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Keep The Pre-Raphaelite, Sell Contemporary Art, Expert Says

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While inveighing against the Delaware Art Museum's planned deacccession of William Holman Hunt's Isabella and the Pot of Basil at Christie's in London next month,  Pre-Raphaelite expert Mark Samuels Lasner (below) brought up a very touchy subject: why not sell undistingished contemporary artworks instead? Lasner, who according to USA Today is "a senior research fellow at the University of Delaware Library and an expert on Victorian literature and art," called the planned sale "sacrilege." "Isabella and the Pot of Basil is "an … [Read more...]

The Word Is Out From Delaware Art Museum

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The first painting that Delaware Art Museum trustees have chosen to deaccession is not, as many expected, Winslow Homer's Milking Time. Rather, they've chosen a pre-Raphaelite painting by William Holman Hunt, Isabella and the Pot of Basil.  Christie's has placed it in its June 17 London sale of Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite & British Impressionist Art. But the catalogue is not yet online and the estimate has not been disclosed. Going against traditional museum ethics rules -- and some say without exploring all other options -- the museum … [Read more...]

174 LACMA Donors = $4.1 Million + 10 Varied Acquisitions

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This past weekend, collectors associated with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art set a record at their 29th annual Collectors Committee fundraiser -- contributing more than $4.1 million and deciding to buy 10 quite diverse works of art. Among the artworks: Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres’ Odalisque (below right); contemporary works by Roni Horn, Chinese artist Feng Mengbo and Iranian artist Mitra Tabrizian; an 18th-century Virgin of Guadalupe by Antonio de Torres; a pair of 9th century Japanese lions (below left) and a print -- Taureau et … [Read more...]

Can You Discern What Is A Caravaggio And What Isn’t?

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If experts can't agree, I probably can't tell (though I might have an opinion). Nonetheless, in this age of crowd-sourcing virtually everything that can be crowd-sourced, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is asking its visitors to answer that question. Since Apr. 12, the museum has presented a small exhibit of four paintings by the artist in Visiting Masterpieces: Caravaggio and Connoisseurship. Two, Fortune Teller (c 1594–95) and Fra Antonio Martelli, Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Malta (c 1608), are accepted as by the master -- though … [Read more...]

Is That A Rembrandt In The Closet? Yes.

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More discoveries in the storeroom, and this time it's a Rembrandt. Yes, the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha has been told that a painting in its collection for 72 years, acquired as a Rembrandt but downgraded to School of Rembrandt -- and relegated to storage -- is in fact by the master after all. At least in the view of Rembrandt scholar Ernst van de Wetering, who says the work is “Portrait of Dirck van Os." No date was given in the Omaha World-Herald, which published the news today. Here's the backstory: In 1942 the museum purchased “Portrait … [Read more...]

San Francisco Museums Land A Great Gift

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There are at least three notable aspects of the gift announced the other day by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco: the Thomas W. Weisel Family has donated about 200 objects of Native American art to the museum. They were amassed over three decades by Weisel, an investment banker who profited mightily as a pioneer of the tech industry in Silicon Valley. It's a good match for the FAMSF. The gift includes works that span nearly a thousand years, "from 11th century Mimbres ceramics to 19th century works," according to the press release … [Read more...]

Friendship Outs: Giant Gift Of Marin Watercolors Goes To…

Tree, Stonington, Deer Isle

Not a museum in Maine, where he painted for much of his last 40 years. Not a museum in New York, the center of the U.S. art world, or in Los Angeles, the west coast hub. Or New Jersey, Marin's birthplace. No, Norma B. Marin, the artist's daughter-in-law, recently donated nearly 300 watercolors, drawings and sketchbooks to the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock, according to the Kennebec Journal. ...Norma Marin’s gift to the Arkansas Arts Center was neither random nor the result of a falling out with Maine’s cultural institutions, as some … [Read more...]

Picasso Museum: Reopening With What?

Picasso museum in Paris prepares for reopening

"It beggars belief that some urgent "conservation" necessity should have struck all of these modern works at the same time...." That's Michael Daley, the conservation watchdog, opining on the reopening of the Picasso Museum in Paris, which is set for June. When it does readmit the public to the building -- an operation of "restoration, renovation and extension" that began in 2009 and "was far more extensive than the preceding work in terms of both objectives and cost -- it will be completely restructured (pictured at right), raised to new … [Read more...]

Another Find In the Basement!

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This time, the basement is in Honolulu, not New Haven or Brooklyn or Denver. According to KITV, the Honolulu Museum of  Art made a discovery when a group of Korean art historians were looking at uncatalogued art works in a vault. They found a Korean ink painting on silk, dating back to 1586. They said this is very important. That's when we knew we came across something special when that happened," recalled [Shawn] Eichman, [the museum's curator].... We found the one that is the gem among gems," said Eichman. "Ten years after painting … [Read more...]

Speed to the Speed For a Discovery

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I'm giving you really good news from the Speed Art Museum, because the news from my orthopedist today was really bad. I have to take it easy with my arm, which is getting a new cast on Tuesday, for six weeks. And typing with one hand isn't easy. But the Speed news is a simple story: while the museum is expanding, it has been assessing the condition of works in its collection, planning to repair damage suffered over the years. Looking through a 1998 gift from General Dillman A. Rash and Nancy Baton Rash, which included paintings by Picasso, … [Read more...]

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