Tag Archives: Art History

Historians Podcast: Trading Art For Lives


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The Historians LogoThis week on “The Historians” podcast, Janet Lee Berg discusses her novel Rembrandt’s Shadow (Post Hill Press, 2016) Her book is based on the true story of her husband Bruce Berg’s family during the Holocaust in the Netherlands.  Two of his ancestors were art dealers who traded valuable paintings to the Nazis for Jewish lives.  Some family members relocated to New York State. Listen to the podcast here.     Continue reading

Lions Have An Albany Hudson-Fulton Celebration Past


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lions at the sprucesThe town of Williamstown, Massachusetts is currently restoring some artifacts from a pretty much forgotten celebration of two important events in New York State history.

In the fall of 1909, various activities took place from New York City up to Albany to commemorate Hendrick Hudson’s 1609 trip up the river that would come to bear his name, and also the 1809 steamboat trip on the river by Robert Fulton’s Clermont. Continue reading

New Exhibit of Maritime Art Open at Museum Ship Lilac


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Raincoat, metal, ink, thread, paper, strappingNow on view at the museum ship Lilac at Hudson River Park’s Pier 25 in New York City is “Adam Payne: Full Steam Ahead,” an exhibit of maritime art in mixed media.  The exhibit continues through the end of September.

The works are inspired by Adam Payne’s love of history combined with an appreciation for everyday materials. The exhibit includes a series of life jackets begun in 2014 and sewn from old rain slickers, creating a symmetry between materials and form. These grew out of Payne’s longtime interest in nautical explorations and how places are changed by such maritime interventions. Each life jacket incorporates the name of a different “failed” explorer in a nod to this history. Continue reading

Art Deco Mailboxes: An Illustrated History


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art deco mailboxesArt Deco Mailboxes: An Illustrated Design History (W.W Norton & Co., 2015) by Karen Greene and Lynne Lavelle features a full-color photographic survey of early mailboxes, located in New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and beyond. Many of these mailboxes have since been removed, forgotten, disused, or painted over, others are still in use, are polished daily, and hold a place of pride in lobbies throughout the country.

As American art deco architecture flourished in the 1920s and 1930s, mailboxes and their chutes became focal points in landmark buildings and public spaces such as the GE Building, Grand Central Terminal, the Woolworth Building, 29 Broadway, the St. Regis Hotel, the Waldorf Astoria, and more. Continue reading

Mural Conference Will Promote Heritage Themes


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Mural ConferenceThe 2016 Tenth Biennial Global Mural Conference is inviting historical societies, heritage groups and businesses along the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor to sponsor local and international artists who will be painting murals in Fairport, on September 18 – 25, 2016.

“Preserving Heritage Through Community Art,” will shine a spotlight on twenty artists who will create new dynamic historical murals (on panels approximately 7 x 16 feet) for sponsoring communities all along the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. Possible themes for the murals in addition to Erie Canal heritage include: Women’s Suffrage, the Underground Railroad, and Native American history. Continue reading

Sculptor Edmonia Lewis: From Albany to Rome, Italy


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sculptor edmonia lewis from albany to romeWhen American writer Henry James labeled the group of American women sculpting in Rome the “white marmorean flock,” he also made another note. “One of the sisterhood was a negress, whose color, picturesquely contrasting with that of her plastic material [white marble], was the pleading agent of her fame.” Like many of his contemporaries, James attributed the success of Edmonia Lewis to her skin color while also disregarding her mixed-race heritage.

In the early nineteenth century, it was difficult to be an American sculptor. There were no professional art schools, no specialized carvers, few quality materials, and only a few practicing sculptors in America. The pilgrimage to Rome was a necessity for those who aspired to be sculptors. If a woman wished to pursue sculpting, she confronted additional obstacles. Continue reading