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Extravagent Objects: Jewelry and Objets d’Art from the Masterson Collection

Museum of Fine Arts / Houston / Art

In “The Tyranny of Terrazzano,” the critic Molly Fischer notes today’s interior design trends of brass-trimmed glass trays, candles bearing matte labels, and a palette of muted pastels offset by bronze inlays, terra-cotta pots, and the green smudge of a succulent leaf. This is a “millennial aesthetic,” she argues, that “aims its appeal at everyone” by promising that these objects represent the “objectively correct way for things to look,” perfected by technology and innovation. In the age of aristocracy, however, interior design was for the wealthy, who filled their gilded homes with objet d’arts—an ivory tobacco tamp shaped like a finger, a tiny painted porcelain-and-gold lady’s leg, an engraved steel trout-cum-caviar dish. Such adornments, part of the famed Masterson Collection, comprise this virtual exhibition, which celebrates the intricate handiwork of a bygone era. —C.J.F.

Museum of Fine Arts 1001 Bissonnet St, Houston, TX 77005, USA
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