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The Athenaeum presents various series of art and music lectures, including topics in classical music and jazz, visual art, art history, and architecture, with speakers from San Diego and beyond.



 

Art History Lecture


PLUNDER! AT THE ATHENAEUM THURSDAYS IN OCTOBER
with James Grebl, Ph.D.

Thursdays, October 9, 16, 23, 30, 7:30 p.m.
Series: $50 members, $70 nonmembers


Individual lectures: $14 members, $19 nonmembers

Nefretete

The Athenaeum Music & Arts Library will present Plunder! European Art Looting Through the Centuries, a new series by art history lecturer James Grebl, Ph.D. The four part series will be on Thursdays through the month of October at 7:30 p.m.

The plundering of art has been a normal feature of warfare for millennia, beginning with the ancient conflicts in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Persia, and Greece, and continuing through World War II. In addition, since the late 18th century, the more “civilized” looting of artworks by antiquarians and archaeologists has been a widespread practice. In this series, art historian James Grebl will focus on four significant aspects of art plunder perpetrated against the Near East and throughout Europe: the plunder of the Greek world in ancient and modern times; the looting of Egypt and the Near East from the Roman era until the present; Napoleon’s plunder of conquered lands; and the looting of Europe by the Nazis and the Soviets during the Second World War.

October 9–Looting of the Ancient Greek World

The Romans systematically looted the art of their Greek neighbors throughout the conquest of the Mediterranean world, beginning with the sack of Syracuse in 211 BC and continuing through the 2nd and 1st centuries BC in Athens, Corinth, and the cities of Asia Minor. Much of what the Romans left behind was scooped up by antiquarians and archaeologists from Britain, Germany, and France in the 19th and 20th centuries, filling major institutions such as the Louvre, the British Museum, and museums in Berlin with stolen treasures.

October 16–Looting of the Ancient Near East

The looting of Egypt and Mesopotamia followed a similar pattern to the plunder of Greece, beginning with the Roman annexation of Egypt in 31 BC and continuing through the expedition of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1798 and the removal of artifacts and sometimes entire architectural structures by European and American collectors and excavators in the 19th and 20th centuries.

October 23–Napoléonic Plunder of Europe

Napoléon Bonaparte viewed the art treasures of Italy, Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands as legitimate spoils of war, and set about stripping these countries of some of their finest masterpieces. His goal was to make the Louvre the finest museum in the world, and although much of the art he plundered was returned after his defeat, many stolen works remain in Louvre’s collections.

October 30–Plunder of Europe During World War II

Adolph Hitler also aspired to create the greatest art museum in history, in Linz, Austria, and as German troops occupied most of Europe, specially trained squads were dispatched to acquire some 6 million works of art by theft and extortion (and sometimes even by purchase). After the fall of Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union viewed plundered art as just compensation for the destruction and thievery inflicted on it by Hitler, and to this day countries of the former CCCP refuse to return many artworks they looted in 1945.

 


THE BEST OF BROADWAY’S BEST
PRESENTED BY BRUNO LEONE
Bruno Leone

Tuesdays, November 11 and 18, 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 7p.m.

Series: $24 members/$34 nonmembers

Individual for November 11: $14 members/$19 nonmembers


Individual for November 18: $14 members/$19 nonmembers


The Athenaeum and Bruno Leone are pleased to present The Best of Broadway’s Best, an all-new musical performance and lecture series on November 11 and 18 at 7:30 p.m. The concert-lectures will be in set in the intimate Joan & Irwin Jacobs Music Room inside the Athenaeum.

Musician and storyteller, Bruno Leone’s approach to entertainment is uniquely appealing and wide-ranging. Featuring music from Broadway’s Golden Age and beyond, he performs the works of such greats as George and Ira Gershwin, Rodgers and Hart/Hammerstein, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, Lerner and Lowe, and countless others.

As a pianist, vocalist and storyteller, Mr. Leone plays, sings and chats his way through and around the lives, music and lyrics of many of Broadway’s and America’s greatest composers and lyricists. His compelling mixture of humor, song and story has captivated audiences throughout America. Come witness Mr. Leone’s own inimitable style and approach, and enjoy the best of Gershwin, Kern, Porter and Rodgers along with some “out of the box” surprises.

About Bruno Leone

Bruno Leone combines his dazzling mastery of the piano with the art of storytelling to create a variety of shows with enormous appeal to people of all ages. He studied piano and began his musical career in the 1950s in New York City. Although he later went earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in history and began teaching at the university level, he has continued performing throughout the United States. In fact, a feature article in the San Diego Union-Tribune praised Mr. Leone’s remarkable skill of “combining the classroom with the concert hall to create musical stories that actually enliven his audience.” He has accompanied such greats as Mel Tormé and Billy Daniels and has five recordings to his name, including Pure Broadway, Pure Cinema, Pure Romance, Pure Classics, and Pure Christmas, with each of his CDs featuring an original piano composition by Mr. Leone.





Special Lecture
Tales of Loss & Redemption: THe Country House in the National Trust with Sean E. Sawyer, Ph.D.

Monday, November 17, 2014, 6:15PM
$20 members, $25 nonmembers

From the 1880s through the 1930s, Britain experienced a revolution in land ownership only paralleled in its history by the Norman Conquest and the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Britain's landed elites found themselves under attack by the forces of modernity on all fronts, and their bastion, the country house, fell to the auction block and the wrecker's ball in increasing numbers throughout the first half of the 20th century. Into this breach in the fabric of British landed society stepped a reluctant new force of social order, the National Trust. The Royal Oak Foundation's executive director, Dr. Sean E. Sawyer, will discuss the National Trust's role in rescuing some of Britain's greatest country houses and their internationally significant collections of decorative and fine arts. From a reluctant recipient of a handful of houses in the 1920s, the Trust evolved, through its Country Houses Scheme, to lead the way in preserving houses and collections through the bleakest years of the post–World War II era. The last decades of the 20th century saw a revival of fortunes for the country house and the Trust's adaptation as its role as a leading operator of visitor attractions. This is a story full of deaths, both mortal and material, and of daring rescues and bureaucratic blindness. This illustrated lecture will explore some of the Trust's most important properties, including Blickling and Hardwick Hall, and of the families and great characters who haunt them still.

Sean Sawyer, Ph.D. became Executive Director of The Royal Oak Foundation in October 2010. He received a B.A. summa cum laude from Princeton University in 1988 and his doctorate from Columbia University in 1999, specializing in 18th and 19th century British architectural history. In 1996, he was awarded the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain's Hawksmoor Essay Medal, and in 2002 he attended the Attingham Summer School as a Royal Oak Fellow. Sean has taught at Columbia, Fordham and Harvard universities, as well as the history of decorative arts and design at the Cooper-Hewitt through Parsons The New School for Design's graduate program. He has contributed essays and articles on Sir John Soane and late Georgian architecture and urbanism, as well as Dutch–American history and architecture, to numerous publications. From 2001 to 2007 he served as Executive Director of the Wyckoff House & Association, a Brooklyn–based national membership organization focused on the operation of the Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum. Prior to joining Royal Oak, Sean was Director of Administration and Development for the History Department at Columbia University for three years. He is a founding and current member of the Board of Directors for the Dyckman Farmhouse Museum Alliance, which supports the Dyckman Farmhouse Museum in Inwood, Manhattan.

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