Saturday, February 23, 2013

Albrecht Dürer: Master Drawings, Watercolors, and Prints from the Albertina

Albrecht Dürer, Praying Hands, 1508
brush and gray wash heightened with white on blue prepared paper
Albertina, Vienna

Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528) is widely considered the greatest German artist. From March 24 through June 9, 2013, the Albertina Museum in Vienna, Austria, will lend to the National Gallery of Art 118 works on paper by Dürer for a magnificent exhibition that will be on view only in Washington. Albrecht Dürer: Master Drawings, Watercolors, and Prints from the Albertina features nearly all of Dürer's finest watercolors and drawings from the collection of the Albertina, Vienna, as well as 27 of the museum's related engravings and woodcuts. The exhibition also includes 19 drawings and prints from the Gallery's own collection.

Albrecht Dürer: Master Drawings, Watercolors, and Prints from the Albertina
is a culmination of decades of acquisition, study, and exhibition of early German art at the Gallery. In 1999, the Gallery presented From Schongauer to Holbein, a splendid survey exhibition of early German drawings based on the collections of the Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, and the Kunstmuseum Basel. This loan from the Albertina, Vienna is the only other exhibition from a single collection of similar visual impact, quality, and importance.

"The generosity of the Albertina, Vienna in lending their superb works on paper by Albrecht Dürer is overwhelming, and augmented by our own works, this exhibition allows the Gallery to present a fresh and compelling look at Dürer's practice of drawing," said Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art, Washington. "We offer our visitors the opportunity to share in the knowledge, appreciation, and pleasure of this extraordinary artist's work."

Exhibition Highlights

Dürer's paintings are highly prized, but his most influential works are his drawings, watercolors, engravings, and woodcuts, executed with his distinctively northern sense of refined precision and exquisite craftsmanship.

The exhibition is organized chronologically in 14 thematic groups that convey Dürer's talent as a draftsman as well as his artistic life, interests, and development. From detailed renderings of the natural world and investigations of proportion and the human body to family members and official portraits, landscapes, religious and allegorical themes, intensely personal reflections, and even studies of drapery and designs for decorative arts, the 137 works by Dürer on view give insight into his artistic development and creative genius. Finished compositions that functioned as independent works of art, colorful watercolors of nature and costumes, as well as quick sketches and studies for paintings and prints, woodcuts, engravings, and etchings all illustrate the full range of his subjects.

The exhibition includes many of the artist's most breathtaking works on paper, such as the watercolor

The Great Piece of Turf (1503), a sublime nature study of the Renaissance;

the chiaroscuro drawings

An Elderly Man of Ninety-Three Years (1521)

and The Praying Hands (1508), (above) surely one of the most famous drawings in the world;

and the amazingly precocious silverpoint

Self-Portrait at Thirteen (1484), possibly the earliest self-portrait drawing by any artist.

Such complete and finished works are balanced by quick sketches of, for example, his young bride-to-be or the Antwerp harbor.

In drawing, with the possible exception of colored chalks, Dürer used the complete range of traditional techniques to record convincing details of nature, people, and places as well as to re-create historical and mythological events and fantastic visions. In printmaking Dürer revolutionized the art of woodcut to achieve ranges of subject and scale, light, and form. He created engravings not only powerful in image but also unparalleled in craftsmanship and technique, and he experimented with etching and drypoint.

Albrecht Dürer and the Albertina

Albrecht Dürer was the reigning genius of the Renaissance in northern Europe, just as Leonardo da Vinci was for the Renaissance in Italy. Born in Nuremberg in 1471, Dürer grew up in an environment of late Gothic courtly grace and religious intensity as the city, a center of imperial politics, economics and trade, scholarship and culture, was being transformed by new influences. He traveled to Italy twice to pursue the new learning and artistic advances surging there.

The collection of Dürer's drawings and watercolors at the Albertina, Vienna is unequaled. It is not only one of the largest collections of works by Dürer in the world, but it is also distinguished by the number of the artist's greatest masterpieces. The Albertina's works by Dürer have been acquired over many years, but the museum's ability to amass such a collection of world masterpieces results from primary sources that go back directly to the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II. Dürer was his favorite artist. Rudolf II used imperial ambassadors and the machinery of state to succeed in his purchases, including acquisitions from the Imhoff family in Nuremberg, whose works were among Dürer's personal estate. In 1588 the emperor offered Willibald Imhoff's family an entire domain of Bohemia in exchange for being able to acquire these works.

