Category Archives: Collection

Not Throwing Away My “Kempshott”: Treatment of Two 18th-Century Wallpaper Pilasters

Have you ever wanted to know more about what goes on behind the scenes at the Saint Louis Art Museum, like how works of art are conserved and prepared for exhibition? In preparation for new updates to the Museum’s decorative arts galleries, conservators, curators, and exhibition designers recently prepared sections of the 18th century Kempshott… Read More »

Beasts, Mistresses, and Interior Decorating: A Story about the Kempshott Wallpaper

What do the French Revolution, the British monarchy, and the American Great Depression all share in common? Surprisingly, the answer is 25 panels of wallpaper in the collection of the Saint Louis Art Museum. The wallpaper was created around 1790 by the Parisian company Arthur & Robert, not long after the beginning of the French… Read More »

Modernism in Mexico: Rufino Tamayo and Carlos Mérida

Though their paintings are different in style, two artists working in mid-century Mexico—Mexican painter Rufino Tamayo (1899-1991) and Guatemalan-born artist Carlos Mérida (1891-1985)—had much in common. Both traveled broadly, making and promoting their art in Europe, Latin America, and the United States. Both artists were of partial indigenous ancestry—Tamayo was of Zapotec heritage, while Mérida… Read More »

New on View: Rosalyn Drexler’s Fresh News (Men and Machines)

Painted in 1965—the heyday of Pop art in New York— Rosalyn Drexler’s Fresh News (Men and Machines) is one of a series of paintings by the artist based on media images of men working with technology. Here, Drexler appropriates and abstracts an image of two men in suits supervising an advanced commercial printing press—the new… Read More »

New on View: Laila Visiting Majnun

This miniature watercolor illustrates a scene from the epic Persian poem Laila and Majnun, a 12th-century romance of unrequited love. Since these two star-crossed lovers were forced apart by their families, the heartbroken hero, Majnun, retreated to the wilderness. There, he lived a strict life of an ascetic, while his beloved Laila was forced to… Read More »

New on View: John Singer Sargent’s Portrait of Charlotte Cram

In Portrait of Charlotte Cram, artist John Singer Sargent captured a true moment of childhood: a 7-year-old just trying to sit still. Melissa Wolfe, curator for American art, explains why the new acquisition is so important for the Museum’s collection.       Image Caption: John Singer Sargent, American, 1856–1925; “Portrait of Charlotte Cram”, 1900; oil… Read More »

Nuxalk carving reflects cosmopolitan site of production

An artist from coastal British Columbia created this frontlet in the middle of the 19th century. Worn on a dancer’s forehead, this carving would have featured additional components. With sea lion whiskers sticking up from the crown, a veil-like attachment of swan skin or canvas covered the dancer’s head, shoulders, and back. Moving underneath this… Read More »

Henry Moore’s Reclining Figure is a masterpiece in concrete

Henry Moore first experimented with the unconventional, modern medium of concrete in 1926.[1] The British sculptor is renowned for his semi-abstract human figures cast in bronze or carved directly into stone and wood, highlighting the inherent qualities of these materials. Yet Moore also was drawn to concrete, an inexpensive material that could be cast into a… Read More »

Alessandro Allori and Portrait of a Lady: What lies beneath?

The information on a label accompanying a work of art in the galleries conveys compelling information about the work and the artist. But sometimes the background story is just as fascinating.  Such is the case with Portrait of a Lady, a painting from about 1580 that offers visitors a much richer representation of the complexities… Read More »

Sorolla painting is a vestige from blockbuster St. Louis exhibition

In March 1911 the Spanish painter Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida spoke to a newspaper reporter in front of the facade of the City Art Museum, now the Saint Louis Art Museum. Surveying Art Hill, he extolled the city’s landscape and clear atmosphere: “I am astounded. I am overcome…The air is more beautiful, more clear than… Read More »