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Description: From Mind, Heart, and Hand: Persian, Turkish, and Indian Drawings from the Stuart...
PublisherHarvard Art Museums
A small army of helpful friends deserve infinite gratitude from the gatherer and partial cataloguer of this selection of drawings. The pictures could not have been acquired without the help and inspiration of family, friends, and colleagues. Had my mother’s father, Norman E. Mack, not recouped the family fortunes by founding a newspaper at the age of fourteen and selling it at the age of seventy-two, these works of art would not have been discovered and acquired. And had it not been for my architect father, a talented painter whose name I share, I might not have known the delights of visual art. When he introduced me at sixteen to Paul J. Sachs, the Fogg’s associate director and founder of its drawing department, my mania for drawing and drawings gained momentum. My aesthetic sense was further nurtured in 1940 when he took me to see the Museum of Modern Art’s retrospective exhibition of Picasso and gave me the catalogue. Although I have since realized that thoughtful, spiritual Matisse far surpassed brilliantly clever Picasso, for many years I was entranced by the power of the Spanish master’s portrait drawings and experienced works of art through eyes he had guided. I am also beholden to Daniel Cressop McNab Brown, art teacher at the Fessenden School, who provided civilizing encouragement not only by introducing me to the music of Bach but by allowing me to roam freely in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, where I first examined carefully Indian, Persian, and Turkish pictures.
At Harvard, brilliant Eric Schroeder, Honorary Keeper of Islamic Art, welcomed me as a kindred spirit, offered stimulating conversation about art and literature, and further pried open my eyes. Several of his impromptu maxims stuck, such as “Never trust professionals.” Eric’s example, for which I am profoundly grateful, encouraged independence of spirit and opinion. Like me at Harvard, where no courses were taught in my “specialties,” Oxonian Eric was fortunate in having been an autodidact.
Wise, delightful, and often sparklingly funny John Rosenfield, whom I met when he was a graduate student, stands out as another blessing from Harvard, along with Benjamin Rowland and John Coolidge, who welcomed Eric’s suggestion in about 1955 that I become his assistant. Further invaluable welcomings came from a sequence of permanent and temporary directors, especially Agnes Mongan, Rosenfield, Seymour Slive, James Cuno, and Jerry Cohn. Also at Harvard, Philip Hofer, a family friend who became my freshman advisor and ultimately a valued colleague, lavishly shared vital facts and drolleries about the world of collectors, museum curators, and dealers. One learns best, it seems, with laughter.
For decades Harvard provided me with a mighty launching pad for artistic aspirations. At the Fogg our cycles of uncatalogued departmental exhibitions, often of drawings, were sketches for larger and more comprehensive shows staged, with published catalogues, at the Asia Society of New York and at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. How beholden I am to the late George Montgomery, Gordon Washburn, and Alan Wardwell of the Asia Society Galleries, and to Philippe de Montebello of the Metropolitan, where my major exhibition project, India: Art and Culture, 1300–1900 (1985), generously enabled me to reexplore most of the world’s collections of Indian art. Without the active support of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Pupul Jayaker, and their protégés Martand Singh and Jyotindra Jain, I should have seen far fewer great Indian drawings.
Collectors would languish without dealers. Nasli and Alice Heeramaneck, mentioned several times in this volume, provided a small, informal university of connoisseurship at their museum of a house near the mighty Met on 83rd Street. To stimulate guests, they enjoyed ransacking the closets for exciting drawings and other works of art. These were aired with flourishes, wine, and opinions as richly spiced as their gastronomic urban specialty, curried gefilte fish. For me, they and a mutual friend, Adrienne Minassian, deserve especially high marks among sellers of Indian and Iranian pictures. One fared at least as well, however, at traditional London firms, such as Maggs Brothers of Berkeley Square, where H. Clifford Maggs and Miss Margaret Erskine led one to a table piled high with paintings and drawings. At Maggs Brothers, degrees of artistic quality bore little relationship to price, and, refreshingly, their offerings were made with more politesse than comment. Others among the world’s providers of the kinds of drawings gathered here smiled eagerly but silently while encouraging buyers to paw through their billowing accumulations of paper.
It has been my good fortune that my wife, Edith, and children, Adrienne, Thomas, Samuel, and Lucia, invariably tolerated—and usually encouraged—my collectomania. “These are Daddy’s toys,” cautioned Edith, whose in-house protectiveness ranks with that of Harvard’s museum staff. In my grateful mood, a parade of benevolent, smiling, responsible fellow curators, registrars, and conservators files past. In “Lis’l” Strassman’s office, every scrap of paper or object was registered and photographed. Equally effective and devoted to the cause were Jane Montgomery and her successors Andrea Notman, Maureen Donovan, Rachael Vargas, and Francine Flynn.
