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Corot to Picasso: French Paintings and Drawings
at the Speed Art Museum
November 6, 2002 - March 2, 2003

This exhibition, drawn from the collections of the museum and of local collectors, celebrates French pictorial art from the second quarter of the nineteenth century to the mid twentieth century.

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
(French, 1796-1875)
A Wash House at Marino, 1827
Oil on board
Museum purchase, Mrs. Blakemore Wheeler Fund
Photo by Kenneth Hayden

The core of the Speed's French paintings from this period came through the generosity of Minnie Marvin Wheeler (Mrs. Blakemore Wheeler). An active member of the museum's Board of Governors from 1939 to her death in 1964, she knew of the growing museum's collecting needs. About 1955, with the guidance of Paul Harris, the museum's first professional director, and later Addison Franklin Page, who succeeded him in 1962, Mrs. Wheeler quietly began privately to collect art, which she intended eventually for the Speed. She and Mr. Harris developed a list of "name" artists, and Mr. Harris searched for examples through art dealers in New York. The names on that list, such as Monet, Courbet, Cassatt, Boudin, Seurat, and others, show an intention to form a representative collection of leading modern artists. Although Mrs. Wheeler was generous in lending works from her collection to the museum, she always insisted on anonymity. At her death in 1964, she bequeathed to the museum thirty-five paintings and funds for additional art purchases.

Pablo Picasso
(Spanish, 1881-1973)
Woman in the Studio (Jacqueline Roque), 1956
Oil on canvas
Bequest from the Nancy Batson Rash and Dillman A. Rash Collection
Photo by Kenneth Hayden

Claude Monet
(French, 1840-1926)
The Church at Varengeville, Grey Weather, 1882
Oil on canvas
Bequest of Mrs. Blakemore Wheeler
Photo by Kenneth Hayden

Others continued this legacy of connoisseurship, ambition, and generosity, in particular board member Major General Dillman Rash. In 1998, General Rash bequeathed to the museum several works of art, including a painting by Pablo Picasso and a drawing by Henri Matisse, which he and his late wife Nancy Batson Rash had collected together. The generosity of Alice Speed Stoll's bequest in 1996 and the Accessions Trust subsequently established in her memory, coupled with donations from other individuals and institutions, continued the legacy by making possible the museum's purchase in 2000 of Paul Cezanne's Two Apples on a Table.

This exhibition is an appreciation of the donors and lenders who have made so many outstanding works available to be enjoyed by the museum's visitors during Millet to Matisse: French Paintings from the Kelvingrove Art Gallery, Glasgow, Scotland

Millet to Matisse
November 6, 2002 – February 2, 2003

Drawn from Glasgow’s distinguished Kelvingrove Art Gallery, the exhibition includes 64 paintings rarely seen outside Scotland. Millet to Matisse includes works from the Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and Modern periods by such masters as Monet, Renoir, Cassatt, Cézanne, van Gogh, and Picasso. The show will be traveling to only six cities in the United States and Louisville is scheduled as the opening venue. The exhibition is organized by the American Federation of Arts (AFA) and the Glasgow Museums. The presentation in Louisville is sponsored by The Humana Foundation.

Vincent van Gogh
Portrait of Alexander Reid, 1887
oil on board, 16 1/2 x 13 in. Collection: Art Gallery and Museum Kelvingrove, Glasgow. Courtesy AFA.

Organized chronologically, Millet to Matisse begins with a selection of canvases from the Barbizon School including Jean- Francois Millet's (1814-1875) monumental treatment of peasant life, Going to Work (1850-51). It also includes several important works by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796-1875). The development of Impressionism is represented in landscapes by Camille Pissarro (1830-1903), Claude Monet (1840-1926), Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), and Alfred Sisley (1839-1899). Two landscapes by Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) and Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) show how both artists, though aware of Impressionism, developed their own unique styles. Van Gogh's portrait of Glasgow art dealer Alexander Reid, painted when the two men lived together briefly in Paris in the late 1880s, illustrates the role art dealers played in the formation of the collection at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery. Reid was one of the major figures responsible for bringing 19th-century French art of distinction to his native Scotland. Georges Seurat's (1859-1891) Boy Sitting on the Grass (about 1882) and The River Banks (about 1883) are among the notable Post-Impressionist works.

