Published: January 6, 2004
This winter, the Albany Institute of History & Art, 125 Washington Avenue, celebrates the beauty, technique and legacy of decorative arts that uniquely link the Capital Region to the international community through six exhibitions – “The Lamps of Tiffany: Highlights from the Neustadt Collection”; “Blue Box Treasures: Tiffany & Co.”; “Potent Potables: Punch and Punch Bowls in America”; “Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Royal House of Stuart, 1688-1788: Works of Art from The Drambuie Collection”; “I Am a Scot: Albany’s Scottish Heritage”; and “Lustrous: A Centennial Celebration of Art Glass Designed by Frederick Carder.”
“This is an extraordinary opportunity for the Albany Institute to connect the dots and showcase the crucial relationship between history and art,” said Christine Miles, AIHA director. “This suite of exhibitions shows off the vibrancy and innovation of decorative arts while highlighting the connections of seemingly unrelated topics; the business rivalry between Louis Comfort Tiffany and Frederick Carder, the influence of an exiled monarch and the settlement of the Mohawk Hudson Valley and the influence of international trade on establishing sociable traditions from colonial times through today.”
“The Lamps of Tiffany: Highlights from the Neustadt Collection” presented by the MetLife Foundation, is on exhibition through February 15. During the 1890s the artist and craftsman Louis Comfort Tiffany, son of the New York City jewelry merchant, began to produce lamps to supplement his successful stained glass window business. Drawn from objects from the Neustadt Museum of Tiffany Art, this exhibition features 43 stunning examples of table lamps, floor lamps, chandeliers, globes and windows by Louis Comfort Tiffany.
The complementary exhibition, “Blue Box Treasures: Tiffany & Co.,” also through February 15, pays homage to Tiffany-pere, with a selection of objects owned by the Albany Institute from the venerable firm of Tiffany & Co.
Presenting a different perspective on the evolution of art glass, “Lustrous: A Centennial Celebration of Art Glass Designed by Frederick Carder,” presented by M&T Bank and on exhibition through May 9, showcases the array of forms, decorative techniques and new glass colors of Frederick Carder, one of the most creative glass designers of the Twentieth Century. This exhibition includes vases, perfume bottles, compotes and bowls of the iridescent Aurene art glass produced by Steuben Glass Works (Corning, N.Y.) that rivaled Louis Comfort Tiffany’s Favrile glass.
“Potent Potables: Punch and Punch Bowls in America,” on exhibition through February 15, celebrates the tradition of punch, as a libation and as a key ingredient for social interactions. By tracing its history from colonial and post-revolutionary America, this exhibition features punch bowls, punch cups, punch recipes, wine glasses, mugs and ladles used by some of the founding families of the region.
Organized by The Drambuie Liqueur Company Ltd, Edinburgh, Scotland, “Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Royal House of Stuart, 1688-1788: Works of Art from The Drambuie Collection,” presented by the St Andrew’s Society and on exhibition through May 9, tells the story of historic upheaval, royal intrigue and the exile of several thousand Stuart supporters, who would eventually help the United States win its independence. From portrait paintings to the finest, rarest and most valuable example of an “Amen” glass, the works gathered in this exhibition were commissioned in secrecy from some of the finest craftsmen of the day to support the claim to the British throne made by the Stuarts, the Scottish royal family descended from Robert the Bruce.
Add the complementary exhibition, “I Am a Scot: Albany’s Scottish Heritage,” also on exhibition through May 9, highlights the diverse role Scottish immigrants played in defining the economic and cultural character of Albany. In fact, Albany owes its name to Scotland, as do the villages of Scotia, Selkirk and New Scotland.
One Sunday, January 11, at 2:30 pm there will be a lecture entitle “The Genius of Frederick Carder” by Jane Shadel Spillman, curator of American glass, Corning Museum of Glass. This lecture will present the work of Frederick Carder, who co-founded Steuben Glass Works in 1903. Spillman will discuss Carder’s early career in England, his work at Steuben and his glassmaking after 1933.
On Saturday, January 24, at 4 pm, there will be a lecture entitled “Kings Over the Water: Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Royal House of Stuart” by Michael Cassin, curator of education at the Clark Art Institute Williamstown, Mass. For more than 100 years, whenever Jacobite supporters gathered together, glasses were raised in a toast to the “King over the water.” This lecture will look at portraits of Bonnie Prince Charlie and other Stuart family members.
On Sunday, February 1, at 2:30 pm, there will be a lecture entitled “One Bowl More and Then: Punch Drinking in Colonial America” by Donald Friary, director emeritus and senior research fellow at Historic Deerfield, Inc. Dr Friary will speak about the exotic drink that entered English colonial life in the Seventeenth Century. Spirits, water, sugar, fruit and spice were combined to create a refreshing and potent beverage throughout the English-speaking world until it collided with the Temperance movement in the Nineteenth Century.
For information on any of the exhibitions, programs or events, call 518-463-4478 or visit www.albanyinstitute.org.
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