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The Art Institute of Chicago has closed the third floor of its Modern Wing for seven months so that the museum can refinish floors, pedestals and walls and adjust lighting. The third floor houses the museum’s collection of European modern art, which will be sent to the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, TX until work on the four-year-old gallery reaches completion in mid-April 2014.  

While some have found the renovation of the next-to-new gallery odd, Douglas Druick, the Art Institute’s president, said that the work has been long-planned. The Art Institute has been getting record traffic, which can put added strain on an exhibition space.

Approximately 100 masterpieces from the Art Institute’s collection will be on view at the Kimbell in the exhibition The Age of Picasso and Matisse: Modern Masters from the Art Institute of Chicago. The show includes Pablo Picasso’s Old Guitarist (1903) and Joan Miro’s Policeman (1925). The Age of Picasso and Matisse will be on view at the Kimbell Art Museum from October 6, 2013 through February 16, 2014.  

Published in News
Monday, 09 September 2013 18:59

National Gallery to Send Manet Masterpiece on Tour

The National Gallery in London will send Edouard Manet’s The Execution of Maximilian on a tour of the UK. The painting will be the first work to embark on the three-year Masterpiece Tour, which is part of the National Gallery’s commitment to promote the understanding, knowledge and appreciation of Old Master paintings. In 2015, Canaletto’s A Regatta on the Grand Canal will join the Masterpiece Tour, followed by Rembrandt’s Self Portrait at the Age of 63 in 2016. Christie’s auction house is supporting the museum’s effort.  

The Execution of Maximilian depicts the Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian being executed alongside two of his generals. Mexican forces captured Maximilian, who was installed in Mexico as a puppet emperor by Napoleon III, when Napoleon withdrew his French troops, who were occupying Mexico. After its completion in 1868, the painting was cut into smaller pieces, some of which were sold individually. Degas eventually purchased all of the surviving fragments and reassembled them on a single canvas.

The Execution of Maximilian will travel to The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge (January 17-March 16, 2014), The Bowes Museum at Barnard Castle (March 22-May 18, 2014) and the Mead Gallery at the University of Warwick (September 27-December 6, 2014).

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An exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York will highlight the works of Julia Margaret Cameron, a pioneer of modern portrait photography. Julia Margaret Cameron will be the first New York City museum exhibition devoted to the artist’s work in nearly a generation, and the first ever for the Met. The exhibition will present 35 works drawn entirely from the Met’s collection.

Cameron, who took up photography at the age of 48, had a superbly unique style that employed soft focus, long exposures and close framing. A friend of many notable Victorian artists, poets and thinkers, Cameron’s portraits of the painter G.F Watts, the poet Alfred Lord Tennyson, the scientist Sir John Herschel and the philosopher Thomas Carlyle will be included in the Met’s exhibition.

Julia Margaret Cameron will be on view at the Met through January 5, 2014.

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The National Academy Museum in New York presents William Trost Richards: Visions of Land and Sea. The exhibition features approximately 60 works by the 19th century painter from the museum’s permanent collection. The National Academy houses a significant collection of Richards’ works thanks to the estate of the artist’s daughter, Anna Richards Brewster, which bequeathed over 100 works spanning Richards’ career to the museum in 1954.

William Trost Richards, a native of Philadelphia, was an American landscape painter associated with the Hudson River School as well as the American Pre-Raphaelite movement. Richards studied intermittently with the German-born landscape painter Paul Weber in the 1850s and greatly admired the works of Thomas Cole, Frederic Edwin Church and the English Pre-Raphaelites. Richards is best known for his landscapes and marine paintings of Rhode Island, the White Mountains and the shorelines of Great Britain, France and Norway.

William Trost Richards: Visions of Land and Sea will be on view at the National Academy Museum through September 8, 2013.

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In February 2013, the British government placed a temporary export ban on two important oil paintings by George Stubbs (1724-1806), an English painter best know for his depictions of horses. The works, which went on display at London’s Royal Academy in 1773, gave the British public their first glimpse of a kangaroo and a dingo.

The export ban went into effect shortly after it was decided by the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest that the paintings were of outstanding significance for the study of 18th century exploration of Australia and the public dissemination of knowledge during the Enlightenment. The point of the export ban was to grant UK museums enough time to raise the £5.5 million necessary to keep the Stubbs paintings in the UK.

The National Maritime Museum in London has launched a £1.5 million bid to acquire Kongouro from New Holland (Kangaroo) and Portrait of a Large Dog (Dingo). The museum has already secured £3.2 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund and an additional £200,000 from the Art Fund. If the Maritime Museum’s appeal is successful, the paintings will initially go on display in the Queen’s House in Greenwich in 2014.

