Exhibition | Masterpieces from Buckingham Palace

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on September 17, 2021

Installation of the exhibition Masterpieces from Buckingham Palace, at The Queen’s Gallery In London.

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Now on view at The Queen’s Gallery:

Masterpieces from Buckingham Palace
The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, London, 17 May 2021 — 13 February 2022

Curated by Desmond Shawe-Taylor and Isabella Manning

Masterpieces from the Royal Collection have been displayed in Buckingham Palace since the residence was acquired by George III and Queen Charlotte in 1762. The painting displays were reinvented during the reign of their son, George IV, who commissioned the architect John Nash to renovate the palace in the 1820s. A Picture Gallery was included to display the monarch’s exceptional collection of paintings. Since then, the Picture Gallery has remained the focus for some of the most treasured Italian, Dutch, and Flemish paintings from the Royal Collection.

The Picture Gallery at Buckingham Palace (typically open to visitors only during the summer) is currently being renovated–creating an opportunity to display the paintings normally installed there in other contexts.

Palace displays are often imbued with dynastic meaning; the Picture Gallery was one of the few spaces intended for the enjoyment of art, pure and simple. It is in this same spirit that we have mounted this exhibition: for the first time the paintings are displayed together in modern gallery conditions, allowing us to look at them afresh.

In general these paintings are securely dated and attributed; mostly we know which monarch bought them. We are providing this information here, but we are also asking a different, more subjective question—what makes them important? What do they have to offer? In the exhibition catalogue we have suggested qualities that were valued by the makers of these works and can still be appreciated today: the imitation of nature; the sensuous use of materials; the creation of beautiful design; and the ability to express human emotion. But are we missing something? We hope that visitors will make up their own minds about what there is to enjoy in these paintings and find reasons to believe that they are still worth exploring.

Dou to Vermeer

The paintings in this room were all created in the Low Countries between 1630 and 1680, the heyday of the so-called Dutch Golden Age. They are modest in scale, the majority scenes of everyday life, with figures in landscapes or in homes, taverns and shops. These artists didn’t set up their easels in the market place; they worked from drawings, memory and imagination, but they depicted the familiar everyday world around them. The people they painted were of the same kind that bought their paintings: we can see examples in simple ebony frames on the walls of the interiors of de Hooch and Vermeer.

All but two of these paintings were acquired by George IV to hang in the sumptuous interiors of Carlton House, his London residence when Prince of Wales. Like their original purchasers, he admired them for their comedy, their brilliant technique and their truth to life. They continue to fascinate through their minute detail, tactile surfaces and ability to suggest spaces filled with light and air.

Canaletto, The Piazza Looking North-West with the Narthex of San Marco, ca. 1723–24, oil on canvas, 172 × 134 cm (London: Royal Collectin Trust, RCIN 401037). The painting is one of a set of six views of the Piazza San Marco and the Piazzetta.

Rubens, Rembrandt, and Van Dyck

The artists in this room all come from the Low Countries, as in the previous section. There are some comic scenes of everyday life, but the majority of works belong to the more prestigious branches of art—narrative painting, commissioned portraits, and ambitious landscapes with a symbolic or religious meaning.

This room is dominated by three artists of very different character: Rubens, a diplomat and land-owner; van Dyck, a courtier; and Rembrandt, a professional serving the merchants of Amsterdam. In other ways they are similar, especially in their enthusiasm for the type of Venetian painting that can be seen in the next section.

Painting in Italy, 1510–1740

The paintings in this room were created in Italy, in various artistic centres and over a period of two hundred years. Bringing together this great range of painting evokes something of the first displays at Buckingham Palace, during the reign of George III.

Several strands of Italian art are here on show. There are sober male portraits, often painted with a bare minimum of detail and colour range, but conveying great psychological intensity. There are ideal female figures, derived from the study of antique sculpture, their beauty impassive however dramatic the narrative. There are expressive landscapes, ranging from a cataclysmic storm to the unruffled stillness of a sunset. Then there are Canaletto’s boldly expressive views of Venice, where the imposing monuments of the city are spiced with a hint of picturesque shabbiness.

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

Desmond Shawe-Taylor and Isabella Manning, Masterpieces from Buckingham Palace (London: Royal Collection Trust, 2021), 160 pages, ISBN: ‎978-1909741737, £20 / $25.

In this beautifully designed book, Desmond Shawe-Taylor, Surveyor of The Queen’s Pictures, and Assistant Curator of Paintings, Isabella Manning, examine 65 of the most celebrated paintings from the Picture Gallery, which sits at the heart of Buckingham Palace. With masterpieces by such artists as Vermeer, Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Rubens, Titian, Jan Steen, Claude, and Canaletto, this publication offers new insights into these world-famous works of art. The authors encourage readers to look at the works in a new way and to consider how Claude paints a sky; how Rubens models the landscape through his use of color; and how Titian uses contrast to add gravitas to a portrait. Rather than re-treading the old boards of provenance and attribution, the authors seek to engage with different, perhaps riskier and more subjective, questions: asking not when were they painted and by whom, but why should we concern ourselves with them? A short introduction gives an account of the creation of the Picture Gallery and tells the story of the monarchs who curated this extraordinary collection of paintings and how the works entered the Collection.


A History of Old Master Paintings at Buckingham Palace
Looking at the Old Masters
The Pictures

Further Reading

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Desmond Shawe-Taylor’s very productive fifteen-year tenure as Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures came to an end in December 2020, as reported by the BBC, in response to £64m of lost income related to the pandemic. Indeed, the historic Surveyor position—first filled in 1625 during the reign of Charles I—is for now “lost and held in abeyance.” Royal Collection Director, Tim Knox, has taken on “overall responsibility for the curatorial sections, supported by the Deputy Surveyors of Pictures and Works of Art.”



