Sofa, Designed by Benjamin Henry Latrobe, American (born England), 1764 - 1820. Decorated by George Bridport, American (born England), 1783 - 1819. Geography: Made in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, North and Central America; Date:1808; Medium: Tulip poplar, maple, gilded and painted decoration, replacement caning, iron, brass, modern upholstry; Dimensions: 33 1/2 inches × 8 feet 7 inches × 24 3/4 inches (85.1 × 261.6 × 62.9 cm); Seat: 14 inches × 6 feet 1 inches × 24 inches (35.6 × 185.4 × 61 cm); Curatorial Department: American Art; Credit Line: Purchased with the gift (by exchange) of Mrs. Alex Simpson, Jr., and A. Carson Simpson, and with funds contributed by Mr. and Mrs. Robert L. Raley and various donors, 1986

Friday, October 28, 2016 (All day)

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Mellon Object Workshop with Benjamin Henry Latrobe, Neo-Classical Furniture

This daylong workshop for first-year History of Art students is organized at the Philadelphia Museum of Art by Alexandra Kirtley, the Montgomery-Garvan Curator of American Decorative Arts; Peggy Olley, Associate Conservator of Furniture and Woodwork; Emily Schreiner, the Zoë and Dean Pappas Curator of Education; and Justina Barrett, Museum Educator for American Art. Representing the University of Pennsylvania is David B. Brownlee, the Frances Shapiro-Weitzenhoffer Professor of the History of Art.

The focus of the workshop is the splendid suite of neoclassical furniture designed in 1808 by Benjamin Henry Latrobe for the house of Philadelphia merchant William Waln and his wife, Mary. Recently restored and studied, it is the subject of the exhibition “Classical Splendor,” curated by Kirtley and Olley, which is on view until January 1, 2017, in the Honickman and Berman Galleries of the PMA.

Topics to be considered by the workshop include (tentatively):

1. furniture and the decorative arts in the history of art and the modern art museum, withbehind the scenes examination of the American and British period rooms.

2. the study of furniture as physical artifact, conducted in the conservation studio

3. the study of artistic teamwork (architect, painter, furniture maker, upholsterer, etc.)

4. curatorial teamwork

5. the interpretation and presentation of the decorative arts

6. the reconstruction of the appearance of the Waln House from documentary and material   evidence

Participants will be given a short written exercise to complete in advance of the workshop.

The workshop begins at 10 AM with coffee and pastries, includes lunch, and ends with “Art after Five” celebration of the Día de los Muertos.

Bibliographic resources:

Michael W. Fazio and Patrick A. Snadon, The Domestic Architecture of Benjamin Henry Latrobe (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006), 324-331.

Alexandra Alevizatos Kirtley and Peggy A. Olley, Classical Splendor: Painted Furniture for a Grand Philadelphia House (Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2016)