconsider both the long eighteenth century and the international history of Switzerland.

Noémie Étienne is professor of Early Modern Art History at the University of Bern. Claire Brizon is a doctoral student in art history at the University of Bern. Chonja Lee is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Bern. Étienne Wismer is a doctoral student in art history at the University of Bern.

Award Winning Exhibition | Spaces of Wonder, Wonder of Spaces

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on June 18, 2020

Recently announced by the Association of College and Research Libraries, with a full list of winners here. Congratulations, Christina Smylitopoulos! More information on the Bachinski / Chu Print Study Collection is available here.

The exhibition catalogue Spaces of Wonder, Wonder of Space: Encountering the Eighteenth Century in Image, Object, and Text, edited by Christina Smylitopoulos, has been selected as a winner of the Katharine Kyes Leab & Daniel J. Leab Exhibition Award (Division Three) by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS). This collaborative, multi-venue show was developed in conjunction with the 2018 Société canadienne d’étude du dix-huitième siècle / Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies conference held in Niagara Falls, Ontario, which was organized jointly by Mount Allison University (MAU; Sackville, New Brunswick) and the University of Guelph (Guelph, Ontario).

The show, which featured works from the Bachinski / Chu Print Study Collection and objects from the McLaughlin Library’s Archival & Special Collections and the Barker Museum of Veterinary History (October 2018 – April 2019) was funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada project Wonder in the Eighteenth Century (Christina Ionescu / Christina Smylitopoulos) and reflects the work of undergraduate students pursuing experiential learning opportunities, graduate students in Art/History, and faculty and curatorial colleagues from Mount Allison University the UofG’s College of Arts.

“The content and conceit of this publication is commendable. The central thesis concatenating the objects was compelling and original, offering a discussion not just of objects but also how they are perceived. The committee appreciated the collaborative approach to this topic, which gave space to a wide range of voices and approaches from students to faculty.” –Leab Awards Committee

Exhibition | Japan: Courts and Culture

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

Press release (12 November 2019) for the exhibition from the Royal Collection Trust (stay tuned for updates on the schedule; listed are the original dates). . .

 Japan: Courts and Culture
The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, London, 12 June — 8 November 2020

Curated by Rachel Peat

Arita, Hizen Province (Japan), Jar and Cover, 1690–1720, porcelain with moulded relief decoration and painted in underglaze blue, overglaze enamel, and gold; French mounts, 1780–1820, gilt bronze; 42.5 cm high, purchased for George IV in 1820 (Royal Collection Trust, RCIN 39239).

The Royal Collection contains one of the finest holdings of Japanese works of art in the Western world, significant for both the unique provenance and exceptional quality of the objects. Now, for the first time, highlights from the collection are brought together in the exhibition Japan: Courts and Culture, which tells the story of the diplomatic, artistic, and cultural exchanges between Britain and Japan from the reigns of James I to Queen Elizabeth II. Including rare examples of porcelain, lacquer, armour and embroidered screens, the exhibition offers a unique insight into the relationship between the imperial and royal courts over a period of 300 years.

The formation of the East India Company in 1600 paved the way for direct contact between Japan and England. In 1613, the first English ship to reach Japanese shores was captained by John Saris, who brought with him letters and gifts from James I for Shōgun Tokugawa Ieyasu, the military leader who governed Japan on behalf of the imperial family. Saris returned with a letter granting the English permission to live and trade in Japan, and with gifts for the King. These included a samurai armour, the earliest to arrive in Britain and the first surviving non-European work of art to enter the Royal Collection.

This first contact between England and Japan was short-lived. From the 1630s, for some 220 years, Japan closed to the West in an attempt to regulate foreign influence. During this time, the Dutch were the only Europeans permitted to trade directly with Japan through one small enclave at Nagasaki. Demand for exotic East Asian wares remained high in Europe, where the secrets of porcelain and lacquer manufacture were yet to be discovered.

The British royal family led the way in collecting highly prized examples of Japanese lacquer, porcelain, and textiles—much of which was produced specifically for the export market. In the 17th century, Mary II displayed Japanese porcelain in her apartments at Kensington Palace and Hampton Court Palace. In the 18th century, Queen Caroline, consort of George II, formed a significant collection of Japanese lacquer. A century later, George IV incorporated Japanese porcelain into the opulent decorative schemes at Carlton House in London and the Royal Pavilion, Brighton. Many of the pieces acquired by the King were given new functions through the addition of elaborate gilt-bronze mounts, turning a simple jar into a pot-pourri vase and animal figures into incense burners.

When Japan reopened to the West in the 1850s, goods began to flow freely, and diplomatic and political links were re-established. Queen Victoria’s son, Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, was the first member of a European royal family to visit Japan when he arrived there in 1869 during a world naval tour. The Prince met the Emperor Meiji at the Imperial Palace, where an exchange of gifts took place, and was presented with samurai armour, including a helmet dating from 1537. In a letter to his mother, Alfred wrote: “To give you any account of this country, I feel quite at a loss. Every thing is so new & so quaint that I am quite bewildered.”

The next members of the British royal family to visit Japan were Queen Victoria’s grandsons Prince George of Wales (the future King George V) and his brother, Prince Albert Victor. In 1881, the teenage Princes were serving as midshipmen aboard HMS Bacchante and were granted shore leave to meet the Emperor Meiji and Empress Shōken. They returned with presents for their family, including a teapot and cups for their father, Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, and with diplomatic gifts from the Emperor. According to the official diary of the tour, compiled by their tutor, the Reverend John Dalton, the Princes had their arms tattooed during their visit to Japan—Albert Victor with ‘a couple of storks’ and George with a dragon and a tiger, a combination said to signify East and West.