Exhibition Curator and Catalogue

The exhibition curator is Andrew Robison, A. W. Mellon Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings, National Gallery of Art.

Published by the National Gallery of Art and DelMonico Books, an imprint of Prestel Publishing, the fully illustrated catalogue presents the Albertina's magnificent collection of Dürer's watercolors, drawings, and prints, as well as the Gallery's related works.

The volume features essays by Robison; Klaus Albrecht Schröder, director of the Albertina, Vienna; and Ernst Rebel, former professor at the School of Arts, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, as well as entries by scholars such as Berthold Hinz, former professor for the history of art, Kunsthochschule Kassel; Alice Hoppe-Harnoncourt, research associate, Picture Gallery, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna; Matthias Mende, former chief curator of the graphic art collection and Dürer's House, Museen der Stadt Nürnberg; Christof Metzger, curator of German drawings and prints, Albertina, Vienna; Eva Michel, curator of Netherlandish drawings and prints, Albertina, Vienna; Anna Scherbaum, associate at the Kunst- und Kulturpädagogisches Zentrum der Museen in Nürnberg; Karl Schütz, former director of the Picture Gallery, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna; Maria Luise Sternath, deputy director and chief curator, Albertina, Vienna; Heinz Widauer, curator of French drawings and prints, Albertina, Vienna; and Jutta Zander-Seidel, chief curator, Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg.

Images in Exhiibition:

The Satyr's Family, 1505

The Expulsion from Paradise, 1510

Knight, Death and Devil, 1513

Christ on the Mount of Olives, 1515
etching on iron

Antwerp Harbor, 1520
pen and brown ink

The Last Supper, 1523

The Adoration of the Magi, 1524
pen and gray and black ink;

The Virgin and Child, 1512

Agnes Dürer as Saint Ann, 1519
brush and gray, black, and white ink

Painting the People: Images of American Life

The grittier side of life was on display in the exhibit Painting the People: Images of American Life from the Maimon Collection, July 11 through October 18, 2009 at the James A. Michener Art Museum. Regional collectors Barbara and Lee Maimon have amassed a formidable number of paintings that explore the uniquely American art forms known as American Scene painting (or Regionalism) and Social Realism. Organized by the Michener, Painting the People allows us to view the everyday lives of ordinary people, as seen through the eyes of artists who looked closely at the reality around them—from mine workers to burlesque dancers to regular folks worn down by life—and painted what they saw.

Beginning around the turn of the 20th century and fueled by the often-appalling social conditions of the age, this movement reached its peak in the 1930s when American artists strove to be free of European artistic influences. Many of these painters had experienced first-hand the privations and suffering of the Great Depression, enabling them to produce work that was edgy and thought-provoking—realism with a purpose.

Many of these paintings are bright and colorful, drawing in the viewer with their vibrancy. On closer inspection, however, social messages become apparent. The plight of the poor, homeless, and hopeless is depicted and celebrated—the couple that spends evenings in a bar, smoking cigarettes and talking; the fishermen whose yellow slickers shine with brine as they struggle to bring in their catch; the tired slouch of office workers heading home on the subway, noses buried in the day's paper; and the hopelessness of half-clothed female burlesque dancers.

"Proper works of art were not supposed to remind people that their world was squalid and dirty. Artists weren't supposed to be empathic toward the unfortunate," says Brian H. Peterson, Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest Chief Curator at the museum, speaking of the tradition of narrative and history painting that had dominated Western art in previous centuries. "While our focus is on the landscape tradition at the Michener, we feel it's important to share this honest look at the human condition with our audience, especially given the economic turmoil we've all been experiencing."

One of the grittier, more impressive pieces in the exhibit was Miner's Lunch painted in 1948 by James Turnbull. Two miners hunch over tin lunch pails and hold sandwiches illuminated by the orbs of their miner's headlamps. Their torn, dirty clothing and filthy faces etched with lines of exhaustion tell us these men are weary and resigned to a life with no hope. Yet, the honesty of this work turns their tragic lives into something beautiful.

