Posts Tagged ‘Constance Sackville-West

06
May
10

Exhibition: ‘Playing with Pictures: The Art of Victorian Photocollage’ at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Exhibition dates: 2nd February  – 9th May, 2010

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Many thankx to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for allowing me to publish the images in this posting. Please click on the photographs for more information about the images from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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Kate Edith Gough (English, 1856–1948)
Untitled page from the Gough Album
late 1870s
Collage of watercolor and albumen silver prints; 14 5/8 x 11 5/8 in. (37 x 29.5 cm)
V&A Images/Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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Frances Elizabeth, Viscountess Jocelyn (English, 1820–1880)
‘Diamond Shape with Nine Studio Portraits of the Palmerston Family and a Painted Cherry Blossom Surround’ from the Jocelyn Album
1860s
Collage of watercolor and albumen silver prints; 11 x 9 1/8 in. (28 x 23.2 cm)
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

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Maria Harriet Elizabeth Cator (English, d. 1881)
Untitled page from the Cator Album
late 1860s/70s
Collage of watercolor and albumen silver prints; 10 7/8 x 8 1/2 in. (27.7 x 21.7 cm)
Hans P. Kraus, Jr., New York

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Viscount Jocelyn 1820 Great Britain – 1880
attributed to
‘Circular design containing five male studio portraits and two ships’
c.1860
leaf 3: from an Untitled Album
England
Photography, Photograph, albumen silver photographs, water colour, pencil
Technique: collage
printed image 28.0 h x 23.2 w cm
Purchased 1985
National Gallery of Canberra

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Eva Macdonald (English, 1846/50–?)
“What Are Trumps?,” from the Westmorland Album
1869.
Collage of watercolor and albumen prints.
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.

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Elizabeth Pleydell-Bouverie (English, died 1889) and Jane Pleydell-Bouverie (English, died 1903) or Ellen Pleydell-Bouverie (English, 1849–?) and Janet Pleydell-Bouverie (English, 1850–1906)
Untitled page from the Bouverie Album
1872/77.
Collage of watercolor and albumen prints.
Courtesy of George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography and Film.

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“In the 1860s and 1870s, long before the embrace of collage techniques by avant-garde artists of the early 20th century, aristocratic Victorian women were experimenting with photocollage. Playing with Pictures: The Art of Victorian Photocollage, on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art February 2 – May 9, 2010, is the first exhibition to comprehensively examine this little-known phenomenon. Whimsical and fantastical Victorian photocollages, created using a combination of watercolor drawings and cut-and-pasted photographs, reveal the educated minds as well as accomplished hands of their makers. With subjects as varied as new theories of evolution, the changing role of photography, and the strict conventions of aristocratic society, the photocollages frequently debunked stuffy Victorian clichés with surreal, subversive, and funny images. Featuring 48 works from public and private collections – including many that have rarely or never been exhibited before – Playing with Pictures will provide a fascinating window into the creative possibilities of photography in the 19th century.

“In other recent exhibitions at the Metropolitan, we’ve shown masterpieces of 19th-century British photography by the period’s most prominent professionals and serious amateurs (almost always men), whose works were often displayed at the annual salons of the photographic societies and sold by printsellers throughout England and Europe,” commented Malcolm Daniel, Curator in Charge of the Department of Photographs. “What is so exciting about this exhibition is that we see a different type of artist – almost exclusively aristocratic women – using photography in highly imaginative ways, and creating pictures meant for private pleasure rather than public consumption. It is an aspect of photography’s history that has rarely been seen or written about.”

In England in the 1850s and 1860s, photography became remarkably popular and accessible as people posed for studio portraits and exchanged these pictures on a vast scale. The craze for cartes de visite – photographic portraits the size of a visiting card – led to the widespread hobby of collecting small photographs of family, friends, acquaintances, and celebrities in scrapbooks. Rather than simply gathering such portraits in the standard albums manufactured to hold cartes de visite, the amateur women artists who made the photocollages displayed in Playing with Pictures cut up these photographic portraits and placed them in elaborate watercolor designs in their personal albums.

With sharp wit and dramatic shifts of scale akin to those Alice experienced in Wonderland, Victorian photocollages stand the rather serious conventions of early photography on their heads. Often, the combination of photographs with painted settings inspired dreamlike and even bizarre results: placing human heads on animal bodies; situating people in imaginary landscapes; and morphing faces into common household objects and fashionable accessories. Such albums advertised the artistic accomplishments of the aristocratic women who made them, while also serving as a form of parlor entertainment and an opportunity for conversation and flirtation with the opposite sex.

Playing with Pictures showcases the best Victorian photocollage albums and loose pages of the 1860s and 1870s, on loan from collections across the United States, Europe, and Australia, including the Princess Alexandra Album lent by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Thirty-four photocollage album pages will be shown in frames on the wall and 11 separate albums will be displayed in cases, open to a single page. These works will be accompanied by “virtual albums” on computer monitors that allow visitors to see the full contents of the albums displayed nearby. As an introduction, the exhibition also includes two carte-de-visite albums of the period and a rare uncut sheet of carte-de-visite portraits from 1859.

Playing with Pictures: The Art of Victorian Photocollage is curated by Elizabeth Siegel, Associate Curator of Photography at The Art Institute of Chicago. The exhibition is organized at the Metropolitan Museum by Malcolm Daniel.”

Press release from the Metropolitan Museum of Art website

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Marie-Blanche-Hennelle Fournier (French, 1831–1906)
Untitled page from the Madame B Album
1870s
Collage of watercolor, ink, and albumen silver prints; 11 1/2 x 16 1/2 in. (29.2 x 41.9 cm)
The Art Institute of Chicago, Mary and Leigh Block Endowment, 2005.297

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Georgina Berkeley (English, 1831–1919)
Untitled page from the Berkeley Album
1867/71
Collage of watercolor and albumen silver prints; 10 x 12 5/8 in. (25.5 x 32 cm)
Musée d’Orsay, Paris
Photo credit: Réunion des Musées Nationaux / Art Resource, NY

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Georgina Berkeley (English, 1831–1919)
Untitled page from the Berkeley Album
1867/71
Collage of watercolor and albumen silver prints; 10 x 12 5/8 in. (25.5 x 32 cm)
Musée d’Orsay, Paris
Photo credit: Réunion des Musées Nationaux / Art Resource, NY

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Mary Georgiana Caroline, Lady Filmer (English, 1838–1903)
Untitled loose page from the Filmer Album
mid-1860s
Collage of watercolor and albumen silver prints; 8 3/4 x 11 1/4 in. (22.2 x 28.6 cm)
Paul F. Walter

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Constance Sackville-West (English, 1846–1929) or Amy Augusta Frederica Annabella Cochrane Baillie (English, 1853–1913)
Untitled page from the Sackville-West Album
1867/73
Collage of watercolor and albumen silver prints; 9 5/8 x 11 13/16 in. (24.5 x 30 cm)
Courtesy of George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography and Film

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Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street
New York, New York 10028-0198
Information: 212-535-7710

Opening hours:
Monday: Closed (Except Holiday Mondays)
Tuesday–Thursday: 9:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 9:30 a.m.–9:00 p.m.
Sunday: 9:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
(Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day)

Metropolitan Museum of Art website

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes the Art Blart blog which reviews exhibitions in Melbourne, Australia and posts exhibitions from around the world. He has a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne and is currently studying a Master of Art Curatorship at The University of Melbourne.

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