“Thirty Years on the Ancients’ Path”

Speaker:  GB Cornucopia

We will hear the latest theories of the Chaco Phenomenon that saw a regional system rise and fall between 800 and 1200 CE…one that covered more than 60,000 sq. miles and produced over 200 massive multi-story sandstone buildings, built only with stone tools.  We will experience what it means to live in a place felt by many to be spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically significant, and consider the challenges this poses for our modern world.  Chaco has major significance for many indigenous people throughout the American Southwest and for others who visit from across the world.  Chaco has become a pilgrimage site for the modern world as it was 1000 years ago, while at the same time offering sobering reflections on the dangers of ignoring changes in the natural environment.  The Chaco people chose a most austere environment to begin a series of experiments in social organization that included religion, politics, agriculture, incredible architecture, astronomy and artistic expressions that stand out as one of the greatest achievements anywhere in North America.

 

“Antiques Roadshow Meets CSI:  The Role of Science in Fine Art Forgery ”

Speaker: Rosie Grayburn, PhD

High prices for art, antiques, and collectibles encourage the creation and sale of fakes and forgeries, while the passionate desire to acquire rare and important works blinds buyers to the need to question their authenticity.  Scientific analysis – in conjunction with provenance and connoisseurship – is an important tool to aid in identifying whether art, antiques, and collectibles are genuine or fake. Though scientific testing alone cannot prove authenticity, it can often disprove it through the positive identification of materials that are inconsistent with a purposed date of manufacture, method of manufacture, or known working methods of an artist or craftsman. Through case studies from Winterthur Museum and other partner institutions, this presentation will highlight how materials analysis with state-of-the-art instrumentation provides a more informed understanding of a work of art.

 

“When Cottages Were Palaces:  America’s Age of Elegance”

Speaker: Paul F. Miller

Following the Civil War, the New England seaport of Newport, RI grew to become the queen of American summer resorts. As the fortunes and social aspirations of the wealthy summer colonists grew, so did the scale and opulence of their summer homes; timber-framed Victorian cottages were displaced by limestone and marble villas in a maddening rush to employ the best architects, artists and decorators working in a kaleidoscope of historical styles. These summer villas were but one facet of a lifestyle that included comparable city residences in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago or San Francisco together with elegant seasonal lodgings in London and Paris. Moving between these palatial settings aboard private rail cars, yachts or transatlantic steamships, the social elite of the Gilded Age had little premonition of the fall of their world heralded by the 1912 Titanic disaster and the 1914 onset of World War I. This illustrated talk will focus on the Gilded Age’s families, art and architecture.