The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, in collaboration with The American Federation of Arts and Glasgow Museums, debuted the U.S. tour of Designing the New: Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow Style in 2019. The exhibition comprises works from the collections of Glasgow City Council (Museums and Collections), with loans from Scottish collections and private lenders, and will resume touring in 2021 (see tentative schedule below). A beautifully illustrated exhibition catalogue is available.
Celebrating the 150th anniversary of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s birth (1868-1928), this is the first-ever exhibition in the United States to contextualize Mackintosh’s seminal work – architecture, design and art – in relation to the broader yet intimately connected circle of designers, architects, and craftspeople with which he shared sources, inspiration, ideas, motifs, and patrons.
Designing the New: Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow Style includes 166 remarkable works of art and design, the majority of which will be on public display for the first time in North America. Characterized by taut lines, stylized natural forms, sleek curves, and emphatic geometries, the Glasgow Style was unique – the only British response to the international Art Nouveau movement of the late 1890s – 1900s.
The first Mackintosh retrospective to tour the United States in a generation, Designing the New: Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow Style introduces audiences to some of the architect-designer-artist’s most iconic works. It presents his big, bold graphic designs for posters and his high-backed chairs for Miss Catherine Cranston’s famous Glasgow city-center artistic tearooms, in contrast with his lesser-known but equally striking experiments in textile design, interior design and the intricate watercolors he painted in the last years of his life. Offering a unique and expanded dialogue about Mackintosh’s milieu, this exhibition highlights the connections between Mackintosh, his predecessors, contemporaries, collaborators, patrons, kindred spirits, and his hometown city of Glasgow – industrial heartland of nineteenth-century Scotland. Their distinctive variant of Art Nouveau was embraced by the Glasgow School of Art and centered around its Technical Art Studios, whose full spectrum of media work displayed in the exhibition includes: books, ceramics, stained glass, glass, mosaic, metalwork, furniture, textiles, stenciling, needlework, posters, interior and architectural design. Designing the New: Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow Style presents the most comprehensive appraisal of the Glasgow Style ever assembled in the United States.
This groundbreaking showcase unpacks themes such as the international influences upon Mackintosh’s work, the Glasgow School of Art’s crucial support and encouragement of women designers at a time of great social change, and the physical processes involved in making the visionary interiors, furnishings, and decorative works of art and design that together present and define the imaginative breadth of the Glasgow Style. Works included in the exhibition are drawn from the very best of Glasgow Museum’s internationally renowned civic collections, alongside key pieces from The Hunterian, University of Glasgow, The Glasgow School of Art, and important loans from private collections.
Due to museum closures in accordance with covid-19 precautions, the exhibition (shown previously at The Walters Art Museum) will resume its tour in 2021 (dates may be subject to change):