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On the Decorative Arts

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 11:51
The music room at the Orchard in Southampton, which is considered one of Stanford White’s greatest summer houses

“Three Perspectives on the Decorative Arts,” a lecture series at the Southampton History Museum organized by Tom Edmonds, its executive director, will kick off Saturday with “Roaring Into the Future: Art Deco and Early Modernism in New York, 1925-1935,” a talk by Lori Zabar.

Ms. Zabar is an art, decorative arts, and architectural historian and was guest curator of a 2017 exhibition at the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute Museum in Utica, N.Y., from which the talk will be drawn. Her thesis is that during the 10 years that took America from the Jazz Age to the Great Depression, New York State was the driving force behind the creation of 20th-century modernism.

According to Ms. Zabar, artists, designers, and manufacturers from Buffalo to Brooklyn generated avant-garde art, fashion, technology, and music that resulted in the century’s most important artistic revolution. In design, that innovation took the form of Art Deco, which found expression in architecture, jewelry, furniture, automobiles, and everyday objects.

The series will continue on July 20 with “Decorating the Gilded Age House in the Hamptons,” a talk by Gary Lawrance, an architect, author, and historian with a special interest in that period. He is the co-author, with Anne Surchin, of “Houses of the Hamptons: 1880-1930,” his articles on the mansions of the era have appeared in dozens of publications, and his “Mansions of the Gilded Age” Facebook and Instagram are followed by thousands.

“To Perpetuate the Best: Furnishing the Colonial Revival House,” a lecture by Cynthia Van Allen Schaffner, will conclude the series on July 27. The opening of the American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum in 1924 spurred an interest in decorating American homes with furniture and decorative arts that symbolized idealized notions of the colonial past. Ms. Schaffner, an independent decorative arts historian, will focus on Southampton in her examination of the decorative arts and furniture that have come to represent the American Colonial Revival.

Each talk will take place at 4 p.m. and be followed by a reception at 5. Tickets are $10, free for museum members. Reservations will be taken at 631-283-2494.