ARTstor is pleased to announce the addition of approximately 2,800 images of late 19th to early 20th century scenic design from American operatic theaters. This collection was made possible through collaboration with Alexander F. Adducci, former chair of the School of Theatre and Dance at Northern Illinois University.

Now housed in the Arts Annex of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, the Historic Scenic Collection is one of the largest scenic collections in the world and includes elements from almost 90 opera settings, with approximately 900 backdrops and borders, over 2200 framed scenic units, and 120 maquettes. It comprises virtually the entire repertoire of operas produced by Oscar Hammerstein’s Manhattan Opera Company, and also documents the development of opera theater in Chicago, with examples of theatrical scenery from the Chicago Civic Opera Company, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Chicago Grand Opera Company, and the Chicago Opera Association. With an excess of 5 million square feet of painted surfaces, the Historic Scenic Collection preserves examples from 1889-1932, considered to be the “golden age” of scene painting. Designed and painted by noted American and European scenic artists, the sets reflect the influence of contemporary design styles such as realism, romanticism, impressionism, modernism, and Art Nouveau. There are examples of numerous painting techniques (marbling, wood graining, foliage, mosaics, atmospheric effects, etc.), whether employed to evoke an aesthetic of romantic fantasy or historical accuracy.

For more information about this collection, see the Historic Scenic Collection (Alexander Adducci) page.

To browse these new ARTstor images, click on “Image Gallery” from the ARTstor “welcome page” and then select “Historic Secnic Collection (Alexander Adducci).” Or simply search the keyword phrase “niu adducci.”