In the early 20th century, a defensive Anglo-Japanese Alliance was formed to secure both nations’ interests in the Pacific. This was also a period of growing artistic exchange. The most significant cultural event was the 1910 Japan-British Exhibition in London, which included demonstrations of Japanese crafts, music, sports, and entertainments. More than eight million people visited the exhibition, including Queen Mary, consort of King George V, who was an enthusiastic collector of East Asian art.

The relationship between the Japanese and British imperial and royal families has continued to flourish through reciprocal royal visits, attendance at coronations, and the exchange of gifts. In 1902, Prince Komatsu Akihito attended the coronation of King Edward VII on behalf of the Emperor Meiji and presented the King with an embroidered folding screen of the four seasons. In 1911, Queen Mary received a coronation gift of a miniature cabinet bearing the imperial chrysanthemum crest, created by Akatsuka Jitoku, one of the most accomplished lacquerers of his generation. On the occasion of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, the Emperor Shōwa (Hirohito) sent Her Majesty a cosmetic box decorated with a heron by the great lacquer artist Shirayama Shōsai.

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In the United States and Canada, the catalogue is distributed by The University of Chicago Press:

Rachel Peat, ed., Japan: Courts and Culture (London: Royal Collection Trust, 2020), 320 pages, ISBN: 978-1909741683, $70.

Japan: Courts and Culture tells the story of three centuries of British royal contact with Japan, from 1603 to c.1937, when the exchange of exquisite works of art was central to both diplomatic relations and cultural communication. With discussions of courtly rituals, trade relationships, treaties, and other matters of concern between the two nations, this book provides important historical and political context in addition to granting a new look at the works of art in question. Featuring new research on previously unpublished works, including porcelain, lacquer, armor, embroidery, metalwork, and works on paper, this book showcases the unparalleled craftsmanship of these objects, and the local materials, techniques, and traditions behind them. Japan: Courts and Culture is published to accompany a spectacular exhibition of the same name, which opens at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, in June 2020. The book’s stunning photography, contextual essays, and historical insights offer a highly visual record of a royal narrative and history that has not yet been widely documented.

Rachel Peat is assistant curator of non-European works of art at Royal Collection Trust.

C O N T E N T S

Foreword, HRH The Prince of Wales and Princess Akiko of Mikasa
British and Japanese Royal Family Trees
Map of Japan

1  Introduction, Rachel Peat
2  First Encounters, 1600–1639, Rachel Peat
3  Trade, 1639–1854, Rachel Peat
4  Porcelain, Melanie Wilson and Rachel Peat
5  Lacquer, Rachel Peat
6  Travel, 1854–1901, Rachel Peat
7  Samurai, Arms and Armour, Gregory Irvine
8  Metalwork, Kathryn Jones
9  Treaty, 1901–1937, Rachel Peat
10  Artistic Exchange, Kathryn Jones
11  Courtly Ritual, Caroline de Guitaut
12  Coda, Rachel Peat
13  Appendix: The Model of the Taitokuin Mausoleum, William H. Coaldrake

Glossary
Timeline of Key Events
Bibliography
Acknowledgements
Index

Exhibition | Hidden Valuables: Early-Period Meissen Porcelains

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on April 10, 2020

The catalogue is published by Arnoldsche and distributed by ACC Art Books:

Hidden Valuables: Early-Period Meissen Porcelains from Swiss Private Collections
Musée Ariana, Geneva, 7 February — 6 September 2020

Switzerland is well-known for its host of remarkable collections of eighteenth-century European porcelain. Exemplary representatives of these are such extraordinary collector personalities as Albert Kocher or Dr Marcel Nyffeler. A number of these magnificent collections can be found today in Switzerland’s renowned institutions, and the ‘white gold’ from Saxony still fascinates Swiss connoisseurs. This exhibition is dedicated to their passionate collecting and exceptional treasures, while the catalogue is enriched with essays by renowned art historians and porcelain experts.

Sarah-Katharina Andres-Acevedo, Alfredo Reyes, and Röbbig München, eds., Hidden Valuables: Early-Period Meissen Porcelains from Swiss Private Collections (Stuttgart: Arnoldsche, 2020), 416 pages, ISBN 978-3897905863, £78 / $135.

New Book | Becoming America

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on April 5, 2020

Distributed by Yale UP (portions of the collection have been on view at The Huntington since October 2016) . . .

James Glisson, ed., with contributions by John Demos, Jonathan and Karin Fielding, Robin Jaffee Frank, James Glisson, Stacy Hollander, Christina Nielsen, Sumpter Priddy, Elizabeth V. Warren, and David Wheatcroft, Becoming America: Highlights from the Jonathan and Karin Fielding Collection of Folk Art (San Marino: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, 2020), 264 pages, ISBN: 9780300247565, $50.

Becoming America offers a multifaceted view of one of the foremost collections of 18th- and 19th-century American folk and decorative art from the rural Northeast. Essays by leading specialists discuss the culture of furniture workshops, exuberant painted decoration, techniques of sewing and quilting, and poignant stories about the families depicted in the portraits. The collection itself includes Shaker boxes, a beaded Iroquois hat, embroidered samplers, metalwork, scrimshaw, handwoven rugs, ceramics, and a weather vane. The majority of these works have never before been published. With lively essays and profuse illustrations, this handsome volume brings to life the aesthetic of early Americans living in the countryside and is an essential exploration of the period’s taste and style.

James Glisson is interim chief curator of American art at The Huntington. Jonathan Fielding is the former director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and Distinguished Professor at UCLA. Karin Fielding is a trustee of the American Folk Art Museum in New York.