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- DescriptionStrut: The Peacock and Beauty in Art explores our fascination with that most glamorous of birds. The peacock, strutting in its sapphire-blue and emerald-green plumage, symbolizes all things vain and beautiful in centuries of painting and sculpture, in books, and on clothes that swirl and shine like the iridescent bird itself. Intrigued by the exotic art of Asia that prized and portrayed the peacock and its trail of an emblazoned train of feathers, Western artists in the 1890s chose the bird as a symbol of design on their canvases and for objects in the home. Though striking Gilded Age peacock imagery escalated in fin-de-siecle French Art Nouveau and the Art Deco of the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression of 1929 quelled the idea of beauty for its own sake; art w needed to be more than beautiful- it should serve, first, the social good. While in the aftermath of the Depression and a world war Americans of the '50s looked, again, for luxury, modernism gave rise to the ethos Less is more. The peacock's profile changed once more, this time into a symbol of drama and decadence. Today, as the contemporary art world renews its embrace of visual beauty, the peacock in form, color, and association resurges. The first major scholarly examination of the peacock in visual arts in the United States, England, and France, from the nineteenth century's Gilded Age to today, Strut, organized by the Hudson River Museum, has assembled paintings and decorative arts from museums and private collections throughout the United States. Contributing essays to the catalog Strut: The Peacock and Beauty in Art by Bartholomew F. Bland; Penelope Fritzer; Kirsten M. Jensen; Melissa J. Martens; Ellen E. Roberts; and Laura L. Vookles.
- Author BiographyBartholomew F. Bland is the Director of Curatorial Affairs at the Hudson River Museum, where he has organized a number of exhibitions related to the art and history of the Hudson Valley region including, Westchester: The American Suburb and Dutch New York: The Roots of Hudson Valley Culture. He also curated A Field Guide to Sprawl for Arts Westchester, which examined the impact of the suburban lifestyle on the physical environment, an exhibition that traveled to Yale University. Among his survey exhibitions for the Museum related to the Hudson River School are Paintbox Leaves: Autumnal Inspiration from Cole to Wyeth and Greener Pastures: Images of Arcadia at the Hudson River Museum. Laura L. Vookles is Chief Curator of Collections at the Hudson River Museum. For the Museum she has curated exhibitions and accompanying catalogs that include The Panoramic River: the Hudson and the Thames; The Old Croton Aqueduct: Rural Resources Meet Urban Needs; Next Stop Westchester! People and the Railroad; Westchester: The American Suburb; Dutch New York: the Roots of Hudson Valley Culture; and, Paintbox Leaves: Autumnal Inspiration from Cole to Wyeth. In the 25 years she has served at the Hudson River Museum, she has focused her efforts on Glenview, the Museum's 1877 Hudson River home for which she completed many furnishing, conservation, and interpretation projects.
- Author(s)Laura L. Vookles
- PublisherHudson River Museum
- Date of Publication01/10/2014
- SubjectFine Arts / Art History
- Place of PublicationYonkers
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintHudson River Museum
- Content Note150 Color Illustrations
- Weight3 g
- Width8427 mm
- Height5830 mm
- Spine15 mm
- Edited byBartholomew F. Bland
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