[Copied, and redacted, from a posting "on behalf of Barry Lewis, Historian ..." on another list, MR note]
"Students of this productive interface between New World America and the bounteous Dutch Republic now have a treasure trove of new research (and images) in recent work on the life and career of an important woman of 17th-century Dutch New York: Margrieta Van Varick (b. Amsterdam, 1649 - d. Flatbush, Breuckelen [Brooklyn], NY, 1695). Van Varick was a successful merchant of high-end textiles (wall hangings, rugs, coverings), as well as fine furniture, luxury clothing, and artisanal silver pieces and jewelry. Her suppliers were based in East India (Indonesia) and in Europe; her clientele was mostly the rising monied class of Nieuw-Amsterdam (colonial New York). Van Varick was the subject of an extended exhibition at the Bard Graduate Center Gallery, New York City: Dutch New York Between East & West: The World of Margrieta Van Varick (September 2009 ~January 2010; 171 exhibits; 35 U.S. and Dutch lenders; curators, Marybeth De Filippis and Deborah L. Krohn).
For those who did not view this unusual show, I am eager to bring attention to its lavish, large-format catalogue (2010; cloth; 399 pp; 9" x 11.5"; color plates; index; jacket; see link, below, to Amazon ad). The catalogue, printed in Italy, received the First Runner-up prize in the 'Excellence in Museum Catalogue' category competition sponsored by the Association of Art Museum Curators.
Of special interest to students of material culture and publication history is the detailed probate inventory (1696, 19 folios) of Van Varick's estate, being her stock and household goods, published in full facsimile in the exhibition catalogue (pp 342-364), with detailed commentary, notes, and a glossary of specialized terms. In a twenty-minute interview, Peter N. Miller of the Bard Graduate Center, one of the show's principals, speaks with Natalie Zemon Davis, a distinguished scholar in feminist history and cultural studies, who emphasizes the evidentiary power of extant inventories as integral to material culture and biography. A transcription of the interview is published in the catalogue. For a link to the taped (live) interview, along with an Images Gallery of nine captioned images from the Van Varick show, see Maureen E. Mulvihill's comprehensive review in the current issue of Seventeenth-Century News (vol. 68, vols 1&2, pp 75-89; journal editor, Donald R. Dickson, Texas A&M University); see link, below.
As an active speaker on the history of New York, both in special television programs and public forums, I am eager to introduce my audiences to the availability of the Van Varick show catalogue and the contribution of Van Varick (and her descendants) to the developing frontier of 17th-century America; with the availability of this catalogue, the Van Varick subject is now an accessible case study for a broad range of specialists. ...
For Exhibition Catalogue, with jacket image:
For Exhibition Review, with Gallery of Images:
Click on 'View / Open'
Historian: New York History; New York Architecture."