Gilded Age music room explored

May 15, 2017

Williamstown, Massachusetts—Kathleen Morris and Alexis Goodin, co-curators of the upcoming exhibition Orchestrating Elegance: Alma-Tadema and Design at the Clark Art Institute, present the opening lecture for the exhibition on Sunday, June 4 at 3 pm in the auditorium. The lecture is free and open to the public; admission will be charged for the exhibition, which opens at 10 am that day.
Orchestrating Elegance offers new insight into one of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema’s (British, born Netherlands 1836–1912) most successful and distinctive artistic endeavors—the design of a music room for the New York mansion of financier, art collector, and philanthropist Henry Gurdon Marquand (1819–1902). Marquand was one of the founders of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The exhibition reunites twelve of nineteen pieces from the original furniture suite, along with paintings, ceramics, textiles, and sculpture from the room for the first time since Marquand’s estate was auctioned in 1903. The Clark’s ornately decorated Steinway piano, acquired in 1997, is the centerpiece of the exhibition.
When Morris and Goodin began working on the idea of an exhibition that would reunite the components of Henry Gurdon Marquand’s famous music room, the location and history of many of the components of the room were unknown, and very little had been published about the furniture firm that manufactured the suite. Through a combination of detective work, archival research, conservation analysis, and networking with curators, dealers, librarians, archivists, and others, the curators bring the full story of this incredible room to light. The opening lecture reveals stories behind the creation of the exhibition and shows how this project brings back to life one of the great interiors of the Gilded Age.
Generous contributors to Orchestrating Elegance: Alma-Tadema and Design include the Gerry Charitable Trust, Sylvia and Leonard Marx and the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional support from the Coby Foundation, Ltd., Jeannene Booher, Carmela and Paul Haklisch, Robert D. Kraus, and Furthermore: a program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund. This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.
The Clark Art Institute, located in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, is one of a small number of institutions globally that is both an art museum and a center for research, critical discussion, and higher education in the visual arts. Opened in 1955, the Clark houses exceptional European and American paintings and sculpture, extensive collections of master prints and drawings, English silver, and early photography. Acting as convener through its Research and Academic Program, the Clark gathers an international community of scholars to participate in a lively program of conferences, colloquia, and workshops on topics of vital importance to the visual arts. The Clark library, consisting of more than 270,000 volumes, is one of the nation’s premier art history libraries. The Clark also houses and co-sponsors the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art.
The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm; open daily in July and August. Admission is $20; free year-round for Clark members, children 18 and younger, and students with valid ID. For more information, visit or call 413 458 2303.
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Clark Art Institute
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