Enfilade

Exhibition | Marie-Antoinette: Metamorphosis of an Image

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on October 16, 2019

The exhibition opens today, 226 years after Marie-Antoinette was executed (the press release is available here). . .

Marie-Antoinette: Métamorphoses d’une Image
Conciergerie, Paris, 16 October 2019 — 26 January 2020

Only a handful of historic figures have been the subject of such an abundance of representations: Marie-Antoinette is one of these, both during her lifetime and more notably after her death on 16 October 1793. Even today, this queen-turned-icon is still a key emblem in popular culture. The exhibition illustrates the many representations of Marie-Antoinette through almost 200 works, artefacts, heritage and contemporary archives, never-before-seen interviews, film extracts, and fashion accessories—shining a light on this worldwide phenomenon of media overkill through both a historic approach and a critical and comparative examination of forms.

Marie-Antoinette at the Conciergerie

This section illustrates the final ten weeks that saw the most dramatic moments experienced by the queen in the ‘corridor of death’, during her trial by the Revolutionary Tribunal. A number of memorial fetishes testify to this: shirt, shoe, belt, and archival documents from the trial and execution of the Queen

The Histories

Marie-Antoinette’s life has been transformed since her death through numerous accounts and biographies, as well as testimonies and memories, from the Restoration to the present day, and from all points of view. The exhibition illustrates twenty events, both public and private, in Marie-Antoinette’s life, from her birth to her death, and including her official funeral in 1814.

The Image of the Queen

The figure of Marie-Antoinette is a veritable ‘expanse of images’, which can quickly be packaged to suit an event, a commemoration, the latest cultural trend or fashionable motif. Thus, according to the era, this proliferation affected the official image of the queen, particularly the portraits of her by Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, the political images of the ‘martyred’ queen, the historical imagery, the character portrayed on-screen, and in Japanese manga.

Fetishes of the Queen

The relationship with Marie-Antoinette has often been passionate, creating cults, tributes, or, on the contrary, provoking violent attacks. Furthermore, it has often been subject to fantasy and imagination, on a level where intimacy can overlap with mythology. The exhibition here displays a selection of images and objects, based on three motifs, symbolising Marie-Antoinette throughout history and the world.
• The Hair
• The Body
• The Severed Head

The Return of the Queen

Marie-Antoinette is experiencing a surprising revival, due to the modernization of the character, who has become a young woman of hers, and our time. The revival is illustrated by Japanese manga, which reinvented Marie-Antoinette in Riyoko Ikeda’s The Rose of Versailles; the biography of the English writer Antonia Fraser, Marie-Antoinette: The Journey; and its Hollywood adaptation by Sofia Coppola. Fashion has also appropriated the phenomenon associating the queen with several contemporary supermodels. A fan cult has appropriated the figure of Marie-Antoinette, a phenomenon of globalised post-modernism, as commercial as it is cultural and ideological. The overriding style of this onslaught is a popularised form of pop art, and its diffusion affects all genres, every type of consumerism and every country. The exhibition highlights this great blend of genres and objects, while revealing its commercial aspect.

A cycle of Marie-Antoinette films will be screened at the Le Champo cinema from 5 November to 3 December.

◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊

The catalogue is published by Éditions du Patrimoine:

Antoine de Baecque, ed., Marie-Antoinette: Métamorphoses d’une image (Paris: Éditions du Patrimoine, 2019), 215 pages, ISBN: 978-2757706817, 39€.

Un très beau livre qui donne à voir et à comprendre les multiples visages de la figure historique française la plus connue à travers le monde. De la princesse idéale à la ‘reine scélérate’, de la traîtresse étrangère à la figure martyre, de l’héroïne adolescente à la mère bigote, de la femme de culture à l’icône de mode, l’image de la reine Marie-Antoinette, tour à tour adorée ou honnie, n’a cessé d’évoluer au cours des siècles.

En suivant le fil de l’exposition qui se tiendra à la Conciergerie du 16 octobre 2019 au 26 janvier 2020, cet ouvrage, à travers 14 essais et 16 notices, commentera les multiples représentations de la reine et montrera comment le rapport à Marie-Antoinette a souvent été passionnel, déterminant des cultes, des hommages, ou au contraire de violentes attaques.

Historien, spécialiste de la culture des Lumières et de la Révolution française, Antoine de Baecque a entre autres publié Le Corps de l’histoire. Métaphores et politique 1770–1800 (Calmann-Lévy, 1993), La Gloire et l’effroi (Grasset, 1996) sur la Terreur, puis Les Eclats du rire (Calmann-Lévy, 2000), sur la culture des rieurs au XVIIIe siècle. Il a également écrit le volume sur les Lumières de l’Histoire culturelle de la France en 1998 aux éditions du Seuil, et participé aux volumes collectifs, Histoire du corps, Histoire de la virilité, Histoire des émotions. Antoine de Baecque est également commissaire de nombreuses expositions, membre du comité de rédaction de la revue L’Histoire, du conseil scientifique de la BNF, président de la commission d’aide à l’écriture documentaire au CNC et professeur d’histoire du cinéma à l’École normale supérieure de la rue d’Ulm.

