Turning a New Leaf into Art

Oak Leaf Ornament, early 20th CenturyUnknown maker; probably United StatesGold; 4 1/2 in.30713BGift of Mrs. Anita L. Alexander Disbe-leaf That It Is 2024 Hard to believe as it may be, 2023 has ended and the new year, 2024, has begun. With high hopes for all the wonderful and exciting things that the new year may hold, today’s post celebrates the pr...

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Monkey Business: Simian Orchestras and Meissen Mix-Ups

Monkey Orchestra (Affenkapelle), early to mid 20th centuryAelteste Volkstedter Porzellanmanufaktur; Rudolstadt, GermanyPorcelain and enamel98.6.1a-nGift of Mr. Randall Balch Imitation Game Monkeys make for lively subjects and, as anyone who has studied a monkey (even if only on social media) will attest, they are remarkably human in many ways, not ...

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Months of Caesars

Roma, early 20th CenturyEttore Forti (Italian, 1880 – 1920)Oil on canvas; 25 1/2 x 45 in.F83.16.2Anonymous Gift Augustus and Everything After Most know August as that sweltering month nestled between Fourth of July and Labor Day. Parents and students alike mark their August calendars as the month that school starts, a wonderful boon or tragic end o...

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Raising Flags: The Stars and Stripes of the Bowers

Quilt, c. 1920Maker unknown; United StatesCotton, fabric and flannel; 47 1/4 x 40 1/4 in.32147AGift of the Fredda Barger Estate Murky Territory Aside from the places we have traditionally seen the American flag since it was first introduced in 1777, it seems like every year it appears in more and more unexpected situations. In 2020 one is as likely...

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Spring Spookfest: Creepy Objects from the Bowers

Prisoner of War Guillotine Model, 1770-1825Maker UnknownBone and pigment; 15 1/2 x 14 x 5 3/4 in. 2011.25.73Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Burton W. Fink Halloween in May With the very possible exception of May gray, there is not much particularly unsettling about the spring months. In fact, they are stalwartly reputed to be upstanding months by most definit...

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Every Federal Employee Deserves Favor: Gifts of State in the Bowers’ Collections

Gold Bracelet, c. 1970JordanianGold and elephant hair; 1 1/8 x 2 1/2 in.77.4.8Gift of United States Government The Gift that Keeps on Taking In the United States there is a price that can be put on changing someone’s mind. It exists in the form of an upper limit for the value of gifts that can be accepted from foreign dignitaries and, given that it...

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Society through the Looking Glass

Lorgnettes, 18th to early 20thCenturiesProbably France and United StatesMetal, tortoiseshell, lacquer, paint and glass2000.8.37, .39, .123Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Richard Preston  “…the inevitable lorgnette, the enemy of other people’s privacy.”–Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca 2000.8.37 in all three stages of unfolding. Lorgnettes, spectacles held in p...

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Käthe Kollwitz: Don't Fear the Reaper

Whetting the Scythe from The Peasants' Revolt, 1905Käthe Kollwitz (German, 1867–1945)Etching on paper; 21 1/2 x 18 in.33542 Gift of Mr. Howard GrahamKäthe Käthe Kollwitz, 1919Fascination with the moribund can come from any number of circumstances. For Käthe Kollwitz (German, 1867-1942) it stemmed from a lifetime of tragedy, enshroudi...

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Fair Weather Friends: 19th Century Parasols

Parasols, 19th and 20th CenturiesPossibly Paul Poiret (French, 1879-1944) and Unknown Makers; France and EnglandWood, metal, silk, cotton and pigments; Various dimensions32172C, 7992D and 7992AGift of Mrs. G. W. Pike (32172C) and Irene P. Cutter Memorial Doll Collection (7992D and 7992A) Parasols for Paris Souls The science of selecting t...

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