Exhibition | Paintings of the Abbés Desjardins

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

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

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

Curated by Daniel Drouin and Guillaume Kazerouni

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The 17th-Century Desjardins Paintings

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

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

Master Simon Vouet and His Entourage

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

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

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

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The 18th-Century Desjardins Paintings

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

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

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

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The Desjardins Paintings, Joseph Légaré and Art Museums in Québec

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

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

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

The Augustines and Ursulines de Québec Paintings

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

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

Copying and Distribution of the Desjardins Paintings

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

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

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





Exhibition | Elegance from the East: New Insights from Old Porcelain

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on June 18, 2017

Now on view at the IMA:

Elegance from the East: New Insights from Old Porcelain
Indianapolis Museum of Art, 26 May — 22 October 2017

Curated by Shirley M. Mueller

Elegance from the East: New Insights from Old Porcelain explores the popularity and variety of Chinese porcelain objects made for export to Western consumers in the 17th and 18th centuries. Chinese artists customized their traditional forms and decoration for European and American commercial tastes. This exhibition reveals the effects of these efforts to translate consumer demand from half a world away.

Like Chemistry of Color and What Lies Beneath, also on view, this exhibition relates science to art. Guest curator Shirley M. Mueller, MD, connects the past to the present and illustrates, through neuropsychological insights, the similarity of human feeling and motivation across time.

The exquisitely detailed porcelains in this exhibition—mostly made for use in the home—will be displayed inside the historic Lilly House.



Exhibition | Fired by Passion: Masterpieces of Du Paquier Porcelain

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

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

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Now on view at The Frick:

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

Curated by Charlotte Vignon

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

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

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

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

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

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





Display | Eighteenth-Century Pastel Portraits

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on June 13, 2017

From The Met:

Eighteenth-Century Pastel Portraits
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 26 July — 29 October 2017

Rosalba Carriera, Gustavus Hamilton (1710–1746), Second Viscount Boyne, in Masquerade Costume, 1730–31; pastel on paper, laid down on canvas (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2002.22).

Pastel portraiture flourished in 18th-century Europe owing to the medium’s distinctive optical properties—its brilliant colors and warm glow. The powdery nature of pastel crayons allowed artists to bathe their sitters in flattering light. The dual nature of the paintings—realistic yet ephemeral—inspired in viewers a sense of wonder.

This exhibition will draw from a small but important group of French, Italian, German, and British pastels in the Museum’s collection. Examining works by Rosalba Carriera, Charles Antoine Coypel, Adélaïde Labille-Guiard, and other leading portraitists, it will explore the rising popularity of pastel in conjunction with artistic practices and technological advances of the day.

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 624.







Exhibition | Cristóbal de Villalpando: Mexican Painter of the Baroque

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

Press release from The Met:

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

Curated by Ronda Kasl, Jonathan Brown, and Clara Bargellini

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Exhibition | Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on June 10, 2017

Press release (24 February 2017) for the exhibition:

Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites
National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, 23 June — 12 November 2017

Curated by David Forsyth

Louis Gabriel Blanchet, Portrait of Prince Charles Edward Stuart, 1739 (Royal Collection Trust).

This summer National Museums Scotland will present the largest exhibition about the Jacobites to be held in over 70 years. As well as drawing on National Museums Scotland’s own collections, the exhibition will feature spectacular loans from the United Kingdom and Europe. More than 300 paintings, costumes, documents, weapons, books, and many unique objects owned by the exiled Jacobite kings will help tell the wider story of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites.

David Forsyth, the exhibition’s lead curator, said, “The story of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites has had an enduring and generally romantic fascination for subsequent generations, from Sir Walter Scott to the current Outlander TV programme, along with many other representations in literature, TV, and film. This exhibition will enable us to use the best material there is—real objects and contemporary accounts and depictions—to present the truth of a story more layered, complex, and dramatic than even these fictional imaginings.”

The Jacobites (from Jacobus, the Latin for James) were supporters of a movement to reinstate the Roman Catholic Stuart king, James VII & II and his heirs to the throne after his exile to France in 1688. Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites presents a detailed and dynamic, multi-faceted re-examination of this familiar yet much-contested story, showing how the Jacobite challenge for the three kingdoms was a complex civil war, which even pitched Scot against Scot. Support for the cause was drawn from Scotland, England, Ireland, and Continental Europe; it was part of the broader dynastic and political rivalries of Europe’s great powers.

Bonnie Prince Charlie

Bonnie Prince Charlie has a place in popular consciousness as the romantic personification and figurehead of the movement. This is at least in part due to the Victorian fascination with the period, illustrated by the portrait which opens the exhibition of the Prince arriving at a ball at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The work, by John Pettie, was painted over a century after Charles’s death and actually depicts a scene from Sir Walter Scott’s novel Waverley.

