The Walters Art Museum, in collaboration with The American Federation of Arts and Glasgow Museums, will host the U.S. debut of the touring exhibition Designing the New: Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow Style, opening October 6.
Celebrating the 150th anniversary of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s birth (1868-1928), this exhibition presents the most comprehensive showing of the Glasgow Style ever assembled in the United States and will feature approximately 165 remarkable works of art and design, the majority of which will be on view for the first time in North America. Co-organized by Glasgow Museums and the American Federation of Arts, Designing the New: Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow Style introduces audiences to some of the most iconic works by the architect, designer, and artist—bold graphic designs for posters, high-backed chairs for Glasgow’s tearooms, striking textile and interior designs, and the intricate watercolors he painted in the last years of his life.
“The Walters is excited to host this incredible exhibition of works that show the beauty of Mackintosh’s innovative designs and the power of artistic collaboration. Mackintosh and his contemporaries drew inspiration from a variety of objects and cultures, and visitors will be able to see those artistic links in the Japanese sword handguards called tsubas, Islamic tiles, and extraordinary book bindings so prominent in the Walters permanent collections,” said Julia Marciari-Alexander, Andrea B. and John H. Laporte Director.
Designing the New: Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow Style unpacks themes such as the international influences upon Mackintosh’s work, the Glasgow School of Art’s crucial support and encouragement of women designers, and the physical processes involved in making the visionary interiors, furnishings, and decorative works that present and define the imaginative breadth of the Glasgow Style. It also establishes a link between Glasgow and Baltimore through the development of their respective art schools the Glasgow School of the Arts and the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). Works included in the exhibition are drawn from the best of Glasgow Museums’ internationally renowned civic collections, alongside key pieces from The Hunterian, University of Glasgow, The Glasgow School of Art, and important loans from private collections.
“Baltimore and Glasgow are industrial cities that produced rich artistic traditions and cultures as they grew. With Designing the New, we get a chance to tell a story of young artists, designers, manufacturers, and industrialists all working together to create something that is now iconic, the Glasgow Style,” said Jo Briggs, Associate Curator of 18th and 19th Century Art and curator of the exhibition for the Walters.
The North American tour officially launches at the Walters on October 6, 2019, where it will be on view until January 5, 2020. It then travels to the Frist Art Museum in Nashville (June 26–September 27, 2020), the Museum of the American Arts & Crafts Movement in St. Petersburg, FL (October 29, 2020–January 24, 2021), and the Richard H. Driehaus Museum in Chicago (February 27–May 23, 2021).
Pauline Willis, Director and CEO of the American Federation of Arts, notes: “The firsthand experience of the iconic Glasgow Style and its distinctive contributions to the fields of architecture and design will inspire viewers with a rich visual tapestry of objects rarely seen by the American public.”