New Art for the A Floor

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While many of the students and faculty were driving home for Thanksgiving, we used the quiet time to hang a few more paintings on the A floor of Firestone Library.

Here you see Elizabeth Aldred, registrar for the Princeton University Art Museum, completing a condition report on Jean-Paul Riopelle’s untitled painting before it was packed up and returned to the museum for conservation.

In its place, the museum kindly offered a beautiful 1960s painting by the New York artist Loren MacIver for the Cheng Family Reading Room.
hanging nov4 MacIver was a primarily self-taught artist, known for semi-abstract landscapes, cityscapes, and close views of natural forms, many of them ensconced in a hazy fog, lending them a dreamlike aura.

”My wish is to make something permanent out of the transitory,” MacIver wrote in 1946. ”Certain moments have the gift of revealing the past and foretelling the future. It is these moments that I hope to catch.”

MacIver befriended many American poets, including Elizabeth Bishop, E. E. Cummings, and Marianne Moore. See also the catalogue prepared to honor the artist at her death: Loren MacIver: A Retrospective (New York: Tibor de Nagy Gallery, 1998). Marquand Library (SA) Oversize ND237.M165 B287 1998q
hanging nov9Loren MacIver (1909–1998), Byzantium, ca. 1965. Oil on canvas. Gift of Thirteen Friends (Mrs. Harold Hochschild, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Hochschild, Mrs. R. Wolcott Hooker, Mr. and Mrs. P. J. Kelleher, Mr. Frank Kissner, Mr. and Mrs. John McAndrew, Miss Dorothy C. Miller, Mrs. J. D. Rockefeller III, Mr. James T. Soby, Miss Eleanor D. Wilson). Princeton University Art Museum.


hanging nov3This was followed by the hanging of a monumental painting titled Hippolytus by Princeton University alumnus Cleve Gray, Class of 1940. While at Princeton, Gray studied in the department of Art and Archaeology, completing a thesis on Yuan Dynasty landscape painting with George Rowley (1892-1962).

After serving in Europe during World War II, Gray remained in Paris to receive informal art training from a number of French artists. His paintings from the 1960s, including this one, graft impulsive gestures derived from Abstract Expressionism onto a more or less solid armature, a fusion that hints at the competing tensions at play in painting in the 1960s.
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hanging nov8Cleve Gray, Class of 1940  (1918–2004), Hippolytus, 1963. Oil on canvas. Gift of the artist. Princeton University Art Museum.
hanging nov11For more on Hippolytus, see Princeton University’s “Phaedra project” website:

“Born to Minos, King of Crete, and Pasiphaë, immortal daughter of Helios, the Sun, Phaedra became the second wife to Theseus, the founder-king of Athens. Theseus’s son Hippolytus (by his first wife Hippolyta) was a virginal devotee of Artemis, and spurned Aphrodite. In revenge for his disregard, Aphrodite made Phaedra fall in love with Hippolytus. In some accounts, it is the nurse who reveals Phaedra’s burning passion for her stepson, while in others it is Phaedra herself. When Hippolytus vehemently rejects his step-mother’s desire, Phaedra falsely accuses him of rape. Believing his wife, Theseus curses his son, prompting Poseidon to send a sea monster (or in some accounts Dionysus to send a wild bull), to terrify Hippolytus’s horses and to plunge his chariot over a cliff, sending him to his doom. As many versions of the story have it, Phaedra, upon hearing of her beloved Hippolytus’s death, takes her own life.” — “Myth in Transformation: The Phaedra Project”

Nolli’s Rome


We are preparing for next week’s visit from ART 233 / ARC 233 Renaissance Art and Architecture taught by Carolina Mangone and Carolyn Yerkes. The course is described: “What was the Renaissance? This class explores the major artistic currents that swept northern and southern Europe from the fourteenth through the sixteenth centuries in an attempt to answer that question. In addition to considering key themes such as the revival of antiquity, imitation and license, religious devotion, artistic style, and the art market, we will survey significant works by artists and architects including Donatello, Raphael, Leonardo, Jan van Eyck, Dürer, and Michelangelo. Precepts will focus on direct study of original objects, with visits to Princeton’s collections of paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, books and maps.”