In fact, Charles Edward Louis John Casimir Sylvester Maria Stuart (1720–1788) was born and died in Rome, spending less than fourteen months in Scotland during his lifetime. The exhibition will explore the full story of the Jacobites, which spans two centuries and encompasses Britain, Ireland, and Continental Europe.

The Stuart Dynasty: Divided by Faith

At the heart of the story lies one family—The Royal House of Stuart—one of Europe’s most enduring dynasties, a dynasty with a claim to unite three kingdoms: Scotland, England, and Ireland.

James VII & II had taken the throne in 1685 after the death of his brother, Charles II. By 1688 political and religious pressures drove a wedge through the family. James’ Catholic faith, shown in spectacular altar pieces bought in 1686 for his chapel at Holyrood, caused widespread concern and, when he announced the birth of a male heir which heralded the prospect of a Catholic succession, he was deposed in the Glorious Revolution, replaced by his daughter Mary and her husband, William of Orange, while her baby half-brother was smuggled out the country for his own safety.

These events led to James VII & II, Bonnie Prince Charlie’s grandfather, spending the rest of his days in exile in France, while the house of Hanover succeeded to the throne in 1714. The Hanoverian line is shown through the basin and ewer of the Winter Queen, Elizabeth of Bohemia, daughter of James VI & I, whose grandson George became King after the death of Queen Anne in 1714.

Courtly Exile in Europe

Short tartan frock coat with velvet collar and cuffs and lined in wool twill and linen, associated with Prince Charles Edward Stuart (National Museums Scotland).

The baby smuggled to safety was Charles’s father, James Francis Stuart (1688–1766); to supporters loyal to the exiled Stuarts, he became James VIII & III and was formally recognised as such by Louis XIV of France. The exhibition will bring to the forefront the lives of the Jacobites in exile at the courts they established in Saint Germain, France, and later in Rome, where they were joined by many of their followers. A display of remarkable and symbolic objects including the targe (shield), broadsword, and travelling canteen, commissioned by supporters at home, will be shown in the context of the exiled Stuart court in Rome. These objects, all later recovered from the baggage train at Culloden, were produced to promote the Jacobites’ dynastic claims, affirming their royal status and showing their connections with their distant supporters while in exile. Secret signs and insignias marked out those loyal to the ‘kings over the water’, ranging from a subtle white rose to a seditious full tartan suit, made for leading English Jacobite Sir John Hyde Cotton.

James Francis Stuart married a Polish Princess, Clementina Sobieski. His marriage certificate will be shown, as will the baptismal certificate of their first
son, Charles Edward Stuart.

Five Jacobite Challenges for the Throne

Meanwhile, in Scotland, this tumultuous period was characterized by five Jacobite challenges to the throne, in 1689–90, 1708, 1715, culminating in Bonnie Prince Charlie’s campaign of 1745–46. Weapons, plans, paintings, and commemorative objects show the earlier campaigns. Charles’s time in Scotland, while short, forms one of largest sections of the exhibition, including spectacular costume including items associated with Charles himself and dresses of the time thought to have been worn at the Court he briefly held at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. Alongside this, the ‘lost’ Ramsay portrait of Charles in the guise of a European prince, recently acquired by the National Galleries of Scotland, will be shown.

Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Last Jacobite Challenge

After further advances followed by a long retreat, the campaign came to an abrupt and bloody end in little more than an hour at Culloden. The plan of the battle, a portrait of the Duke of Cumberland and numerous weapons and effects of those who fell will form a reflective backdrop as a Gaelic lament plays in the background.

Retribution across the Highlands was swift and brutal. Charles spent five months evading government forces eventually sailing for France, leaving the Jacobite cause in tatters. Portraits of Anne MacKintosh and Flora MacDonald introduce two of the key figures in Charles’ eventful escape.

Kings over the Water

The denouement to the story and to the exhibition is the remaining years in exile of James, Charles, and his brother Henry who, after Culloden, joined the priesthood of the Catholic Church while Charles, his ambitions thereby thwarted once and for all, dwindled towards a dissolute end. A pair of portraits of Henry and Charles in their later years serves to illustrate their contrasting fates. Henry, Charles, and their father James are all buried in the Vatican, the latter being the only monarch interred there.

A closing selection of Jacobite memorial treasures is presented, including the ‘Spottiswoode’ Amen glass, c.1775. On loan from William Grant and Sons, owners of Drambuie, this is one of the finest ‘Amen’ glasses in existence, so called due to its engraving with the Jacobite anthem of James VIII and dedicatory inscriptions to his sons, Prince Charles and Prince Henry.

