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European Tapestries in the Art Institute of Chicago

Koenraad Brosens; Christa C. Mayer Thurman, General Editor

2008
Hardcover $75.00
To order: 

Order online from the Art Institute Museum Shop or call 1-888-301-9612. Available to booksellers at wholesale prices from Yale University Press.

Summary: 

The Art Institute’s important tapestry collection is both larger and broader in scope than others that have recently been catalogued, including those of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Detroit Institute of Arts. Nonetheless, the museum’s 87 European tapestries—from Flanders, France, England, the Netherlands, Northern France or Germany, Italy, and Switzerland—have never been published in their entirety. Seventy-eight pieces have been conserved and digitally photographed at one of the world’s leading conservation laboratories, the Royal Manufacturers De Wit in Mechelen, Belgium, in preparation for this scholarly catalogue and the exhibition that it has occasioned.

The Art Institute’s holdings include The Annunciation, a Renaissance masterpiece woven in Mantua and designed by an artist in the circle of Mantegna; The Story of Caesar and Cleopatra, a series of 14 tapestries now attributed with certainty to Justus van Egmont, who worked in Rubens’s studio; Autumn and Winter, two pieces based on designs by Le Brun and woven at the Gobelins by Le Blond and De la Croix; and, from the Grotesques series, The Elephant, a tapestry woven at Beauvais after a design by Monnoyer in the style of Jean I Bérain. A number of tapestries in the Art Institute’s collection will be reunited in print for the first time with companion pieces or suites to which they originally belonged, now dispersed among European and American museums.

Bringing together the latest research on these pieces, including new information on designs, designers, studios, workshops, and provenance, this volume will constitute a significant contribution to tapestry scholarship. It will include a detailed history of the collection and an essay by Yvan Maes De Wit, director and chief conservator at the Royal Manufacturers De Wit, who will describe the tapestry-cleaning process he has developed. Each entry will provide a complete physical description, conservation and provenance information; studio, workshop, and designer/weaver names, if known; subject and sources; function; and identification of related works. Each tapestry will be illustrated by full-color photographs, including details, and will be accompanied by black-and-white comparative illustrations. A history of the Art Institute’s tapestry collection will also be included.

The Art Institute of Chicago, 2008
9 3/4 x 12 in.; 416 pages; 297 illustrations
ISBN 978-0-300-1960-2