Exhibition | Painting the Floating World

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on January 2, 2019

Utagawa Toyokuni, One Hundred Looks of Various Women, 1816
(Roger Weston Collection)

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Press release (4 October 2018) for the exhibition:

Painting the Floating World: Ukiyo-e Masterpieces from the Weston Collection
Art Institute of Chicago, 4 November 2018 — 27 January 2019

Curated by Janice Katz

The Art Institute of Chicago presents Painting the Floating World: Ukiyo-e Masterpieces from the Weston Collection, a collection formed by Roger Weston over the last twenty-five years which captures compellingly the beginning, major developments, and final flowering of ukiyo-e (pictures of the floating world) painting. Encompassing folding screens, hanging scrolls, handscrolls, and albums, these works are technically accomplished masterpieces by the most famous artists in Edo (present-day Tokyo) and beyond. Ukiyo-e comprises both paintings and prints, so it is especially meaningful that such a complete collection of paintings can be shown at a museum known for its significant holdings of prints.

Chobunsai Eishi, Woman Writing a Poem on a Fan, 1789/1801 (Roger Weston Collection).

The floating world (ukiyo) flourished in the bustling urban centers of Kamigata (Kyoto, Osaka) and Edo from the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries. People of all ranks shared in metropolitan amusements, including the Yoshiwara pleasure quarters and the kabuki theater. The extraordinary paintings in the exhibition, which focus almost exclusively on the beautiful people (bijinga) who were the celebrities of this milieu, offer a privileged, intimate view of the floating world and its many attractions. Ukiyo-e paintings were commissioned works executed by well-known artists, among them Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) and Kitagawa Utamaro (1753–1806). Lavish, one-of-a-kind objects, the paintings display the makers’ extraordinary technical skill and address a wide range of subjects, including actors, courtesans, geisha, musicians, and scenes of everyday life in Edo.

“When visitors walk away from this show, we want them to have an understanding that the floating world is full of individuals looking to forge a unique identity for themselves as urban, sophisticated, fashionable and trendy, just as we do in our modern-day society,” said Janice Katz, the Roger L. Weston Associate Curator of Japanese Art.

The exhibition, staged in the museum’s Regenstein Hall, will be the largest exhibition exclusively of ukiyo-e paintings in the U.S. With approximately 160 pieces of art on display, the sheer size of the exhibition is spectacular. Visitors can find parallels between ukiyo-e and present day culture—the exploration of fashion and celebrity, the desire to seek out unique experiences—as well as a thread of influence that can be traced though to the fantasy worlds of Japanese anime and manga.

The paintings are organized in chronological order throughout eight rooms, charting the birth of ukiyo-e and key moments in its evolution. To give visitors the ability to observe the skill of the artists up close, the glass cases housing the works will have a depth of just eight inches. The experience of the exhibition is further enhanced with dynamic maps of the city, educational videos, and digital tablets.

The Art Institute of Chicago will be the exclusive venue for this exhibition. A one-day international symposium will be held on November 15, 2018. In addition, a complementary exhibition in the Weston Wing and Japanese Art Galleries featuring prints and paintings from the Art Institute’s collection will be on view from October 6, 2018 to February 10, 2019. Painting the Floating World: Ukiyo-e Masterpieces from the Weston Collection is generously sponsored by Roger L. and Pamela Weston.

Janice Katz and Mami Hatayama, eds., Painting the Floating World: Ukiyo-e Masterpieces from the Weston Collection (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 2018), 350 pages, ISBN: 978-0300236910, $65.

From the seventeenth through the nineteenth century, artists in Kyoto and Edo (now Tokyo) captured the metropolitan amusements of the floating world (ukiyo in Japanese) through depictions of subjects such as the beautiful women of the Yoshiwara pleasure quarters and performers of the kabuki theater. In contrast to ukiyo-e prints by artists such as Katsushika Hokusai, which were widely circulated, ukiyo-e paintings were specially commissioned, unique objects that displayed the maker’s technical skill and individual artistic sensibility. Featuring more than 150 works from the celebrated Weston Collection, the most comprehensive of its kind in private hands and published here for the first time in English, this lavishly illustrated and meticulously researched volume addresses the genre of ukiyo-e painting in all its complexity. Individual essays explore topics such as shunga (erotica), mitate-e (images that parody or transform a well-known story or legend), and poetic inscriptions, revealing the crucial role that ukiyo-e painting played in a sophisticated urban culture.

