Posted in Art, Art & Archives, Behind the Scenes, Conservation, Getty Conservation Institute, Getty Research Institute, J. Paul Getty Museum, Sculpture and Decorative Arts, technology

Conserving Lichtenstein’s “Three Brushstrokes”

Three Brushstrokes.  Copyright Estate of Roy Lichtenstein.  Gift of Fran and Ray Stark.
Three Brushstrokes. Copyright Estate of Roy Lichtenstein. Gift of Fran and Ray Stark.

A long lively stroke of deep brilliant blue, black, and white, a curved swipe of muted yellow, a short dab of red—perhaps you’ve seen artist Roy Lichtenstein’s colorful painted aluminum sculpture Three Brushstrokes on a visit to the Getty Center…. More»

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Posted in Behind the Scenes, Conservation, Getty Conservation Institute, Scholarship

From Green Umber to Azurite, Walnut Oil to Egyptian Sandstone, Reference Collection Helps Scientists Analyze Art Data

The Getty Conservation Institute's Art Kaplan, examining mineral samples found in the Reference Collection.

Art Kaplan is on a mission. At my request, he’s looking for a particular yellow pigment to show me—and there are hundreds of yellows to choose from, in drawers labeled Yellow Ochre, Lemon Ochre, Golden Yellow, French Yellow, and labels… More»

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Posted in Conservation, Getty Foundation

Getty Foundation Grant Allows Newly Conserved Cosmati Pavement to Be Unveiled at Royal Wedding

Conservators consolidating the Purbeck marble tracery within one of the original remaining roundels. Courtesy of Westminster Abbey.

The Cosmati Pavement, the medieval tile mosaic floor in front of the Abbey’s High Alter where Prince William and Middleton are expected to take their vows, has in past been rarely visible due to its age and condition, but the floor has been newly conserved thanks in large part to a grant from the Getty Foundation. More»

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Posted in Conservation, Getty Conservation Institute

What Do You Mean, “Sustainability and Cultural Heritage”?

Gold Rush-era building in Nevada City, California

When I talk about the importance of sustainability and cultural heritage, most people nod their heads—we’ve all heard the word “sustainable” in terms of the green revolution—but then a second later they usually ask, “Wait, what exactly do you mean?”… More»

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Posted in Art & Archives, Conservation, Getty Conservation Institute, Getty Foundation, Paintings

Dürer’s Conserved Adam and Eve Unveiled at the Prado

Conservator George Bisacca from the Metropolitan Museum of Art working on a panel. Image courtesy of the Museo del Prado

In 1507, German Renaissance painter Albrecht Dürer painted life-size figures of Adam and Eve, defining their forms with a fluid and continuous line.  These spectacular oil-on-panel paintings, which have just undergone a lengthy conservation, went on display again last week… More»

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Posted in Conservation, Getty Conservation Institute, Scholarship, technology

Ancient Greek Pottery Lends Its Secrets to Future Space Travel

XANES maps a) optical image showing black gloss (right) and coral red (left), b) distribution of Fe2+ species (measuring iron present in an oxidation state), and c) distribution of Fe3+ species (measuring specific minerals present).  Getty Conservation Institute

What do cutting-edge research into future space travel and the investigation of ancient ceramic pots have in common? More than you’d think. More»

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Posted in Art, Art & Archives, Getty Foundation

Finding Art (and Baskets) Online

Strawberry basket by Kelly Church (Ottawa/Chippewa) at the Autry

Bringing collections online in such a comprehensive way is a huge undertaking, encompassing not only cataloguing and technology but also photography, rights issues, and more. More»

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Posted in Art & Archives, Conservation, Getty Conservation Institute, Photographs, Film, and Video, technology

Photographic History Smells Oh So Sweet

Le Cardinal d'Amboise, Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, (1765–1833), about 1826. Heliograph on pewter. The Royal Photographic Society Collection at National Media Museum

I’m always amazed when science can provide a new glimpse into the life and works of an artist who lived long before my time. It makes me feel closer to the artist’s intention to be able to understand how he or… More»

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Posted in Art & Archives, Conservation, Getty Conservation Institute, Paintings

Inside the Getty Conservation Institute’s Modern and Contemporary Art Research Lab

Local conservator Chris Stavroudis and GCI Senior Scientist Tom Learner work on a painting by artist Doug Wheeler.
Local conservator Chris Stavroudis and GCI Senior Scientist Tom Learner work on a painting by artist Doug Wheeler.

I popped by the Getty Conservation Institute’s science labs this week to be met with a surprise:  a large white Doug Wheeler painting (1964, Untitled, acrylic) alongside the beakers and other scientific equipment.  Wheeler is best known for his neon… More»

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Posted in Art & Archives, Conservation, Getty Conservation Institute, Paintings

Conserving David Siqueiros’ “América Tropical”

Leslie Rainer, GCI senior project specialist, working on América Tropical

América Tropical, the only surviving public mural by David Alfaro Siqueiros in the United States, is one step closer to being on view to you and me. At El Pueblo Historic Monument in downtown Los Angeles, project leaders today broke… 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.

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      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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