Salvaging the Past: Georges Hoentschel and French Decorative Arts from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1907-2013

Salvaging the Past: Georges Hoentschel and French Decorative Arts from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1907-2013

by Danielle O. Kisluk-Grosheide, Deborah L. Krohn, Ulrich Leben
     
 

Georges Hoentschel (1855–1915) was a leading French interior designer in historic styles, head of a decorating firm, and ceramicist during the Belle Epoque. He found inspiration for his designs in medieval and 18th-century French art, which he avidly collected, amassing more than 4,000 pieces of furniture, woodwork, metalwork, sculpture, paintings, and

Overview

Georges Hoentschel (1855–1915) was a leading French interior designer in historic styles, head of a decorating firm, and ceramicist during the Belle Epoque. He found inspiration for his designs in medieval and 18th-century French art, which he avidly collected, amassing more than 4,000 pieces of furniture, woodwork, metalwork, sculpture, paintings, and textiles. After visiting Hoentschel in Paris, the American financier J. Pierpont Morgan acquired the collection and bequeathed it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1906 and 1916–17. These works greatly enriched the museum’s medieval art department and became the nucleus of its decorative arts department, profoundly influencing American tastes in the early 20th century. Through texts, early documentary photographs, and images of newly conserved works, Salvaging the Past goes behind the scenes to explore the history and influence of this remarkable collection.

Editorial Reviews

Choice

“[an] exemplary catalogue”—Choice
Library Journal
10/15/2013
The bequeathing of the magnificent Hoentschel collection of decorative arts by financier and philanthropist J. Pierpont Morgan in 1906 was instrumental in defining, influencing, and shaping the future of the Metropolitan Museum of Art for decades. This sizable collection of notable Parisian decorator and designer Georges Hoentschel (1855–1915) included 18th-century carved and gilt furniture, woodwork, paintings, textiles, medieval enamelwork, ivories, sculpture, and ceramics. The masterly text and informative essays successfully intertwine details of Hoentschel's personal and business life, the historical background of the collection, and its subsequent influence on museum collections across America. Each of the seven chapters is spellbinding, offering rich narratives and glorious vintage and historic photographs of the Met in the early decades of the 20th century. Equally exquisite are the photographs of the 200 objects selected for the 2013 exhibition at the Bard Graduate Center. Accompanying the text are generous chapter notes and descriptions of each item in the exhibition. The appendix includes the Maison Leys inventory and client lists of 1887 and 1892, as well as the 1919 essay "Georges Hoentschel" by French art critic Arsène Alexandre. VERDICT Both elegant and stunning in its words and images, this book should be of interest to historians and researchers of French decorative arts, as well as academic and special libraries that have an emphasis in decorative arts in general.—Stephen Allan Patrick, Jonesborough, TN

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300190243
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
06/04/2013
Pages:
308
Product dimensions:
9.40(w) x 12.30(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Daniëlle Kisluk-Grosheide is curator of European sculpture and decorative arts at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Deborah L. Krohn 
is associate professor and coordinator for History and Theory of Museums at Bard Graduate Center.

Ulrich Leben is a visiting professor and special exhibitions curator at Bard Graduate Center and associate curator for the furniture collection at Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire.

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