Exhibition | Canvas & Silk: Historic Fashion

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on September 13, 2021

From the press release (10 June 2021) for the exhibition:

Canvas & Silk: Historic Fashion from Madrid’s Museo del Traje
The Meadows Museum, SMU, Dallas, 19 September 2021 — 9 January 2022

Curated by Amanda Dotseth and Elvira González

The Meadows Museum, SMU, has announced a major exhibition of Spanish dress and fashion that will pair paintings from the Meadows’s collection with historic dress and accessories from the Museo del Traje, Centro de Investigación del Patrimonio Etnológico in Madrid. Canvas & Silk: Historic Fashion from Madrid’s Museo del Traje marks the first major collaboration between this important Spanish institution and an American museum and will include approximately 40 works from the Meadows alongside examples of dress and accessories from the Museo del Traje (Spanish National Museum for Fashion). Displayed together, the works in the exhibition not only tell the story of how fashion trends in Spain changed over four hundred years, but also reveal how elements of a country’s history—such as its involvement with global trade or the formation of a national identity—are reflected in its dress.

Traje a ‘la francesca’ (calzón, chupa, casaca) / French Costume (Breeches, Vest, Dress Coat), ca. 1795–1800; silk, linen, and cotton (Madrid: Museo del Traje, Centro de Investigación del Patrimonio Etnológico; Calzón, CE000663; chupa, CE000664; casaca, CE000665; photo by Gonzalo Cases Ortega).

Canvas & Silk will be on view at the Meadows from 19 September 2021 until 9 January 2022. Concurrently, the Meadows will also present Image & Identity: Mexican Fashion in the Modern Period, an investigation into Mexican dress spanning from Mexican Independence to modern times through photographs and prints from the collections of the Meadows Museum and SMU’s DeGolyer Library.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to gain further insight into the Meadows’s collection of Spanish art through its exhibition with loans from Spain’s premier collection of historic dress,” said Amanda W. Dotseth, curator at the Meadows Museum and co-curator of the exhibition in collaboration with Elvira González of the Museo del Traje. “This exhibition makes it possible to tell a more nuanced story about Spanish society through the presentation of historic paintings with contemporaneous examples of the garments depicted therein. We are as never before able to explore the complex relationships between representation and reality, between image and artifact. Spanish fashion has long been a point of interest for the Meadows Museum, whether in the form of past exhibitions—such Balenciaga and His Legacy: Haute Couture from the Texas Fashion Collection in 2007—or as portrayed in the collection’s prints, paintings, and sculptures. We look forward to continuing our study and display of Spanish fashion with this unprecedented collaboration with the Museo del Traje.”

Canvas & Silk will be divided into themes that elucidate various trends in the history of European fashion in general and Spanish dress in particular over the past five hundred years. These include ‘Precious Things’, featuring accessories like jewelry and combs made from precious metals and other rare materials such as coral; ‘Traditional Dress’ with examples of garments and ensembles that are typically identified with Spain, such as a traje de luces (the suit typically worn by bullfighters) and mantón de Manila (traditional embroidered silk shawls historically traded through Manila); and ‘Stepping Out’ demonstrating the importance of what one wore when presenting themselves in public. Highlights of pairings combining paintings from the Meadows’s collection and historic dress from the Museo del Traje include Ignacio Zuloaga’s The Bullfighter ‘El Segovianito’ (1912) accompanied by a traje de luces of the same color; Zuloaga’s Portrait of the Duchess of Arión, Marchioness of Bay (1918) displayed alongside a mantón de Manila similar to the one the duchess is holding; and Joan Miró’s Queen Louise of Prussia (1929) paired with a vibrantly hand-painted dress and shoes by twentieth-century fashion designer Manuel Piña.

“By pairing the Museo del Traje’s collection with that of the Meadows’s, we are bringing the dress, accessories, and other material objects to life, enabling viewers to see the contexts in which such articles were worn,” said Elvira González, curator of the historic apparel collection at the Museo del Traje. “Viewed together, the clothing allows for a deeper understanding of the painting; for example, the presence of the mantón de Manila (embroidered Manila silk shawl) in Ignacio Zuloaga y Zabaleta’s painting Portrait of the Duchess of Arión, Marchioness of Bay (1918) speaks to the social position of the woman depicted. Not only will our collection be seen by audiences in the U.S. for the first time, but it will also be displayed in a completely new light. We’re excited to see what kind of scholarship and new ideas might be generated by presenting these works in a new environment and alongside these paintings and drawings.”

The accompanying exhibition catalogue will contain an essay co-authored by Dotseth and González that illuminates themes linking the garments, accessories, and corresponding works in the Meadows collection. The publication will feature new photography of key objects by Jesús Madriñán.

Canvas & Silk will be accompanied by a focused exhibition in the museum’s first-floor galleries titled Image & Identity: Mexican Fashion in the Modern Period, curated by Akemi Luisa Herráez Vossbrink, the Center for Spain in America (CSA) Curatorial Fellow at the Meadows Museum. Featuring photographs, prints, books, and gouaches from the 19th and 20th centuries, this exhibition will explore Mexican fashion through images of everyday scenes, festivities, regional types, and occupations. Building on a theme developed in Canvas & Silk, Image & Identity will also show how national identity formation is reflected in fashion and is often accompanied by a resurgence in the popularity of indigenous dress. Works in Image & Identity are drawn from the collections of the Meadows Museum and SMU’s DeGolyer Library, named after Everette L. DeGolyer, Sr. who, with his son, collected maps, books, manuscripts, and photographs related to Mexican exploration and history. Artists featured in the exhibition include Alfred Briquet, Carlos Mérida, Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, Jerry Bywaters, Paul Strand, and Manuel Álvarez Bravo.

Exhibition | Imperfect History

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on August 22, 2021

From the press release (20 August 2021) . . .

Imperfect History: Curating the Graphics Arts Collection at Benjamin Franklin’s Public Library
The Library Company of Philadelphia, 20 September 2021 — 8 April 2022

Curated by Erika Piola and Sarah Weatherwax

Exhibition poster with ten images framed in roundels, four large and six small.New exhibition reveals visual cues of bigotry and inequality over hundreds of years in America.

