59th Winter Antiques Show Celebrates The Preservation Society of Newport County
Special Exhibition Newport: The Glamour of Ornament Features Fine and Decorative Art from Eight Historic Newport Mansions
The Winter Antiques Show’s 2013 loan exhibition will celebrate The Preservation Society of Newport County. Newport: The Glamour of Ornament showcases fine and decorative art from eight of the historic Newport Mansions: The Breakers, Marble House, The Elms, Rosecliff, Chateau-sur-Mer, Kingscote, Hunter House, and Chepstow. The exhibition will be on view during the run of the Winter Antiques Show, January 25-February 3, 2013, at the Park Avenue Armory.
The Preservation Society of Newport County, Rhode Island, created in 1945, is a non-profit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and dedicated to preserving and interpreting the area’s historic architecture, landscapes, and decorative arts. The Preservation Society’s 11 historic properties—seven of which are National Historic Landmarks—span more than 250 years of American architectural and social development.
Newport: The Glamour of Ornament features more than 60 exquisite objects that will offer visitors a window into the lives of the families that lived in Newport’s great houses. Whether inspired by Colonial America, China Trade, European palaces and the Grand Tour, Japanese design, or the most avant-garde innovations of American architects and designers, Newport’s “cottagers” had the desire and means to commission grand houses with ornate interiors—deliberate stage sets for their very glamourous social lives.
The works in the exhibition range from an early painting by the teenaged Gilbert Stuart (ca. 1770) to a stunning ball gown (ca. 1890) by “the father of haute couture” Charles Frederick Worth; from a bronze Horus falcon sculpture from Egypt (664-525 B.C.) owned by Mr. and Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt to a silver centerpiece entitled The Judgment of Paris (ca. 1822) by renowned English silversmith Paul Storr. Among other superb examples from the historic Newport Mansions included are furniture by John Goddard, Joseph Meeks & Sons, and Henry Dasson; sculptures by Gaston Lachaise, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, and Daniel Chester French; and paintings by David Maitland Armstrong, Paul César Helleu, Hyacinthe Rigaud, and Charles Chaplin.
One of the many highlights is a full-length portrait painting of Elizabeth Drexel Lehr by Giovanni Boldini from 1905 that usually hangs in The Elms’ ballroom. Lehr, later known as Lady Decies, may be better known for her appearance in a 1943 photograph by Weegee, entitled “the Critic,” depicting her with Mrs. G.W. Kavanaugh in formal dress and diamond tiaras at the opening night of the Metropolitan Opera, while a homeless woman looks on.
Harold S. Vanderbilt’s 1921 Astor Cup made by Crichton Brothers of London is also included in the exhibition. Harold, son of William K. and Alva Vanderbilt, is best known today for successfully defending the America’s Cup three times—in 1930, 1934 and 1937. Between 1921 and 1938, he won five Astor Cups.
Ceramicist John Bennett was instrumental in bringing a taste for Aesthetic Movement ceramics from Great Britain to America. A selection of his vases (ca. 1880) shows his style and choice of subject matter—flowers, birds, and fruits stylized into flat, two-dimensional patterns—which had much in common with Japanese prints and works by British designers such as William Morris.
The “Votes for Women” plates and saucers produced by J. Maddock & Sons are a part of a luncheon service for Alva Vanderbilt Belmont’s Conference of Great Women held at Marble House in July 1914. The conference began with a reception honoring Alva’s daughter Consuelo Vanderbilt, Duchess of Marlborough, for her charity work and was followed by speeches from leading American suffragettes. Each attendee received china as a souvenir. After the death of her husband in 1908, Alva became a militant suffragist and frequently opened Marble House to the public to raise funds for the women's suffrage movement.
Jeff Daly, formerly senior design advisor to the director at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, will design theWinter Antiques Show’s loan exhibition and plans to evoke the grand scale and splendor of The Breakers in the Newport pavilion at the Park Avenue Armory.
The exhibition is sponsored by Chubb Personal Insurance for the 17th consecutive year.
Complementing the loan exhibition, a series of lectures will be presented during the show. All lectures are held in the “Tiffany” Room at Park Avenue Armory. Seating is on a first-come basis and is complimentary with admission:
Great Women of Newport
Friday, January 25, 2:30 p.m.
Trudy Coxe, Chief Executive Officer, The Preservation Society of Newport County
Hidden Treasures: Fine and Decorative Arts in Newport
Saturday, January 26, 2:30 p.m.
Charles J. Burns, Associate Curator, The Preservation Society of Newport County
The Architect's Dream: Great Houses of Newport, RI
Sunday, January 27, 2:30 p.m.
John R. Tschirch, Director of Museum Affairs and Architectural Historian, The Preservation Society of Newport County
Masterpiece: L.C. Tiffany and Stanford White Create a Newport Room
Thursday, January 31, 2:30 p.m.
Caitlin M. Emery, Museum Programs Coordinator, The Preservation Society of Newport County
Designing for the Vanderbilts: French Interiors for Newport
Friday, February 1, 2:30 p.m.
Paul Miller, Curator, The Preservation Society of Newport County
Gilded Splendor: Preserving a Great Newport Room
Saturday, February 2, 2:30 p.m.
Charles J. Moore, Chief Conservator, The Preservation Society of Newport County