Treasures from the Vault

Posted in Behind the Scenes, Getty Research Institute

Bringing Order to Harald Szeemann’s Unfiled Posters

Three posters from the Harald Szeemann archive
Three posters from Szeemann’s projects: 12 Environments (1968), signed by Christo; Documenta 5 (1972), designed by Edward Ruscha; and The Tendency towards the Gesamtkunstwerk (1983), designed by Markus Raetz. The Getty Research Institute, 2011.M.30

How do you organize and catalog 1,200 posters? More»

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Posted in Art, Behind the Scenes, Getty Research Institute, Scholarship

“Who is this man named J. P. Getty?” M. Knoedler & Co. and Getty the Collector

Portrait of James Christie (1730 - 1803)
Portrait of James Christie, 1778, Thomas Gainsborough. Oil on canvas, 50 1/4 x 40 1/4 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Gift of J. Paul Getty, 70.PA.16

J. Paul Getty, the mysterious art hunter. More»

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Posted in Getty Research Institute, Manuscripts and Books, Scholarship

Treasures from the Vault: The Research Papers of Elizabeth Roth, Keeper of Prints and Rare Books at the NYPL

Design for Fireworks Display
This print shows the design for a fireworks display that was scheduled to take place on June 22, 1763, near the Place Louis XV in Paris; the event was in celebration of the treaties marking the end of the Seven Years' War. The display features a façade elevated on a rocky island on the Seine and topped with an equestrian statue placed under a slender arch. Palm trees, exotic animals, putti, and allegorical figures appear among the rocks, while spectators are gathered on the shore.

A life’s work devoted to the unique art of festival books. More»

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Posted in Behind the Scenes, Getty Research Institute, Scholarship

Pictures for Education: The Records of Art Dealer M. Knoedler & Co.

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Booker T. Washington, 1905–45, Harris & Ewing. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, LC-H25- 14111-B

Booker T. Washington appears in the M. Knoedler archive. More»

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Posted in Art, Behind the Scenes, Getty Research Institute

Treasures from the Vault: The Business Files of Harald Szeemann

Wine box used by Harald Szeemann to file his business papers
Szeemann's handy filing system: wine boxes. Here, Merlot + Marrakech.

Wine, meticulous receipts, and reimagined police tape in the curator’s files. More»

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Posted in Art, Getty Research Institute, Photographs, Film, and Video

Treasures from the Vault: Malcolm Lubliner’s Photographs of the L.A. Art Scene

Jasper Johns, 1968, Malcolm Lubliner
© Malcolm Lubliner Photograph

Photographic portraits of some of the 20th century’s most notable artists. More»

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Posted in Behind the Scenes, Getty Research Institute

Treasures from the Vault: 100,000 Pieces of Ephemera Tell the Story of 20th-Century Art

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A massive collection of 20th-century art ephemera is ready for research. More»

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Posted in Getty Research Institute, Paintings, Scholarship

Treasures from the Vault: Correspondence of the Art Dealer M. Knoedler & Co

Portrait of a Woman Praying / Hans Memling
Brukenthal National Museum, Sibiu. © Muzeul Naţional Brukenthal

A failed bid for Renaissance masterpieces is revealed in a collection of newly catalogued letters. More»

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Posted in Art, Getty Research Institute, Scholarship

Treasures from the Vault: The Guerrilla Girls Archive

Props used in the Guerrilla Girls' actions: plastic gun, bananas, and gorilla fingers with nail polish
Copyright © Guerrilla Girls, courtesy guerrillagirls.com

Why did art professionals put on gorilla masks and take to the streets? More»

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Posted in Art, Behind the Scenes, Getty Research Institute

Alphabet Szoup

H is for Haring
H is for Haring

A look inside the artist files of legendary curator Harald Szeemann. 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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