S O M M A I R E

La tradition royale
• Marie-Antoinette, reine de France, Fanny Cosandey
• Marie-Antoinette et ses soeurs : portrait de groupe, Mélanie Traversier
• La fabrique de la célébrité, Antoine Lilti
• La reine des modes, du chic au kitsch, Catriona Seth
> Notices : Les colliers de la reine. Gravures de mode royale

Face à la Révolution
• Une reine traînée dans la boue : les caricatures contre Marie-Antoinette, Annie Duprat
• Un fantasme de reine, entretien avec Chantal Thomas
> Notices : Une Autrichienne en goguette. Archives du procès et dernière lettre de Marie-Antoinette. La chemise de Marie-Antoinette. Soulier « à la Saint-Huberty » dit de Marie-Antoinette. Marie-Antoinette conduite à son exécution. Le peintre David dessinant Marie-Antoinette conduite au supplice.

Le culte de Marie-Antoinette
• « C’était là »… », l’ombre tutélaire de la Conciergerie, Guillaume Mazeau
• L’impératrice Eugénie et le culte visuel de Marie-Antoinette, Clémence Poupin
• Pierre de Nolhac, le chevalier servant des images, Baptiste Roger-Lacan
• Deux clés biographiques : des Goncourt à Stefan Zweig, Cécile Berly
> Notices : la cellule de la reine, oratoire de la Conciergerie. La châtelaine-reliquaire de la duchesse de Tourzel. La Chapelle expiatoire. Marie-Antoinette à la basilique-cathédrale de Saint-Denis.

Métamorphoses et revival
• Marie-Antoinette à l’écran, François Huzar
• Marie-Antoinette, héroïne manga-pop, fille d’Ikeda, Cyril Triolaire
• Effigie en série, trajectoire iconique d’une reine de France dans la pop culture internationale, Martial Poirson
• Marie-Antoinette en quelques clics…, Cécile Berly
> Notices : Les collections de la Cinémathèque française. Anne Seibel, chef décoratrice. Œuvres contemporaines. Michèle Lorin, collectionneuse passionnée.

Biographie des auteurs

 

Exhibition | The Moon

Posted in books, catalogues, conferences (to attend), exhibitions by Editor on October 15, 2019

From the press release (4 April 2019) for the exhibition:

The Moon
National Maritime Museum, Greenwich (London), 19 July 2019 — 5 January 202

Curated by Melanie Vandenbrouck, Megan Barford, Louise Devoy, and Richard Dunn

To celebrate 50 years since NASA’s Apollo 11 mission landed the first humans on the Moon, the National Maritime Museum (NMM) stages The Moon, the UK’s biggest exhibition dedicated to Earth’s nearest celestial neighbour. Featuring over 180 objects from national and international museums and private collections, the exhibition presents a cultural and scientific story of our relationship with the Moon over time and across civilisations. Through artefacts, artworks and interactive moments, the exhibition will enable visitors to reconnect with the wonders of the Moon and discover how it has captivated and inspired us.

The exhibition will explore how humans have used, understood and observed the Moon from Earth. Visitors will get the chance to relive the momentous events of the Space Race and the Moon landings before discovering the motivations behind 21st-century lunar missions.

Significant objects on display include Apollo mission artefacts that travelled to the Moon, loaned from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. The ‘Snoopy Cap’ Communications Carrier, worn by astronaut Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin during Apollo 11, will be exhibited alongside the Hasselblad camera equipment that captured some of the most recognisable and iconic images of the 20th century.

Lunar samples collected from NASA’s Apollo missions and the Soviet Union’s Luna programme, will be accompanied by a rare lunar meteorite from the Natural History Museum’s collection. This will give visitors to the NMM’s exhibition a unique opportunity to get close to such a diverse range of moon rocks and discover how researching these specimens continues to advance our understanding of the Moon.

Historical and contemporary artworks will illustrate how the Moon has long inspired artists, acting as a metaphor for the human condition. Moonlit scenes by J.M.W. Turner and John Constable will be displayed alongside contemporary pieces by Katie Paterson, El Anatsui, Chris Ofili, and Leonid Tishkov. Artworks by Cristina De Middel, Aleksandra Mir, and Larissa Sansour will consider our relationship with the Moon through the lenses of gender and nationhood.

