Frederick C. Carder and Steuben Art Glass

Text by Madison P. Whyde, Gallery Attendant at the Forsyth Galleries

The Forsyth Galleries at Texas A&M University’s Memorial Student Center features an eloquent and extensive collection of English Cameo Glass. Last month’s article goes into detail about one of our cameo glass pieces and how it was created. However, our galleries also feature a beautiful collection of Steuben Glass, whose history you may be less aware of.Black and White Steuben Vase

Frederick C. Carder was born in Staffordshire, England where he grew up loving the arts. He quit his schooling at a young age and started developing his glass-making skills at various local firms until a few of his designs became commercially popular. In 1903, on a business trip to the United States, Carder met Thomas Hawkes who was familiar with his success. As the president of Corning Glass Works, Hawkes offered to establish and provide funds for a company to be run by Carder in Corning, New York, and soon after Steuben Glass Works emerged as an American art glass company.

Throughout his career with Steuben Glass Works, Frederick C. Carder created more than 8,000 designs, of which one of his more famous types is known as Aurene. To create his patented Aurene glass, Carder would spray clear, malleable glass with a metallic chloride and then heat it in a specific manner; the glass surface would crack into millions of tiny lines causing the light to reflect off it in an unprecedented, exquisite manner.

He was also known for his incorporation of different art styles into his pieces. For the vase pictured here, Carder managed to create almost perfectly clear glass and embellish it with a striking black floral intarsia design. Intarsia refers to an art technique that developed during the Italian Renaissance of decorating a surface with recurring patterns. This vase truly highlights Carder’s masterful ability to manipulate the raw material by combining both the technology of glass making and the expertise of design. In addition to the vase’s asymmetrical nature and improbable rippling rim, its stunning colors and uniqueness highlight the power and expressivity of simplicity.

However, with the onset of World War I, America underwent many raw material shortages, which eventually lead to a decline in Steuben glass popularity.  His company was bought by Corning Glass works, and under new management the Steuben division produced new pieces of art that were instead formed with different, revolutionary techniques. Most notably, a manufacturing process known as 10-M was developed by Corning in an effort to create glass that would transmit, instead of absorb, ultraviolet light; the iron impurities that are found in glass are removed which achieves an extremely high refractive quality that permits the entire spectrum of light and ultraviolet light to pass through. This purifying procedure creates a pure, beautiful finished product unique to the Steuben standard of glass making. Frederick Carder retired in 1932, although the production of his style of glass continued. To exemplify the prestige of his glass, it’s interesting to note that famous persons and dignitaries were awarded Steuben Glass pieces, and in 1951, a piece was even presented to Princess Elizabeth during the opening of England’s “Exhibit of Exhibits.”

Although Steuben glass officially ceased its manufacturing in 2012, it stands as an American symbol of our ability to produce world-class art glass. Carder’s art is rare, and his incredible formulas for glass transformation into extraordinary works of art continue to be recognized in the field. To see more works designed by Carder for Steuben, be sure to visit the Forsyth Galleries and our current “Forsyth Favorites” exhibit that features several of his extraordinary works!

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Bluebonnets with Cemetery #2

One of the most unique paintings in the Forsyth Gallery’s collection was a gift by the Texas A&M Class of 1985 endowment.  Bluebonnets with Cemetery #2, was painted by Austin-based artist Nina Beall in 1991.  Ms. Beall has been exhibiting her artwork since 1980 and has participated in solo and group shows around the country. 

The Class of 1985 purchased Bluebonnets with Cemetery #2 for its Texas-centric subject of a field of bluebonnets in Spring.  Hills full of royal blue, pale blue, and the extremely rare red bluebonnets rise to the middle ground, where an old, fenced cemetery appears on the viewer’s left.  Skeletal trees line the ridge of hills in the background and the setting sun reflects on the clouds in shades of yellow, peach, and pink.  The painting is currently on display on the first floor of the Memorial Student Center.

beall_ninaThe large painting is an example of the use of the impasto technique to create artworks where the paint appears to be rising from the canvas itself.  The characteristic look of impasto is typically created by applying the paint to the canvas very heavily with the aid of a pallet-knife or brush, though some artists may also choose to use rags, pastry bags, or even their hands.  The word “impasto,” originally derives from the Italian word for dough, and some speculate that the Italian verb “impastare,” meaning “to knead” (as in kneading dough for bread), influenced the modern use of the word. 

Both oil and acrylic paint can be used in the impasto technique. Bluebonnets with Cemetery #2 consists of acrylic paint, as this medium dries faster than oils.  Artists typically use the technique to add an expressive quality to the painting, create more surfaces upon which light can reflect, and give a 3-dimensional sculptural quality to the work.  Impasto was first used by the Dutch and Italian masters of the 16th and 17th Centuries, where it was contrasted with smoother work to give greater interest to folds of cloth and the surfaces of jewels.  Later, during the Impressionist era of the 19th Century, painters like Van Gogh created entire canvases using the technique, as seen in The Starry Night, 1889.  The impasto technique was also extremely popular with the American post-World War II Abstract Expressionists, including Hans Hofmann and Willem de Kooning.  

