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FW Weekly on 'Constructive Spirit'...and Mad Men

Check out the FW Weekly's review of Constructive Spirit: Abstract Art in South and North America, 1920s-1950s (and Mad Men-era decor) over here.

Carter Artworks On View Around the Country

Two works from the Carter's permanent collection are on view in traveling exhibitions that opened this week:

Thomas Eakins’s Swimming is on view at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) through October 17 in the exhibition Manly Pursuits: The Sporting Images of Thomas Eakins.
Thomas Eakins, Swimming, oil on canvas, 1885
Thomas Eakins, Swimming, oil on canvas, 1885, Purchased by the Friends of Art, Fort Worth Art Association, 1925; acquired by the Amon Carter Museum, 1990, from the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth through grants and donations from the Amon G. Carter Foundation, the Sid W. Richardson Foundation, the Anne Burnett and Charles Tandy Foundation, Capital Cities/ABC Foundation, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The R. D. and Joan Dale Hubbard Foundation and the people of Fort Worth

Laura Gilpin’s photograph of art historian George Eggers is on view in New York in MOMA’s exhibition The Original Copy: Photography of Sculpture, 1839 to Today through November 1, after which it will travel to Kunsthaus Zürich in Switzerland. Eggers was director of the Denver Art Museum when Gilpin shot this photograph, and also served as director of the Worcester Art Museum and Art Institute of Chicago during his career. NY Times review of the exhibition here.
Laura Gilpin, George William Eggers, platinum print, 1926
Laura Gilpin, George William Eggers, platinum print, 1926, printed 1929, bequest of the artist, ©1979 Amon Carter Museum

Here is a quick roundup of all the other works from the Carter’s collection currently on view around the country: Georgia O’Keeffe’s Series I-No. I is included in the exhibition Georgia O’Keeffe: Abstraction at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe through September 12; several works by Charles M. Russell are in The Masterworks of Charles M. Russell: A Retrospective of Paintings and Sculpture at MFA Houston through August 29; one of Laura Gilpin’s Pike’s Peak photographs is in Home Lands: How Women Made the West at the Autry National Center in Los Angeles through August 22; and a large group of Eliot Porter photographs of Georgia O’Keeffe (as well as her painting Dark Mesa and Pink Sky) are included in the exhibition Georgia O’Keeffe and the Far Away: Nature and Image through September 6.

Photo of the Week: The Real Deal

If you’re reading this blog, then there is no doubt you’ve also heard about the recent Ansel Adams attribution "scandal". Not surprisingly, the evidence is piling up against the California man who bought the negatives in question at a garage sale.

We at the Carter are lucky to have over 60 authentic Ansel Adams prints in the permanent collection, many of which are on view in the exhibition Ansel Adams: Eloquent Light through November 7.

Our Photo of the Week is comes from this exhibition. It’s one of Adams’s images of my favorite place in Texas, Big Bend National Park.
Ansel Adams, Santa Elena Canyon, Big Bend National Park, Texas, 1947, gelatin silver print, 1975
Ansel Adams (1902-1984), Santa Elena Canyon, Big Bend National Park, Texas, 1947, printed 1975, gelatin silver print, ©2010 The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

Amon Carter on Channel 8

Channel 8 has a review of our current traveling exhibition, Constructive Spirit: Abstract Art in South and North America, 1920s–50s, and an interview with curator Becky Lawton here.

It Works on Paper: 520 Years of Prints, Drawings, Watercolors

The digital imaging portion of the Carter's $50,000 NEA grant awarded last year is complete! That means we have thousands of new images of our prints, drawings, and watercolors to share with you on the museum's website - which is a wonderful thing because these works are rarely exhibited in order to preserve them as long as possible.

Speaking of prints that have been around a long time, here is the oldest work of art in the Carter's collection, a 15th century German woodcut of a beaver.

Helmut Conran, Bibergailn, woodcut with applied color, ca. 1487
Helmut Conran, Bibergailn, woodcut with applied color, ca. 1487

And jumping ahead about 520 years, here is the 'youngest' print in the collection, a 1998 lithograph by American artist Will Barnet, whose Self Portrait is currently on view in the Carter's galleries. You can also watch an interview with Barnet on ArtBabble.

Will Barnet, The Doorway, lithograph, 1998
Will Barnet (b.1911), The Doorway, lithograph, 1998, gift of the artist, ©1998 Will Barnet

Vote for the Amon Carter Museum!

Modern Art Notes' Tyler Green is running a week-long tournament to determine America's favorite art museum (or, more accurately, his audience's favorite art museum in America)...and we made the list! Competition starts tomorrow so check back!

Diderot's Encyclopédie

Sam Duncan, the library director at the Carter, recently asked me to tackle cataloging one of the libraryʼs hidden gems: the thirty-five volume Encyclopédie, edited mostly by Denis Diderot. Cataloging a work of this magnitude requires some bibliographical research, and I would like to share with you the interesting knowledge I gained about this wonderful publication. The full title is Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, par une société de gens de lettres, mis en ordre par M. Diderot de l'Académie des Sciences et Belles-Lettres de Prusse, et quant à la partie mathématique, par M. d'Alembert de l'Académie royale des Sciences de Paris, de celle de Prusse et de la Société royale de Loners, but it is commonly referred to as the Encyclopédie. The Encyclopédie is truly a marvel to behold, for many reasons. Most impressive is the great condition of the Carterʼs example - all thirty-five volumes are in exceptional condition, as they were published between 1751 and 1772, making the most recent volume approximately 238 years old. The illustrations are absolutely stunning in both their quality, as well as their variety. Finally, the impact of the publication itself is fascinating. The Carter library's copy also includes a copy of the original bill of sale, a rarity itself.