Pablo Picasso's (1881-1973) The Flower Seller (1901), painted upon his arrival in Paris, and a group of works by Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940) and Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947), as well as superb Fauve paintings by André Derain (1880-1954), Raoul Dufy (1877-1953), and Henri Matisse (1869-1954), take the exhibition into the early 20th century. Ticket prices for the exhibition will be announced at a later date and tickets will go on sale in the summer of 2002. Museum members will be offered a significant discount.

Ed Hamilton: From the Other Side
June 11 – December 29, 2002

Including works from the Speed’s permanent collection and from private local collections From the Other Side celebrates Hamilton’s career from the late 1970s to the present. The centerpiece of the exhibition is Untitled given in memory of Speed Board Member Barbara S. Miller.

Ed Hamilton, (American, born 1947)
Detail: Untitled, (1992/93)
Mixed media, plaster, wood, and iron
Collection of the Speed Art Museum, 2000.8
Photo by Kenneth Hayden

Born in Cincinnati in 1947, as a child Ed moved to Louisville with his family and has been a lifelong resident. He graduated from the Louisville School of Art and incorporated Ed Hamilton Studios, Inc. in 1978. Best known for his monuments, which not only represent the heroic struggle against slavery, but also celebrate African-American pride, Hamilton first gained national public attention with the Booker T. Washington Memorial in 1984, and the Joe Louis Memorial in 1986. Since that time he has received many important public commissions, including his celebrated Amistad Memorial, in New Haven, Connecticut and his African-American Civil War Memorial, The Spirit of Freedom, in Washington D.C.

Throughout his career, Hamilton has centered his practice upon the question of identity, creating work that, while reflecting his training in the traditions of European and American art, is tempered by a sense of his own African-American roots. In the 1970s and 1980s this interest manifested itself in symbolic form. Utilizing assemblage techniques, Hamilton focused the attention of his viewer’s attention on issues of injustice, exclusion, and historical amnesia.

Accompanying the exhibition From the Other Side, there will be a small display of works, in the sculpture court, relating to Hamilton’s monument works.

Yinka Shonibare
Three Graces, 2001
Purchased with funds from the Alice Speed Stoll Accessions Trust.
Photo by Stephen White

Other Bodies
May 14 – September 1, 2002

Other Bodies is an exhibition that brings together contemporary works of art from the Speed Art Museum permanent collection, local private collections, and regional artists. It offers an opportunity to survey how contemporary artists approach the body in their work and also provokes the viewer to consider how we interpret these manifestations.

Using a variety of media, the artists in Other Bodies ask the viewer to consider the body as a metaphor. In painting, sculpture, photography, and video, they variously engage us in an exploration of how signs of the body can become meaningful in many different contexts – political, philosophical, psychological and aesthetic.

Alongside internationally known artists, such as Dihn Q. Le, Yinka Shonibare, Lorna Simpson, Tony Oursler, Petah Coyne, Cindy Sherman, and Judy Fox, Other Bodies will also include works by regional artists Russel Hulsey, Stephen Irwin, John King, and Louis Zoellar Bickett.

Genius in Wood: Early Kentucky Furniture
from the Noe Collection
June 18 – July 21, 2002

Drawing on only a small part of the Noe Collection, Genius in Wood explores the diverse expressions of early Kentucky cabinetmaking.

Pieces of the collection show a variety of forms and ornamental designs available to consumers during that early period. With their elegant forms and rich inlay, these masterpieces of early Kentucky cabinetmaking reflect both the state’s growing, early nineteenth-century economy and the sophisticated tastes of its wealthy consumers. Although called the “backcountry” Kentucky’s artisans and well-off consumers knew good design. From carefully constructed and inlaid sugar chests to grand tall-case clocks, Genius in Wood highlights these exemplary designs.

Masterworks from the Albertina
March 19 — May 12, 2002

Drawn from the Albertina Museum in Vienna, Austria, one of the world’s oldest and most important collections of Master drawings and prints, the exhibition includes 102 works of art by such masters as Albrecht Dürer, Raphael, Michelangelo, Rubens, Rembrandt, and other Italian, French, Dutch, German and Austrian artists. Works included are from the High Renaissance through Rococo periods.

