On view June 3–August 3, 2017
Please note summer hours: The Rolland Gallery will be open Thursday–Friday, 10 am to 4 pm, and Saturday, 11 am to 3 pm, for the duration of the summer. It will be closed to the public June 1, 2, 8, 9, 22 and 23.
The 19th century gave rise to an increased appreciation and accessibility of decorative arts for American and European consumers. With mass-production of decorative accessories in bronze and other media, aesthetic objects were priced within reach of many more households than could afford fine art, giving homes an air of prestige without the price. Possessing art objects elevated the status of the household, making it an enjoyable setting while simultaneously signaling the availability of disposable income. Decorative arts may be works that serve a function rather than being strictly aesthetic–such as a lamp or paperweight, as is the case for several items in this collection. Items displayed on floors, mantels, and desks often portrayed themes that included mythology, colonialism, partially clad women, or small reproductions of famous art, all of which additionally purported a message of power and/or prowess of the owner of such objects, with their perception as a status symbol.
This exhibition features 19th- and 20th- century sculptural works from William Rolland Collection that fall within the range of decorative art and kitsch. Though many items are recasts and were therefore not actually used historically in a house, they represent the type of popular floor and desk décor that was fashionable for class-conscious consumers.
Image: Bust of woman with tiara and flowers. Bronze on marble base, 1998. 30 x 14 x 9 inches. Gift of William Rolland Collection, 2014