"This painting grabs you and forces you to feel what these miners felt," explains Peterson. "This is what these painters did so skillfully. They were not amateurs; they were professionals who chose to devote their lives and work to helping others. They produced paintings that reveal the struggles and triumphs of their age, but also reach beyond their age to touch our common humanity."

The passion, energy and empathy exhibited in these paintings are what drew Barbara and Lee Maimon to them. "We like pictures that are true to the human experience, that give us a glimpse of people's lives," says Barbara Maimon.

A companion book by Peterson titled Painting the People: Images of American Life from the Maimon features twenty-one color plates as well as biographies of each artist in the exhibition

The James A. Michener Art Museum is an independent, non-profit institution dedicated to preserving, interpreting and exhibiting the art and cultural heritage of the Bucks County, Pennsylvania region. In addition to hosting a changing schedule of exhibitions from around the country, the Museum is home to the largest public collection of Pennsylvania Impressionist paintings. The Museum offers a diverse program of educational activities that seek to develop a lifelong involvement in the arts. The Museum is located at 138 South Pine Street in Doylestown. For current Museum hours and admission information, visit website at


Philip Evergood (1901-1973), The Dog Bite Clinic 1933, oil on canvas, H. 40 x W. 50 inches, Collection of Lee and Barbara Maimon © Estate of Philip Evergood

Francis Luis Mora (1874-1940), Evening News 1914, oil on canvas, H. 48 x W. 36 inches, Collection of Lee and Barbara Maimon

Simka Simkhovitch (1893-1949), The Prizefighter and His Girl 1940, oil on canvas, H. 34 x W. 40 inches, Collection of Lee and Barbara Maimon

Friday, February 22, 2013

Rembrandt's Century

Rembrandt’s Century examines a wide range of artworks from the 17th-century. Complementing the upcoming Girl with a Pearl Earring: Dutch Paintings from the Mauritshuis, this exhibition sheds further light on the Dutch Golden Age and the remarkable artistic achievements of Rembrandt and his peers. At its core is a selection of etchings by Rembrandt van Rijn—arguably his generation’s most influential artist. Both Girl with a Pearl Earring: Dutch Paintings from the Mauritshuis and Rembrandt’s Century will be on view in the Herbst Exhibition Galleries at the de Young Museum in San Francisco from January 26–June 2, 2013.

Rembrandt Van Rijn (Dutch, 1606–1669), Self-Portrait Drawing at a Window, 1648. Etching, drypoint, and engraving. 15.7 × 12.9 cm (6 3⁄16 × 5 1⁄16 inches) Courtesy of the Bruno and Sadie Adriani Collection, 1959.40.19 © Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Rembrandt’s Century examines a time when printmaking was becoming of particular cultural importance. Exhibition Curator James Ganz notes, “More than any other fine objects, prints circulated extensively throughout the 17th-century art world, broadcasting artistic, political, and scientific development far and wide.” The exhibition illustrates the wide-ranging contributions Rembrandt, his predecessors, and followers made in the form of printed images that were produced in Holland and internationally. It explores the rich print culture of the era, through portraiture, still life, natural history, scenes of daily life, landscape, and subjects drawn from mythology and religion.

Works by painter-printmakers such as Adriaen van Ostade, Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, and Jusepe de Ribera are balanced by the contributions of specialized graphic artists such as Jacques Callot, Wenceslaus Hollar, and Lambert Doomer. Virtuosic engravings, ambient etchings, ink drawings, watercolors, and more illustrate the enormous range and appeal of printmaking and drawing techniques during the time of Rembrandt.

About Rembrandt van Rijn

Rembrandt was both a teacher and a student. While his work was among the most vigorously collected during this period, he too was a collector. Like the sea shells and other natural wonders he collected, depictions of which are shared in this exhibition, Rembrandt collected knowledge, which he disseminated to his students and followers. Championing etching as an original form of artistic expression, and technically experimenting with each stage of the etching process, Rembrandt inspired artists around the world for generations to come.

About the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts

Rembrandt’s Century
provides an opportunity for the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco’s Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts to present hidden treasures from its own collection, a number of which have never before been displayed. Beginning as a gift from Mr. and Mrs. Moore Achenbach given to the City of San Francisco in 1948, the Achenbach Foundation has grown to be the most comprehensive collection of works on paper in the western United States. Carefully selected primarily from this collection, in complement to Girl with a Pearl Earring, Rembrandt’s Century reveals the astounding and wide-ranging artistic excellence of the 17th century.

