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Notes on Professor Walter Denny

Walter Denny was lucky, in addition to a brilliant mind he was exposed to the influences of his uncle Charles Grant Ellis, the great collector Joseph V, McMullan and Professor Emeritus Cary Welch of Harvard. Luck was only a small part in the magnificent career he has fashioned.

Walter S. Denny is Professor of Islamic Art at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Mass. Amherst and was formerly Honorary Curator for Oriental Carpets at the Fogg Art Museum as well as a Trustee of The Textile Museum, in Washington DC. Denny is one of the United States leading scholars in Islamic art and also in the field of Oriental Carpets.

Walter B. Denny

Walter B. Denny joined the faculty of the UM/A Art History Program in 1970. His primary field of teaching and research is the art and architecture of the Islamic world, in particular the artistic traditions of the Ottoman Turks, Islamic carpets and textiles, and issues of economics and patronage in Islamic art. In the past decade, his interests have also turned to the matter of imagery of the Islamic world in the art of Europe and the West from late medieval times onward. His recent publications include the books Gardens of Paradise: Ottoman Turkish Tiles of the 15th-17th Centuries (Istanbul, 1998); Masterpieces of Anatolian Carpets from the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, Istanbul (Bern, 2001); Ipek: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London, 2002); and The Classical Tradition in Anatolian Carpets (Washington D.C., 2002). Iznik and the Ottoman Tradition is scheduled for publication in 2004 in Paris (Editions Citadelles et Mazenod). Current projects include catalogues for two major collections of Islamic art, and a number of articles on Ottoman art and orientalism; he is also preparing to have a substantial part of his archive of over 140,000 color slides digitized by the Mellon Foundation.

In addition to teaching a two-semester survey sequence on Islamic art and architecture, usually offered in the fall semester, Walter has taught a large undergraduate topical survey course, Introduction to the Visual Arts, every fall for over three decades. His upper-level courses have focused on various aspects of Islamic and European art, including an historical survey of the art of the oriental carpet, and a course on orientalism in Western art. In recent years, he has also taught the Graduate Museum Studies Seminar and a one-credit graduate course entitled Images and Reproductions in the History of Art, a course that examines both the history of use of images in the discipline, and the practical problems of obtaining images for one's scholarly work, including issues of copyright, photography of art, electronic media, and permissions to publish.

Walter has served as a Trustee of The Textile Museum (Washington) and was for three decades Honorary Curator of Carpets and Textiles at the Harvard University Art Museums in Cambridge. He is presently Consulting Curator for Islamic Art at the Smith College Museum of Art, and was recently appointed Charles Grant Ellis Research Fellow in Oriental Carpets at The Textile Museum. He is active as a lecturer and as a consultant to museums and other institutions. He is married to Alice Robbins, a professional musician (Baroque cello and viola da gamba) who is also an instructor in the Five College Early Music Program, and is the father of Matthew, born in 1988. Walter performs as a tenor soloist and chorister with Da Camera Singers, Singers Project, Arcadia Players, and the New England Bach Festival’s Blanche Moyse Chorale. http://www.umass.edu/arthist/denny.htm

 
Denny, Walter B. Iznik: The Artistry of Ottoman Ceramics. Thames & Hudson, 2005. Hardcover ISBN: 0500511926

FROM THE PUBLISHER
The most up-to-date survey available of one of the best known and best loved forms of Islamic art.
Walter B. Denny, Professor of Art History at the University of Massachusetts, offers new perspectives on one of the most popular Islamic art forms. Covering both Iznik pièces de forme and the famous Iznik tiles that decorate Ottoman imperial monuments, the book integrates the entire spectrum of Iznik production, both titles and wares, with the broader artistic tradition in which it originated.

Professor Denny begins with a discussion of the particular nature of Islamic art under the Ottomans. He then examines the relationship between the court style of Istanbul and the ceramic ateliers in Iznik in nearby Bithynia, and the crucial role of two styles—dubbed by the author the "enchanted forest" and "heavenly garden" (the saz and aux quartre fleurs styles)—and their creators, Shah Kulu and Kara Memi. Finally, he covers Iznik works with human or animal imagery, the patronage of non-Muslim communities within the Ottoman Empire, and the chronicle of destruction and damage of tiled monuments due to war, earthquake, and fire. The book ends with a look at the extraordinary historical legacy of Iznik ceramics, from early imitations in the Ottoman Empire and Europe to the astonishing appearance of ceramics in the Iznik style created by European studio potters in the nineteenth century.

The first study of Iznik ceramics to combine these different thematic elements, the book reflects Professor Denny's ambition, almost thirty-five years after completing his doctoral dissertation on Iznik tiles and after well over a dozen publications on the subject, to createa comprehensive overview of this beautiful and popular art form. 250 illustrations, 230 in color.

Denny, Walter B. The Classical Tradition in Anatolian Carpets. Scala Books, 2003

From the Publisher:
Anatolian carpets have been a part of European culture since the 14th Century, and they are among the most sought-after of all carpets by museums and collectors today. The Classical Tradition in Anatolian Carpets takes a fresh and concise look at Anatolian carpets dating from the 16th to the 20th century. It investigates the ways in which artistic traditions in Anatolia developed from roots ina "classical" period of carpet design, whose masterpieces have exerted a compelling influence on many generations of Anatolian weavers in subsequent centuries...
Drawing heavily on The Textile Museum's collection of masterpieces of Anatolian carpet weaving amassed by the Museum's founder, George Hewitt Myers, this book also includes carpets from a number of leading private collectors, The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, and the Jewish Museum in New York. In this book, published to coincide with and exhibition of the same title at The Textile Museum, Washington DC, Walter B. Denny's accessible text combines the latest research with new thinking on carpet designs, history and meanings.