Ms. Beall states that, “…I am obsessed with the pure physicality of the paint and the process.  Therein lies the mystery for me; and I suppose a rather Taoist philosophy in regards to art, nature, and life.”  A selection of Ms. Beall’s current past works may be viewed on her website: http://www.ninabeall.com/

 

 

Good Bull at The Forsyth Galleries

Good Bull at The Forsyth Galleries

Text by Lynn C. McDaniel, Communications Specialist for the University Art Department

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Photos by Heather Bennett, Collections Manager for the Forsyth Galleries

As mentioned in an earlier blog, conservation and care of the statues and memorials on campus is one of the jobs of the University Art Galleries Department.  Some time back, the Forsyth Galleries made long-term loans of two sculptures to the Large Animal Clinic.  Although the pieces were displayed inside the building, they were not kept in a climate-controlled environment.  Eventually, time and the elements took their toll, and moisture collected under the bases, causing corrosion.  Collections Manager Heather Bennett and Assistant Collections Manager Josh Harden recently brought the statues back to the Forsyth Galleries’ work area to clean them and ensure their preservation.

The sculptures, titled The Bellowing Bull and The Charging Bull, are sand-cast bronze.   Artist Isadore Jules Bonheur, known for his domestic cattle and bull works, first exhibited this matching pair of bulls at the 1865 Paris Salon.  The stunning bronzes feature a deep brown patina with prominent casting details that give the bulls a sense of realism and muscular motion.

The moisture that had collected under the base was causing the bronze to oxidize.  Josh used a toothbrush and ionized water to clean away the active corrosion.  Ionized water is water that has had its acid and alkaline content segregated.  After the first cleaning, the object will be cleaned again with baking soda to completely neutralize the active corrosion.

Once the cleaning is complete, the statues will be returned to the Large Animal Clinic for the continued enjoyment of those who work, study and visit that facility.

For more information about Isadore Jules Bonheur, please click here.  For more information about the Large Animal Hospital, please click here.

Additional Information:

1.)    The Victoria and Albert Museum:  The Artificial Patination of Bronze Sculptures:  http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/journals/conservation-journal/issue-31/the-artificial-patination-of-bronze-sculpture/

2.)    Causes of Corrosion:  http://water.me.vccs.edu/concepts/corrosioncauses.html

12 Days Countdown–12/6/2012.

Text by Lynn McDaniel

Day six of the 12 days countdown addresses one of my favorite topics related to Texas A&M University—the six core values defined by the University in its vision for students, staff, faculty and former students. Working on campus is such a pleasure, because (almost without exception) the students I interact with each day are uplifting, positive role models who are seeking ways and opportunities to better themselves through education.

Here at the Forsyth, at the Stark and in the University Arts Department, we seek to provide students with the opportunity to see and experience fine art, to interact with professors and programming opportunities that will enrich their lives, and to educate our guests about the importance of the paintings, sculptures and memorials on campus. These goals are in conjunction with the core values outlined by the University, which are:
1. Excellence—Set the Bar.
2. Integrity—Character is Destiny.
3. Leadership—Follow Me.
4. Loyalty—Acceptance Forever.
5. Respect—We are the Aggies, the Aggies are we.
6. Selfless Service—How can I be of Service?

We, in the University Arts Department, strive to set the bar for excellence by providing world-class art exhibitions, which inspire students to cherish and respect art. We believe in integrity—our gallery attendants and docents help educate our guests on the proper, respectful way to view and interpret art. We are leaders in art appreciation—we strive to help our guests understand the history and importance of art. We are loyal to the University, to our patrons and to those who love and contribute to the world of art. We respect not only the artists who have different visions for what art is, but also our patrons who may or may not appreciate those visions. We strive to serve our patrons by providing education and opportunities for interaction, interpretation and personal growth.

For more information about the six Core Values at Texas A&M and the various programs and visions associated, please click here. For more information about the University Arts Department, please click here.

12 Days Countdown–12/5/2012.

Text by Lynn McDaniel

Texas A&M sports fans don’t need a lot of prodding when it comes to cheering for their teams, however, five Yell Leaders do a superb job of heightening the Aggie Spirit during games and special events. Each year, the student body elects five students (three seniors and two juniors) to represent the official spirit organization. Females can run for the Yell Leader positions, but traditionally the student body has elected males. These five Yell Leaders do not do cheerleader-type gymnastics or cheers; instead, they use hand signals, called “pass backs,” to get fans excited and direct the yells of the crowd.

