Thank God For Tea!
- Dates: February 8, 1955 through April 15, 1955
- Collections: Asian Art
October 3, 1954: With the opening tomorrow (Monday, Oct. 4) of the special exhibition of French Impressionists paintings, The Brooklyn Museum will introduce its Fall-Winter calendar of events highlighting art in many areas of the world.
Africa and the Orient provide inspiration for two extensive exhibitions, both of which have been several years in preparation. Choice objects from some of the most important private collections in the world, previously unexhibited, will be seen along with treasures from the museum’s own global collections as the exhibition spotlight moves through the countries involved.
Also, a master print show, an international water color show and a big photographic exhibit are among special events listed.
In addition to the major art showings, the museum will offer a series of special lectures to follow the free Sunday afternoon concerts in the Sculpture Court; free movies for children on Saturday and specially selected films for adults on Sunday. Six puppet shows are on the calendar for children while folk dance programs will be given every fourth Saturday of the month. This series will be inaugurated on Oct. 23 with a salute to United Nations in honor of the founding of the world council. The film, "World Without End," will be shown the same weekend.
In True Color Setting
The French Impressionist paintings are being shown in a main floor Gallery. The background for the exhibit subtly reflects the colors for which the great artists of this particular school of painting are famous: Degas, Utrillo, Toulouse-Lautrec, Renoir, Pissarro, Manet and others. Such outstanding favorites as Degas' “Drying Her Hair,” "Nude,"; Gauguin’s “Jeune Fille” and Bonnard’s “The Breakfast Room” are among the select works chosen for this show.
African Show Oct. 21
On Oct. 21, The Brooklyn Museum will open to the public the first major exhibition of African art to be presented in the New York area in 20 years. Wood sculpture, ivory, gold and textile--numbering more than 200 pieces and drawn from important European and American private and museum collections--will be included in this major exhibition that will cover Negro Africa from the French Sudan to the Belgian Congo. The subject matter ranges from ritual scenes to sensitive idealized ancestral portraits, and in style, from highly abstract cubistic figures to the delicate realism of ghost masks. Roughly, 500 years of Negro African art will be portrayed in this exhibition. Lenders to the exhibition include such well-known figures as Vincent Price, Princess Gourielli (Mme. Helena Rubinstein), Robert Woods Bliss, Jacques Lipchitz, and many others. Important pieces from the Webster Plass collection, in The British Museum, have already arrived as well as a group of Ivory Coast textiles from the Museum fur Volkerkunde of Basel, Switzerland.
Back to Clipper Ships
In February the museum will present “Treaty Port Art,” a special exhibition visualizing the romantic story of Chinese export wares brought to this country by clipper ship. Exotic porcelains, lacquers, carved ivories and textiles of silk will be shown. An actual voyage from New York to China, using manuscripts and paintings for documentation, will be traced.
March 2, 1955: Chinese Export Porcelains, Lacquers, Ivories Brought to New York From Canton, 1785-1860 Comprise Show; Many N.Y., B’klyn Associations
“Thank God for Tea!", the apt exclamation of a British minister 150 years ago with reference to tea, the valuable commodity of China which ensured a circle of trade for merchants who sent their ships around Cape Horn to distant China, titles the special exhibition which opens at The Brooklyn Museum on Wednesday, Feb. 9.
The show, subtitled “Trade between Canton and New York, 1785-l860” reflects a romantic era in the maritime and trade history of this country--when New York merchants and seamen led in the expansion of trade with China and pioneered the development of clipper ships in the race to speed trade. It was an era when young men venturing in the China trade made their fortunes by the age of 25.
The exhibition has been assembled and installed by Mr. George Lee, Curator of Oriental Arts. He states:
“With this exhibition an attempt is made to present the visitor with a well integrated picture of the New York-China trade. A diversity of objects made expressly for export to the American 'barbarians' have been set against a background of historic paintings and ships papers to accomplish this. Emphasis in selecting many of porcelains, lacquers, silk shawls, ivories and sea[?] chests[?] was on the New York and Brooklyn associations of the pieces."
Of the four sections comprising the show, the first is devoted to the early voyages and the wares brought back in addition to their tea cargoes. In the second, the voyage of the “Lion” which sailed from New York in 1815 is visually traced.
Section of Objects Having New York, Brooklyn Associations
The Lows of New York and Brooklyn, a name identified with the China trade for three generations, are well represented in the third section of the exhibition. A carved ivory tusk, souvenir presented to A.A. Low, a precious Chinese vase, and a leather covered sea chest are among the pieces belonging to the family.
Export pieces from the Helena Woolworth McCann Trade Porcelain Collection, recently presented to the museum, are exhibited in the final section.
Museums which have lent objects include: Museum of the City of New York, Peabody Museum, Salem, New York Historical Society, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Historial Society of Pennsylvania and the New York Public Library. Private collectors contributing to the show are Mrs. Ethelbert Low, Mrs. William Raymond and Mr. Sigfrid R. Lonegren.
The exhibition will continue on view through April 15.