ROM Research Colloquium: Dr. Peter Kaellgren

Posted: January 21, 2013 - 09:06 , by ROM
World Art & Culture, Research | Comments () | Comment
Dr. Peter Kaellgren on a recent trip to the Louvre
Name: Peter Kaellgren
Title: Curator Emeritus, Department of World Cultures (Speciality European decorative arts from 1500 onwards)
On February 8th from 9:15am to 6:30pm ROM experts deliver fascinating 15-minute presentations on the latest research in the arts, archaeology and pure and applied sciences. Free (Museum admission not included). Signy & Cléophée Eaton Theatre. Please enter the ROM by the President's Choice School Entrance, located at the south end of the building on Queen’s Park.

What are you going to talk about at the colloquium this year?

I am discussing a large imposing marble centrepiece mounted in a bronze base designed by a French sculptor. It was acquired by the ROM in 2009 and is currently on display in the European Galleries. My talk entitled "A Centrepiece by Froment Meurice: Luxury Objects at the World's Fairs" will examine this ultimate French luxury object from the 1860s in the context of Worlds Fairs as international events and in the terms of Victorian design and history.

How did you first become interested in this topic?
In 2009, Sotheby's, Canada, applied for an Export Permit to send this centrepiece for auction in New York City. As an Expert Examiner for Customs Canada, I refused the Export Permit and then worked with Sotheby's and the ROM Foundation to acquire this piece for the ROM collection which includes a number of important examples of display pieces from World Expositions. In researching the piece for the Export Permit, I was able to determine its rarity and importance to the history of design.

What part of your research do you enjoy the most?

I am really excited when I discover an important example of design or technology in the decorative arts and then able to confirm its importance through research. This takes years of experience, reading and contacts and the ability to remember things that you have seen or facts that you have read. The attached image from 2007 shows me in the salon of Empress Eugenie preserved as part of her apartments at the Louvre in Paris. She was the wife of Emperor Napoleon III and played an important role in supporting the arts and luxury trades that resulted in the production of the ROM's centrepiece.