Favorite decades: 1910's, 1800's, 1870's
Favorite artists: Anthony van Dyck, Giovanni Boldini, Henry Fuseli, Thomas Lawrence
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Mourning dress by Amédée François, ca 1880 France, the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Child’s mourning garment, ca 1882 England, the Victoria & Albert Museum
Little girl’s mourning garment, in the form of a short princess-line coat dress made of black grosgrain lined throughout with white cotton. The garment has a rounded neck with a self fabric neckband, and fastens the length of the front with metal hooks and stitched loops. The hem and wrist-length sleeves are finished with vandyke tabs bound and faced with self fabric. The coat is shaped to fit at the waist: it is cut in six pieces, the front two of which have long darts. Lines of stitch holes indicate that two mitred pieces of fabric which were originally positioned at the waist back have been removed.
Bonnet, ca 1880 New York, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Purple velvet bonnet trimmed with purple and light lavender ostrich feathers.
The Pathetic Song by Thomas Eakins, ca 1881 US, private collection
This study photo is kept in the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. You can see the painting on the right.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Red glazed cotton corset, c. 1880. Made by Farcy & Oppenheim, Paris. Labeled inside “C. P. a la Sirene,” this was one of the finest corset-makers in the late 19th and early 20th century, showing in World’s Fairs and Expositions. The corset laces up the back and has slot and stud fasteners in front, (each stamped “C P”), allowing the wearer to put on her own corset once the proper fit was determined. Colorful corsets became fashionable and accepted in the 1880s.
This corset is currently on exhibit along with other lacy unmentionables for Valentine’s Day.
TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from our textile collection. Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our new Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday
Waving to the Procession, Paris by Albert Roosenboom, ca 1880 Brussels, private collection
It was sold by Christie’s in 2008.
Click for a massive image
Unknown title by Jan van Beers, 1881 Paris
After 1879 Van Beers began to focus on genre scenes and modern life subjects painted in a highly-finished Naturalistic style. He painted very small pictures, delicately brushed, hyper-realistic in their details and extreme finish. Success was almost immediate.
However at the Brussels Salon of 1881, Van Beers found himself amid a scandal that would upset the Belgian art world and, at the same time, give him instant recognition. He exhibited two paintings at the Brussels Salon of that year, both painted in his new, miniature-like and hyper-realistic style. One of the works, The yacht ‘Sirene,’ was to become the subject of the turmoil. He was accused to have pushed his realistic style beyond the boundaries of the possible. The Belgian critics Solvay and De Mons suspected him to have painted over a photograph, calling his work a photo-peinture. While the Review L’Art Moderne defended him by suggesting that those were merely echoing comments of some artists who were jealous of Van Beers’s commercial success, the scandal nonetheless raised considerable attention.
Van Beers decided to react promptly. He offered to have both his paintings scraped off and checked by experts . If they could discover even the most remote trace of the use of photography, Van Beers would pay them 10 000 francs for Lily, his second exhibition piece, and 20 000 francs for La Sirene, the prices he was asking for them. On the other hand, if they couldn’t find anything, the critics were to pay this amount to the Caisse de recours (a pension fund) of the Brussels artists. The critics refused the challenge, arguing that Van Beers just had to recognize his mistake. Then, on September 3, 1881, during the short absence of the guards at the Salon, an unknown person vandalized the Sirene by scratching off the face of the young woman. Immediately the painting attracted even more attention and crowds of visitors, who wanted to check by themselves if any trace of photography was visible. Van Beers took this opportunity to name a commission to examine the painting. It included the president of the Cercle Artistique et Littéraire of Brussels, the artists Charles Verlat and J.F. Portaels, and two specialists in photography and chemistry. After a thorough examination the commission’s report cleared Van Beers of all charges and concluded that he was “an honest man.”