The exhibition demonstrates the breadth and uncomparable quality of the Albertina's collection. Representing the German School are three drawings from the priceless Dürer folios: Study with Three Hands, 1494-95; Head of an Angel, 1506; and Virgin Mary, Anne and Christ Child, 1511. These precise and highly rendered studies are typical of the artist’s most important work. The Dutch School includes Farmhouse with a Canal, 1650-51 and Landscape with Windmill, 1650/51, both drawings by Rembrandt, and Ludolf Backhuysen’s dramatic Ship on a Stormy Sea. Also included are such Flemish masterworks as Peter Paul Rubens’ Rubens’ Son Nicholas with a Cap of1626/27 and his Study with Hands and Head of Woman and Man. Highlighted in the rich works of the Italian School are some of the greatest artists of all times. The High Renaissance master Michelangelo Buonarotti is represented by Three Standing Male Figures, about 1496, and The Dead Christ Supported by Mary, about 1530. Raphael is also well represented in this exhibition by Study of Heads and Two Women with Children, a study for a fresco in the Stanza dell‘Incendio at the Vatican in Rome.

The diverse styles of the French School, ranging from the classicists of the 17th-century to the Rococo period artists of the 18th-century, are also represented in the exhibition. Claude Lorrain’s Thicket with Cliffs is a magnificent work in brown ink, which creates with very frugal means the impression of trees and a cliff with a cave. Nicolas Poussin’s Tiberian Landscape with the Ponte Molle of1626 emphasizes more permanent structures both in the landscape itself and in the philosophical underpinnings of his art. Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s Roman Park with Cypresses (1774), has a feathery and romantic quality and emphasizes the leisured classes going about their daily routine, a hallmark of the Rococo.

Continuing the Speed’s mission of bringing great art and people together, Masterworks from the Albertina allows visitors an intimate look at the Old Masters’ imagination and creative process at work. The exhibition is organized by the Albertina and ArtReach International. The presentation at the Speed is sponsored by Bolla Wines of Italy. Tickets for the exhibition are $10 and are free for museum members.

Three Men Standing in Mantles
Michelangelo Buonarroti
Caprese 1475 – 1564 Rome

The education of a young artist in the Renaissance included the study of drawing on the basis of exemplary works by old masters. More than in other workshops, Domenico Ghirlandaio and his students focused on plasticity and modeling, achieved with cross-hatching executed with a fine pen. Michelangelo was above all influenced by Giotto and Massaccio, whose compositions were largely determined by the volume and plasticity of the figures. The Louvre and the Graphische Sammlung in Munich have such drawings by Michelangelo, and following Vasari’s lead, art historians view the front side of this sheet from the Albertina as a drawing after a figure from Massaccio’s Blessing of Mary, a fresco in the Brancacci chapel in Sta. Maria del Carmine in Florence that no longer exists today. Alternatively, it could be a copy of an otherwise unknown work by Ghirlandaio. Despite the weaknesses characteristic for a young artist where the mastery of proportions is concerned – for instance in the area of the left upper arm of the figure on the back of this drawing – Michelangelo had already surpassed his master in his youth. In place of silver point, Ghirlandaio’s preferred medium, the possibilities of the reed pen allowed Michelangelo to create very fine transitions and subtle chiaroscuro effects by applying varying pressure and varying density in the hatching.

Mary with the Dead Christ
Michelangelo Buonarroti (?)
Caprese 1475 – 1564 Rome

The precision of line and the tonality achieved with the hardness of the red chalk pencil make it an ideal medium for the detailed depiction and modeling of the human figure. This study is characterized by the subtly nuanced plasticity accomplished with the red chalk pencil and understanding for the weight and burden of a lifeless body. In academic literature, it is considered to be closely connected with Michelangelo’s last sculpture, the Pieta Rondanini, which today is in the Castello Sforzesco. The sculpture was created between 1555 and 1564 and was never completed. But the traditional attribution of this Albertina drawing, its intended purpose, and date are still the subject of controversial discussion in literature. Aside from the comparability of the figure of the dead Christ with crucifixion groups known to be by Michelangelo in the Louvre and in Windsor Castle, the linear draftsmanship of the figure of Mary supporting the corpse suggests that it is a late work by Michelangelo. Not only was his late period influenced by religious mysticism; it is also characterized by a certain ambiguity that was typical for his time. It remains unclear whether the drawing is meant to depict a pieta inspired by Medieval sculptures, the descent from the cross, or the entombment.

