Tectonic forces and global cooling and warming set the stage for the dawn of New York State history. The stage was not a barren one and long before King Kong climbed the Empire State Building that scrapped the sky, giants walked the ground that would become the Empire State. These giants would be called “mastodons” and they became important in religion and nationalism in ways that before their discovery no one could have imagined.
The story of mastodons and New York begins in 1705 in Claverack, Columbia County. A Dutch tenant farmer picked up a five-pound tooth that had rolled down a hill and landed at his feet. Being a sensible sort of person, he naturally traded the tooth to a politician for a glass of rum. The tooth thereupon made its way up the political food chain until it arrived in London. Continue reading
The New York Art Resources Consortium (NYARC), consisting of the libraries and archives of The Frick Collection (Frick Art Reference Library), the Brooklyn Museum, and The Museum of Modern Art, has been awarded a grant of $340,000 from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to initiate a program of web archiving for specialist art historical resources.
The two-year program will follow a 2012 pilot study, Reframing Collections for the Digital Age, also funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. That study demonstrated that the types of materials the NYARC libraries had been collecting in printed form were increasingly migrating to online versions available exclusively on the web. Continue reading
The Albany Institute of History & Art just opened a new exhibition, Big and Bold: Contemporary Art from the Albany Institute’s Collection, sponsored by Omni Development Company, Inc. The show will run until March 2, 2014.
The exhibition includes 19 works by 19 artists, including paintings, collage, mixed media and sculpture and draws from the Albany Institute’s collection of over 350 works of contemporary art. Big and Bold showcases pieces that are large in size, bold in color, and have commanding presence. It is the first exhibition in the Institute’s newly renovated Lansing Gallery. Continue reading
A new exhibit opening at the New York State Museum in Albany on Saturday, “Weather Event,” focuses on Charles E. Burchfield’s depictions of the weather south of Lake Erie, where the artist lived for most of his life. Individual weather events are examined through both an artistic, historic, and scientific lens.
Burchfield’s representations of weather, wind, skies and sounds are unique historical records of the environment near Lake Erie. In 1915, Burchfield made a series of sketches that show the changing weather and position of the sun over the course of several hours, which he called all-day sketches. Decades later, a 1950 journal entry recounts “The Day the Sun Disappeared over Western New York.” Continue reading
Historian and art enthusiast Jim Mackin will present “Artists of Taconic State Park” at a lecture and slide show on Saturday, October 26th at 1pm at the Roeliff Jansen Historical Society, Corner of Route 344 and Miles Road in Copake Falls. Admission is free.
Mackin will share with the audience his quest to find artists who have painted in Taconic State Park since the early 1800s. His presentation will include related local and park history as well as stories about some of the renowned artists whose works found their way into prominent museums. The presentation will feature many images that illustrate how inspiring Taconic State Park has been to artists for nearly two centuries. John Frederick Kensett, Asher B. Durand and David Milne are among the artists expected to be featured. Continue reading
It’s not often that a person is the focus of a sculptor’s attention. In the mid-1920s, a North Country woman found herself in just that position. The sculptor’s name was Pompeo Coppini, a noted artist who won several awards and whose works were featured from coast to coast. Many of his 128 principal creations are prominent in the state of Texas, including The Spirit of Sacrifice, the large monument at the Alamo honoring those who died within the fort’s walls. It has been viewed by millions.
Coppini sculpted many historical figures of great accomplishment, including Robert E. Lee, Woodrow Wilson, Stonewall Jackson, Sam Houston, and George Washington. Add to that list Mrs. Ethel Dale, chosen as a sculpture subject for her great achievement in the field of … well, doing nothing. Continue reading
Many people probably remember that at the end of the 19th century the city of Gloversville, in Fulton County, was recognized as the glove-making capital of the world. However, one of Gloversville’s famous sons, William Henry Burr, has been all but forgotten.
Referred to as “the great literary detective” by one of the 19th century’s foremost orators and political speechmakers, Robert G. Ingersoll, Burr was born in Gloversville on April 15, 1819. His father, James Burr, was one of the founders of the glove industry in the community, once known as Stump City. Continue reading
Activism and artistic practice intersect in Witness: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties, a presentation of 103 works by 66 artists that is among the few exhibitions to explore how painting, sculpture, graphics, and photography not only responded to the political and social turmoil of the era but also helped to influence its direction.
Debuting at the Brooklyn Museum, where it will be on view from March 7 through July 6, 2014, the touring exhibition marks the fiftieth anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the events leading to this historic moment, and the aftermath of the legislation. Continue reading
In 1869, alarming news about the dangers of drinking absinthe swept north from New York City, through Albany, all the way to Malone, near the Canadian border. A “brilliant writer” from the New York press and a “talented lady” had ruined themselves physically and mentally by drinking absinthe.
Comparing the drink to opium and morphine, the article warned readers that absinthe “obtains an all-powerful control over its votaries, deadens the sensibilities, and is, indeed the guillotine of the soul.” Continue reading
The Thomas Cole National Historic Site has set record attendance numbers for their 2013 exhibition: Albert Bierstadt in New York & New England, which remains on view through November 3, 2013. As of the middle of July, attendance income was more than double the number from the previous year and has exceeded all previous records. The Thomas Cole site has recently announced plans to hire more touring staff to keep up with the demand. Continue reading
The Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York, presents Plain and Fancy: Native American Splint Baskets, an exhibition of baskets spanning two centuries. The art of ash splint basketry is a beautiful synthesis of form and function. The exhibition opens Saturday, August 10, and runs through December 29, 2013.
