THE PHOTOGRAPHIC ARCHIVE OF THE DEMOTTE, ANTIQUES DEALERS IN PARIS AND NEW YORK IN THE EARLY 20TH CENTURY
A joint project of the Sculpture Department at the Musée du Louvre in Paris and the Medieval Department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York
The photographic archive of antiques dealers Georges-Joseph and Lucien Demotte is made up of over 5000 photographic glass plates. The majority of them reproduce art works sold in their two galleries in Paris and New York in the first quarter of the 20th century. Georges Demotte was based in Paris from c. 1900, and in New York from 1914 and he flourished as an antiques dealer in both cities. The domains he covered were varied (Islamic art, objets d’art, etc.), but sculpture was central to his business, and medieval sculpture in particular. At his death, his son Lucien took over, branching out to include modern and contemporary painting. The Albert Georges gallery, and later the Andrée Macé gallery took over their business and inherited the photographs the Demotte had assembled. The collection, initially offered to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the 1950s, who printed part of it on paper, was graciously deposited at the Sculpture Department at the Louvre in 1978.
In 2010, the decision was taken to create a database whose aim would be to describe the photographs and the art works reproduced. The Musée du Louvre and the Metropolitan Museum of Art have been collaborating to develop this database and its online publication is now imminent. In the meantime, it is possible to consult it at the Louvre Sculpture Department. For full details, see HERE. The study of these glass plates greatly increases the knowledge we have of the provenance of these art works and of their material history (restorations, questions of authenticity). It also gives us precious insights into the history of taste, the history of collecting and of the art market at the beginning of the 20th century.
As the Demotte dealt in ivory sculptures, the Gothic Ivories Project has recently been working with the Louvre and the Metropolitan to add these historic photographs to the online catalogue (see image on this page).
To find them, just search for Demotte in the Copyright line (Advanced search page), or follow this link.
THE MACIET ALBUMS: A COLLABORATION WITH THE BIBLIOTHEQUE DES ARTS DECORATIFS IN PARIS
The Bibliothèque des Arts décoratifs does not only comprise books but also a very precious image archive which no one interested in art, and in particular decorative arts, should ignore. From 1885 to 1911, the art lover and collector Jules Maciet (b. 1846, d. 1911) assembled hundred of thousand of images, a vast collection of cuttings and photographs from very diverse sources arranged in large albums by material or type, then by period. After his death and until 1996, the curators of the Bibliothèque continued to enrich this unique resource. 250 000 images from this collection are now online, although this does not include the Ivory volumes.
As was to be expected, several volumes were dedicated to ivory carvings and contained some pieces for which the project had hitherto found no trace. Several volumes were particularly interesting, as they illustrated objects included in Koechlin's corpus arranged by Koechlin number, some of which he had not reproduced (325/12 to 14).
To find which images come from the Maciet albums, just search for Maciet in the Copyright line (Advanced search page), or follow this link.
For more information on this resource and how to consult the albums, see HERE.
COLLABORATION WITH THE DEPARTEMENT DES OBJETS D'ART OF THE MUSEE DU LOUVRE IN PARIS
The Département des Objets d’art at the Musée du Louvre gave us access to their important documentation on the subject of ivories, and we were thus able to enhance a large number of entries, thanks to their support.
The Centre de Documentation is a very rich resource owing to the passion and dedication of generations of curators, several of whom had a particular interest for ivory carving. It is open to researchers and students every afternoon except on Tuesdays.
For opening times and full details, see HERE.
COLLABORATION WITH THE MEDIATHEQUE DE L'ARCHITECTURE ET DU PATRIMOINE IN PARIS
The Médiathèque de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine in Paris has again tremendously enriched the Gothic Ivories catalogue. A few years ago, they provided us with images of classified objects scattered around France, in small parish churches and cathedral treasuries. But they are also home to the photographic archive of Raymond Koechlin, and you can imagine what THAT looks like...!
Mémoire Mode d'emploi:
The Médiathèque has done a fantastic job at digitising all of Koechlin's photographs. This is not just medieval ivories, but also Asian and Islamic art, ceramics, metalwork, enamel... over 1700 images in total.
We thus have been working together to make some of these historical images available on the Gothic Ivories website, while directing you all to their online database Mémoire via our 'To purchase and image' links (any link showing as www.culture.gouv.fr will bring you to relevant images on their site where you will be able to order high resolution images if you wish).
If you are looking for ivory carvings on Mémoire, just enter Koechlin in the author field, and ivoire in the Type d'édifice ou d'objet field and, with 1054 results, you should be kept busy for a while...
CATALOGUE OF MEDIEVAL IVORY CARVINGS IN THE HERMITAGE STATE MUSEUM
M. Kryzhanovskaya, The State Hermitage Museum, Western European Medieval Ivories, Catalogue of the Collection (Saint Petersburg, 2014) (ISBN 978-5-93572-549-5).
The much-anticipated catalogue of medieval ivory carvings in the Hermitage Museum, written by curator Marta Kryzhanovskaya, came out last November, thus coinciding with the celebration of the 250th anniversary of the museum. This beautifully-illustrated volume brings to light many hitherto little-known carvings. The catalogue is organised chronologically in three main sections entitled: 'Early and Romanesque' (59 entries), 'Gothic' (107 entries) and 'Later Imitations, Forgeries, Copies and Works in a Historicising Style' (50 entries). The carvings date from the 8th century to the 15th century, stretching into the later period to include pieces carved in an earlier style.
