Thursday, 29 September 2016

Maximilan's fan and other hidden fan treasures

When traveling through Europe during the holiday season, one question is always: Are there somewhere fans? You may call it special interest or obsession, but there it is. And one can, indeed, make some "trouvailles". This happened in Padua (Padova) where the Zuckermann Palace, Corso Giuseppe Garibaldi 33 houses the Museum of Applied Arts. Already when approaching it, one sees in one window of the facade a big fan:
The museum shows some fans from the 18th and 19th century in its permanent exhibition, as well as paintings that feature fans: 
Most interesting monture (ca.1720) with a leaf a hundred years younger  
Beautiful 18th century fan with mother of pearl sticks
 Portrait of a lady (detail), last quarter of the 18th century. 

If one goes up to the last floor in the same building, one enters the "Bottacin Museum", the legacy of Nicolò Bottacin (1805 Vicenza-1876 Padova). He was a famous collector, experienced botanist and held important public positions in Trieste. Part of the cultural elite, he was a friend of Archduke Maximilian who visited him often in the Villa Bottacin. More than 50.000 coins are part of his collection, together with arms and armour. But if one penetrates all rooms towards the last, one gets to an unexpected exhibit: a glazed wooden case with a hat and a fan. 

 The sombrero and fan used by Emperor Maximilian of Mexico

When Maximilian was assassinated in Querétaro (Mexico) in 1867, N. Bottacin asked, as a token of his friendship with Maximilian, for some memorabilia. And he got the hat and fan, in the original case with the Mexican eagle on top. 
From Maximilian, it is only a short mental step to Franz-Joseph's Vienna. The Museum of Applied Arts (MAK) shows wonderful Art Nouveau objects in its permanent exhibition. Amongst them a fan made by Wiener Werkstätte:  
Fan made by Wiener Werkstätte with tissue called "Kropftaube" ("pouter pigeon") designed by C.O. Czeschka, ca. 1910; silk, wooden sticks painted white.