March 4, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Edwardian Opulence: British Art at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century is the ﬁrst survey in more than a generation of the full extent, breadth, and depth of the visual arts in Britain during the reign of King Edward VII (1901–10). Among other themes, the exhibition explores the pan-imperial, international, and transatlantic character of British art in that complex period, and considers the impact of new technologies—such as electriﬁcation, the motor car, recorded sound, and cinema—on painting, sculpture, photography, and the decorative arts. Many of the objects in the exhibition have been chosen to reveal the full and often startling magniﬁcence of elite consumption during that turbulent decade. The emphasis on the theme of opulence serves to illuminate a social and artistic dreamscape that was shattered by World War I.
Recently made popular by the British television series Downton Abbey, the Edwardian period has been depicted as an indolent summer afternoon of imperial and elite complacency, a lingering coda of the Victorian era that resisted the advent of the Modern, but also as a period of tremendous and rapid political, economic, and artistic change that affected every aspect of British life. Edwardian Opulence explores issues of creation, consumption, and display through a range of objects, including portraits by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, diamond tiaras and ostrich-feather fans, jewel-like Autochrome color photography, and a spectacular embroidered gown that belonged to the American-born Vicereine of India. Spanning divides of class and geography, the exhibition identiﬁes opulence and leisure as driving forces for the domestic and imperial British economic engine in the early years of the twentieth century. « Read the rest of this entry »
January 25, 2013 § Leave a Comment
A suite of paintings that respond to John Constable’s cloud studies and small landscapes will be installed in the galleries of the permanent collection on the fourth floor. Mark Leonard, a renowned restorer with a long history of treating paintings, including works by John Constable, has created eleven paintings in direct dialogue with Constable works in the Center’s collection. For this project, Leonard has turned away from his usual practice of caring for and restoring paintings by other artists and has instead set himself the challenge of creating his own autonomous works of art. As someone who has spent decades looking at and studying the work of other artists, stroke by stroke and layer by layer, Leonard has searched for the underlying geometries, or the “natural framework” in Constable’s seemingly unstructured paintings of sky and landscape. The resulting paintings will be displayed in a one-to-one relationship with works by Constable that inspired Leonard. This unique installation will allow visitors to study the Constables in a new light, and also to appreciate Leonard’s rigorously structured and highly detailed paintings. « Read the rest of this entry »
November 26, 2012 § Leave a Comment
This one-day graduate student symposium considers the visual arts in Britain and its empire, America, and Continental Europe between 1901 and 1910—the era marked out by the reign of the British monarch Edward VII—in relationship to the intersecting social, economic, sexual, political, and psychological tensions and anxieties of the period. The opening decade of the twentieth century is still often perceived as a golden age of luxury, glamour, and relative social stability, before the cataclysm of World War I. The historian George Dangerfield, investigating the “strange death of liberal England,” conversely argued in 1935 that it was also a period of crisis that saw, inter alia, an upsurge in militant trade unionism, the agitation for women’s suffrage, the origins of fascism, impending constitutional crisis, and imperial unrest. Similar tensions were felt across Europe and the Americas during this transitional period. This symposium will consider the ways in which the first decade of the twentieth century came to be interpreted both as a golden age and an age of anxiety and protest, and how the visual and material culture of the time registered ambivalent feelings about the state of society in Britain and beyond.
The symposium coincides with the opening of Edwardian Opulence: British Art at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century, the first major international exhibition in more than a generation devoted to surveying the full depth and breadth of the visual arts in Britain during the first decade of the twentieth century. The exhibition itself aims to overturn such diametrically opposed notions of the Edwardian period as either a golden age or a period of upheaval, showing instead that these are two points on either end of a continuum along which many new and viable perspectives of art and culture of the period may be plotted. While the exhibition focuses on the artistic production, consumption, and display of the cultural elite, this symposium will also consider the material and visual culture of protest and opposition. « Read the rest of this entry »
Exhibition – Art in Focus: Gazes Returned, The Technical Examination of Early English Panel Painting
August 24, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Art in Focus is an academic initiative for members of the Center’s Student Guide Program through which students are introduced to every aspect of exhibition practice. Students intensify their engagement with the Center’s collections, strengthen their research skills, and test writing in new formats. Student curators select objects for exhibition, write text panels and object labels, and make decisions about installation.