To this end, we are rolling out the enormous maps of Rome [seen here] in 1748 by Giambattista Nolli (1701-1756) and Venice in 1500 originally published anonymously, now attributed to Jacopo de Barbari (ca. 1460/70-ca. 1516). The latter is Princeton University Library’s facsimile edition of the woodcuts published in 1962 by Officine Grafiche Trevisan, Cassa di Risparmio, Venezia.


Nolli’s map, a stunning original, is titled Alla Santita di Nosto Signore Papa Benedetto XIV la nuova topografia di Roma, ossequiosamente offerisce e dedica l’umilissimo servo Giambattista Nolli Comasco. Composed in 12 sheets, each 42 x 67.5 cm., the complete engraving measures a monumental 174 x 210 cm.

nolli8Thanks to our colleagues at Berkeley, a high resolution digital map can be found at:

nolli7Giovanni Battista Nolli (1701-1756), Alla Santitá di Nosto Signore Papa Benedetto XIV la nuova topografia di Roma, ossequiosamente offerisce e dedica l’umilissimo servo Giambattista Nolli Comasco ([Roma]: Giambattista Nolli, 1748). 1 map on 12 engraved sheets; 174 x 210 cm, Rare Books: Historic Maps Collection (MAP)

A Speech Introducing Albert Einstein

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George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), A Speech Introducing Albert Einstein. Introduction and etching by Joseph R. Goldyne (Rockport, Maine: Two Ponds Press, 2015). Copy 19 of 75. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2015- in process

“Professor Albert Einstein heard himself acclaimed by George Bernard Shaw tonight as one of the handful of men in all human history who have “Created Universes.” Before a thousand guests at a dinner here Professor Einstein listened while Mr. Shaw placed him on a pedestal with the greatest thinkers of mankind. Only seven men in the history of 2,500 years, said Mr. Shaw, could share with Professor Einstein his place as a destroyer of the old absolutism and builder of the new world. The list began with Pythagoras and included Ptolemy, Aristotle, Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, and finally Einstein, “the greatest of our contemporaries.” –Anonymous, “Shaw Calls Einstein Universe Creator. Acclaims Scientist, the Guest at Dinner in London, as One of History’s Eight Greatest.” Special cable to the New York Times, October 29, 1930.
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Shaw’s speech was delivered at a formal high-profile fund-raising dinner for ORT (Obschestvo Remeslenovo i. Zemledelcheskovo Trouda), an organization dedicated to the support of Eastern European Jewry. The setting was the ballroom of London’s Savoy Hotel in 1930.

In this newly acquired fine press edition, the full text of Shaw’s speech is reprinted, together with Albert Einstein’s response, originally delivered in German and printed here in English translation. Joesph Goldyne illustrated the volume with five etchings created especially for this publication. The drypoints, etchings, and burnished aquatints, executed with the artist’s unique graphic signature, pay tribute to the featured speakers as well as to the sense of the event.

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A portion of the actual speech has been posted here. Nice to include the laughter and the applause:

A Man in Bogotá

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The Man in Bogotá. Story by Amy Hempel, Photocollages by Mary Daniel Hobson, Design and Night Skies by Charles Hobson ([San Francisco]: Pacific Editions, 2015). Copy 17 of 40. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2015- in process.

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“Mary Daniel Hobson’s photocollages were created by layering photographic transparencies, stitched tissue paper, old maps, handwriting and real bird feathers. They have been reproduced here as archival pigment prints on Entrada 300 rag paper by Rhiannon Alpers at the San Francisco Art Institute. Rhiannon Alpers also printed the text in Adobe Garamond by letterpress on Coronado SST paper.”

“The circular holes in the pages were laser cut at Magnolia Editions in Oakland, California, and the covers and clamshell boxes have been made at the studio of John DeMerritt, Emeryville, California.”

“Charles Hobson designed the edition and painted the night sky individually for each set of covers and for the insets with acrylic paint on Canson Mi-Tientes paper. He also assembled and bound the edition with the assistance of Alice Shaw.”–Colophon.

