Art & Archives, Behind the Scenes, Gardens and Architecture, Getty Villa, People & Places, Photographs, Film, and Video, Voices

The Transformative Outer Peristyle

“I think there is something magical about shooting in natural light.” This week on Getty Voices, Tahnee Cracchiola shares her photographic encounters with wildlife on site at the Getty. Her first photographic love was architecture photography. Her journey shooting the Outer Peristyle led to some breathtaking architecture images at sunrise and sunset, as well as a  surprising visit from a new feathered friend!


During visiting hours the Getty Villa’s Outer Peristyle is bright, green and rich with sunshine. But it doesn’t always look so saturated with color. Sunrise and sunset are ideal times to shoot landscape and architecture to get the golds and oranges of the sun rising through the atmosphere, or the pink and purple hues of the sun setting. Even the most subtle shifts in light quality can change an image dramatically.

Sunrise over the Outer Peristyle

Sunset over the Outer Peristyle


The Outer Peristyle may appear quiet and calm in these photographs. I didn’t think anything more than insects and the occasional hummingbird visited the gardens, but on one early morning I was photographing the sycamore trees when a duck landed on the side of the reflecting pool! He was like a hotel visitor lounging by the hottub…swimming, drinking, perhaps waiting for his mate. The gardeners told me that he came here at the same time every morning with his mate. But she never came. It’s a mystery that remains unsolved.

Perhaps it was a tragic love story amidst the art and the gardens that we’ll never hear the ending of. We do know that this little guy is welcome to the Getty any day of the week.

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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.

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      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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