Behind the Scenes, Gardens and Architecture, Getty Villa, Photographs, Film, and Video, Voices

The Waltz of the Hummingbirds

Photographer and nature-whisper Tahnee Cracchiola continues her week on Getty Voices sharing her stunning series of encounters with wildlife at the Getty Villa. Here she shares her surprising dance with two hummingbirds.


After I completed the photography of the sculpture gardens at the Getty Center, I was relocated to the Getty Villa to photograph for the Gardens and Plants of the Getty Villa publication. While shooting on the Roman Road near the entrance of the museum, I came upon a patch of acanthus flowers. I started shooting away and then heard a buzzing sound…more like a whizzing sound…and then a hummingbird flashed across my lens. He came back again dancing around the flower. I literally held my breath! And then a brown hummingbird came into frame—I assumed it was the female. The two greeted each other and then began their beautiful waltz.

All images by Tahnee Cracchiola © 2009 J. Paul Getty Trust

It was such an inspiring moment and a most interesting sight. Not only of the birds, but of me photographing because I was on my back in the middle of the road. I heard cars behind me and realized that the security guards had surrounded me and made the traffic wait for me to finish the shoot. Now that’s what I call teamwork for the sake of art!

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One Comment

  1. Lisa
    Posted November 25, 2013 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Stunning!!

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      #ProvenancePeek: July 31

      Every art object has a story—not only of how it was made, but of how it changed hands over time until it found its current home. That story is provenance.

      This small panel by Dutch master Gerrit Dou (photographed only in black and white) is now in the collection of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. It was sold to American collector Robert Sterling Clark, an heir to the Singer sewing machine fortune, in the summer of 1922.

      How do we know this? Archival sleuthing! A peek into the handwritten stock books of M. Knoedler & Co. (book 7, page 10, row 40, to be exact) records the Dou in “July 1922” (right page, margin). Turning to the sales books, which lists dates and prices, we again find the painting under the heading “New York July 1922,” with its inventory number 14892. A tiny “31” in superscript above Clark’s name indicates the date the sale was recorded.

      M. Knoedler was one of the most influential dealers in the history of art, selling European paintings to collectors whose collections formed the genesis of great U.S. museums. The Knoedler stock books have recently been digitized and transformed into a searchable database, which anyone can query for free.

      Girl at a Window, 1623–75, Gerrit Dou. Oil on panel, 10 9/16 x 7 ½ in. Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts


      #ProvenancePeek is a monthly series by research assistant Kelly Davis peeking into #onthisday provenance finds from the M. Knoedler & Co. archives at the Getty Research Institute.

      07/31/15

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