Janice Katz is Roger L. Weston Associate Curator of Japanese Art at the Art Institute of Chicago. Mami Hatayama is curator of the Weston Collection.


Exhibition | The Claggetts of Newport: Master Clockmakers

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on December 31, 2018

Installation view of The Claggetts of Newport: Master Clockmakers in Colonial America (Newport: Redwood Library & Athenaeum, photo by Michael Osean).

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Press release (via Art Daily) for the exhibition:

The Claggetts of Newport: Master Clockmakers in Colonial America
The Redwood Library and Athenæum, Newport, 13 December 2018 — 21 April 2019

Curated by Gary Sullivan and Benedict Leca

In an era when it emerged alongside New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Charleston as one of the five main port cities of the American Enlightenment, Newport famously distinguished itself by its uniquely progressive society, but also by its cultural refinement, exemplified as much by the Redwood Library—America’s first purpose-built library and earliest public neoclassic building—as by the masterpiece clocks produced by the Claggett dynasty. The Claggetts of Newport: Master Clockmakers in Colonial America features 35 clocks, the largest assemblage of Claggett and Wady clocks ever brought together—many never exhibited publicly. It examines the range of the Claggetts’ clock production in terms of their technical sophistication, decorative finesse, and context of fabrication.

“As the pinnacle of what was often the most expensive item in an elite colonial home, these clocks reflect the cultural aspirations of early Americans, and the role that Newporters played in fashioning an American style that contrasted with European fashions,” said Redwood Executive Director and exhibition co-curator Benedict Leca.

Drawn from a full roster of public and private collections, the exhibition includes pieces from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brown University, The Preservation Society of Newport County, Old Sturbridge Village Collection, and the Rhode Island Historical Society. It features twenty clocks by William Claggett, including his masterpiece: the arch-dial, eight-day quarter-striking clock in japanned case belonging to the Redwood. Thomas Claggett is represented by eleven clocks, while James Wady—to whom only eleven clocks are ascribed—by four clocks, including one using a convex block-and-shell pendulum door, a feature that typified Newport clocks. Among other highlights is a table clock with japanned surface by William Claggett; a trio of Thomas Claggett clocks in related, uniquely regional cases, one a dwarf clock and another a musical clock by him; and two uncased eight-day time and strike movements enabling visitors to peer into the mechanics of a working clock.

The exhibition includes many clocks borrowed from private collections that feature significant provenance information. Preserved by Rhode Island families, some for 300 years, the identities of the original owners of several examples are documented and early family histories are known for others, shedding light on the value, details of construction and the circumstances governing commissions.

“This is an unprecedented presentation of clocks that is unlikely ever to be duplicated. With the recent book devoted to the Claggetts by Fennimore and Hohmann, the Claggetts’ achievement as a highpoint of early American craftsmanship can now be comprehensively appreciated,” said exhibition co-curator Gary Sullivan, the leading authority on early American clocks.

Organized by the Redwood Library & Athenæum—the sole venue—The Claggetts of Newport: Master Clockmakers in Colonial America juxtaposes significant early square dial clocks with later, highly elaborate clocks featuring japanned cases and complex movements indicating the day, tides, and phases of the moon. The clocks’ increasing technical and decorative elaboration over the course of the eighteenth century coincided with the growing prosperity of Newport’s merchant class, whose patronage fueled the city’s emergence as a major colonial artistic center.

The exhibition charts a complex narrative that teases out the three distinct personalities that comprise the Claggett dynasty—William Claggett (1694–1748), his assumed relative Thomas Claggett (d. 1797), and William’s son-in-law James Wady (ca. 1706–1759). As well, the show offers insights on the network of sub-contracted specialist case makers, brass founders and glaziers that the Claggett workshop relied on to produce their clocks.

