The Newport Symposium 2019
Travels Across America: Art, Nature & the Pursuit of Beauty
The splendor of our vast country has sparked the imagination of artists, designers and architects for over two centuries. From John James Audubon’s early 19th century avian images, to Edward Curtis’ compelling photographs of Native Americans, to the architecture of Louis Sullivan, the American landscape has fueled the creative spirit of countless visionaries in the fine and decorative arts and architecture. We invite you to join us on a remarkable journey as the 2019 Newport Symposium travels throughout the county exploring our endless fascination and complex relationship with the American landscape.
The Newport Symposium 2018
Great Collectors: Taste, Passion, & Patronage
Throughout the centuries and around the world, collectors have passionately pursued objects of fascination and beauty. Their motivations have varied, and so their collections reflect an intriguing combination of personal interests and aesthetics, validation, and outside influences, all the while embodying the time span in which they were created. Preeminent national and international presenters will explore the world of collecting and bring the fascinating stories of collectors to life.
The Newport Symposium 2017
Gilded Age Art, Design, & Technology
The Gilded Age arose from the effort to reconcile modern industrial technology with the artistic vocabulary of the past – both real and imaginary. Many of Newport’s summer colonists made their fortunes in industry, and were instrumental in promoting the widespread adoption of advances like steam engines, electric lighting, central heating, refrigeration and automobiles. But jubilation at modern progress was tinged with nostalgia for pre-industrial styles and craftsmanship, giving rise to a host of inventive, eclectic expressions in material culture. From the romantic Medievalism of Ruskin, Henry Adams and William Morris to the bold new iconography of the Statue of Liberty and the Newport mansions, this symposium will explore the range of ways in which Gilded Age patrons and designers forged a new American identity, celebrating innovation while remaining firmly rooted in tradition.
The Newport Symposium 2016
Inspired by the Sea: The Material Culture of Newport and Other Ports of Call
The sea has always been the heart of Newport’s cultural identity. Through the 17th and 18th centuries, maritime enterprise forged cultural connections between cosmopolitan Newporters and makers, traders and collectors in Asia, Europe, and the Americas. But even as the city’s economy shifted away from trade towards scientific inquiry and recreation in the 19th and 20th centuries, the environment, heritage and mythology of the sea ensured that Newport remained a wellspring of artistic inspiration.
The Newport Symposium 2015
North and South: Crosscurrents in American Material Culture
Despite the sometimes irreconcilable differences that culminated in the Civil War (1861-65), Newport and other Northern cities maintained close social, economic, cultural, and artistic ties with the South from the Colonial period through the Gilded Age. The 2015 Newport Symposium invites a fresh look at regional differences in American furnishings, silver, textiles, painting, architecture, and interiors to reveal the complex exchange of ideas and enduring influences.
The Newport Symposium 2014
East Meets West: Centuries of Exchange
Celebrate the centennial of Alva Vanderbilt Belmont's Chinese Tea House at Marble House through an exploration of the complex and varied responses to the Far East - real and imagined - in the visual arts of Western Europe and the United States. Leading scholars will discuss the exchange of objects and the myriad interpretations of "Chinoiserie" through the lens of European and American architecture, furniture, painting, ceramics, textiles, gardens and collections from the 18th through the 20th centuries. Newport has been a nationally significant repository for treasurers from the Far East from its Golden Age in the 18th century to the gilded Age. Boasting examples ranging from the rich collections of China Trade objects at Hunter House (c.1748), Kingscote (1841), and Chateau-sur-Mer (1852) to the incorporation of 18th century Chinese lacquer panels into the decoration of The Elms (1901), the Preservation Society's properties provide a uniquely focused lens through which participants will see the interplay of Eastern and Western design influences on American design and decorative arts.
The Newport Symposium 2013
What far away palaces, villas , and temples are yet to be discovered? What great works of art, furniture, silver, and jewelry are sitting in the vaults of great museums private collections and libraries that have never been seen? The 21st annual Newport Symposium will explore the rarest and finest objects, from finely crafted chairs and old master drawings to exquisite porcelain from all corners of the globe. Lectures will examine the most remote, hard to see historic sites and the remarkable stories of art treasures that have been lost and then reclaimed.
The Newport Symposium 2012
What makes a work of art a masterpiece? What painting, chair, interior, ceramic, or dress is the finest in the world? The 20th annual Newport Symposium celebrates two decades of looking at art, architecture, the decorative arts, and landscapes. The lecturers will examine and challenge the status of iconic works of art and design through the ages. Prepare for brilliant images of great buildings, interiors, furniture, and textiles, and lively discussion of the social and cultural history behind these artistic creations.
The Newport Symposium 2011
What makes a great place? An enlightened or eccentric patron, a setting of outstanding beauty, a brilliant designer, and a significant collection displayed with exquisite care. A truly great place combines all of these aspects and elevates them to an exceptional level of artistic excellence and cultural importance. The 19th annual Newport Symposium will examine the great places of the world, and their creators, whether they are stately houses, gardens, galleries of art treasures, or entire cities.