Behind the Scenes, Education, Getty Foundation

Multicultural Undergraduate Interns Gather for an Arts Summit

Students at the MUI Program Art Summit

June 28th was an unusual Monday for me as an intern at the Getty Foundation. Instead of heading toward the Foundation offices as I would on a typical work day, I reported to the Harold M. Williams Auditorium at the Getty Center to check in for Arts Summit, a professional development day organized by the Foundation for participants in the Multicultural Undergraduate Internship (MUI) Program. This summer, the program involves 74 arts organizations throughout the Los Angeles area, with interns placed in all corners of the county, from Long Beach to Valencia, Santa Monica to Claremont, and even Catalina Island.

The event was exciting: 120 undergraduate interns had come together to learn about the different professions we could pursue in the visual arts. After getting acquainted with the Getty through guided tours, we had the opportunity to choose from 16 different career sessions with diverse professionals working in museums and arts non-profits. (Download a PDF describing all 16 sessions here.)

Talking over lunch at the MUI Program Arts Summit

As an intern at the Foundation, one of my projects was to put together the program guide for Arts Summit. My behind-the-scenes work involved contacting the professionals who would be leading the discussions and organizing their bios and session descriptions, so it was fulfilling to meet the people I had learned so much about over the past few weeks.
One of the presenters was an alumnus of the intern program who now works for the Los Angeles Office of Historic Resources. He brought in maps and plans from some of his current projects, which involve historic landmarks throughout Los Angeles, and it was inspiring to think that one day my work as an intern could also lead to a career that truly contributes to the visual arts.

The most rewarding part of Arts Summit for me was seeing interns, supervisors, and professionals from the art world come together. Arts Summit provided my fellow interns and me, as well as the professionals and leaders involved in the program, a once-in-a-summer chance to interact, helping us realize our collective impact on in the Los Angeles arts community—both now and in the future.

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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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