Disruptive influences in Philadelphia

Editorial Staff Exhibitions

This fall the Philadelphia Museum of Art presents two exhibitions about art and artistry that upended the cultural apple cart—albeit in vastly different times, places, ways, and contexts.   September 3 saw the debut of Classical Splendor: Painted Furniture for a Grand Philadelphia House—a showcase for a suite of furnishings designed by the architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe and fabricated in …

Superfluity & Excess: Quaker Philadelphia falls for classical splendor

Furniture & Decorative Arts

The fruits of extensive research on Benjamin Henry Latrobe’s 1808 house and furniture for William and Mary Waln begin with their impact on the aesthetic of the city itself. By the middle of the eighteenth century the “greene Country Towne” founded by William Penn in 1682 was bustling with commercial and social activity. Colonists from Europe and the British Isles …

Making friends with fraktur: Some thoughts on the exhibition Drawn with Spirit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

aroseshapiro Exhibitions

If you are fraktur ignorant, fraktur agnostic, or fraktur allergic, this is an exhibition that should win you over. From its opening moment where a huge curving wall enlarges a small 1834-1835 gem of Adam and Eve attributed to Samuel Gottschall, the visitor is primed for seduction. How cunning of this artist to have depicted Eve being seduced by a …

Museum accessions

Editorial Staff Art

This short list of notable acquisitions began with a request to decorative arts curators in major American museums to choose and discuss a favorite recent gift or purchase. Raphaelle Peale’s Still Life with Strawberries and Ostrich Egg Cup has come to the Seattle Art Museum from the estate of Ruth J. Nutt, well known to collectors of American silver for the …

Vintage finds inspired by the pomegranate

Editorial Staff Exhibitions

Currently on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, An Enduring Motif: The Pomegranate in Textiles (through February 21) is a small exhibition of works from the museum’s permanent collection that spans a remarkably diverse range of techniques and geographic regions including the 18th-century French block-printed cotton fabric shown here. The pomegranate bears many symbolic associations—from the Greek myth of …

Endnotes: Combat ready

Editorial Staff Art

When visiting the International Fine Art and Antique Dealers Fair in New York in October, I was struck by the imposing arms and armor on display in the booth of Peter Finer of London—enormous poleaxes, a beautifully ornamented Italian half suit of armor, a bronze cannon on its field carriage. It made me stop and wonder idly about how you …

Philadelphia Museum announces new director and CEO, Timothy Rub

Editorial Staff

The Philadelphia Museum of Art announced today the election, by the board’s unanimous vote, of Timothy Rub as the George D. Widener Director and Chief Executive Officer, replacing the late Anne d’Harnoncourt. The director and CEO of the Cleveland Museum of Art since 2006, Rub received a bachelor’s degree in art history from Middlebury College, a master’s degree in art …