Archive for the 'Collections' Category

Material Girls (and a Guy)

To make browsing through our online collection easier, there are filters to see smaller samples so you aren’t wading through thousands of artworks. For instance, you can search through culture of origin or look at the period in which an artwork was made—maybe you enjoy 18th-century French, or you want to go back to B.C.E. But one place where you might not normally look is our section labeled “Medium,” which lets you know how each artwork was made and what it is made from. While there are plenty of works made with oil paint, bronze, and marble, there are also those made of neon, bone, and soda cans.

What better time to showcase the interesting materials in our collection than the same week we celebrate the original “Material Girl” herself, Madonna. Second Thursdays with a Twist on September 13 is all about Madonna’s style, music, and the decade she helped shape: the 1980s. Until then, you can learn more about the materials in our collection that, like Madonna herself, are anything but ordinary!

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Prostitutes, c. 1893–95, pastel on emery board, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection, 1985.R.75

There are unique materials scattered among all the cultures that make up our collection. As you look at the different materials, some might stick out as interesting or odd, but for the artist making that piece it would not have been such a strange choice. This is the case in the pastel work by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec in which he used emery board, or emery cloth, as the base. This has similar qualities to sandpaper—slightly rough and coarse compared to traditional canvas. Using a delicate medium like pastel on something that will rip apart the creamy texture was a technique he learned from studying 18th-century pastellistes. Lautrec used the technique to create the beautiful, modeled shadows on the woman’s back with the heavier application of pastel. Although today we might think of emery board as an interesting material, at the time the work was created it would have been somewhat traditional for the pastel medium.

Meg Webster, Untitled (Turmeric), date unknown, jade adhesive on arches paper, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Caroline and Michael Van Valkenburgh, 2017.47.3, © Meg Webster

Contemporary artist Meg Webster was influenced by the Land art movement in the 1970s and studied under Michael Heizer. This influence led her to work primarily in sculpture using natural elements like plants. Webster’s untitled work in our collection is not a sculpture but one of her works on paper. These works share the same focus on the earth and connection to nature with her use of materials such as soil, ash, beeswax, and spices. Untitled uses turmeric to create a textured, dyed element on the paper. She uses natural materials in this series, but on a more intimate scale compared to her room-sized works with living plants. Using natural elements to dye or paint isn’t new, but using turmeric in its raw form shows Webster’s ability to create art without changing the natural form of the materials she uses, while also giving the piece a multisensory effect through smell and the visually distinct color.

Deborah Butterfield, Horse #6-82 – Steel, 1982, sheet aluminum, wire, and tar, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Edward S. Marcus Fund, 1982.96.FA, © 1982 Deborah Butterfield, Bozeman, Montana

Artist Deborah Butterfield has been making organic sculptures of horses almost her entire career. She has experimented with many different materials to make the animals to scale. In her early career, she used mostly wood and organic materials. The horse in our collection is made from steel, sheet aluminum, wire, and tar during the period in which Butterfield used mainly found metals to make the horse’s form. Even though the materials are rough, she contrasts them by creating smooth, precise forms, making the inorganic look organic. Butterfield is still working today, and now combines the materials from earlier in her career. She finds wood to create the shape of the horse, and then casts the pieces in bronze and reassembles it, Combining the two mediums to make one sculpture.

Katie Cooke is Manager of Adult Programs at the DMA.

Streamline Design: The Art of Technology

Today is National Radio Day, and yesterday, August 19, was National Aviation Day. The two days celebrate the development and technological advancements in aviation and the invention of the radio. While it is most likely coincidental that both holidays fall back-to-back, in terms of 1930s industrial design, this pairing is meant to be.

The years between World War I and World War II were the Golden Age of Flight and the Golden Age of Radio in America. During these decades, affordable, safe, and comfortable long distance plane trips became a foreseeable travel option for the greater American public. Similarly, the affordability of the radio brought families across the United States together for regular nightly programming and entertainment—essentially bringing the world into their living room. With both the skies and airways now within reach, the fascination with rapidly developing technology, speed, and motion became hallmarks of the era.

Artistically speaking, this era is one of my favorite periods in terms of the decorative arts. The emergence of flight had a profound impact on the design of many household and consumer goods during the interwar years, and radio encasements often reflected the Machine Age aesthetic of the 1930s. Prominent industrial designers of the day embraced America’s love affair with flight and successfully blurred the lines between art and technology with of-the-moment consumer products. Good design sells; therefore, it is no surprise that for the radio—one of the most prominent fixtures in the 1930s American household—overall design aesthetic often dominated the purchasing decision of a design-savvy consumer.

