Saturday, August 24, 2019

Road Trip: Isabelle de Borchgrave and Fashioning Art from Paper

The city of Flint, Michigan has had quite a lot of deservedly negative press for its tragic drinking water situation and the city itself often gets a bad rap. What could possibly be in Flint, you might ask.


I'll tell you. The Flint Institute of Art. And until September 7 they have a remarkable exhibit by Isabelle de Borchgrave called "Fashioning Art from Paper." If you are a paper nut like me, or a fashion/costuming fan, this is your cup of tea. So, for my birthday excursion there really was no second choice. This was the exhibit I had to see.


And if you're not, this post might not be for you, because it is packed with photos of the exhibit. And remember, every outfit, every gown, every costume in this post is made completely of paper. They even had samples on hand we could touch. Some was leathery. Other pieces very delicate. (But I will tell you, Rick seemed very interested and I don't think he was when we started out!)


Even the accessories and jewelry are crafted from paper!


De Borchgrave has pulled her inspiration from a variety of sources. For example this portrait of Maria-Maddalena d'Austria...


...inspired this almost-to-the-button gown.


Check out the detail. Her painting is remarkable.


She is very big on the Medici family and her work showcases any number of the family known for their art patronage.


 Not all of her gowns are exact replicas but inspired by paintings of the individual. Such is the case with Maria d'Medici. In the corresponding portrait, there are few differences, just the collar of the dress.


This trio is Lorenzo, Il Magnifico, Eleanora of Toledo and Cosimo I de Medici.


Lorenzo's ensemble was inspired by a fresco in the Medici Chapel in which he is depicted as Caspar, the youngest of the Magi, in "Journey of the Magi." His title was granted because of his lavish patronage of the arts including Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Botticelli, among others. In Lorenzo's outfit, the jewels on his belt are painted on.


Eleanora of Toledo's gown is modeled after a Bronzini portrait.


Cosimo I is depicted in his coronation clothing or ermine with a crown and scepter. And yes, the ermine is painted on.


Two of my favorites were based on women in classical paintings. "Pallas and the Centaur" by Botticelli was inspired by ancient Roman mythology. The painting was commissioned by the Medici family and hung in their Florence palace.


Also hanging in the Florence palace was Botticelli's "Primavera," in which Flora, the goddess of spring, is seen dropping flower petals in a scene that includes Venus, Cupid and the Three Muses.


This style of gown, worn by women in 18th century England, is called a mantua and was inspired by a gown in the Victoria and Albert museum. The museum curator said this was shipped in a crate slightly wider than the gown and as tall, on its stand, as others were shipped.


This court dress was inspired by a portrait of Queen Elizabeth I and includes starched lace (yes, paper) and pears and other jewels (also paper!)


Here you get a sense of the detail.


And, in the last of the historic gowns, a look at a couple of little numbers based on Madame de Pompadour! Mistress and later friend and confidante of King Louis XV of France, she was known for her political aspirations as well as her fashion.


Here is another of Madame de Pompadour's gowns.


Too long? Just a couple more dresses of a more contemporary mode. I have worked with the gossasmer like paper in this shawl. Don't snag it!

And this one is fun. From even a fairly close distance the sparkles look like jewels and sequins.


It's paint!


I took photos of every single one, I think. But I'll spare you some for now, though in another post I'll show you some of the paper sculptures she did based on costumes from the Ballet Russes. Meanwhile, one more look at the accessories...


...and one more gown.


It took my breath away.

Sharing with:  Best of the Weekend     /     Let's Keep in Touch     

61 comments:

Pam said...

WOW...to the dresses. I love those!!! i have never been to Mich. but my sis in law Lori is from there. They have gone a lot in the past and then my friend that owns the bakery has a cabin somewhere up that way and they go through the hottest part of the summer here. Maybe one day that will be a state I get to visit. There are a lot of my list that I have not gone to but maybe one day soon.....New Enland states in the fall....a dream!

eileeninmd said...

