Sunday, January 31, 2021

Morven Museum & Garden Warms Up Winter with Exciting Programs and New Exhibition

Morven Museum & Garden Warms Up Winter with Exciting Programs and New Exhibition

Beginning on February 23 at 6:30 pm, Morven Museum & Garden’s Grand Homes & Gardens Distinguished Speakers Series’ launches “The Woman of the House'' highlighting four homes and gardens of remarkable women spanning three centuries. This popular series, virtual this year, kicks off on the heels of Morven’s first virtual opening reception for its newest exhibition In Nature’s Realm: The Art of Gerard Rutgers Hardenbergh set for 5:30 pm on February 18.

“We continue our foray into the virtual world and with our  unique brand and variety, we have garnered our newest members from as far away as Tazmania and England as well as just around the corner,” said Morven’s Executive Director Jill Barry. While everyone can “zoom” in to these our programs, the galleries are open and the new exhibition, In Nature’s Realm will delight guests with beautiful depictions of familiar wildlife and pastoral New Jersey landscapes now lost.” 

In Nature’s Realm

Morven is honored to present the first exhibition examining the work of Gerard Rutgers Hardenbergh (1856–1915). Born in New Brunswick, the great-great-grandson of Reverend Jacob Rutsen Hardenbergh (1736–1790), the first president of Queens College (Rutgers University), Hardenbergh was a self-taught artist and ornithologist. 

On Thursday, February 18 at 5:30 pm, Curator and Deputy Director Elizabeth Allan presents a virtual peek inside the exhibition. Opening to the public on February 19, 2021, the exhibition will run through January 9, 2022 in Morven’s second floor galleries. Accompanying programming, including The Art of the Dog, Portrait Workshop with Debra Lampert-Rudman; Fishing Creel Weaving Workshop with Mary May; Jersey Birds Illustration Classes with Erin Ellis; and The Art of Deception, Duck Decoy Workshop with Jode Hillman, are listed on Morven’s website.

Grouse, 1885. Gerard Rutgers Hardenbergh (1856–1915), oil on canvas. Collection of the Van Nostrand Family. 

Grand Homes & Gardens 2021 - Armchair Travel Escape

Morven’s distinguished speaker series has a new twist this year: along with a Zoom link, ticketholders will receive in the week prior to each program a tasty beverage recipe which holds significance to each grand home’s residents. As in years past, each illustrated lecture will be followed by live Q&A and questions may be submitted before each program. All ticketholders will receive a link to the program following the event if the timing of the program is inconvenient.

The Series begins on Tuesday, February 23 at 6:30 with an illustrated presentation by Howard Zar, Executive Director of Lyndhurst, one of America’s finest Gothic Revival mansions. According to Zar, the interesting thing about the women at Lyndhurst is that in many ways, they ruled the roost. The initial mansion was funded by Maria Rheinlander, William Paulding’s wife. In an unusual turn of roles, she provided the money and her husband and son did the design and furnishing work. The Jay Gould family also resided at Lyndhurst and daughter Helen Gould, who lived there the longest of any owner, was a noted philanthropist and NYU law school graduate and made some interesting changes to Lyndhurst.

On Thursday, March 11, Architectural Historian and Lecturer Gary Lawrance takes viewers to the “Gold Coast” of 1920’s Long Island to meet Katherine Duer, wife of Silver heir Clarence Mackay and her “fabulous over 60-room Harbor Hill mansion” and Alva Vanderbilt Belmont of  Sands Point castle fame. According to Lawrance, "In a rarity of the time, not only did Mrs. Mackay oversee the planning of the construction of Harbor Hill with Gilded Age architect Stanford White, she actively managed the estate when completed." Alva Vanderbilt Belmont’s Castle on the Long Island Sound at Sands Point, Long Island, is equally sumptuous and is believed to have been used by Author F. Scott Fitzgerald as the inspiration for the magnificent mansion of Jay Gatsby in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby”.  This evening’s lecture sponsored by Coldwell Banker Realty/Heidi Hartmann Homes.

Next, we virtually venture north to Woodbury, Connecticut‘s Glebe House and Gertrude Jekyll’s garden on Tuesday, March 16 for a presentation by Director LoriAnne Witte. The Glebe House, built about 1740, is celebrating its 96th year in operation in 2021 as an historic house museum and garden.  It was the home of Rev. John Rutgers Marshall, his wife Sarah, nine children and three enslaved people from 1771 to 1786 and is furnished with period furniture including a wonderful collection of furniture made in Woodbury during the 18th century. By the 1920s the house had passed through several owners and fallen into great disrepair. It was restored in 1923 under the direction of Henry Watson Kent, a pioneer of early American decorative arts and founder of the American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. One of the early historic house museums in the country, The Glebe House opened its doors to the public in 1925. According to Witte, for reasons unknown today, the garden famed designer Gertrude Jekyll planned for this site was never fully installed in the 1920s and its very existence was forgotten. After the rediscovery of the plans in the late 1970s the project began in earnest in the late 1980s and is currently being completed according to the original plans. This evening’s program is sponsored by Keller Williams Realty

The Series finale on Tuesday, March 23, focuses on The Mount: A Great American House & Garden Designed By A Great American Writer presented by The Mount’s Director of Visitor Services Anne K. Schuyler. Edith Wharton is known today mainly for her contribution to American literature, yet she was also a skilled pioneer of house and garden design. This program will look at The Mount, Wharton’s elegant estate in Lenox, Massachusetts, which she designed with the same passion and lucidity she applied to her written work. This evening will survey the history of The Mount from its creation in 1902 to today, where it thrives as a cultural center celebrating the intellectual, artistic, and humanitarian legacy of Edith Wharton. This evening’s program is sponsored by Callaway Henderson/Sotheby’s International Realty

Individual tickets are $25; $18 for Friends of Morven. Series tickets are available: $75 for General Admission; $50 for Friends of Morven and may be purchased online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/grand-homes-gardens-distinguished-speakers-series-2021-tickets-133788391681


Additional information on Morven’s exhibitions and programs is available at www.morven.org or email dlampertrudman@morven.org. Morven Museum & Garden is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and is located at 55 Stockton Street, Princeton, NJ 08540.

Funding for In Nature’s Realm: The Art of Gerard Rutgers Hardenbergh has been provided, in part, by The Hess Foundation, Fulton Bank, Liza & Schuyler Morehouse, Lisa & Michael Ullmann, and Bob N. Wilson & Michele Plante.  The exhibition is made possible, in part, by the Mercer County Cultural and Heritage Commission through funding from the Mercer County Board of Chosen Commissioners and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment of the Arts.


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