Monthly Archives: October 2013

Posted in Art & Archives, Manuscripts and Books

The Medieval Battle That Launched Modern English

Scenes from the Life of Saint Alexis in the St. Albans Psalter / Alexis Master
Dombibliothek Hildesheim

English owes its rich vocabulary to a military conquest that took place 947 years ago. More»

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Posted in Art, Art & Archives, Exhibitions and Installations, J. Paul Getty Museum, Miscellaneous, Photographs, Film, and Video

My Kid Could Shoot That!—Abelardo Morell’s Work from a Child’s Perspective

Laura and Brady in the Shadow of Our House / Abelardo Morell
Laura and Brady in the Shadow of Our House, 1994, Abelardo Morell

Artist Abelardo Morell set out early in his career to capture a series of images that display the menace and wonder of everyday objects as they appear to a child. More»

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Posted in Art, Art & Archives, Education, Exhibitions and Installations, Getty Center, J. Paul Getty Museum, Prints and Drawings

The Art of Suggestion

Poetry of Paper haiku station with visitors

Visitors to the Getty Museum’s exhibition The Poetry of Paper reflect on negative space in the drawings on view by writing haiku. More»

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Posted in Art, Art & Archives, J. Paul Getty Museum, Prints and Drawings

Father-and-Daughter Pastels by William Hoare Now on View

Henry Hoare, "The Magnificent," of Stourhead; Susannah Hoare, Viscountess Dungarvan, later Countess of Ailesbury
L: Henry Hoare, “The Magnificent,” of Stourhead, about 1750–1760, William Hoare. R: Susannah Hoare, Viscountess Dungarvan, later Countess of Ailesbury, about 1750–1760, William Hoare

Newly acquired portraits tell the unusual story of British banking heir Henry Hoare and the artist who depicted him. More»

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

Getty Voices: Living with the St. Albans Psalter

Conservator's hands holding the parchment of the St. Albans Psalter
Artwork: Dombibliothek Hildesheim. Photo: Peter Kidd

Studying a precious manuscript, page by page, illumination by illumination. More»

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Posted in Ancient World, Art & Archives, Behind the Scenes, Exhibitions and Installations

Why the Cyrus Cylinder Matters Today

The Cyrus Cylinder as installed at the Getty Villa
The Cyrus Cylinder, Achaemenid, after 539 B.C. Terracotta, 22.9 x 10 cm. The British Museum

Why is this small cylinder of baked clay so famous around the world? More»

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Posted in Architecture and Design, Art & Archives, Behind the Scenes, Conservation, Editor's Picks, Getty Conservation Institute

What’s in a Wood? How Science Helps to Reveal the Eames’ Vision

The living room in the Eames House after conservation and reinstallation
The living room in the Eames House after conservation and reinstallation of the collection. The floor-to-ceiling wall of beautiful golden wood serves as the stunning backdrop for the room. Getty Conservation Institute

Conservators make an intriguing finding about the wood in the Eames House. More»

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Posted in Art, Art & Archives, Exhibitions and Installations

The Fearless Modernity of Canterbury Stained Glass

Leonie Seliger and Laura Atkinson
Leonie Seliger and Laura Atkinson, glass conservators from Canterbury Cathedral!

What does Jackson Pollock have to do with medieval stained glass? Leonie Seliger explains. More»

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      #ProvenancePeek: Titian in Boston

      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.

      Portrait of a Man Holding a Book, in the collection of Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, is no exception. The MFA carefully details the painting’s Italian provenance on its collection page, but the path of this object even since then is complex.

      Between 1901 and 1907, Portrait of a Man Holding a Book entered the stock of no less than three galleries, purchased from the Italian family who owned it first by Agnew’s in London, then by Trotti in Paris, and then by Cottier in New York (marking its movement from the Old World to the New). A collector purchased it from Cottier, and the painting was held privately for 36 years.

      That collector was Frederick Bayley Pratt (1865–1945), son of Charles Pratt, oil magnate and founder of the Brooklyn Institute that bears his family’s name (incidentally, this writer’s alma mater!). 

      The Knoedler Gallery dealt frequently with members of the Pratt family. A quick peek into the searchable database of Knoedler’s stock books turns up nine instances in which a Pratt (Charles and Mary, Frederick’s parents, or Herbert and John, his brothers) bought works, as well as five instances where they sold works. This Titian portrait is one of those instances. Frederick Pratt sold the work to Knoedler in early April of 1943, and by the 10th, it had been snapped up by the Museum of Fine Arts.

      Knoedler shared the sale with Pinakos, an art-dealing concern owned and operated by Rudolf J. Heinemann. Purchasing works in tandem with other dealers was a widespread practice amongst powerful art galleries of the time; nearly 6,000 records in the Knoedler database had joint ownership.

      The stock books of the Knoedler Gallery have recently been transformed into a searchable database that anyone can query for free. You can find this Titian under stock number A2555.

      Portrait of a Man Holding a Book, about 1540, Titian (Tiziano Vecellio). Oil on canvas. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Charles Potter Kling Fund. Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; stock and sales books documenting the painting’s sale by M. Knoedler & Co.

      _______

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

      04/29/16

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