Berkshire Botanical Garden Presents “The Magic of Nicholas Mongiardo”

STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — For the first time in his 70-year career, Berkshire resident Nicholas Mongiardo presents a solo show of his signature lacquerwork at Berkshire Botanical Garden’s Leonhardt Galleries. The exhibition, “The Magic of Nicholas Mongiardo,” features screens, paintings and furniture showcasing more than two-dozen pieces spanning 30 years, and a body of work rarely seen in public. The exhibition opens with a gallery reception on Saturday, November 6, 3-5 p.m.

Mongiardo’s illustrious career began by visiting the Brooklyn Museum, inspired by decorative furniture and arts. His interest in lacquer and eggshell inlay led to importing antiques, restoration, and creating furniture with an emphasis on art deco. Experiments with eggshell inlay and lacquer in his designs produced a unique style of art acquired over the decades by collectors and exhibited in museums, including an original eggshell and lacquer bubble mirror, “The Theory of Evolution,” displayed at the Cooper Hewitt Museum.

The exhibition will feature Mongiardo’s “Birth of a Planet,” a series of seven paintings created during the pandemic utilizing tortoise and coromandel eggshell organic lacquer. Additional paintings focusing on botanical and animal subjects including flowers, squirrels and birds are also featured, all with Mongiardo’s signature “Mercedes finish” achieved in a process of layering up to ten coats of lacquer on each piece. All paintings are presented in hand-crafted frames of brass, leather, sheep skin, wood veneers, gold leaf, palladium or steel. Four sets of masterful four-panel screens include “The Garden of Eden,” “Zebras,” “Giraffes,” and “Water Lily Pads.” Also included is a ten-foot “viewing bench” of African Bubinga slab wood showcased in Bert Stern’s exhibition of limited-edition photographs of Marilyn Monroe at the Snow Gallery in New York.

Gallery hours through November 30 are weekdays, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. and weekends, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. The galleries will be closed on Thanksgiving.


The Squirrel Curious, 2014, blue tortoise lacquer and pale gold, 17 x 17 in white oak frame.

Photo by Robin Parow, Berkshire Botanical Garden

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