February 15, 2013

Driehaus Museum Announces Fourth Season Schedule for Samuel M. Nickerson Lecture Series

The Richard H. Driehaus Museum announces its fourth season of the Samuel M. Nickerson Lecture Series, an annual program which seeks to foster appreciation for historic architecture and design. The lectures feature five notable speakers who explore themes in late 19th and early 20th century decorative arts and architecture.

The full year roster of topics and speakers consists of:

Thursday, March 14, 2013 – 6 p.m.
Great Midwestern Panes
Rolf Achilles, Art Historian and Curator, Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows

Though the East Coast served as home to Louis Comfort Tiffany, John LaFarge, and Lamb Studios, many stained glass firms of the late 19th and early 20th century remain anonymous. Yet Chicago was the source of some of the most vibrant and artistic stained glass produced in America at that time. Firms such as Healy & Millet had wide distribution and international acclaim; Temple Art Glass and Giannini & Hilgart stood at the forefront of the developing Prairie style; and Max Guler and his Munich Studio steadfastly maintained the glassmaking traditions established in mid-19th-century Germany. For the inaugural lecture of the 2013 Samuel M. Nickerson Lecture Series, art historian and curator of the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows Rolf Achilles discusses the flourishing of reproductions and riffs on traditional styles, as well as highly original creations, produced by the stained glass artists and firms of Chicagoland.

About the Speaker
Rolf Achilles is an independent art historian, curator of the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows, and adjunct faculty of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. A writer and lecturer on various topics related to preserving American artistic heritage, Mr. Achilles is the author of the forthcoming books, Chicago School of Architecture and Great American Movie Palaces (Shire Library, 2013).

Thursday, April 18 – 6 p.m.
Buried Treasure and Tragedy: The Architectural Rise of San Francisco
Erin Fehrer, Editor-in-Chief, California Home+Design Magazine

Improbably situated on a 47-square-mile peninsula, rising and falling with 43 peaks, the city of San Francisco transformed from a small outpost into a nascent metropolis with speed unprecedented anywhere in the world. Primed by the discovery of gold in the mid-1800s, San Francisco’s diversified economy and the stability and wealth it generated attracted persons of talent nationwide, some already established, others out to prove themselves.

In her lecture, journalist Erin Feher explores the significant, sometimes exceptional, architecture that arose from the increasingly strong and sophisticated San Francisco client base of the mid-19th to early 20th centuries.

About the Speaker
An experienced interiors and architecture writer and esteemed member of the statewide design community, Erin Feher is the editor-in-chief of California Home+Design magazine where she covers art, architecture and interior design. She has written hundreds of articles on contemporary design, from notable homes to hotels and museums, and is the author of the forthcoming book Great Houses of San Francisco, 1875-1945.

Thursday, May 16 – 6 p.m.
The Architecture of Leisure: The Florida Coast Resorts of Henry Flagler and Henry Plant
Dr. Susan R. Braden, Former Professor of Art History, Auburn University

In this lecture based on her 2002 book, Dr. Susan R. Braden examines the architecture, function, and extravagant leisure offerings of the grand Florida hotels built by Gilded Age rail barons Henry Flagler and Henry Plant. As enterprising industrialists began transforming Florida, Flagler and Plant created a string of resort hotels to attract wealthy northerners with an appetite for balmy climates and luxurious accommodations. These pleasure palaces, including the Spanish Renaissance-style St. Augustine’s Ponce de Leon, Georgian Revival Royal Poinciana in Palm Beach, Islamic Revival Tampa Bay Hotel, and Alpine-style Belleview, blended recognizable historical styles with stylistic and functional independence, and then capped them with luxury on a scale previously unknown in the Florida wilderness. Dr. Braden uses architectural plans as well as memoirs by Gilded Age visitors and employees to re-create the experience of Florida’s winter resorts, which formed a legacy of exotic fantasy and escape that endures there today.

About the Speaker
Susan R. Braden, PhD, taught in the art history department at Auburn University for 20 years. Her major interest is in American art and architecture. Her book, The Architecture of Leisure: The Florida Resort Hotels of Henry Flagler and Henry Plant, was published by University Press of Florida in 2002. She was the Alabama representative to Southeastern Society of Architectural Historians in 2011.

Thursday, September 19 – 6 p.m.
Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World’s Fairs 1851-1939
Jason Busch, Chief Curator and Alan G. and Jane A. Lehman Curator of Decorative Arts and Design, Carnegie Museum of Art

During the 19th and early 20th centuries, world’s fairs were the most important vehicles for debuting advancements in the modern world. Universal in scope, they displayed decorative arts alongside paintings, sculpture, and agricultural products. Above all, they democratized design unlike any previous or concurrent forum.

In 2012, the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City co-organized a groundbreaking exhibition focused solely on the decorative arts displayed at the world’s fairs between London’s Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations in 1851 and the New York World’s Fair in 1939. Impermanent as the exhibitions themselves were, decorative arts are sometimes the only surviving elements of world’s fairs. Jason Busch, Chief Curator and the Alan G. and Jane A. Lehman Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at the Carnegie Museum, will elaborate on how objects at the fairs represented inventive and revived fabrication techniques, cross-cultural influences, nationalistic inspiration, and folkloric traditions. These singular objects represented the pinnacle of scientific and artistic achievements of their time and demonstrated how innovative design could positively affect modern living.

About the Speaker
Jason T. Busch is Chief Curator and the Alan G. and Jane A. Lehman Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.  He recently co-organized the catalogue exhibition Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at World’s Fairs, 1851-1939, which was shown in 2012 at Carnegie Museum of Art and the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City and in 2013 at the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Mint Museum in Charlotte. 

Thursday, October 17 – 6 p.m.
The House Twain and Tiffany Built
Patti Philippon, Beatrice Fox Auerbach Chief Curator, Mark Twain House & Museum

The Hartford home of Mark Twain and his family was designed to be a showstopper, a visual representation of the celebrated author who lived within its picturesque Gothic frame. To create grand interiors on par with Twain’s mounting success, Louis C. Tiffany & Co., Associated Artists, was commissioned in 1881, the same year the firm redecorated the state rooms of President Chester Arthur’s White House. Tiffany and his partners—Candace Wheeler, Lockwood DeForest, and Samuel Coleman—adorned Twain’s home’s public spaces with rich motifs derived from exotic regions of the world such as Turkey, China, Morocco, India, and Japan.

During this final lecture of the 2013 Samuel M. Nickerson Lecture Series season, Patti Philippon of the Mark Twain House & Museum will take the audience on a visual tour of the splendor still to be found in the restored mansion, while exploring the meaning behind design choices made by the family as well as Louis C. Tiffany & Co. and other interior designers.

About the Speaker
Patti Philippon is the Beatrice Fox Auerbach Chief Curator of the Mark Twain House & Museum. Philippon is responsible for the care, ongoing restoration and interpretation of the historic Mark Twain House, a National Historic Landmark. She is also responsible for the development, presentation and interpretation of the museum’s collections of 19th and early 20th century fine and decorative art, rare books, photographs and archives.

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