Republic of Taste: Art, Politics, and Everyday Life in Early America by Catherine E. Kelly

jbitenc Books

Artists and writers in eighteenth-century America, eager to craft a democratic culture distinct from that of Europe, but nonetheless notable for its refinement, elevated the idea of “taste” as an index of character and national virtue. This was not a populist project, but it reached into everyday life through the efforts of the people Catherine Kelly calls “aesthetic entrepreneurs,” who painted portraits, disseminated prints, opened museums, and produced banners and memorabilia to draw the multitudes into a patriotic festival of right-minded taste.

Rhode Island gets its due

Editorial Staff Exhibitions

Thanks to an active export market that sent its wares to the southern colonies, Canada, and parts of the Caribbean, furniture makers of Rhode Island enjoyed an influence far greater than their industry’s small size. The region’s superlative, and often misattributed, craftsmanship from the colonial and early Federal periods is the focus of a new exhibition, Art and Industry in …

The Kaufman Collection: The pursuit of excellence and a gift to the nation

Editorial Staff Furniture & Decorative Arts

Photography by Gavin Ashworth | from The Magazine ANTIQUES, May/June 2012 | In my catalogue of friends, mentors, scholars, and collectors, Linda H. and the late George M. Kaufman fill all the roles. From my earliest acquaintance with them in 1974, I have been in awe of their collection and of their indefatigable focus on beauty and excellence in their Norfolk, …

Thomas Spencer

Editorial Staff Furniture & Decorative Arts

Figs. 1,1a. Desk-and-bookcase probably by Thomas Spencer (1752–1840), East Greenwich, Rhode Island, 1775. Mahogany, chestnut, yellow poplar, and white pine; height 91 ½, width 41 ¾, depth 19 ¾ inches. High Museum of Art, Atlanta, gift in loving memory of Nancy Fraser Parker by her husband William A. Parker Jr., and her children William A. Parker III, Isobel P. Mills, …

Margrieta van Varick’s East Indian goods

Editorial Staff Furniture & Decorative Arts

September 2009 | At the time of her death in 1695 in the bucolic village of Flatbush, New York, the textile merchant Margrieta van Varick (nee Visboom, 1649-1695), the widow of the minister Rudolphus van Varick (1645-1694), owned an astonishing array of exotic goods from around the world: Chinese porcelain, Turkish carpets, Japanese lacquerwork, ebony chairs, Dutch paintings, Indonesian cabinets, …

New Worlds, New Art

aroseshapiro Art, Exhibitions

Artistic representation of human interaction with the land has a long history in the Americas. It spans more than thirty thousand years, from the earthworks and pictographs of ancient indigenous cultures to the land art of the 1960s and 1970s to contemporary photographs of the terrible beauty of environmental destruction. It was during the early years of the nineteenth century, …

Fortunate Son: Reading the memoirs of Albert Sack

Editorial Staff Furniture & Decorative Arts

from The Magazine ANTIQUES, July/August 2011 | “I was a good student up through 6th grade but then my priorities became play, friends, and girls. Mother kept a beautiful home. Dad was prosperous in carving out his career which interested me not at all.” Card table, John and Thomas Seymour. Boston, c. 1794. Courtesy of the Brant Foundation, Inc. Sideboard, …