The exhibition includes over 30 baskets from the 1800s to the present day. Ash splint basketry ranges in form and decoration from practical storage and market baskets to fanciful and exquisitely designed artworks. Basket makers incorporate numerous design elements, such as a variety of weaves: checker, wicker, twill, and hexagonal plaiting. Artists also use sweetgrass and curled splints to embellish their baskets. Other design elements include dyes, stains, and paint. Domes, triangles, dots, or leaves are hand-painted or stamped with a carved potato, turnip, cork, or piece of wood. Continue reading
The Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown is presenting an exhibition showcasing over forty-five important 19th century landscape paintings by Hudson River School artists. The Hudson River School: Nature and the American Vision, organized by the New-York Historical Society, will run through September 29.
The exhibition is part of a collaborative project with The Glimmerglass Festival, Hyde Hall, and Olana State Historic Site, the home of Frederic Church. Each organization features programming related to the Hudson River School throughout the summer. Continue reading
Here’s a quick look at some of the latest New York History resources to hit the web:
- The Syracuse University Archives has completed the processing of the George Fisk Comfort Family Collection, dating from 1822 to 1956, which contains a significant amount of material from George Fisk Comfort (1833-1910), the first dean of the (now defunct) College of Fine Arts at Syracuse University, and was involved in the establishment the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as what is now the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse. The collection also includes material associated with Silas Comfort, a Methodist minister and Anna Manning Comfort. Various items, such as letters and family photographs, were digitized and are available in the online finding aid. Continue reading
“Three Parlors,” a new exhibition using three Victorian parlor suites to track the development of a new American identity during the 19th century, will open at Lyndhurst on June 20th and will remain open through the end of 2013.
Lyndhurst is fortunate to retain the furnishings of the three families who occupied the estate over the past 175 years. The three suites of parlor furniture at Lyndhurst were installed in 1838-42, 1865 and 1882 and were created during a century in which the United States struggled to establish its national identity. Continue reading
Rosewood Lion. India. Clinton Howell Antiques
Lions, toucans, dolphins, dogs, cocks, — critters galore tread the echoing halls of the Park Avenue Armory in this year’s annual Spring Show, NYC of Art and Antiques.
Made of glass, paint, leather, rosewood, bronze, silver and precious jewels these fanciful creatures are testimony to the enduring pleasures of the animal kingdom as a theme in art and design. And since the ASPCA is the sponsor and even beneficiary of a portion of some sales at this year’s event, tracking the artistic fauna forges a trail through the riches of an extravagant spring ritual. Continue reading
What do artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, toy merchant Frederick A.O. Schwarz and political powerhouse William Magear “Boss” Tweed have in common?
They’re all buried in Brooklyn’s Historic Green-Wood Cemetery along with abolitionist Henry Ward Beecher, musician Leonard Bernstein, industrialist Peter Cooper, composer Fred Ebb, piano manufacturer Henry Steinway, decorative master Louis Comfort Tiffany – and roughly 560,000 others – many equally famous (some infamous) and hailing from the worlds of sports, the arts, entertainment, politics, the military and industry. Continue reading
An exhibition featuring the work and philosophy of renowned industrial designer Russel Wright will open May 4, 2013 at the New York State Museum. Russel Wright: The Nature of Design explores Wright’s career from the 1920s through the 1970s and features approximately 40 objects along with photographs and design sketches.
On display through December 31 in the Crossroads Gallery, the exhibit was first organized by and presented at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at the State University of New York at New Paltz from August 2012 to March 2013. The exhibit includes objects such as wood serving bowls and spun aluminum trays designed Pre-World War II as well as Wright’s more experimental and innovative Post-World War II designs, including earthenware plates, bowls, pitchers, and vases. Continue reading
On April 2nd 1813, the Village of Sing Sing (now called Ossining) became the first incorporated municipality in Westchester County. To recall and honor that historic day, the Village of Ossining will be holding a series of commemorative activities from April through October of 2013.
The bicentennial celebration, kicks of with “Ossining in 3D,” a historical photo and map show that runs through April 29th and depicts 200 years of Ossining’s history including its numerous historically and architecturally significant buildings, structures and sites. Continue reading
Barbara Novak is one of America’s premier art historians. Breaking into the world of American art history in the 1950s, when few professors taught the topic, Dr. Novak spent the next 40 years creating a foundation for the study of American art history through her seminal books and teaching.
Now the Helen Goodhart Altschul Professor of Art History Emerita at Barnard College and Columbia University, Novak has inspired generations of students to pursue careers in academic and museum life. Six speakers from a range of fields will offer personal stories of the wide sweep of Dr. Novak’s influence as a scholar and mentor. Dr. Novak will offer her remarks at the end of the event. Continue reading
Thomas Cole (1801-1848) , English immigrant, is regarded as a father of the Hudson River School, the first national art expression of the American identity in the post-War of 1812 period. It was a time when we no longer had to look over our shoulder at what England was doing and could begin to think of ourselves as having a manifest destiny. Cole also was very much part of the birth of tourism which occurred in the Hudson Valley and points north and west. Continue reading