Since opening its richly appointed gift shop at 145 Sixth Avenue in New York last autumn, the Dahesh Museum of Art has used the new location as a home for Salon Thursdays, a stimulating series of lectures where leading arts scholars provide free programs starting at 6:30 PM. The new site also houses the offices of the Dahesh, allowing museum administrators to better work together on travelling shows and creating a tentpole in Hudson Square to possibly reopen the museum downtown. The new store also includes beautiful things for the home, reproduction prints and posters, and an impressive collection of scholarly books on the Classical tradition.
The 2013 Winter/Spring Salon Thursdays program has just been announced, and it looks as if the new season is even more ambitious than the last. Next on the calendar are:
February 7: Frick Buys a Freak: Dagnan-Bouveret and the Development of the Frick Collection, presented by Ross Finocchio, PhD, celebrated scholar of the Frick Collection. He will explain how Henry Clay Frick’s one purchase changed American taste and the art market of his day.
Mach 7: 19th Century Commercial Photography in Egypt: Inside Pascal Sebah’s Studio, presented by Alia Nour, Assistant Curator at the Dahesh, who will discuss the life and work of Pascal Sebah, who supplied Cairo’s tourists and local elites with images of a romantic east more than 100 years ago.
April 4: The Invention of Comics, presented by Pat Mainardi, PhD, traces the origins of comics and graphic novels to late 19th Century Europe in what promises to be a fascinating show.
May 2: Inspired by Landscape: Women of the Hudson River School, presented by art historian Jennifer C. Krieger, introduces the 19th Century woman who painted the magnificent scenery of the Hudson River Valley despite prevailing prejudices.
June 6: Multiple Images: Reproducing Academic Art 1850-1900, presented by Donato Esposito, PhD, outlines how methods of art reproduction evolved and made academic painting among the most well-known of all images in the 19th Century.
Your correspondent is a great believer in the Dahesh and its mission. It is the only institution in the United States devoted to academic art of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The genesis of the collection was assembled by Salim Moussa Achi (1909-1948), who envisioned a museum of academic European art. Perhaps one day the dream will become a reality once again. For the past several years the Dahesh has been a museum without walls, as significant portions of this important collection have traveled the world in various shows and exhibitions. In conjunction with the new store location, the Dahesh has completely revamped their Web site, and readers are urged to visit it to learn about the collection and travelling shows: http://www.dahesh-museum.org/. For further details about Salon Thursdays and the gift shop, call the Dahesh at 212.759.0606.