The discovery of John James Audubon’s very first print, made in 1824 and until now known only from his journal entries, seems like a good reason to show off some of the Carter’s own Audubon prints, which were digitized under the auspices of our NEA digitization grant. While Audubon’s first print depicted a heath hen, a now-extinct bird native to the far eastern United States, he also created images of birds and mammals that you may see here in Texas.
All works by John James Audubon (1785-1851).
Vulpes velox, Say. Swift Fox. Natural Size. Male., lithograph with applied color, 1844
The swift fox, possibly the most adorable animal in North America, is native to the prairies of the Midwest, from the Texas panhandle up to the Canadian grasslands.
Didelphis virginiana, Pennant. Virginian Opossum. Female & Young Male, 7 Months Old. Natural Size, lithograph with applied watercolor, 1845
The virginia opossum is the only marsupial native to North America.
Lepus texianus, Aud. & Bach. Texian Hare, Male. Natural Size. , lithograph with applied watercolor, 1848
With his long ears and long legs, the jackrabbit is actually a hare, which can be found in the deserts and prairies of Texas.
Great American Hen & Young. Vulgo, Female Wild Turkey. Meleagris gallopavo., engraving with applied watercolor, 1827
The wild turkey is native to the eastern half of the United States, and was (jokingly) suggested by Benjamin Franklin to be our national bird.
Hooping [sic] Crane. Grusamericana. Adult Male., aquatint and engraving with applied watercolor, 1834
The whooping crane is an endangered species that winters on the Texas gulf coast.
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, 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 ZÃ¼rich 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, 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.
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 (1902-1984), Santa Elena Canyon, Big Bend National Park, Texas, 1947, printed 1975, gelatin silver print, ©2010 The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust
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
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 (b.1911), The Doorway, lithograph, 1998, gift of the artist, ©1998 Will Barnet
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!
Sam Duncan, the library director at the Carter, recently asked me to tackle cataloging one of the libraryÊ¼s hidden gems: the thirty-ï¬ve volume EncyclopÃ©die, 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 EncyclopÃ©die, ou Dictionnaire raisonnÃ© des sciences, des arts et des mÃ©tiers, par une sociÃ©tÃ© de gens de lettres, mis en ordre par M. Diderot de l'AcadÃ©mie des Sciences et Belles-Lettres de Prusse, et quant Ã la partie mathÃ©matique, par M. d'Alembert de l'AcadÃ©mie royale des Sciences de Paris, de celle de Prusse et de la SociÃ©tÃ© royale de Loners, but it is commonly referred to as the EncyclopÃ©die. The EncyclopÃ©die is truly a marvel to behold, for many reasons. Most impressive is the great condition of the CarterÊ¼s example - all thirty-ï¬ve 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.
The EncyclopÃ©die, as I mentioned above, is comprised of thirty-ï¬ve volumes. These thirty-ï¬ve volumes are broken down into seventeen textual volumes, eleven volumes of plates, four supplemental volumes, two index volumes, and a ï¬nal supplemental volume of plates. These volumes, all told, hold seventy-ï¬ve 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 EncyclopÃ©die to be signiï¬cant because it was one of the best representations of the ideas and rhetoric of the enlightenment, as well as being the ï¬rst general encyclopedia to pay special attention to the mechanical arts. The enlightenment ideas are well represented in the classiï¬cation of human knowledge presented in the EncyclopÃ©dieÊ¼s 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 CarterÊ¼s EncyclopÃ©die represents this, as the later volumes state that they were published in Amsterdam. Scholars also highlight that the publication of the EncyclopÃ©die 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 “EncyclopÃ©die,” stating that the purpose of the publication was “to change the way people think.” This publication truly had a signiï¬cant impact on the development of modern Western Civilization.
The classiï¬cation scheme I mentioned above is of speciï¬c 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 EncyclopÃ©die was inspired by Francis BaconÊ¼s Advancement of Knowledge, and classiï¬ed all knowledge into three major categories: memory, reason, and imagination. Of course, todayÊ¼s schemes take the form of Library of Congress Classiï¬cation Numbers, and Dewey Decimal Classiï¬cation 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-ï¬les/the-feel-of-steel)
For me, cataloging the EncyclopÃ©die represents many of the reasons I chose librarianship as a career. The technical work and research that precedes the ï¬nal catalog record is both challenging and fascinating. Having an opportunity to interact with, and deepen my appreciation for signiï¬cant 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 EncyclopÃ©die for yourself, as it is truly a beautiful and awesome thing to behold.
Source for information: Wikipedia entries for the EncyclopÃ©die, Francis Bacon, and Denis Diderot.
Guest blogger: Jason Dean, Library Volunteer
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 J. McCloskey (1859-1941), Wrapped Oranges, oil on canvas, 1889, Acquisition in memory of Katrine Deakins, Trustee, Amon Carter Museum, 1961-1985
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
Be sure to check out our calendar for more public programs at the Carter!