Sketch with the Torso of an Old Man and Studies of
Heads and Putti
Raffaello Santi, called Raphael
Urbino 1483-1520 Rome

Raphael was the youngest of the trio of geniuses that included Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo Buonarroti. Together they defined the High Renaissance in Italy. Raphael came to Florence from Perugia and took significant inspiration from the works of his two older contemporaries, as documented by his drawings after Michelangelo’s David in the Ashmolean Museum and the British Museum, and after Leonardo’s painting Leda with the Swan in Windsor Castle. This Albertina drawing is also a sheet of sketches on which Raphael recorded works that to him appeared important. For example, the half-length figure of the old man in the upper part of the drawing was freely based on Michelangelo’s unfinished St. Matthew from a drawing now in the British Museum that Raphael must have seen in Florence. It could be that Raphael intended this figure to be a man bound with a rope, but no later rendition has been identified to date. At the same time, the other, only sketchily indicated details on the Albertina sheet reflect Raphael’s direct study of antique monuments or an indirect familiarity with antique settings through contemporary engravings. This would suggest that the sheet was reused in Rome, presumably as part of a sketchbook he had started in Florence.

Two Women with Children: Study for Raphael’s Fire In the Borgo in the Stanza dell’Incendio in the Vatican, c. 1514
Raffaello Santi, called Raphael
Urbino 1483-1520 Rome

The attribution of this Albertina drawing is sometimes disputed. It was produced in preparation for the group of figures in the center of the Fire in the Borgo fresco in the Vatican. In this fresco, Raphael was describing an event from the life of the Pope Leo IV, recalling the achievements of Pope Leo X’s namesake on the occasion of the latter’s enthronement. Preliminary drawings and the paintings executed after them by an artist sometimes vary quite substantially. In this case, for instance, aside from the lack of the kneeling figure seen from the back in the fresco, the drawing diverges in several details such as the gesture of the kneeling figure in the foreground from the group of figures in the final painting. This is why some historians have suggested that it is a copy by Raphael’s student Giulio Romano. But the sense of physical weight in the kneeling figure, the elegant play of lines, the union of sensitive affection between the mother and child, and the dynamic and decisive gesture of the kneeling figure pointing to the left clearly speak for Raphael. The natural fall of the cloth in the figure’s garments indicate that the drawing is a study from life. It is possible that the group of figures in the Albertina drawing originally appeared in a different position in the fresco; the modified gesture of the kneeling figure would support this assumption.

Christ Healing the Sick (“Hundred Guilder Print”), 1649
Rembrandt Harmensz Van Rijn
Leiden 1606 – 1669 Amsterdam

The Hundred Guilder Print, of which only two slightly different states are known, was long considered one of Rembrandt’s most sophisticated and complicated compositions. The fact that this etching occasionally fetched more than one hundred guilders is documented in a source from 1654. The representation refers to several passages in the Chapter 19 of the Gospel of Matthew: The healing of the sick, the blessing of the children, the punishment of the apostles, and the story of the rich young man. The figures are arranged in groups; their positions and gestures are carefully balanced against each other. At the same time, they are concentrating on the figure of Christ, who towers above them all. This composition, defined as it is by atmospheric moods and subtle chiaroscuro effects, reveals the entire range of the artist’s technical genius. It is just as apparent in the richly nuanced treatment of cloth textures as in the way the play of the lines concisely characterizes the subject. Because of the many additions and corrections executed in drypoint, it is assumed that Rembrandt worked on this ambitious project for several years. In consideration of its high artistic and technical standards, the Hundred Guilder Print unquestionably ranks on par with the Nightwatch (Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum), which was completed in 1642.

Study with Folded Hands, a Female Head, and a Male Head, c. 1610
Peter Paul Rubens
Siegen 1577 – 1640 Antwerp

The three motifs on this sheet have no coherence with each other. Only the lower portion with the two versions of a pair of folded hands exhibits a connection with a painting. They are the hands of the figure of Mary on the left wing of an alterpiece. The central panel depicted the Raising of the Cross. Rubens had produced this work in 1609/10 for the Walpurgis Church in Antwerp. In 1815, after it had been temporarily taken to Paris, it was set up in the Antwerp Cathedral. Stylistically, the male head resembles a series of early Antwerp portraits of men (after 1609), while the female head in profile has been compared with the painting Tiberius and Agrippina (Washington, National Gallery). Counter to a hypothesis proposed earlier (exhibition catalogue, Vienna, 1977), the sheet probably was not cut apart until after the studies were drawn; the minimal displacement and breakage along the line where the pieces were separated seem to support this assumption. This practice was nothing unusual in Ruben’s studio, where studies were used for different projects. The sheet may have been put back together again in the workshop or at a later date.

