Blog

Poster Maniacs

Poster Maniacs: Collectors of the Belle Époque

October 04, 2017The Belle Époque posters adorning the galleries of the Driehaus Museum right now shouldn’t, by all rights, exist. They are more than a century old, printed on flimsy paper, with inexpensive inks. Some were once even displayed outside, where the wind, rain, and sun of Paris in its various seasons beat down on them.Read Article

Japonisme

Japonisme

September 20, 2017In 1853, an event in the world of foreign relations and commercial trade transformed Western art forever: Japan opened its borders. Wares from this once heavily isolated island in the Far East began to flow into Europe for the first time since 1633.Read Article

The Poster Evolution

The Poster Evolution

August 15, 2017In Paris in the nineteenth century, Jules Chéret and the other grand masters of the lithographic poster—Alphonse Mucha, Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen, Eugène Grasset, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec—took the medium from mere informational advertising to high art, causing the medium’s popularity to skyrocket.Read Article

Tragedy & Brilliance

Tragedy & Brilliance: The Life of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

July 05, 2017There is perhaps no other artist as closely associated with Paris’s ‘Beautiful Age,’ the Belle Époque, than Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. His art of the late 19th century captured the colorful whirlwind of a raucous, modernizing city, from raunchy cabaret promotions to provocative brothel scenes. He was drawn to the avant-garde performers and prostitutes at very edge of society; an outsider himself, his own experiences informed his subjects.Read Article

Alphose Mucha

The Sensuous Smoker

April 20, 2017This poster for Joseph Bardou Company, or JOB, a Parisian manufacturer of cigarette papers, unabashedly celebrates the sensuous delights of smoking. The young woman’s eyes are closed with pleasure as the lighted cigarette sends a smoky arabesque curving around the image. Her hair cascades around her shoulders and arms, dominating the picture frame. Her white dress, low-cut and gently loose around her body, communicates a freedom only a few women would have enjoyed in the 1890s.Read Article

Jules Chéret

Jules Chéret and the History of the Artistic Poster

March 14, 2017The history of the poster starts with black-and-white broadsides in the 1600s, which evolved in the wake of the printing press.Read Article

“The Most Perfect and Beautiful of All Wall Decorations”

“The Most Perfect and Beautiful of All Wall Decorations”

October 16, 2016Standing on the shoulders of the Industrial Revolution, the Gilded Age spawned an astounding number of inventions that profoundly changed life inside the American household. Those last few decades of the 19th century will always be known as a great era of invention.Read Article

masterpiece

The Manners of the Edwardian Era

May 16, 2016Queen Victoria’s son, Edward VII, had a brief reign from 1901 to 1910, but it was a decade marked by peace and prosperity at the height of the British Empire. The Edwardian period was indeed a “Gilded Age,” both in England and America.Read Article

team1

Laura-Caroline, Collections & Exhibitions Manager

September 14, 2015Our staff is always asked about our backgrounds and how they came to work at the Driehaus Museum. So we wanted to share some of our amazing team with everyone. And, as always, let us know if you have any other questions.Read Article

team1

Claire, Museum Guide

August 10, 2015Our staff is always asked about our backgrounds and how they came to work at the Driehaus Museum. So we wanted to share some of our amazing team with everyone. And, as always, let us know if you have any other questions.Read Article

team1

Lindsay, Marketing Manager

July 17, 2015Our staff is always asked about our backgrounds and why we ended up working for the Driehaus Museum. So we wanted to share some of our amazing team with everyone. And, as always, let us know if you have any other questions.Read Article

flowers

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Nature in Early 20th-Century Art Jewelry

June 22, 2015Art, according to John Ruskin, the influential writer of the British Arts and Crafts movement, is most beautiful when its forms are derived from nature.Read Article

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

New Fashion, New Jewelry

May 24, 2015Every piece of art jewelry on view in the Driehaus Museum’s latest exhibition, Maker & Muse: Women and Early 20th Century Art Jewelry, is a stunner in its own right. But this is not art in a vacuum; not jewelry for jewelry’s sake.Read Article

