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New Exhibitions

Posted On September 29, 2015 | 10:08 am | by meredithb | Permalink
75 Years/75 Objects and Stephens & Catherwood Revisited: Maya Ruins and the Passage of Time

Stephens & Catherwood Revisited: Maya Ruins and the Passage of Time

Pre-Columbian Studies announces a unique exhibition in the Orientation and Rare Book galleries that features British artist Frederick Catherwood’s illustrations of Maya ruins matched with composite photographs by Jay A. Frogel of those same sites. The exhibit will be on view through November 30th.

The vivid accounts recorded by American diplomat John L. Stephens and Catherwood of their journeys to long-forgotten Maya sites rank among the most celebrated of all nineteenth-century travel narratives. They were the first explorers to accurately describe and illustrate many notable ruins, and their books introduced Maya civilization to a much wider audience.

Catherwood’s Views of Ancient Monuments in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan and Stephens’s Incidents of Travel series from Dumbarton Oaks Rare Book Collection are also featured in this exhibition. Robert Woods Bliss’s reading of these early works, together with his interest in collecting Pre-Columbian Art, motivated his own journey to the Maya heartland, where he visited renowned sites including Copan, Palenque, and Chichen Itza. Contemporary photographer Frogel has retraced Stephens’s and Catherwood’s steps and recorded anew the same sites that these remarkable pioneers originally captured in word and image.

View the online exhibit here.

75 Years/75 Objects

To celebrate Dumbarton Oaks anniversary year, this exhibition presents seventy-five objects from the Dumbarton Oaks Museum’s three collections. Arranged in sequences of nine themed, consecutive rotations over the course of nine months, the works on view reflect the significance of the historical anniversary year as well as the ongoing assessment of Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss’s collecting passion and appreciation.

The second rotation, entitled Reconstructing, is on display beginning October 1, 2015. Things can be said to have biographies. An object with a long life is apt to have been damaged, repaired, divided, reunited, reworked, repurposed, or even augmented. Part of the work of specialists is to reconstruct prior states of a given object based on the evidence of the object itself, the testimony of documents, or related pieces of the puzzle that survive elsewhere.

To read about the rest of the rotations, and to see information about curator-led tours, please visit the exhibition page.