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The unique atmosphere of The Frick Collection has as much to do with the decorative arts as with the old master paintings that line the museum's walls. Indeed the enamels, clocks and watches, furniture, gilt bronzes, porcelain, ceramics, silver, and textiles far exceed in number, and are the equal in quality, of the works on canvas and panel.

The institution announces the publication of the first handbook devoted to the decorative arts in the collection.

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On Thursday, April 2, 2015, at 4PM, Jay Robert Stiefel, a lawyer and well-known collector and historian of American decorative arts, will give a lecture entitled “Leather Apron Men: Benjamin Franklin & Philadelphia’s Artisans” at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. The event, which is under the auspices of Yale's History Department, is free and open to the public.

The illustrated talk will center on Benjamin Franklin’s work as an artisan as well as his role in fostering the public appreciation of his fellow craftsmen. One of America’s foremost founding fathers and the country’s first printing magnate, Franklin tended toward self-deprecation, writing in a 1740 issue of his “Pennsylvania Gazette” that he was no more than “a poor ordinary mechanick of this City.” But Franklin, who crafted witty editorial that promoted and encouraged his fellow artisans and founded such enduring cultural institutions as the Library Company of Philadelphia and the American Philosophical Society, served as a role model for his peers. In addition to encouraging many Philadelphia artisans to elevate themselves, Franklin provided them with opportunities for education that had previously been reserved for the privileged. Stiefel will illustrate Franklin’s profound influence with pieces of furniture and fine art, including “Handiworks” made by Franklin and other admired Philadelphia artisans.

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It's 11:59 A.M. on a recent Wednesday and Clare Vincent, a 78-year-old associate curator at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, is perched before an ornate 17th-century clock on the Met's first floor, keeping a close watch on a technician winding the timekeeper.

Visitors wandering among the Met's paintings, mummies and other treasures probably don't notice that every European clock on exhibit not only still ticks but also tells the right time.

That's because for 40 years, Ms. Vincent, who oversees the museum's European timepieces, has been making sure they are wound like clockwork. Until recently, she wound up to 15 clocks a week on her own, climbing stepladders to reach into the tallest ones. 

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The 2014 New Orleans Antiques Forum, “Southern Expression,” will explore the many facets of regional style with acclaimed experts in the field of decorative arts. This year’s topics include furniture, pottery, mourning jewelry and art, southern landscape paintings, clocks, quilts, and more.

The Historic New Orleans Collection established the New Orleans Antiques Forum (NOAF) in 2008 in an effort to boost cultural tourism in New Orleans and south Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina. Centered on a series of educational and entertaining talks, the three-day forum encourages the appreciation of decorative arts created in and imported through the Gulf Coast. Sessions are accessible to experienced collectors as well as beginning antiques enthusiasts.

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Thursday, 29 August 2013 19:08

Important Timepieces on View at the Frick

The Frick Collection in New York is currently hosting the exhibition Precision and Splendor: Clocks and Watches at the Frick Collection. The museum, one of the finest small art institutions in the U.S., is known for its illustrious collection of Old Master paintings, furniture and European timepieces.

Most of the Frick’s clocks and watches were acquired through a bequest from the New York collector Winthrop Kellogg Edey in 1999. Due to limited space in the museum’s permanent gallery, the Frick has only been able to exhibit part of Edey’s collection, which is comprised of 38 watches and clocks dating from the Renaissance to the 19th century. Precision and Splendor, which includes 14 watches and 11 clocks from Edey’s gift, allows patrons a rare, in-depth glimpse of the impressive collection.

In addition to a masterwork by Pierre de Fobis and significant timepieces by George Smith, Henry Arlaud, Julien Le Roy and Antoine-Louis Breguet, Precision and Splendor includes five clocks on loan from the established collector Horace Wood Brock. The works, which were created in 18th century France, have never been on view in New York City.

Precision and Splendor will be on view at the Frick Collection through February 2, 2014.

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The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg and the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA) at Old Salem Museums & Gardens have embarked on a five-year collaboration that will involve extended reciprocal loans. The institutions got a head start on their agreement with the joint exhibition Painters and Paintings in the Early American South, which is currently on view at the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg. Nine major paintings from MESDA’s collection are part of the exhibition while several objects from the Art Museums of Williamsburg’s holdings are already on view at MESDA.

The objects involved in the reciprocal loan agreement include clocks, high chests, paintings, silver coffee pots, and much more. Many of the objects from MESDA’s collection on loan to Colonial Williamsburg will be presented as part of the long-term exhibition A Rich and Varied Culture: The Material World of the Early South, which is expected to go on view at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, one of the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg, in January 2014. The show will present a range of furniture, silver, ceramics, textiles, tools, machines, and architectural elements.

Ronald L. Hurst, Colonial Williamsburg’s vice president for collections, conservation, and museums and the Carlisle H. Humelsine chief curator, said, “This is the age of partnerships. With partnerships everyone wins: the institutions, the public, the scholarly world…so why not do it? Both [the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg and MESDA] have some remarkable objects temporarily off view. Why not show them at a sister institution?”

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