Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Somebody got busy with some scissors...

This is the third in a series of collages I own that were created by a Victorian girl. I'm still no closer to figuring out the decade they were made but it's been fun studying the various parts of it to see what time periods they came from.

The young girl who made this series of assemblages got more experimental in this one because this time she used something other than paper...lace. Real lace. I hope her mom never found out where she got it or what she cut it out from. Cutting up her dad's atlas is one thing but cutting up some of mom's clothes? That's a part of the story I don't want to find out.

I was wondering why the woman character wasn't glued firmly onto the paper. 

When I tipped her skirt up a bit (sorry, Ma'am), I found an additional chair (er, bench) under her.

I've been trying to google "Jas. King Mfg. of Rustic Work, New Haven, Conn.," or anything related to rustic benches in the New Haven area but I've come up with nothing. And since rustic furniture was popular during the Victorian era, it doesn't help to have a time period that spans about 60 years to try and date these things.

I've been curious about where those black and white cut paper prints come from. Like I've said before, they could have come from a Sears Roebuck catalog but would they be selling live plants? This particular piece has a print of a grapevine in the pot on the right, a hyacinth in the pot on the left and some sort of flowering tree behind the woman. I'm thinking newspaper or lady's magazine. 

There were several women's magazines available in the 1800s (The Godey's Lady's Book, Peterson's Magazine, etc.) and included in them was some advertising. Or perhaps these cut out images are from a newspaper. I don't know. And it would really help if I could actually find one of these magazines to examine. Maybe the drawings of the women were also copied from these magazines. I wish I knew because the placement of those two roses on the woman's bodice are um, a little weird. I'd be curious to see how closely this drawing was modeled after the fashion illustration in the magazine.

Perhaps it is time to consult a real historian.

When I was growing up in Michigan, my friend Janet and I got to see the first half of the Russian "War and Peace" movie that was playing at the Detroit Institute of Arts around 1970. At intermission (the film is 7-8 hours long, they were showing only the first half that night), the two of us snuck off into the museum galleries before the second part started. We weren't supposed to be there....everything was dark and vast...except for one removed room that had a few spotlights. It was the puppet room and inside there was a Remo Bufano "puppet" that looked down on us. Its head hit the ceiling, its feet touched the floor. It certainly made a memorable presence because museum ceilings aren't short! That room was so cool, unexpected and scary with all those different sized puppets staring back at us, only a few of them lit in the darkness. I love museums. Love the serious mood of an altered reality they hold within them. 

I once called the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art here in KC about a textile I had collected because I could not figure out where it was from. They don't do estimates but I was able to make an appt. and come in with my peculiar metal embroidered stumpworked peacock and have it looked at. I had a couple experts jump in and contribute their thoughts about the when and why and where of the textile. I'm wondering if it's time for another appointment with these Victorian pieces because it sure would help to have a Victorian expert explain it all to me.

And I do love a museum visit, especially when it's in a restricted area.    :-)

Every one of these little pieces was pasted onto a page from a book with maps in it from 1853. This is the map that this one was pasted on. In the lower left there is a guide to emblems used in the map (unfortunately cropped off by our little Victorian girl) that indicate the level of barbarism vs. civlilized state of each area on the map.


shara said...

I can't think of anything to help you on your search. I am very interested in what you find out about this lil' ones art. Keep us posted! I feel as if I am reading about a mystery!

Mental P Mama said...

Fascinating. And I am very intrigued by the iron work and the New Haven, CT mark. I went to a colonial graveyard lecture recently, and learned that almost all the tombstones or markers came from New Haven. Therefore, most graves are not marked, or are incorrect because of the time lag and lack of funds. Cannot wait to hear more from you.

Maria said...

Shara, this IS setting itself up to be a mystery. And Mental, excellent clue!

45+ and Aspiring said...

How interesting! I'm always intrigued by collages and mixed media pieces. Thanks for doing all the close up shots to share with us. And how interesting that it was part of a map book. . .

I loved the little story tucked in about the illicit visit through the museum. Reminded me of one of my favorite childhood books--The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Also, I loved the movie Some Kind of Wonderful when I was a teen--it has a date scene in a museum after hours. That puppet sounded terrifying!

The closest experience I ever had was roaming through the high school building when it was after hours and all dark and daring to go in the boys' bathroom to take pictures with my friends--standing on the urinals!

Country Girl said...

I find it all interesting, too! Please keep us posted.

My favorite line was about the dark museum rooms, which you said was a
"serious mood of an altered reality they hold within them"


Maria said...

45-I'm going to have to look up that Frankweiler book. And yes, the puppet room could have been terrifying, well, actually it was...but to a teenager, it was insanely cool. It's like 35 years later and I can still picture it. I tried to find an image of the puppet I saw but couldn't. This is the best substitute Bufano I could find:

Kate-Thank you for your comment. Gave me chills. I've done the art thing. This is the year where I want to learn how to write. Most likely it will still be in sentence fragments and long run-on sentences (but probably with most of the words spelled correctly) and all at the same time......Gawd. I have a feeling I can't change my writing style but hopefully it can improve. I did feel like I captured the mood of the museum with that tiny description. Thanks for noticing.