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The family of Msgr. Patrick J. Garvey, a Catholic priest who was once friendly with the realist painter Thomas Eakins, is trying to block the Archdiocese of Philadelphia from selling a valuable Eakins portrait of the monsignor through the auction house Christie’s.

The archdiocese said that the painting was given to the church decades ago, and that the sale of it, and several other paintings, is essential to boost the finances of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, where Monsignor Garvey had been rector and where the portrait hung for many years.

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Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), which stood by Steven A. Cohen last year as his SAC Capital Advisors LP bore the brunt of a massive insider trading probe, has come to the billionaire’s aid again.

The top prime broker to the former hedge-fund firm, Goldman Sachs is making a personal loan to Cohen for the first time, according to a regulatory filing, joining the list of banks that have provided SAC’s founder with credit lines backed by his $1 billion art collection. Like Citigroup Inc. (C), JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp., New York-based Goldman Sachs is making the loan through its private bank as part of an effort to expand its business catering to ultra-wealthy individuals.

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Wednesday, 23 April 2014 11:43

Goya Portraits go on View at the Met

Between 1786 and 1788, the Spanish artist Francisco de Goya painted four portraits of the Count of Altamira’s family. For the first time ever, these works, which are dispersed in public and private collections, will be exhibited together at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

“Red Boy,” which depicts Manuel Osorio Manrique de Zuñiga, and “Condesa de Altamira and her daughter, Maria Agustina” are part of the Met’s collection. With help from the Spanish Consulate in New York, the Met was able to procure Goya’s portrait of Count Altamira, Vicente Isabel Ossorio de Miscoso from the Bank of Spain as well as the painting of his son, Vicente Joaquin de Toledo, which belongs to a private collection. The exhibition also includes a fifth portrait of the Count’s middle son, Juan Maria Osorio, which was painted by Goya's protege, Augustín Esteve. The work is on loan from the Cleveland Museum of Art.  

Goya was contracted to paint a series of portraits of people connected to the Bank of San Carlos (now the Bank of Spain), which included the Count, one of the bank’s first directors and an important collector and patron of the arts. The Count was so pleased with Goya’s work that he commissioned the artist to do the rest of the Altamira family portraits. The Altamira paintings are among Goya’s earliest portraits of aristocrats. He was later appointed First Court Painter to the Spanish Crown.

“Goya and the Altamira Family” will be on view at the Met through August 3.

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Tuesday, 22 April 2014 15:26

French Masterpieces Go on View in China

Ten masterpieces of French painting are currently on view at China’s National Museum in Beijing. The exhibition, which was organized by the National Museum and the Réunion des musées nationaux - Grand Palais in Paris, is part of an ongoing series of events commemorating the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between France and China.

The paintings are on loan from France’s most celebrated institutions -- the Musée du Louvre, the Château de Versailles, the Musée d’Orsay, the Musée Picasso, and the Centre Pompidou, musée national d’Art moderne. The show marks the first time that these renowned institutions have collaborated on an exhibition. Works on view include Jean-Honore Fragonard’s “The Bolt;” Georges de La Tour’s “Saint Joseph Carpenter;” Pablo Picasso’s “Reading the Letter” and “The Matador;” Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s “Dance at Le moulin de la Galette” and “The Swing;” Jean Clouet’s “Francois I of France;” Hyacinthe Rigaud’s “King Louis XIV of France at age of 63;” and Fernand Leger’s “Three Figures.”    

“Ten Masterpieces of French Painting” will remain on view at the National Museum through June 16.

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Wednesday, 09 April 2014 11:16

Van Gogh Paintings go on View in Arles

On April 7, the Fondation Vincent van Gogh opened a gallery in Arles, France, dedicated to continuously displaying the works of Vincent van Gogh. Despite the fact that Arles played a pivotal role in the artist’s personal life and career, the city has only hosted two temporary exhibitions of Van Gogh paintings -- one in 1951 and another in 1989.

The gallery’s inaugural exhibition, “Colours of the North, Colours of the South,” features nine paintings by van Gogh and 21 works by his contemporaries. One of the van Gogh paintings, a self-portrait from 1887, has been loaned to the gallery by Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum, which has agreed to assist the Arles endeavor. The exhibition will remain on view through August 31 and the self-portrait will remain on loan until next spring.

The Arles project is being funded by Luc Hoffmann, heir to the Hoffmann-La Roche pharmaceutical company. Hoffmann donated €12m to convert a 15th-century mansion, which previously housed the Hôtel Léautaud de Donines, into the van Gogh gallery. He will also cover operating costs for the next five years. The city of Arles provided the building.

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British businessman and art collector James Stunt has loaned Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) five portraits by European masters Anthony van Dyck, Peter Lely, Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Lawrence, and John Constable. Van Dyck’s  portrait of Francois Langlois, a French art dealer, publisher, and amateur musician, as an itinerant performer is on view in the museum’s Leo and Phyllis Beranek Gallery. Lely’s portrait of the notorious entertainer and socialite Moll Davis is on view in the MFA’s Hamilton Palace Room. The works by Reynolds, Lawrence, and Constable will be installed next week.  