Janson's History of Art: The Western Tradition Product Details: ISBN: 0131934554
Format: Hardcover, 1056pp
Pub. Date: February 2006
Publisher: Pearson Education
Edition Number: 7

FROM THE PUBLISHER
This four-part volume uses an exceptional art program-with sumptuous color pictures-to introduce readers to a succession of art styles from prehistoric times and ancient Egypt, to the vast world of Western painting, sculpture, architecture, photography, and the minor arts. Elegantly written, it contains a balanced and interesting narrative that increases ones ability to understand art. Parts I and II cover The Ancient World and The Middle Ages, with a look at prehistoric; Egyptian; ancient near eastern; Aegean; Greek; Etruscan; Roman; early Christian, Byzantine, and Medieval; Romanesque; and Gothic art. Part III looks at the Renaissance through the Rococo-with a focus on the early and high renaissance in Italy; mannerism and other trends; "Late Gothic" painting, sculpture, and the graphic arts; and the Baroque in Italy, Spain, Flanders, Holland, France and England. Part IV is a treatment on the modern world, including Neoclassicism and Romanticism; Realism and Impressionism; Post-impressionism, Symbolism, and Art Nouveau; Twentieth-Century painting, sculpture, architecture, and photography; and Postmodernism. For those who appreciate art as individual works, rather than a mere collection of data.
Ipek, Atasoy, Nurhan, Walter B. Denny, Louise W. Mackie and Hülya Tezcan: THE CRESCENT & THE ROSE. Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets. Lond on, 2001 . 360 pp. Colour and b/w plates. B/w text illustrations. 42x30 cm. Cloth.
GBP 95.00
This major study - magnificently illustrated - is the result of the first international research project on Ottoman textiles to attempt a classification of its key technical and decorative categories. It is also the first to offer a catalogue of dateable pieces, drawn from collections throughout the world and particularly those of the Topkapi Palace.
Subjects: Textiles

FROM THE PUBLISHER
Figured silk fabrics were among the most powerful and most characteristic artistic products of the Ottoman empire. Through their role as diplomatic gifts, silks came to symbolize the Ottoman imperium to foreigners, while at home they were an important vehicle for the transmission of artistic ideas, and a key factor in the economy. Wars were fought for control of silk revenues, and governments devoted major bureaucratic efforts towards the organization, regulation and taxation of silk production. Silks took a major role in Ottoman public ceremonies and in upper-class culture, denoting status and forming a part of the compensation of state officials. This book is the result of an international research project undertaken over a number of years. It is the first major study of Ottoman textiles to attempt a classification of the key technical and decorative categories, and is also the first to offer a catalogue of dateable textiles. The authors not only draw on the famous collections of the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul and other major museums around the world, but have rediscovered many lesser-known fabrics in ecclesiastical treasuries in Russia and Central Europe. New research in the Ottoman archives has shed documentary light on the legislation of silk production, and on the competing industries of Bursa and Istanbul. Examples of the three weaves favoured by the Ottomans, seraser (cloth of gold and silver), kadife (velvet) and kemha (a type of brocaded fabric) are illustrated in full-page colour illustrations, and black-and-white figures of many of the key design groups demonstrate the creativity of Ottoman weavers.

  • Denny, Walter B. Oriental Rugs
  • Denny, Walter B. Sotheby's Guide to Oriental Carpets
  • Pinner, Robert. and Denny, Walter. OCTS Vol. 3 N0. 1
  • Pinner, Robert. and Denny, Walter. OCTS Vol. 3 N0. 2
  • Taking a Closer Look at the Middle East
  • Denny, Walter. 1978 Ten Great Carpets, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Autumn 1977, Hali, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 156-64. London.
  • Denny, Walter B. "Review of The Art and Architecture of Islam, 1250-1800, by Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom" in Ars Orientalis. Vol. 26. 1996. 115-117.
  • Denny, Walter. "Mamluk and Ottoman Carpets" in World Rugs and Carpets: A Comprehensive Guide to the Design, Provenance and Buying of Carpets. Black, David (edited by). Feltham, Middlesex: Country Life, 1985. 60-65.
    • Walter S. Denny is Professor of Islamic Art at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Mass. Amherst and Honorary Curator for Oriental Carpets at the Fogg Art Museum. Denny is one of the United States leading scholars in Islamic art and also in the field of Oriental Carpets.

    • WALTER B. DENNY SUMMARY OF SCHOLARLY AND ACADEMIC ACTIVITY

    • Denny, Walter B. "Review of The Art and Architecture of Islam, 1250-1800, by Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom" in Ars Orientalis. Vol. 26. 1996. 115-117.

    • Denny, Walter. "Mamluk and Ottoman Carpets" in World Rugs and Carpets: A Comprehensive Guide to the Design, Provenance and Buying of Carpets. Black, David (edited by). Feltham, Middlesex: Country Life, 1985. 60-65.

    • "New Realities" --Walter Denny, HALI magazine

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