Wow, it is amazing all these exhibits are made from paper. I think the Goddess of Spring is one of my favorite. But they are all beautifully done, even the shoes and jewelry. Just incredible. Thanks for sharing your visit to the museum. Have a happy day and weekend!

Kathy said...

I saw this exhibit when it was at the Frick in Pittsburgh.Absolutely amazing and so beautiful. She is an extraordinary artist! So glad you got to see it.

Misadventures of Widowhood said...

Wow! I had to keep reminding myself that these were all made of paper. I took a class on making paper once and loved rice paper back in the day, made some art pieces with it. I've always been fascinated by the paper arts so this post was right up my alley. Thank you for the tour of this exhibit! I hope it comes to my side of the state.

Sandi said...

Imagine dressing like this!

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I have an internet friend who lives in Toronto who got to see Isabelle de Borchgrave's work up close and personal. She was very impressed, as am I. My friend took photos of several pairs of shoes which were out of this world. Your photos brought this to life and I'm so glad you had a chance to view this exhibit. You and my Toronto friend are SO lucky to see this exhibit. And yes, I was also blown away by the various papers and painted images she paints and incorporates.

Anonymous said...

thank you, Jeanie! I am a long time reader and this just took my breath away. You are so generous with your time and your travels. Absolutely swoon over tis post!

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

Oh my goodness, Jeanie, I am in awe!!! Each piece is a fine work of art that I can hardly take in that it is paper!!! Amazing!! I'm at a loss for words, my friend. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful exhibit. I do hope I can see it in person if it makes the rounds. ♥

Red Rose Alley said...

Wow, what a cool museum. Look at these gowns! I can't believe everything is made out of paper, that's amazing! I think the gown that spoke to me the most was the one with the green fabric and the leaves weaving around her. It looks Greek, but you mentioned ancient Roman?

~Sheri

bobbie said...

Gorgeous!! And how cool that you got to feel some of the materials used!
Thanks for sharing with us!!

Valerie-Jael said...

Fantastic art, that lady has huge talent. Thanks for sharing the wonderful photos. Hugs, Valerie

Sandra at Maison De Jardin said...

Wonderful post, Jeanie. Such outstanding photos. Amazing that it is paper. Thank you for sharing with us.

William Kendall said...

Fascinating! Terrific shots!

Marilyn Miller said...

I can see why you like Botticelli's Primavera. Wow! Botticelli is a favorite artist of mine. I remember writing a paper on his art once upon a time. Having a degree in apparel design, which included art history, I would have totally LOVED this exhibit. That last picture is indeed breathtaking. Thanks for sharing!

Jacqueline~Cabin and Cottage said...

What a fantastic exhibit! It must be amazing to see in person. I remember back in the day the old Victoria Magazine, I think it was, doing a story on this artist. Fabulous.

My name is Erika. said...

Wow. These are truly amazing. I can see why you wanted to go to this exhibit. She even has the drape of the fabric perfect. And details too. Thanks for sharing. I could look at about 100 more of these photos. Happy weekend. Hugs-Erika

Pam Richardson said...

Jeanie, what a fabulous exhibit and a perfect birthday present for you. It is unbelievable that these are made of paper, I can just imagine seeing them in person. Thanks for taking me along, it was a treat for sure!

Blondie's Journal said...

Your posts are always so interesting as well as your photos. You really get around girll!

Evi Erlinda said...

Hi Jeanie, I scrolled up and down many times to look every single photo carefully. Wonderful dresses, crown, and jewelries! Hard to believe that they are papers :)

Happy Sunday, Jeanie!

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

Jeanie we haven't had a chance to make it to the exhibit but your gorgeous photos make me feel like I did! Wow! Exquisite!

Sami said...

Wow, Wow, Wow!!! What an amazing artist, I had no idea people could do this.
It's hard to believe these garments are made of paper, everything looks so perfect.
You were so lucky to visit this exhibition Jeanie, and thanks for sharing.
Please do another post with more outfits.

shoreacres said...

