16 March 2009

Blood, Absinthe, and Aphorisms: New Currents in Aestheticism and Decadence

The unusual and catchy title above is that of a conference to be held 30 April–1 May in New York. Organized b Richard Kaye and Talia Schaffer and held at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, "Blood, Absinthe, and Aphorisms" brings together scholars in a variety of disciplines to examine aestheticism and decadence in late Victorian literature, art, theater, politics, and popular culture. Reginia Gagnier is the keynote speaker and the opening roundtable, "What's New in Decadence and Aestheticism,"represents a "who's who" of experts in the field—Dennis Dennisoff, Joseph Bristow, Linda K. Hughes, Richard Dellamora, and Margaret D. Stetz. Longer presentations concern C. R. Ashbee and British utopias, Sarah Bernhardt, Oscar Wilde, and romanticism; Aubrey Beardsley and the art of the poster; Edward Carpenter and domestic interiors, and Black decadence in the work of M. P. Shiel. (Although not specifically named as the subject for any of the papers, one senses that William Morris or Edward Burne-Jones might be mentioned form time to time.)
Thursday, 30 April 2009
5.30 to 8 p. m.
Friday, 1 May 2009
8.45 a. m. to 6 p. m.
Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY
Open to the public without cost or registration.

Illustration: William Nicholson, James McNeill Whistler, woodcut touched with watercolor, 1897 (Mark Samuels Lasner Collection, on loan to the University of Delaware Library)

15 March 2009

Pre-Raphaelites in Stockholm: Report by Jan Marsh

What is billed as the first major show of Pre-Raphaelite art ever held in Scandanavia is on until 24 May. Titled (obviously) The Pre-Raphaelites at the National Musuem, Stockhilm, consists largely of loans from UK museums and galleries, but there are several unusual twists to the exhibition. For one thing, the arrangement is not strictly chronological; for another, there is a representation of Northern artists influenced by the PRB; and finally, among the highlights are several works from the National Museum's own collection, some of them--such as this Rossetti sketch of Elizabeth Siddal sketching--purchased quite recently.

Jan Marsh, the noted biographer, editor, and Pre-Raphaelite scholar, has kindly sent us a report on this large and important exhibition, click here for a link.

Anna Sui's "favorite artists"—Beardsley, Burne-Jones, and Waterhouse

We were watching CBS Sunday Morning--arguably the only program on US television which pays regular attention to design, the book arts, and visual culture in general--and were transfixed when the fashion designer, Anna Sui, said that inspiration for a recent collection came from "late nineteenth century artists." A visit to the biography posted on her website reveals that under "Favorite Artists" she lists the following (and only the following):
George LePape
Christian Berard
Aubrey Beardsley
John William Waterhouse
Edward Burne-Jones

Just how much influence Beardsley and Burne-Jones have on Sui's unconventional and interesting fashion lines you can judge for yourself. But if Ms. Sui happens to be reading these words, we want to say--join the William Morris Society!

"The Art of the Book": Design and Craft in 19th-century Britain and 21st-century Canada

This year's William Morris Society of Canada symposium, "The Art of the Book: Design and Craft in 19th-century Britain and 21st-century Canada, " will be held on Saturday, 21 March, at University College, University of Toronto. In keeping with Morris’s own belief that books are the product of diverse talents working in cooperation, our 2009 symposium brings together printers, publishers, artists, and scholars to discuss the material form of the book as it is, has been, and might be. In the morning, William Whitla of York University will speak on the relationship between Morris’s calligraphy, book collecting, and printing practices, followed by William Rueter describing the work of his own Aliquando Press and its recent edition of the diaries of the artist and bookbinder T. J. Cobden-Sanderson. The afternoon will feature presentations on the past, present, and future of printing and book design. Speakers include Don Taylor, bookbinder and artist working in Toronto since 1980; and Reg Beatty, bookbinder, book artist, and teacher at York University and the Ontario College of Art and Design.

Immediately following the symposium, a party in University College’s Croft Chapter House will celebrate William Morris’s 175th birthday.
Saturday, 21 March 2009
9.30 a. m. to 4 p. m.
Room 179
University College
University of Toronto

Registration (includes lunch):
Paid in Advance, before March 14: $40 (members); $50 (non-members); $20 (students)
Paid at the Door: $50 (members): $60 (non-members); $30 (students)
Please note “pre-registration” is strongly recommended because “At he Door” registration may be very limited.