Exhibition Catalogue

This exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue, Rembrandt’s Century, published by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and DelMonico Books Ÿ Prestel. Author and curator James Ganz explores the era’s vibrant print culture in a series of thematic sections focusing on depictions of the artist, portraiture, natural history, daily life, landscape, mythology and religion, and the art of darkness. In the process, he sheds light on the rich holdings of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco’s world-renowned collection of graphic arts. 164 pages. Hardcover $34.95/$31.46 members. Available at the Museum Stores or online at


Rembrandt van Rijn Landscape with Three Trees, 1643,

Cornelis Visscher’s The Large Cat

Lambert Doomer (Dutch, 1624–1700), Salt Flats at Le Croisic, ca. 1671–1673. Brown ink and brown and gray washes on ledger paper mounted on cream laid paper.

Adriaen van Ostade. Village Romance 1652.Etching.

Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso

The exhibition Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris, appeared at the de Young Museum in San Francisco June 11 through October 9, 2011. This exhibition of 150 important paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings created by Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) was drawn from the permanent collection of the Musée National Picasso, Paris, the largest and most significant repository of the artist’s work in the world, and comes to the de Young as part of an international tour. The artwork was touring because the Musée was closed and undergoing a multi-year renovation expected to last through 2012. Ranging from informal sketchbooks to finished iconic masterpieces, this unique collection of “Picasso’s Picassos” provides significant proof of the artist’s assertion that “I am the greatest collector of Picassos in the world.”

The exhibition, co-organized by the Musée National Picasso and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, is part of a world tour that began in 2008 with stops at museums in Madrid, Helsinki, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Seattle, Richmond (VA), San Francisco and Sydney.

The Musée National Picasso’s collection preserves the highly personal works that Pablo Picasso kept for himself with the intention of shaping his own artistic legacy. Exhibited chronologically, covering all the phases of the modern master’s expansive eight-decade-long career and featuring the various media in which he worked, this meticulously assembled presentation included:

One of his earliest Paris works—The Death of Casagemas (1901)

The Blue period—La Célestine (1904)

The Rose period—The Two Brothers (1906)

African-inspired proto-Cubist work —studies for Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) and Three Figures Under a Tree (1907)

Analytic Cubism—Man with a Guitar (1911)

Synthetic Cubism—Violin (1915)

The Neoclassical period—Two Women Running on the Beach (1922)

Surrealism—The Kiss (1925)

The war years—The Weeping Woman (1937),

and the sculptures Bull’s Head (1942) and Death’s Head (1943)

Work from his late period including the self-portrait The Matador (1970)

Picasso developed a unique personal style for each new woman in his life, and remarked, “How awful for a woman to realize from my work that she is being supplanted.” The exhibition chronicled Picasso’s tempestuous relationships with three of the significant women in his life and demonstrates how his work changed with each relationship:

His first wife Olga Khokhlova, realistically depicted in Portrait of Olga in an Armchair (1918)

Mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter, whose affair with Picasso began when she was 17, portrayed in voluptuous curves, pastel colors and soft sinuous volumes in

Reclining Nude (1932) and a series of five bronze busts created in 1931 that range from recognizable representations to the nearly abstract.

Mistress Dora Maar, the photographer whose passionate and emotionally charged relationship with Picasso was represented in works characterized by hard-edged, jagged lines, angular forms and acidic colors, such as

Portrait of Dora Maar (1937).

Sculpture played an important part in the exhibition, demonstrating Picasso’s aesthetic three-dimensionally and featuring work that spans Picasso’s career, including an early bust, The Jester (1905); Figure (1907), a roughly hewn wooden piece inspired by Picasso’s fascination with African tribal art; Head of a Woman (1909), widely considered the first Cubist sculpture; the relief construction Guitar and Bottle of Bass (1913); a multimedia assemblage, The Violin (1915); the Bull’s Head (1942), constructed from a cast-off bicycle seat and handlebars; the iconic bronze The Goat (1950); and the life-sized, six-piece figurative series created during a summer in Cannes, The Bathers (1956).

“I haven’t got a style,” Picasso claimed, but over the course of his long and prolific career, he created revolutionary works that laid the foundations of modern art.

