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      European Art

      Reflecting PEM’s long history, our diverse holdings of European art foster connections across the museum.

      European Art

      PEM’s collection of European art reflects the unusual nature of the institution’s long history.

      This collection, comprising important works from the East India Marine Society and the Essex Institute, helps tell the story of early European colonists in and around Salem.

      Although European art was not the focus of the East India Marine Society’s early collecting, the society displayed European art from its inception in 1799. The first carefully selected acquisitions illustrate Salem’s early prominence as a cultural and trade capital. These early objects include both functional decorative art pieces, such as the glass wall sconces and chandeliers that lit East India Marine Hall, and more personal objects, such as a treasured early 16th-century carved rosary prayer bead donated in 1806 by Elias Hasket Derby Jr.

      From its inception in 1821, the Essex Institute collected relics from the region’s earliest European residents. Even prior to the American Revolution, Salem was an international port town. Ships brought British and French textiles, English silver, Liverpool and Staffordshire earthenware, Dutch Delftware, English and Irish glassware and other European decorative arts to local consumers. Wealthy Salem families also acquired art directly during grand tours of Europe.

      PEM’s more recent European art collecting has focused on works that link to other aspects of the collection. Recent acquisitions have enhanced PEM’s already strong maritime painting and ocean liner art collections and added works by European artists who traveled to Asia in the 18th and 19th centuries. The museum is one of the most important repositories for the work of Anglo-Irish artist George Chinnery, who painted in both India and China in the mid-19th century. The collection also features work by contemporary artists working in diverse media.

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      Highlights from this collection

      Prayer bead with the Coronation of the Virgin in Heaven and Judgment Day, about 1500–1530

      ON VIEW

      Prayer bead with the Coronation of the Virgin in Heaven and Judgment Day, about 1500–1530

      Adam Dirckz (around 1500, Netherlands) and workshop

      On view in Powerful Figures.

      Chandelier for East India Marine Hall, mid-1700s

      ON VIEW

      Chandelier for East India Marine Hall, mid-1700s

      Artists in England

      On view in East India Marine Hall.

      Pair of vases, USS Demologos and USS Constitution vs. HMS Guerriere, about 1817

      ON VIEW

      Pair of vases, USS Demologos and USS Constitution vs. HMS Guerriere, about 1817

      Pierre Louis Dagoty (1771–1840, France)

      On view in the Byrne Family Gallery of Maritime Art.

      Launching of an Armed Merchantman in Calcutta Harbor, 1791–96

      ON VIEW

      Launching of an Armed Merchantman in Calcutta Harbor, 1791–96

      Frans Balthazar Solvyns (1760–1824, Belgium)

      On view in the Sean M. Healey Family Gallery of Asian Export Art

      Dr. Thomas Richardson Colledge and His Assistant Afun in Their Ophthalmic Hospital, Macau, 1833

      ON VIEW

      Dr. Thomas Richardson Colledge and His Assistant Afun in Their Ophthalmic Hospital, Macau, 1833

      George Chinnery (1774–1852, United Kingdom)

      On view in the Sean M. Healey Family Gallery of Asian Export Art.

      Homeland, Blue and White, 2015

      ON VIEW

      Homeland, Blue and White, 2015

      Bouke de Vries (b. 1960, The Netherlands)

      On view in Japanomania! Japanese Art Goes Global

      "Stamp Act Repeal'd” teapot, 1766

      ON VIEW

      "Stamp Act Repeal'd” teapot, 1766

      Cockhill Pit Factory

      On view in On this Ground: Being and Belonging in America

      Two English Boys in Asian Clothing, about 1780

      ON VIEW

      Two English Boys in Asian Clothing, about 1780

      Tilly Kettle (1734–1786, United Kingdom)

      On view in the Sean M. Healey Family Gallery of Asian Export Art

      Potpourri vase, about 1740

      ON VIEW

      Potpourri vase, about 1740

      Artists in Paris

      On view in the Sean M. Healey Gallery of Asian Export Art

      Side chair from the grand salon on the ocean liner Normandie, 1934
      Side chair from the grand salon on the ocean liner Normandie, 1934

      Jean-Maurice Rothschild (1902–1998, France), Baptistin Spade (1891–1969, France), Émile Gaudissart (1872–1956, France), and Aubusson Manufacturers

      Prayer bead with the Coronation of the Virgin in Heaven and Judgment Day, about 1500–1530
      Prayer bead with the Coronation of the Virgin in Heaven and Judgment Day, about 1500–1530

      Adam Dirckz (around 1500, Netherlands) and workshop, Prayer bead with the Coronation of the Virgin in Heaven and Judgment Day, about 1500–1530. Carved boxwood. Gift of Elias Hasket Derby Jr., 1806. M557.A.

