Exhibits of Interest
October 10, 2014 through March 22, 2015
The recent work and studies of Jane and Richard Nylander (Jane serves as the Trust’s secretary on the Board) have come together in the Concord Museum’s new exhibit, Behind Closed Doors: Asleep in New England, which explores the material culture of sleeping and the role that sleep has played in American life throughout American history.
The exhibit will not only feature items from Concord Museum’s collection but also from collections from other New England institutions. In addition to the special exhibition gallery, the period rooms at the museum will also show how objects related to sleep were employed.
Dressing tables, necessary chairs, washstands, high chests, coffins, cradles, and adult cradles from the Concord Museum’s exceptional decorative arts collection and from the collections of Historic New England, Old Sturbridge Village, and other New England institutions will be on display. An associated exhibition entitled Good Night, Sleep Tight: Art from Children’s Literature will also open October 10 and will run through May 3, 2015. For more information about related programming, visit the Concord Museum website.
One of the largest and most refined collections of early American furniture in private hands—acquired over the course of five decades by George M. and Linda H. Kaufman—was promised to the National Gallery of Art in October 2010. A new installation on the Ground Floor of the West Building will highlight nearly 100 examples of early American furniture and decorative arts from this distinguished collection, including French floral watercolors by Pierre Joseph Redouté and American, Chinese, and French porcelains. In addition, the installation will include paintings by celebrated American artists in the Gallery’s collection such as Gilbert Stuart.
Ailsa Mellon Bruce Galleries
The newly renovated Ailsa Mellon Bruce Galleries provide a broad perspective on American and European decorative arts from the Rococo and Neoclassical periods of the 18th century to contemporary design and craft of the 20th and 21st centuries. In this special inaugural exhibition, the past and present of decorative arts and design at the museum is explored through three key installations. A display of significant early acquisitions includes 18th-century French furniture and sumptuous German porcelain owned by the famous collector and patron Ailsa Mellon Bruce; an important group of early Pennsylvania decorative arts reflects the museum’s commitment to the arts of our region; and a stunning installation of chairs offers a unique view of the evolution of style and design into the 21st century. The exhibition is organized by Jason T. Busch, curatorial chair for collections and The Alan G. and Jane A. Lehman Curator of Decorative Arts.
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), has opened a magnificent suite of five galleries, including the newly renovated Art of the Netherlands in the 17th Century Gallery and the Alan and Simone Hartman Galleries. The Art of the Netherlands Gallery has reopened with 30 paintings by Dutch and Flemish masters, including paintings by Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn. The gallery includes fine landscapes, still lifes, genre scenes, portraits, and religious histories, complemented by decorative art objects. The renovation was made possible by Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo, who have also loaned 18 works to the MFA that are currently on display.
In addition, two 18th-century period rooms from Great Britain have been reinstalled at the MFA as part of the Alan and Simone Hartman Galleries. They are the Newland House Drawing Room, which has not been on view at the Museum since the 1970s, and the Hamilton Palace Dining Room. Complementing them is a gallery for British Art 1560-1830. The Hartman Galleries showcase paintings, furniture, silver, ceramics, and works on paper. The Hartman Collection of silver is on display in the Hamilton Palace room and includes superb examples of silver made in London by Huguenot craftsmen between 1680 and 1760.
September 28, 2013 – December 31, 2014
Farms established during the 17th century along the banks of the Connecticut River in western Massachusetts—New England’s early frontier—prospered in the 18th century, supporting a network of cabinetmakers who crafted furniture in a distinctive regional idiom. In homes occupied by generations of farming families, carved and painted oak chests mingled with furniture following the latest fashions in Boston, New York and Philadelphia, interpreted to fit local taste and crafted in native black cherry. In the early 19th century, as industrialization transformed the rural landscape, innovation in furniture design intensified, leading to surprisingly original creations. “Furniture Masterworks: Tradition and Innovation” explores and celebrates western Massachusetts’ first 150 years of furniture-making with 58 objects drawn from Historic Deerfield’s collections that best exemplify the region’s signature contribution to American design history and the emergence of a national identity.
About The Decorative Arts Trust Bulletin
Formerly known as the "blog,” the Bulletin features new research and scholarship, travelogues, book reviews, and museum and gallery exhibitions. The Bulletin complements The Magazine of the Decorative Arts Trust, our biannual members publication.