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Archive for the ‘Special Exhibits’ Category

This post comes to us from Emily Sesko, Curatorial Intern

Down comes Norman Rockwell, and up goes Pinocchio.

Walt Disney, Scene from Pinocchio, 1939, for the film Pinocchio, 1940, Celluloid painting (animation cel), Bequest of Helen Vibberts, 2008.88 LIC

Walt Disney, Scene from Pinocchio, 1939, for the film Pinocchio, 1940, Celluloid painting (animation cel), Bequest of Helen Vibberts, 2008.88 LIC

Beginning this week, kids rule! Visitors have a chance to catch a glimpse of an original animation cel from Disney’s 1940 film with our newly-installed show from the Low Illustration Collection, featuring illustrations, covers, and much, much more from publications intended for young readers. Gracing the walls in the Low Illustration Gallery now are some old favorites (like Mickey and Minnie, and a photograph from Walter Wick’s I Spy series) and some new friends, including seven illustrations by Nicholas Napoletano for a children’s book in the works by our very own Director Douglas Hyland. (more…)

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This post comes to us from Pat Hickox, Docent.

Clara Driscoll in work room at Tiffany Studios with Joseph Briggs, 1901. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. (Thanks to Ms. Vreeland’s website above)

Clara Driscoll in work room at Tiffany Studios with Joseph Briggs, 1901. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. (Thanks to Ms. Vreeland’s website above)

I write to you as a woman, lover of art, and a docent @ NBMAA.  With the May 24th opening of “The Brilliance of Louis Comfort Tiffany: Painter and Craftsman” in the NBMAA McKernan Gallery, I will be eager to see Mr. Tiffany’s work.  However, I will also be interested to see if there is any reference to the women who worked within his studio in the late 1800’s.

Months ago anticipating this incoming exhibition, the Arts and Literature program @ NBMAA read a novel by author Susan Vreeland titled Clara and Mr. Tiffany (ask for it at the NBMAA gift shop).  Working with Heather Whitehouse, Associate Curator of Education, I developed a power point presentation regarding this interesting relationship to complement her discussion.

Thanks to Ms. Vreeland’s book and extensive web site www.svreeland.com/tiff.html, I was led into the fascinating world of women  in New York City  in the late 1900’s , as well as the newly emerging field of women in the industrial arts.  Her novel came about after much research and contacts with the New York Historical Society (www.nyhistory.org). (more…)

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Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933). Near Eastern Interior, n.d. Watercolor and pencil on paper, 15 ¼ x 10 ¼. Nassau County Museum.

Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933). Near Eastern Interior, n.d. Watercolor and pencil on paper, 15 ¼ x 10 ¼. Nassau County Museum of Art.

This post comes to us from Alyssa Speranza, Curatorial Intern.

Louis Comfort Tiffany was a true chameleon when it came to his use of different artistic media in his ongoing quest for beautyl. The Brilliance of Louis Comfort Tiffany: Painter and Craftsman, which just opened on Friday, displays paintings and watercolors by Tiffany as well as stained-glass windows, jewelry, lamps and vases he designed. I’ll admit that at first I thought any firm relationship between his paintings and decorative art objects was unlikely, but as I learned more about Tiffany’s life and interests, it became much easier to see the connection. (more…)

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This post comes to us from Jenny Haskins, Curatorial Intern.

Louis Comfort Tiffany, Au Nouveau Cirque: Papa Chrysanthéme, after Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Stained-glass window, 1894-5, Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Art Nouveau (or “New Art”) was a brief, but significant movement occurring in the late-19th to early-20th centuries. It had a powerful influence on other movements, including Art Deco and Modernism. The spirit of Art Nouveau will visit the New Britain Museum’s McKernan Gallery  when The Brilliance of Louis Comfort Tiffany: Painter and Craftsman replaces Toulouse-Lautrec and His World. The two exhibitions are appropriately sequenced since Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s (1864–1901) highly decorative lithographs are considered to have given way to the Art Nouveau movement, though the exact initial source is arguable and vague. Although I am sad to know that the Toulouse-Lautrec exhibit will eventually come to an end, it is exciting that the work of an artist who was a major influence on the American Art Nouveau movement will be taking its place.

