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For Immediate release

September 1, 2009


On Stage in Amsterdam:
Prints from the Schouwburg Theatre

September 9, 2009 – January 17, 2010

In 1772, Amsterdam's Schouwburg Theatre burned to the ground barely a century after it opened, a common fate for theatres in the era of chandeliers both onstage and off. Flames consumed the painted wings and drops that had magically transformed the stage from a wooded glen to a royal palace, from the sun court of Apollo to the fiery depths of Hades. Luckily, these settings were so novel that, between 1749 and 1770, they were published in engravings, over 30 of which are included in this exhibition from the Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts. Visitors are invited to leave today's visual technologies behind and become captivated by the Italian style staging that swept Europe in the 1600s and 1700s.


The Schouwburg prints are also invaluable documents of costume. The engravings paid as much attention to the audience, who were free to come and go in the auditorium, as to the performers on stage. And, following theatrical practice current until the 20th century, actors wore contemporary European dress regardless of the time or place of the play. In Onstage in Amsterdam, visitors may compare the Amsterdam prints with a recent interpretation of 18th-century fashions, costumes for Les Liaisons Dangereuses, adapted from the 1782 novel by Choderlos de Laclos.

This exhibition is a program of The Tobin Theatre Arts Fund.

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Built by artist and educator Marion Koogler McNay in the 1920s, the Spanish Colonial Revival-style home opened as Texas’ first museum of modern art in 1954. Today more than 100,000 visitors a year enjoy works by modern masters including Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir.  In June 2008, the museum opened the 45,000-square-foot Jane and Arthur Stieren Center for Exhibitions designed by internationally renowned French architect Jean-Paul Viguier.  Nearly doubling the McNay’s exhibition space, the Stieren Center includes three separate outdoor sculpture galleries, the first in South Texas.

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