It is unfortunately only published in Russian, to the exception of the introduction focusing on the provenance of the collection, which has been translated into English.
However, the Gothic Ivories Project is currently working with the Hermitage Museum to add their ivory collection online and about 130 pieces will be added to the online catalogue in the next few months, thus making this information more widely available.
It is not an easy volume to acquire from abroad, but copies may be found HERE.
A SPECIAL ISSUE OF THE SCULPTURE JOURNAL WITH PAPERS FROM THE 2012 GOTHIC IVORIES CONFERENCE
In a timely manner, we are pleased to announce that an issue of The Sculpture Journal specifically dedicated to Gothic ivory sculpture has just come out (Volume 23.1): wittily entitled New Work on Old Bones, it contains some of the papers given at the 2012 conference Gothic Ivory Sculpture: Old Questions, New Directions which took place at the Courtauld Institute of Art and Victoria and Albert Museum.
After an introduction by Glyn Davies and Sarah Guérin, editors of the volume, articles by Charles Little, Ebbe Nyborg, Adam Levine, Paula Mae Carns, Mark Redknap, Emile van Binnebeke, Naomi Speakman, Christina Kowalski and Catherine Yvard cover a wide range of topics and periods.
For the table of contents, see HERE.
For the Introduction by Glyn Davies and Sarah Guérin, see HERE.
To subscribe, see HERE.
PAPERS FROM THE 2012 CONFERENCE PUBLISHED ELSEWHERE
- J. Saviello, 'Instrumente der Ordnung - Objekte der Verführung. Elfenbeinkämme als Bildträger im 14. und 15. Jahrhundert', in Werkzeuge und Instrumente, dir. by Philippe Cordez and Matthias Krüger (Berlin, 2012), pp. 49-65.
- D. Gaborit-Chopin, 'Documents et oeuvres d'art: remarques sur quelques ivoires gothiques français', in Cahiers archéologiques 55 (2013-2014), pp. 119-130.
CATALOGUE OF MEDIEVAL IVORY CARVINGS IN THE VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM
P. Williamson and G. Davies, Medieval Ivory Carvings 1200-1550 (London, 2014).
Another giant step in the cataloguing of the wonderful ivory holdings of the Victoria and Albert Museum, four years after the publication of the early medieval ivory carvings volume by Paul Williamson, as the much anticipated two-volume catalogue of gothic ivory carvings, written by Paul Williamson and Glyn Davies, has just come out!
To purchase these two volumes, see HERE.
CATALOGUE OF MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE SCULPTURE IN THE ASHMOLEAN MUSEUM
J. Warren, Medieval and Renaissance Sculpture in the Ashmolean Museum (Oxford, 2014).
Some of the riches of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford are carefully studied in this three-volume catalogue by Jeremy Warren, comprising a very fine collection of ivory and bone carvings. Some of them boast a venerable provenance, going back to the 17th century when they were part of the collection of John Tradescant. Fourty-one entries are dedicated to works in ivory and bone in the second volume dedicated to Sculptures in Stone, Clay, Ivory, Bone and Wood (no. 149-190).
CATALOGUE OF BAROQUE AND LATER IVORIES IN THE VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM
M. Trusted, Baroque and Later Ivories (London, 2014).
2014 was rich in V&A ivory catalogues, with this indispensable reference work on the subject, written by an expert in the field, Marjorie Trusted.
For more details and to purchase this volume, see HERE.
CATALOGUE OF IVORIES IN THE COURTAULD GALLERY
J. Lowden, Medieval and Later Ivories in the Courtauld Gallery (London, 2013).
The complete catalogue of medieval and later ivories in the Courtauld Gallery, written by Prof. John Lowden: Each piece is studied in great detail and lavishly illustrated, shedding more light on this little-known collection assembled by Thomas Gambier Parry.
Dr Alexandra Gerstein, curator of Sculpture at the Courtauld Gallery, provides an introduction on Gambier Parry in the age of the Gothic revival.
To purchase, see HERE.
Last updated: 26 June 2015.
J. Papp, 'John Brampton Philpot's photographs of fictile ivory in the Hungarian National Museum', in Journal of the International Association of Research Institutes in the History of Art (April-June 2014).
Fully accessible online: HERE.
B. Chiesi, 'Storie scolpite in avorio: copiare, inventare, narrare. I cofanetti con la storia della Castellana di Vergy e alcuni esempi di rilievi eburnei trecenteschi nel Museo Nazionale deI BargeIlo', in Medioevo in Formazione: I giovani storici e il futuro della ricerca, dir. by G. Galeotti and M. Paperini (Florence, 2013), pp. 168-180.
M. Tomasi, 'Note su due avori gotici del Museo Civico d'Arte Antica', in Palazzo Madama. Studi e notizie, year III, no. 2 (2012-2013), pp. 16-27.
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GOTHIC IVORIES: CONTENT AND CONTEXT, 5-6 July 2014, London