Classically Inspired: European Ceramics Circa 1800 and American Ceramics, 1825-1875 celebrate the Mint’s internationally-renowned permanent collection
The Mint Museum has recently opened two new exhibitions at Mint Museum Randolph that celebrate one of the Mint’s largest and most well-known collections: Classically Inspired: European Ceramics Circa 1800 and American Ceramics, 1825-1875. They will remain on view on an ongoing basis until the Mint moves forward with plans to re-envision Mint Museum Randolph in the coming years.
“These installations are comprised solely of works from The Mint Museum’s historic ceramics collection, illustrating its tremendous depth and the museum’s ongoing commitment to present that collection in compelling ways to our public,” said Brian Gallagher, the Mint’s curator of decorative arts.
As announced in April 2012, the Mint’s Board of Trustees approved a sweeping five-year plan that charts an ambitious course for 2016 and places renewed emphasis on Mint Museum Randolph, the Mint’s original location dating to 1936, following the 2010 opening of Mint Museum Uptown. The plan calls for completing a feasibility study of the re-envisioning of Mint Museum Randolph, to include such factors as a North Carolina Pottery Research Center, classroom space, studios, a children’s center, and increased public access to the museum’s library.
These exhibitions join two others celebrating the Mint’s decorative arts collection: A Thriving Tradition: 75 Years of Collecting North Carolina Pottery and Sophisticated Surfaces: The Pottery of Herb Cohen, both on view at Mint Museum Randolph through January 6, 2013.
Classical art – the art of ancient Greece and Rome – had a tremendous influence on the art of Western Europe from at least the fifteenth century through the late nineteenth. During the 1400s and 1500s, the period of the Italian Renaissance, artists and designers regularly emulated aspects of the antique, although in general they attempted to surpass, rather than simply copy, the art of antiquity. In contrast, their counterparts in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries often endeavored to create more precise imitations of classical prototypes, especially in regard to objects for the fashionable domestic interior.
These later artists were aided considerably in their quest for historical accuracy by the discovery of two archaeological sites in southern Italy: Herculaneum, where excavations began in 1738, and Pompeii, where they commenced ten years later. As reports and illustrations of the artifacts and architectural interiors from these digs were disseminated, European artists, designers, and architects utilized them as important sources for inspiration. Artists were similarly inspired by catalogues of prestigious antiquities collections that were published in the eighteenth century, most notably that of Sir William Hamilton (1730-1803), who amassed a large collection of classical vases while serving as British envoy to Naples.
On view in this exhibition are examples of European ceramics and other works of art from The Mint Museum’s permanent collection that were inspired by classical antiquity. Not all of the works are faithful copies of antique prototypes, but they do all reflect the great interest in the classical world in the decades surrounding 1800.
The mid-nineteenth century was a time of evolution, expansion, and innovation in American ceramics. While utilitarian forms in earthenware and stoneware continued to be made throughout the century, their numbers slowly decreased as a growing urban population had less need for large storage jars, churns, and other objects designed for an agrarian economy. Many potters adjusted to this lower demand by creating wares that were more aesthetically appealing – objects that consumers would want to live with in their homes.
Numerous factories from Vermont to Ohio to South Carolina produced “fancy” wares: objects that might still have practical functions — such as pitchers, vases, or flasks — but were notable primarily for their attractive shapes. Porcelain factories also began to proliferate during this period, producing high-quality wares that catered to the tastes of more affluent consumers.
On view in this exhibition are works of art from The Mint Museum’s permanent collection, selected to illustrate the variety of American wares produced in the second and third quarters of the nineteenth century. The objects range from the unadorned to the ornamented and include examples from prominent manufacturers and craftsmen active during this time period.
High-resolution images from both exhibitions are available on request. Please see more information at the following links:
Eighth annual Potters Market Invitational set for September 15
A taste of Seagrove, the Catawba Valley, and other well-known centers of North Carolina pottery will visit Charlotte when the 8th annual Potters Market Invitational sets up its tent on the grounds of Mint Museum Randolph on September 15.