In the exhibition’s opening section, visitors will discover ways in which the Moon has been embedded in human culture, spiritually, practically, and artistically, with its changing phases used to mark time in religion, navigation, and medicine. The oldest object on display, a Mesopotamian Tablet from 172 BCE on loan from the British Museum, shows how lunar eclipses were considered to be bad omens. Detailed Islamic and Chinese calendars highlight the continuing importance of using the Moon to set the date for key festivals such as Chinese New Year and Ramadan. Examples of historic medical texts, such as a 1708 pamphlet by the English Doctor Richard Mead show how the position of the Moon was once believed to influence our physical and mental health.

The exhibition will explore how new technologies, such as 17th-century telescopes, 19th-century cameras and remote equipment for space photography and mapping in the 20th century brought increasing understanding of the lunar surface and the Moon’s origins. A selection of maps, paintings, photographs, models, and drawings from the 17th century to the present will emphasise humanity’s continuing desire to understand more about the Moon. Examples include the earliest-known drawing of the lunar surface made from telescopic observations by British astronomer Thomas Harriot in 1609 and the detailed pastel drawings of the Moon by 18th-century Royal Academician John Russell.

From classic science fiction through to the defining events of the Space Race, visitors will see how the Moon went from being a distant object of observation and place of imagination to a destination that was within human reach. The Moon looks at key moments within the Space Race, highlighting how a number of Soviet ‘firsts’ were ultimately overshadowed by Neil Armstrong’s century-defining ‘one small step’ in July 1969. Video artist Christian Stangl will show a new and exclusive version of his film ‘Lunar’, in which animated photographs from Apollo missions allow visitors to experience the Moon landings through the eyes of the astronauts. Apollo objects will sit alongside film posters, books, comics, and magazines that celebrated and questioned these momentous events.

In 1969, the Apollo 11 astronauts left a plaque on the Moon claiming, “we came in peace for all mankind.” Today, there is renewed drive to return to the Moon, reflected in future projects from China, Europe, India, Israel, Japan, Russia, and the United States. No longer the domain of superpowers, international space agencies, private companies, and entrepreneurs are all part of this 21st-century race for the Moon. Scientists, lawyers, artists, and architects are considering the practical, psychological, and ethical implications of human exploration and settlement on the Moon. The closing chapter of the exhibition will look at these contemporary motivations for Moon travel, leaving visitors to contemplate whether the Moon will become a theatre for exploitation and competition or remain a peaceful place for all humankind.

Melanie Vandenbrouck, Megan Barford, Louise Devoy, and Richard Dunn, eds., The Moon: A Celebration of Our Celestial Neighbour (London: Collins, 2019), 256 pages, ISBN: 978-0008282462, £20.

From ArtHist.net:

Art and Science of the Moon
Royal Museums Greenwich, London, 14–15 November 2019

With contributions from academics, artists, and curators exploring the interface between art, in its widest sense, and science, this conference will consider various creative responses to our cosmic companion. In keeping with RMG’s interest in interrogating the collision of science, history and art, The Art and Science of the Moon will explore how the Moon’s motions and phases have influenced human activities, beliefs, and behaviours; how sustained scrutiny of the lunar surface have enabled us to understand more about ourselves; how attempts, imaginary and real, to reach this other world have fostered creativity and technological progress; and how in the 21st century we are rethinking our relationship with the Moon.

The provisional programme is available here»

Exhibition | Making Marvels: Science & Splendor

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on October 14, 2019

From the press release (21 May 2019) for the exhibition:

Making Marvels: Science & Splendor at the Courts of Europe
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 25 November 2019 — 1 March 2020

Curated by Wolfram Koeppe

Between 1550 and 1750, nearly every royal family in Europe assembled vast collections of exquisite and entertaining objects. Lavish public spending and the display of precious metals were important expressions of power, and possessing artistic and technological innovations conveyed status. In fact, advancements in art, science, and technology were often prominently showcased in elaborate court entertainments that were characteristic of the period. Opening November 25, Making Marvels: Science and Splendor at the Courts of Europe will explore the complex ways in which the wondrous objects collected and displayed by early modern European monarchs expressed these rulers’ ability to govern.

The exhibition will feature approximately 170 objects—including clocks, automata, furniture, scientific instruments, jewelry, paintings, sculptures, print media, and more—from The Met collection and over 50 lenders. A number of these works have never been displayed in the United States. Among the many exceptional loans will be silver furniture from the Esterházy Treasury; the largest flawless natural green diamond in the world, weighing 41 carats and in its original 18th-century setting; the alchemistic table bell of Emperor Rudolf II; a large wire-drawing bench made for Elector Augustus of Saxony; a rare example of an early equation clock by Jost Bürgi; and a reconstruction of a late 18th-century semi-automaton chess player, known as The Turk, that once famously caught Napoleon Bonaparte cheating.

