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"Wall Art Revisited: Painted Interiors and Decorative Woodwork"
What to do with our walls? This is a question that has beguiled home owners since the time of cave dwellers. The art of early America was domestic art – furniture, silver, ceramics, and textiles. The uses of paint for decorative purpose and embellishment, above and beyond the plain surface coatings used to protect or conceal the surface of inexpensive domestic woods, emerged steadily during the 18th century, blossoming into ornamental traditions that were complex, diverse and often astonishing. This program honors the legacy of two early New England preservationists and contemporaries William Warren (1912-1998) and Nina Fletcher Little (1903-1993), who preserved, documented publicized and collected evidence of an important but then largely unknown aspect of American art. This program surveys the remarkable range of interior wall treatments practiced by early New England’s artisan decorators, highlight important new work in the technical preservation of decorated walls and conclude with a survey of wall treatments during the 19th and 20th centuries and a celebration of the resurgence of custom wall and mural art in contemporary life.
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