A Tale of Two Kitties

It was the best of times (exciting new acquisition), it was the worst of times (the Depression). Both wisdom and folly were in ample supply when the Museum purchased Cat, an exquisite Egyptian artifact created during the 26th Dynasty of Egypt (664–525 BC). Sculpted in bronze and originally intended to contain a cat mummy, this… Read More »

Life Through a Lens – Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother, Nipomo, CA

Life. That’s what Dorothea Lange (1895-1965) set out to depict when she captured the iconic image of mother and migrant farm laborer Florence Owens Thompson in 1936. On assignment for the Farm Security Administration to document the impact of federal programs in rural areas, Lange arrived at a California migrant-workers settlement and encountered Thompson, who… Read More »

Fresh from critics’ praise, Water Lilies returns

Water Lilies has returned to Gallery 218 after a nine-month hiatus that took the painting to Cleveland and London for the exhibition Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse. The Museum’s Water Lilies is the central panel of the 42-foot Agapanthus triptych, which Monet started to paint around 1915 and continued to rework and obsessively… Read More »

Get to Know the Carpet Connoisseur

By the early 20th century St. Louisian James Franklin Ballard (1851-1931) had achieved great success in the industry of non-prescription medicines. His products included Campho-Phenique, a topical antiseptic still available today. The fortune generated by his medications allowed Ballard, a self-trained scholar, to amass an exceptional collection of Oriental carpets and two Persian pleasure tents.… Read More »

The Carpet and the Connoisseur

Originating in the eastern regions of the world, Oriental carpets have served indigenous populations and attracted foreign admirers for centuries. The fifty-one carpets and two Persian pleasure tents on view in The Carpet and the Connoisseur: The James F. Ballard Collection of Oriental Rugs feature lush wool, silk, and cotton yarns, dyed in striking hues,… Read More »

Take a closer look at Currents 112: Andréa Stanislav: Convergence Infinité

Across the Mississippi River from St. Louis’s Gateway Arch, a symbol of westward expansion, one can find vestiges of the largest pre-historic settlement north of Mexico. The Cahokia Mounds in Collinsville, Illinois were built by a civilization which flourished for centuries before its mysterious decline. Both of these sites represent the apex or pinnacle—in a… Read More »

Oriental Carpets and the Women Who Weave Them

In honor of International Women’s Day, we celebrate the female weavers who designed and created most of the works in The Carpet and the Connoisseur: The James F. Ballard Collection of Oriental Rugs. To better understand these artists, we asked for an expert’s opinion. Walter B. Denny, the exhibition’s guest curator and the distinguished professor… Read More »

Installing a Persian Pleasure Tent in The Carpet and the Connoisseur

The small octagonal tent, created as late as 1900, served as a garden pavilion, or fabric gazebo, that offered a shady retreat form the hot sun. Featuring intricate velvet and embroidered designs, this pleasure tent was ideal for outdoor activities. With a central pol, tents such as this are depicted in Persian art from the… Read More »