Folding fan with views of the monuments of Rome

c. 1780–1800
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General Description

Wendy and Emery Reves's fan collection was one of their most distinguished areas of collecting and was of particular interest to Wendy Reves. She collected nearly 110 examples dating from the early 18th to the early 20th century. The more than thirty fans now in the Dallas Museum of Art's collection represent the core of her 18th-century holdings.

Rome, famous for its architecture, was a requisite stop on the Grand Tour during the 18th century. To commemorate their arrival in the Eternal City, many travelers purchased fans that depicted famous Roman attractions. The central reserve on this fan features St. Pete's Basilica with its forecourt and Bernini colonnades. The monuments depicted to either side are likely the columns of Trajan and Marcus Aurelius. The views were probably adapted from one of the many engravings of the monuments of Rome done by artists like Giovanni Battista Piranesi. Separating the scenes are Pompeiian-style panels with cameos. The verso is simply decorated with sprigs of flowers. The rivet joining the sticks holds a paste jewel.

Adapted from

Dallas Museum of Art, Decorative Arts Highlights from the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection (Dallas, Texas: Dallas Museum of Art, 1995), 25 and 41.

Web Resources

Dallas Museum of Art
Read more about the 2007 DMA exhibition A Painting in the Palm of Your Hand.

Fan Association of North America
Watch a demonstration of the language of fans at the 30th Assemblage of the Fan Association of North America.