A LUVly new exhibit is available for your viewing pleasure at The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art!
I attended the opening this past Monday evening and Iridescence—A Celebration truly includes some of the most beautiful pottery I have seen.
Featuring such LUVly natural subjects as seashells and beetle shells, butterfly wings and peacock feathers, the themes are familiar, the light they capture and reflect, a new, LUVly way to see them at their magical best. At times they glow, seem to be lit from behind.
The Morse Museum’s own collection now is so vast, it is never all on display at once. Instead, pieces are rotated in during new exhibitions, often on loan to other museums across the country.
In this exhibition from its own permanent collection, the Morse celebrates iridescence as it was created in the art glass, enamels, and pottery of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Until the mid-nineteenth century, this fascinating optical light effect could only be seen in nature. It was became a style desired by artisans after archaeologists began unearthing antique glass that had become iridescent from the effects of minerals, metals, and salts in the soil in which it had been buried for centuries.
“Iridescence represents instantaneous metamorphosis—impermanence, fragility and magic,” said Laurence J. Ruggiero, director of the Morse. “Our momentary fascination with this visual phenomenon removes us from the humdrum of life and relieves us for just a moment of the burdens of the day.”
The newly discovered iridized antique glass inspired the premier decorative art studios of the West, including Louis Comfort Tiffany’s firm in the United States and Glasfabrik Johann Loetz Witwe in Europe. Chemical techniques using the same elements found in soil made it possible for leading artists of the period to develop variations of this shimmering surface.
This installation is a showcase of diverse works, including not only lustrous art glass from Loetz (Bohemia) and Tiffany Studios (New York City), but ceramics and enamels from Rookwood Pottery (Cincinnati), S. A. Weller Pottery (Zanesville, Ohio), Robert Hanke (Bohemia), Camille Fauré (France), and others. These firms and designers successfully produced supremely elegant and riveting art with iridescent rainbow colors on par with nature. Although interest in iridescence waned after World War I, it has never died.
The Morse Museum, located at 445 N. Park Avenue, is open 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and Saturday; 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday; and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Regular admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, $1 for students, and free for children younger than age 12. All visitors are admitted free 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, November through April. For more information, call (407) 645-5311 or visit morsemuseum.org.