Written by our curatorial team, who share with viewers some of their favorite works in our collection, their passion projects, and their current research initiatives.
Fabulously Fierce Countdown | Curator Picks Go Toe-to-Toe For the #1 Spot
Curious what my favorite shoes are in our upcoming exhibition Walk This Way: Footwear from the Stuart Weitzman Collection of Historic Shoes? Here’s your chance to find out! Plus, you can learn a bit about what makes each pair special. We all know that objects tell stories, and, according to Stuart Weitzman, shoes in particular “tell an almost infinite number of stories.”
We reflect on an illustrated book commemorating the “Golden Wedding”—meaning the fiftieth wedding anniversary—of former Taft historic house residents Nicholas Longworth and Susan Howell Connor Longworth. The couple had lived in the Pike Street mansion for nearly thirty years by the time this merry event occurred. In the book, poems humorously recount short biographies of the bride and groom, how they met, and their nuptials on Christmas Eve in 1807, among other events.
Curating A Splendid Century
Three years ago, I was asked to put together an exhibition of Cincinnati art to celebrate the bicentennial of the Taft Museum of Art’s historic house. One of the first steps, of course, would be locating works of art that were beautiful, compelling, and rarely exhibited. One of the questions I often hear is, “How did you go about choosing the works for the exhibition?” Here I hope to shed some light on that process.
Belgian Royalty "Entranced" with Rookwood Pottery and its Connection to the Taft
What do the Taft Museum of Art and Rookwood Pottery have in common? More than you think. The answer to this question involves the granddaughter of Cincinnati’s first commercial winemaker, a collection of Chinese porcelain, and the “Soldier King” and “Red Cross Queen.” Intrigued?
Chinese Tea Culture
As I begin my thoughts about Chinese tea and its rich history, I start with a quote from the English playwright Arthur Pinero (1855–1934): “While there is tea, there is hope.” We can find hope in any number of places. In 1937 Lin Yutang wrote in his book The Importance of Living, “There is something in the nature of tea that leads us into a world of quiet contemplation of life.” I encourage you to try and find a moment of peace and hope in perhaps an unexpected place: a cup of tea.
"Excitement of the Quest"—A Neoclassical Vision
Did you know that 2020 marks the bicentennial of the Taft Museum of Art's historic house? Around 1820, a simple four-sided home was built for Martin Baum (1765–1831) and his wife, Ann Sommerville Wallace Baum (1782–1864), forming the core of what would become one of Cincinnati’s most historic buildings. With that, it seems only fitting that we explore the predominant style of the early 1800s: Neoclassicism—an artistic approach that embraced the ideas of ancient Greece and Rome.
The Power of Art and Freedom
Painted by Duncanson between 1850 and 1852 as a commission for Nicholas Longworth, then the home’s owner, the spectacular murals don’t reveal what was happening in Cincinnati during the turbulent time of their creation. They also don’t tell us much personally about Duncanson: a man whose grandfather was born enslaved in Virginia, who mostly taught himself to paint, and who became the first internationally recognized Black artist.
Balancing Wanderlust with Stay-at-Home: Two Works by J. M. W. Turner
English landscape painter J. M. W. Turner found endless inspiration in his travels. On his journeys throughout the United Kingdom and Europe, Turner filled hundreds of sketchbooks with tens of thousands of drawings and watercolor sketches. Back in his studio, he used this material—along with his memory and imagination—to create detailed oil paintings and watercolors. The Taft Museum of Art has brilliant examples of both in its collection.