The exhibition is supported by Baillie Gifford Investment Managers and will be accompanied by a programme of public events and by two publications.

The National Museum of Scotland is part of a new trail of 26 attractions across Scotland whose history is intertwined with the Jacobite story. Learn more here.

David Forsyth, ed., Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites (Edinburgh: National Museums Scotland, 2017), 256 pages, ISBN: 978 191068 2081, £25.

Broadsword with a silver hilt made by Edinburgh goldsmith Harry Bethune, ca. 1715 (National Museums Scotland, H.LA 124). The inscription shows support for James ‘VIII’, the son of the deposed King James VII and father of Bonnie Prince Charlie.

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S T U D Y  D A Y — 2 8  O C T O B E R  2 0 1 7

Chaired by historian Fiona Watson, our expert panel will examine the wider Jacobite story: Bonnie Prince Charlie’s court at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Stuart courts in exile in France and Italy, and how our conservators prepared costume pieces for display.

10:00  Registration

10:30  Fiona Watson, Welcome and Introduction
Watson is an author, broadcaster, and historian. She is best known for her 2001 BBC series In Search of Scotland. She is former Senior Lecturer in Scottish History and founding Director of the Centre for Environmental History at the University of Stirling.

10:45  David Forsyth, Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Rise and Fall of the Jacobites
Drawing on exceptional material from Scottish collections as well as treasures from across the UK and France, this talk will reveal who the Jacobites were and explores the cause that drove their campaigns. Forsyth is Principal Curator of Medieval–Early Modern Collections in the Department of Scottish History and Archaeology at National Museums Scotland and the curator of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites.

11:15  Deborah Clarke, Bonnie Prince Charlie at the Palace of Holyroodhouse
In 1745, the Jacobites seized the city of Edinburgh and Bonnie Prince Charlie set up court at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. This talk uncovers the famous court of the ’45 Rising and discusses the ceremonies and events that took place during the Prince’s residence at the Stuart palace. Clarke is Senior Curator, Royal Collection Trust, at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

11:45  Danielle Connolly and Miriam McLeod, Conserving the Jacobites
The National Museum of Scotland’s Jacobite textile collections are of international importance. They are often unique objects, covering a range of materials and techniques. This talk will highlight the painstaking textile conservation work undertaken on large costume pieces—such as the silk dress said to have been worn by Margaret Oliphant of Gask at the Great Ball of Holyrood after the Battle of Prestonpans—and the small but highly symbolic white cockade. Connolly is Assistant Textile Conservator at National Museums Scotland; McLeod is Textile Conservator at National Museums Scotland.

12:15  Lunch Break and Opportunity to View Exhibition
National Museums Scotland Research Librarians will be on hand to showcase related material in South Hall. The scope of the library collection reflects the strengths and variety of the Museums’ collections and Library staff can offer advice and support in locating items and using the collections. The Research Library is our main reading room on level 3 of the National Museum of Scotland.

13:30  Edward Corp, The Stuart Court in France and Italy
An analysis of the Jacobite Court in exile—re-assessing its importance and highlighting the significance of Stuart relations with the European monarchy and the Papacy. This talk will also explore how the court came to an end—and how it has since been misrepresented. Corp was Professor of British History at the University of Toulouse until 2011 and since then has been Emeritus Professor. Edward curated The King over the Water, a major exhibition on the exiled Stuart Court at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in 2001 and wrote the associated publication The King over the Water: Portraits of the Stuarts in Exile after 1689 (National Galleries of Scotland, 2001). He has also written a three volume history of the Stuart Court in exile: A Court in Exile: The Stuarts in France, 1689–1718; The Jacobites at Urbino: An Exiled Court in Transition; and The Stuarts in Italy, 1719–1766: A Royal Court in Permanent Exile.

14:15  Panel Discussion and Audience Q&A, Chaired by Fiona Watson

Additional programming details are available here»



Exhibition | The Demolition of the Château de Meudon: Hubert Robert

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on June 8, 2017

Now on view at the Château de Sceaux, Hauts-de-Seine:

La Démolition du Château de Meudon par Hubert Robert
Château de Sceaux, 21 April — 9 July 2017

Le château de Meudon fut l’un de ces grands domaines prestigieux de l’ouest parisien, propriété de plusieurs personnages illustres, comme la duchesse d’Étampes, le cardinal de Lorraine, Abel Servien ou le marquis de Louvois, et le plus fameux : Louis de France (1661–1711), dit le Grand Dauphin, fils de Louis XIV, qui porta le domaine de Meudon à son apogée.

