About: Peter Tokofsky

I'm an education specialist for academic and adult programs at the Getty Museum. That's a roundabout way of saying I organize the public lecture series for the Getty Center, and work with local college faculty to engage students with our collections and exhibitions. I'm also an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Germanic Languages at UCLA, and lead a travel study program to Vienna and Berlin during the summer. My primary interests are German cultural history of the past 200 years, the work of visionary artists, and the culture of museums.

Posts by Peter

Posted in Art, J. Paul Getty Museum

The Future of Museums Is in Our Homes: Orhan Pamuk’s Museum Manifesto

Museum of Innocence

Inside the unusual museum of the Nobel Prize-winning author. More»

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Posted in Getty Research Institute, J. Paul Getty Museum

Being Jewish in Austria: Four Questions for Writer and Critic Ruth Kluger

Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna

This Sunday the Getty Research Institute and the Getty Museum are teaming up to present Arthur Schnitzler and Vienna 1900. The program begins with a staged reading of Arthur Schnitzler—Being Jewish. Based on the journals and correspondence of renowned Austrian… More»

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Posted in Education, J. Paul Getty Museum

Tonight: Peter Greenaway on Cinema and Art History

Peter Greenaway. Phot: Dennis van Doorn

Filmmaker Peter Greenaway speaks at the Getty Center tonight as part of our Getty Perspectives lecture series, which invites distinctive artists and scholars to offer their perspectives on the visual arts. I’ve long wanted Peter Greenaway to be part of… 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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