Douglas Cooper’s acclaimed 1938 translation of Vincent van Gogh’s Letters to Émile Bernard owes a debt to the uncompleted work of author and critic, Peter Burra, who died in a flying accident in April 1937. Intended or not, Cooper (writing under the pseudonym Douglas Lord) failed to acknowledge the work that Burra had already undertaken on the Bernard Letters with the result that his contribution to Van Gogh scholarship has been overlooked.
During the 2021 winter holiday season, the Morgan received as a gift Rondo, a group of twenty-four collages by feminist-art pioneer Miriam Schapiro (American, born in Canada, 1923–2015). The donors, Peter and Kirsten Bedford, commissioned them in 1988 for a series of clothbound artists’ books published under their San Francisco imprint, Bedford Arts.
The shelves of most rare book and manuscript libraries contain their fair share of mysterious items of unidentified origin or authorship, residing in obscurity beside works by the famous and celebrated as a lingering challenge to contemporary catalogers and researchers.
On December 21, 2021, the Department of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts received an exciting gift from Marguerite Steed Hoffman, member of the department’s Visiting Committee. It is a Book of Hours illuminated by an important fifteenth-century French artist—the Master of the Burgundian Prelates—whose work, prior to this donation, was not represented at the Morgan.
“I kind of draw like you are walking through the forest,” Condo explains. “You don’t really know where you are going. You just start from some point and randomly travel through the paper until you get to a point where you finally reach your destination.”
This is a guest post by Madeleine Barnes, a writer, visual artist, and doctoral candidate in English Literature at the Graduate Center, CUNY.
This summer, I was given the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to research and write detailed catalog descriptions of nineteenth-century women’s letters during a summer fellowship at the Morgan Library & Museum.
This post was created by Lindsey Tyne, Associate Paper Conservator
The gold, silver, red, and blue flakes that give Standing Together, 1986 (2018.105) by Luster Willis (1913–1990) its seductive sparkle are commonly known as glitter. Many of us instinctively know what glitter looks like and may even recall a childhood craft project or a greeting card we recently received, despite the fact that how glitter is made and what it is made of are trade secrets.
During my time as a Morgan fellow this summer, I felt as if I were behind the curtain of the Théâtre National de l'Opéra in Paris, surrounded by the many stories and artifacts of celebrated modernist ballets. The Robert Owen Lehman Collection held on deposit at the Morgan since 1972 possesses a wide variety of ballet scores, giving a comprehensive view of the early twentieth-century Parisian dance scene.
One of the most interesting aspects of researching rare books is finding signs of use that a volume has accrued over the centuries. Ownership inscriptions, marginal annotations, bookplates, and bindings are all clues as to where a book has been and who has used it over its long life. A 500-year old book that looks like it has never been read is a perplexing problem.
In the spring of 2019 former Morgan trustee Jayne Wrightsman bequeathed to the museum an exceptional collection of books bound for the highest echelons of eighteenth-century French society. This donation forms the core of the exhibition Bound for Versailles: The Jayne Wrightsman Bookbindings Collection, on view through January 30, 2022.