Sunday, June 25, 2017

Interior Landscapes of Europe, 1659-1911

Jan Steen
Fantasy Interior with Jan Steen and the family of Gerrit Schouten
ca. 1659-60
oil on canvas
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City

Johann Atzelt
Giants' Hall, Dresden, with Moorish Ballet
ca. 1678
Kupferstichkabinett, Dresden

Jan van der Heyden
Room Corner with Curiosities
oil on canvas
Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest

"There was no visible light  inside the room; a soft, celestial glow entered, depending on the need each object had to be more or less perceived; incense burners exhaled delicious perfumes; intertwined ciphers and ornamental motifs hid from the eyes the flames of the lamps that magically illuminated this place of delights.  The side where we had come in showed latticed porticoes ornamented with flowers, and before the statue an altar on which shone a flame, and at the base of this altar a cup, crowns of flowers, and garlands; a temple of lighthearted design completed the decor of this side.  Opposite was a dark grotto, the god of mystery watching over the entrance, and the floor, covered with a plush carpet, imitated grass.  On the ceiling, mythological figures were hanging garlands; and on the side opposite the porticoes was a canopy under which were piles of pillows with a baldachin upheld by cupids."

 from No Tomorrow (Point de landemain) by Vivant Denon, first published in French in 1777, translated by Lydia Davis, 2009

Jean-François de Troy
Le Déjeuner d’huîtres (Luncheon of Oysters)
oil on canvas
Musée Condé, Chantilly

Jean Charles Delafosse
A Masquerade
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Hilaire Thierry
Salon in Empire taste
ca. 1820
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Charlotte Bosanquet
Library at Dingestow
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Alexandre Dominique Denuelle
View of the Picture Gallery at Château d'Eu
watercolor, gouache
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Franz Heinrich
Sala del Thorvaldsen, Rome
watercolor, gouache
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

The careful watercolor (above) depicting Sala del Thorvaldsen, Rome would seem to bear some connection with celebrated Danish artist Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770-1848). He lived in Rome from 1797 to 1838. He was also for many years, while there, the best-known living sculptor in Europe. When Thorvaldsen's workshop in Rome reached its height of productivity about the year 1820 he was employing forty assistant to carry out his intentions and seldom actually carved anything with his own hands. Mark Twain and Czar Alexander I were among his warmest fans. The mere name "Thorvaldsen" in contemporary journalism became a sort of synonym for "Artist." The general trend of these facts encourages the idea that Thorvaldsen himself might in his great Roman days have possessed just such a grandiose audience-chamber as the one in the watercolor. But it is also possible that the space belonged to somebody else entirely and was called after Thorvaldsen simply because it contained some of his work. Curator's notes from Cooper Hewitt do not address the question of the room's ownership or possible use.

Eduard Gaertner
Concert Room of Sans Souci Palace, Potsdam
watercolor, gouache
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Félix Duban
Architectural Fantasy in the style of Pompeii
Musée d'Orsay, Paris

Anton von Werner
Quarters of German troops outside Paris, October 1870
oil on canvas
Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin

Henry Edward Lamson
Library Interior
ca. 1900
watercolor, gouache
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

South Kensington Museum
Newly-built Ceramics Galleries
ca. 1910
gelatin silver photograph
Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Carl Fredrik Hill
Oriental Interior
before 1911
pigment on cardboard
Malmö Konstmuseum, Sweden