Summer 2011

Lockwood de Forest: Furnishing the Gilded Age with a Passion for India With Dr. Roberta Mayer

When: Tuesday, August 2
Time:  8:00 pm
Place:  Koret Auditorium, de Young Museum San Francisco
Fee:   $15

From the 1880s until 1908, Lockwood de Forest (1850-1932) promoted the East Indian style in the United States. He furnished many Gilded Age mansions from New York to San Francisco.  The House Beautiful, in 1900 described de Forest’s New York City home as the “most Indian house in America”.
During his travels, de Forest learned about the late 19th century East Indian Craft Revival, a movement supported by British proponents of the Arts and Crafts movement as well as the Raj, the British colonial government in India. John Lockwood Kipling (1837-1911), director of the art school in Lahore (as well as Rudyard Kipling’s father), helped Lockwood de Forest develop an appreciation for Indian artistry.  When de Forest returned from his travels in 1882, the joint business venture with Tiffany was discontinued.  De Forest’s impressive roster of clients
included Andrew Carnegie, Potter Palmer and Mark Twain.
De Forest changed his focus to marketing the Indian style, showcasing highly skilled wood carvers of Ahmedabad. He successfully combined his appreciation of Indian handicrafts with entrepreneurship.  When the fad for Indian style waned, de Forest returned to painting in 1908.  However, he continued to design Indianate homes, of which the most notable is the 1919 dean’s residence at Bryn Mawr College.  De Forest spent his winters in Santa Barbara, and moved there in 1922.
About the Speaker:
Dr. Mayer has taught art history and the history of American furnishings at Bucks County Community College since 1999.  She is the author of Lockwood de Forest: Furnishing the Gilded Age with a Passion for India (2008). Roberta Mayer was named the 2010 Pennsylvania Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation.


Negotiating Multiple Worlds: Identity, Dress, and Art in Colonial India
With Qamar Adamjee

When: Thursday, August 4
Time:  6:30 pm- 7:30 pm
Place:  Education Studio, Asian Art Museum San Francisco
Fee:   $5 after museum admission

In this short talk, we will look at select works featured in the exhibitionMaharaja: Splendor of India’s Royal Courts to go behind the surface of the paintings, photographs, objects and regalia and explore their underlying contexts. The world of India’s maharajas under British rule embodied a complex yet fascinating intersection of their personal, regional, and political identities and some of this complexity is reflected in the portraits, costumes, and art objects that they commissioned. The ways in which one dresses and the objects one chooses to surround oneself with can speak a great deal about the individual’s wider personal and social contexts.

Qamar Adamjee is Assistant Curator of South Asian art at the Asian Art Museum and host curator of the exhibition “Maharaja: The Splendor of India’s Royal Courts”.

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