Making Marvels is the first exhibition in North America to highlight the important conjunction of art, science, and technology with entertainment and display that was essential to court culture. The exhibition will be divided into four sections dedicated to the main object types featured in these displays: precious metalwork, Kunstkammer objects, princely tools, and self-moving clockworks or automata.

In order to emphasize the scientific and technological content of these objects, the exhibition will begin by establishing the high level of material value and artisanal quality that princes had to meet in these displays of wealth and power. Visitors will encounter a set of superbly fashioned silver furniture that was considered the ultimate symbol of power, status, and money during the early modern period. The second section will be dedicated to the unusual objects of the Kunstkammer, as these collections were known in German-speaking provinces. These pieces were typically composed of newly discovered natural materials set in finely crafted mounts of silver or gold, whose highly inventive designs often embodied the most up-to-date knowledge of the natural world. Reflective of the multi-layered objects they housed, Kunstkammern functioned simultaneously as places of amusement, research retreats for the investigation of nature, and political showcases for magnificence.

Knowledge of subjects such as natural philosophy, artisanal craftsmanship, and technology was considered tantamount to the practical wisdom, self-mastery, and moral virtue integral to successful governance. Pursuits such as metalsmithing, surveying, horology, astronomy, and turning at the lathe were part of the education and entertainment of princes in courts across Europe. The exhibition’s third section will present the scientific instruments, artisanal tools, and experimental apparatus used by rulers as they developed the technical skills so important to their princely identity.

The exhibition will conclude with innovations in mechanical technology. Self-moving clockwork machines—perhaps the most well-known technological display objects—were also a rich source for allegories of rulership. Additionally, as courts competed for technical supremacy, many innovations in mechanical technology were developed at the urging of princely patrons. Automata represented the ultimate attempt to use mechanics to create life-like movement, and were extremely popular additions to princely collections from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment. One highlight will be The Draughtsman Writer, a late 18th-century writing automaton that inspired the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret and its movie adaptation. The advanced mechanism of this piece, which stored more information than any machines that came before it, was the forerunner of the computer, the most common technology used today.

Throughout each gallery, videos and digital models will vividly evoke the historical reality of the objects on view and emphasize the similarities between early modern objects and contemporary technological entertainments. Exhibition visitors will discover innovative marvels that engaged and delighted the senses of the past much like 21st-century technology holds our attention today—through suspense, surprise, and dramatic transformations.

Making Marvels is organized by Wolfram Koeppe, Marina Kellen French Curator in The Met’s Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts. The exhibition and accompanying catalogue, distributed by Yale University Press, are made possible by the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation.

Wolfram Koeppe, ed., Making Marvels: Science and Splendor at the Courts of Europe (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2019), 320 pages, ISBN: 978-1588396778, $65.

Above Image: Gerhard Emmoser, Celestial Globe with Clockwork, 1579; partially gilded silver, gilded brass (case); brass, steel (movement); diameter of globe: 14 cm (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917).

 

Exhibition | Hogarth: Place and Progress

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on October 11, 2019

Press release (via Art Daily) for the exhibition:

Hogarth: Place and Progress
Sir John Soane’s Museum, London, 9 October 2019 — 5 January 2020

Hogarth: Place and Progress unites all of the paintings and engravings in Hogarth’s series for the first time, displayed across the Georgian backdrop of Sir John Soane’s Museum. Through these works the exhibition will explore the artist’s complex stance on morality, society, and the city, and the enduring appeal of his satires.

• The concept of progress has positive connotations in the twenty-first century but was often construed negatively in Hogarth’s time. Hogarth’s complex and often darkly satirical narrative progresses move from moral abandon and social ostracism, to poverty, madness and death.

• New research pinpoints precise locations in London depicted in Hogarth’s works and examines the key role they play in a moral reading of Hogarth’s paintings.

• Hogarth’s ability to see beyond social conventions continues to resonate with 21st-century audiences, as he presented with wit and empathy the depictions of immorality and vice that he perceived in all classes of society.

The Soane Museum’s own Rake’s Progress and An Election will be joined by Marriage A-la-Mode from the National Gallery, The Four Times of Day from the National Trust and The Trustees of the Grimsthorpe and Drummond Castle Trust, as well as the three surviving paintings of The Happy Marriage from Tate and the Royal Cornwall Museum. The exhibition also includes engraved series of prints, lent by Andrew Edmunds, such as The Four Stages of Cruelty, Industry and Idleness, and Gin Lane and Beer Street. The works span Hogarth’s career as an engraver and painter and the exhibition will explore Hogarth’s increasing skill—or progress—in both fields, culminating in the masterly execution of An Election.

