At the end of the first installment of this series on an exhibition in progress, I had discovered, to my horror, that the most robust source available on the subject of an obscure artist named Rick Barton—an essay by Dave Archer (née David Nelson)—had been removed from the Internet.
Conservators in the Thaw Conservation Center (TCC) often spend time just looking at objects in the Morgan’s collection with the goal of understanding the physical structure of the object, the materials that make up the object, the support the object is made on, the techniques used to make the object, the object’s current condition, and even how the object may have looked at the time of its creation.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem, “This Lime-tree Bower my Prison,” is an extended meditation on immobility. Lamed for a few days in a household accident, Coleridge took the opportunity to write about what it is like to stay in one place and to think about your friends traveling through the world.
The Morgan’s earliest acquisition related to the history of science came in 1907, when J. Pierpont Morgan purchased a small notebook kept by Sir Isaac Newton (1642–1727) during his late teenage years.
Exhibitions are often multiyear projects. With a monographic exhibition—one that focuses on a single artist—the subject, even when not alive, can come to feel like a significant presence in the life of a curator. As someone who has focused on artists who came to prominence in the second half of the increasingly historical twentieth century, I have been fortunate to “get to know” some of the late artists I have worked on, not only through research in libraries and archives, but also through conversations with the artists’ family, friends, and acquaintances.
John Pierpont Morgan (1837–1913) was the greatest collector of his generation. Over the course of his life, he amassed an unrivalled collection of art and rare books and manuscripts, including three Gutenberg Bibles and the only Raphael altarpiece in any American collection.
We asked some of the Morgan’s drawing and prints curators what their favorite portraits in the Morgan’s collections were, here are their answers.
This blog post is an excerpt by curator Isabelle Dervaux from the catalogue accompanying the Morgan’s exhibition The Drawings of Al Taylor.
In 1991, the German art dealer Fred Jahn visited Taylor’s studio and bought sixty-eight drawings. He subsequently offered to show the artist’s work regularly in his Munich gallery. From then on, Taylor was able to devote himself to his art. He had his first museum exhibition in 1992, at the Kunsthalle Bern in Switzerland.
These three pieces from the Morgan’s music manuscript collection tell a lovely little story, moving the listener from the cold bleakness of winter into the brightness of spring. They are also three of the most popular digitized manuscripts on our website.
In this unwelcome new age of social distance and self-isolation, when many of us hardly venture beyond the thresholds of our homes, I find myself thinking about Nellie Mae Rowe’s “playhouse.”