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“500 Years of Italian Master Drawings from the Princeton University Art Museum,” currently on view at the Cantor Arts Center, features nearly 100 Italian artworks from the 15th to 20th century and is the first major exhibition devoted to the collection since the 1960s. The exhibit traces the origins of disegno — drawing — as the foundation for architecture, sculpture and painting, displaying a range of works from elaborate compositions to loosely rendered studies.

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The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston presents the exhibition The Inscrutable Eye: Watercolors by John Singer Sargent, which includes eight paintings that explore the artist’s relationship with the museum’s founder, Isabella Stewart Gardner. The show runs concurrent to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston’s exhibition John Singer Sargent Watercolors.

Sargent and Gardner shared a long-lasting friendship after meeting at the artist’s studio in London in 1886 by arrangement of their mutual friend, the writer Henry James. Besides the watercolors, the exhibition includes personal mementos such as letters and photographs that span their lifelong friendship.

The Gardner Museum is home to numerous works by Sargent as Gardner acquired 42 of his paintings during their acquaintance. The institution’s holdings span every stage of Sargent’s career and include genre paintings, formal oil paintings, watercolors, studies for public murals and personal sketches. Gardner acquired many of the watercolor paintings on display through buying gifts Sargent made for his friends as they came onto the public market.

The Inscrutable Eye: Watercolors by John Singer Sargent will be on view at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum through January 20, 2014.

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Back in May 2013, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles announced that it had bought Rembrandt Laughing, a 17th century self-portrait by the Dutch master, from the London-based art dealer’s Hazlitt Gooden & Fox. On Tuesday, July 16, 2013, it was revealed that Britain’s culture minister, Ed Vaizey, had delayed approval of the Getty’s application for an export license until October 15, 2013, a tactic usually used to give collectors and museums enough time to collect the funds necessary to keep an artwork in the country.

In 2007, Rembrandt Laughing was put up for sale at a small auction house in England and said to be by a “follower of Rembrandt” even though a number of dealers thought it to be an authentic work by the artist. Eventually, scientific tests and studies by a leading Rembrandt scholar confirmed the attribution, causing the work’s value to skyrocket. In order to keep the painting in England past October 15, a British institution interested in buying the work will need to raise around $25.1 million, the price the Getty has agreed to pay for it.

The Getty has run into trouble exporting works out of Britain in the past. In 1994, the institution was told that they could not have Antonio Canova’s sculpture Three Graces, after raising $12 million and waiting five years.  

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Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum is selling a limited number of replicas of the artist’s sketchbooks for the first time ever. While only four of Vincent van Gogh’s (1853-1890) sketchbooks exist today, together they offer a rare insight into the artist’s life and artistic process.

Executed in pencil and black charcoal as well as ink and chalk, the entries include scribblings, quickly drawn notes, copies of poems, and a number of thought-out studies for later paintings including The Sower (1888). The publication marks the first time that all four sketchbooks will be replicated. A limited number of 1,000 editions are currently on sale at the museum’s shop and online sales are slated to start next week. A box set containing the four sketchbooks and a short commentary is retailing for $850.

Three of the four original sketchbooks are currently part of the Van Gogh Museum’s exhibition Van Gogh at Work. The show, which inaugurated the museum’s newly renovated space, coincides with the 160th anniversary of the artist’s birth and offers an extensive overview of van Gogh’s oeuvre.

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Thursday, 14 February 2013 14:37

Arts Research Center Opens in Dallas

Dallas’ Southern Methodist University and Philadelphia’s Cultural Data Project have joined forces to launch the National Center for Arts Research. The Center, which is the first of its kind in the United States, will conduct, analyze, and assemble arts research as well as investigate issues concerning arts management and patronage. The Center will make all of its finding public to art leaders, funders, policymakers, researchers, and the general public.

Through extensive studies and follow-up analysis, the National Center for Arts Research plans to create a comprehensive depiction of the health of the country’s arts sector. The Center, which launched on February 13, 2013, plans to collaborate with I.B.M. to create an interactive dashboard that will allow arts organizations to compare themselves to their peers.

Jose Bowen, dean of the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University said, “Arts organizations must have a more research-driven understanding of their markets and industry trends in order to more deeply engage existing audiences and reach new ones.” Along with management and patronage, the National Center for Arts Research will specialize in the impact of the arts on communities across the U.S. as well as fiscal trends and stability of the arts in the U.S.

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Three highly attended and widely acclaimed exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art generated about $781 million in spending by regional, national and foreign tourists this spring/summer season. Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations, Tomas Saraceno on the Roof: Cloud City, and The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde are to thank for the impressive chunk of change.

The Metropolitan has employed a number of audience studies in recent years to calculate the public economic impact of its special exhibition program. With a direct tax benefit of $78.1 to New York City, it appears the program is well worth its while.

In total, 339,838 visitors came to the Met to see Schiaparelli and Prada and 323,792 patrons came to see The Steins Collect, which will remain on view though November 4, 2012. At the time of the study, Tomas Saraceno on the Roof drew the largest crowd with 368,370 visitors.

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