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The two leading decorative arts institutions in the South are embarking on a new level of collaboration between their organizations. The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg (the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum and the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum) and the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA) at Old Salem Museums & Gardens have entered a five-year agreement for reciprocal extended loans. The museums have already collaborated on the recently opened exhibition, Painters and Paintings in the Early American South (on view through September 7, 2014) at the Arts Museums of Colonial Williamsburg. With nine major paintings MESDA is the largest single lender to the exhibition, while select objects from the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg are already on display at MESDA.

Many of MESDA’s forty objects on loan to Colonial Williamsburg will be featured in a new, long-term exhibition opening at Colonial Williamsburg’s DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum in January 2014. A Rich and Varied Culture: The Material World of the Early South will feature materials made in or imported to the South before 1840. The two museums have already begun discussions on several ways in which they can broaden the collaboration. Ideas include research exchanges, conservation, joint exhibitions and, potentially, joint publications. Further evidence of the collaboration will be seen in Colonial Williamsburg’s 66th annual Antiques Forum, February 14–18, 2014. Tentatively titled “New Findings in the Arts of the Coastal South,” the program will feature multiple speakers from both institutions as well as a number of experts from museums and universities across the nation.

This May MESDA honored Richard Hampton Jenrette with the first ever Frank L. Horton Lifetime Achievement Award for Southern Decorative Arts. A native of Raleigh, North Carolina, during the past forty years Jenrette has owned and restored a dozen historic properties. He has retained six of them and furnished each with period antiques, many original to the houses. Threads of Feeling, on view at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, Colonial Williamsburg, through May 2014, displays the Foundling Hospital of London’s eighteenth century record books that retain textile tokens used to identify babies left in its care. The exhibit and catalogue provide insight into social and textile history and is the only American venue. October 20–22, 2013, Williamsburg will host a symposium to explore the objects in context. For information on the institutions, exhibitions, and symposium, visit and

Published in News
Thursday, 28 February 2013 17:19

The Cloisters Celebrates its 75th Anniversary

The Cloisters museum and gardens, a branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art located in northern Manhattan’s Fort Tryon Park, will celebrate its 75th anniversary this year. Assembled from architectural elements, both domestic and religious, that date from the 12th through the 15th century, the Cloisters houses approximately 3,000 works of art from medieval Europe.

To commemorate its 75th year, the Cloisters has a number of celebratory exhibitions planned. Search for the Unicorn: An Exhibition in Honor of the Cloisters’ 75th Anniversary will present the Unicorn Tapestries (1495-1505), a series of seven tapestries, which were a gifted to the museum by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. when the Cloisters opened in 1938. The Tapestries are the museum’s best-known masterpieces, but their history and meaning remain mysterious. The Unicorn Tapestries will be exhibited alongside approximately 40 works from the Metropolitan, sister institutions, and private collections. Search for the Unicorn will be on view from May 15-August 18, 2013.

In September, the Cloisters will mount an installation by Janet Cardiff (b. 1957). The Forty Part Motet (2001) is comprised of 40 speakers, each playing the sound of one singer in a 40-voice choral performing “Spem in alium numquam habui” (circa 1573) by the Tudor composer Thomas Tallis (circa 1505-1585). The installation will play on a loop in the Cloister’s Fuentidueña Chapel through December 8, 2013. The Forty Part Motet is the first piece of contemporary art to be featured at the Cloisters.

The Cloisters will wrap up its anniversary celebrations with the exhibition of six near life-size stained glass windows on loan from England’s historic Canterbury Cathedral. It will be the first time the panels have left the cathedral since their creation in 1178-80. Current repairs to the cathedral’s stonework required the removal of the windows, which have recently been conserved. The stained-glass windows that will be on view at the Cloisters feature six figures from an original cycle of 86 ancestors of Christ, the most comprehensive stained-glass cycle known in art history. The Romanesque masterpieces will be on view from March through May 2014.

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A Grand Tour: Trade Winds of Influence
16th Annual Charleston Art & Antiques Forum
March 13–17, 2013
Old Courtroom, 23 Chalmers Street, Charleston, S.C.
For information visit
or call 800.926.2520

The forum will bring together an impressive group of speakers from the US and Europe who will demonstrate the influence of the Grand Tours of the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries on the architecture, furniture, silver, art, and gardens of Americans and Europeans alike. Dame Rosalind Savill, Director Emeritus of the Wallace Collection, London, England, will deliver the keynote address, focusing on her experience with French decorative arts. The mission of the Charleston Art & Antiques  Forum is to present the best fine and decorative arts scholarship, and to benefit arts education and preservation. Sponsors of the 2013 Forum are Charlton Hall Auctions, PDI, and the Florence Museum.

10th Annual Charleston Antiques Show
March 22–24, 2013; preview March 21
Memminger Auditorium, 56 Beaufain Street, Charleston, S.C.
66th Annual Spring Festival of Houses and Gardens
March 21–April 20, 2013
For information visit or call 843.723.1623

Inspired by the rich historical, architectural, and cultural heritage of Charleston, the 10th annual Charleston Antiques Show is a premier destination for collectors and enthusiasts who enjoy seeing and learning about incorporating antiques into modern-day décor. Attendees will find English, European, and American period furnishings, decorative arts, and fine art, architectural elements, garden furniture, vintage jewelry, and silver. In addition to attending the show, visitors can sign up for special events such as a luncheon lecture with the award-winning classical architect Gil Schafer, behind-the-scenes tours with experts, and study tours. While in Charleston, enjoy walking tours through the city’s historic district showcasing Charleston’s distinctive architecture, history, and gardens during the 66th Annual Festival of Houses and Gardens and experience the intimate charm and elegance found within private gardens and historic homes.


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