Archive for the 'Collections' Category

Discovering Eliza

It was a truly exciting moment for me when I discovered that the DMA held a batik produced by “THE” Eliza van Zuylen. Owning one of van Zuylen’s exquisite hand-drawn cloths was a privilege that only very wealthy women in 19th-century colonial Indonesia enjoyed. With the average wage of a government employee being twenty guilders a month, and a van Zuylen sarong costing around thirteen guilders, these batiks were comparable to a Chanel bag or Louboutin shoes today. Adorned with European-style flower bouquets, hence buketan-style batik, the cloths were wrapped around the waist and combined with fashionable lace-trimmed blouses called kebayas.

Three Indo-European women wearing kebaya blouses with batik sarongs, Batavia (Jakarta), around 1880. Heringa, R./ Veldhuisen, H.C: Fabric of Enchantment. Batik from the North Coast of Java. Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Los Angeles, 1996. pg. 48

Three Indo-European women wearing kebaya blouses with batik sarongs, Batavia (Jakarta), around 1880, from Heringa, R./Veldhuisen, H.C., Fabric of Enchantment: Batik from the North Coast of Java (Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1996), p. 48.

Mainly produced by women in their home and for their private use, Javanese batik underwent a process of commercialization in the late 19th century. In addition to Peranakan Chinese, several Indo-European women on the north coast of the island established batik workshops, often to supplement their husband’s income. Mostly middle class, these women, who were of European and Asian, Chinese, or Arab origin, were situated in between the local Javanese population and the Dutch colonial society. Their intermediary position allowed them to create batik for several societal groups, including the Indo-European, Peranakan Chinese, and upper-class Javanese.

Eliza van Zuylen. Heringa, R./ Veldhuisen, H.C: Fabric of Enchantment. Batik from the North Coast of Java. Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Los Angeles, 1996. pg. 76

Eliza van Zuylen, from Heringa, R./Veldhuisen, H.C., Fabric of Enchantment: Batik from the North Coast of Java (Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1996), p. 76.

Eliza van Zuylen was one of these women; she was born in 1863 in Batavia (Jakarta) as the daughter of a Dutch soldier and an Indo-European woman. After her husband, Alphons van Zuylen, was appointed as government inspector in Pekalongan, she moved to this north coast city, which, since the 1850s, was an important batik production center. After helping in her sister Christina’s batik workshop, van Zuylen opened her own business in 1890. Starting off with just three Javanese batik makers, her workshop was very prosperous and expanded quickly, by 1918 becoming the largest Indo-European batik business in the whole of Java. Her workshop ended up being the only Indo-European batik business to survive the economic depression of the 1930s.

Peranakan Chinese batik entrepreneur Tee Boen Kee and his workshop in Batavia (Jakarta), around 1930. Heringa, R./ Veldhuisen, H.C: Fabric of Enchantment. Batik from the North Coast of Java. Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Los Angeles, 1996. pg. 41

Peranakan Chinese batik entrepreneur Tee Boen Kee and his workshop in Batavia (Jakarta), around 1930, from Heringa, R./ Veldhuisen, H.C., Fabric of Enchantment: Batik from the North Coast of Java (Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1996), p. 41.

The batik designs, inspired by Dutch horticultural books, imported European flowers, and European fairytales, were created by Eliza van Zuylen herself and then drawn on the cloth with hot wax by her batik makers. Provided the wax drawing met van Zuylen’s expectations, she added her signature to the cloth and allowed it to be dyed. Together with a stamp from her workshop, this signature guaranteed the authenticity of the batik. Not only was the habit of signing batiks, which had been introduced by Indo-European batik entrepreneurs such as van Zuylen, meant to help protect patterns, but it also functioned as an advertisement.

Woman's Sarong, 1910, Java, Pekalongan, Indonesia, batik on commercial cotton, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Bywaters in memory of Paul and Viola van Katwijk

Woman’s sarong, 1910, Java, Pekalongan, Indonesia, batik on commercial cotton, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Bywaters in memory of Paul and Viola van Katwijk

The signature and stamp on the DMA batik by Eliza van Zuylen. Woman's Sarong (details), 1910, Java, Pekalongan, Indonesia, batik on commercial cotton, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Bywaters in memory of Paul and Viola van Katwijk

The signature and stamp on the DMA batik by Eliza van Zuylen

A gift from former Museum director Jerry Bywaters, this beautiful sarong entered the DMA’s collection in 1982. The signature “E v Zuylen” and the stamp stating “Batikkerij Mevr. E. van Zuylen, Pekalongan” prove that this batik was made in van Zuylen’s workshop. The beige and blue color combination, in this case probably achieved with indigo, is referred to as kelengan and was popular among both Indo-European and Peranakan Chinese women on the north coast. The body, or badan, of the cloth is decorated with three flowering twigs along with birds and butterflies. This motif is repeated on the head, or kepala, but on a contrasting dark background. The pattern fields and the edges of the cloth are decorated with floral lace borders. Such a batik would have been suitable for a young Indo-European bride on her wedding night, with the beige symbolizing her purity and the lovebirds referring to marriage.