About the Musée National Picasso

The Musée National Picasso, which opened in 1985 in the 17th-century Hotel Sale in the Marais District of Paris, serves as the repository for nearly 3,600 works from the artist’s personal collection that passed to the French government following his death in 1973.

Also in the exhibition:

Grand Nature morte au guéridon
(Large Still Life with a Pedestal Table)
Oil on canvas. 1931
Musée National Picasso, Paris
© 2011 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Paul en Arlequin (Paul as Harlequin)
Oil on canvas. 1924
Musée National Picasso, Paris
© 2011 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

L’Acrobate (The Acrobat)
Oil on canvas. 1930
Musée National Picasso, Paris
© 2011 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

La Lecture (Reading)
Oil on canvas. 1932
Musée National Picasso, Paris
© 2011 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Autoportrait (Self-Portrait)
Oil on canvas. 1906
Musée National Picasso, Paris
© 2011 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Chat saisissant un oiseau (Cat Catching a Bird)
Oil on canvas. 1939
Musée National Picasso, Paris
© 2011 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Le Baiser (The Kiss)
Oil on canvas. 1969
Musée National Picasso, Paris
© 2011 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Les Baigneuses (The Bathers)
Oil on canvas. 1918
Musée National Picasso, Paris
© 2011 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Nature morte au pichet et aux pommes
(Still Life with Pitcher and Apples)
Oil on canvas. 1919
Musée National Picasso, Paris
© 2011 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Art and Design

Note: This is the same exhibition held at the Tate and covered here with many beautiful images that won't be repeated here.

Combining rebellion, scientific precision, beauty, and imagination, the Pre-Raphaelites created art that shocked 19th-century Britain. On view from February 17 through May 19, 2013, at the National Gallery of Art, Washington—the sole U.S. venue—Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Art and Design, 1848–1900 is the first major survey of the art of the Pre-Raphaelites to be shown in the United States. The exhibition features some 130 paintings, sculptures, photography, works on paper, and decorative art objects that reflect the ideals of Britain's first modern art movement.

"The Pre-Raphaelites rejected the rigid rules for painting that prevailed at the dawn of the Victorian era to launch Britain's first avant-garde movement," said Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art. "We are thrilled to present this rare exhibition to our audiences and grateful to lenders, both public and private, as well as our generous sponsors. Notably, we have received a generous amount of loans from Tate Britain and the Birmingham Museums Trust in the United Kingdom."

The Pre-Raphaelites

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (PRB) was founded in London in September 1848 at a turbulent time of political and social change. Many Victorians felt that beauty and spirituality had been lost amid industrialization.

The leading members of the PRB were the painters John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William Holman Hunt, young students at the Royal Academy of Arts. They all believed that art had become decadent, and rejected their teachers' belief that the Italian artist Raphael (1483–1520) represented the pinnacle of aesthetic achievement. Instead, they looked to medieval and early Renaissance art for inspiration. Whether painting subjects from Shakespeare or the Bible, landscapes of the Alps, or the view from a back window, the Pre-Raphaelites brought a new sincerity and intensity to British art.

Exhibition Highlights

The exhibition is organized into eight themes:

Beginnings: The Pre-Raphaelites were both historical and modern in their approach. While they borrowed from the art of previous centuries, they also listened to critic John Ruskin's call to observe nature and represent its forms faithfully. In balancing the past with the world they saw before them, the Pre-Raphaelites crafted a modern aesthetic. Some of their important early works—such as

Hunt's Valentine rescuing Sylvia from Proteus—Two Gentlemen of Verona (Act V, Scene iv) (1850–1851)

and Millais's Christ in the House of His Parents (The Carpenter's Shop) (1849–1850)

—reveal the emergence of this new style.

History: Dramatic narratives from the Bible, classical mythology, literature, or world history had dominated European art since the establishment of art academies in the 17th century. The Pre-Raphaelites rejected these grand narratives to focus on intimate human relationships. Millais set the standard, adopting a precise style and drawing from British history and popular operas while emphasizing accuracy of dress and settings. The results—seen in

A Huguenot, on Saint Bartholomew's Day, Refusing to Shield Himself from Danger by Wearing the Roman Catholic Badge (1851–1852)

and The Order of Release, 1746 (1852–1853)

—defied convention, provoked critics, and entranced audiences.

