The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Benjamin West: General Wolfe and the Art of Empire at the University of Michigan Museum of Art
Benjamin West, Death of Wolfe, 1770, oil on canvas, William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan, Gift of William L. Clements.
ANN ARBOR, MICH.- How is it that an American painter came to define the British Empire?

When Benjamin West’s painting The Death of General Wolfe was first shown at the Royal Academy in 1771 it was received with great acclaim and quickly became one of the most famous paintings in eighteenth-century Britain, serving for generations as the consummate projection of its military, moral, and cultural supremacy and a celebration of Empire. Depicting the heroic death of James Wolfe, the British commander at the 1759 Battle of Québec during what is known in this country as the French and Indian War (1754–63), West’s canvas presented a momentous contemporary event in a large-scale history painting, but with the figures in modern rather than classical dress. In so doing, West flouted the conventions of the genre put forth by academic painters such as Sir Joshua Reynolds, the famed director of the Royal Academy. Though his was not the earliest representation of the death of Wolfe nor the first history painting to violate the norms of pictorial depiction by showing him in uniform, West’s interpretation of the event became iconic, crystallizing for a patriotic public the moment when Britain assumed the mantle of empire. The artist went on to produce five additional full-scale versions of the painting, one of which belongs to the William L. Clements Library at the University of Michigan. The composition was also widely disseminated in the form of reproductive engravings that earned both the painter and the engraver a small fortune.

Through forty works from Michigan, Canadian, and British collections, this thematically focused exhibition considers how artists contributed to Great Britain’s emergence as the dominant colonial power in Europe in the later eighteenth century—from West’s pivotal portrayal, to the painting’s popularization in a wide variety of media, to the cartographers on the ground in Canada whose maps helped ensure Canada’s future as a British colony. In addition to West’s monumental vision of British conquest, the exhibition includes previous depictions of James Wolfe and his death on the battlefield and explores the commodification of Wolfe in popular culture. Among the many historically important and visually compelling works included in the exhibition are portions of the Murray Atlas of Canada from the UM Clements Library, a set of highly detailed maps executed in 1761–63 by military surveyors under the direction of general and military governor James Murray. The Murray Atlas (known in only five extant examples) includes plans drawn by, among others, Samuel Holland and John Montresor, the latter a British artist and military engineer who fought alongside Wolfe.

Discovering Eighteenth-Century British America: The William L. Clements Library Collection
September 22, 2012–January 13, 2013

This significant exhibition provides glimpses of British America in the 1700s and is designed to complement the Museum's concurrent exhibition, Benjamin West: General Wolfe and the Art of Empire, which features the Clements Library's major painting The Death of General Wolfe. William L. Clements assembled an outstanding array of primary sources on North America dating between 1492 and 1800, with a heavy emphasis on early European exploration and discovery and the eighteenth-century wars for control of the continent. The exhibition features a mix of rare items from Mr. Clements’s original donation and pieces the Library has acquired since 1923 to complement and enhance its strength in eighteenth-century American history.

This exhibition is part of the UM Collections Collaborations series, co-organized by and presented at UMMA and designed to showcase the renowned and diverse collections at the University of Michigan. The UM Collections Collaborations series is generously supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Today's News

September 25, 2012

Van Gogh Museum moves masterworks to Hermitage Amsterdam for seven months

Monumental sculpture by Manolo Valdés at the New York Botanical Garden

Alberto Giacometti's unique "Torse de femme" featured in MOSS, an auction of art and design

Royal Collection Trust buys four famous Andy Warhol portraits of Queen Elizabeth II

Getty Center presents the photographs of Ray K. Metzker and the Institute of Design

Photography from A to Z: Christie's Photographs Sale at South Kensington in October

Exhibition presents new, familiar and never-before-seen works from the Sammlung Kunst der Westküste

San Francisco's beloved Museum of Craft and Folk Art closes its doors after 30 years

Major exhibition features computer animation, diagrams, plans, and models by Studio Gang Architects

Works from the extensive Martin Z. Margulies Collection on view at Kunsthal KAdE

Benjamin West: General Wolfe and the Art of Empire at the University of Michigan Museum of Art

1949 Triumph, rubies and gold add luster to Sept. 30 Government Auction sale

In the Spirit of Walser: Rodney Graham and Josiah McElheny at the Donald Young Gallery

Adlers endow curatorship and programs at the Princeton University Art Museum

Sotheby's Contemporary Art Sale totals $12,277,564 led by an Abstract Richter

A Selection of the new media collection, Musée national d'art moderne, on view at ZKM

Philippines: Marcos clothes have no historic value

Maria Malczewska-Bernhardt: Theater of life - painting and drawing at The Museum of Opolian Silesia

Cumbria County Council sells collection of old weights and measures estimated at £20,000 to £30,000

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Egypt conservationists to sue over 'botched' Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun mask repair

2.- Scrolls scorched by Vesuvius may be read again thanks to 21st century technology

3.- Italian government seizes more than 5,000 looted antiquities in record 45-million-euro haul

4.- Remains of at least five people found in Alexander the Great-era tomb in Amphipolis

5.- Munich poised to lift ban on Holocaust memorial project known as Stolpersteine

6.- Rare coin records smashed by Heritage Auctions at Florida United Numismatists Convention

7.- Bonhams to offer Alan Turing's hidden manuscript on the foundations of mathematics and computer science

8.- Jane Wilson, painter of luminous landscapes, dies at the age of 90 in New York

9.- First exhibition in the UK to examine Rubens’ influence on art history opens in London

10.- Paul Simonon presents a series of new paintings at London's Institute of Contemporary Arts

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site