AFTER A BRIEF TRIP TO MUNICH, IT’S OFF TO THE OPENING OF CENTURY OF THE CHILD AT MOMA IN NYC

Last month I only had time to compose and publish a single blog post given that for much of July I was out-of-town on both business and pleasure trips that took me to Munich, Boston, and New York City. In my last post, I provided my readers with a few highlights from among the hundreds of rare books that Boston-based collector Frederic A. Sharf donated to our library.

GIFTS OF FREDERIC A. SHARF

Today’s post will first touch on my travels to Germany, where I met with art historian and expert Graham Dry and his charming wife, Beate. Even though my indirect flights cost me two days in transit and left me with only two full days in Munich, I found the city to be a delightful destination: bicycle and pedestrian friendly, with immaculately clean and efficient electric trolleys and subways, and beautiful buildings, parks, and gardens.

Of course, as a librarian book-lover what made the brief visit so exceptionally pleasant was having privileged access to Dr. Graham’s incredible Jugendstil book binding collection.

FROM THE PRIVATE COLLECTION OF GRAHAM & BEATE DRY

Dr. Graham and his wife were extraordinarily gracious, hospitable, and generous. At the end of my brief stay, they gave me several rare books and a World War I plate from the Netherlands to bring back to the museum as gifts.

GIFTS OF GRAHAM AND BEATE DRY

No sooner had I unpacked my bags from the Germany trip, than I found myself packing up another set of luggage for a trip to New York and New England. After visiting friends and family in New York and Boston, my wife and I took the train back to the “Big Apple” to rendezvous with other Wolfies, to drop in on collector Merv Bloch, and to check out the exhibition and storage strategies of other museums.

FROM THE PRIVATE COLLECTION OF MERV BLOCH

NEW-YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETY

The real reason for being in New York, however, was to attend the opening of the Century of the Child exhibit organized by curator Juliet Kinchin and curatorial assistant Aidan O’Connor in the department of architecture and design at MoMA.

JULIET KINCHIN, PAUL REUBENS (PEE-WEE HERMAN) & AIDAN O’CONNOR

The Museum of Modern Art curators had come down to South Beach a year ago last June to see what they might borrow from The Wolfsonian and Mr. Wolfson’s private collection to flesh out a couple of sections of their show dealing with totalitarian youth movements and war propaganda designed for consumption by children. What they discovered was an embarrassment of riches. Some years earlier, Seattle collector Pamela K. Harer had donated a large number of rare children’s propaganda books, augmenting an already strong collection of books and ephemera designed to instill patriotism (and to brainwash and indoctrinate) young children.

GIFTS OF PAMELA K. HARER

Mr. Wolfson had also recently acquired a substantial collection of Italian fascist books written for younger readers.

THE MITCHELL WOLFSON, JR. STUDY CENTRE

We had, in fact, a few years earlier, put together two small exhibitions of rare children’s propaganda books, games, and other ephemera. Virtual exhibits of Indoctrinating Youth and Child’s Play are accessible online. Although the curators originally contemplated requesting and recreating these exhibits in their entirety for that chronological section of their show, space constraints dictated a slightly less ambitious loan checklist. In spite of the reductions, a substantial number of items from The Wolfsonian, Wolfsoniana, and Mr. Wolfson’s private collection made the final cut.

We are thrilled that such a large number of our objects are now on view and accessible to audiences visiting New York City’s premier modern art museum, and I would personally like to extend my sincere thanks to exhibition curator Juliet Kinchin and her assistant, Aidan O’Connor for including our materials and inviting me to contribute two essays to their exhibition catalog.

~ by "The Chief" on August 11, 2012.

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