Nantucket, in cultural memory, will always be the island of whaling. But in spite of Herman Melville’s panegyrics, it was the center of the whaling world for only a brief historical moment.
You’re not a craftsman until you think with the point of your tool,” or so says Sean Sutcliffe, cofounder of the furniture firm Benchmark.
“Almost an hour this side of Albany is the Center of the World,” wrote Frederic Edwin Church (1826– 1900) to his friend sculptor Erastus Dow Palmer. He added: “I own it.” Church, preeminent among the Hudson River school painters, was referring to Olana, his magnificent “Persian” style mansion and the surrounding 250 mountaintop acres of landscape he subtly designed.
A monumental new study of the life and art of cabinetmaker Isaac Vose
Visitors to Versailles: From Louis XIV to the French Revolution
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.
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.
Making It Modern: The Folk Art Collection of Elie and Viola Nadelman by Margaret K. Hofer and Roberta J. M. Olson (New-York Historical Society in association with D. Giles). 376 pp., color and b/w illus. There’s nowt so queer as folk,” according to the venerable English comment on the vagaries of human personality. Indeed, when the Polish-born American sculptor Elie …
Dolls are the only toys made in our image, the only human-like creatures children are given dominion over.
Recent noteworthy publications that are a pleasure to read and a delight to behold French Art Deco by Jared Goss (Metropolitan Museum of Art, distr. Yale University Press). 280 pp., color and b/w illus. As an artistic term, art deco is one of the most misunderstood. “Art Deco is commonly referred to as a ‘style,’ a designation that suggests specific shared characteristics,” …