Elisabeth Seyerl is the McDermott Graduate Curatorial Intern for African and Asian Art at the DMA.

Emeralds of the Collection

This St. Patrick’s Day we aren’t crossing the pond to celebrate with the Irish as the DMA is home to a number of works created by artists who have called the Emerald Isle home. Wishing everyone a happy St. Patrick’s Day filled with the luck of the Irish, and some of their artistic talent too.

Kimberly Daniell is the Manager of Communications and Public Affairs at the DMA.

Forget Fashion Week—It’s Fashion Season at the DMA

If you can’t make it to New York or Paris for Fashion Week, don’t worry, the DMA spring collection of fashion events has arrived! Join us for talks exploring fashion—from ancient hairstyles this Thursday, March 5, to what our modern-day fashion choices symbolize about us on Tuesday, June 9.

Figure of a woman, Roman Empire, A.D. 2nd century, marble, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Cecil H. Green

Figure of a woman, Roman Empire, 2nd century A.D., marble, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Cecil H. Green

Boshell Lecture: The Art of Ancient Hairdressing
Thursday, March 5, 7:00 p.m.
See ancient sculptures in a whole new way through the eyes of hairdressing archaeologist Janet Stephens as she explores how the ancient Greeks and Romans created complex hairstyles.

After Cassandra Austen, Jane Austen, n.d., engraving, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts, The Alfred and Juanita Bromberg Collection, bequest of Juanita K. Bromberg

After Cassandra Austen, Jane Austen, n.d., engraving, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts, The Alfred and Juanita Bromberg Collection, bequest of Juanita K. Bromberg

Fashioning Jane Austen
Friday, March 20, 7:00 p.m.
Explore the elegant and extreme styles of Jane Austen’s time with costume designer and fashion historian David James Cole.

Cover

Fashion Victims: Dress at the Court of Louis XVI
Thursday, April 30, 7:00 p.m.
Dr. Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell presents her newest book, Fashion Victims: Dress at the Court of Louis XVI, an engrossing chronicle of one of the most exciting, controversial, and extravagant periods in the history of fashion: the reign of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette.

june 9

Fashioning Our Identities
Tuesday, June 9, 7:30 p.m.
The editors of the visually compelling book Women in Clothes, Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, and Leanne Shapton, will have a spirited conversation about what informs and motivates women in their daily clothing choices and what those fashion choices symbolize and reflect about our lives. Over 600 surveys of women across races, creeds, religions, and ages reveal that there are myriad responses to the question “what does style mean to you?” Fashion designer Lela Rose will share insights into her creative process and how artists have inspired some of her designs.

The Name Game

In our Center for Creative Connections, we provide opportunities for visitors to respond to works of art through discussion, drawing, making, and writing.

Due to its history of multiple names, Arthur John Elsley’s Hard Pressed (Late for School/Any Port in a Storm) provides us with an opportunity to ask visitors to rename the painting.

Arthur John Elsley, Hard Pressed (Any Port in a Storm/Late for School), 1898, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Kim Jordan

Arthur John Elsley, Hard Pressed (Any Port in a Storm/Late for School), 1898, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Kim Jordan

When reading through the responses, we were surprised by how many were pop culture references. Check out some of our favorites.

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Next time you are in the Center for Creative Connections, add your contribution to the wall and maybe you will see it on Uncrated!

Jessica Fuentes is the Center for Creative Connections Gallery Coordinator at the DMA.

30-Minute Dash: Eric Zeidler

Because we offer free general admission, visitors often pop in for a few minutes when they are in the Dallas Arts District. Our Visitor Services team is frequently asked this question: “What would you recommend seeing if you only had thirty minutes to visit the Museum?” We thought it would be fun to pose this tough question to DMA staffers from different departments to see what they consider to be among the highlights. First up is Eric Zeidler, our Publications Manager:

If a visitor had thirty minutes and accepted me as a guide, I would take them to many galleries to highlight multiple works in the collection, starting with the African galleries on Level 3.