On the top floor of the Fogg Museum, interested “art doctors” cared for my often scrappy bits of paper. Their zeal was—and is—such that the Department of Conservation warranted another name: the Department of Conversation. While Betty Jones, Jack Washeba, Jerry Cohn, and Craigen Bowen “museumized” my bits of paper, flattening, unfolding, cleaning, sometimes bathing, mounting, and eventually framing them, in-house and out-house (sic) “news” (i.e., gossip) eased away all traces of potentially grim seriousness of purpose. How grateful I am to the careful women sometimes known to me, in deep Bostonese, as “the paper dolls.”
Thanks to funding from Eric and Margaret Schroeder and to Stan and Norma Jean Calderwood, the Department of Islamic and Later Indian Art has grown. Once the bailiwick of volunteers—of Eric, the astoundingly helpful Miggie (Mrs. Horace) Frost, and myself—the staff is now commensurate with those of longer established departments. Creatively industrious, effective, and always a joy to work with are Mary McWilliams, Kimberly Masteller, and Stephanie Beck, each of whom has organized, edited, and written for this significant—and personally most gratifying—project. While I write this in Paris, their words, and mine, are being polished by our admirable editors, Joseph Newland and Evelyn Rosenthal. Without the dedication and hard work of everyone mentioned above and more, this exhibition and catalogue could not be. Bless them all!
THIS PUBLICATION could not have been realized without the engaged interest and kind support of several individuals and institutions. I first need to thank Cary Welch himself for his vision and generosity in assembling and sharing this magnificent group of drawings. I have always been an admirer of Cary’s beautiful and enlightening publications and was honored by his invitation to participate in the catalogue as a co-author. Cary’s keen eye and witty discourse are legendary, and it is a pleasure to work with him and his collection. I have learned much. I also wish to thank all of the contributors to the catalogue who have graciously shared their time, wisdom, and love of the material.
I am grateful to the Harvard University Art Museums for organizing this catalogue and exhibition, and particularly to Mary McWilliams, Norma Jean Calderwood Curator of Islamic Art and head of the department of Islamic and Later Indian Art. Mary brought me into this project and has served as a constant source of intellectual and collegial support. I am blessed to have Mary as a friend and mentor, and I can’t imagine a better environment in which to take on such a project. I am also deeply indebted to Stephanie Beck, curatorial assistant in the department. Stephanie assumed a major portion of the organization of the catalogue and compiled the historical appendixes; she is a talented and indispensable part of this endeavor. I am enormously grateful to Sunil Sharma, Lata Parwani, Mahdokht Banoo Homaee, and Afsaneh Firouz-Ardalan, our Calderwood Intern for Islamic Art, for translating inscriptions and poetic verses on the drawings and the backs of their mountings, and to András Riedlmayer for kindly lending us his bibliographical expertise for the index. This publication and exhibition have also benefited from the active support of three museum directors: former Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director James Cuno, Acting Director Marjorie B. Cohn, and current Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director Thomas W. Lentz. The production of this catalogue has been supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Publication Fund.
I also wish to acknowledge the efforts of Evelyn Rosenthal, Head of Publications, and Andrew Gunther, Head of Photography, and their excellent staffs at the Harvard University Art Museums for facilitating the development of this publication and its beautiful images. Evelyn has also served as in-house coordinator of the catalogue, and her input has been invaluable. The eloquent discussions about Cary and his beautiful objects were enhanced by our careful and thoughtful editor, Joseph N. Newland, whose masterly skills are excelled only by his diplomacy. The paper conservation department in the Straus Center for Conservation under the attentive leadership of Deputy Director Craigen W. Bowen has devoted numerous hours to the examination, restoration, and care of the drawings, a gift that will enable these fragile works to be appreciated for generations to come. Finally, at Harvard, Rebecca Wright, Susannah Hutchison, and Francine Flynn all deserve recognition for their efforts in scheduling and organizing the movement of this exhibition to San Francisco.
Several other scholars, though not directly involved in the catalogue, have offered their advice and support to the project. Among them I would like to thank David Roxburgh, Pramod Chandra, John and Susan Huntington, and John Seyller. John Seyller, in particular, has been my mentor in the study of Indian painting, and I am indebted to him for his wisdom and his careful approach. While I give credit to all of these scholarly influences I must assert that any mistakes in my contributions are mine alone.
I am grateful to our colleagues at the Asian Art Museum and Chong-Moon Lee Center for Asian Art and Culture who have enthusiastically supported this exhibition and catalogue. Foremost, I want to thank Emily J. Sano, Director, for her interest in this material and for bringing the exhibition to San Francisco. I also want to extend acknowledgments and gratitude to Forrest McGill, Chief Curator and Wattis Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art, and Tushara Bindu Gude, Assistant Curator of South Asian Art, as well as Nancy Kirkpatrick, Director of Museum Services, all at the Asian Art Museum.
Finally, I need to thank those closest to me who have been a constant source of support and inspiration during this project: my parents, Rosemary and Louis Masteller, and my husband, Donovan Dodrill.
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