A Sense of Proportion: Architect-Designed Objects, 1650–1950

Saturday, September 24, 2016
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Location: Brown Auditorium Theater, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston | 1001 Bissonnet

Rienzi, the MFAH house museum for European decorative arts, presents its biennial symposium. This edition focuses on objects that are the embodiments or extensions of an architect’s ideas or aesthetic. Scholars discuss objects made for particular spaces, objects used to explore new design sources, and objects intended to be part of an integrated space.

Look below for the full schedule of the day’s events.

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Keynote Address
Presented by Adriano Aymonino, coordinator of undergraduate programs, department of art history, University of Buckingham
Adriano Aymonino’s main academic interest is the reception of the classical tradition in the Early Modern period, with a particular focus on Britain. He is working on a revised edition of Francis Haskell and Nicholas Penny’s “Taste and the Antique,” and on a project tracing the impact of antiquarian publications on 17th- and 18th-century European art and architecture. Aymonino obtained his PhD at the University of Venice and has held postdoctoral fellowships at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and at the Getty Research Institute.


  • 10 a.m. Welcome: Christine Gervais, director, Rienzi; curator, decorative arts 
  • 10:15 a.m. Keynote “Robert Adam (1728–1792) and the Sources of the ‘True Style of Antique Decoration,’” Adriano Aymonino, University of Buckingham
  • 11:30 a.m. Coffee break
  • 12 noon–12:20 p.m. “Baroque Furnishings: Aesthetics and Design in Giacomo Amato’s Graphic Oeuvre (1643–1732),” Sabina de Cavi, professor, University of Córdoba
  • 12:25–12:45 p.m. “Marvelous Volumes: Artistry of the 18th-Century British Designer’s Manuscript,” Elizabeth Deans, assistant director, Smithsonian-George Mason University
  • 12:45–1:45 p.m. Lunch break
  • 1:50–2:10 p.m. “Jean-Démosthène Dugourc’s 1787 Model for a Jewel Cabinet and the Stakes of Royal Furniture Design in Pre-Revolutionary France,” Iris Moon, visiting assistant professor, Pratt Institute
  • 2:15–2:35 p.m. “The Furniture Design Legacy of Karl Friedrich Schinkel,” Serena Newmark, doctoral student and English-language children’s programs assistant, Museum August Kestner
  • 2:35–3 p.m. Coffee break
  • 3:05–3:25 p.m. “The Quality of Calmness and Clarity: Heinrich Tessenow’s Search for Objectivity in the Design of Furniture and Household Goods,” Jurjen Zeinstra, doctoral student and associate professor, University of Technology
  • 3:30–3:50 p.m. “Transitional Moments: Architectural Hardware, Marcel Breuer, and the Bauhaus in America,” Robert Wiesenberger, doctoral student and curatorial fellow, Harvard Art Museums
  • 3:55 p.m. Closing remarks: Christine Gervais