Artwork of the Week

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May 13 Art Minute: Albert Bierstadt, “El Capitan, Yosemite Valley, California”

Posted on Friday, May 13th, 2016

In the 19th century the wonders of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains (“America’s Alps”) and the Sierra Nevadas in California were largely known to Americans in the East only through travelers’ accounts and paintings by intrepid artists. Though not the first artist to paint these mountains, Bierstadt’s majestic paintings spurred tourism to the West and helped spark […]

May 6 Art Minute: Evert Pieters, “In the Month of May”

Posted on Friday, May 6th, 2016

In this charming celebration of carefree, youthful innocence, six children of various ages and in a variety of poses are completely preoccupied with the making of garlands from yellow wildflowers. One in the circle, already wearing the finished product, has cast aside her wooden shoes; another clutches in her apron her hoard of plucked flowers […]

April 29 Art Minute: Spiral Chandelier for Jérôme Bonaparte

Posted on Friday, April 29th, 2016

Founded in 1792, the firm Werner & Mieth was for more than four decades the most important Berline manufacturer of hand-made luxury goods in gilded bronze. The new clients for Berlin luxury manufactories were mainly French, despite the politically difficult years of Napoleon I’s occupation of the German state of Prussia. Napoleon’s wife Josephine and […]

April 22 Art Minute: “Trick Glass with Stag Siphon”

Posted on Friday, April 22nd, 2016

This trick glass was designed to make it as difficult as possible to drink from the vessel without spilling the alcoholic beverage within. The insert of the stag glass functions as a siphon (a sort of straw) whose multiple openings challenge the drinker to figure out which holes need to be covered in order for […]

April 15 Art Minute: Toots Zynsky, “Untitled,” from the “Tierra del Fuego Series”

Posted on Friday, April 15th, 2016

Mary Ann (“Toots”) Zynsky explores the fragility of glass as she fashions works of daring color and intense power. Her works suggest both sculptural object and functional vessel, an ambiguity that beguiles with color and reassures with familiar form. […] Zynsky adopted a technique that she jokingly calls “filet de verre” (a play on the […]

April 8 Art Minute: Dale Chihuly, “Campiello del Remer #2”

Posted on Friday, April 8th, 2016

The opening of the new Glass Pavilion in 2006 also introduced a monumental new acquisition by Seattle artist Dale Chihuly to the Museum’s visitors. The glass elements of the sculpture were fabricated at Chihuly’s studio, then cut and engraved at the Waterford® Crystal factory in Ireland in 1995. First configured as a large standing “chandelier,” […]

April 1 Art Minute: Silvia Levenson, “Strange Little Girl #7”

Posted on Thursday, March 31st, 2016

Born in Argentina, Silvia Levenson is of Russian–Jewish descent. Politically active already as a teenager, Levenson immigrated to Italy in 1981 with her husband and young children to escape the oppresive regime of military dictator Jorge Rafaél Videla (ruled 1976–1981), during which members of her family were “disappeared.”Her experiences during this intense and frightening time […]

Mar. 25 Art Minute: Alison Elizabeth Taylor, “Kitchen”

Posted on Friday, March 25th, 2016

At first glance you may assume this work is paint on canvas or board. But look carefully—most of the image is composed of inlayed wood. Alison Taylor has become well-known for reinvigorating the Renaissance craft of marquetry or intarsia wood inlay, which she combines with painting. Describing this synthesis, Taylor explains, “What interests me is […]

Mar. 18 Art Minute: Petah Coyne, “Untitled #1176 (Elisabeth–Elizabeth)”

Posted on Friday, March 18th, 2016

Petah Coyne’s work is often called baroque in its sensibility, but it is equally Victorian—both ornate and somber. In many cases, including this sculpture, her works evoke the colors and imagery of mourning regalia. The violet silk flowers dipped in black wax are studded with brightly hued taxidermy Golden and Lady Amherst pheasants. Dusky candles […]

Mar. 11 Art Minute: Louise Bourgeois, “Shackle Necklace”

Posted on Friday, March 11th, 2016

Louise Bourgeois designed this necklace in the 1940s as a personal statement against the violence she had witnessed against prisoners during the Spanish Civil War (1936–39), who were asphyxiated by shackles of this shape. It was also designed as a comment about the female state, a metaphor for the social, political, and legal constraints of […]