At a time when Americans are constantly bombarded with graphics, some with hidden meanings, our ability to interpret visuals has taken on new urgency. Imperfect History: Curating the Graphics Arts Collection at Benjamin Franklin’s Public Library is a new exhibit designed to help us read between the lines of popular graphics. Drawing from a collection of extraordinary breadth spanning 300 years, Imperfect History showcases hidden and rare items, the unseen stories of everyday people, and the prejudices and preconceptions of different time periods. It’s a visual time machine of the good, the bad, and the ugly of American culture.

“The point is not to take things at face value,” said Michael Barsanti, the Edwin Wolf 2nd Director of the Library Company. “Inequalities and prejudices have existed in plain view for centuries. We just need to look for the clues in visual materials. Our hope is that this exhibition will help teach the public to understand racist, sexist, and other biased imagery in popular culture today and throughout history, in an effort to mitigate bigotry.”

Items glorifying white men, stereotyping African Americans, satirizing feminism, and representing economic disparities will be on display. So too will ‘imperfect’ works that would never see the light of day in a fine arts exhibit, but that offer important lessons in how people lived, what they cared about and what they really thought.

“We want to help patrons understand American history through graphic materials,” notes co-curator Erika Piola, Director of the Visual Culture Program. “These are images created and seen by everyday people. They were collected by the son of a Library Company librarian, hung on the walls of American homes, were saved in scrapbooks, and mailed to the dwellings of average citizens.”

Included in the exhibition are an ink blotter with female nudes on lettuce, a promotional item never seen before publicly. There are rare items such as a print of an enslaved teen with vitiligo who was exploited as a sideshow curiosity and a lithograph of living and dead all-white male Masons described as the “wise and good among mankind.”

Among the exhibition’s five areas is the ‘Imperfection Section’ with items that have been altered, suffered age deterioration, damage, have artistic errors, or inscriptions. “We want people to appreciate that just because items like photographs, prints and sketches might be damaged, it doesn’t make them any less important to future generations,” says Piola.

Co-curator Sarah Weatherwax, Senior Curator of Graphic Arts notes, “Benjamin Franklin founded the Library Company to prepare colonists for citizenship by giving them access to books. But today, being an engaged citizen requires us to look beyond text and also focus on visuals, to understand nuance and context.”

The Imperfect History project includes an exhibition, publication, digital catalog, a visual literacy workshop, a one-day symposium, and a curatorial fellowship. It is in commemoration of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Graphic Arts Department.

Digital Catalog
The digital catalog creatively demonstrates multiple viewpoints through descriptions of the same visual material written by four guest catalogers from different fields. The exhibition publication is an illustrated catalog providing an overview of the history of graphics collecting at the Library Company as well as narratives and a case study of the relationships between American art history, visual culture and literacy, race, gender, and Philadelphia imagery and image makers.

Visual Literacy Workshop: Urban In-sights
A select group of historians, curators, and other professionals from around the U.S. gathered virtually at the end of June for a workshop designed to enhance participants’ ability to ‘read’ and analyze graphic materials. In addition to historical context, they learned about different graphic processes, and how to conduct primary and secondary research using graphic materials.

Symposium: Collecting, Curating, and Consuming American Popular Graphic Arts Yesterday and Today
The one-day symposium scheduled for 25 March 2022 will examine the changing and innovative trends in how popular graphics are curated, interpreted, used and understood by those who produced, viewed, and consumed them.

Curatorial Fellowship
Imperfect History included a 20-month fellowship providing an aspiring graphics curator with practical career training.

Support for Imperfect History is provided by the Henry Luce Foundation, Walter J. Miller Trust, Center for American Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Jay Robert Stiefel, and Terra Foundation for American Art.

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About the Library Company of Philadelphia

Established in 1731 by Benjamin Franklin, the Library Company of Philadelphia was founded as the first public library with the mission of putting books in the hands of ‘ordinary citizens’. It is the oldest cultural institution in America, the Nation’s first Library of Congress, and the largest lending library through the Civil War.

Today, the Library Company is an independent research library and educational institution specializing in American and global history from the 17th through the early 20th centuries. With one of the world’s largest holdings of early Americana, the Library Company also has close to one million pieces in their collections that relate to African American history, economic and women’s history, the history of medicine, and visual culture. The Library Company promotes access to these collections through fellowships, exhibitions, programs, and online resources.

The holdings of over 100,000 items in the Graphic Arts Collection comprise one of the few public collections in the United States specializing in historical American popular graphics from the 17th century through the early 20th century. The works represent the multiple perspectives and aesthetic senses of their creators, while they also serve as material documents of the culture, politics, and economics in which they were produced and consumed.

Exhibition | Discovering Viceregal Latin American Treasures

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on August 15, 2021

From Jaime Eguiguren Art & Antiques:

Discovering Viceregal Latin American Treasures
Colnaghi, New York and London, 2 July — 10 September 2021
Jaime Eguiguren Art & Antiques, Montevideo, Uruguay, 2 July — 10 December 2021

Jaime Eguiguren Art & Antiques and Colnaghi gallery are delighted to announce Discovering Viceregal Latin American Treasures, a survey exhibition that brings together more than a hundred works of art from the Viceregal period. The presentation takes place virtually and is supported by the publication of a printed exhibition catalogue, which will be the most in-depth publication on Viceregal art ever printed. The Old Master works in the exhibition date from the 16th to 18th century and include paintings, sculptures, silver, barniz de pasto (lacquer-like resin), ceramics, and furniture.

Discovering Viceregal Latin American Treasures, with essays by Pablo F. Amador Marrero, Alejandro Antuñano, Gonzalo Eguiguren Pazzi, Jaime Eguiguren, Cristina Esteras Martín, Sofía Fernández Lázaro, Concha García Sáiz, Jorge González Matarraz, Nuria Lázaro Milla, Yaiza A. Pérez Carracedo, Héctor San José, Dorie Reent (London: Colnaghi, 2021), 344 pages, ISBN: 978-8409304752.