Ruben’s Son Nicholas (with Cap), 1625/27
Peter Paul Rubens
Siegen 1577 – 1640 Antwerp

Portrait drawings – among them several depictions of the artist’s family members – form the core of the Albertina’s world-famous Ruben’s collection. The identity of this portrait was determined on the basis of the unmistakable similarities with the facial features of Nicholas in the famous double portrait of Albert and Nicholas Rubens in the Liechtensteinische Gemaldegalerie in Vaduz. This portrait painting is dated between 1625 and 1627, so the boy in the drawing must have been between seven and nine years old.

Carefully executed portrait drawings like these reflecting the artist’s private life were most likely not created as preliminary studies but for his personal gratification. In an unequalled manner, Rubens used the trios-crayons or three-chalk technique in order to contrast the different surface structures that are each defined by subtle lighting effects. He used powerful, red chalk lines to render the heavier cloth of the coat and cap and sharp, black, wavy lines for the curly hair. The face, in turn, is modeled with fine, superimposed hatching in red and black and accentuated with white heightening. Beyond the brilliant mastery of technique, the drawing demonstrates the artist’s special talent for capturing the essence of the persons depicted, especially when he had a close personal connection to them.

Study with Three Hands, c. 1494/95
Albrecht Durer
Nuremberg 1471 – 1528 Nuremberg

Albrecht Durer was already highly regarded as an artist during his lifetime, and his fame never faded throughout the centuries following his death. This is why such an abundance of his drawings have been preserved. About one thousand drawings by Durer are known to us today, a number that due to the controversial ascription of numerous sheets is always subject to a certain degree of fluctuation. The largest collections of securely attributed drawings by Albrecht Durer are in the British Museum in London (approx. 130 sheets), the Kupferstichkabinett in Berlin (approx. 120 sheets), and the Albertina in Vienna (approx. 130 sheets).

Durer’s drawings were for the most part made in preparation for all types of works in his artistic oeuvre, including paintings, woodcuts, and copper engravings. There are rapid preliminary sketches putting ideas to paper, compositional sketches, meticulous detail studies, and fully developed preliminary drawings. Durer’s nature studies form one of the highlights among them. They were often produced without a specific purpose in mind. The scope of works by Durer in the Albertina makes it possible to present exceptional examples from the wide variety of drawings in his oeuvre.

The sheet Study with Three Hands was first published immediately after it was acquired in 1932 and has been viewed in context with early, stylistically related self-portraits by the artist. A comparison with the Erlangen Self-Portrait (Universitatsbibliothek Erlangen) and Self-Portrait, Study of a Hand, and a Pillow (Lehmann Collection, Metropolitan Museum), which is dated on the back 1493, made it possible to identify the drawing as studies of the artist’s left hand and also provided the timeframe for dating it. The Vienna sheet, considered more advanced in skill and more carefully executed, is presumed to have been produced around 1494/95.

The tremendous appeal of this early self-observation of Durer is based on an “ingenious” combination of external form and content: they are exact studies of the artist’s hand and were rendered with dynamic, highly valuable sequences of lines. The cutout quality of the hands and their placement on the sheet of paper were consciously chosen. The expressive gesture of each individual jand can be interpreted on the basis of the pictorial language of the Middle Ages. We see the graceful hand of a suitor holding a flower, the pointing hand with an outstretched index finger, and next to it one of the most recognized but also most vulgar hand movements since ancient times.