The technical expertise required to produce a clock, whereby founders cast brass parts that clockmakers filed into the finished movement and positioned inside custom casework made these more than “a great ornament to [a] Room.” The Claggett’s ascendency as clockmakers coincides with the entry of science into public discourse through newly-formed philosophical societies, such as Newport’s Literary and Philosophical Society (1730), the group integral to the founding of the Redwood Library, whose members met to discuss current political and scientific issues. William Claggett himself experimented with electricity, and evidence abounds that clocks were conceived as far more than time pieces: in a 1725 pamphlet Benjamin Franklin compares God’s regulation of the world to the movement of a clock, a metaphor used and critiqued later by the philosopher George Berkeley.

The Claggetts of Newport: Master Clockmakers in Colonial America is co-curated by Gary R. Sullivan and Benedict Leca. The Redwood gratefully acknowledges support from the Edward W. Kane and Martha J. Wallace Family Foundation, and by several donors who wish to remain anonymous. Further support for the gallery presentation comes from Cornelius C. Bond and Ann E. Blackwell, and an in-kind donation by Sandra Liotus Lighting LLC. A catalog recording the exhibition will be available in 2019.

Donald Fennimore and Frank Hohmann, with an Introduction by Dennis Carr, Claggett: Newport’s Illustrious Clockmakers (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2018), 272 pages, ISBN: 978-0300233797, $65.

New Book | National Gallery, Eighteenth-Century French Paintings

Posted in books, catalogues by Editor on December 27, 2018

Distributed by Yale UP:

Humphrey Wine, National Gallery Catalogues: The Eighteenth-Century French Paintings (London: National Gallery Company, 2019), 632 pages, ISBN: 978-1857093384, $125.

The impressive collection of eighteenth-century French paintings at the National Gallery, London, includes important works by Boucher, Chardin, David, Fragonard, Watteau, and many others. This volume presents over seventy detailed and extensively illustrated entries that expand our understanding of these paintings. Comprehensive research uncovers new information on provenance and on the lives of identified portrait sitters. Humphrey Wine explains the social and political contexts of many of the paintings, and an introductory essay looks at the attitude of eighteenth-century Britons to the French, as well as the market for eighteenth-century French paintings then in London salerooms.

Humphrey Wine was formerly the curator of 17th- and 18th-century French paintings at the National Gallery, London.

Exhibition | The Art of the Site: Building and Demolishing

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on December 5, 2018

Now on view at the Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine:

The Art of the Site: Building and Demolishing from the 16th to the 21th Century
Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine, Paris, 9 November 2018 — 11 March 2019

Curated by Valérie Nègre and Marie-Hélène Contal

The exhibition juxtaposes different viewpoints, bringing together a collection of works and documents produced by artists, journalists, and amateurs, as well as those who work in situ: engineers, architects, contractors, and—what is rarer—labourers, through votive offerings or masterpieces produced by the Compagnons charpentiers des Devoirs du Tour de France. The exhibition ends with the statements of three contemporary architect-engineers: Patrick Bouchain, Marc Mimram, and Martin Rauch, for whom the building site is ever increasingly the space where architecture meets complexity, inventiveness and the aspirations of the modern-day world.

As the result of close collaboration between specialists of art and specialists of techniques, the exhibition offers a diverse interpretation of the theme: it casts a light on the technical dimension, as well as the social, political, and artistic dimensions. The path begins with what you would expect to find on a site: construction processes, machines, and men at work. It then highlights the political and social issues about the place that is being built. Even though the site is a highly technical area, it is also a theatre for those in charge, who like to show themselves there, and for the labourers, who are sometimes viewed as oppressed masses, sometimes viewed as heroes.

L’Art du chantier: Construire et démolir du 16e au 21e siècle (Paris, Snoeck, 2018), 283 pages, ISBN: 978-9461614728, 42€.