Hogarth’s concept of ‘progress’ was influenced by John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress, where the word described a journey towards moral and spiritual redemption through dismal places: from the City of Destruction to the Slough of Despond and Valley of Humiliation. Hogarth: Place and Progress explores how Hogarth’s series depict this idea. Hogarth’s narratives move from moral abandon and social ostracism, to poverty, madness and death and are often presented as highlighting the follies of the upper classes.

The exhibition also examines the idea that Hogarth was not simply ‘the people’s champion,’ but increasingly his narrative series perceived immorality and impropriety at all levels of society. Those most likely to be safe from Hogarth’s satirical wit were those who knew their ‘place’ in the social order and lived up to the positive ideals of their class, high and low alike.

Hogarth’s self-titled ‘Modern Moral Subjects’ present detailed characters, plots and changes of scene, set in specific and recognisable locations. The idea of spiritual progress is shown through visible representations of London life. The key geographic contrast is between the City of London, with its winding alleys and crumbling houses, livery guilds, the Mansion House and Monument, associated with merchants, and the West End where the landed aristocracy live in spacious and orderly squares, physically nearer to the royal place of St James. Between the two, the area around Covent Garden is repeatedly presented as a hotbed of immorality. In A Rake’s Progress, the Rake moves from the City of London to an extravagant property in the West End, then a brothel in Covent Garden, and ultimately travels outside the City walls, ending up in Bedlam, where his dissolute life has led him to insanity and death. The exhibition demonstrates how Hogarth’s ‘Modern Moral Subjects’ married the idea of progress with the moral geography of London, in a dynamic and evolving way throughout his own progress as an artist.

Bruce Boucher, David Bindman, Frederic Ogee, and Jacqueline Riding, Hogarth: Place and Progress (London: Sir John Soane’s Museum, 2019), 144 pages, ISBN: 978-1999693213, £25.

Exhibition | Savour: Food Culture in the Age of Enlightenment

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on September 28, 2019

Boar’s Head Tureen, France, probably Strasbourg, ca. 1745; tin-glazed earthenware (faïence)
(Toronto: Gardiner Museum, anonymous loan; photo by Toni Hafkenscheid)

◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊

Opening next month at the Gardiner Museum:

Savour: Food Culture in the Age of Enlightenment
Gardiner Museum, Toronto, 17 October 2019 — 19 January 2020
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT, 29 February — 24 May 2020

Curated by Meredith Chilton

Food and dining were transformed in Europe during the age of Enlightenment by profound changes that still resonate today. What many of us eat, the way food is cooked, and how we dine continues to be influenced by radical changes that occurred in France from 1650 until the French Revolution in 1789.

Philippe Mercier, The Sense of Taste, 1744–47, oil on canvas, 132 × 154 cm (New Haven: Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, B1974.3.18).

Savour: Food Culture in the Age of Enlightenment explores the story of this transformation with rare objects, fascinating histories, and amusing stories. We start in the kitchen gardens at Versailles where advances in horticulture expanded the growing seasons of vegetables and fruits, making a greater selection of foods available year-round. Then we visit the steamy kitchens of cooks who advocated light, flavourful cuisine centuries before our time. Next, we discover surprisingly modern philosophies for healthy eating and vegetarianism, and join ardent foodies as they savour meals served on newly invented ceramic and silver wares, from sauceboats to tureens. Along the way, we explore how social changes were impacting eating then, just as now, as the grand formality of the past was abandoned in favour of informality and intimacy.

Savour: Food Culture in the Age of Enlightenment is organized by the Gardiner Museum and curated by Meredith Chilton, C.M., Curator Emerita. Works of art and objects from major North American museums and private collections, as well as key pieces of contemporary ceramics and knitted art, will come together in a delectable feast for the senses designed by Opera Atelier’s Resident Set Designer, Gerard Gauci.

After the Gardiner Museum, the exhibition will tour to the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut. The exhibition is accompanied by a cookbook titled The King’s Peas: Delectable Recipes and their Stories from the Age of Enlightenment by Meredith Chilton, with contributions by Markus Bestig, Executive Chef, The York Club, Toronto.

Children Shelling Peas, England, Chelsea, ca. 1759–70; soft-paste porcelain, enamels, and gilding
(Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)

◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊

Meredith Chilton, The King’s Peas: Delectable Recipes and Their Stories from the Age of Enlightenment (Stuttgart: Arnoldsche Verlagsanstalt, 2019), 144 pages, ISBN: 978-3897905603, $50.

Food and dining were transformed in Europe during the Age of Enlightenment, and these profound changes continue to resonate today. What many of us now eat, the way our food is prepared and how we dine are the result of radical changes that occurred in France from 1650 until the French Revolution in 1789. Over thirty French and English recipes of the period are presented in this cookbook, offering readers a taste of the past. Amusing stories, culinary insights, and snippets of history outline the cultural milieu of the time. The King’s Peas is richly illustrated with pictures of paintings, books, silver, glass and ceramics to stimulate the imagination—and the appetite. You are cordially invited to take part in this delectable historical feast.