“The book contains five photocollages bound into a concertina spine. A sixth image is presented as a separate print signed by the artist in a folder on the inside of the back cover.”–Prospectus.
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An interview with the author Amy Hempel:



Frances Parker, Countess of Morley

morley3The Times have been
That when the brains were out
The man would die
And there an end


Frances Talbot Parker, Countess of Morley (1781-1857), The Flying Burgermaster: a Legend of the Black Forest ([S.l.]: F. Morley, 1832). Letterpress and lithographs. Rare Books (Ex) 3866.569.335


inscribed on flyleaf

This volume was pulled today to answer a reference question. Both images and text have been attributed to Frances Talbot Parker, Countess of Morley (1781-1857). The Countess is listed in Modern English Biography (1897) as the “celebrated as a woman of wit and the ‘first of talkers’; a painter rn. 23 Aug. 1809, as his second wife, John Parker 1 Earl of Morley, b. 1772, d. 14 March 1840; lithographed the plates in Portraits of the Spruggins family, arranged by Richard Sucklethumkin Spruggins 1829; author of The Flying burgomaster, a legend of the BlackForest 1832 anon; The royal intellectual bazaar, a prospectus of a plan for the improvement of the fashionable circle 1832 anon; The man without a name, 2 vols. 1852; edited Dacre, a novel, 3 vols. 1834. d. Saltram, Plympton 6 Dec. 1857. bur. in family vault at Plympton St. Mary.”

More of her biography can be found at

morley4Note, an unillustrated prose version of this story turns up in Henry Glassford Bell, My old portfolio: or, tales and sketches (London: Smith, Elder, and Co., 1832). Hard to know which came first.

Persoz’s calico


Jean-François Persoz (1805-1868), Traité théorique et pratique de l’impression des tissus … Ouvrage avec 165 figures et 429 échantillons intercalés dans le texte …(Paris: V. Masson, 1846). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize TP930 .P46q

“The newly developed and developing techniques of color photography and color printing, particularly “chromotypogravure” in which the dots of the half-tone screen are used to produce grainy color may have encouraged him to pursue his pointillist methods, but are unlikely to have been major causative factors behind his style. For concepts of contrast and harmony, Chevreul is obviously of key importance, but he is not the only author [Georges] Seurat consulted in the field of tapestry design. Jules Persoz’s brilliantly illustrated Traité de l’impression des tissues attracted Seurat’s attention, to the extent that the painter transcribed a section of its text. There was also much interest in oriental color usage, in theory and in practice. The general impression is that Seurat avidly consumed writings on color, turning a variety of apparently diverse ideas to his own coherent account.” –Martin Kemp: The Science of Art: Optical Themes in Western Art from Brunelleschi to Seurat (1990) Firestone ND1475 .K45 1990



Persoz5The study that George Seurat called “brilliant” was written by Jean-François Persoz (1805-1868), a chemist and Professor in the School of Pharmacy at Strasbourg. Persoz prepared the book for the Société d’Encouragement pour l’Industrie Nationale (founded 1802), winning a medal and more importantly, the publication of his work.

The first volume describes the technical aspects of coloring and chemistry, while the following volumes include vibrant fabric samples from the principal calico printers in England, Scotland, Alsace, Switzerland, Normandy and Paris.

The five volumes are illustrated with 429 fabric samples, each individually mounted onto printed pages. Volume 5 includes 3 chromolithographs of decorative dot patterns.




The Principles of Static and Friction

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static broadsideRichtige Grund Sätze der Friction Berechnung, Zuweit gewißerer Beurtheilung und Einrichtung aller Machinen überhaupt, aus des Monsr. Amontons und Monsr. Belidors Schrifften, dennen Lieb habern mechanischer Wissenschafften zu gefallen in beliebter kürtze zusammen getragen Andere Tabelle. Sumptibus hæredun Homannianorum Cum Privil. S. C. M. [ca. 1740-6]. Engraving. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2015- in process

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The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired two large 18th-century wall charts outlining the principles of statics and friction. Homann Erben, one of the leading map publishers of the era, produced and published them in Nurnberg, Germany.

In the chart below, five simple machines are depicted demonstrating the concepts of force, equilibrium, and statics. Forty individual illustrations, together with accompanying descriptions and calculations, show a number of gear mechanisms, counterweights and pulleys, explaining ways in which forces combine with each other so as to produce equilibrium. At the top of this post, our second chart represents the “Important Principles of Friction” in sixteen variations using pulleys and hoists.