Stunt, who has homes in Los Angeles and London, is an avid collector of British portraiture. He recently offered to buy van Dyck’s last self portrait, which he planned to loan to the MFA, but an outpouring of public support to keep the painting in England caused Stunt to withdraw his offer. there is currently an ongoing public fundraising appeal to purchase the painting so that it will remain on view in the U.K.

Malcolm Rogers, the MFA’s Ann and Graham Gund Director, said, “We’re extremely grateful to Mr. Stunt for sharing these important portraits with the MFA. The works complement the MFA’s collection of European portraiture, giving our visitors added insight into art of the period and providing an opportunity to see artists that are not found in great depth in New England collections.”

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The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles announced that its exhibition dedicated to Jackson Pollock’s recently restored “Mural,” has given the museum a welcome boost in attendance. In March, 127,466 patrons visited the Getty, an increase of 3% from the same month in 2013. Last year, the museum also saw an unusually high attendance rate due to an exhibition of Johannes Vermeer’s “Woman in Blue,” which was on loan from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. From 2010 to 2012, average March attendance at the Getty hovered around 97,000.

“Mural," a stunning oil-on-canvas measuring more than 8 feet tall and nearly 20 feet long, recently underwent a year-long restoration at the Getty. Conservators removed a layer of varnish from “Mural,” which now appears much brighter and closer to its original appearance. The work, which was painted in 1943 for the well-known art collector Peggy Guggenheim, represents a turning point in Pollock’s career in which he gravitated towards the abstract expressionist characteristics that define his seminal “drip” paintings. The work belongs to the University of Iowa Museum of Art, which received it as a gift from Guggenheim in 1951.

The Pollock show opened at the Getty on March 11 and details the conservation of the painting. During the first week of the exhibition, the Getty welcomed 29,374 visitors, a 25% increase from the first week of the month. The last week of March saw a 46% jump from the first week of the month.

"Mural" will remain on view at the Getty through June 1.

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Friday, 14 February 2014 15:03

The Frick will Loan Major Works to Dutch Museum

Next year, the Frick Collection in New York will loan a significant group of paintings, sculptures and decorative objects to the Mauritshuis in The Hague. It will be the first time that the Frick has lent such a substantial portion of its collection to a fellow institution. The Frick recently welcomed a number of masterpieces from the Mauritshuis, including Johannes Vermeer’s ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring,’ that were presented in the exhibition ‘Masterpieces of Dutch Painting from the Mauritshuis,’ which attracted record crowds.

‘A Country House in New York: Highlights From the Frick Collection’ will present works acquired by the museum after founder Henry Clay Frick’s death in 1919. In his will, Frick stated that none of the artworks that he acquired, which make up about two-thirds of the Frick Collection, can be lent to another institution. The exhibition will include works by Jan van Eyck, Thomas Gainsborough, John Constable and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. ‘A Country House in New York’ will remain on view through May 10, 2015.

On June 27, 2014, the Mauritshuis will reopen following a two-year renovation and expansion.

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The first four paintings from private collections to undergo conservation treatment in the Dallas Museum of Art’s new Paintings Conservation Studio are currently on view in the institution’s European galleries. The studio, which opened in November, is part of the museum’s initiative to create a more comprehensive in-house conservation program.

One of the works, ‘The Blacksmith Cupids’ by the French painter Charles-Antoine Coypel, has entered the Dallas Museum of Art’s permanent collection. It is the first work by the artist to enter the museum’s collection. The other newly restored works -- Jean-Baptiste Oudry’s ‘Dogs Playing with Birds in a Park,’ a Renaissance painting titled ‘Saint Ursula Protecting the Eleven Thousand Virgins with her Cloak’ and an Italian 14th-century painted wood panel--will remain on loan to the museum.

The institution’s new conservation program involves collaborating with private collectors on the study and care of their illustration collections. The works will then be presented in the Dallas Museum of Art’s galleries for public viewing. The museum’s conservation studio, which features cutting-edge technology including a digital X-ray system, is enclosed by a glass wall so that guests of the museum can observe daily conservation activity.

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The Orlando Museum of Art is currently presenting the exhibition ‘Rembrandt, Rubens, Gainsborough and the Golden Age of Painting’. The opening of the monumental show, which took place on January 25, 2014, marked the beginning of the museum’s 90th anniversary celebration.

The works on view are on loan from the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky and were created between 1600 and 1800, a period commonly known as the Golden Age of European painting. During this time, the number of artists and art collectors in Europe grew exponentially. The exhibition presents 71 works including portraits, religious paintings, landscapes and still lifes by artists such as Rembrandt, Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony Van Dyck, Jan Steen, Jacob Van Ruisdael and Thomas Gainsborough.

‘Rembrandt, Rubens, Gainsborough and the Golden Age of Painting’ will be on view at the Orlando Museum of Art through May 25, 2014.

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