Installation | Claire Partington: Taking Tea

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on September 27, 2019

Now on view at SAM:

Claire Partington: Taking Tea
Seattle Art Museum, 7 December 2018 — 6 December 2020

Get a new perspective on SAM’s popular Porcelain Room through the site-specific work of contemporary British ceramic artist Claire Partington. Taking Tea features an installation referencing Baroque painting and European porcelain factories, as well as a panel mounted with fragments from 17th- and 18th-century shipwrecks. The Porcelain Room is a SAM favorite for visitors with more than 1,000 European and Asian porcelain pieces from SAM’s collection grouped to evoke porcelain as a treasured commodity between the East and the West.

Claire Partington reappraises the narrative histories of the porcelain objects. Her figures engaged in the act of ‘taking tea’ give a human face to the European craze for Chinese porcelain on display in the Porcelain Room. Partington’s installation suggests the often unintentional consequences of the porcelain trade during the expansion of international shipping routes. The figures in the installation are steeped in the rarified luxury and high-end fashion these items once conveyed, but they also expose the degrading aspects of trade—the reality of precarious ocean voyages and human exploitation.

Exhibition | City Women in the 18th Century

Posted in exhibitions, on site by Editor on September 25, 2019

From the exhibition:

City Women in the 18th Century: An Outdoor Exhibition of Women Traders in Cheapside, London
Cheapside, London, 21 September — 18 October 2019

Curated by Amy Erickson

In the 18th century, many women worked in luxury manufacturing and sales in the Cheapside area between St Paul’s and the Royal Exchange. They were not only employed to make the clothing, jewellery, prints, fans, trunks and furniture on sale; they also ran some of the businesses. These women, all of whom were members of London’s livery companies, employed thousands more in their trades. Some of these elite employers produced highly ornamental trade cards to advertise their business. These represent only a fraction of all the business women trading over the 18th century. Others we know of through their printed products (e.g., Sarah Ashton, fanmaker), or an insurance policy (Eleanor Coade, merchant), or livery company records (Martha Gurney, printer).

Most of the surviving business cards are in two collections in the British Museum. The first collector was Sarah Sophia Banks (1744–1818). The sister of Joseph Banks, who collected items of natural history, she collected material relating to the social history of her own day. The second collector was Ambrose Heal (1872–1959), arts and crafts furniture designer and heir to Heal’s furniture shop which had been established in Tottenham Court Road since the 1850s. This outdoor exhibition, over a 700-metre trail, explores the important role of women in commerce and manufacturing in 18th-century City.

Amy Louise Erickson, the curator of the exhibition, is Reader in Economic History at the University of Cambridge, and the author of Women and Property in Early Modern England and articles on women trading in 18th-century London. Her current project is reconstructing female labour force participation in early modern Britain. She co-directs the ‘Occupational Structure of England and Wales, 1379–1911’ research programme at the Cambridge Group for the History of Population & Social Structure.

◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊

In addition to the virtual exhibition, organized around eight sites, the exhibition includes the following programming:

Mary Owen, jeweller and goldsmith, printed her card as a widow in the mid-18th century. Her husband (dead by 1745) had also been a goldsmith, but was a member of the Fishmongers’ Company; as his widow, Owen traded as a member by courtesy.

Talk | City Women in the 18th Century
London Metropolitan Archives, 17 September, 14.00

Dr Amy Erickson, from the Faculty of History at the University Cambridge, will be discussing her exhibition, City Women in the 18th Century, at the London Metropolitan Archives.

Guided Tours
Paternoster Square, 29 September, 10.30; and 6 October, 15.00

Join Dr Amy Erickson on a tour of the exhibition. Booking required (29 September or 6 October).

Talk | Women in the Luxury Trades
Goldsmiths’ Centre in Clerkenwell, 19 November, 18.00

Learn about the women who traded as goldsmiths, silversmiths, milliners, fan-makers, and printers along the length of Cheapside, from Paternoster Square to the Royal Exchange, through their ornately engraved business cards. Further details.

 

Exhibition | Jean-Jacques Lequeu: Visionary Architect

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on September 23, 2019

From the press release (18 July 2019) for the exhibition:

Jean-Jacques Lequeu: Visionary Architect, Drawings from the Bibliothèque Nationale de France
Petit Palais, Paris, 11 December 2018 — 31 March 2019
Menil Drawing Institute, Houston, 4 October 2019 — 5 January 2020
The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, 2020 (TBA)

Curated by Edouard Kopp and Kelly Montana

Jean-Jacques Lequeu, The Tomb of Isocrates, Athenian Orator (Tombeau d’Isocrate, orateur athénien), 1789; ink on paper, 47 × 41 cm (Paris: Collection of the Bibliothèque nationale de France).

