My friend Jonathan Green was in town last week for a private party at the University of South CarolinaPresident's House, hosted by President Harris Pastides and First Lady Patricia Moore-Pastides in conjunction with the Columbia Museum of Art. The evening included a conversation-style lecture between Jonathan and CMA executive director Karen Brosius regarding the artist's work and his views on the future of the creative world. As always, Jonathan had many insightful things to say on the topic, including bringing about the question of where we can find actively working visual artists who practice and showcase the fundamentals (portraiture, etc) of the craft in America. Chew on that for a while and leave a comment if you come up with any names that have been shown in high-profile galleries or museums in the last 10 years.
Anyhow, before the lecture started, the President and First Lady told the small crowd about the 2nd floor room in which we were sitting. I was so excited to find out from the first lady that the mural on the wall (behind Jonathan in the photograph above) was an historic wallpaper from Zuber et Cie that had been rescued from a home set for demolition in New England many years ago.
Founded as Jean Zuber et Cie in 1797, this French manufacturer of painted wallpapers and fabrics is said to be the last factory in the world to produce woodblock printed wallpapers and fabrics. The company has gained such acclaim over the years that King Louis Phillipe bestowed the founder with the Legion of Honor in 1834. If you've ever toured the White House you may have seen Vue de l'Amerique du Nord in the Diplomatic Reception Room. The 1834 work was placed in the now heavily-photographed room by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in 1961.
Who knew that the University of South Carolina was hiding even more historical bounty than was already general public knowlege (at least around Columbia)? Rumor has it that there may be a project in the works forDr. Moore-Pastides to show off even more interesting facts about the historic home. We can't wait to see!