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Release: June 6, 2000

Exhibition of Haviland China will be at UI Museum of Art June 22 through Aug. 13.

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- "Dining with Flowers: Haviland Porcelain from 1860 to 1910," an exhibition examining the diverse role of floral decoration in the dining rooms and on the tables of America's upper classes toward the end of the 19th century, will be on view June 22-Aug. 13 in the University of Iowa Museum of Art.

The exhibition will coincide with the 11th Annual Haviland Collectors Conference, to be held in Iowa City June 22- 25. The conference, which will feature workshops, lectures and an
all-Haviland china show and sale, will also be titled "Dining with Flowers."

The exhibition has been organized by Wallace Tomasini, former director of the UI School of Art and Art History, who is also one of the three co-chairs of the conference. The accompanying catalog was written by Robert Rorex, a faculty member in the UI School of Art and Art History.

Preceding the exhibition and the conference, Smulekoff's in Cedar Rapids will hold "Haviland Days." During business hours on three days -- 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 17; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, June 18; and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday, June 19 -- both vintage and modern Haviland porcelain will be on display at Smulekoff's store, 97 Third Ave. SE in Cedar Rapids, with floral displays created by members of the Cedar Rapids and area garden clubs.

These floral displays will also be on view at the Museum of Art June 22-25.

During "Haviland Days," Smulekoff's will also present "Porcelain Roadshow," from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 17; and 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 18. Experts on Haviland porcelain will be available for consultation with members of the public, who can bring in their own Haviland for review.

The museum's exhibition will illustrate changing styles of floral designs applied to porcelain dinner service in the period between the Civil War and World War I. These dinner services will be placed in the context of the silver, crystal and linen that completed a formal dining table setting.

The exhibition will also feature pieces from past presidential dinner services. Several U.S presidents including Lincoln, Grant, McKinley, Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson have dined from either original Haviland dinner services or copies specifically based on Haviland designs.

In the early years of the 19th century, the Haviland family were merchants selling chinaware in New York. In 1842 David Haviland went to Limoges, France, where there were several well-established porcelain manufacturing companies in search of high quality chinaware for the American market. He eventually settled with his family in Limoges, in order to represent the Haviland family business interests in France. By 1865 the Haviland company, directed by his son, Charles Edward Haviland, was the largest exporter of Limoges porcelain to the United States.

The growth of the Haviland family business coincided with the development of the United States into a world economic power. During the years after the Civil War, the new industrial and agricultural barons of the upper-middle and upper classes created a leisure-class society, decorating their homes with the china of European aristocracy, much of it from Limoges. Consequently, the Haviland name became nationally associated with elegant dining, and the expression "Whatever you do, save the Haviland," popular in the theater and literature of the day, attests to its widely recognized value.

The development of specific styles of floral decoration will be traced in the exhibition. The general popularity of floral motifs developed into an elaborate language of embellishment. In the wealthier houses of America, private hot houses, solariums and conservatories flourished, as did an interest in the cultivation of exotic plant species. The exhibition will feature photographs and prints of real flowers that were used in the design of the porcelain.

Tomasini has been a collector of Haviland porcelain for more than 50 years. "My collecting of 19th-century porcelain was generated by my interest, as an art historian, in the cultural context of these objects," he explained. "I believe that functional objects have the same ability to define and reveal a specific culture and its aesthetic values as do the monuments of architecture, painting and sculpture that have traditionally been perceived as significant cultural indicators."

In conjunction with the exhibition at the Museum of Art, the UI Library will present an exhibition of major botanical and horticultural books, as well as culinary arts books of the 19th century available in its collections. Material from the Archives of the Haviland Collectors Internationale Foundation and Haviland Collectors Internationale Educational Foundation housed in the library's special collections department will also be displayed.

For further information on the Haviland collectors' conference, please contact Jean Kendall at (319) 337-9211, Fax (319) 337-2561 or email For reservations at the City Plaza Hotel, 210 S. Dubuque St., Iowa City, IA 52240, please fax c/o Blair (319) 337-9045.

The UI Museum of Art, located on North Riverside Drive in Iowa City, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. Public metered parking is available in UI parking lots across from the museum on Riverside Drive and just north of the museum.

For information on the UI Museum of Art, visit on the World Wide Web. Information is available on other UI arts events at