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The Arts window by J. & R. Lamb Studios is the centerpiece of this major new exhibition that illustrates the rich diversity of styles that made up the aesthetic environment of the late 19th century in both Europe and America. Lamb Studios, a prominent American glasshouse of the era, exhibited the 1894 neoclassical window widely. In preparation for its debut at the Morse, the window, more than eight feet in diameter, underwent extensive conservation. The installation features 20 additional leaded-glass windows and selections of art glass, pottery, and furniture, a number of which also have never been exhibited. Other windows on view—some avant-garde, others reviving the past—include examples by Tiffany Studios, John LaFarge, Frank Lloyd Wright, Edward Burne-Jones, Donald MacDonald, and Heaton, Butler & Bayne.
In 1905 Elizabeth Owens Morse, the daughter of Charles Hosmer Morse and Martha Owens Morse, married Richard Genius. The gift registry of this socially prominent Chicago bride—entitled “The Bride Elect”—survives in the Morse Museum’s archive, showing more than 250 gifts. Together these items provide a snapshot of the era, a glimpse into 1905 gift-giving traditions, and some insight into popular retail decisions made by wealthy consumers in the Chicago area. In this new exhibition, the Morse presents a representative group of the lovely gifts that survive from the Morse-Genius wedding, including Tiffany art glass, Rookwood pottery, and Gorham silver.
In this exhibit, the Museum debuts a selection from Harry C. Sigman’s 2014 gift of 86 objects to the Morse. Sigman, a Los Angeles attorney, began collecting European and American decorative art in 1969, and his gift dovetails with the late 19th- and early 20th-century styles represented in the Morse collection. The donation includes art glass, pottery, metalwork, and furniture. Though comprised mainly of Jeannette and Hugh McKean’s massive gift, the Morse collection has always been supported by generous individuals such as Harry Sigman whose contributions have helped it to grow in important ways. The finely crafted objects on view can be appreciated both individually and in the context of the Museum’s entire collection.
With the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union
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