Print Quarterly, December 2018

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions, journal articles, reviews by Editor on December 3, 2018

The eighteenth century in the current issue of Print Quarterly:

Print Quarterly 35.4 (December 2018)

François Vivares after Samuel Wale, Trade Card of Henry Scott, Gardener and Fruitseller, Weybridge, Surrey, 1754, etching and engraving, 281 × 211 mm (London: The British Museum).


• Bryony Bartlett-Rawlings, “Jonathan Richardson (1667–1745) as Etcher,” pp. 392–406.
On the basis of the 1772 auction catalogue for the sale of Jonathan Richardson Jr’s collection, the article sheds light on Richardson’s activity as a printmaker, his working method, and intended audience. By quoting contemporary correspondence by and on the artist, the article also places Richardson’s etchings within the context of his life and work.

• Martin Hopkinson, “Gardeners’ Trade Cards by William Kilburn and François Vivares,” pp. 420–26.
Deservedly famous for his outstanding textile designs and illustrations to William Curtis’s Flora Londinensis, Kilburn also etched a trade card for the gardener Thomas Greening, an image of great botanical precision. A comparison is drawn with two elaborate trade cards for gardeners by François Vivares.

N O T E S  A N D  R E V I E W S

• Jean-Gérald Castex, Review of the exhibition catalogue, A Kingdom of Images: French Prints in the Age of Louis XIV, 1660–1715 (Getty Research Institute, 2015; and Bibliothèque National de France, 2015–16), pp. 430–32.

• An Van Camp, Review of Ad Stijnman and Simon Turner, ed., The New Hollstein Dutch & Flemish Etchings, Engravings, and Woodcuts, 1450–1700: Johannes Teyler and Dutch Colour Prints, parts 1–4 (Sound and Vision Publishers, 2017), pp. 432–34.

• Ger Luijten, Review of Nico Boerma, Aernout Borms, Alfons Thijs, and Jo Thijssen, eds., Kinderprenten, Volksprenten, Centsprenten, Schoolprenten: Populaire grafiek in de Nederlanden 1650–1950 (Uitgeverij Vantilt, 2014), p. 434.
“At more than a thousand pages,” this volume “is a reference work that deserves a place in any library striving to cover the history of printmaking … Written and compiled by Dutch and Flemish specialists of popular prints over a period of some ten years, it provides a mine of information that is nowhere else to be found … The book has a useful summary in English and German.”

• Anthony Dyson, Review of Richard Goddard, Drawing on Copper’: The Basire Family of Copper-Plate Engravers and Their Works (Maastricht University Press, 2016), pp. 437–39.

• Notice of the exhibition catalogue, Marcela Vondráčková, Norbert Grund (1717–1767): Půvab všedního dne / The Charm of the Everyday, Czech and English (National Gallery in Prague, 2017), p. 459.
“This handsomely-illustrated exhibition catalogue gives a survey of the work of the delightful rococo painter Norbert Grund (1717–1767), who is scarcely known outside Central Europe … We look forward to learning more … in a comprehensive monograph on Grund’s oeuvre, which is due to be published by Marcela Vondráčková.”

• Patricia Emison, Review of Susanna Berger, The Art of Philosophy: Visual Thinking in Europe from the Late Renaissance to the Early Enlightenment (Princeton University Press, 2017), pp. 471–74.
“Berger’s readable and well-illustrated account tackles the topic of logic’s contribution to the history of visualization, and of scholastics’ interest in transmitting knowledge via images … Berger has dug deep in unusual places,” including a mnemonic treatise of 1725 and eighteenth-century student notebooks from Paris and Leuven. “This is fascinating material.”

• Sarah Grant, Review of April Calahan, Fashion Plates: 150 Years of Style (Yale University Press, 2015), pp. 474–78.

