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Posts Tagged ‘New Britain Museum of American Art’

The New Britain Museum of American Art by Architect, Ann Beha

The New Britain Museum of American Art by Architect, Ann Beha

What is the role of the architecture of a museum? Are museums just about the interior display of art, or do they reveal currents in architecture? Walking through a museum, I can assume that their priorities are to display art well and provide a space that creates an aesthetic, educational experience for the visitor, while at the same time embody civic values and the idea of a socially engaged museum. Museums alarm many art world insiders when there is a move toward the spectacularization of the museum at the expense of traditional commitments to high art. Art critic Christopher Knight said, “when the museum itself becomes the event…art gets lost in the shuffle and the true purpose of the museum is betrayed.” However, critics champion museum architecture by architects such as Renzo Piano that allows total focus on the art. (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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Bryson Burroughs (1869-1934) worked as a curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for 28 years in the early 20th century. During his time at the Met, he was responsible for their massive increase in American art holdings, in addition to numerous other achievements including the first acquisition for a public collection of a work by Paul Cezanne (1839-1906). Burroughs’ curatorial decisions and influences were prominent in the advancement of the art market in the early 20th century. Interestingly, his ideas also had a major impact on the NBMAA’s decision to collect solely American art, with a focus on contemporary work.

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It is no surprise that museums are utilizing social media as yet another avenue to reach out to their audiences. In fact, if you are reading this blog post, then you are using social media to connect with the New Britain Museum of American Art in a digital way! These 21st century types of connections are quickly becoming major trends within the museum world. With technology constantly reinventing itself, it is almost certain that the continual  redefinition and evolution of “social media” will be occur over the next decade. (more…)

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Poster for the Universelle Exposition de 1889, Paris

Poster for the Exposition Universelle de 1889, Paris

Just a few days ago, the NBMAA purcahsed a full-scale, life-sized portrait of Emeline Arnold Souther (Mrs. Edmund Charles Tarbell.) Edmund Charles Tarbell painted this masterpiece early on in their relationship, in fact it was painted in the year they were married (1888) right before he became a teacher for several decades at the Boston Museum School. Mrs. T’s elegance and poise are a pristine example of Tarbell’s early career, transitioning from magazine illustrations to portraits. This painting was featured in the notable Exposition Universelle “World’s Fair” of 1889 in Paris. (more…)

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Frederick Carl Frieseke, The Green Parasol, 1915, Oil on Canvas, 31 3/4 x 32 in. The Jack Warner Collection.

The Green Parasol, 1915. Frederick Carl Frieseke (1874-1939). Oil on Canvas, 31 3/4 x 32 in. The Jack Warner Collection.

One of the main artists featured in the upcoming exhibition An American Odyssey: The Warner Collection of American Art is Frederick Carl Frieseke. Born in Michigan, he studied at The Art Institute of Chicago beginning in 1893. Afterwards he went to the Art Students League in New York City in 1897, until he finally traveled to Paris in 1898. Abroad, he developed and refined his style. In Paris Frieseke studied at the Académie Julien and at the Académie Carmen under James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) for a brief period. (more…)

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The Arts of America Wing at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The Arts of the Americas Wing at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The new Arts of Americas Wing at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, opened on November 20, 2010. The Wing was planned to bring together a more inclusive vision of “American” Art and its 53 galleries that house over 5,000 works. After a recent visit, it is safe to say that the new galleries do a remarkable job of presenting a cohesive display of the MFA’s vast and impressive collection. The Wing is divided into four floors,  arranged chronologically, each consisting of differing aesthetic interiors that compliment the works on display. (more…)

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