If you’re looking for a creative way to pay homage to these two holidays, take note of these aerodynamic gems on view at the Dallas Museum of Art that incorporate characteristic elements of streamline design, including horizontal banding, smooth exteriors, and the use of modern materials like chrome and plate glass. Each object suggests the concepts of speed and movement while stylishly capturing a moment in decorative art and design history when the worlds of aviation and radio effortlessly collide.

Take a look at the 1933 “Air-King” radio (model 66) designed by Harold Van Doren and John Gordon Rideout. The form of this radio is a play on the motif of a skyscraper, with its stepped shape toward the top; however, the circular glass plate on the façade with showing AM and FM broadcast band numbers, combined with the tuning and volume knobs, remind me of a cockpit’s control panel.

Don’t miss this “Bluebird” radio (model 566) designed by Walter Dorwin Teague and manufactured by the Sparton Corporation in 1934. The name alone embraces the notion of flight and is enhanced even further through streamlined design elements. Here, the straightforward use of circles and horizontal banding set against the plate-glass backdrop seems to mimic a single engine propeller plane’s nose and wingspan. I imagine a plane flying gracefully through the clear blue open sky, transporting the avid listener to new destinations through the magic of radio.

To learn more about how the Machine Age influenced art and design in America, visit the Dallas Museum of Art’s upcoming exhibition Cult of the Machine: Precisionism and American Art, which will open to the public on September 16.

Jennifer Bartsch-Allen is a Digital Collections Content Coordinator at the DMA.

Accio, Art!

Don’t be alarmed if you’re downtown this weekend and see wands, pet owls, witches, and wizards. They are all here for the annual international LeakyCon. If you can’t tell from the name alone, LeakyCon is a weekend-long convention all about our favorite boy wizard, Harry Potter. Tickets for this immersive conference sold out the day they went on sale, so if you’re like us and didn’t snag a spot, don’t try and alohomora your way in! Just head over to the DMA and use our Marauder’s Map self-guide to find works in our collection that connect with Harry Potter characters. If you’re stuck in a cupboard under the stairs and can’t make it to the Museum, here are our DMA horcruxes that match all seven of the objects He Who Must Not Be Named placed his soul into. What better place to hide a horcrux than in a museum?

The Diary of Tom Riddle
On view in the Paintings Conservation Gallery, Level 2

Riddle Diary 1

Josef Hoffmann, Concordia Ball program cover, 1909, gilt, copper, leather, and paper, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Dr. and Mrs. Edward Mattil, 1989.111

Marvolo Gaunt’s Ring

Ring, Velma Davis Dozier, 1959, gold and tourmaline, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Otis and Velma Dozier, 1979.16

Salazar Slytherin’s Locket
On view in the 18th-Century European Art Gallery, Level 2

Elisabeth Louise Vigée-Lebrun, Portrait of Natalia Zakharovna Kolycheva, née Hitrovo, 1799, oil on canvas, lent by the Michael L. Rosenberg Foundation, 29.2004.13

Helga Hufflepuff’s Cup

Two-handled cup, Louis-Constant Sévin, 1866, bronze and silverplate, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the 1991 Dallas Symposium in honor of Caroline Rose Hunt, 1992.321

Rowena Ravenclaw’s Diadem
On view in the Cecil H. and Ida M. Green Classical Galleries, Level 2

Diadem, Greek, 2nd century BCE, gold, glass, and repoussé, Dallas Museum of Art, Museum League Purchase Funds, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc., and Cecil H. and Ida M. Green in honor of Virginia Lucas Nick, 1991.75.75

Harry Potter embodied by his favorite place, Hogwarts
On view in the 18th-Century European Art Gallery, Level 2

Johan Christian Dahl, Frederiksborg Castle, 1817, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund, 2014.22.FA

Nagini

Mantle clock with figure of Perseus, Pierre-Victore Ledure, early 19th century, lent by David T. Owsley, 156.1994.51

If you want to check out our Marauder’s Map self-guide of the collection, grab one at the main Visitor Services Desk on Level 1 beginning Friday, August 10. Make sure to come out that weekend, they will be gone after Sunday, August 12.

If you want another wizarding world activity to celebrate the weekend, click here to complete our Sorting Hat quiz based on objects in our collection.

Katie Cooke is Manager of Adult Programs at the DMA.

As You Wish

The Princess Bride is one of my favorite movies. It has everything a classic fairy tale should—sword fights, castles, intrigue, large rodents, pirates, even (*gasp*) kissing!

Therefore, my excitement knows no bounds as our Second Thursday with a Twist this week is themed As You Wish—a fun night exploring themes between our collection and The Princess Bride.

You’ll be able to watch a fencing demonstration, take a scavenger hunt through the Museum, and listen to actors dramatically read passages from the book.

To prepare you for an inconceivable night, I wanted to share some works of art from our collection that remind me of characters or scenes from the movie:

The Dread Pirate Roberts is swoon-worthy and mysterious—as is Le Captaine.