Exhibition | Paintings on Stone

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on August 8, 2021

Looking ahead to next year at SLAM (the catalogue is available now) . . .

Paintings on Stone: Science and the Sacred, 1530–1800
Saint Louis Art Museum, 20 February — 15 May 2022

Curated by Judith Mann

In 2000 the Saint Louis Art Museum purchased Cavaliere d’Arpino’s Perseus Rescuing Andromeda (ca. 1593–94), an exceptional painting on lapis lazuli. The acquisition of the small, stunning work of art spurred extensive research that culminates in Paintings on Stone: Science and the Sacred 1530–1800, the first systematic examination of the pan-European practice of this unusual and little-studied artistic tradition.

By 1530 Italian artists had begun to paint portraits and sacred images on stone. At first artists used slate and marble. By the last decades of the sixteenth century, the repertoire expanded, eventually including alabaster, lapis lazuli, onyx, jasper, agate, and amethyst. In addition to demonstrating the beauty of these works, Paintings on Stone explains why artists began using stone supports and the role that stone played in the meaning of these endeavors. Bringing together more than 90 examples by 58 artists, the exhibition represents major centers of stone painting and features 34 different stones, nearly the full range that were used. The exhibition is curated by Judith W. Mann, curator of European art to 1800.

Judith W. Mann, ed., Paintings on Stone: Science and the Sacred, 1530–1800 (Munich: Hirmer Publishers, 2021), 320 pages, ISBN: 978-3777435565, $50.

Paintings on Stone examines a fascinating tradition long overlooked by art historians—stone surfaces used to create stunning portraits, mythological scenes, and sacred images. Written by an international team of scholars, the catalogue reveals the significance of these paintings, their complex meanings, and their technical virtuosity. Using a technique perfected by Sebastiano del Piombo (1485–1547), sixteenth-century Italian artists created compositions using stone surfaces in place of panel or canvas. The practice of using stone supports continued to engage European artists and patrons well into the eighteenth century. This volume reveals the beauty of these works and examines the complexity of using materials such as slate, marble, alabaster, lapis lazuli, and amethyst. Illustrated with more than one hundred examples, and with essays on topics ranging from importing stone to its relationship to alchemy, Paintings on Stone will become the essential reference on this little-studied practice.


Exhibition | Goya: Drawings from the Prado

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on August 7, 2021

From the press release (18 May 2021) for the exhibition now on view at the NGV (with lots of interesting online features) . . .

Goya: Drawings from the Prado Museum
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 24 June — 3 October 2021

The world-exclusive exhibition Goya: Drawings from the Prado Museum features more than 160 works on paper by Francisco Goya (1746–1828), celebrating the artist’s extraordinary draughtsmanship and imagination. Considered to be one of the first truly modern artists, Goya produced humorous and critical images of Spanish society that comment on gender relationships, social inequality, and violence, as well as visions of fantastic creatures.

Goya: Drawings from the Prado Museum is the first major presentation of Goya’s work at the NGV in more than 20 years and features 44 drawings on loan from the Prado Museum, the largest group of Goya’s drawings ever seen in Australia. Ranging from bold ink drawings to delicate red chalk sketches, the drawings on display have been selected by the Prado especially for this NGV presentation. Highlights include examples from the artist’s earliest albums of social satires, preparatory drawings for his iconic print series, through to pages from the late albums, which contain some of Goya’s most complex and surreal images. This rich and diverse selection of drawings showcases the breadth of Goya’s drawing practice, as well as offering a rare insight into the artist’s image-making process.

Francisco Goya, This is how useful men usually end up, 1814–23, wash, brush, bistre on laid paper (Madrid: Prado).

Following a near-fatal illness in 1792, which left him profoundly deaf, Goya turned to drawing to record his private thoughts, visions, and dreams and continued this practice until the end of his life. In eight private albums, as well as in single sheet drawings, he gave expression to a vision of humanity that had no equivalent in the art of his day. Highlight works include This is how useful men usually end up (1814–23), a moving commentary on the consequences of poverty and war, and Literate animal (1824–28), a satirical image of an educated animal, which Goya drew in the last years of his life.

The works drawn from the Prado collection have been complemented by more than 120 etchings from Goya’s renowned print series: the Caprichos (1797–98), which satirised vices and follies in Spanish society; The Disasters of War (1810–15), based on the atrocities of the war and famine that followed the Napoleonic invasion of Spain in 1808; Tauromaquia (1815–16) on the subject of bullfighting; and the enigmatic Disparates (c. 1815–19), made during the reign of Ferdinand VII, whose suppression of civil liberties affected the lives of many intellectuals and reformers, including Goya and his friends. The prints are drawn from the NGV Collection with fifteen works on loan from the Art Gallery of South Australia. Goya’s most famous etching, The sleep of reason produces monsters, a striking composition of the sleeping artist haunted by monstrous apparitions, is also featured in the exhibition.

The exhibition is structured chronologically and thematically around recurring themes in Goya’s art, many of which are as relevant today as they were in Goya’s time: the relationship between men and women; the condemnation of ignorance and religious zeal; the exploration of violence and its consequences; and the device of the nightmare or dream to critique social and political realities.

Tony Ellwood AM, Director of the National Gallery of Victoria, said: “All aspects of society came under Goya’s critical eye—from education and marriage, to social justice and power relationships. Audiences to this exhibition will be astonished by the contemporary relevance of this exhibition and the universal themes that underpin the works of this celebrated Spanish artist.”

“The NGV has a longstanding relationship with the Prado Museum in Madrid, a cultural partnership which has resulted in the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition Italian Masterpieces from Spain’s Royal Court, as well as the NGV’s commitment to sharing its significant collection of William Blake watercolours with Spanish audiences in the near future. We are indebted to the Prado Museum for generously lending these important Goya drawings. Without their continued support and commitment to this cultural exchange between Europe and Australia, a presentation of this significance would not be possible,” said Ellwood.