Head of an Angel, 1506
Albrecht Durer
Nuremberg 1471 – 1528 Nuremberg

When Albrecht Durer left for his second trip to Italy in 1505 he had already gained a good reputation there as a printmaker – primarily as an engraver – but the Italians were not convinced of his achievements as a painter. When the German community in Venice commissioned Durer to paint The Feast of the Rose Garlands (1506; now in the National Gallery in Prague) for St. Bartholomew’s in Venice, it was therefore a tremendous challenge for the artist, and he mastered it triumphantly. He prepared for this painting with great care and in the process adopted the practice of Venetian artists to execute detail studies on blue Venetian paper (carta azzurra). In these brush drawings in dark gray ink with white heightening, composed in proportion to the painting, the artist achieved highly sensitive painterly values. The Head of an Angel, a detail study for the angel playing the lute in The Feast of the Rose Garlands, is perhaps the most touching work among the many known preliminary drawings for this painting (at least 22). Calm and pensive, the angel is turning its serenely beautiful face up to the heavens as it listens to the music.

The Holy Family, 1511
Albrecht Durer
Nuremberg 1471 – 1528 Nuremberg

The design for the woodcut Holy Family shows Albrecht Durer at the height of his graphic capability and inventiveness. The Christ child is in the center; Mary is holding him out to her mother Anne. To the left behind Mary is Joseph, and above Anne’s head her husband Joachim. Other figures are gathered around him. A powerful tree trunk, symbolizing the significance and power of the delicate Christ child, is towering above the group and accentuating it. In fully confident and yet extremely sparse strokes, enlivened by areas of light and shadow, Durer mastered this group composition with utmost persuasiveness. The rhythmic interplay of the figures and the bold alterations in the proportions establish a perfect connection between the individual figures.

In executing the woodcut, Durer limited himself to one pair of figures on either side of the Christ child, probably in the interest of achieving greater readability.

A Bountiful Plenty from the Shelburne Museum: Folk Art Traditions in America
February 19 — April 14, 2002

From the Shelburne Museum, home to one of America’s most outstanding folk art collections, this exhibition features 85 works, including trade signs, cigar store figures, carousel figures, weathervanes, ships’ carvings, scrimshaw, decoys, quilts, furniture, paintings, and sculptures from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.

Fruit on Marble

Artist unknown
About 1850
Oil on Canvas
H. 27 ”; W. 33“
Purchased from the Old Print Shop. New York City, 1954

The exhibition interprets the original context and function of the objects and explores folk art’s role in the development of modern American art. Artists represented include Edward Hicks, Erastus Salisbury Field, William Matthew Prior, Grandma Moses, Samuel Robb, John Crowell, Wilhelm Schimmel, and James Lombard. A Bountiful Plenty is organized by the Shelburne Art Museum and the Trust for Museum Exhibitions. Tickets for the exhibition are $7 and are free for museum members.

Still life painting in America flourished in the mid-19th century when paintings like this one were sometimes copied from prints or “how to paint” manuals. Many still lifes share a similar composition of a large central bowl filled with apples or pears balanced on either side with other fruits. The inclusion of watermelons suggests this is an American painting; watermelons rarely appear in 19th century European paintings and were considered a uniquely American fruit. The unknown artist’s highly stylized use of color and line gives the painting its unique character and makes it one of the most highly prized folk art pictures in the Shelburne Museum’s collection.

H. L. Adams Optician
Trade sign
Maker unknown
Late 19th century
Painted iron
H. 10 _”; W. 30”; D. _”
Purchased from Roger Wentworth, 1964

This sign, individualized with the optician’s name, used to hang in Manchester Center, Vermont. It survives with its polychrome and gilding, a reminder that most of the folk art in the Shelburne Museum’s collection was once vibrantly painted.

Major Ringgold Album Quilt
Maker unknown
Baltimore, Maryland
Cotton appliqué
L. 93”; W. 110”
Purchased from E. Haydn Parks,
Buffalo, New York, 1959

Baltimore-style album quilts, made by professional seamstresses and skilled amateurs alike, are known for the excellence of their craftsmanship, their use of elegant fabrics, and the overall harmony of their design. In the mid-19th century, Baltimore was the second-largest port in America. Quiltmakers took advantage of the wide variety of printed textiles available and skillfully used them in distinctive multi-layered appliqué, such as that shown here. The two eagle blocks and the monument at the top center illustrate the use of the popular rainbow fabric to provide shading and texture to the images.

The quilt commemorates the military hero Major Samuel Ringgold. He was born in Washington County, Maryland, in 1800 and died on May 11, 1846, from a cannon ball wound received at the Battle of Palo Alto in the Mexican-American War. His body was returned to Baltimore and buried with military honors on December 22, 1846.

