Get Real: Rachel Maria Hasbrouck’s Rendition of The Dalby Gate, Skane

Hey there, my name is Emily Finan and I’m the new Curatorial/Collections intern this semester!  I’m currently a Junior at SUNY New Paltz, majoring in art history and minoring in history.

This week’s object is a painting by Rachel Maria Hasbrouck. The oil on canvas is dated 1892, and is a reproduction of a renowned oil painting originally created by Hugo Salmson in 1884 entitled, The Dalby Gate, Skane.  Originally exhibited in the “Modern Young Girls” exhibit in Musée d’Orsay from June 6 to September 24, 1989, Salmson’s piece portrays the exhibit’s theme of the emerging young heroine, common in the contemporary literature of Victor Hugo. Salmson depicts a snapshot of mundane life in the Swedish countryside, portraying a peasant woman holding an infant, flanked by an adolescent boy and girl.  Each figure, save the young girl, is entranced in their own personal actions; the young boy is fixated on counting his bright red berries, the peasant woman faces away from the viewer and watches the infant in her arms who is also engrossed with the red berries.  The young girl, however, stares straight out, breaking the boundaries of the canvas and initiating an interaction with the viewer.  The young girls direct gaze is probably the reason for the painting’s inclusion in the exhibition in Paris, a town which Rachel Maria Hasbrouck often frequented.

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Daughter of Lodewick and Rebecca Hasbrouck, Rachel Maria Hasbrouck was born January 20, 1837, lived until May 23, 1911, was never married and enjoyed a fruitful life engaged in the art world.  Until the ripe age of seventy-two, Hasbrouck remained involved in the art world at the communal level.  In 1909, at the town of Poughkeepsie’s celebration of Henry Hudson’s discovery of the Hudson River, Hasbrouck was chosen to commemorate the Hudson Fulton Celebration by sketching the town’s “Court of Honor,” in full view of a crowd of spectators. As a distinguished artist, Rachel even had her own studio above the First National Bank on Main Street (although it is unclear whether it was New Paltz’s, Marbletown’s or Poughkeepsie’s,) and “studied art with the masters in Paris, among others with Harry Thompson, a very celebrated master.” Her Parisian travels inevitably led her to the exploration and fascination with the Realism art movement, as The Dalby Gate, Skane is one of three realist based reproductions by Hasbrouck within the collection at Historic Huguenot Street.

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The Realist art movement was a product of the Revolution of 1848, corresponding with the fresh desire for democracy through focusing its subject matter on modern subjects of everyday life. Often depicting manual labor, the peasantry and rural landscapes, Realism sought to illustrate the “gritty detail of the present-day existence of humble people,” which placed the lives of working class into view, and elevated their statuses.

Simultaneously, Paris was also the center of another contemporary art movement: Impressionism.  Innovated in Paris in 1874 by the Anonymous Society of Painters, Sculptors, Printmakers etc., Impressionism also sought to depict images of modern life but with vastly different techniques.  Through “short broken brushstrokes that barely convey forms, pure unblended colors and an emphasis on the effects of light,” Impressionism revolutionized the depiction of contemporary rural and suburban scenes that realism had portrayed through more traditional methods.

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It is curious, then, that Hasbrouck was progressive enough to travel to Paris, the center of the art world which must have been fully engulfed in the fervor of Impressionism, yet still chose to emulate a more traditional art movement.  Although Impressionism and Realism contrast immensely in terms of style, both depict similar subject matter that Hasbrouck seemed to be interested in.  It is a mystery why Hasbrouck would not also be engulfed in the newly developed Impressionist art movement and why she purposefully turned back to more traditional styles.  Is her choice of reproduction a reflection of her traditional roots as an American, or did she just simply admire the aesthetics of Realism?  The answer is a mystery.

Works Cited

Aged Artist at Work.”  Poughkeepsie Eagle, August 27, 1909.  Accessed February 14, 2017.

 Musée d’Orsay.  “Modern Young Girls.”  Accessed February 17, 2017.

 The Hasbrouck Family in America Volumes I & II, Edition 3.  “Rachel Maria Hasbrouck.”  New Paltz, NY: Huguenot Historical Society of New Paltz, NY, 1986.

The Met.  “Impressionism: Art and Modernity.”  Accessed February 17, 2017.

The Met.  “Nineteenth-Century French Realism.”  Accessed February, 17, 2017.

 

 

 

Are Dollhouses Toys?

By: Madison Petrella

This dollhouse was recently found in the Deyo House’s attic, having previously lived in the previous interpretation’s toy room. Unlike the typical lavish dollhouse that comes to mind, this one was fashioned out of a crate and is rather small, consisting of four “rooms”. Although a bit worn down, small details are still present, like the design of the wallpaper and the kitchen tiles. This was clearly a dollhouse that was meant for play, not dissimilar from dollhouses nowadays, yet a far cry from the original intention for these tiny houses that have come to be thought of as toys.

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Dollhouses are not an invention of recent history. The most popular span for the dollhouse was between 1700 to 1900.1 However, they were popular before then and clearly have remained so. Centuries ago, the toy was not referred to as “dollhouse” and although they had a few different purposes, they were not meant as toys. Typically dollhouses, called baby houses, were designed as exact replicas of the owner’s estate and were intended to be a representation of that person’s wealth. Dozens of highly skilled artisans would work on these tiny homes costing thousands of dollars and would include the smallest details found in the real home. Some dollhouses had wine cellars with bottles of real wine; others were equipped with running water and electricity.2 Sometimes dollhouses were used as a way for young girls to learn how to run a household, like 17th century Nuremburg Kitchens.3 Dutch dollhouses beginning in the 17th century, called cabinet houses, were designed to mirror the homes of brides to be given to her by her new husband to help alleviate homesickness.4 And Jessie Burton, author of The Miniaturist, believes that women, restricted to their homes and societal expectations, used dollhouses as a way to escape into a dream world much like young girls today.5 Mass production and cheaper costs in the 19th century contributed to the dollhouse’s evolution into a toy.6

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There seems to always have been a fascination with the idea of a tiny world, whether it was reflected in these houses or in stories like Hans Christian Anderson’s Thumbelina in 1835 or recent movies like 20th Century Fox’s Epic in 2013. In the past, the creations of these tiny homes with their exquisite detail were works of art created by highly skilled craftsmen. Nowadays, although many dollhouses can be found in toy stores, made of plastic and mass-produced, there are many shops around the world keeping alive the tradition of adult dollhouses and the skilled artistry their creation requires.

Sources:

1“The history of doll houses.” Boomini. Accessed January 17, 2017.

2Ibid.

3Cooley, Nicole. “Dollhouses Weren’t Invented for Play.” The Atlantic. July 22, 2016.

Accessed January 17, 2017.

4“The history of doll houses.” Boomini. Accessed January 17, 2017.

5Burton, Jessie. “The miraculous healing power of a doll’s house.” The Independent.

December 10, 2014. Accessed January 17, 2017.

6Cooley, Nicole.