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A Fair to Remember: The Impact of World's Fairs on Progress in Art and Science

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John La Farge, American. Lunette, ca. 1880–82. Stained glass. by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World's Fairs, 1851--1939 is a groundbreaking exhibition of stunning decorative arts which premiered at world's fairs from 1851 to 1939.

Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World’s Fairs, 1851–1939 by Nelson Atkins Museum of Art

Co-organized by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City and the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, the exhibition includes nearly 200 pieces of furniture, metalwork, ceramics, glass, textiles, and jewelry.

Georges Fouquet, French. Corsage Ornament, ca. 1923. Jade, onyx, diamonds. by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Many of these extraordinary objects have never before been seen in the United States.

The exhibition at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art runs through August 19.

Nelson-Atkins Museum with Claes Oldenburg shuttlecock sculpture by Nelson-Atkins Museum

The exhibit will re-open at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Oct. 13, 2012. In 2013 it will travel to New Orleans and North Carolina.

Rene Jules Lalique, French. Brooch, ca. 1903. Gold, glass, enamel, sapphire. by The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore

Decorative arts are on loan from 10 private collections and 36 museums (11 international and 25 from the US) including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, MOMA, Art Institute of Chicago, The Victoria & Albert Museum in London, Designmuseum Danmark in Copenhagen, and the Musee des Arts Decoratifs in Paris. 

India (Brahmapur). Chair and Stool, ca. 1855. Ebony, ivory. by Victoria & Albert, London

Many of the items on display are nearly, or over, 100 years old, yet seem strikingly modern.

Keller Freres, France. Pitcher, 1900. Gilded silver. by Musee des Arts Decoratifs

This decorative, modern-looking screen appears to be a masterpiece of oil painting.

Hashio Kiyoshi, Japanese. Morning Sea, 1915. Wood screen. by Allentown Art Museum, Pennsylvania

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Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor who has been actively engaged in utilizing the arts as stepping-stones toward joy-filled wellbeing for over 25 years. She studied art with Harold Ransom Stevenson in Sea Cliff NY for seven years before opening her own art school. Stevenson had (more...)
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