Francisco de Goya y Lucientes was the most celebrated artist of his time in Spain. He was court painter to four monarchs and lived through the turbulent events of the French occupation, the subsequent Peninsular War, and the Inquisition. He moved in elite circles and painted portraits of statesmen, aristocrats, influential writers, and intellectuals. His friendships with liberals sharpened Goya’s political awareness and social conscience, which was particularly evident in his drawings and prints.

Goya: Drawings from the Prado Museum (Melbourne: National Gallery of Victoria, 2021), 360 pages, ISBN: 978-1925432862, $70 (AUD). With contributions by José Manuel Matilla, Manuela Mena Marqués, Mark McDonald, Phillip Adams, Eric Campbell, Michael Christoforidis, Gideon Haigh, Adrian Martin, Richard Read, and Colm Tóibín, as well as NGV curators.

Exhibition | Return Journey: Art of the Americas in Spain

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on August 6, 2021

Pueblo de Teotenango, en el valle de Matalcingo, en Nueva España / Town of Teotenango, in the Matalcingo Valley, in New Spain, detail
(Seville: Archivo General de Indias, MP-MEXICO,33). More information is available here.

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Opening this fall at the Prado (with the English description from Spain.info). . .

Tornaviaje: Arte Iberoamericano en España / Tornaviaje: Ibero-American Art in Spain
Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 5 October 2021 — 13 February 2022

Curated by Rafael López Guzmán, with Jaime Cuadriello and Pablo F. Amador

This exhibition at the Prado Museum brings together around a hundred works of art that arrived in Europe from the Americas during the Modern Era. Most of them are housed in cultural and religious institutions, or are in private collections, mainly in Spain. Return Journey is divided into four sections. The first, ‘Geography, Conquest, and Society’, looks at the concept of cultural landscape within the geographical framework of the Americas, the Spanish conquest, and the peoples who lived there during the Modern Era. The second, ‘The Pantheon of the Americas: Religious Exchanges’, addresses religious beliefs, in both the Iberian Peninsula and in the Americas, how they have impacted each other, and the resulting fusions. Visitors will find oil paintings, sculptures, and drawings from important centres of production in Lima, Alto Perú, Puebla de los Ángeles and Ciudad de México, together with works by renowned Spanish painters such as Murillo. The third section, ‘Art Journeys’, presents a wide range of household and religious artefacts; and the fourth, ‘Impronta Indiana’, brings together a series of works that reflect the artistic materiality of Spanish America throughout the Modern Era.

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El tornaviaje o viaje de regreso que da título a esta exposición nos permite valorar las obras de arte que llegaron desde América a España y, por extensión, a Europa durante la Edad Moderna.

La finalidad de esta muestra es visibilizar, a través de aproximadamente un centenar de obras, este rico patrimonio que, proveniente del Nuevo Mundo, se conserva en instituciones culturales, espacios religiosos o colecciones particulares, principalmente en España. Estos objetos, llegados en distintos momentos de la historia, forman parte de nuestro patrimonio histórico y cultural, sin que, a veces, reconozcamos las razones de su presencia.

La muestra se organiza en cuatro grandes secciones. La primera de ellas, ‘Geografía, Conquista y Sociedad’, gira en torno al concepto de paisaje cultural, dándose cita en el mismo la geografía de América, la conquista y las gentes que habitaron estos territorios durante la Edad Moderna. De esta forma, en esta sección, conviven obras de carácter religioso, aportes cristianos que justificaban la conquista, con valores estéticos indudables, a las que se unen vistas de ciudades en las que la traza urbana y el mercado con los productos de la tierra configuraron un paisaje sin igual. Espacios por donde deambulan y se desarrollan los distintos estamentos sociales, representados en cuadros de familias nobiliarias, eclesiásticos, virreyes y, claro está, indígenas, también con sus diferencias estamentales, que nos hablan de esa sociedad diversa.

Quizás el Biombo de la Conquista de México y La muy noble y leal ciudad de México resume con sus dos caras el concepto de esta sección, reproduciendo la conquista de Tenochtitlán, por un lado, y la ciudad de México, por el otro, habitada por más de doscientos personajes, representando el momento histórico constitutivo de América y la vitalidad de la capital novohispana y, por extensión, de las grandes ciudades capitales del nuevo continente.

Juan Patricio Morlete Ruiz (1713–1772), San José y el Niño / St Joseph with the Child Jesus (Church of Santa María la Real, or San Agustín of Badajoz, Spain).

La segunda sección, ‘El panteón americano. Devociones de ida y vuelta’, reúne una exquisita selección de óleos, esculturas y dibujos que tienen como objetivo analizar las devociones religiosas, tanto americanas como peninsulares, así como sus intercambios e hibridaciones. El visitante podrá entender el viaje y la transferencia de las imágenes de devoción, merced al patrocino de los indianos y de algunos virreyes, que reintegraron a sus lugares de origen parte de una memoria compartida; sobre todo, de sus experiencias de fe vividas desde ultramar. Quedará también patente en esta sección el constante envío de obras de pintura “fina” de los más afamados centros de producción de Lima, el Alto Perú, Puebla de los Ángeles o la Ciudad de México, así como obras realizadas en España, por importantes pintores como Murillo, que ejemplifican el impacto de los imaginarios americanos que formaron parte de la propaganda devocional y de los procesos de santificación.

La tercera sección, ‘Las travesías del arte’, se centra en uno de los intercambios comerciales con valores artísticos más fecundos como serían los objetos de ajuar que cruzaron el Atlántico con destino a los lugares más variopintos. Mobiliario diverso para el viaje o para las salas de las residencias dialogan con una nutrida selección de objetos de ajuar, domésticos y religiosos, que pretende cubrir un amplio abanico de tipologías, permitiendo mostrar físicamente el concepto de “tesoro” que asociamos con los objetos llegados de Indias. Los indianos, emigrantes enriquecidos en el nuevo mundo, son ese hilo que hilvana las lejanas tierras de donde proceden estos objetos con un crisol de pueblos y ciudades españolas.

