Antiques Forum reviewing 19th-century exoticism

NEW ORLEANS — The Historic New Orleans Collection’s sixth annual New Orleans Antiques Forum takes place Thursday, August 1 through Sunday, August 4, in the French Quarter. The four-day program includes talks by local and national decorative arts experts

Bookcase, 1852–1853 by Gustave Herter (designer), Ernst Plassmann (woodcarver) and Bulkley and Herter (maker), United White oak, Eastern white pine, Eastern hemlock, and yellow poplar with later stained glass; The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City. (Photo courtesy The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art)

Bookcase, 1852–1853 by Gustave Herter (designer), Ernst Plassmann (woodcarver) and Bulkley and Herter (maker), United White oak, Eastern white pine, Eastern hemlock, and yellow poplar with later stained glass; The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City. (Photo courtesy The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art)

and optional preconference activities. Registration for the event opens Saturday, June 15.

With the theme “Opulence and Intrigue: Exoticism in the 19th Century,” this year’s forum will examine the proliferation of non-Western motifs and styles in decorative arts and architecture. Exoticism was a defining trend in the 1800s as doors to new worlds were opened and interest in ancient and distant cultures flourished.

Designed for a general audience, the forum sessions take place Friday–Sunday, at THNOC’s Williams Research Center, 410 Chartres St. This year’s topics include decorative arts at World’s Fairs, exotica-influenced Carnival designs, Middle East– and Far East–inspired architecture, Chinese art and American artists who found inspiration in the Holy Land.

Those who register for this year’s program will once again have a choice of optional preconference tours—a day trip to visit two plantations in south Louisiana (Lakeside in Batchelor, La., and Poplar Grove in Port Allen, La.) or a walking tour of the historic French Quarter. Following the final session on Sunday, forum participants will also have the option to join speakers and fellow participants for a brunch at New Orleans’s celebrated Antoine’s Restaurant. Separate registration is required for the preconference tours and the brunch.

This year’s panel of speakers includes Priscilla Lawrence, John H. Lawrence and John T. Magill of The Historic New Orleans Collection. Joining them are Jason T. Busch, chief curator and the Alan G. and Jane A. Lehman Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh; John Davis, Alice Pratt Brown Professor of Art at Smith College; Nicholas M. Dawes, vice-president of special collections at Heritage Auctions, New York, and a frequent appraiser on the PBS program “Antiques Roadshow”; Ulysses Grant Dietz, curator of decorative arts at Newark Museum; Alison McQueen, professor of art history at McMaster University; Holly H. Shimizu, executive director of the US Botanic Garden; Richard Guy Wilson, the Commonwealth Professor’s Chair in Architectural History at the University of Virginia; and Donald A. Wood, curator of Asian art at the Birmingham Museum of Art. Tom Savage, director of museum affairs at Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library in Delaware, is returning as the forum’s moderator.

Registration for this event is required and the registration period will open June 15. Rates start at $100. For a detailed event schedule or to register, visit www.hnoc.org/antiques.htm or call 504-523-4662.

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