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Thursday, April 19, 2012

National Gallery of Art hosts 'Louvre' symposium

Samuel F. B. Morse, Gallery of the Louvre, 1831–1833
oil on canvas, Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection


This Friday and Saturday the National Gallery of Art will hold a public symposium devoted to Samuel Morse's Gallery of the Louvre, a 19th-century painting of 38 paintings hung, according to the artist's desires, in a grand salon at the Louvre. 

Artist Morse (1791-1872), yes, the same person who developed the Morse Code,
rearranged painting placements and did not draw them to scale, according to Peter John Brownlee of the Terra Foundation for American Art, the owner of the work and lender to the National Gallery.  Mr. Brownlee is one of the Friday guest lecturers.

Morse's subject matter can halt visitors in their tracks as they walk the main level of the West Building and come upon Gallery of the Louvre where a detailed brochure names the paintings in the work and the history behind it. The art is wonderfully intriguing and mysterious and full of details which you can see for yourself now through July 8, the last day of its display in Washington, D.C.

How many single paintings can you cite which warrant a two-day event filled with commentary, questions, discussion, eight lectures by experts from around the globe, and a film?

Here's the schedule:

Public Symposium
Samuel F. B. Morse's Gallery of the Louvre in Focus

Held in conjunction with the exhibitionA New Look: Samuel F. B. Morse's Gallery of the Louvre

April 20, 2012 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.West Building Ground Floor, Lecture Hall
3:00–3:05
Opening Remarks
Faya Causey, head of academic programs, National Gallery of Art

3:05–3:10
Introduction
Franklin Kelly, chief curator and deputy director, National Gallery of Art

3:10–3:40
A New Look: Samuel F. B. Morse's Gallery of the Louvre
A documentary on the extensive six-month conservation treatment of the Gallery of the Louvre, this 30-minute film shares new information about the painting and features interviews with conservators, curators, and other specialists. Produced by Sandpail Productions for the Terra Foundation for American Art.

3:40–4:25
Morse's Materials and Techniques
Lance Mayer and Gay Myers, independent conservators

4:25–5:00
Samuel F. B. Morse's Lectures on the Affinity of Painting with the Other Fine Arts and the Creation of Gallery of the Louvre
Peter J. Brownlee, associate curator, Terra Foundation for American Art


Saturday, April 21 from 11:00 to 5:00West Building Ground Floor, Lecture Hall
11:00–11:10
Opening Remarks
Faya Causey, head of academic programs, National Gallery of Art

11:10–11:20
Introduction
Franklin Kelly, chief curator and deputy director, National Gallery of Art

11:20–11:55
Samuel Morse's Louvre in Context
Andrew McClellan, professor and dean of academic affairs for arts and sciences, Tufts University

11:55–12:30
American Artists and the Louvre
Olivier Meslay, associate director of curatorial affairs, Dallas Museum of Art

12:30–1:30
BREAK

1:30–2:05
Samuel F. B. Morse's Gallery of the Louvre as a Religious Painting
David Bjelajac, professor of art and American studies, The George Washington University

2:05–2:40
1832: The Gallery of the Louvre and the Electric Telegraph
Jean-Philippe Antoine, professor, department of visual arts, Université Paris 8

2:40–3:15
The Tradition of Paintings-within-Paintings
Catherine Roach, assistant professor, department of art history, Virginia Commonwealth University

3:15–3:40
BREAK

3:40–4:15
Painting and Technology: Samuel F. B. Morse and the Visual Transmission of Intelligence
Richard Read, Winthrop Professor, School of Architecture, Landscape and Visual Arts,
The University of Western Australia

4:15–4:50
The Forest of the Old Masters: The Chiaroscuro of American Places
Alexander Nemerov, Vincent Scully Professor of the History of Art, Yale University

This program is coordinated with and supported by the Terra Foundation for American Art

I would like to thank Marie Stafford for directing my attention to the book The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris (2011) by David McCullough which tells the stories about the Parisian lives of Mr. Morse and others.
In the West Building at the National Gallery of Art/Patricia Leslie


What: Samuel Morse's Gallery of the Louvre

When: Now through July 8, 2012, every day from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m., Sunday

Where: West Building, National Gallery of Art, Fourth through Ninth streets, NW, on the Mall

Admission: No charge

Metro stations: Smithsonian, Federal Triangle, Navy Memorial-Archives, L'Enfant Plaza, and/or ride the Circulator

For more information: 202-737-4215

(Update) A "must have" for Morse fans:  Samuel F. B. Morse's Gallery of the Louvre and the Art of Invention, edited by Peter John Brownlee, Terra Foundation for American Art, distributed by Yale University Press, 2014

patricialesli@gmail.com





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