Carousel figure
Carved by Daniel Muller (1872-1952)
Gustav Dentzel Carousel Company
(1867-1928), Philadelphia
About 1902
Carved and painted wood
H. 53”; W. 80”; D. 32”

Purchased from the antiques dealers Jones & Erwin, 1952
Master carver Daniel Muller’s tiger is one of forty-four superb animals from a complete carousel made by the Dentzel Company and now at the Shelburne Museum. During a fifty-year period beginning in the 1870’s, the Dentzel Carousel Company made some of the finest carousels. All of the figures from this carousel survive with their original paint, a rare occurrence as carousels were often repainted as part of routine maintenance.

The Shelburne Museum’s carousel was originally built a hundred years ago for the Sacandaga Amusement Park at the end of the rail line in Northville, New York. It was owned by the Fonda, Johnstown and Gloversville Railroad Co. Railroads often established such parks to attract passengers.

In Dentzel’s large workshop, several carvers worked on different parts of an animal, but the master carver in these cases, Daniel Muller, always carved the head and did much of the detailed finishing work. Daniel Muller was the most gifted of Dentzel’s carvers and designed and drew the patterns for many figures.

In 1952 when the Dentzel carousel was first offered to Mrs. Webb for the museum, she initially feared a carousel (any carousel) might not be good enough for the Shelburne’s collection. But, as she later related, she had a dream about her family enjoying a carousel ride, and purchased it so that museum visitors could enjoy the carousel, which they do, at least visually, because it is not ridden.

Harvard Chest
Maker unknown
Essex County, Massachusetts
Painted wood
H. 44”; W. 38”; D. 21”
Gift of Katherine Prentis Murphy

During the 19th century a rare group of chests, including this one, decorated with red buildings, were sometimes called Harvard chests because the painted images were thought (mistakenly) to be the brick buildings at that university.

The colored motifs, painted on a black ground, simulate the expensive lacquer furniture from Asia that was fashionable at this time. The western technique is known as “japanning.” This chest is part of a small but impressive group of furniture that was probably made in the Boston area, where, by the early 18th century, more than a dozen craftsmen in “japanned” furniture were active.

Katherine Prentis Murphy, who gave the chest to the Shelburne Museum, was a dear friend of Electra Webb, and a mush respected collector in her own right. She gave the Shelburne Museum over a hundred objects to furnish an 18th century Massachusetts house. Mrs. Webb moved the house to the museum specifically to hold her friend’s generous donation and named it for her – Prentis House.

Jane Henrietta Russell
Joseph Whiting Stock (1815-1855)
Signed on the back: “J. W. Stock/1844”
Springfield, Massachusetts
Oil on canvas
H. 52”; W. 40”
Purchased from Maxim Karolik, 1959

This portrait was painted after its subject had died; the portraitist, Joseph Whiting Stock, recorded in his journal that he was commissioned to paint the portrait of “Henrietta Russell corpse…” for $16. This was not an unusual practice in an age when many young children died before reaching maturity. For grieving parents the portrait would be the only visual record of their child.

Like many 19th century artists, Stock traveled from town to town in search of business. Paralyzed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair, he painted almost a thousand portraits of individuals from all over New England.

By painting the carpeted floor so that it appears more vertical than horizontal, Stock seems to reject the convention of three-dimensional illusionism. However, the rest of this highly detailed picture is painted with a strong interest in depth and perspective.

Black Duck
Carved by Anthony Elmer Crowell
East Harwich, Massachusetts
About 1920
Carved and painted wood
H. 7”; W. 16”

Crowell is considered one of the most gifted American decoy makers. He worked without assistance, both carving and painting his decoys. He made three grades of birds; his best-grade decoys were carved with their wings lifted up from their bodies, as in his Black Duck.

Apart from a few drawing classes, Crowell, who began making decoys when he was ten, was largely self-taught. This is an example of the best of his three grades of decoys. It was originally used for luring birds while hunting along the northeast Atlantic coast.

The detailing of the tail feathers and the bird’s finely shaped head are distinctive of Cromwell’s carving. In 1914 the Boston Sunday Globe called his pieces the “best decoys produced by hand in any workshop.”



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