Inspired by ART at the Henry

Guest Blog Post by Rachel Apatoff

Apatoff is completing her MFA in costume design through the UW’s School of Drama.

UW Drama's 2012 production of Jane Austen's Emma. Photo by Frank Rosenstein.

Diving into a moment in history is one of the most exciting things about being a costume designer. This year when the UW’s School of Drama released their season line-up, I spotted a stage version of Jane Austen’s Emma and knew it had to be the production for my costume design thesis.

Because I’ve always been a voracious researcher, Deborah Trout, Senior Lecturer in Costume Design and my thesis adviser, challenged me to take my love of research to the next level by spending time behind the scenes in museums, photographing and drawing real clothing from the period (1810-1815). Because Emma is set long before photographs, portraits and fashion plates count as primary research, but nothing can rival seeing the objects in person. Taking the time to draw each one enables a profound understanding of construction, which, when translated into the design, gives a truer and less “costume-y” appearance to the costumes on stage.

I was lucky enough do so at four museums across the country: The Museum at Fashion Institute of Technology, New York; Smithsonian National Musuem of American History Museum, Washington D.C.; Chicago History Museum; and the UW’s own Henry Art Gallery.

After searching the Henry’s online collections database, I was aided by Rachael Faust, the Henry’s Assistant Curator of Collections and Academic Programs. She looked at what I’d been able to find on my own, and suggested additional objects. I made an appointment to view the objects in the museum’s Study Center and had the whole room to myself; full of gorgeous objects to be inspected.

Clothes that are 200 years old are obviously quite fragile, if they exist at all, and no other museum except the Henry had accessories, so I was excited to see what shoes and bonnets look like in person.

Image

Nuremberg, Germany. Woman’s bonnet. 1804-1814. Straw; Silk brocade ribbon. Plain weave; Braided; Supplementary weft patterning. Henry Art Gallery, 77.8-265.

In 1815, shoes still were identical– no difference between the shoe for the right or left foot! I can’t do that to the actors, of course, but seeing the shape of those shoes and bonnets in person informed my choices as I was trying to translate my research to the stage. Understanding such small details, never could have been gleaned from fashion plates or paintings.

Woman’s wedding Escarpine. 1800-1850. Leather. Plain weave; Satin weave; Fabricated (leather, cloth). Henry Art Gallery, transfer from Columbia Teacher's College, 66.25-239, m1 and m2.

Because every dress was handmade, each is totally unique, down to its decoration. My favorite custom trim was on a sheer white dress in the Henry’s collection. I meticulously drew and photographed the trim and brought my photos to the costume shop’s draper (dressmaker). Together we puzzled out how such trim might be made and applied that technique to a dress that’s on stage in the very first scene! Go see the show, and let me know if you spot it.

Nuremberg, Germany. Detail of woman’s day dress. 1813-1822. Cotton. Leno weave; Twisted. Henry Art Gallery, intradepartmental transfer, 77.8-10.

The UW Drama’s production of Emma will run until February 26 at the Jones Playhouse.

Tickets are available online through the Meany Hall website

Open to the Public!

The Henry’s Study Center is open to the public tomorrow, Thursday 2/16 from 6-7PM. Visitors have the opportunity to see a selection of objects from the Henry’s permanent collection including dresses and photographs from the 1930-70s.

Christian Dior. Woman's dress. c. 1947-1948. Silk organdy with cotton embroidery. Plain weave; Embroidered, machine; Net, machine. Henry Art Gallery, Mrs. Theodore Plestcheeff Collection, 87.4-52.

Objects on display in the Study Center correspond with ideas being presented by UW professor Jessica Burstein in the SAL U class, Eternity in a Ruffle: Fashion in Art, Art in Fashion.

This class, which takes place in the Henry’s auditorium every other Thursday 7-8:30PM, only has 3 session left, 2/16, 3/1, and 3/15. Sign up now through the Seattle Arts and Lectures website or if you have a student the class is free!

Roy McMakin: Untitled

Check out the Henry’s newest video!

This video focuses on an untitled work in the Henry Art Gallery’s collection by contemporary artist Roy McMakin. UNTITLED is a semi-permanent, site-specific installation that is often overlooked by visitors to the Henry because it seamlessly blends in with the museum’s architecture. The work consists of a digital print covering a transom window above the door in the entrance rotunda of the original 1927 Carl Gould-designed Henry Art Gallery building. The print simulates an ideal view through the same window it covers.

ROY MCMAKIN: UNTITLED is the second of a suite of five videos highlighting the museum’s permanent collection. Visitors to the Henry can quickly and easily access the videos through their mobile devices by scanning QR codes printed on the museum’s wall labels. The video series is a collaborative project between the Henry and Solstream Media.

To Learn more about Roy McMakin, check out the Henry’s Digital Interactive Galleries (DIG).

Calling all Henry Art Gallery Members!

Members’ Choice!

On November 10, during the exhibition preview of Sopheap Pich: Compound, Henry members have the opportunity to choose permanent collection objects for display in the Reed Collection Study Center.

Members are encouraged to search the Henry’s collection online for artwork and submit a request. To help focus your search through the Henry’s vast collections, we are asking members to choose objects related to Pich’s sculptural installation, Compound, on display at the Henry.

Objects could have a similar sociopolitical message to Pich’s work, depict modernization, or embody the concepts of creation and/or destruction.

Explore the museum’s collection through the online database.