Generally speaking, fashion posts bore me, but this is on another level entirely. These are beautiful, fascinating, and nigh unto unbelievable. Can you imagine the process of learning how to create something like this? Goodness, me. I'm so glad you shared as many photos as you did, and if you're inclined to share even more, that would be just fine with me!

Joanne Huffman said...

I really love these photos. I'm sorry the exhibit will be over before I get back to Michigan. What incredible paper art!

La Table De Nana said...

Talent! V Swift would love this!

Desperately Seeking Gina said...

I'm so glad I came across your post. What a fantastic exhibit and the art is amazing. Thank you for all the pictures!

Victoria Zigler said...

I'm glad you enjoyed your birthday outing.

If nothing else, you have to admire the talent required to do something like that...

Rita C at Panoply said...

OH.MY.GOD!! Incredible. Extraordinary!
Jeanie, I wonder how long it took to create this exhibit? And even her painting looks so real. And the accessories - just wow. I want to see more! Can't wait for the Ballet Russes pieces.
I just researched this exhibition's cities and dates, and although I've missed Pittsburgh, it's going to be in Atlanta from Oct 24, 2019 - Jan 12, 2020. I would LOVE to see this!
Thank you so much for sharing this.

Prims By The Water said...

These are all simply fabulous. Cannot believe they are made from paper. Janice

Amy at Ms. Toody Goo Shoes said...

My jaw is on the floor -- I've never seen anything like this! Breathtakkng!

Pamela said...

How gorgeous and how interesting! What a great birthday trip for you!

BeachGypsy said...

No way. No, no way. NO WAY??!!!--RIGHT? These are PAPER?! gOODNESS gracIOUS this is amazing. I've never seen anything like this. How do you you hear about stuff like this??!!! LOL I love it. Cant believe all the attention to the little tiny details and the colors and the shapes. I love that blue one with the "gossamer shawl"---yep, I would surely wear that to go do the marketing, ha ha!! LOL Anyway, I truly enjoyed this and seeing all the styles. Did one person or multiple folks make these exhibits? How do they ship them around to museums, or do they? I love the spring goddess one too. HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY FRIEND!

David M. Gascoigne, said...

I am not sure there is a whole lot I can say about this one, Jeanie. I have no experience with the medium, and there is nothing in my background that would draw me to the exhibit. Kudos to Rick for going along with you, and it seems like he enjoyed it too.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Wow, that is amazing. I can not believe everything was made out of paper. Unbelievable!!

Kirsten Steen said...

Amazing! At first I thought I might be the person not interested but I was ENTHRALLED! Absolutely gorgeous. Thx for sharing that!

Barb said...

I really enjoyed viewing these costumes! It's so amazing that they're constructed from paper. Who can even imagine the patience and talent that took? I wonder what sort of special preservation they require?

Hena Tayeb said...

Wow.. just wow.. that is amazing. I would never have thought of Flint as a place to go.. but this is absolutely stunning. What an incredible talent! Thank you for sharing this with us.

Lowcarb team member said...

Well, I too am going to say WOW!
What a fabulous post, wonderful photographs and a most memorable birthday excursion for you.
Fabulous.

All the best Jan

Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson said...

Jeanie, it just amazes me that these are made from paper. What talent and patience by the creators!! Thanks for sharing them with us.
hugs,
Jann

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

It was amazing to see those costumes all made from paper, Jeanie. Gladl you had such an enjoyable birthday outing.

bj said...

how fun to see all this. such talent...thanks for all the amazing photos

Anca said...

This is amazing. I love seeing all these photos. It looks so fabric like that is hard to believe is paper. What a great exhibition.

Tracy said...

