Mark McKenna

Posted in Art, Exhibitions and Installations, J. Paul Getty Museum, Photographs, Film, and Video

Herb Ritts’s Revolutionary Props

Greg Louganis, Hollywood / Herb Ritts

Chains. Pedestals. Balloons. Sea creatures. Those are just some of the props that photographer Herb Ritts employed to set a scene, adorn his models, and capture the viewer. The exhibition Herb Ritts: L.A. Style, on view through August 26, contains… More»

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Posted in Art, Exhibitions and Installations, J. Paul Getty Museum, Photographs, Film, and Video

How Herb Ritts Created an Icon

Versace Dress, Back View, El Mirage / Herb Ritts

When Herb Ritts created this image, it was touch-and-go whether he would get his crew and model off the El Mirage lake bed before a storm swept through. Mark McKenna, now executive director of the Herb Ritts Foundation, was Ritts’s… More»

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      #ProvenancePeek: Winslow Homer at the Met

      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.

      The provenance of this Winslow Homer marine, or seascape, is relatively straightforward as these things go. It was entered into the stock books of M. Knoedler and Co, prominent New York art dealers, in October of 1901. Knoedler & Co purchased the painting, titled Cannon Rock, from Chicago pastor and educator Dr. Frank Gunsaulus on October 24, 1901. Just over two weeks later, on November 9, the firm sold it to art collector and dry goods merchant George Arnold Hearn. Hearn made a gift of his collection to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1906, and that is where Cannon Rock has lived ever since.

      This seascape is one of Homer’s later works, notable for its flatness. Homer spent the last 25 years of his life living in coastal Maine, painting land- and seascapes that both respect and challenge nature’s authority. Cannon Rock’s mellow provenance tale belies the powerful scene it presents.

      The stock books of the Knoedler Gallery have recently been transformed into a searchable database which anyone can query for free.

      Cannon Rock, 1895, Winslow Homer. Oil on canvas, 40 x 40 in. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of George A. Hearn, 1906 (above); pages from the Knoedler stock and sales books listing the painting (below).


      #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.


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