John Gardner

[From the Archives] Featured Designer: John Gardner Low

May 18, 2015John Gardner Low was a ceramics artist of about 41 when he approached the crowded exhibitions in Philadelphia at the 1876 Centennial Exposition. He was a Massachusetts man and had traveled far, like the millions of others, to see the first U.S. world’s fair.Read Article

crown

Christina M. Reade and the Lilac Festival Crown

May 06, 2015The elegant circlet is repossé silver, crafted from melted silver spoons donated by the women of Lombard, Illinois, in 1930. It was created as a symbol of Lilac Time, the annual springtime celebration in this west-suburban village. The crown adorned the first Lilac Festival Queen—whose name and the names of several other early Queens are etched in the crown’s interior—and continues to be an integral part of the festivities today.Read Article

cabin

Recognizing Influences and Appearance [The Arts and Crafts Movement]

December 24, 2014On February 14, 2015, The Driehaus Museum will open an exhibit entitled Maker & Muse: Women and Early Twentieth Century Art Jewelry. This exhibition will focus on women as the creators of and inspiration for Arts and Crafts-style and Art Nouveau-style jewelry.Read Article

Colombian Exposition

A Guide to Enjoying the World’s Colombian Exposition

October 01, 2014The standard for the American mind, wrote M.G. Van Rensselaer, is to be “alive with mere curiosity as [much as] it is with a craving for instruction—pleased to look at anything, discontented only to think that other people are seeing things with which it cannot make acquaintance.” Read Article

Sculpture-Gallery

Interior Designers of the Nickerson Mansion: Robert E. Seyfarth

July 21, 2014A young architect carved the distinctive lion heads on the lacquered-cherry wood fireplace mantel and the bookcases in the gallery of the Marble Palace. He was Robert E. Seyfarth, (Born 1878, Blue Island, Illinois) and an employee of both August Fiedler and George Washington Maher.Read Article

fielder

Interior Designers of the Nickerson Mansion: William August Fiedler

May 21, 2014“We strongly advocate the use of different styles in different rooms, to avoid the monotonous effect invariably produced by the fanatic apostles of the so-called Eastlake or Modern Gothic. For the same reasons it will be necessary for articles of luxury, as Easels. Hanging Shelves, Cabinets, etc., to use motifs from the Mooresque, Byzantine, Japanese, etc., though diametrically opposed to the prevailing style of the room.” – August FiedlerRead Article

Driehaus Prize

The 2014 Driehaus Prize

April 21, 2014The two honorees were awarded prizes for their contributions to the built environment during a public ceremony which took place at the John B. Murphy Memorial Auditorium on March 29.Read Article

Tiffany

Happy Birthday to Louis Comfort Tiffany!

February 18, 2014Happy 166th Birthday to Louis Comfort Tiffany born February 18, 1848.Read Article

art titles

In Process: Creating Reproduction Low Art Tiles for the Museum Store

October 14, 2013For the Museum Store, L’Esperance Tile was commissioned to craft two custom tiles inspired by the J. & J. G. Low Art Tile Works tiles found in the Driehaus Museum—which, with their embossed natural details, jewel-toned colors, and sheen, are among the most stunning surviving elements of the this 1883 mansion.Read Article

burning

[Speaking of Architecture] The Life and Work of Edward J. Burling

June 28, 2013Edward J. Burling was, arguably, the first great architect in this city of great architects.Read Article

front view

“He Thought it was Architecture Run Crazy”

June 08, 2013The Driehaus Museum officially turns five years old today.Read Article

Burnham

The Burnham Plan and the End of McCormickville

May 07, 2013The gleaming White City of the World’s Columbian Exposition made Daniel H. Burnham, architect, into a city planner.Read Article

treasures

Announcing ‘Louis Comfort Tiffany: Treasures from the Driehaus Collection’

April 16, 2013Remember last week, when we told you that our second-floor galleries are intended to someday play host to decorative arts exhibitions? Well, the time has (almost) come.Read Article

window room

[You Asked] Why Aren’t There Beds in the Nickerson Bedrooms?

