News Articles Library Event Photos Contact Search

Displaying items by tag: MFA

Friday, 18 January 2013 13:00

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Receives Major Gift

Renowned art collector, Daphne Farago, announced that she will donate 161 works from her stunning collection to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. A longtime supporter of the MFA, Farago’s contribution is the largest gift of contemporary craft the museum has ever received and will greatly improve a once-lacking part of the collection.

Farago’s gift features works from the 20th and 21st centuries by artists such as Dale Chihuly (b. 1941), Sam Maloof (1916-2009), and John Cederquist (b. 1946). The pieces range from works of fiber, ceramics, glass, woodcarvings, and metal to furniture, jewelry, basketry, and folk art. The newly acquired works, man of which have remained out of public view until now, will be exhibited in the museum’s Farago Gallery beginning in August 2013.

This is the third major donation from Farago and her late husband, Peter to the MFA; their contributions total $2.5 million to $5 million in art and money, which prompted the museum to open the Farago Gallery in September 2011 as part of the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art. Edward Saywell, Chair of the Linde Family Wing, said, “Although the MFA has a distinguished history of collecting and exhibiting contemporary craft, this gift broadens and deepens our holdings in truly significant ways. The gift will be a touchstone for the collection and will be a remarkable legacy.”  

Published in News

Patrons who are familiar with the permanent collection at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts might become befuddled upon their next visit to the institution. Some of the museum’s finest works including Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Dance at Bougival, the pivotal Claude Monet painting, La Japonaise: Camille Monet in a Japanese Costume, five works by Paul Cézanne, five more by Edouard Manet, and two of the masterpieces by Vincent Van Gogh are nowhere to be found.

While some of the works have been lent to museums in the United States, Japan, and Europe to enhance exhibitions, others have been rented to for-profit organizations. Loans between institutions are common practice, but compounded with the large number of works currently out on rent by the MFA, the museum’s own collection appears to be lacking. Currently, 26 of the MFA’s paintings are involved in exhibitions in Italy, which the institution received a hefty yet undisclosed fee for. Some of the works now on view in Italy are two paintings by John Singleton Copley and two Rembrandt portraits as well as single works by Eugène Delacroix, Paolo Veronese, Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Paul Gauguin, Alberto Giacometti, and Pablo Picasso.

While the MFA is excited to be raising revenues, the act of charging fees for lending works has been a source of controversy. One of the main duties of public institutions, including art museums, is to share their collections with the public. Many objectors find the practice of lending works for profit to be in direct opposition to this goal.

Other major holdings that are not presently at the MFA are Diego Velázquez’s Luis de Gongora, two works by El Greco, two more by Gustave Courbet, the museum’s only painting by Edvard Munch, and arguably its greatest work by Edgar Degas, Edmondo and Therese Morbilli. While MFA officials argue that they are bolstering the museum’s international reputation, critics feel the institution is suffering for it.

Published in News

Dale Chihuly’s 42-foot-tall “Lime Green Icicle Tower” is here to stay.

The Museum of Fine Arts announced Oct 12 that it has raised the more than $1 million needed to buy the piece, which will remain in the MFA’s Shapiro Family Courtyard. The piece was part of the recent blockbuster featuring the Seattle-based glass artist’s work. In July, the MFA told museum visitors that if they wanted Boston to keep the piece, they would have to pay up. The public responded, with more than 1,000 people sending in cash or stuffing bills into a box near the sculpture. In fact, $760,000 contributed to buy “Lime Green Icicle Tower” came from donors who are not trustees or overseers of the MFA.

Published in News
Tagged under

Now wait a minute, Mr. Malcolm Rogers, prestigious Ann and Graham Gund Director of the Museum of Fine Arts. You are going to sell eight paintings from the MFA collection — eight paintings worth up to $24 million — to raise money to buy a view of a gentleman’s just-bathed backside?

Call me a philistine, but somehow this just doesn’t strike me as an astute trade. Why not? Well, let me count the ways.

This painting, “Man at His Bath,” is not an eye-catching celebration of the human form, a la Michelangelo’s "David." Rather, it’s an everyday view of… well, mostly of an everyday butt. Which is basically what George Shackelford, chairman of the museum’s Art of Europe Department, said in Monday’s Globe.

“This guy is no Arcadian bather,” he noted. “It’s perfectly mundane — and expressly so.” One would think that self-evidently accurate appraisal would lead to this equally obvious notion: It’s probably not worth selling scenes by Monet, Gauguin, Sisley, Pissarro, and Renoir to acquire that perfectly mundane scene. Look, I’m not saying I wouldn’t trade one of those Jean Baptiste Camille Corot’s more-milky-March-sky-over-the-river scenes, but that’s about as far this guy would go. And I expect most museum-goers would agree with me.

Published in News

To some art buffs, it sounds like lunacy: Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, this morning's Globe tells us, is planning to sell a bunch of paintings by big-name artists to raise the money to buy a much more obscure one — "Man at His Bath," a male nude by the Impressionist painter Gustave Caillebotte. Yet buying this painting, even at the hefty price of $17 million, would broaden and deepen the MFA's collection. It's precisely the kind of bold, adventurous move that a world-class museum ought to be making.

Caillebotte turns out to be an important figure in the history of Impressionism. That's partly because of his artwork, which featured humble scenes viewed from unusual perspectives, but also because of his later role as an art patron and collector himself.

Selling eight paintings to buy "Man at His Bath" is controversial for some obvious reasons: Several of the paintings headed to the auction block are by much more famous artists, including Claude Monet, Paul Gauguin, and Camille Pissarro. And those paintings were given to the MFA by generous donors who, perhaps, wanted the museum to have them forever.

Published in News
Wednesday, 01 June 2011 03:28

The new, new MFA

When the Museum of Fine Arts opened its $500 million Art of the Americas Wing six months ago, its leaders knew they were taking a gamble.

They had decided to do more than simply play to the MFA’s (considerable) strengths: East Coast artists, furniture makers, and silversmiths of the 17th through early 20th centuries.

They wanted to tell a much bigger story, one that would take in South and Central America, Native American cultures, and the rest of North America. The initial name, “American Wing,’’ was changed to “Art of the Americas Wing.’’

They knew that in some areas (modern art, artists of color), its permanent collection was not quite what it might be, and that in others (Spanish colonial art, Native American art), it was not even close.

But the leadership team hoped that the new building, its ample space, and the full commitment of its curatorial staff would attract gifts, loans, and other opportunities, and that, over time, these would help flesh out the bigger story they were trying to tell.

Six months down the track, how is that plan working out?

Very little happens at top speed in museums. But the signs are good. Parts of the display that struck people as surprisingly strong, such as art from the ancient Americas, have prompted offers from collectors wanting to contribute.

And reaction to parts that seemed patchy, such as the Level 3 gallery for large-scale modern art, have prodded the MFA to think about different approaches.

In PR terms, the bigger gamble already seems to have paid off. A review of the new wing from Holland Cotter in The New York Times de scribed it as “a wow,’’ and Christopher Knight in the Los Angeles Times called it “impressive’’ and “dramatic.’’

Published in News
Tagged under