Published: September 4, 2001
RICHMOND, VA. – A valuable collection of more than 350 pieces of printed primary materials relating to American and British Arts & Crafts and Art Nouveau has been donated to the library of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts by retired Twentieth Century art curator Frederick R. Brandt.
The donation was made in memory of his late wife, Carol Brandt. Frederick Brandt is now a consulting curator for the museum.
His gift, which includes monographs, journals, pamphlets, flyers and postcards collected over a 30-year period, significantly increases the holdings of the library’s Brandt collection, recently established in memory of Carol Brandt by a grant from Dr and Mrs William Regelson of Richmond.
These materials join the growing collection of rare library holdings from the era, many of which – including the magazines The Studio, Art et Decoration and The Craftsman – were gifts from the Sydney and Frances Lewis. The late Sydney Lewis is served on the museum’s board. His widow, Frances Lewis, is a board member now. Both were long term benefactors of the museum with a special interest in Twentieth Century art.
All of the rdf_Descriptions given to the library by Brandt date from the height of the Arts & Crafts movement. “They form an invaluable corpus of primary source material for the study of the artistic and decorative art production of that time,” says Dr Suzanne Freeman, the museum’s head librarian.
The museum’s world-renowned collection of Art Nouveau and Art Deco objects includes a large number of original American posters from the era, many of which advertise the journals and “little magazines,” as they were known, that form part of the donation: The Fra, The Philistine, Bradley: His Book, The Yellow Book (designed by Aubrey Beardsley), The Roycrofter, The Lark, and Roycroft Magazine. Of special interest are Jugend, which gave its name to the German Art Nouveau movement, Jugenstil; and a full run of the Lark an extremely rare journal published in San Francisco from 1895 to 1896.
“This monographic collection is a perfect example of the book as a fine art object,” Freeman says. “All have their original bindings and graphics, and many are hand illuminated.”
Among the prized titles are two very rare, “Red Letter Shakespeare” works illustrated by Talwin Morris, Much Ado About Nothing, and The Merry Wives of Windsor from 1905; two volumes whose covers were designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh; and the 1904 edition of the Prayer Book of Edward VII, illustrated with original woodcuts by C.R. Ashbee.
Freeman says the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts library continues to seek material from the Arts & Crafts, Art Nouveau and Art Deco eras to add to the Carol J. Brandt Memorial collection.
The museum’s reference library houses approximately 70,000 volumes. The library is open to the public Tuesday through Friday from 11 am to 5 pm. From September through May, the library is also open on Saturdays from 11 am to 5 pm. The library’s catalog is on the Web at www.pandora.vmfa.state.va.us or through a link on the museum’s public Web site at www.vmfa.state.va.us.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm