The Metropolitan Museum of Art is opening a new exhibit featuring exquisitely crafted firearms, highlighting the abilities of British gunmakers. The exhibit, entitled ‘The Art of London Firearms’, features seventeen separate firearms, each made in London. Instead of rifles and long guns, the focus will be on pistols dating from the mid-eighteenth century into the early nineteenth century. Included is a pistol made for the Prince of Wales, King George IV of England. The pieces are pulled from the Metropolitan’s permanent collection and many of them have never been on display.
In the period encapsulated by the show, a group of gunmakers with workshops on the outskirts of London and became fierce competitors. This competition led to rapid design growth, paring down Baroque design elements for simple, elegant, and efficient design. These gunsmiths include Durs Egg, John Manton, and Samuel Brunn.
When: The exhibition opens January 29, 2019 and lasts until January 29, 2020. For more information visit the exhibition website.
Where: It will be in Gallery 380 of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, located at 1000 5th Avenue in New York City and is open Sunday through Thursday from 10AM to 5:30PM, Friday and Saturday from 10AM to 9PM.
Admission is $25 for adults, $17 for seniors, $12 for students, and free for children under 12. New York State residents have the ability to choose what to pay. This exhibit and all others are included in museum admission. There are also multiple membership options available.
Well-made firearms have always had collectible value and can be sold for a tidy sum. When not in museum exhibits, guns like these are often in personal collections. Collectors can find more information on the sale of these and other types of firearms here.
On January 30th the exhibition Thomas Cole’s Journey Atlantic Crossings opened at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The exhibition celebrates one of America’s leading landscape painters, Thomas Cole (1801-1848), who first immigrated to the United States 200 years ago. He continued to cross the Atlantic multiple times, including a return journey to England in 1829-1831, a trip to Italy in 1831-1832, and another trip to America, specifically New York, from 1832-1837. Designed to highlight these travels the exhibition is arranged in six sections including, Industrial England, American Wilderness, London: Imperial Metropolis, Italy: The Grand Tour, Consummation, and Cole’s Legacy.
The first gallery, Industrial England, contains works that give insight into the world in which Cole grew up. He lived in England at the height of the Industrial Revolution as the factory system and machine processing were on the rise. Urban life was booming and this can be seen in the art of those before him. Included in this gallery is Dudley, Worcestershire by Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) which depicts the new industrialized city. From the point of view of a busy canal port, we can see smoke stacks in the background and pollution entering the atmosphere. In viewing landscapes such as this we can see the harsh juxtaposition between the place that Cole grew up and the tranquil nature scenes that he later painted.
In 1818, Cole and his family immigrated from Liverpool to Philadelphia and later, in 1825, relocated to New York. Already yearning to be a painter, Cole took lessons and studied historical greats. During his first summer in New York he took a steamboat up the Hudson River where he began his exploration of the American landscape through painting. The great 1827 oil painting View of Round-Top in the Catskill Mountains is a prime example of the style that Cole has become so well known for. Devoid of all human interaction his landscapes were the opposite of the England in which he was raised. Cole’s relationship with the American wilderness would influence generations of artists to come.
Cole arrived in London in the summer of 1829 to study the artists of Europe and paint the land of his birth. There he created works of art that boldly contrast his quiet landscapes of America. Effect for Newstead Abbey, Nottinghamshire, England, an 1830 work, completely lacks color. The clouds in the sky are dark and dangerous, the figures in the foreground appear as silhouettes. The work greatly contrasts View of Round-Top in the Catskill Mountains but echoes paintings by his predecessors, such as the earlier discussed Dudley, Worcestershire by J. M. W. Turner.
In the summer of 1831 Cole traveled to Italy where he resided in Florence, the Tuscan countryside, and Rome. It was in these places that he expanded his skills by focusing on the human figure and sketching while visiting important classical and Renaissance landmarks. In Interior of the Colosseum, Rome the viewer enters the great Colosseum, desolate and overrun with green flora. It is in this painting that Cole combines his interest in England and America as the man made structure of the Colosseum is reclaimed by nature.
In 1832, Cole returned to New York and worked heavily in the Catskills to produce some of his most iconic works that would continue to influence generations of future artists. He took on students and established a tradition of landscape painting later know as the Hudson River School. The pictured oil on canvas by Asher Brown Durand painted in 1853 shows Cole’s legacy. Progress (The Advance of Civilization) speaks directly to the environmental issues tackled in his works — the left side is peaceful wilderness juxtaposed by the figures on the right and enhanced by the title. Cole painted to illustrate the beauty of the wild Earth and as manifest destiny, the expansion of the United States throughout America, increased in popularity the importance of his works grew.
Cole died at the age of 47 leaving a great legacy to be remembered and studied by painters and scholars for decades to come.
The exhibition will run until May 13, 2018. For more information visit the exhibition website here.
A catalog was produced in conjunction with the exhibition and can be purchased through the Met store.
This past weekend The Hyde Collection opened the exhibition Alphonse Mucha: Master of Art Nouveau which is on view through March 18, 2018.
Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939) was a Czechoslovakian artist who worked in Paris and established himself as a leader of the Art Nouveau movement. Preceding Art Deco, Art Nouveau was a visual, architectural, and decorative style popular from the late 1880s until the First World War. It featured highly-stylized forms inspired by those found in nature, such as curving plants and flowers. Beautiful women with long hair and seductive looks are frequent central characters.
Mucha trademarked these characteristics throughout the work which varied from advertisements, posters, and paintings to jewelry and wallpaper designs. The women were reminiscent of those found in Neoclassical paintings with long dresses that appear to be robes; flowers often form a halo around their heads. Text frequently played an important role in his poster works, such as in the 1896 color lithograph for Job cigarette paper. Here, a woman with long, sweeping hair holds a cigarette in her hand as smoke rises in a natural, curving zig zag form. ‘JOB’ is partially hidden by the female figure’s hair which extends out of the central poster and into the border inspired by mosaic work.
Alphonse Mucha: Master of Art Nouveau includes lithographs, drawings, books, posters, portfolios, and ephemera selected from the Dhawan Collection. It is curated by Gabriel Weisberg, Professor of Art History, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities and organized by Landau Traveling Exhibitions. It has previously traveled to other venues, including the Carnegie Arts Center in Turlock, California and the Dayton Art Institute in Dayton, Ohio.
Located a half hour North of Saratoga Springs, The Hyde Collection was founded by Charlotte Pruyn Hyde in 1952 to exhibit “the permanent collection and to promote and cultivate the improvement of the fine arts.” The core collection acquired by Hyde and her husband includes works by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Sandro Botticelli,Rembrandt, and Peter Paul Rubens. There is also a modern and contemporary collection with works by artists including Sol LeWitt, Robert Rauschenberg, and Josef Albers. The Hyde Collection is a unique institution in the Capital District. They are open Sunday 12 PM – 5 PM and Tuesday-Saturday 10 AM – 5 PM. General admission is $12 and seniors are $10. It is free for members, students with ID, children under 12 and active military.
To learn more about Alphonse Mucha please visit the Mucha Foundation website.
To learn more about The Hyde Collection please visit their website.