Monthly Archives: January 2012

Posted in Behind the Scenes, Getty Research Institute

Fire and Ice: Artists Get Ready for the Pacific Standard Time Festival

A visitor admires one of the original Disappearing Environments structures in 1968. Photo: Lloyd Hamrol

From January 19 to 29, the Pacific Standard Time Performance and Public Art Festival will present more than 30 new public art commissions and re-invented works of performance art inspired by the amazing history of art in Southern California. As… More»

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Posted in J. Paul Getty Museum, Photographs, Film, and Video

Cocteau Dreams, In Nitrate

Still from Jean Cocteau's Blood of a Poet

“One of the characteristics of the dream is that nothing surprises us in it. With no regret, we agree to live in it with strangers, completely cut off from our habits and friends.”―Jean Cocteau We’re offering an array of films… More»

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Posted in Art, Exhibitions and Installations, J. Paul Getty Museum, Manuscripts and Books

The Manuscript Files: A Demon Whispering Sweet Nothings

Detail of Initial D: The Fool with Two Demons / Master of the Ingeborg Psalter

One of my favorite details from the current exhibition Gothic Grandeur comes from a French psalter of the early 1200s. A hallmark of Gothic art was an increasing sensitivity to the natural world, which led not only to a new… More»

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Posted in Antiquities, Architecture and Design, Getty Foundation, Philanthropy, Publications

Unlocking the Secrets of an Ancient Fountain

“Mudmen” pose in front of Chambers I and II at Peirene, on or about July 6, 1909

Do you picture archaeological sites as dry, dusty piles of stones? Meet Peirene, an ancient Greek ruin so tantalizing that archaeologists have literally died for it. Dry and dusty this place is not. The story of the alluring ruin is… More»

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Posted in Exhibitions and Installations, Sculpture and Decorative Arts

The Ordinary Becomes Mystical: A Conversation with Betye Saar

Betye Saar at the Getty Center, November 16, 2011

On a Sunday, you might find artist Betye Saar at the Pasadena College flea market, scouting for treasures. The energetic 85-year-old is still an active hunter of offbeat and unusual objects, which she combines into sculptures filled with personal, spiritual,… More»

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Posted in Art, Behind the Scenes, Getty Research Institute

Treasures from the Vault: Artwork by Richard Tuttle Discovered in the Archive of Galerie Schmela

Detail of calligraphy in a letter from Richard Tuttle to Alfred Schmela, 1968

As I was recently working on the archive of  the German art dealer Alfred Schmela, I discovered an unusual  mailing  sent by American postminimalist artist Richard Tuttle. Addressed to Alfred Schmela and his wife Monika in Düsseldorf, Germany, it was… More»

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      #ProvenancePeek: Shark Attack!

      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 dynamic painting of a 1749 shark attack in Havana, Cuba, by John Singleton Copley was too good to paint only once. The original hangs at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. A second full-sized version of the painting, which Copley created for himself, was inherited by his son and eventually gifted to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

      The third version (shown here) is slightly reduced in size, with a more vertical composition. It resides in the Detroit Institute of Arts.

      A quick peek into the digitized stock and sales books of art dealer M. Knoedler & Co. at the Getty Research Institute shows the sale of Copley’s masterpiece. It was entered under stock number A3531 in July 1946 and noted as being sold to the Gallery by Robert Lebel, a French writer and art expert. The Knoedler clerk also carefully records the dimensions of the painting—30 ¼ x 36 inches, unframed.

      On the right side of the sales page you’ll find the purchaser listed as none other than the Detroit Institute of Arts. The corresponding sales book page gives the address: Woodward Ave, Detroit, Mich., still the location of the museum.

      Watson and the Shark, 1782, John Singleton Copley. Detroit Institute of Arts

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      #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.

      02/10/16

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