It is easy to recognize Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848–1933) as essential to the flourishing of American decorative arts during the turn of the 20th century. He was the son of Charles Lewis Tiffany (1812–1902), the founder of one of my favorite jewelers, Tiffany & Co. Although Tiffany worked closely with his father’s renowned company (he became the first design director of the company upon his father’s passing), his primary interest remained in art. Tiffany was a successful paintiner, not to mention a prolific designer of stained glass, lamps, mosaics, metal work, ceramics and jewelry. In 1885, he created Tiffany Studios, a glass manufacturing and design company that made lamps, stained glass windows and vases with the assistance of skillful designers and artisans. It wasn’t long before Tiffany became an international sensation.

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This post comes to us from Jenny Haskins, Curatorial Intern

From Tagliapietra’s Dinosaur series

From Tagliapietra’s Dinosaur series

Glassblowing was always a fascinating and curious medium to me. The ability to create delicate three-dimensional forms through rugged heating and cooling processes is attractively foreign. Glass is a material used on a daily basis throughout the world, however, it is moving beyond the realm of strictly functional objects and becoming increasingly understood and appreciated as fine art. Lino Tagliapietra is a contemporary glass artist currently featured in a Davis Gallery Exhibition, A Joint Venture: The Collection of Thomas and Kathryn Cox. He produces his work in series usually based on famous landmarks or cities he has visited. Dinosaur, in the Cox Collection, is a black-striped organic form mixing rigid and smooth textures. It belongs to a series of work inspired by marine animals, depicting organic forms with long necks extending from oval cores. In the artist’s words, this series integrates “the strength of the dinosaur with the fluidity of the fishes that inhabit the waters of Venice.” I found its presence here at the NBMAA to be a great opportunity to explore the world of glass art and become more familiar with one of its best known artists.

Tagliapietra was born in Murano, Italy in 1934 where he apprenticed under internationally known Muranese master, Archimede Seguso (1909-1999), beginning at the age of eleven. By 21, he earned the title: maestro vetraio (master glassblower), and continued to work in the finest Muranese glass factories for the next 25 years. Becoming a master glassblower is a painstakingly long experience which requires exposure to a scientific environment for multiple years. The United States does not offer many courses in learning these scientific fundamentals (which may be why I find the medium so foreign), therefore European courses are more ideal. Murano, the glassblowing capital of the world, provides the finest programs to become the master of the craft, not to mention its very artistically inspiring landscapes and scenery. (more…)

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This post comes to us from Sarah Churchill , Curatorial Intern.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901)

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901)

One of the perks of interning here at the New Britain Museum of American Art is access to the museum’s excellent programming, including last month’s symposium “Toulouse-Lautrec & His World Under the Microscope.”  Art historian Nancy Noble presented thought-provoking insights into the inhabitants of Lautrec’s world, while Rhea Higgins focused her attentions upon the many parallels between Lautrec and his contemporary Edgar Degas. Degas, aware of the so-called “parallels” famously said of Lautrec, “He wears my clothes but cuts them down to his size.” Ouch.

I was struck also by the comparison drawn by Noble between Lautrec and Andy Warhol. Both were printmakers and savvy, self-conscious marketers who worked tirelessly to elevate the genre of commercial art. Both suffered crippling disabilities and terrible isolation. This connection is probably the most poignant, for it was the experience of isolation that formed, not only the love of art in each of them, but also the sadness and longing that underscores their work. More fascinating still is their shared interest in the popular culture of their day. It would not at all seem strange to picture the two, side-by-side, holding court at Studio 54. Both Lautrec and Warhol blurred the line between life and art to the point that it can be tough to tell which is the reflection…

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For the purpose of these interrogations, the Museum has developed a series of questions for exhibiting contemporary artists in an attempt to enliven and explore the discourse between the artist and the institution – with specific focus on site, interpretation, relevance, process, and sources.

Eric Souther builds and utilizes his own software, manipulating video and sound to explore how technology shapes experience and communication in our contemporary culture. His individualistic artistic explorations of the unseen network of the digital age reveal the experiences of modern life “saturated with digital information.”

Souther’s “Chair” is on view at the NBMAA until March 31st. Search Engine Vision “Chair”, 2009. Eric Souther. Single-channel video.

Souther’s “Chair” is on view at the NBMAA until March 31st.
Search Engine Vision “Chair”, 2009. Eric Souther. Single-channel video.

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