Northwestern Events Calendar


Warnock Lecture Series: Joanne Pillsbury (The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

When: Wednesday, February 20, 2019
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM  

Where: Block Museum of Art, Mary and Leigh, 40 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Mary Clare Meyer   847.491.3230

Group: Department of Art History

Category: Academic


“Aztecs in the Empire City: Collecting and Exhibiting Ancient American Art, 1877-1914”

With the return of peace after the dislocations of the US Civil War, The Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded in 1870 by businessmen, civic leaders, and artists in New York. Unlike its European counterparts, the institution had no royal collections on which to build. Its ancient American holdings grew through gifts and purchases from diplomats, philanthropists, and collectors. By 1900, with the acquisition of the Petich Collection of some 1500 “Aztec,” and “Toltec” works, The American Archaeologist hailed the Met’s holdings as second only to Mexico City. Yet by 1914, the Museum had turned away from American antiquities, redefining not only itself but also what was considered the appropriate aesthetic purview of an art museum for decades. This paper considers the civic, national, and scholarly currents affecting the collection of ancient American art in the Gilded Age.

Joanne Pillsbury, Andrall E. Pearson Curator of Ancient American Art, is a specialist in the art and archaeology of the Precolumbian Americas. Pillsbury earned her PhD from Columbia University. She was previously associate director of the Getty Research Institute and director of Precolumbian Studies at Dumbarton Oaks. She is the author, editor, or co-editor of numerous publications, including the three-volume Guide to Documentary Sources for Andean Studies, 1530–1900 (2008), the Alfred H. Barr, Jr., Award recipient Ancient Maya Art at Dumbarton Oaks (2012), and Past Presented: Archaeological Illustration and the Ancient Americas (2012), which was awarded the Association for Latin American Art Book Award.

Northwestern University Department of Art History presents the Warnock Lecture Series.

Image: Toltec panel collected by Frederick Church

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