Exhibition | Georges Focus: The Madness of a Painter

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on December 3, 2018

From the communiqué de presse:

Georges Focus (1644–1708): La folie d’un peintre de Louis XIV
Palais des Beaux-Arts, Paris, 13 October 2018 — 6 January 2019

Curated by Emmanuelle Brugerolles

La découverte de l’œuvre de Georges Focus produite lors de son enfermement aux Petites Maisons suscite aujourd’hui l’étonnement, pour ne pas dire un choc, qui nous bouleverse. Elle nous inspire le sentiment de l’inédit, du jamais vu, et remet en cause nos idées reçues. Georges Focus, membre de l’Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture sous Louis XIV, eut une double production artistique, académique d’une part, personnelle et intime, d’autre part. L’étonnant corpus réuni en France pour la première fois au Palais des Beaux-Arts, soit environ 80 dessins ainsi que des estampes et des peintures provenant de l’université d’Édimbourg, de collections particulières et d’institutions publiques dont les Beaux-Arts de Paris, rend compte de sa trajectoire unique. Une occasion d’explorer l’oeuvre exceptionnelle et singulière d’un artiste de l’époque de Louis XIV, atteint de folie.

Emmanuelle Brugerolles, ed., Georges Focus: La Folie d’un Peintre de Louis XIV (Paris: Beaux-Arts de Paris Editions, 2018), 447 pages, ISBN: 978-2840565444, $80.

The full press release is available here»

Exhibition | Secret Tiepolo

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on November 26, 2018

Seven frescoes by Giandomenico Tiepolo are on public view for the first time in Vicenza:

Secret Tiepolo / Tiepolo Segreto
Palladio Museum, Vicenza, 3 November 2017 — 31 December 2018

Curated by Guido Beltramini and Fabrizio Magani

Sette straordinari affreschi di Giandomenico Tiepolo (1727–1804) da oltre cinquant’anni anni erano conservati nelle residenze dei proprietari che coraggiosamente li salvarono dalle distruzioni belliche. Oggi gli eredi, convinti dell’opportunità di un godimento pubblico di tali capolavori, li hanno destinati al Palladio Museum. Ad essi viene dedicata una mostra, realizzata grazie alle competenze e alla collaborazione della Soprintendenza di Verona diretta da Fabrizio Magani, che la cura insieme al direttore del Palladio Museum, Guido Beltramini.

In questa vicenda s’intrecciano più storie. Quella della straordinaria arte dei Tiepolo, in grado di trasformare dalla radice la tradizione frescante veneta. Quella della difesa del patrimonio artistico negli anni cupi della seconda guerra mondiale. Ma esiste una terza storia che lega in modo indissolubile gli affreschi di Palazzo Valmarana Franco agli studi palladiani: essi infatti sono realizzati due decenni dopo la straordinaria decorazione di Villa Valmarana ai Nani, per il figlio del committente, Gaetano Valmarana. Nella dimora suburbana a poca distanza dalla Rotonda palladiana, per il padre Giustino Valmarana, i Tiepolo celebrano la naturalezza di una vita ‘moralizzata’ in campagna. Vent’anni dopo, in città, a poca distanza dal Teatro Olimpico, il registro è completamente diverso: Tiepolo concepisce per il figlio una riedizione in pittura della magnificente scena del teatro all’antica di Palladio adottando non più il registro lieve e scherzoso della vita agreste ma il linguaggio aulico, monocromo ma nondimeno guizzante, della vicina architettura palladiana.

“Siamo orgogliosi di poter contribuire alla cultura della nostra città—dichiarano Camillo e Giovanni Franco, proprietari degli affreschi—con una parte della storia della nostra famiglia.” Fu fra l’altro Fausto Franco, zio dei generosi proprietari e Soprintendente ai Monumenti, a seguire il salvataggio degli affreschi di famiglia nel 1945. Dieci anni dopo lo stesso Franco, insieme—fra gli altri—a Rodolfo Pallucchini, Anthony Blunt, Rudolf Wittkower e André Chastel, fu fra i tredici fondatori del primo Consiglio scientifico del Centro palladiano, coordinato da Renato Cevese.

Tiepolo Segreto (Vicenza, Palladium Museum, 2018), 80 pages, ISBN: 978-8899765781, 17€.