La cuarta y última sección, ‘Impronta indiana’, reunirá un corpus de obras que, pese a su disparidad, se interrelacionan al ser referentes y reflejos de la materialidad artística hispanoamericana a lo largo de la Edad Moderna. Tendremos la ocasión de entender cómo la larga tradición artística prehispánica se adapta a las nuevas exigencias de los reinos hispánicos. Cómo leen los maestros artesanos indígenas las indicaciones y demandas de la nueva sociedad y cómo, a su vez, integran lenguajes y simbología de su propia cultura, permitiendo en su conjunto valorar la riqueza del patrimonio que llegado de América fue integrándose y moldeando, cambiando sin rupturas, la cultura de la península ibérica y, también, la europea; asumiendo América como parte de nuestra identidad.

Las investigaciones que han conducido a la concreción de este proyecto se reflejarán también en un catálogo que acompañará a la exposición.

El proyecto está comisariado por Rafael López Guzmán, Catedrático de Historia del Arte Iberoamericano en la Universidad de Granada, y cuenta con la colaboración de varios especialistas en cultura visual del periodo virreinal en América.

Rafael López Guzmán, Adrián Contreras-Guerrero, Gloria Espinosa, Jaime Cuadriello, and Pablo F. Amador, Return Journey: Art of the Americas in Spain (Madrid: Prado, 2021), 304 pages, ISBN: 978-8484805632, 32€. Also available in Spanish and Castellano editions.

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Note (added 4 October 2021) The posting was updated to include a revised English title, identification of the exhibition’s curators, and details for the catalogue.

Note (added 14 October 2021) — The press release (in English) is available via Art Daily.

Exhibition | Enchanted: Visual Histories of the Central Andes

Posted in catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on August 5, 2021

Now on view at the Menil Collection:

Enchanted: Visual Histories of the Central Andes
Menil Collection, Houston, 30 July — 14 November 2021

Waisted Cup (Kero) Depicting Two Musicians and Floral Elements, late 15th–18th century, Quechua, Colonial Period, Peru; wood, natural resin, and pigments, 6 × 5 × 5 inches (Houston: The Menil Collection, photo by Paul Hester).

Running along the western side of South America, the Andean Mountains have supported a rich, interconnected series of civilizations and empires for more than 3,000 years. Surveying this captivating, multifaceted world, the Menil Collection presents Enchanted: Visual Histories of the Central Andes from July 30 through November 14, 2021. The exhibition showcases works from the museum’s collection and loans from the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

More than forty objects from different historical moments of Andean history are on view—including polychrome ceramic vessels of the Nazca culture (ca. 100 BCE–800 CE), important textiles from the Wari (ca. 600–1000 CE) and Chimú (ca. 1150–1450) civilizations, and 20th–21st century examples of elaborately embroidered esclavinas (short capes) and monteras (hats) worn during religious festivals in Peru. Complementing these objects is a selection of gelatin silver photographic prints by Pierre Verger, also known as Fátúmbí (1902–1996). Verger’s images of religious festivals in the Andes, taken between 1939 and 1945, highlight the costumes, dances, and dramatic moments of these annual events.

Rebecca Rabinow, Director of the Menil Collection, said, “Photographer Pierre Verger’s travels through the Andes in the 1940s were made possible, in part, thanks to the financial support of John and Dominique de Menil. The two portfolios of gelatin silver prints that he gave the couple at the time have never before been exhibited, which prompted Menil Curator of Collections Paul R. Davis to study the photographs along with related material in the collection. The resulting exhibition and online publication celebrating Andean visual cultures coincides with the 200th anniversary of Peru’s independence.”

Unidentified artist, Cuzco School, Virgin of Bethlehem (Virgen de Belén), 18th century, oil on canvas, 56 × 32 inches (Houston: The Menil Collection, Bequest of Jermayne MacAgy, 1964-142 McA).

Paul Davis, said, “This project led me to explore the museum’s permanent collection of Andean art more deeply and how it connects to the Menil’s rich institutional history. After meeting Verger by chance in 1941 while visiting Buenos Aires, Argentina, John and Dominique de Menil formed relationships with some of the leading scholars on the Andes and assembled a unique collection of objects from that area. The Menil is pleased to share these artworks in Enchanted, accompanied by a robust online publication.”

Highlights of the artworks on view include:
• Three blue-and-yellow macaw feather panels from the Wari culture, an imperial power during the Middle Horizon in Peru (ca. 600–1000 CE)
• Textile fragments from the 10th–15th century, including a large two-panel section of the so-called ‘Prisoner Textile’ from the Late Intermediate Period Chimú culture
• Polychrome ceramic vessels attributed to the Early Intermediate (ca. 100 BCE–800 CE) Nazca and Moche cultures
• A group of colonial–era painted keros (wood cups) from the 16th–18th centuries that were used consume to chicha (maize beer) and other ceremonial drinks
• An 18th-century painting of the Virgin of Bethlehem (Virgen de Belén), one of the patron saints of Cuzco, Peru.

Enchanted: Visual Histories of the Central Andes will be accompanied by an online publication with multimedia features and essays by Paul R. Davis, Curator of Collections, the Menil Collection; Susan E. Bergh, Chair of the Art of Africa and the Americas and Curator of PreColumbian and Native North American Art, Cleveland Museum of Art; Kari Dodson, Associate Objects Conservator, the Menil Collection; Zoila S. Mendoza, Professor and Chair, Native American Studies, University of California, Davis; Amy Groleau, Curator, Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of the American Indian; Heidi King, Independent Scholar; and Ana Girard, University of Houston Fellow at the Menil Collection.

