Monday, November 4, 2019

ARTIST IN EXILE: THE BARONESS HYDE DE NEUVILLE Review By Polly Guerin

Greenwich and Dey Streets New York City 1810
Rare depictions of early America by the pioneering woman artist and French refugee, the little known Baroness Hyde de Neuville, illuminates by meticulous and charming detail what it was like in America in the 1800s. A keen and particularly sensitive observer, the Baroness traveled extensively and recorded individuals from a diverse range of backgrounds and landmarks that you may recognize. Other historically correct and mesmerizing images may no longer exist but they serve as historical references to the fledgling nation. Image: Greenwich & Dey Streets, New York City. The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Collection of Art, Prints and Photographs. Stokes Collection 1810.
     The New York Historical Society's exhibition, ARTIST IN EXILE: THE VISUAL DIARY OF BARONESS HYDE DE NEUVILLE is on view through January 26, 2020 in the Joyce B. Cowin Women's History Gallery of the Center for Women's History with 115 watercolors, drawings, and oher works by Anne Marguerite Josephine Henriette Rouille de Marigny, Baroness Hyde de Neuville (1771-1849). Self-taught and ahead of her time, Neuville's art celebrates the young country's history, culture, and diverse population, ranging from indigenous Americans to political leaders.  The Baroness' oeuvre is an enchanting observation of early America, views so well recorded with such fine and innocent detail that her images vicariously take you, like a time traveler, back into an early American place, its people or an event. Image: Indian War Dance for President Monroe, Washington, D.C. in 1821. Colonial Willamsburg Foundation Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum.
      
Indian War Dance for President Monroe, Washington, D.C. 1821
"Neuville could never have envisioned that her visual diary---created as a personal record of her travels and observations of early America---would become an invaluable historical of the early republic. Yet, her drawings vividly evoke the national optimism and rapid expansion of the young United States and capture the diversity of its individuals," Dr. Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of the New York Historical Society. Image: Among the notable events the Neuville's attended was an "Indian War Dance" performed by a delegation of the Plains Indian tribes in front of President Monroe,  and 6,000 spectators at the White House, Washington, D.C. on November 29, 1821. Neuville's watercolor documenting the event includes likenesses of half-chief Shaumonekusse (Praire Wolf) and one of his five wives,  Hayne Hudjihini (Eagle of Delight) Later the "War Dance," was performed at the Neuville's house.. Black and brown ink. Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum. 
THE BARONESS HYDE de NEUVILLE, the artist who stated in 1818 that she had but one wish "and that was to see an American lady elected president." A woman ahead of her time she was born to an aristocratic family in Sancerre, France. She married ardent royalist Jean Guillaume Hyde de Neuville, who became involved during the French Revolution in conspiracies to reinstate the Bourbon monarchy and was accused of participating in a plot to assassinate Napoleon, In an effort to disprove the charges against her husband, the baroness took her cause directly to Napoleon who was impressed with her courage and allowed the couple to go into exile.      

They arrived in New York in 1807 and stayed for seven years. During their second American residency (1816-22) when her husband served as French Minister Plenipotentiary in Washington, D.C., Henriette became a celebrated hostess. John Quincy Adams described her as "a woman of excellent temper, amiable disposition, profuse charity, yet judicious economy and sound discretion. Image: Self-portrait Baroness Hyde de Neuville, Black chalk, black ink. New York Historical Society purchase 1953-238. A GALLERY TOUR OF ARTIST IN EXILE, Led by curator, Roberta M. Olson, will take place on January 6. In honor of the Baronesses' heritage, several French movies will be shown as part of the New York Historical Society's Friday night film series. 1938's The Baker's Wife on November 8 and 1946's Beauty and the Beast on December 6. On select weekends throughout the exhibition's run, young visitors can explore the Baroness' life and the art she created with touch objects and living historians.  TA TA DARLINGS!!! Wonderful exhibition of
life in small-scale renderings, be sure to pick up one of the magnifiers on loan at the exhibit to see up-close the fine details of the Baroness' images. Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com. Visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalk.com with links in the left-hand column to visionary men,
women determined to succeed, fashion historian and poetry.

1 comment:

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