The sixth exhibition in this initiative, Art in Focus: Gazes Returned, explores Tudor painting technique and examines the condition of key paintings in the Center’s collection. Works in the collection were examined using a variety of analytical techniques employed in modern conservation practice, such as x-radiography and infrared reflectography, x-ray fluorescence, and polarizing light « Read the rest of this entry »
July 14, 2012 § Leave a Comment
The Yale Center for British Art is offering two Postdoctoral Research Associateships of three-year duration, one in the Department of Paintings and Sculpture and the other in the Department of Exhibitions and Publications. These Postdoctoral Research Associateships are for recent recipients of a PhD (degree granted within the last three years) in a field related to British art. The PhD must be in hand by the time the position begins. The closing date for applications is Monday, August 6, 2012. A preference for either position may be stated in the application but is not required. Applicants should apply online and upload a cover letter, CV, and writing sample. Three letters of reference should be e-mailed directly to firstname.lastname@example.org. « Read the rest of this entry »
May 4, 2012 § Leave a Comment
The story of the Westmorland, an armed merchant ship sailing from Livorno to London in January 1779, is one of colourful 18th-century personalities and modern detective work explored in this exhibition at Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum.
Consigned to the ship, by a cast of characters that included artists, aristocrats and dealers, was a precious cargo of art and antiquities, books, and luxury goods such as 32 wheels of Parmesan cheese. Captured by two French warships on 7 January 1779 and declared a ‘prize of war’, the Westmorland and the goods on board were acquired by King Carlos III of Spain who presented many of the works of art to the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid. Other items were eventually scattered across Spanish museums; one painting ended up as far away as St Petersburg. Reconstructed with archival discoveries and research in Spanish collections, The English Prize presents 120 objects including paintings, drawings, sculptures, books and maps from the fateful voyage, in a vivid recreation of the Grand Tour and the high seas. « Read the rest of this entry »
February 22, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Making History celebrates the achievement of the Society of Antiquaries of London, Britain’s oldest independent learned society concerned with the study of the past. It was established in 1707 with the aim of encouraging the pursuit of “the ingenious and curious” in the field of British antiquities.
The exhibition focuses on the discovery, recording, preservation, and interpretation of Britain’s past through its material remains, revealing how new discoveries, technologies, and interpretations have transformed our understanding of the history of Britain since the eighteenth century. The Society was founded prior to the existence of national museums, libraries, and galleries, and it was regarded as the main repository in Britain for antiquities and historical objects until the British Museum gradually began to assume the role in the middle of the nineteenth century. Today the collections at Burlington House in London contain antiquities of international importance; the Society also owns Kelmscott Manor in Gloucestershire, the former home of William Morris, leader of the Arts and Crafts movement. « Read the rest of this entry »
February 15, 2012 § Leave a Comment
10 March—10 June 2012, In the Sackler Wing of Galleries
This exhibition will constitute a radical re-evaluation of the extraordinary life and career of this brilliant and enigmatic artist. Born near Frankfurt in 1733, Zoffany moved to London in 1760. Adapting to the indigenous art culture and patterns of patronage, he created virtuoso portraits and subject pictures that proved to be highly desirable to a wide range of patrons. His work provides an invaluable and often unique appraisal of key British institutions and edifices: the art academy; the Court; the theatre; the bourgeois family; and the British Empire. Of all the major artists at work in eighteenth-century England, none explored more inventively the interstices of Georgian society and the complexities of British imperial rule than « Read the rest of this entry »
January 5, 2012 § Leave a Comment
“While these visions did appear,” a selection of Shakespearian subjects drawn from the Center’s permanent collection of paintings, forms part of Yale’s university-wide celebration of the works of William Shakespeare (1534–1616). This display focuses primarily on depictions of Shakespeare’s comedies, but also draws on comedic elements from the tragedies and histories, and encourages consideration of the multifaceted ways—verbal and visual—in which Shakespeare’s plays have inspired painters and audiences alike. « Read the rest of this entry »
November 1, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Of all the major artists working in eighteenth-century England, none explored more inventively the complexities of Georgian society and British imperial rule than Johan Zoffany (1733–1810). Born near Frankfurt, Zoffany trained as an artist in Germany and Italy. In 1760 he moved to London, where he adapted brilliantly to the indigenous art culture and patterns of patronage, creating virtuoso portraits and subject pictures that proved to be highly desirable to a wide range of patrons. Zoffany’s work provides an invaluable and distinctive appraisal of key British institutions and edifices: the art academy, the Court, the theatre, the families of the aristocracy and bourgeoisie, and the burgeoning empire. Despite achieving considerable success in England, Zoffany remained in many ways an outsider, scrutinizing British society and its customs and mores. Restless and drawn to a peripatetic existence, he traveled for extended periods in his native Germany, Austria, Italy, and India. After his death there was no move to situate Zoffany as one of the key figures in the burgeoning British school of art; this exhibition aims to correct that oversight and will demonstrate his central importance to the artistic culture of eighteenth-century Britain and Europe. « Read the rest of this entry »