Posts Tagged 'Isaac Soyer'

A Tip of the Hat

In honor of National Hat Day this Friday, I wanted to tip my hat to a few fascinating finds in our collection.

Charles Willson Peale, Rachel Leeds Kerr, 1790, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Pauline Allen Gill Foundation 1989.23

Charles Willson Peale, Rachel Leeds Kerr, 1790, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Pauline Allen Gill Foundation, 1989.23

During the late 18th century, hats were the most important element of your outfit. Formal (read: ridiculously over-dressed) hairstyles had reached such heights that they required proper containment during daytime hours—Mrs. Kerr’s cap does just the trick.

John Singer Sargent, Dorothy, 1900, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Leland Fikes Foundation, Inc. 1982.35

John Singer Sargent, Dorothy, 1900, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Leland Fikes Foundation, Inc., 1982.35

At the turn of the 20th century, children were outfitted like mini-adults. Miss Dorothy’s oversized hat is decked out with such extensive feathers and ribbons that it’s almost too much for her little head to hold!

Isaac Soyer, Art Beauty Shoppe, 1934, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Public Works of Art Project 1935.7

Isaac Soyer, Art Beauty Shoppe, 1934, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Public Works of Art Project, 1935.7

A jaunt to the beauty shop wouldn’t have been complete without a favorite piece of millinery. But can you spot all the toppers in this keen scene? Don’t be fooled—the headpiece in back is actually a permanent wave machine!

Visit the DMA’s collection galleries, included in free general admission, and pick out your perfect chapeau.

Sarah Coffey is the Education Coordinator at the DMA.

‘Do It Up

Who doesn’t love visiting the salon to relax, recharge, gossip, and get a fresh new ‘do? And all of that pampering couldn’t happen without your trusty hairstylist. Since today is Hairstylist Appreciation Day, let’s check out what hair-raising inspiration the DMA’s collection has to offer.

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Isaac Soyer, Art Beauty Shoppe, 1934, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Public Works of Art Project

It’s no surprise that women back in the 1930s enjoyed being pampered at the salon too, though their pampering may have required a bit more work. Case in point: notice the guest in the green dress with the strange contraption on her head—she’s getting a perm with an early permanent wave machine. Oh the things we do in the name of beauty!

William Wetmore Story, Semiramis, designed 1872, carved 1873, marble, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Morynne and Robert E. Motley in memory of Robert Earl Motley, Jr., 1942-1998

William Wetmore Story, Semiramis, designed 1872, carved 1873, marble, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Morynne and Robert E. Motley in memory of Robert Earl Motley, Jr., 1942-1998

According to myth, Semiramis murdered her husband so that she could become the sole ruler of Assyria. A lady this fierce certainly requires the appropriately coiffed hair to match. Her tight curls are bound down her back and set off with a lovely crown, just to remind everyone exactly who’s in charge.

Charles Willson Peale, Rachel Leeds Kerr, 1790, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Pauline Allen Gill Foundation

Charles Willson Peale, Rachel Leeds Kerr, 1790, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Pauline Allen Gill Foundation

By the late 18th century, hair was teased to towering heights. Styles would be elaborately arranged by hairdressers and maintained for weeks by sleeping in less than comfortable positions with hair wrapped in handkerchiefs. Day dress required the proper covering of the head, but for evening the intricately crafted style was put proudly on display. If size does matter, we can only imagine what talents Mrs. Kerr’s hairdresser employed under her cap.

Stop by the DMA the next time you’re in need of a little hairstyle inspiration and see what your stylist can dream up!

Sarah Coffey is Assistant to the Chair of Learning Initiatives at the DMA.

Permanent Waves and Lipstick Craves

When my husband, Bryan, unexpectedly told me that he had redeemed the Art Beauty Shoppe reward from the DMA Friends program, I could hardly contain my “blow-your-wig” (check out other 1930s lingo) excitement. Bryan and I are in love with the DMA. We are both researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and its close proximity to the Museum allows us to easily enjoy lunch breaks and late night events in one of our favorite places. I was particularly surprised that he had used his points because we were trying to redeem a voucher for the coveted Overnight at the DMA, which takes 100,000 points. (I was actually able to redeem it for us—see you there on November 1!).

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Lacey (second from right); her husband, Bryan; her friends; and Pouf stylists

With the Art Beauty Shoppe reward, three of my friends and I were able to have our hair and makeup done in 1930s style and then have photos taken in front of the DMA’s 1934 painting Art Beauty Shoppe by Isaac Soyer. Pouf Blow Dry Salon accommodated the four of us just as if we were the four customers in the painting.

I was elated to get to share my love of the DMA with some of my friends in such a “swell” way. So I gave my friends, Amanda, Stephanie, and Katrina, a “dil-ya-ble” and we hit the Internet and antique malls to find the perfect vintage-style dresses to wear for the occasion.

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Bryan had the idea of adding props to make us look as if we were actually sitting in the salon, waiting for our appointment. He found a spring 1934 edition of Women’s Home Companion for us to peruse. I could “bump gums” for hours on that magazine alone, but I digress.

Lacey with her vintage copy of Women's Home Companion

Lacey with her vintage copy of Women’s Home Companion

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Amanda was able to find a 1930s cigarette holder, Stephanie brought tons of “snazzy” 1930s-era costume jewelry, and, with the addition of my red hat and mirror, we knew we were going to look like a group of “hot tomatoes.”

Lacey with her red hat

Lacey with her red hat

Amanda with her cigarette holder (don't worry, there were no cigarettes!)

Amanda with her cigarette holder (don’t worry, there were no cigarettes!)

The day of the photo shoot went off with a “bang”! We had quite the “hop.” The ladies from Pouf did an amazing job. They even saved the day when Katrina’s hair hadn’t quite dried enough—she ended up with quite a cool up-do. With our “keen” makeup and “nobby” hair, we posed our hearts out in front of the compelling painting. It was so much fun!

Katrina with her updo

Katrina with her up-do

Stephanie with the vintage mirror

Stephanie with the vintage mirror

Then, to top it off, Sarah Coffey—DMA assistant to the chair of learning initiatives, and organizer of the event—wasn’t going to take back stage or “goldbrick” around. She gave us a history of the painting and style of the time period. What I found most interesting was that not only did Soyer have his friends pose for the painting, but the granddaughter of the woman with the red hat actually spoke to the Museum about the piece. She informed them that her grandmother had just been engaged to her grandfather prior to sitting for the painting, and you can actually see her engagement ring while her nails are being painted a bright red. It’s so fascinating that each piece in the DMA’s collection has its own unique and interesting human history. Thank you so much Dallas Museum of Art for bringing this piece to life for me during such a wonderful experience!

Lacey Smith is a DMA Friend and researcher at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

All Dolled Up

Our 30,000 (and counting!) DMA Friends have some fun and unique rewards to choose from, one of which was the Art Beauty Shoppe Reward. Our lucky DMA Friend Lacey recently redeemed this special reward, which allowed her and three friends to get their hair and makeup styled in 1930s fashion (courtesy of Pouf) and then have a photo shoot with Isaac Soyer’s Art Beauty Shoppe (1934) in the American Art Galleries. The ladies came prepared with vintage outfits and props, including a 1934 Ladies Home Companion. Check out the scene below and stay tuned for an upcoming blog post from Lacey about her experience.

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Sarah Coffey is assistant to the chair of learning initiatives at the DMA.


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