Constitué d’un Château-Vieux—ayant connu, depuis la Renaissance, une suite ininterrompue de transformations—et d’un Château-Neuf, voulu par le Grand Dauphin, l’ensemble était environné de jardins en terrasses générant des points de vue exceptionnels sur la campagne, la Seine et Paris. Résidence de nombreux hôtes de marque, au cours du XVIIIe siècle, le domaine fut saisi par la Nation, en 1793, et devint un lieu d’expérimentations scientifiques. C’est au cours de l’une d’elle que l’aile gauche du Château-Vieux fut incendiée, en 1795. Laissé en l’état durant une dizaine d’années, le bâtiment fut finalement démoli à partir de 1803.

Le peintre Hubert Robert, qui avait été chargé sous Louis XVI de divers aménagements dans les jardins de Meudon, fut une fois de plus sensible à l’image de ces terribles vestiges de l’Ancien Régime. Dans un élan préromantique, il a immortalisé sur la toile le moment pathétique de la disparition de l’un de ses plus beaux symboles. Le tableau final est aujourd’hui conservé au Getty Museum de Los Angeles, mais le musée du Domaine départemental de Sceaux a pu se porter acquéreur, en vente publique, de l’esquisse aboutie de cette œuvre. Hubert Robert s’y montre à la fois d’une grande virtuosité dans l’écriture et d’une parfaite délicatesse dans le coloris. Un chef-d’œuvre qui vient enrichir les collections du musée et qui est ici révélé au public dans le cadre d’une exposition-dossier.

Hubert Robert, The Demolition of the Château de Meudon, 1803
(CD92/MDDS – Cab. Turquin)

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As reported by Art Media Agency (AMA), 15 October 2016:

Estimated at between €40,000 and €60,000, a work by Hubert Robert has been pre-empted at €111,600 by France’s Musées Nationaux, in favour of the department of Hauts-de-Seine. The painting was identified by its owner following a visit to the Louvre, during the Hubert Robert (1733–1808): Un peintre visionnaire exhibition last spring. The work was assessed by Bertrand Couton. It is a small version of a painting conserved at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, which featured in the Paris exhibition. It represents a demolition scene at the Château de Meudon, one of the symbols of the monarchy’s Ancien Régime.

Reconstitution 3D du château de Meudon vers 1715 (published 22 October 2014). Restitution réalisée par la société PHIDIAS 3D pour l’Association pour la Restauration du Château de Meudon.

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A YouTube clip from The Getty, with commentary by Jon Seydl, is available here»


Exhibition | Romantic Shakespeare

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on June 3, 2017

Now on view in Saint-Omer:

Shakespeare Romantique: Füssli, Delacroix, Chassériau
Musée de l’hôtel Sandelin, Saint-Omer, 24 May — 30 August 2017

Curated by Dominique de Font-Réaulx, Marie-Lys Marguerite, and Roman Saffré

In May 2017, the musée de l’hôtel Sandelin presents a new exhibition organized as part of a prestigious partnership with the musée du Louvre and the musée national Eugène-Delacroix. The exhibition will present some 70 exceptional works. These painters, printmakers, and sculptors built a collective imagination around the parts of an author who was particularly inspirational for them throughout the 19th century, the great English playwright Shakespeare. Fuseli, Delacroix, Chassériau, Moreau, Préault, and Doré were able to recreate in their creations the feelings, the strangeness, and the morality of Shakespearean tragedies. Their works still influence the staging of Shakespeare’s plays.

In 1824, Stendhal wrote: “All the great writers were romantics of their time.” In fact, the 19th century was marked by a renewed interest in the great literary frescoes past Dante, Ariosto, Shakespeare, Racine become essential sources of inspiration for the romantic authors, but also for painters, who then have a special relationship to the art of staging.

Henry Fuseli, Lady Macbeth, 1784, 221 × 160 cm (Paris: Louvre).

The early 19th century saw the birth of a true rediscovery of Shakespeare in France. The feelings of strangeness and morality in each of Shakespearean tragedies influence painters, printmakers and sculptors to create some art of emotion and narrative. The exhibition aims to show the the creation of a collective imagination that gave rise to the plays of Shakespeare. These designs still influence the staging of the texts of the English playwright. Works presented in the exhibition come mainly from the collections of the Louvre, the Musée national Eugène-Delacroix, the d’Orsay Museum, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Dominique de Font-Réaulx, General Curator of Heritage and Director of Eugene Delacroix Museum
Marie-Lys Margaret, Heritage curator and director of the Museum of Fine Arts of Arras
Romain Saffré, Heritage curator and director of museums Saint-Omer








Exhibition | Casanova: The Seduction of Europe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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









2017 AAMC Awards Announced

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

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

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

A full list of awards is available here»