April 11, 2013Today’s blog is part of an occasional series dedicated to answering visitors’ questions.Read Article

gem

[From the Collection] Jewel- and Gem-Set Inkstand, 1864

January 21, 2013This inkstand from the Driehaus Collection packs some of the most eye-catchingly elaborate designs and materials into a small and functional space. Read Article

window

[Speaking of Architecture] The Mihrab Oriel Window

December 11, 2012This was a corner room on the floor just below the children’s, and the beauty of it was this window—an oriel window,—projecting beyond the wall, as such windows do, and so exactly at the corner that you could see, so to say, three ways at once when you were standing in it . . . a charming watch tower.”Read Article

metalwork

[Q&A] with Anna Tobin D’Ambrosio of the Munson-Williams-Proctor Art Institute

October 25, 2012Last week the Driehaus Museum welcomed Anna Tobin D’Ambrosio, director and chief curator at the Munson-Williams-Proctor Art Institute in Utica, New York, and the final lecturer of the 2012 Nickerson Lecture Series season.Read Article

katherine

After the Fire, Quarries Dynamited

October 15, 2012The woman The Wire called a “bassoon colossus” treated us and our visitors here on Saturday to live performances of a work inspired by the Driehaus Museum’s unique architecture and history. Read Article

mount gardens

[Q&A] with Dr. Caroline Hellman of City University of New York

September 24, 2012This year marks the 150th birthday of Edith Wharton, and Dr. Caroline Hellman—associate professor of English in New York—graciously accepted our invitation to speak about the writer and interior designer for our Samuel M. Nickerson Lecture Series.Read Article

collage

It Was Colonel Mustard With the Candlestick…

July 16, 2012There is this great line in the book Great Houses of Chicago, 1871-1921, which I lugged from the shelf in search of insights on the popularity of conservatories during the Gilded Age. It begins, “The Victorians were notorious for collecting…”—and that’s a perfect enough start.Read Article

wall

[Featured Designer] John Gardner Low

July 09, 2012John Gardner Low was a ceramics artist of about 41 when he approached the crowded exhibitions in Philadelphia at the 1876 Centennial Exposition. He was a Massachusetts man and had traveled far, like the millions of others, to see the first U.S. world’s fair.Read Article

painting

A Tour of the World’s Fair: Decorative Objects from the 1893 Columbian Exposition

June 25, 2012On permanent display in the Driehaus Museum are a number of decorative objects—an artistic silver punch bowl by Tiffany & Company; a painting of the Administration Building; and even a trio of Japanese bronzes, souvenirs purchased by the Nickerson family that originally occupied this mansion—that come exclusively from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Read Article

arabian

On ‘The Grammar of Ornament’

January 11, 2012The Grammar of Ornament is a book of patterns by Owen Jones; it was published in 1856 in London. In its pages nearly 100 illustrations represent decorative motifs used by cultures around the world. Read Article

wood

[You Asked] Where Does Satinwood Come From?

December 27, 2011Today’s blog is part of an occasional series dedicated to answering visitors’ questions. Satinwood has one of those thoroughly non-mysterious names that tells you exactly what you’re going to get: wood that looks like satin.Read Article

door

Of Gilded Age and Italy: Or, Why Pierpont Morgan Used Someone Else’s Family Crest

December 03, 2011The Nickerson Mansion has nearly 20 galleries on its three floors and design-wise, each room is pretty much doing its own thing. Walk into the drawing room, and bam. All the noble delicacy of Louis XIV France.Read Article

side chair

[From the Collection] Tiffany Studios Chair, ca. 1881-83

November 10, 2011In the middle of a tour recently, on the sixth or seventh mention of Louis Comfort Tiffany’s work, a woman turned and exclaimed—as if to have it out and finished with—“Is everything here a Tiffany?”Read Article