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Archive for the ‘Decorative Arts, Utilitarian Objects & Interior Des’ Category

South America: the Land of Opportunity. A Continent of Scenic Wonders. A Paradise for the Tourist. General Information for Travelers, Detail. Lamport & Holt Line. 1912. Persuasive Maps: PJ Mode Collection

South America: the Land of Opportunity. A Continent of Scenic Wonders. A Paradise for the Tourist. General Information for Travelers, Detail. Lamport & Holt Line. 1912. Persuasive Maps: PJ Mode Collection

Persuasive Cartography: The PJ Mode Collection is a physical and digital open access collection of maps donated to Cornell University Library’s Rare and Manuscript Collections. This collection brings together maps from many eras from all over the world to explore their power as visual messengers. 

Following up on our interview in which he shares the origin of the collection, collector and donor PJ Mode shares a selection of his favorite pieces.

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Harriet Powers. Pictorial quilt. 1895-98. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Harriet Powers. Pictorial quilt. 1895-98. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

When the second wave feminist movement in the 1970s brought domestic art into the discussion of art history, textiles became a central topic. This led to the rediscovery of Harriet Powers, whose two surviving quilts currently hang in the Smithsonian and in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Powers, born a slave in Georgia in 1837, created the quilts after she was emancipated. She made use of appliqué techniques and storytelling often found in the textiles of Western Africa. While these textiles had typically been created by men, once the tradition was picked up in the United States women became the primary creators.

Powers became significant in academic circles more than half a century after her death as an exemplar of the influence and power of women’s domestic art and art inspired by traditions outside the Western canon, showing not only this type of art’s historical purpose and importance but its aesthetic influence and significance.

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Condé Nast is providing nearly 10,000 additional images to the Artstor Digital Library, bringing their total contribution to approximately 33,000. The release encompasses images from the Condé Nast Archive of Photography, selections from the Fairchild Photo Service, and signature cartoons from The New Yorker. Highlights of the new release include striking and innovative images from Vogue photographers Clifford Coffin and Louise Dahl-Wolfe, and ravishing food stills by Romulo Yanes.

The Condé Nast Archive is a leading repository of photography, featuring fashion, celebrity, and lifestyle shots from publications such as Glamour, Vanity Fair, and Vogue, dating from the 1890s to the present. The glamour and star power of fashion is represented in the commercial work of Edward Steichen and Horst P. Horst, through to contemporary takes from the runways of international style capitals, including the work of Patrick Demarchelier. The Fairchild Photo Service, comprised of more than three million photos gathered over six decades, is the fashion world’s preeminent image gallery. The New Yorker‘s cartoons are legendary for their incisive wit and for shedding light on the lives and foibles of the city’s dwellers from the Depression through to the era of “fake news.” The magazine’s cartoonists include renowned figures like Peter Arno, Roz Chast, Otto Soglow, William Steig, James Thurber, and Gahan Wilson. (more…)

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Waterweavers: The River in Contemporary Colombian Visual and Material Culture, Installation view; 2014. Image and original data contributed by Bard Graduate Center Gallery

Waterweavers: The River in Contemporary Colombian Visual and Material Culture, Installation view; 2014. Image and original data contributed by Bard Graduate Center Gallery

To mark the release of 2,600 images from Bard Graduate Center Gallery in the Artstor Digital Library, Bard’s curatorial team discusses the institute’s history and the importance of its Gallery exhibitions for expanding conventional notions of the art historical canon.

Bard Graduate Center Gallery is recognized nationally and internationally for groundbreaking exhibitions that highlight new scholarship in the fields of decorative arts, design history, and material culture. These feature rarely seen objects, drawings – including architectural renderings – and other exceptional works of art. Our research-driven interpretation materials provide visitors with in-depth labels and contextual photographs, and we translate curatorial thinking into display strategies that incorporate new media and film. As a non-collecting institution, our exhibitions are loan-based, drawing on a range of public and private collections around the world, and are celebrated for introducing the public to work that has never before been on view, or that is seldom exhibited in New York for reasons of rarity, accessibility, or condition. Located on West 86th Street on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, the Gallery occupies three stories of a landmarked townhouse, creating an intimate environment for engaging with stimulating ideas and objects, from the simplest artifacts of everyday life to the most extraordinary and exquisite artistic creations.

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Benvenuto Cellini; Saliera (salt cellar), 1540-1543

Benvenuto Cellini; Saliera (salt cellar), 1540-1543; Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien. Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com

Sculptor Benvenuto Cellini is best remembered for two things: his bombastic autobiography, the Vita, in which he confesses to multiple murders and a spectacular jailbreak, and for his salt cellar. Yes, that’s right—a dish for salt.

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To celebrate Artstor’s collaboration with the RISD Museum, our friends at the museum graciously created a lightning-tour of their encyclopedic collection in the Digital Library through twenty notable objects. Part one focuses on decorative and utilitarian artifacts, and part two on artworks.

 

Unknown artist (Greek); Aphrodite; 2nd century. Image © Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence

Unknown artist (Greek); Aphrodite; 2nd century. Image © Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence

Aphrodite

This bronze figure of Aphrodite, now green from oxidation, once would have been a warm brown. To heighten a sense of naturalism, the eyes and hair ribbon were inlaid with silver and the lips with copper. In the 4th century BCE, the first nude image of Aphrodite was sculpted, breaking a long tradition of depicting Greek goddesses clothed. It was fitting, however, that the goddess of love and beauty was the first to be portrayed in this new way. The motif became so popular that hundreds of such images of Aphrodite survive from ancient Greece and Rome, where they adorned homes, gardens, and sanctuaries. Exceedingly rare today, bronze examples like this one must have been prized possessions of wealthy patrons.

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To celebrate Artstor’s collaboration with the RISD Museum, our friends at the museum graciously created a lightning-tour of their encyclopedic collection in the Digital Library through twenty notable objects. Part one focuses on decorative and utilitarian artifacts, and part two on artworks.

Egyptian; Paint box, 1302-1070 BCE. Image © Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence

Egyptian; Paint box, 1302-1070 BCE. Image © Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence

Paint Box

Only a handful of paint boxes survive from ancient Egypt, and this one is particularly unique in being made of ceramic and bearing a sliding lid with a grip whimsically decorated with a genet, an animal related to the mongoose.

The stylized papyrus thickets represent the genet’s habitat of tall grasses and shrubs. Featuring a hollow well for water and brush storage, the box contains seven pigment cakes of yellow ochre, Egyptian blue (a synthetic pigment composed of silica, copper, and calcium), calcium carbonate (white), hematite (dark red), hematite mixed with calcium carbonate (lighter red), and two charcoal blacks. Painters used these same pigments to decorate statuary and the walls of temples and tombs.

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