The Newberry Receives Sotheby's Prize and Commendation for Upcoming Exhibition | Newberry

The Newberry Receives Sotheby's Prize and Commendation for Upcoming Exhibition

Illustration from Stradanus’s Nova Reperta, ca. 1580

November 2019

Sotheby’s today announced the winners of the 2019 Sotheby’s Prize, which celebrates curatorial excellence and champions the work of innovative institutions who strive to break new ground by exploring overlooked or underrepresented areas of art history.

The Newberry is one of four institutions to earn a commendation and prize of $10,000 from Sotheby’s. The prize will support the Newberry’s upcoming exhibition Renaissance Invention: Stradanus’s “Nova Reperta.”

Opening April 18, 2020, the exhibition explores the conception of novelty and technology through an unprecedented study of Nova Reperta, a late sixteenth-century print series that celebrated the marvels of the age, including the stirrup, the cure for syphilis, and the so-called discovery of America.

“By mounting Renaissance Invention, we’re inviting visitors to explore universal themes that reverberate across time: change, disruption, and technological advancement,” said Lia Markey, co-curator of Renaissance Invention and Director of the Newberry Center for Renaissance Studies. “People living in the Renaissance expressed both excitement and anxiety about the innovations of their time – a mix of emotions we see reflected in society today.”

“This is a very creative way to approach the exhibition of a sixteenth-century print series that might otherwise not go on display,” said Emilie Gordenker, one of the members of the Sotheby’s Prize Jury Panel and the Director Designate of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

“The Newberry is honored to receive this commendation from Sotheby’s, which will enable us to mount this engaging, free exhibition in our newly renovated galleries,” said Daniel Greene, President and Librarian of the Newberry. “Renaissance Invention advances the Newberry’s mission of exploring the past and drawing connections to the present in ways that matter to people in Chicago and beyond.”

“With support from Sotheby’s, we are using the Newberry’s rich collection, in dialogue with artifacts from the Art Institute of Chicago and the Adler Planetarium, to examine a tumultuous era of globalization, colonization, and warfare,” said Suzanne Karr Schmidt, co-curator of Renaissance Invention and George Amos Poole III Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts at the Newberry. “Exhibition visitors will relate to the ways in which people grappled with the rapid pace of technological change four centuries ago.”