Fashion and the Wiener Werkstätte
Face jugs crafted in the mid-nineteenth century by slaves and freedmen working in the Edgefield District of South Carolina are among the rarest and most historically significant of American folk art ceramics. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York recently acquired a superb one.
It seems to be, or should be, a law of intellectual life that the more obscure a discipline, the better the scholarship that it inspires. Its very obscurity, like a dragon guarding a valued horde, repels all but the most valiant and serious scholars. Compare a Wikipedia article on Khloé Kardashian with one on Pius IX and you will get the idea.
On view at the National Gallery of Art, Fragonard’s tetes de fantaisie evince some of the earliest stirrings of modernism.
As a symbol of fortitude and flexibility, bamboo often appears in Japanese art depicting rough weather—bearing up under high winds or the burden of snow, bending yet refusing to break.
Classic and contemporary silver in dialogue at the Museum of the City of New York
Everyone talks about the weather. Charles Burchfield turned it into art. He rendered its shifts, subtle or severe, in watercolors and sketches, giving visual expression to the humidity on a summer evening, or the faint warmth of the sun on a spring afternoon.
Sanford R. Gifford in the Catskills is the name of an intimate, beautifully curated exhibition on view at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site in Catskill, New York. But the show could also have been subtitled Local Boy Makes Good.
Pennsylvania impressionist George Sotter (1879–1953) excelled as a stained-glass artist before he turned his talents to landscape painting, and his facility with that first medium perhaps gave him a special understanding of the effects of light and color.
Courtier, boudoir aficionado, jailbird, and escape artist, Giacomo Casanova (1725–1798) was the perpetual motion libertine of Enlightenment Europe. He wrote what is probably history’s most salacious tell-all, Histoire de ma vie (Story of My Life), recounting all he did, and, to the delight of art lovers, some of what he saw.