The Menil Collection is pleased to present Jean-Jacques Lequeu: Visionary Architect, Drawings from the Bibliothèque nationale de France, an exhibition of fifty drawings by the draftsman and architect who is now considered to be one of the most inventive artists of post-revolutionary France. On display at the Menil Drawing Institute from October 4, 2019 to January 5, 2020, the exhibition explores Lequeu’s wildly imaginative and spectacularly detailed architectural drawings and anatomical studies.

Jean-Jacques Lequeu (1757–1826) was born in Rouen, France, and studied architecture in Paris. Over the course of his career, which was drastically impacted by the French Revolution of 1789 and its aftermarth, he worked as a draftsman, a surveyor, and a cartographer. His posthumous acclaim would come from the discovery of the hundreds of carefully preserved drawings he bequeathed to the Bibliothèque nationale de France in 1825, the year before his death.

Ranging from government proposals to fantastic and speculative structures that were never intended to be constructed, Lequeu’s architectural drawings depict civic infrastructure along with curious oddities such as a towering stable in the shape of a cow. His designs were never realized in part because of the political turmoil caused by the Revolution, and also because some of his architectural ideas, though minutely executed on paper, were simply impossible to build.

Said Edouard Kopp, John R. Eckel Jr. Foundation Chief Curator, Menil Drawing Institute, “Jean-Jacques Lequeu: Visionary Architect presents rarely-seen drawings of great refinement by a singular artist, who was in essence an ‘architect on paper’. Together, the drawings attest to Lequeu’s prolific imagination, erudite knowledge and eclectic tastes. They also demonstrate how brilliantly he managed to bring his ideas to life on paper. More broadly, they remind us of the tremendous power and versatility of the drawing medium to conceive and to visualize architecture.”

Lequeu’s work was included in an exhibition of 18th-century French architectural drawings titled Visionary Architects, Boullée, Ledoux, Lequeu organized by Jean Adhémar for the Bibliothèque nationale de France in 1964. Dominique de Menil, co-founder of the Menil Foundation, brought that exhibition to the United States in 1967 and arranged its American tour. Visionary Architects was shown at the University of St. Thomas, Houston, before travelling to the St. Louis City Art Museum; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Art Institute of Chicago; the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum of San Francisco; The Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania; and the French Embassy in Mexico. Along the way it influenced a number of young artists. Sol LeWitt and Claes Oldenburg, for example, are known to have closely studied the fanciful and obsessive peculiarities of Lequeu’s work. In 1968 the notable architecture critic of The New York Times, Ada Louise Huxtable, described Lequeu’s drawings as “délices [that] hover between dream and nightmare…. His is a world much closer to Disneyland, but infinitely more elegant and erotic….” Sixteen of Lequeu’s drawings that were included in Visionary Architects will be shown at the Menil as part of the forthcoming presentation.

Said Menil Director Rebecca Rabinow, “John and Dominique de Menil took great satisfaction in introducing the public to art of all kinds. Mrs. de Menil believed that Lequeu was someone who ‘belong[ed] to another world, a world pervaded by dreams and eccentricities’. Now, in the context of our new Menil Drawing Institute building, we can return to this quietly influential exhibition from more than fifty years ago and provide an in-depth look at an artist who is now being rediscovered by scholars.”

Co-organized by the Petit Palais, Paris, and the Bibliothèque nationale de France, the exhibition in Houston is curated by Edouard Kopp, John R. Eckel Jr. Foundation Chief Curator, and Kelly Montana, Assistant Curator, both of the Menil Drawing Institute. Following the Menil’s presentation, the exhibition will travel to the Morgan Library & Museum, New York. Major funding for this exhibition in Houston is provided by Cecily E. Horton and The Vaughn Foundation. Additional support comes from Curtis & Windham Architects; Caroline Huber; Janie C. Lee; Adelaide de Menil; Susanne and William E. Pritchard III; Bill Stewart; and The City of Houston.

Barry Bergdoll, Jean-Jacques Lequeu: The Architectural Imagination in the Age of Reason
Menil Drawing Institute, Houston, Thursday, 14 November, 7pm

Barry Bergdoll will present a lecture on the occasion of the exhibition. Professor Bergdoll is a specialist in late 18th- and 19th-century French and German architecture, and the author of numerous works on the period, including the textbook European Architecture 1750–1890 in the Oxford History of Art series. He is Professor of Art History at Columbia University and former Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art.

