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Prior National Academy Deaccession: “War News from Mexico”

Richard Caton Woodville, “War News from Mexico,” 1848

A comment appended yesterday to LA Times art critic Christopher Knight‘s recent Culture Monster blog post on the National Academy deaccessions mentions that this month’s disposals by the Academy weren’t its first. But it doesn’t identify the previously sold paintings.

I know about (but have not yet written about) the most recent prior disposal: The Academy’s director, Carmine Branagan, had mentioned it to me when I interviewed her in her office. David Dearinger, chief curator of the National Academy Museum from 1996 to 2004, provided additional details.

It’s Richard Caton Woodville‘s “War News from Mexico,” above, which Dearinger believes was sold in the early 1990s to put the Academy “on a solid financial footing.” He said it was “bought by [major American art collector] Richard Manoogian and is on long-term loan at the National Gallery.” (I have queries in with both the Academy and National Gallery to confirm the details, and will update if I receive further information.)

The National Academy’s artist-board must believe that if at first you
don’t succeed in putting yourself on a firm financial footing by
selling one important painting, try, try again.

Here‘s a link to a blog called “Updates, Live,” showing the painting installed at the National Gallery. Below is a photo of it (on right) at a 1968 Brooklyn Museum exhibition devoted to the artist:


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