Art, Art & Archives, Education, Exhibitions and Installations, J. Paul Getty Museum, Photographs, Film, and Video, technology

Digital Display: Student Scavenger Hunt on View

"Brightly Colored Shoes" from the Digital Scavenger Hunt

The Getty Museum is full of fabulous furniture, splendid sculpture, and of course, powerful paintings. What if you were asked to hunt for some of the most interesting details and objects in these works of art? Would you be able to look closely, think fast, and snap a cool photo? That was the mission given to students participating in artist John Divola’s “Digital Scavenger Hunt” at the Getty Center.

Students, ranging from second graders at Hooper Avenue Elementary to photography students from Santa Monica College, East Los Angeles College, Pierce College, and College of the Canyons, scoured the Getty collections and site photographing a variety of subjects including skies, brightly colored shoes (yes, they even photographed visitors with colorful kicks), gold and silver, heads with hats and helmets, plates, bowls, vases and doorways. Their goal was to create collaborative works of art made up of many personal, individual views.

After the hunt was over, the images were grouped by subject and printed as large-scale, collective photographs. You can see the resulting works in a new installation located in the Museum Entrance Hall.

The Digital Scavenger Hunt photos on display in the Museum Entrance Hall at the Getty Center

This playful project encouraged students to explore the medium of photography while engaging with works of art in new and creative ways. The “Digital Scavenger Hunt” was developed as part of the Getty Artists Program, an ongoing initiative that engages contemporary artists in collaborative projects at the Getty.

In addition to the work on view, there is also an exciting online component on the Getty Artists Program website. Here, you can see all of the work from the project and zoom in realllly close on each of the collages, to spot the little details that make them so unique.

Visitors can zoom in on details of the artwork, such as this piece that features hat and helmets

Congratulations to all the digital dudes and divas involved in the project! Like some of their favorite artists, students will now be able to say that their work is exhibited at the Getty!

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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.


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