‘American Glass,’ ‘Arts of Africa,’ and ‘Elegance and Ease’ to open in April at Mint Museum Randolph

Three new exhibitions showcase the Mint’s permanent collections.

Three exhibitions showcasing the enormous variety and global reach of The Mint Museum’s permanent collections will open next month at Mint Museum Randolph. The lineup includes American Glass, featuring selections from the Decorative Arts Collection spanning the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; Arts of Africa, which includes extraordinary loans from local, regional, and national collectors as well as works from the Mint’s collection of African Art that have never before been on view; and Elegance and Ease, featuring designs from legendary French designers Christian Dior, Pierre Balmain, and Yves Saint Laurent, which will give fashionistas another exhibition to applaud from the Mint’s renowned Fashion Collection.

“These three exhibitions illustrate the strength and diversity of the Mint’s permanent collection, which includes over 34,000 objects comprising one of the largest collections of art in the Southeastern United States,” said Dr. Kathleen V. Jameson, President & CEO of the Mint. “We are thrilled to one again offer our community and visitors the opportunity to be inspired and transformed by their experiences at this museum.”

The openings of American Glass and Arts of Africa will be celebrated at a First Look Friday at 6:30 p.m. on April 5 at Mint Museum Randolph. The event includes tours, complimentary hors d’oeuvres, cash bar, and more. Admission is free for Mint members and $10 for non-members; click here to register.

American Glass
6 April 2013 – ongoing

The nineteenth and early twentieth centuries represent a time of extraordinary growth for the American glass industry. Companies such as Boston & Sandwich Glass Company in Sandwich, Massachusetts; Steuben Glass Works in Corning, New York; and Libbey Glass Company in Toledo, Ohio began operation and soon developed notable reputations for producing fashionable wares that were coveted by many middle- and upper-class consumers. American Glass showcases objects by these and other American glass companies in order to illustrate the variety of forms and styles that prevailed during this period. Glass-manufacturing techniques will be another focus of the exhibition, with representative examples of pressed, cut, blown, and molded glass. Nearly all of the works on view are from The Mint Museum’s permanent collection of glass, which is second in size only to the ceramics collection in the museum’s Decorative Arts holdings.

Arts of Africa
6 April 2013 – ongoing

The African continent is remarkable in its geographic, social, political, and cultural diversity. This impressive diversity is reflected in the visual arts through a variety of media and forms including ceramics, masks, textiles, sculptures, prestige staffs, and shrines. With exceptional loans from private collectors and The Mint Museum’s own collection of African Art, the museum is pleased to announce the expansion of its presentation of Arts of Africa, thereby providing visitors a more in-depth, meaningful, and exciting overview of African art.

Dior, Balmain, Saint Laurent: Elegance and Ease
27 April 2013 – 12 January 2014

Elegance and Ease explores the designs of three major Parisian designers with selections from The Mint Museum’s Fashion Collection, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. French fashion has long been and continues to form the foundation of global designs.

Christian Dior (1905-1957) established Paris as the center of the world of modern haute couture. In the late 1940s, Dior’s “New Look” fashions presented small, nipped-in waistlines above full skirts which emphasized the bust and hips in these silhouettes. He selected extravagant fabrics for his dresses and gowns, and his designs soon captured the attention of prominent clients from around the world. His innovations and designs, for decades thereafter, influenced women’s fashions and the designers who created them.

Known for the elegance and movement of his formal designs, Pierre Balmain (1914-1982) created fine, slim silhouettes for his tailored suits. Even today, Balmain’s vintage gowns are highly sought after by fashionistas across the globe.

Yves Saint Laurent (1936-2008) is recognized as one of the greatest names in fashion history, called “the most consistently celebrated and influential designer of the past twenty years” by fashion historian Caroline Rennolds Milbank. He was among the first to present ready-to-wear designs, including his famous tuxedo suits for women that became a symbol of fashionable ease. His formal and evening fashions as well as tailored suits display his talent and ability to create impressive directions in the world of haute couture and luxury fashion.