New Gifts to the Collection: Russian Lacquer Boxes

November 20, 2011 - January 15, 2012

RAM premieres a gift to the permanent collection of over forty 20th-century colorful Russian lacquer boxes from donor Wendy Lee McCalvy. This exhibition features intricately decorated, narrative works that combine painting with the creation of three-dimensional objects, epitomizing RAM’s objective to blur the line between fine art and craft. These lacquer objects are comparable to other vessels in the collection, functional or not, that have been decorated with glaze, paint, or other media.

Russian lacquer boxes are made of papier-mâché. Each object represents an intense period of labor—from the making of the box itself to the surface treatment. The surfaces are lacquered and hand painted in a variety of styles that reflect regional interests and traditions. Russian fairy tales and legendary figures show up often, sharing space with popular culture and political subjects. Rooted in icon painting as well as social and cultural changes, the Russian lacquer ware tradition that has blossomed since the late eighteenth century is connected to the nation’s identity and commerce. The four historically important centers for this craft—the villages of Kholui, Palekh, Fedoskino, and Mstiora—are all represented with this exhibition at RAM.

MORE ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
Russian Lacquer Boxes Exhibition Notes

 

 

Monoshov, Fedoskino Studio
Monastery, ca. 1991-2001
Papier mâché, egg tempera, mother-of-pearl and lacquer
Racine Art Museum, Gift of Wendy Lee McCalvy
Photography: Jon Bolton, Racine, WI
Kurilov, Palekh Studio
Tsar Saltan, 1995
Papier mâché, egg tempera and lacquer
Racine Art Museum, Gift of Wendy Lee McCalvy
Photography: Jon Bolton, Racine, WI
Kurilov, Palekh Studio
Tsar Saltan (detail), 1995
Papier mâché, egg tempera and lacquer
Racine Art Museum, Gift of Wendy Lee McCalvy
Photography: Jon Bolton, Racine, WI
Buyko, Fedoskino Studio
Evening Ringing, 1999
Papier mâché, egg tempera and lacquer
Racine Art Museum, Gift of Wendy Lee McCalvy
Photography: Jon Bolton, Racine, WI
Buyko, Fedoskino Studio
Evening Ringing, 1999
Papier mâché, egg tempera and lacquer
Racine Art Museum, Gift of Wendy Lee McCalvy
Photography: Jon Bolton, Racine, WI
Buyko, Fedoskino Studio
Evening Ringing, 1999
Papier mâché, egg tempera and lacquer
Racine Art Museum, Gift of Wendy Lee McCalvy
Photography: Jon Bolton, Racine, WI
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This exhibition is made possible by: Presenting Sponsors – Karen Johnson Boyd and William B. Boyd, RAM Society Members, Jay Price Ruffo, S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc. and Windgate Charitable Foundation; Gold Sponsors – Helen Bader Foundation, Inc., National Endowment for the Arts, Racine Community Foundation, Inc. and Racine United Arts Fund; Silver Sponsors – Cotsen Foundation for Academic Research, Osborne and Scekic Family Foundation, W.T. Walker Group, Inc. and Wisconsin Arts Board; Bronze Sponsors – Clifton Gunderson LLP, CNH America LLC, Educators Credit Union, Friends of Fiber Art International, In Sink Erator, Knight-Barry Title, Inc., Real Racine and Runzheimer Foundation