First Yell, which occurs on the weekend of the first home football game, started in 1999 as a way of welcoming all Aggies back to campus. Midnight Yell began in 1931, when freshmen corps cadets were ordered by senior Yell Leaders Horsefly Berryhill and Two Gun Herman from Sherman to be at the YMCA building at midnight. Today, Midnight Yell is held the night before a home game in Kyle Field and also in a designated site in the opponent’s city for away-games.

Farmers Fight
[Pass Back: Closed fists rotating around each other in alternating directions]
Farmers fight!
Farmers fight!
Fight! Fight!
Farmers, farmers fight!

The Forsyth, located just across the street from Kyle Field, provides a cool (or warm) respite for Aggie sports fans who want to get out of the heat or cold just before or just after a game. We’re open Tuesday – Friday: 9:00 am – 8:00 pm and Saturday – Sunday: 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm (not during Midnight Yell!) Come by and see us…we’re sure you’ll enjoy fine art exhibitions from the Runyon collection–well, maybe not enough to yell about, but we do encourage you to give a shout-out to your friends and tell them about our galleries!

12 Days Countdown–12/4/2012.

Text by Lynn McDaniel.

Texas A&M University is proud of its Texas heritage, but it’s so much more than just a Lone Star University. Texas A&M University at Qatar has an enrollment of more than 350 engineering students from more than 20 countries. A&M also provides educational opportunities at the Texas A&M Facility in Mexico City, Mexico, at the Soltis Center for Research and Education in San Isidro, Costa Rica and at the Santa Chiara Study Center in Santa Chiara, Italy! Courses vary at each of the four A&M study centers, but they provide students the opportunity to learn about different cultures, different languages, and different world perspectives.

“It’s one body. We’re all students, faculty and staff; we all care about each other. The success of this place is the success of ourselves.”

Qatar Student

Texas A&M is proud to embrace diversity and to recognize the rights of every individual. It is only after we get to know and understand each other’s differences that we discover deep down, we’re all the same.cameo

In keeping with Texas A&M’s leadership in forging a global vision, the Forsyth Galleries is constantly seeking ways to make our guests from all countries feel welcome in our galleries.  Although the Forsyth Galleries’ core collection is primarily comprised of English Cameo Glass and American paintings, cameo glass actually has a rich cultural heritage. One of the Forsyth’s goals for the upcoming year is to explore the history and influence Asia, India and other countries had on the development of cameo glass, as well as on other types of pieces in our collection. We will be inviting guest speakers and developing programming to bring a variety of cultures into the galleries, using art as the universal language.

We invite you to join us!

Works Cited

Texas A&M University. Website: http://www.tamu.edu/about/facts/branchCampuses.html. Date accessed 12/4/12.

Art News – 2 November 2012

Art News – 2 November 2012

The man accused of vandalizing Picasso’s Woman in a Red Armchair (1929) recently had his first show at the Cueto James Art Gallery in Houston, Texas.  The show for Uriel Landeros was organized by gallery owner James Perez.   The exhibition, titled “Houston, We Have a Problem,” opened on Friday, 26 October 2012.  The opening gala doubled as a Halloween party with free liquor, DJs and music, patrons in Halloween costumes, and Landeros joining the gala via Skype.  It is interesting to note that many of Landeros’ paintings in the exhibition were “tagged” by local graffiti artists in much the same way that he is accused of tagging the Menil Collection’s Woman in a Red Armchair.

Picasso’s Woman in a Red Armchair (1929) after being vandalized with spray paint. Image courtesy Houston Culture Map.

Landeros remains at large until he turns himself over to the police for questioning.  He is believed to be hiding in northern Mexico.  He reports as belonging to the Occupy Movement and this association as reason for his “fight.”  Landeros has reportedly admitted to vandalizing the Picasso painting and said, “I’m not going to give up on my cause.  It doesn’t matter if I turn myself in or not.  It doesn’t mean I’m going to stop fighting.”

Owner of Cuerto James Art Gallery in Houston, TX, James Perez stands in front of Uriel Landeros’ first solo exhibition. Image by Melissa Phillip (AP/Houston Chronicle).

Despite the efforts to destroy Woman in a Red Armchair, the painting was immediately cleaned of the spray paint used to create the image of a bull with the word “conquista.”  The Menil Collection of Houston reports that the painting is set to go on display again in the near future.

The Artist Ego by Uriel Landeros, 2012, tagged with “Picasso” by an unknown person. Image courtesy Houston Culture Map.

For more information, click the links below.

1) NY Times article “Picasso vandal gets his own art show

2) Bigstory AP article “Gallery show for accused Picasso vandal raises ire

3) Houston Culture Map article “Menil Picasso vandal’s own paintings are spray painted as his art show debut turns into a side show

4) Houston Culture Map article “The Menil Picasso vandal answers questions, argues that museums steal from the people

5) Cnn.com article “Vandalized Picasso ready to hang again