My favorite stops include the Fang reliquary guardian figure. It is so riveting and perfectly carved, I can never get my fill of looking at it. Another work to visit is the Songye female power figure with her sheen (she exudes the oil with which she has been anointed down through the years) and that unnerving grin. I can well imagine her exerting a beneficent or malefic power, depending on the inner qualities of those who come into contact with her. Last stop in this gallery would have to be the Djennenke/Soninke figure, with her protuberant eyes and spare, almost angular, elegance.


Continuing our tour on Level 3 in the Arts of Asia gallery includes time to take in the serene Buddha Muchalinda. I love his canopy of naga heads and the fascinating expressiveness of his lips. The Vajrabhairava, with its horns and fangs and union of ecstatic abandon with higher truth, is always a must see, as is the sensuously provocative celestial female with that scorpion on her thigh. And finally we would visit the Vishnu as Varaha, with its diagonal lines and the redoubtable tusks and snout.


We would then dash downstairs to the European galleries on Level 2 to look at a large selection of some of my favorite works, starting with Paul Signac’s neoimpressionist masterpiece Comblat-le-Château, the Meadow (Le Pré), Opus 161. We would then continue on to Paul Sérusier’s Celtic Tale, which partly reminds me of Paul Gauguin but also has symbolist elements reminiscent of Javanese-Dutch artist Jan Toorop, with whom (for me) its imagery has luminous affinities. Next would be Piet Mondrian’s Farm Near Duivendrecht, in the Evening, with its low light, reminds me of Dahl’s Frederiksborg Castle, on view around the corner (it makes me wish that we could acquire some Atkinson Grimshaw canvases), and a quick look at Hans Hofmann’s expressive masterpiece Untitled (Yellow Table on Green).


Going down the other side of the European galleries, I would point out the nice little Still-life with Fruit by Emilie Preyer; Sir Joshua Reynolds’ commanding Portrait of Miss Mary Pelham (she has such a penetrating stare, which for me suggests a certain formidable willfulness); the gorgeous still-life Basket of Flowers by Beert the Elder, with its petals lying strewn on a tabletop; and my beloved College of Animals by Cornelis Saftleven. I think this work, beyond its allegorical subtleties and its charm for all those who love animals, is a beautifully painted canvas, and I love studying its various striking details.


I would also take a quick trip to the Level 4 to see the Dust Bowl and other Texas paintings, which show that beauty can be found amidst stark desolation, and the Navajo eye-dazzler blanket, which is a pleasure to gaze upon. We would end our whirlwind tour with the fascinating little painting by Roberto Montenegro, The Shell, one of my favorite works in the entire collection.

Follow Uncrated to catch the next DMA Dash and more behind-the-scenes scoops. Visit our collection online anytime here.

 Reagan Duplisea is the Associate Registrar, Exhibitions at the DMA.

A Table fit for a Contessa

Today is what the DMA Arts & Letters Live team has been waiting for since we began planning this event last July: INA GARTEN DAY!

ina

We are hosting the lovely Ina Garten tonight as part of the 2015 DMA Arts & Letters Live season. To celebrate the Barefoot Contessa’s visit to Dallas, below are some of my favorite pieces from the DMA’s collection that are fit for any fête in the Hamptons with Ina! Explore the DMA collection galleries for free and plan your fantasy table setting.

If you missed getting tickets to Ina Garten’s event, foodies are in still in luck, we are hosting the amazing chef Marcus Samuellson on March 27, get tickets now online.

A Barrel of Art

Next Friday, February 20 the DMA is opening three exhibitions (Frank Bowling: Map Paintings, Bold Abstractions: Selections from the DMA Collection 1966–1976, and Concentrations 58: Chosil Kil) in time for our February Late Night. Installation for these three exhibitions began last week, get a sneak peek at the works of art below and start planning your artful Late Night now.

 

CHOSIL_INSTALL_BLOG_FEB_2015_001 CHOSIL_INSTALL_BLOG_FEB_2015_002 CHOSIL_INSTALL_BLOG_FEB_2015_004 CHOSIL_INSTALL_BLOG_FEB_2015_005 CHOSIL_INSTALL_BLOG_FEB_2015_006 CHOSIL_INSTALL_BLOG_FEB_2015_007 CHOSIL_INSTALL_BLOG_FEB_2015_008 CHOSIL_INSTALL_BLOG_FEB_2015_009 CHOSIL_INSTALL_BLOG_FEB_2015_010 CHOSIL_INSTALL_BLOG_FEB_2015_012


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