About: Zhenya Gershman

I've worked for nearly a decade in the J. Paul Getty Museum's Education Department, participating in interpretation of such exhibitions as Holy Image, Hallowed Ground: Icons from Sinai, Drawings by Rembrandt and His Pupils: Telling the Difference, and Rembrandt's Late Religious Portraits. I've been an artist since I made my first "real" drawing at the age of 10. In my native Russia, I was fortunate to be mentored by two academic artists, Orest Vereisky and Leonid Saifertis. Upon relocating to Los Angeles, after a small culture shock, I pursed my art training by obtaining my BFA from Otis Art Institute and an MFA from Art Center College of Design. I show my art nationally and internationally; my current exhibition is titled XII Apostles and can be seen as a response to the Old Masters' obsession with hiding and revealing human body and soul.

Posts by Zhenya

Posted in Art, Education, J. Paul Getty Museum, Paintings

The Language of Drapery

Joseph and Potiphar's Wife (detail), Guido Reni, about 1630

Drapery—artfully folded fabric—has been used by European artists for centuries, from ancient Greek sculpture to contemporary photography. As I prepare for the studio course I’m leading this Wednesday on sketching drapery after the Old Masters, I’ve been thinking about why…. 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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