Friday, 21 December 2012

Postcard exhibition in Boston

(C) Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Many thanks to John Sayers for alerting me to the exhibition The Postcard Age at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, which runs until April 14 2013. Although sadly I won't see the exhibition itself, there are screen shots of it online, and I am very much looking forward to reading the accompanying book The Postcard Age by Linda Klich and Benjamin Weiss, which we now have in the Bodleian Library.

The exhibition is a taster of the 100,000 postcards which Leonard A. Lauder (son of Estée) is gradually giving to the Museum. The cards are arranged by themes such as urban life, the changing role of women, sports, celebrity, new technologies, art nouveau and WWI. 

There is an online slideshow of 10 cards from the exhibition and you can send a virtual postcard from the exhibition. I particularly like the moving images of the display (together with the other current exhibitions), which can be seen from the museum's home page.  Postcards, by virtue of their size, present challenges for display and it is good to see how the museum has approached these.

An online article from the New Yorker, The pleasures of postcards gives the background to Lauder's passion for postcards as miniature works of art.  Other online articles are Wild cards (New York Times), MFA exhibit showcases postcard marvels (Boston Post) and Cards to write home about (Wall Street Journal).

Japanese postcards from the MFA's website:

Nearly 22,000 Japanese postcards from the Leonard A. Lauder Collection are already at the museum and can be seen online (most with images).

 This is a serious postcard collection, acquired over many years and representing the height of the postcard craze from the 1900s to the beginning of the First World War.  Leonard A. Lauder has collected the jewels of this age, internationally.  It is a pleasure to see these cards given the status of a museum collection, with a dedicated exhibition, and elucidated in a scholarly volume.

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