Bohemian Beauty: The Aesthetic Movement and Oscar Wilde’s Newport
March 24 - November 4, 2018
The Galleries at Rosecliff - 548 Bellevue Avenue
“One should be a work of art or wear a work of art.”
~ Oscar Wilde
Bohemian Beauty: The Aesthetic Movement and Oscar Wilde’s Newport celebrates the ideas embodied by the artists, poets and thinkers popular during the Aesthetic Movement (1870-1890), an important era of artistic experimentation here and abroad. The exhibition will feature a selection of furniture, ceramics, wallpaper, glass, silver, paintings and costume illuminating the tenets of this “art for art’s sake” movement personified by its most influential impresario Oscar Wilde.
American poet and author Julia Ward Howe invited Oscar Wilde to speak at the Newport Casino Theater on July 15, 1882 as part of his grand North American lecture tour. The tour comprised 140 lectures in 260 days and stretched from New York to San Francisco. His lecture topic in Newport was “The Decorative Arts.”
Wilde’s tour manifested itself across the United States in raised awareness and interest in interior decoration. The style was influential in the Gilded Age, as it merged interests in traditional crafts – a precursor of the Arts & Crafts Movement – as well as the influence of industrial design and new technologies in manufacturing.
Bohemian Beauty draws upon the Preservation Society’s collections as well as significant loans from prominent museums and private collections.
Complimentary admission with Rosecliff ticket.
The Aesthetic Movement
Oscar Wilde in Newport
Porcelain portrait plate, c. 1880, Preservation Society Collection
Wall bracket, ebonized wood with gilt accents, c.1880, Preservation Society Collection