Encyclopedie Spines

Bill of Sale

The Encyclopédie, as I mentioned above, is comprised of thirty-five volumes. These thirty-five volumes are broken down into seventeen textual volumes, eleven volumes of plates, four supplemental volumes, two index volumes, and a final supplemental volume of plates. These volumes, all told, hold seventy-five thousand entries, made up of twenty million words, the collaborative work of 150 authors. It is humbling to think of all the effort that went into the production of these large, leather-bound volumes. Many scholars believe the Encyclopédie to be significant because it was one of the best representations of the ideas and rhetoric of the enlightenment, as well as being the first general encyclopedia to pay special attention to the mechanical arts. The enlightenment ideas are well represented in the classification of human knowledge presented in the Encyclopédieʼs table: theology is placed under theology, and the knowledge of God is only a few points above black magic. As one can imagine, this caused a great deal of criticism in 18th century Catholic France, so much so that in 1759, the king suspended the publication rights for the work. However, work continued in secret - and the Carterʼs Encyclopédie represents this, as the later volumes state that they were published in Amsterdam. Scholars also highlight that the publication of the Encyclopédie was a catalyst for the French Revolution, and a prime example of the democratization and popularization of knowledge associated with the enlightenment. Indeed, M. Diderot himself acknowledged this in the entry for “Encyclopédie,” stating that the purpose of the publication was “to change the way people think.” This publication truly had a significant impact on the development of modern Western Civilization.

The classification scheme I mentioned above is of specific interest to me as a librarian. The table represents an earlier effort to classify knowledge - which is one of the specialties of our profession. The scheme of the Encyclopédie was inspired by Francis Baconʼs Advancement of Knowledge, and classified all knowledge into three major categories: memory, reason, and imagination. Of course, todayʼs schemes take the form of Library of Congress Classification Numbers, and Dewey Decimal Classification numbers, and have changed in size, but the purpose remains the same - to classify knowledge, or their containers - books, music, et cetera.

As a library dedicated to the study, scholarship, and preservation of art, the volumes of plates are of particular interest. They cover a wide variety of topics, but focus especially on the mechanical and manual arts--how to create and make “things.” It was these very illustrations that provided the impetus for the Carter to acquire this publication, as they were to support study for a series of planned exhibitions about the mechanical arts. The exhibitions never came to fruition. The engravings themselves are copper engravings, and seem nearly to be as crisp as the day they were printed, nearly three hundred years ago. As a matter of fact, Sam blogged about another publication with beautiful engravings in it, The Feel of Steel. (http://www.cartermuseum.org/blog/the-n-files/the-feel-of-steel)

Encyclopedie Open

For me, cataloging the Encyclopédie represents many of the reasons I chose librarianship as a career. The technical work and research that precedes the final catalog record is both challenging and fascinating. Having an opportunity to interact with, and deepen my appreciation for significant cultural artifacts is exhilarating. Finally, on behalf of the library staff, I would like to invite you to the library reading room to enjoy these wonderful volumes of the Encyclopédie for yourself, as it is truly a beautiful and awesome thing to behold.

Source for information: Wikipedia entries for the Encyclopédie, Francis Bacon, and Denis Diderot.

Guest blogger: Jason Dean, Library Volunteer

Wrapped Oranges on KERA

KERA's Art & Seek blog has a great post today about an 'overlooked masterpiece', Wrapped Oranges, on view now in the Carter's galleries.

William McCloskey, Wrapped Oranges, oil on canvas, 1889
William J. McCloskey (1859-1941), Wrapped Oranges, oil on canvas, 1889, Acquisition in memory of Katrine Deakins, Trustee, Amon Carter Museum, 1961-1985

Demystification Accomplished

Lots of great conversations about modern art took place at My Kid Could Do That: Demystifying Abstract Art, a public program held Saturday. Best of all, our talented participants created great abstract art of their own.

©2010 Amon Carter Museum

©2010 Amon Carter Museum

©2010 Amon Carter Museum

©2010 Amon Carter Museum

Be sure to check out our calendar for more public programs at the Carter!

Summer Showers

The forecast calls for showers this week, an unusual event for Texas in July.

Charles Dahlgreen, Approaching Storm, ca. 1913-1915, Monotype

Charles Dahlgreen, Approaching Storm, ca. 1913-1915, Monotype, Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas.

Mabel Dwight, Rain, 1935, Lithograph

Mabel Dwight, Rain, 1935, Lithograph, Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas.

Ruth Bernhard, Apple Tree, 1970. Gelatin silver print, © 1970 Ruth Bernhard

Ruth Bernhard, Apple Tree, 1970. Gelatin silver print, © 1970 Ruth Bernhard, Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas, Gift of Paul Brauchle, Dallas, Texas