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Eugène Atget, Bon Marche, 1926-27. George Eastman House

Eugène Atget, Bon Marche, 1926-27. George Eastman House

I recently came across the BBC adaptation of Émile Zola’s The Ladies’ Paradise and, as a self-confessed Francophile, couldn’t wait to begin watching it. A few episodes in, though, my enthusiasm dimmed when it became clear that the series didn’t faithfully follow the book. Zola’s novel is, at heart, an acerbic commentary on consumer culture, not a love story. Where Zola makes The Ladies’ Paradise, a department store, into a protagonist, the show instead relies on the budding romance between a shop girl and the store’s owner to drive it along. The Ladies’ Paradise is the backdrop of the story, but unfortunately not its focus.

Zola, often credited as one of the shrewdest observers of 19th-century French society, did not choose the department store arbitrarily as the setting for his novel. By the time he wrote The Ladies’ Paradise in the 1880s, the department store had become one of the most iconic features of modern Parisian life.

Gustave Eiffel; Louis Auguste Boileau, Le Bon Marché, 1876. Image and catalog data provided by Allan T. Kohl, Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Gustave Eiffel; Louis Auguste Boileau, Le Bon Marché, 1876. Image and catalog data provided by Allan T. Kohl, Minneapolis College of Art and Design

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IMLS

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has awarded Artstor and five collaborating institutions a three-year National Leadership Grant, with an award of $749,418. The funds will be used to support the development of free software to enable museums to contribute digital image collections for open access through the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).

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Fortress of Carcassonne, Carcassonne, France, 1150. Built by Bernard Anton Trencavel; fortified by Simon de Montfort; restored by Eugene Viollet-le-Duc.  Image and original data provided by Shmuel Magal, Sites and Photos; sites-and-photos.com

Fortress of Carcassonne, Carcassonne, France, 1150. Built by Bernard Anton Trencavel; fortified by Simon de Montfort; restored by Eugene Viollet-le-Duc. Image and original data provided by Shmuel Magal, Sites and Photos; sites-and-photos.com

Yes, of course we’re watching Game of Thrones. The TV series based on a still unfinished (!) series of books by George R. R. Martin brings a new meaning to the word epic.

With more than 40 main cast members and complicated storylines for each, it’s a wonder anyone can keep track of what’s going on. Set in a distant land during the Middle Ages, this show has betrayals, dragons, knights, and a nail-biting struggle for power. It’s so rich with imagery that we were inspired to dive into the Artstor Digital Library to illustrate it.

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Robert Howlett, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, builder of the Great Eastern, ca. 1857-1858. George Eastman House, eastmanhouse.org

Photographer: Robert Howlett | Isambard Kingdom Brunel, builder of the Great Eastern | ca. 1857-1858 | George Eastman House, eastmanhouse.org

Some stories we’ve been reading this week:

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Work: Robert Longo, Portrait of Jeffrey, 1980, © 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York;  Image: D. James Dee.

Work: Robert Longo, Portrait of Jeffrey, 1980, © 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Image: D. James Dee.

Artstor has released more than 550 images from the D. James Dee Archive of contemporary art in the Digital Library. The collection includes images of work by Claes Oldenburg, Robert Gober, Hannah Wilke, Tauba Auerbach, Glenn Ligon, Rudolf Stingel, Sherrie Levine, Andy Warhol, and many others. These photographs were taken for the artists or for the gallery where they were exhibited: Deitch Projects, Paula Cooper Gallery, Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, and DC Moore. Specifically, there are wonderful works on paper by Donald Judd and Brice Marden exhibited at Susan Sheehan Gallery, drawings by Oldenburg and Gober, fashion sketches by Stephen Sprouse shown at Deitch Projects, painted photographs by Duane Michals shown at DC Moore, and paintings by Dan Walsh.

These images, a sampling of digital photographs taken between 2008 and 2013, are the first batch in what will eventually be a collection of more than 100,000 photographs taken by Dee of leading artists’ work from the 1970s until his retirement in 2013. During this time he worked as the “SoHo Photographer,” documenting works for artists and blue chip galleries at a time when the SoHo neighborhood was the center of the New York art world. Continue Reading »

Renzo Piano Building Workshop, The Art Institute of Chicago: The Modern Wing, 1999-2009 | Image provided by Renzo Piano Building Workshop | © Rpbw, Renzo Piano Building Workshop | Photograph by Nic Lehoux.

Renzo Piano Building Workshop, The Art Institute of Chicago: The Modern Wing, 1999-2009. Image provided by Renzo Piano Building Workshop, © Rpbw, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Photograph by Nic Lehoux.

Artstor and the Renzo Piano Building Workshop are now sharing more than 120 additional images of works of architecture designed by Piano and the Workshop in the Digital Library.

The images in this release include two LACMA expansions: the Broad Contemporary Art Museum and The Resnick Pavilion in Los Angeles; the Central Saint Giles Court mixed-use development in London; the Gatehouse and Monastery in Ronchamp, France; the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum renovation and expansion in Boston; The Shard (London Bridge Tower) in London; the Auditorium del Parco in L’ Aquila, Italy; MUSE – Museo delle Scienze and the Quartiere delle Albere district in Trento, Italy; the Kimbell Art Museum expansion in Fort Worth, Texas; the Pathé Foundation in Paris; and the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art in Oslo. Continue Reading »

The Artstor Digital Library is at an exciting point of progress and innovation and we would like the community to help guide our development. Made up of 30 members representing a variety of areas of our user community, the Advisory Group will gather through virtual meetings three times a year to identify critical user issues regarding new tools, features, and functionality of the Digital Library and provide recommendations for improvement.

Being on the Artstor Digital Library Advisory Group will give you the opportunity to:

  • Be a voice and an advocate for your institution and the community.
  • Get involved in Artstor’s planning and decision-making process at an earlier stage and on a more strategic level.
  • Get free Artstor SWAG!

All are invited to apply! Whether you’re a long-time Artstor user or someone who has had limited exposure, we’d love for you to apply by filling out this brief questionnaire. Please feel free to pass this on to your colleagues.

The application deadline is Friday, May 15th. Applications will be reviewed as they are submitted and selected candidates will be notified by May 25th.

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