You can also explore collection objects through our digital interactive galleries.

Once you’ve found the object you feel best relates to Pich’s work, please fill out the form on the Henry’s website.

On November 10, during the exhibition preview for Henry members from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m., drop by the Study Center to see your choice on display alongside works chosen by your fellow members.

Have fun exploring the collection!

Deadline for submissions: Wednesday, November 9

Last Chance for Members’ Choice

Wednesday May 4, is the last day to request an object to view during Members’ Choice at this weeks Open House!

For the Spring Open House on May 6th Henry members have the opportunity to choose permanent collection objects to be displayed in the Reed Collection Study Center. Members are invited to search the Henry’s collection online for prints and photographs and submit a request. Henry staff will confirm availability and pull works from storage for presentation in the Study Center.

Learn how to search the collection and fill out your request form here.

If you have questions about searching the collection, contact Assistant Curator of Collections and Academic Programs Rachael Faust at rachaelf@henryart.org.

On May 6th, during the Open House Members’ Preview from 6:00 – 8:00, come on over to the Study Center to see your choice on display alongside works chosen by your fellow members.

Have fun exploring the collection!

COLLECTIONS NEWS: Shoes

Did you know the Henry Art Gallery has over 500 pairs of shoes in its permanent collection?

Last week, UW professor Layne Goldsmith brought her ART 272: Introduction to Sculpture class to the Henry’s Reed Collection Study Center to look at a selection of incredible shoes from the museum’s  collection.

After choosing their favorite pair of shoes for inspiration, students are now working to design a creative enclosure in which one could hold, display, or protect shoes.

To see more shoes in the Henry’s collection search “footwear” in the Online Collections Database. Have fun exploring!

- Rachael Faust, Assistant Curator of Collections and Academic Programs

Shoes from the Henry Art Gallery's permanent collection displayed in the museum's Reed Collection Study Center

COLLECTIONS NEWS: Dresses from the roaring twenties!

In 2007, the Henry launched a project funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust to provide online access to the museum’s permanent collection. Through this initiative, the Henry implemented new collections database software, produced digital documentation of collection objects, and launched a web-based visual interface. To date, the Henry’s online collections database includes 22,514 object records and displays images for 15,288 objects.

In an ongoing effort to digitize and provide access to the museum’s collection, images of 1920s dresses from the collection have just been added to the online collections database.

Woman’s evening dress. 1922. Silk velvet; Crepe chiffon; Seed and bugle beads; Valenciennes lace (imitation). Henry Art Gallery, School of Drama Collection, 82.1-585.

By the 1920s, women had achieved some freedom from the restrictive corseted dress of previous eras. In the surging post-World War I economy, more women worked outside the home, and increased their participation in sports. Fashions emphasized youth, freedom, and activity.

The silhouette of the period featured a lowered waistline and a straight boyish tubular silhouette. At the beginning of the decade, hemlines nearly touched the ankle. By 1926 they had risen to knee length, only to descend again in 1929. Women bobbed their hair and topped it with a close-fitting cloche hat. For an evening out, a woman might wear a sleeveless dress decorated with beads, sequins, fringe, bows, layers, and godets that would emphasize the Charleston’s dance movements or reflect light.

Click here to see a selection of 1920s evening dresses decorated with beads and sequins in the Henry’s permanent collection.

You can explore other types of costumes and textile from the museum’s collection in the Costume & Textile Digital Interactive Gallery or search for something specific  in the online collections database.

- Diana Ryesky, Collection Volunteer & Independent Researcher

Detail of woman's evening dress, 82.1-585

Members Only – Members’ Choice!

For the Spring Open House on May 6th Henry members have the opportunity to choose permanent collection objects to be displayed in the Reed Collection Study Center. Members are invited to search the Henry’s collection online for prints and photographs and submit a request. Henry staff will confirm availability* and pull works from storage for presentation in the Study Center.

Explore the museum’s collection of prints and photographs through the Advanced Search page on the Henry’s website.

The top field on the Advanced Search page is Class. Click Choose a value and select Photographs or Prints, then click Search. This will allow you to browse up to 400 objects at a time. To refine your search, head back to the Advanced Search page and fill in other fields. Want to see photographs from the 1970s? Use the two fields at the bottom to set your parameters. Want to see Japanese prints? Type “Japan” into the Origin(s) field. Or search for a work by your favorite artist by typing their name into the Maker field.

You can also explore collection objects through our digital interactive galleries.

Once you’ve found your top one or two must see objects, fill out the form here. If you have questions about searching the collection, contact Assistant Curator of Collections and Academic Programs Rachael Faust.

On May 6th, during the Open House Members’ Preview from 6:00 – 8:00, come on over to the Study Center to see your choice on display alongside works chosen by your fellow members. Have fun exploring the collection!

The Swimsuit Issue

Garry Winogrand. U.S. (1928 - 1984). Beverly Hilton. 1964, printed 1981. Gelatin silver print. 13 1/8 x 8 7/8 in. (33.3 x 22.5 cm) image size. Henry Art Gallery, gift of Michael R. Kaplan, M.D. 2000.36.22. © The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco.

The Henry just did a cannonball into the pool of  Modern Art Notes’ First Annual Swimsuit Issue Post. On this COLD Seattle day, what could be better than a graceful swan dive into the Henry’s collections? Check out these splashy beach, ocean, and swimming pool images from our collections search.

And check out the other bathing beauties – from

And many more!