Exhibition | Art of Native America: The Diker Collection

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on November 23, 2018

Press release for the exhibition:

Art of Native America: The Charles and Valerie Diker Collection
The Met Fifth Avenue, New York, 4 October 2018 — 6 October 2019

Opening October 4 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Art of Native America: The Charles and Valerie Diker Collection will feature 116 artworks from more than 50 cultures across North America. Ranging in date from the 2nd to the early 20th century, the diverse objects are promised gifts (first announced in spring 2017), donations, and loans to The Met from the pioneering collectors Charles and Valerie Diker. The collection has particular strengths in sculpture from British Columbia and Alaska, California baskets, pottery from southwestern pueblos, Plains drawings and regalia, and rare accessories from the eastern Woodlands.

Max Hollein, the Museum’s Director, commented: “The presentation in the American Wing of these exceptional works by Indigenous artists marks a critical moment in which conventional narratives of history are being expanded to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions of cultures that have long been marginalized. The extraordinary gift of the Diker Collection has forever transformed The Met’s ability to more fully display the development of American art, enabling an important shift in thinking.”

The exhibition is made possible by The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation, the Diane W. and James E. Burke Fund, the Enterprise Holdings Endowment, and the Walton Family Foundation.

A ceremonial opening of the exhibition involving contemporary Native American artists will be accompanied by a robust series of public programs.

Shoulder bag, ca. 1780; Anishinaabe, probably Ojibwa; possibly made in Minnesota, Wisconsin, or Ontario; native-tanned leather, porcupine quills, dye, metal cones, deer hair, vegetal fiber, and wool yarn (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Promised Gift of Charles and Valerie Diker, L.2018.35.70).

Art of Native America will be the first exhibition of Indigenous American art to be presented in the American Wing since it was established in 1924. Originally focused on Colonial and early Federal decorative arts and architecture, the Wing’s collecting areas have continued to evolve.

Sylvia Yount, the Lawrence A. Fleischman Curator in Charge of the American Wing, said: “We are committed to exploring thoughtfully and sensitively the entangled histories of contact and colonization from both Native and Euro-American perspectives. The Met takes seriously its curatorial responsibility to share with our broad audiences—in a variety of displays and contexts—the cultural endurance and creative continuity of Indigenous American artists.”

Art of Native America will highlight production from seven distinct regions: Woodlands, Plains, Plateau, California and Great Basin, Southwest, Northwest Coast, and Arctic. Featured works cover all of the major artistic forms by both identified and unrecorded Native Americans: paintings, drawings, sculpture, textiles, quill and bead embroidery, basketry, and ceramics. Highlights include a ca. 1800 shoulder bag made from finely tanned and dyed deerskin hide embellished with porcupine quills by an Anishinaabe woman, possibly from Ontario, Canada; a striking  ca. 1895–1900 ceramic jar depicting the Butterfly Maiden spirit being (Palhik Mana) by renowned Hopi-Tewa potter Nampeyo from Hano Village, Arizona; a monumental 1907 woven basket by Washoe artist Louisa Keyser from Carson City, Nevada; a masterfully carved 1820–40 Tsimshian headdress frontlet with abalone shell inlays from British Columbia; and an elaborate ca. 1900 dance mask by a Yup’ik artist from Hooper Bay, Alaska.

A core group of works from the Diker Collection will remain on view in the American Wing’s Erving and Joyce Wolf Gallery, while light-sensitive works will be rotated annually. Displays of Native and non-Native art—historical and contemporary—will also be organized in response to the Diker Collection.

The Met is collaborating with a range of  advisors on the exhibition, including: Kathleen Ash-Milby (Diné/Navajo), Associate Curator, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, New York; Bruce Bernstein, Executive Director, Ralph T. Coe Center for the Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico; Ned Blackhawk (Western Shoshone), Professor of History and American Studies, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut; Steven C. Brown, independent scholar, Olympic Peninsula, Washington; Elizabeth Hutchinson, Associate Professor, Art History, Barnard College and Columbia University, New York; and Brian Vallo (Acoma), Director, Indian Arts Research Center, School for Advanced Research, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Gaylord Torrence, with contributions by Ned Blackhawk and Sylvia Yount, Art of Native America: The Charles and Valerie Diker Collection (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2018), 232 pages, ISBN: 978-1588396624, $50.