WOW... STUNNING... simply stunning!! Oh, my goodness...I'm almost speechless-- such wondrous beauty... all from PAPER!! It's like stepping into some kind of dream world. How amazing to see all this for real... and even touch! I wonder how long it takes her to create these masterpieces? This would VERY much have been our cup of tea too. WOW! Thanks so much, as always, for taking us along, Jeanie! :) ((HUGS))

Karen said...

Absolutely AWE inspiring!

Mike@Bit About Britain said...

Good grief! I had no idea that kind of thing existed. It's astonishing! Never ceases to amaze me how much talent there is in the world.

Sketchbook Wandering said...

Wow! Jeanie!! even if one weren't a paper/fashion nut, this is astounding! Thanks for sharing this wealth...And glad to know it was in Flint...

R's Rue said...

Love it.

Sandra Cox said...

Oh my word. This is just unbelievable. So beautiful.
Were many people there?
What did you do about food and drinks?

Iris Flavia said...

Awesome art! All I could come up with were brollies/umbrellas!!
They´re still in our kitchen, but, my... I feel small now ;-)

thepaintedapron.com said...

The only word that pops into my head is wow, and that seems so inadequate! I was reading a blog post about making paper yesterday and it is quite a laborious task, I can't even imagine the time and work that went into these magnificent creations! Thank you for taking us along on your birthday trip Jeanie, what a special day!
Jenna

Tammie Lee said...

Absolutely amazing art! I loved seeing your photos.

Happy Birthday Jeanie!
I wish you a lovely new year that over flows with days and nights that make you smile and inspire you and your heart.

Debbie-Dabble Blog and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...

Jeannie,
O my Goodness!! What an amazing post filled with so much beauty!! Just breath taking!! Thanks for sharing!!
Thanks too for stopping by and for commenting on my post about early retirement!! I appreciated your input!!
Hugs,
Debbie

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Jeanie, I never dreamed there was such a place in Flint! What a fabulous exhibit and amazing artist! Thanks for sharing this with us.

Sandra Cox said...

The jewelry made from paper was particularly fascinating, don't you think?

Judy at GoldCountryCottage said...

Jeanie, it is hard to believe that all those beautiful fashions are made of paper. I have seen displays in magazines and enjoyed them. Thanks for stopping by and your kind words..Happy Thursday..xxoJudy

Jennifer Richardson said...

Creativity is endless and fascinating. Who took paper and thought, "I'll make a dress!" I love how that works:)

Thanks for sharing your birthday gift with us all.
May this next jaunt around the sun be your sweetest so far and filled with exciting new adventures. With a side of happy surprises:)
- Jennifer

DUTA said...

Mind-blowing exhibition, and an ideal gift for your birthday!
I suppose the paper undergoes a certain process that makes it suitable for creating art. If this is so, then the process behind is no less interesting than the art itself.
Anyway, your post made me want to read some more about it.

Lynne said...

Wow, amazing and wow again.
Great post . . . we might have to make a drive!

I need orange said...

What an amazing exhibit! Definitely one to see up close and personal, if possible!

Jenny Woolf said...

This is stunning, Jeanie. When I was on Facebook I saw your posts and was looking forward to your blog post about the show. I can't help thinking that as well as being lovely to look at, how marvellous it must be to have the ability to make these beautiful objects!! Isabelle de Borchgrave is a lucky person! Flint is also lucky to have this art institute. Sometimes small and otherwise unremarkable places can be put on the map by just one or two really creative facilitators - I mean, people who are not put off by being out in the sticks but want to offer local people the chance to have some breathtaking creativity in their lives. I wonder what other shows they put on. By the way had not heard of Isabelle de Borchgrave but was wondering if her work would ever come to London. I see she is Belgian, so it's not very far!

Polly said...

Oh my word, these are amazing. If this exhibition ever comes to the UK I will visit. Your photos are beautiful Jeanie x

Lisbeth said...

Remarkable and wonderful. Imaging to be able to do something like that. I think I have seen some of the dresses in a museum in Brussels, but cannot remember in what connection. I wish I could go an see them.

Popular Posts