      On view in Powerful Figures.

      Armor, helmet and cuirass, used for the gioco del ponte (contest on the bridge) in Pisa, before 1807
      Armor, helmet and cuirass, used for the gioco del ponte (contest on the bridge) in Pisa, before 1807

      Artists in Italy, Armor, helmet and cuirass, used for the gioco del ponte (contest on the bridge) in Pisa, before 1807. Painted iron. Gift of Captain Samuel Dudley Tucker, 1807. E304084.1-2. Photo by Dennis Helmar.

      On view in Salem Stories.

      Chandelier for East India Marine Hall, mid-1700s
      Chandelier for East India Marine Hall, mid-1700s

      Artists in England, Chandelier for East India Marine Hall, mid-1700s. Cut glass. Gift of Captain Benjamin Carpenter, 1804. M81.

      On view in East India Marine Hall.

      Pair of vases, USS Demologos and USS Constitution vs. HMS Guerriere, about 1817
      Pair of vases, USS Demologos and USS Constitution vs. HMS Guerriere, about 1817

      Pierre Louis Dagoty (1771–1840, France), Pair of vases, USS Demologos and USS Constitution vs. HMS Guerriere, about 1817. Porcelain and marble. Museum purchase, made possible by an anonymous donor, 1998. M27413.1-2.

      On view in the Byrne Family Gallery of Maritime Art.

      Launching of an Armed Merchantman in Calcutta Harbor, 1791–96
      Launching of an Armed Merchantman in Calcutta Harbor, 1791–96

      Frans Balthazar Solvyns (1760–1824, Belgium), Launching of an Armed Merchantman in Calcutta Harbor, 1791–96. Oil on panel. Museum purchase, made possible by an anonymous donor, 1994. M26444.

      On view in the Sean M. Healey Family Gallery of Asian Export Art

      Dr. Thomas Richardson Colledge and His Assistant Afun in Their Ophthalmic Hospital, Macau, 1833
      Dr. Thomas Richardson Colledge and His Assistant Afun in Their Ophthalmic Hospital, Macau, 1833

      George Chinnery (1774–1852, United Kingdom), Dr. Thomas Richardson Colledge and His Assistant Afun in Their Ophthalmic Hospital, Macau, 1833. Oil on canvas. Gift of Cecilia Colledge, in memory of her father, Lionel Colledge, FRCS, 2003. M23017.

      On view in the Sean M. Healey Family Gallery of Asian Export Art.

      Homeland, Blue and White, 2015
      Homeland, Blue and White, 2015

      Bouke de Vries (b. 1960, The Netherlands), Homeland, Blue and White, 2015. 17th-century Chinese and Japanese porcelain and Dutch delftware fragments. Museum purchase. 2016.2.1A-F.

      On view in Japanomania! Japanese Art Goes Global

      "Stamp Act Repeal'd” teapot, 1766
      "Stamp Act Repeal'd” teapot, 1766

      Cockhill Pit Factory, "Stamp Act Repeal'd” teapot, 1766. Glazed earthenware. Gift of Professor Richard C. Manning, 1933. 121493.AB.

      On view in On this Ground: Being and Belonging in America

      Two English Boys in Asian Clothing, about 1780
      Two English Boys in Asian Clothing, about 1780

      Tilly Kettle (1734–1786, United Kingdom), Two English Boys in Asian Clothing, about 1780. Oil on canvas. Museum purchase, made possible by an anonymous donor. 2011.40.1.

      On view in the Sean M. Healey Family Gallery of Asian Export Art

      Potpourri vase, about 1740
      Potpourri vase, about 1740

      Artists in Paris, Potpourri vase, about 1740. Chinese, Japanese, and French porcelain and French gilded bronze. Museum purchase, made possible by an anonymous donor, 1994. E84084.AB. Photo by Dennis Helmar.

      On view in the Sean M. Healey Gallery of Asian Export Art

      Side chair from the grand salon on the ocean liner Normandie, 1934
      Side chair from the grand salon on the ocean liner Normandie, 1934

      Jean-Maurice Rothschild (1902–1998, France), Baptistin Spade (1891–1969, France), Émile Gaudissart (1872–1956, France), and Aubusson Manufacturers, Side chair from the grand salon on the ocean liner Normandie, 1934. Gilded wood, metal, and wool and silk tapestry. Museum purchase. 2015.10.1.

      Loans and acquisitions

      Loans and acquisitions

      PEM is committed to providing the broadest possible access to its collection through the loan of objects for educational and scholarly purposes. Learn how to request a loan from the museum’s collection.

      Keep exploring

      Past Exhibition

      Ocean Liners: Glamour, Speed, and Style

      May 20 to October 9, 2017

      PEMcast

      PEMcast 13: #newpem

      10 min listen