Exhibition | Magnificent Venice!

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on November 22, 2018

Now on view at the Grand Palais (and also worth noting that the Royal Collection exhibition on Canaletto opens in Dublin in December) . . .

Magnificent Venice! Europe and the Arts in the 18th Century
Grand Palais, Paris, 26 September 2018 — 21 January 2019
Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia, Palazzo Ducale, Venice, 23 February — 9 June 2019

Curated by Catherine Loisel

Venice fascinated Europe in the 18th century. Its site, on islands transformed into a monumental city, its political regime, its artistic and musical traditions, and its carnival made it attractive and unique. At the time, the Republic of Venice, with its rich history, was among the key powers in Europe. But throughout the century, the city also suffered a series of crises, both economic and social, which led to its decline and precipitated its fall in 1797 at the hands of Bonaparte’s armies. Despite this difficult context, the city’s arts scene still displayed an exuberant vitality. Painters, sculptors, decorators, and designers were among the most illustrious on the Italian stage. Composers, playwrights, instrumentalists and singers were famous throughout Europe. It is this last golden age that the exhibition aims to recount, with an emphasis on the influence of Venetian artists in England, France, Germany, and Spain. It also evokes the power of the myth reflected in their works inspired by the joyful and decadent Serenissima. In addition to fine art, the exhibition also seeks to recreate the atmosphere of these last flames of a civilisation. To this end, the scenography has been entrusted to Macha Makeïeff, a set designer renowned for her lively inventiveness.

Catherine Loisel, Éblouissante Venise! Les arts et l’Europe au XVIIIe siècle (Paris: Les éditions Rmn-Grand Palais, 2018), 256 pages, ISBN: 978-2711870714, €45.

The exhibition booklet, in English, is available as a PDF file here»



Exhibition | De Vouet à Boucher

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on November 19, 2018

Now on view at Musée des Beaux-Arts d’Orléans:

De Vouet à Boucher, au cœur de la collection de Motais de Narbonne
Musée des Beaux-Arts d’Orléans, 15 September 2018 — 13 January 2019

Curated by Olivia Voisin and Viviane Mesqui

Le musée des Beaux-Arts d’Orléans présentera du 15 septembre 2018 au 13 janvier 2019 l’intégralité de la collection d’Héléna et de Guy Motais de Narbonne dans une exposition originale plongeant au coeur de l’univers des collectionneurs : entre culture muséale et connoisseurship, les Motais de Narbonne ont rassemblé 80 tableaux des XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles, italiens et français, résolument tournés vers l’histoire.

Leur collection, qui par ses artistes et par ses sujets entre en résonnance avec la collection de peintures anciennes du musée des Beaux-Arts d’Orléans, sera montrée pour la première fois au public dans son intégralité, en dialogue avec des oeuvres de collections publiques ou privées.

Cette exposition se place sous le parrainage de Pierre Rosenberg, membre de l’Académie française et grand connaisseur de la collection Motais de Narbonne, en collaboration avec de nombreux historiens de l’art. Tout au long du parcours, le visiteur pénétrera dans l’intimité d’une collection privée vivante, rythmée par les histoires et les coups de coeur qui ont conduit à sa constitution. Les Motais de Narbonne partagent avec cette exposition non seulement l’exceptionnelle collection qu’ils ont rassemblée, mais également une part de l’histoire intime qui se tisse entre un amateur et un tableau. L’émotion, les motifs insolites et surprenants occupent ainsi une place particulière dans le coeur d’Héléna et de Guy Motais de Narbonne, stimulant leur regard et générant parfois une acquisition. De même, leur vif intérêt pour les musées, qui a joué un rôle déterminant dans la formation de leur regard et de leur goût, ponctue le parcours par des rapprochements avec des peintures qui les ont inspirés.

The press kit (dossier de presse) is available here»

Viviane Mesqui and Pierre Rosenberg, De Vouet à Boucher, au coeur de la collection Motais de Narbonne (Heule: Snoeck, 2018), 263 pages, ISBN: 978-9461614742, $50.