Contextualizing the artworks in the museum’s permanent collection, the publication will be available in both English and Spanish. Paul R. Davis surveys the ancient history of the region and the formation of this aspect of the de Menils’ collection during the mid20th century. Essays by Susan E. Bergh, Heidi King, and Kari Dodson examine the two historically enigmatic textiles in the museum’s permanent collection—the Chimú ‘Prisoner Textile’ and iconic Wari blue-and-yellow macaw feathered panels. Ana Girard writes about colonial works. In their essays, Zoila S. Mendoza and Amy Groleau emphasize the importance of festivals as spaces to perform, celebrate, contest, or reinvent the Andean culture.

Exhibition | Slavery: Ten True Stories

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions, online learning by Editor on August 4, 2021
Exhibition trailer by Boomerang Motion.

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From the press release for the exhibition now on view (an initial notice appeared here at Enfilade in September 2019, but here’s the full, updated information, including links for terrific online components). . .

Slavery: Ten True Stories
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 5 June — 29 August 2021

 Curated by Eveline Sint Nicolaas and Valika Smuelders

The Rijksmuseum, the national museum of arts and history of the Netherlands, presents its first ever major exhibition dedicated to the subject of slavery this summer. Slavery is inextricably bound up with Dutch history. This is the first time stories of slave trade across the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans are told together in one exhibition in the Netherlands. The exhibition presents ten true stories. Ten personal stories about enslaved people and slave owners, people who resisted, and people who were brought to the Netherlands in slavery. What were their lives like? What was their attitude to the system of slavery? Were they able to make their own decisions?

The exhibition includes objects from national and international museums, archives, and private collections—including the Nationaal Museum voor Wereldculturen, British Museum, National Gallery of Denmark, Iziko Museums of South Africa, St Eustatius Historical Foundation, National Archeological Antropological Memory Management (NAAM) in Curaçao, the National Archives of South Africa, Indonesia and the Netherlands, and private collections in Sint Eustatius, Suriname, and the Netherlands.

Valika Smeulders, head of History Rijksmuseum: “By focusing on ten true personal stories, Slavery gives an insight into how individuals dealt with legalized injustice.”

Taco Dibbits, General Director Rijksmuseum: “The Rijksmuseum is the national museum of art and history. Slavery is an integral part of our history. By delving into it, we can form a more complete picture of our history and a better understanding of today’s society.”

Ten True Stories

During the 250-year colonial period, people were made into property and objects to be recorded in accounts. The exhibition highlights the lives of ten people who lived at the time. They each tell their own story: about living in slavery or taking advantage of it, about resistance, and—ultimately—freedom. They include enslaved people and slaveholders, as well as individuals who broke the shackles of slavery, an African servant in the Netherlands, and an Amsterdam sugar industrialist. An audio tour leads visitors through these widely differing lives. Among the narrators are Joy Delima, Remy Bonjasky and Anastacia Larmonie, who each have a connection with one of the ten people through their own background.

The exhibition includes objects, paintings, and unique archival documents. Visitors also will hear oral sources, poems, and music. To tell a more complete story, there will be exhibits that have never been shown in the Rijksmuseum before, such as objects that were cherished by people in slavery and tools that were used on plantations.

The Dutch Colonial Period on Four Continents

Alexander de Lavaux, Map of Suriname, 1737, silk, 187 × 216 cm (Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum).

The exhibition spans the Dutch colonial period from the 17th to the 19th century. It features the trans-Atlantic slavery in Suriname, Brazil, and the Caribbean, along with the part played by the Dutch West India Company (WIC) and Dutch colonial slavery in South Africa and Asia, where the Dutch East India Company (VOC) operated. The effects of the system in the Netherlands during the period are also highlighted. As a whole, it offers a geographically broad and at the same time specifically Dutch view that has never been seen before in a national museum.

Look at Me Now

The stories in the exhibition—about João, Wally, Oopjen, Paulus, Dirk, Lokhay, Van Bengalen, Surapati, Sapali and Tula—stand for millions of other stories about the slavery past of the Netherlands and its continued effects. At the end of the exhibition, the artists David Bade (Curacao, 1970) and Tirzo Martha (Curacao, 1965), both from Curacao’s Instituto Buena Bista, invite visitors to give expression to their own stories through the ten new artworks making up the Look at Me Now project. Visitors can follow the progress of this project via the website.

Online Exhibition

The Rijksmuseum is also presenting the ten stories in an online exhibition that features video and audio clips, animations, an overview of the exhibition galleries, and objects that can be viewed in exceptional detail. Visitors to the website will be able to see the Slavery exhibition in ten episodes, whenever and wherever it suits them.


The Rijksmuseum partnered with the National Library of the Netherlands and the National Archive of the Netherlands to present an English-language online symposium on 23 April 2021, focusing on what it means to increase inclusivity in source usage by museums, archives, and libraries. What sources are available to people making presentations and conducting research on the subjects of slavery and the slave trade? Click here to view a recording of the symposium.

Rijksmuseum & Slavery

For the coming year, more than 70 objects in the permanent collection will have a second museum label that explores and highlights what has been, until now, an invisible relationship between the object and slavery. Subjects covered range from former rulers to the presence of people of colour and the way they are portrayed. Rijksmuseum & Slavery takes place concurrently with the Slavery exhibition, but it is not part of the exhibition.


The exhibition and accompanying events and activities are the result of collaboration with a wide variety of external experts, including historians, heritage experts, cultural entrepreneurs, artists, theatre practitioners, and performers.

Narrative advisor:
Jörgen Tjon A Fong

Think tank:
Reggie Baay, Raul Balai, Aspha Bijnaar, Mitchell Esajas, Karwan Fatah-Black, Martine Gosselink, Dienke Hondius, Wayne Modest, Ellen Neslo, Matthias van Rossum, Maurice San A Jong, Alex van Stipriaan, Jennifer Tosch, Urwin Vyent, Simone Zeefuik, and Suze Zijlstra

The exhibition design is by AFARAI, the agency led by architect Afaina de Jong. The graphic design of the exhibition and the book are by Irma Boom Office.