Exhibition | Slavery

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on September 19, 2019

View of the Plantation Cornelis Friendship in Suriname (‘Plantagie Cornelis Vriendschap’), eighteenth century, watercolor, 43 × 64 cm
(Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, RP-T-1959-120)

◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊

The exhibition opens this time next year at the Rijksmuseum:

Slavery, An Exhibition
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 25 September 2020 — 17 January 2021

This exhibition testifies to the fact that slavery is an integral part of our history, not a dark page that can be simply turned and forgotten about. And that history is more recent than many people realize: going back just four or five generations you will find enslaved people and their enslavers. For the very first time, in 2020 the Rijksmuseum will hold an exhibition devoted entirely to this subject. Slavery is found in many cultures, places and times, but this exhibition focuses on slavery in the Dutch colonial period, spanning from the 17th to the 19th century.

Why the Rijksmuseum is holding this exhibition

The Rijksmuseum is the Dutch national museum for art and history. Slavery is an integral part of that history, and one that affects us all. Delving into the history of slavery will lead to a better understanding of contemporary Dutch society. The plans for this exhibition are part of a museum-wide effort to increase the attention given to colonial history, from diverse perspectives. Academic research, recent acquisitions, and a critical reappraisal of the existing collection are all aspects of this policy. Others include the multimedia guided tour entitled ‘Colonial Past’ and the Country Series of eight books that each focus on a nation with which the Netherlands had a relationship during the colonial period.

What the exhibition is about

In the days of Dutch colonial slavery, millions of people were reduced to the status of personal ‘property’. It has proven to be difficult to trace the stories of these people. The exhibition at the Rijksmuseum will center on ten individuals, some of them well-known, others less so. This emphasis on the personal will enable the museum to give a ‘face’ to slavery and make the universal and perpetual relevance of this history tangible. This exhibition does not attempt to offer a complete overview of the history of Dutch slavery. By taking a biographical approach, the museum wants to encourage museum visitors to reflect and to ask questions: How did enslaved people cope with their situation? Were there any voices of dissent? What did people in the Netherlands know about slavery? The exhibition will shed light on the trading triangle linking Europe, Africa and the Americas; on the Indian Ocean region; on southern Africa; and on enslaved people who were brought to the Netherlands.

The people involved in building this exhibition

The Rijksmuseum has assembled a team of specialist curators with wide-ranging academic networks, including Eveline Sint Nicolaas, Valika Smeulders, Maria Holtrop, Stephanie Archangel, and Saida Si Amer. The team will receive support from a think-tank that will convene on four occasions, as well as an international advisory council.

In the run-up to the exhibition, the Rijksmuseum will hold a number of meetings and events focusing on contributions and discourse from society at large. On 18 May 2018, for example, a discussion took place that focused on the part that Wikipedia can play in increasing the accessibility of our collection. And did you know that if you go to our online Rijksstudio, you can already start putting together your own collection of Rijksmuseum objects relating to slavery?

Exhibition | Cut and Paste

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on September 14, 2019

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Now on view at Edinburgh’s Modern Two; for the earlier period, see the catalogue essay by Freya Gowrley:

Cut and Paste: 400 Years of Collage
Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art (Modern Two), Edinburgh, 29 June — 27 October 2019

A huge range of approaches is on show, from sixteenth-century anatomical ‘flap prints’, to computer-based images; work by amateur, professional and unknown artists; collages by children and revolutionary cubist masterpieces by Pablo Picasso and Juan Gris; from nineteenth-century do-it-yourself collage kits to collage films of the 1960s. Highlights include a three-metre-long folding collage screen, purportedly made in part by Charles Dickens; a major group of Dada and Surrealist collages, by artists such as Kurt Schwitters, Joan Miró, Hannah Höch, and Max Ernst; and major postwar works by Henri Matisse, Robert Rauschenberg, and Peter Blake, including the only surviving original source photographs for Blake’s and Jann Haworth’s iconic, collaged cover for the Beatles’ album Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

The importance of collage as a form of protest in the 1960s and 70s will be shown in the work of feminist artists such as Carolee Schneemann, Linder, and Hannah Wilke; Punk artists, such as Jamie Reid, whose original collages for the Sex Pistols’ album and posters will feature; and the famously subversive collages of Monty Python founder Terry Gilliam. The exhibition also features the legendary library book covers which the playwright Joe Orton and his lover Kenneth Halliwell doctored with collages, and put back on Islington Library’s shelves—a move which landed them in prison for six months. In addition, the exhibition also demonstrates how collage remains important for the practice of many artists working today. Owing to the fragility of much of the work, the exhibition will not tour: it can only be seen at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh.

Patrick Elliott, ed., with essays by Freya Gowrley and Yuval Etgar, Cut and Paste: 400 Years of Collage (Edinburgh: National Galleries of Scotland, 2019), 184 pages, 978-1911054313, £25.