The principles being described come from two noted scientists: Guillaume Amontons (1663-1705) and Bernard Forest de Bélidor (1697/98-1761). Amontons “produced the first known study on the question of losses caused by friction in machines, and established the laws of proportionality between the friction and the mutual pressure of the bodies in contact.” Bélidor was professor of mathematics at the artillery school at La Fère, who wrote numerous texts on mechanics, including La Science des ingénieurs (1729), Marquand Library SAX NA2510 .B421 and Architecture hydraulique (1737-39) Recap 9166.162.

static broadside6Homann Erben die Fürhehmsten Grund-Sätze der Static; oder Die Vergleichung der krafft und last an denen fünf einfachen machinen über haupt, bloß nach dem gleich gewichts standt, ohne der in der bewegung darbeis fürfallenden friction, in deutlichen proportions sätzen nach denen reguln der verhältnis in beliebte kürtze gebracht. [Nürnberg]: Herausgegeben von Homoennischen erben mit Kayser aller gn. Privl., [ca. 1740-60]. Engraving. Graphic Arts Collection GA2015- in process
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Taking the Company Wagon


The Czech Republic has a number of mineral and thermal springs. Over the years, curative spas and luxury resorts have been built around this area, hosting many famous visitors (I’m told), including Goethe, Beethoven, and Peter the Great. The most eminent are in the West Bohemian spa triangle including two of the largest: Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad) in valley of the River Teplá and Mariánské Lázně (Marienbad), not far from Prague.

In 1830, Gottlieb Unger and Christoph Schäck purchased a carriage, which they called “the company wagon” or Gesellschaftswagen. These entrepreneurs established a bus route between the spa towns of Carlsbad and Marienbad, approximately 32.15 km or 19.98 miles. The estimated driving time given today on google maps is 43 minutes.

This unrecorded broadside advertises their luxury wagon service in a covered but open-side, horse-drawn carriage, which seated eight passengers comfortably. The broadside goes on to offer another smaller carriage for the exclusive use of four people and other options for personal transport throughout the summer months. Longer trips to Leipzig, Dresden or Prague could be arranged.

Gesellschaftswagen broadside ([Carlsbad], 1831). 383 x 233 mm, Graphic Arts collection GAX 2015- in process.

Gillett Griffin invents cloud storage

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Gillett G. Griffin, Untitled [Gillett Griffin on ladder, placing books on shelf], no date [20th century]. Paper collage. Graphic Arts Collection GC001

A former Curator of Graphic Arts, Gillett G. Griffin (born 1928) was responsible for moving our collection into the 2nd floor of the new Firestone Library in 1953. This paper collage is a self-portrait of Griffin shelving (or re-shelving) the monumental collection while balancing on a cloud. Perhaps a foreshadowing of off-site storage.

Jean Dupuis’s Parting Words

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Jean Dupuis (1799-1888) was a celebrated French athlete, circus performer, and wrestler who would traveled from town to town, performing feats of strength. He would lift a variety of heavy objects and then, challenge the strongest man in the town to a wrestling match, offering prize money to anyone who could defeat him.

He managed to remain undefeated for a number of years, fighting predominantly in Germany but also in Paris, Moscow, Rome, and Warsaw. Finally, on January 22, 1841, Dupuis lost a fight at the Munich Royal Theatre. A rare satirical broadside (above and below) was published celebrating this defeat at the hands of a Munich servant known only as Simon. The charming illustration shows Dupuis as a defeated half naked Hercules collapsed in his chariot as four Munich citizens wave his broadsides at him. These may well be the four men who wished to fight him. Dupuis only agreed to fight two and was defeated in his second bout.

Only one other copy of the Dupuis defeat broadside has been found in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg and that copy is uncolored.The Stadtgeschichtliches Museum Leipzig (City Museum of Leipzig) has a number of Dupuis wrestling broadsides, although not these two. The distinctive wrestling woodcut at the bottom of this post was owned by Dupuis as it is used in two other broadsides by him.

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Abschiedsworte an den geworfenen Herrn Jean Dupuis ersten Herkules von Europa und noch einigen Provinzen. Munich, 22 January 1841. Lithographic broadside with calligraphic title printed in gold. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2015- in process.



Sonntag den 20. October 1839. Grosses Kampfspiel im Ringen von Jean Dupuis mit einem starken Mann … welcher seine Kraft, heute Sonntag in der Abend-Vorstellung, mit mir messen will. [Leipzig], 1839. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2015- in process