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Eveline Sint Nicolaas and Valika Smeulders, eds., Slavery: The Story of João, Wally, Oopjen, Paulus, Van Bengalen, Surapati, Sapali, Tula, Dirk, Lohkay (Amsterdam: Atlas Contact, 2021), 352 pages, ISBN: 978-9045044279, €28. (Also available in Dutch).

Exhibition | By Her ­Hand, Women Artists in Italy, 1500–1800

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on August 2, 2021

From the press release (30 July 2021) for the exhibition:

By Her ­Hand: Artemisia Gentileschi and Women Artists in Italy, 1500–1800
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, 30 September 2021 — 9 January 2022
Detroit Institute of Arts, 6 February — 29 May 2022

Curated by Eve Straussman-Pflanzer and Oliver Tostmann

The first exhibition solely dedicated to Italian women artists at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, By Her ­Hand: Artemisia Gentileschi and Women Artists in Italy, 1500–1800 explores how women succeeded in the male-dominated art world of the time. From the group of eighteen artists presented, Artemisia Gentileschi (1593–1654 or later), takes center stage with outstanding portraits and images of heroines. This exhibition recognizes and celebrates the vital contributions of women to the history of art in Italy through rarely seen works, recent scholarship, and introductions to virtually unknown artists.

“Sofonisba Anguissola, Artemisia Gentileschi, and Rosalba Carriera, among others, created pathbreaking works of art, simultaneously subverting expectations and challenging norms,” said Oliver Tostmann, Susan Morse Hilles Curator of European Art at the Wadsworth. “Their works and careers are often distinguished by alternative choices and idiosyncratic methods employed within the context of the male dominated art world of the time. By Her Hand brings together a wide spectrum of works by these artists—many on view for the first time—inviting visitors to explore, reassess, and celebrate the achievements of Italian women artists.”

The exhibition features a wide array of paintings, miniatures, and works on paper from institutional and private collections in the United States, Canada, and Europe. The artists take on a range of subjects from portraiture and still life, to historical and religious stories. Many works are being shown publicly for the first time or are making their U.S. debut such as Artemisia Gentileschi’s ravishing Mary Magdalene. By Her Hand reweaves history by examining women artists’ work and careers from the 1550s to the 1750s. Despite the fundamental differences and challenges women artists faced, some achieved notable success in their lifetime. The accomplishments of this diverse and dynamic group are introduced, discussed, and reassessed. Until recently, many of these Italian women artists were overlooked by critics, scholars, collectors, and institutions alike.

Artemisia Gentileschi is arguably the best-known artist included in the exhibition. Gentileschi’s talents were widely recognized by her contemporaries, many elite patrons of her day knew of and desired her work. Important works by Gentileschi highlight her innovative ideas, use of sensuous colors, and command of the brush. The Wadsworth’s Self-Portrait as a Lute Player is compared with the recently discovered Self-Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria from the National Gallery, London, as well as Portrait of Saint Catherine from the Uffizi Galleries, Florence. This will be the first opportunity to see these three celebrated paintings side by side in the United States. Additional examples of Gentileschi’s pioneering depictions of strong women, such as Judith and Her Maidservant with the Head of Holofernes from the Detroit Institute of Arts, will also be on view.

The compelling works of art on view in By Her Hand coupled with stories of their pioneering makers reveals a nuanced picture of the role Italian women artists played from the Renaissance to the Rococo. By Her Hand celebrates their long-overlooked contributions, and aims to inspire continued reexaminations of the role women artists have played throughout the history of art.

“Never before in its long history has the Wadsworth devoted an exhibition to the work of professional women artists in sixteenth through eighteenth-century Italy, despite the fame of our Italian Baroque painting collection” said Jeffrey N. Brown, Interim Director & CEO of the Wadsworth Atheneum. “By Her Hand is the first exhibition in any encyclopedic museum in the United States to focus on this subject. This ground-breaking exhibition provides our audiences with a chance to encounter the outstanding art produced by these women artists in early modern Italy and to appreciate the far-reaching consequences of Artemisia Gentileschi’s illustrious career.”

By Her Hand is a collaboration between the Wadsworth and the Detroit Institute of Arts. Curated by Eve Straussman-Pflanzer former curator at the Detroit Institute of Arts now Curator and Head of Italian and Spanish paintings at The National Gallery of Art, Washington and Oliver Tostmann, Susan Morse Hilles Curator of European Art at the Wadsworth. After its debut at the Wadsworth, it will travel to Detroit where it will be on view February 6–May 29, 2022.

Rosalba Carriera, Allegory of Grammar, ca. 1715, pastel on paper (Private Collection).

Artists in the exhibition

Sofonisba Anguissola (c. 1535–1625)
Diana Scultori (c. 1547–1612)
Lavinia Fontana (1552–1614)
Fede Galizia (c. 1574–c. 1630)
Isabella Catanea Parasole (active 1585–1625)
Artemisia Gentileschi (1593–1654 or later)
Orsola Maddalena Caccia (1596–1676)
Giovanna Garzoni (1600–1670)
Virginia da Vezzo (1600–1638)*
Anna Maria Vaiani (1604–1655)
Elisabetta Sirani (1638–1665)
Ginevra Cantofoli (1618–1672)
Caterina de Julianis (c. 1670–c. 1742)
Rosalba Carriera (1673–1757)
Marianna Carlevarijs (1703–after 1750)
Maria Felice Tibaldi (1707–1770)*
Veronica Stern Telli (1717–1801)
Anna Bacherini Piattoli (1720–1788)

* Virginia da Vezzo and Maria Felice Tibaldi are represented in portraits painted by their husbands Simon Vouet (1590–1649) and Pierre Subleyras (1699–1749).

Eve Straussman-Pflanzer and Oliver Tostmann, with contributions by Sheila Barker, Babette Bohn, C. D. Dickerson, Jamie Gabbarelli, Hilliard T. Goldfarb, Joaneath Spicer, and Lara Roney, By Her Hand: Artemisia Gentileschi and Women Artists in Italy, 1500–1800 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2021), 192 pages, ISBN: 978-0300256369, $40.


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