Passion for the Exotic: Lockwood de Forest, Frederic Church
This exhibition was on display from December 12, 2014 to February 28, 2016.
There were 54 objects in this exhibition but right now we can only show you 48 of them. Some objects may not be viewable because they were on loan; this might be due to issues involving image rights or simply because there is no digitized image for the objects.
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Designed by Lockwood de Forest (1850-1932), this room, which served as the Carnegie family library, celebrates a passion for the exotic that blossomed in the second half of the nineteenth century. Collectors and painters flocked to the Middle and Far East for examples of extraordinary craftsmanship, inspiration for interior decoration, and unusual settings to paint. Among them were de Forest and the landscape painter Frederic E. Church (1826-1900), de Forest's painting teacher and advisor in foreign travel and design.
Lockwood de Forest became the principal promoter of Indian design for American aesthetic interiors. During his yearlong honeymoon in 1881 to India, he established a studio in Ahmedabad, in Gujarat. Guided by Muggunbhai Hutheesing, a Jain merchant, he employed master craftsmen to create decorative teak wood and brass panels that he imported to the United States.
Known informally as the Teak Room, this room is the most complete de Forest interoir remaining in its original location. The patterned wall stenciling, lacquered in yellow, creates a golden light, and suggests Indian jalis (screens). Although the walls and ceiling were painted on canvas in situ, the carved teak came from de Forest's studio in India, using primarily native designs he adapted. This exhibition provides the first opportunity to experience, in a de Forest-created room, the range of de Forest's achievements with objects he produced in his workshop or collected, a selection of his paintings, and those of Church, his mentor.