Forty outstanding North Carolina potters have been invited to participate in this year’s event, presented by the Delhom Service League, an affiliate group of The Mint Museum dedicated to the support and study of ceramics. The event typically lures over 1,200 collectors and enthusiasts, many of whom line up hours in advance of the opening to make sure to gain access to the day’s best treasures.
“We are thrilled to have this opportunity to share our enthusiasm for this important art form with the Charlotte community and the region, and to give residents a chance to engage with some of our state’s most significant artists and their work,” said Lee Abbott, chairperson of this year’s Potters Market. “The Mint Museum already boasts the largest collection of North Carolina pottery in the United States, and we look forward to future opportunities to put a strengthened focus on ceramics at Mint Museum Randolph.”
A $10 admission fee includes access to the event, running from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., as well as admission to both locations of The Mint Museum (admission is reduced to $8 after 2 p.m.)*. The event is still selling $100 individual sponsorships which grant early admission at 9:15 a.m. and a greater chance to acquire the most-desired items. For $150, individuals can also be admitted to a Potters Party being held Friday, September 14 from 7-9 p.m. at Mint Museum Randolph, where they will have the opportunity to mingle with the potters.
PMI tickets go on sale online Aug. 1 at mintmuseum.org/delhom-service-league.html, or are available at the door. More information is available at 704.337.2010 or by emailing PottersMarketInvitational@gmail.com. The event also includes live folk music and pottery-making demonstrations. Funds raised go toward acquisitions of pottery and library materials for the museum.
The honorary chair of this year’s market is Herb Cohen, a league member whose work is featured in the exhibition Sophisticated Surfaces: The Pottery of Herb Cohen, on view at Mint Museum Randolph through January 6, 2013.
Also on view at Mint Museum Randolph through January 6 is the exhibition A Thriving Tradition: 75 Years of Collecting North Carolina Pottery, which contains many significant acquisitions obtained through the help of the Delhom Service League and its individual members. An example is a ceramic sculpture of a rabbit, “Alice Goes to Washington,” by Carol Gentithes, which contains images of Barack Obama, Martha Stewart, George W. Bush, Jay Leno, and other figures emblematic in current culture. “Like a classical language, the vocabulary that I create has many layers of meaning. I leave it with the viewers to derive their personal interpretations,” Gentithes has said of her work. Gentithes is one of this year’s participating potters, who also include Judith Duff, designer of a vase purchased at the 2009 Potters Market Invitational that became the primary image for this year’s event; and Ben Owen III of the legendary Owen and Owens families of North Carolina potters. First-time participating potters this year include Julie Wiggins, Steven Abee, Ross Edwards, Becky and Steve Lloyd, Joy Tanner, Alex Matisse, and Frank Neef. A complete list of potters is available at mintmuseum.org/happenings/18/delhom-service-league-8th-annual-potters-market-invitational.
Recently, Mint Museum Randolph opened two more permanent-collection exhibitions that illustrate the depth and breadth of the Mint’s ceramics collection: Classically Inspired: European Ceramics Circa 1800, and American Ceramics, 1825-1875. Find more information about them here.
Corporate sponsor for this year’s Potters Market Invitational is Subaru South Boulevard. Top-level individual sponsors are Bill Musgrave, Betsy Brand, Herb Cohen and José Fumero, Jane M. Conlan, and Sarah Belk Gambrell.
*Note: Visitors must purchase their PMI ticket first in order to gain free museum admission on the event date.
ABOUT DELHOM SERVICE LEAGUE
Delhom Service League is an affiliate group of The Mint Museum dedicated to developing interest in ceramics by studying the work of experts and by supporting the ceramics collection of The Mint Museum. It is named for M. Mellanay Delhom and her outstanding collection of historical pottery and porcelain, which entered the museum’s collection in 1965. The league offers monthly programs that are open to the public, on the third Tuesday of the month from September through May, and holds study and research classes on Monday afternoons. The league, consisting of both potters and ceramics enthusiasts, supports acquisitions of pottery and library materials for the museum.