Debbie Fleming Caffery, Le Captaine, Louisiana, 1995, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of DMA Friends of Photography, 1998.127

The Dread Pirate Roberts first appears at the Cliffs of Insanity, and I always imagine that this painting could have inspired them.

Thomas Cole, The Fountain of Vaucluse, 1841, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of J. E. R. Chilton, 1992.14

Atop the Cliffs of Insanity, the most epic fencing scene takes place, and every time I walk by this painting I think of Inigo Montoya and automatically say “You killed my father, prepare to die!”

Michael Sweerts, Portrait of a Gentleman, possibly a Member of the Deutz Family, 1648–49, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Karl and Esther Hoblitzelle Collection, gift of the Hoblitzelle Foundation, 1987.25

For those who love Fezzik, Untitled (big/small figure) features our resident giant.

Tom Friedman, Untitled (big/small figure), 2004, styrofoam and paint, promised gift of the Dallas Museum of Art Board of Trustees to the Dallas Museum of Art in honor of John Eagle; Dallas Museum of Art through the TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art Fund, © Tom Friedman, 2004.33.a-c

One of Fezzik’s memorable lines is “Anybody want a peanut?” So try not to start a rhyming game when you see this gold weight in the Power of Gold exhibition.

Goldweight, Asante peoples, possibly, mid-20th century, brass and copper alloys, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts, The Alfred and Juanita Bromberg Collection, bequest of Juanita K. Bromberg, 2000.229.86.FA

The battle of wits between Westley and Vizzini brings us another classic scene: “Are you the sort of man who would put the poison into his own goblet or his enemy’s?”

Goblet (one of a pair), George B. Sharp for Bailey & Co., c. 1864, silver, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Jo Kurth Jagoda in memory of Constance Owsley Garrett, 1989.20.2

There are three things to fear in the Fire Swamp, and whenever I see this painting I think if I went just beyond the trees I might step on a fire spurt, fall into some quicksand, or encounter an R.O.U.S.

Narcisse–Virgile Diaz de la Peña, Forest of Fontainebleau, 1868, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Munger Fund, 1991.14.M

Speaking of R.O.U.S.es—while this rat is not an unusual size, it clearly has no problem attacking a human and eating his nose!

Large jar: figure with rat eating the nose, Moche culture, 400–600 CE, ceramic, slip, and paint, Dallas Museum of Art, The Nora and John Wise Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Jake L. Hamon, the Eugene McDermott Family, Mr. and Mrs. Algur H. Meadows and the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated, and Mr. and Mrs. John D. Murchison, 1976.W.116

Killer rodents aside, if you are a fan of TRU WUV be sure to join us on Thursday night!

Stacey Lizotte is the DMA League Director of Adult Programs at the DMA.

America the Beautiful

Happy Independence Day! Many of you likely have exciting activities on your agenda today, like proudly parading through the streets, chowing down on some backyard BBQ, watching the night sky illuminate with sparkling bursts of color, or all of the above. For those of you in need of some balance between raucous outdoor festivities and quieter, more subdued plans, today is a great time to visit the DMA and stroll through the American art in our collection. The Museum is open today from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

To celebrate the array of differing landscapes and perspectives that make up the United States, here are a few works from American artists that illustrate various scenes and slices of life in our country.

Small towns:

 

Big cities:

 

Towering mountainscapes:

 

Seaside scenes:

 

Deserts and dry lands:

 

Lush green views:

 

Everyday people:

 

And all the critters in between:

 

Hayley Caldwell is the Communications and Marketing Coordinator at the DMA.

Six Centuries Unabridged

Word & Image: Works on Paper from the 15th through 20 Centuries, on view in the DMA’s level 2 European Galleries, focuses on artists who blurred the boundaries between art and text, and uniquely explores this dynamic progression as it developed across Europe for over six centuries. Each of these works, selected from the DMA’s permanent collection, have a rich and diverse history. While many were originally intended as personal objects for private use, others were made for mass production on the open market or for a select group of art connoisseurs. Several of these pieces have not been on view for several years, if ever.

Here’s a close look at a few of the objects on display:

15th-Century German Artist, David and the Ark of the Covenant, page from the Cologne Bible, late 15th century, published in Cologne, Germany, printed by Heinrich Quentell and Bartholomäus von Unckel, hand-colored woodcut on paper, Gift of the Dallas Print Society. 1937.18

What is this page from?
This page was removed from a copy of the Cologne Bible, printed in Germany. The Cologne Bible was one of the most ground-breaking evolutions in book design. We take for granted today that a book may be produced with as many pictures as a writer or publisher desires, scattered however and wherever across the page. In this period, only the upper-class could afford elaborately designed manuscripts. Even these opulent books followed a traditional standard of production with images set either above or below the text, or separated completely on another page. The Cologne Bible shocked viewers with over 100 images that break directly through the text.

