Samuel McIntire, Carving an American Style

Samuel McIntire, Carving an American Style


Oct. 13, 2007 - Feb. 24, 2008

This groundbreaking exhibition, marking the 250th anniversary of Samuel McIntire's birth, explores his role as a leading force for creative design during the Federal period (1780-1811). Known primarily for his architectural designs, Carving an American Style is the first exhibition to focus on McIntire's career as a carver. More than 200 objects, including 134 works by McIntire or members of his family, are showcased. Key architectural drawings, architectural carvings and freestanding sculpture, are also included. Paintings, photographs, prints and other objects have been selected to further illuminate McIntire's remarkable career. One hundred and eight objects are from the Peabody Essex Museum's collections. One hundred and one objects were lent by public and private institutions.

The exhibition is organized thematically in five galleries. It includes an introduction to McIntire's world and his role in transforming Salem, Massachusetts into one of the most beautiful towns in the nation. Other sections explore how this self-taught carver used ornamental details on buildings and furnishings to create a distinctive American design vocabulary. Images of nature's bounty-fruits, flowers, wheat, feature prominently in his creations, as do symbols of a new nation, such as the American eagle and George Washington, and classical motifs such as drapery and urns-all executed with a skill and sophistication unrivalled in New England.

Dean T. Lahikainen, the Carolyn and Peter Lynch Curator of American Decorative Art, Peabody Essex Museum.

Fully illustrated 304-page publication written by Dean T. Lahikainen (University Press of New England, fall 2007). Funded by Richard C. Van Hess Foundation.

Samuel McIntire, Carving an American Style is sponsored by U.S. Trust and Henry Luce Foundation. Media partner: Antiques & Fine Art Magazine.

A media preview for Samuel McIntire, Carving an American Style will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2007. Please RSVP to Colette_Randall or call 978-745- 9500 x3228.

A full array of McIntire-related public programs accompanies the exhibition.

The Gardner-Pingree House and the Peirce-Nichols House, which were designed by McIntire are part of the Peabody Essex Museum's collections. The 1801 parlor of Peirce-Nichols House is being restored for the occasion of this exhibition and for the 250th anniversary of McIntire's birth. Both houses will be open to the public. Please note: the Peirce-Nichols House will reopen to the public in the fall to coincide with the start of the exhibition.

As part of the exhibition, a symposium, Carving in America, will be held on Nov. 3 and Nov. 4, 2007. A group of internationally distinguished speakers will share new research on all aspects of woodcarving in America-furniture, sculpture, architecture, ship carving and folk art. Location: Peabody Essex Museum.

Image captions (from left to right): Sign for U.S. Custom House (detail), 1805, Carved by Samuel McIntire, painted pine, Photograph by Dennis Helmar; Dressing box, 1800-1810, Unidentified maker, carving by Samuel McIntire, mahogany, satinwood, white pine, gesso, gold leaf, glass, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The M. and M. Karolik Collection of Eighteenth-Century American Arts, Photograph © 2007 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Arm Chair, 1801, Unidentified maker, Carving by Samuel McIntire, mahogany, Peabody Essex Museum, Photograph by Dennis Helmar; Fire Screen, ca. 1801-1810, Unidentified turnover, carving, by Samuel McIntire(1757-1811), oval frame possibly by John Doggett (1780-1857), Roxbury; embroidery attributed Elizabeth Derby West (1762-1814), mahogany, wood, silk, glass, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Photograph © 2007 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.


PR Contacts:

April Swieconek  -  Director of Public Relations  -  978-745-9500 X3109  -

Whitney Van Dyke  -  Director of Communications  -  978-542-1828  -

‹ Back To Press Releases