Stubbs created the Kongouro and Portrait of a Large Dog based on spoken accounts, as he had never actually seen the animals. It is believed that Sir Joseph Banks commissioned the paintings after assisting in Captain James Cook’s voyage to the Pacific. Following their completion, Stubbs won praise for bringing the likenesses of the foreign animals to the British public for the first time.

Published in News
Wednesday, 07 August 2013 18:31

Helsinki Awaits Second Bid for a Guggenheim Museum

Helsinki, Finland is expecting a second proposal for a Guggenheim museum after rejecting the first offer due to its high cost. Plans for a Guggenheim franchise in the Finnish capital were vetoed by the Helsinki city council in May of last year, despite having the support of the city’s mayor Jussi Pajunen. The original proposal speculated that the project would cost around $186 million to complete.

Helsinki’s deputy mayor Rita Viljanen told AFP that executives of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in New York have been talking with several Finnish representatives. Together with the foundation’s director, Richard Armstrong, they are trying to determine a way to improve the project plan while keeping costs down. A new proposal is expected to be submitted to the city by September 2013.

The Guggenheim’s proposition has been met with some opposition from The Greens, Finland’s Social Democratic Party, the Left Alliance and the populist Finns Party. Dissenters feel that the Guggenheim’s endeavor is motivated more by tourism than a true interest in the development of contemporary art in Finland.

The Guggenheim currently has museums in New York, Bilbao, Berlin, Venice, and another is under construction in Abu Dhabi.

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Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art In New York City announced that one million people have visited the institution’s New Galleries for American Paintings, Sculpture, and Decorative Arts since opening to the public on January 6, 2012. The galleries, which were expanded, reconceived, and reinstalled, average 2,000 visitors per day -- about 11% of the Met’s overall attendance.

The New Galleries present works ranging from the 18th century through the early 20th century arranged in chronological order. Highlights from the New Galleries include Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze’s Washington Crossing the Delaware and works by American masters such as John Singleton Copley, Thomas Cole, Frederic Edwin Church, Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, John Singer Sargent, and Frederic Remington.

The renovation of the Met’s New Galleries was part of a comprehensive, decade-long project to redesign the museum’s entire American Wing. The overhaul added 3,300 square feet of gallery space to the American Wing and allowed for a more in-depth presentation of the Met’s remarkable American art collection. Nearly all of the American Wing’s 17,000 holdings are now on view. 

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After filing for bankruptcy last month, the city of Detroit has hired the international auction house Christie’s to appraise a portion of its city-owned art collection, which is housed in the Detroit Institute of Arts. City officials have not yet decided if they will sell any works in an attempt to quell creditors.

Rumors about the fate of the D.I.A.’s illustrious collection circulated quickly after representatives from Christie's visited the museum this past June. The auction house confirmed on Monday, August 5, 2013 that they have been hired to appraise the D.I.A.’s holding but did not specify which portion of the collection they would be evaluating. The auction house said in a statement, “Christie’s was asked to assist due to our expertise in this area across all fine art categories and eras. We understand that a valuation of all the City’s assets (extending well beyond the art) is one of many steps that will be necessary for the legal system to reach a conclusion about the best long term solution for the citizens of Detroit.”

The office of Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr will pay for the appraisal, which will cost $200,000 and is expected to wrap up in October. Christie’s will only appraise works of art that are city-owned and are not subject to donor restrictions that could prevent a possible sale.

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The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston presents the exhibition Audubon’s Birds, Audubon’s Words. The show features approximately 30 prints from the museum’s copy of John James Audubon’s seminal work The Birds of America alongside the prose he originally wrote for the book.

The naturalist and painter is best known for his life-size, hand-colored prints illustrating the wide variety of birds in North America. The MFA’s exhibition aims to bring attention to Audubon’s undervalued text, which he original wrote to describe each bird he portrayed in Birds of America. However, the first edition of the book was printed between 1827 and 1838 without words. The MFA’s presentation of Audubon’s prose allows patrons the chance to read first-hand accounts of the methods the artist used to depict the birds and the trials associated with his substantial project.

Audubon’s Birds, Audubon’s Words will be on view at the MFA through May 11, 2014.

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On Saturday, July 27, 2013 the Springfield Museum of Art in Springfield, MO will reunite two portraits that have been separated for 100 year. The paintings of Lewis Allen Dickens Crenshaw and his wife, Fanny Smith Crenshaw, are by the lauded 19th century Missouri artist George Caleb Bingham.

Bingham, a pioneer of the Luminist style, painted the portraits late in his life. Mrs. Crenshaw’s portrait has been in the museum’s collection since 1990 after being donated by the couple’s late daughter. Mr. Crenshaw’s portrait remains in the family and is on loan to the museum through Rachael Cozad Fine Art, a Kansas City-based gallery.

The Crenshaws portraits will be hung side by side as part of a permanent “exhibition” highlighting the Springfield Museum’s collection. Other featured artists include Grant Wood, Charles Sheeler and Thomas Hart Benton.

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