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decorative art

Beyond Craft: Decorative Arts from the Leatrice S. and Melvin B. Eagle Collection / Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Beyond Craft Decorative Arts exhibition Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Beyond Craft: Decorative Arts from the Leatrice S. and Melvin B. Eagle Collection / Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
February 23 - May 26, 2014

In February, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, will present the first major exhibition of the Leatrice S. and Melvin B. Eagle Collection, a remarkable group of 170 artworks—ceramics, fiber work, furniture, glass, jewelry and works on paper—acquired by the Museum in 2010. Beyond Craft: Decorative Arts from the Leatrice S. and Melvin B. Eagle Collection will showcase 85 objects by 50 artists—including Olga de Amaral, Robert Arneson, Viola Frey, Sam Maloof, Richard Marquis, Albert Paley, Ken Price, Peter Voulkos and Toshiko Takaezu—and highlight important studio objects made from the mid–1960s to the 2000s with a focus on the 1960s–80s, the collection’s great strength.

“Lee and Mel Eagle were adventurous collectors at a time when the boundaries between high art and studio craft were challenged by cognoscenti and prescient dealers; the result is a distinctive collection that reflects the technical innovations and shifting tastes of the last half century,” said Museum director, Gary Tinterow.

“Since the Museum acquired the collection in 2010, many of the works have been featured in permanent collection presentations, providing glimpses into its riches,” said Cindi Strauss, curator of Modern and Contemporary Decorative Arts and Design. “Now, for the first time, the Museum will present the collection and visitors can experience the power of these individual objects while appreciating the Eagles’ vision as collectors.”

Leatrice and Melvin Eagle began by collecting works of clay in 1960 and the medium remains at the heart of their collection to this day. Lee’s early training as a ceramist led to a lifetime devotion to clay, a passion that Mel has shared with her over the years. As the couple became sophisticated observers of the field and their preferences took shape, they successfully assembled a museum-quality collection of ceramics, fiber art, furniture, jewelry and prints, paintings and drawings. Their passion grew beyond living with objects to encompass a deep respect for art and artists, as well as a lifelong commitment to promoting and supporting their work through institutional and personal involvement.

Beginning with the 1973 establishment of Eagle Ceramics—a business that provided the resources to make and teach ceramics—the Eagles immersed themselves in the art community and began forming relationships with many prominent artists. From 1979 to 1983, Montgomery College, Eagle Ceramics and the American Hand Gallery in Washington, D.C., collaborated to present of a series of workshops, lectures and exhibitions called “Making It in Clay.” These events enabled the Eagles to meet prominent artists and the couple started collecting their works in depth. Ralph Bacerra, Don Reitz, Adrian Saxe and Michael Cardew have remained touchstones for the Eagles and lasting friendships with the artists resulted from these initial meetings. In the 1990s and early 2000s, the Eagles were inspired to acquire collection subsets in jewelry, fiber and furniture and expand their significant holdings in West Coast ceramics, particularly those made in the 1960s and 1970s during the heyday of the Funk movement.

The Museum’s embrace of craft as an art form led to the Eagles’ choice of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, as the new home for their collection in 2010. Since that time, the Eagle Collection has been a great asset to the permanent collection, enhancing its strengths in ceramics, glass and jewelry, and filling major gaps in fiber and furniture.

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  • Mark Goudy: Three Vessels - clockwise from left: (m70) 7”w x 3”h; (m81) 10.5”w x 4”h; (m71) 8”w x 3.5”h

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  • Le décor est planté… Ceramics in the spotlight, Bernardaud Foundation, Limoges

    Le decor est plante, Ceramics in the spotlight - Decorative ceramics exhibition, Bernardaud Foundation, Limoges

    Le décor est planté… Ceramics in the spotlight, Bernardaud Foundation, Limoges, France

    June 24 - October 24, 2011

    The Fondation Bernardaud presents an exhibition devoted to decorative art. American for the most part, several artists will be making their debut in France. Some have already earned an international reputation and many are creating works especially for the occasion. This exhibition presents artists who make use of ceramics to create decorative art. Today, all artists – and not just ceramic artists – are free to use ceramics to express their art. In very different registers, each artist offers a different take on decorative art. Some set out deliberately to subvert everyday objects, others exalt them in the purest trompe-l’oeil tradition. Some conduct a reflection focused on architectural or decorative aspects, others parody the canons of classical sculpture. The actors are ready and the stage is set – let the play begin!

    Laurent de Verneuil

    Participating artists:

    Marc Alberghina, France
    Susan Beiner, USA
    Nathan Craven, USA
    Robert Dawson, UK
    Neil Forrest, Canada
    Leopold Foulem, Canada
    Trine Hovden, Norway
    Phillip Maberry, USA
    Paul Scott, UK
    Richard Shaw, USA
    Jesse Small, USA
    Tamsin van Essen, UK
    John Williams, USA

    Fondation d’entreprise Bernardaud
    27, avenue Albert Thomas
    87000 Limoges, France
    +33 (0)5 55 10 55 91

    From June, 24th to October, 24th 2011
    Everyday (including holidays) except sunday
    From 9.45 am to 11.15 am and from 1.30 pm to 4.15 pm

    In October, by appointments.
    Guided tour, including the summer exhibit
    Adults : 4,50€
    Group of 10 or more : 4€
    Free for children under 12
    Museum store: Monday to saturday, from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm

    Hélène Huret, Director +33 (0)1 43 12 52 06 | hhuret@bernardaud.fr
    Ségolène Dufresne, Press relations +33 (0)1 43 12 52 03 | sdufresne@bernardaud.fr

  • Rafael Peréz: Untitled #5

  • Guðný Hafsteinsdóttir: Jólabjöllur #2

  • Merete Rasmussen: Twisted Grey Loop

  • David Carlsson: Blue Flower

  • David Carlsson: Chap’s

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