Literature and Medievalism: Pre-Raphaelitism was also a literary movement. The artists took subjects from Shakespeare, Dante Alighieri, and other medieval tales, as in Millais's beloved painting Ophelia (1851–1852). Several wrote poetry, including Rossetti, who with Elizabeth Siddall (who served as Rossetti's muse, model, lover, and eventually wife) created intensely colored, intricate watercolors based on medieval manuscript illumination and themes of chivalric love, seen in his

The Wedding of Saint George and the Princess Sabra (1857).

Soon Rossetti's younger followers Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris incorporated medieval subjects in their designs for furniture, stained glass, and other decorative arts.

Salvation: The Pre-Raphaelites addressed morality and salvation in subjects drawn from both religion and modern life. Religious and moral thinking permeated everyday life, whether in regard to ideas of class and society, relationships between the sexes, or ideals of domesticity, which they examined in works such as

Hunt's The Awakening Conscience (1853–1854)

and Ford Madox Brown's Work (1863).

Rejecting traditional religious imagery, the Pre-Raphaelites painted biblical scenes with unprecedented realism. Hunt was so committed to truthful representation that he traveled to the Holy Land, where he painted the actual settings of biblical events, seen in

The Shadow of Death (1870–1873).

Nature: The Pre-Raphaelite artists developed a fresh and precise method of transcribing the natural world in oil paint, based on direct, up-close observation and working out of doors. At a time of debates about evolution and the history of the earth (Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species was published in 1859), Pre-Raphaelite landscape paintings reflected the artists' interest in the natural sciences, geology, botany, meteorology, and even astronomy. Groundbreaking works such as

Brown's An English Autumn Afternoon, Hampstead—Scenery in 1853 (1852–1855)

and "The Pretty Baa-Lambs" (1851–1859) newly emphasized rendering precise detail and natural light.

Beauty: Around 1860, the Pre-Raphaelites turned away from realist depictions of history, literature, modern society, religious themes, and nature scenes to explore the purely aesthetic possibilities of painting. The female face and body became the most important subjects, in erotically charged works that had little precedent. Beauty came to be valued more highly than truth, as Pre-Raphaelitism slowly shifted into the Aesthetic Movement. Rossetti was the dominant force as his work became more sensuous in style and subject, seen in

Bocca Baciata (1859), Beata Beatrix (c. 1864–1870), and Lady Lilith (1866–1868, altered 1872–1873).

Paradise–Decorative Arts: Inspired by the Pre-Raphaelites and the medieval past, Morris established a decorative arts firm in 1861 with partners Rossetti, Brown, and Burne-Jones. In 1875 Morris reorganized the company under his sole direction as Morris & Co. aiming to erase the distinction between the fine and applied arts. The firm produced tiles, furniture, embroidery, stained glass, printed and woven textiles, carpets, and tapestries for both ecclesiastical and domestic interiors. Several examples are on view, from stained glass, furniture painted with medievalized themes, and a three-fold screen with embroidered panels of heroic women on loan from Castle Howard, to popular tile, textile, and wallpaper designs, including the iconic Strawberry Thief (1883). In the last decade of his life, Morris founded the Kelmscott Press for the production of high-quality, hand-printed books. This room also includes two stunning tapestries designed by Burne-Jones and Morris from the series based on the Arthurian story of the Holy Grail.

Mythologies: Late Pre-Raphaelite paintings reflect a fascination with the world of myth and legend. Rossetti and Burne-Jones embraced imagination and symbolism, focusing on the human figure frozen in a drama. Both found inspiration in Renaissance art after Raphael, concentrating on sensuous Venetian color and the sculptural forms of Michelangelo, seen in

Rossetti's La Pia (1868–1881) and Burne-Jones' Perseus series (1885–1888). Hunt adhered more closely to the initial realist Pre-Raphaelite style, which he brought to his late masterpiece, The Lady of Shalott (c.1888–1905).

Curators and Exhibition Catalogue

Diane Waggoner, associate curator of photographs, National Gallery of Art, is the curator of the exhibition. The exhibition at Tate Britain was curated by Alison Smith, Lead Curator, Nineteenth-Century British Art at Tate; Tim Barringer, Paul Mellon Professor of the History of Art at Yale University; and Jason Rosenfeld, Distinguished Chair and Professor of Art History at Marymount Manhattan College, New York.