How was it made?
Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press lead book production out of the Middle Ages and into the Early Modern era. This page was assembled using individually cast letters and symbols covered with an oil based ink. Its woodcut illustration was created using a relief printing technique, in which a woodblock is carved with a chisel or gouge and inked with a roller. The sunken, cut-away areas received no ink and appeared white in the print. Color was added after the page dried. This addition of pigment also signals the wealth of the patron.

William Hogarth, The Five Orders of the Periwigs, 1761, etching on paper, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Mrs. Alfred L. Bromberg, 1984.194.FA

What inspired this work?
In 1748, the antiquarians James Stuart and Nicholas Revett announced that their important work The Antiquities of Athen Measured and Delineated was soon to be published. However, the first volume only made it to press in 1762, with the second appearing around 1789 or 1790. Nearly 40 years after their announcement! Here, Hogarth plays on the annticipation of the long wait for their work, with the opening line “In about Seventeen Years, will be completed” at the bottom. This may have been more lighthearted than really biting, as James Stuart was claimed to keep a copy of the print on a fire screen in his parlor to show visitors.

Who are we looking at?
This complex etching is organized by row based on the five classical orders: Doric, Tuscan, Iconic, Composite, and Corinthian. He arranges the wigs like a display in a shop window with each line corresponding to the five social classes who wore them. Notice at the bottom, there is a sixth additionial order for aristocratic women. The characters wearing the wigs were recognizable individuals, including William Warburton at the very top left turned in profile, Bubb Doginton below him, and the Queen Charlotte and Countess of Northumberland on the bottom line.

Olga Vladimirovna Rozanova, Authors: Alexei Kruchenykh, Velimir Khlebnikov, text and Illustration from A Game in Hell, 1914, Second Edition, published in St. Petersburg, Printed by Svet, Nevski Prospect, 136, lithograph on paper, Dallas Museum of Art, The Art Museum League Fund in honor of Mr. and Mrs. James H. Clark. 1978.75.4

What is it?
This second edition of the Futurist book A Game in Hell is quite different from the first in binding technique, lettering type, illustration, and its further additional 292 verses. A Game in Hell is an extended poem about a card game going on between devils and sinners in hell. Artists Olga Rozanova and Kazmir Malevich collaborated with writers Alexei Kruchenykh and Velimir Khlebnikov to create a completely new work filled with more lively devils and sinister characters. While Malevich did three drawings and the cover, Rozanova dominates the character of the book with over twenty compositions and marginal figures.

What influenced this piece?
During the early 20th century, there was a dominant Russian peasant population, influencing Futurist interests in handmade books and folk-like imagery. The poetics of play and chance manifested in the aesthetics of early Russian avant-garde as a rebellious method of making art without rules. Futurist books were the perfect marriage of physical object and literary expression, which created a true merging of art and word.

Beth CreMeens is the Dedo and Barron Kidd McDermott Graduate Intern for European Art at the DMA

Dancing Queen

Even though all of the art hanging on our walls and that sit behind glass are stationary, it doesn’t mean the subjects were staying still. For our Second Thursdays with a Twist in May, we are letting everyone be a Dancing Queen for the night with dance performances, charades, dance instruction and art making with movement! We were very inspired by the pieces in our collection that are busting a move; check out a few examples below.

This dancer doesn’t need a partner, she’s making moves all by herself:

John Singer Sargent, Study for “The Spanish Dancer”, 1882, Watercolor, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Margaret J. and George V. Charlton in memory of Eugene McDermott © Image courtesy Dallas Museum of Art

You can’t talk about dance without including Degas, someone who focused many major paintings on delicate ballerinas:

Edgar Degas, Ballet Dancers on the Stage, 1883, Pastel on paper, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mrs. And Mrs. Franklin B. Bartholow, 1986.277

The Divine Dancer in Hindu religion, Shiva dances to the beat of the universe surrounded by the flames of destruction:

Shiva Nataraja, 11th century, Arts of Asia, bronze, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mrs. Eugene McDermott, the Hamon Charitable Foundation, and an anonymous donor in honor of David T. Owsley, with additional funding from The Cecil and Ida Green Foundation and the Cecil and Ida Green Acquisition Fund © Image courtesy Dallas Museum of Art

There are very few sculptures that look like they are having as much fun as this bronze break-dancer:

There are very few sculptures that look like they are having as much fun as this bronze break-dancer.
Joel Shapiro, Untitled, 1981–1984, bronze, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Exxon Corporation © Joel Shapiro / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

You can almost hear the soothing sound of a guitar that’s making this couple sway to the music:

Katie Cooke is Manager of Adult Programs


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