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Displaying items by tag: Sculptor

The Minneapolis Museum of Arts acquired a rare Renaissance bust of St. John the Baptist yesterday, May 8, 2013. Created by the Italian sculptor Benedetto da Rovezzano (1474-1554), the terracotta bust was one of the works handpicked by Hitler to appear in his Führermuseum, which never came to fruition. The institution was expected to house a massive collection of the most important works of Western Art in the historical canon.

Rovezzano’s bust was bought from Theresia Willi Lanz by Hitler’s special representative, Hans Posse, who was in charge of traveling across Europe seizing important works from Jewish art collectors and buying them from non-Jewish collectors. After the Führermuseum was never realized, the bust was hidden along with a number of important works by Leonardo da Vinci (1542-1519), Vermeer (1632-1675), and Michelangelo (1475-1564) in a salt mine in Austria. As it became clear that the Nazis would not win World War II, Hitler’s officials called for the destruction of the mine. However, the miners from the Austrian town wished to keep their livelihood intact and worked to save the mines and the art inside by removing inactivated Nazi bombs and setting them off through controlled explosions within the tunnels of the mines, saving the salt and the art but making them inaccessible. The bust was ultimately returned to the Netherlands.

Rovezanno was one of the most prominent sculptors during the high Renaissance and his bust of St. John the Baptist is well known among Renaissance experts. Created in Florence during the time when Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael (1483-1520) were working there, the bust is the earliest Renaissance sculpture in the Minneapolis Institute’s collection. The bust of St. John the Baptist will go on view in the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts permanent galleries alongside other renowned Renaissance busts by Agostino Zoppo (circa 1520-1572) and Giovanni Battista Caccini (1556-1613).

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A monumental mural by Ellsworth Kelly (b. 1923), an American painter and sculptor often associated with color field painting and the Minimalist movement has found a temporary home at the Barnes Foundation just outside of Philadelphia.

The Barnes, an educational art institution, is currently hosting the exhibition Sculpture on the Wall, which includes Kelly’s Sculpture for a Large Wall. Created between 1956 and 1957, the work was commissioned for the Philadelphia Transportation Building and it was the first public abstract sculpture in Philadelphia. The work was removed from the Transportation Building after it closed in 1993 and was later acquired by Ronald S. Lauder, the former chairman of the Museum of Modern Art. Lauder and his wife promptly donated the work to MoMA where it has only been exhibited twice.

Sculpture for a Large Wall, which measures over 65 feet long and 11 feet high, is accompanied by four other works from later in Kelly’s career including the geometric Red Curve (1986) and the minimalist Two Curves (2012). The sculptures will be on view at the Barnes Foundation through September 2, 2013.  

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Tuesday, 05 March 2013 15:00

Stone Sculpture Found in Rubble in Brooklyn

A stone sculpture of what appears to be a goddess was uncovered in Brooklyn, NY last summer at the site of an old spice warehouse hub. Local developer, Two Trees Management Company, discovered the sculpture while building a mixed-use tower at the location.

The armless nude who measures about three feet tall and weighs approximately 400 pounds, was trapped in demolition debris from the mid-20th century. Excavating equipment damaged the sculpture, affectionately named Ginger, before anyone noticed it. Other artifacts such as 18th century foundation stones and pottery shards were also found at the site.

Experts believe that Ginger could have originally served as a garden ornament, brothel advertisement or ship ballast and that the sculptor was most likely not formally trained. Scientists will analyze Ginger this spring in hopes of learning more about the artwork’s maker and age. Until then, Ginger will remain on view at the Two Trees headquarters.

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Tuesday, 12 February 2013 13:45

Prominent Henry Moore Sculpture will be Restored

Henry Moore’s (1898-1986) severely damaged sculpture Knife Edge Two Piece (1965) will finally be restored according to the Parliamentary Art Collection. The sculpture, which is prominently displays outside of the Houses of Parliament in London, is England’s most revered work by the British sculptor.

Moore and the Contemporary Art Society donated Knife Edge Two Piece to England in 1967 but the work fell into disrepair after administrative changes left it with no legal owner. Eventually, the British government suggested that the House of Commons take ownership for the sculpture and that the Parliamentary Art Collection take responsibility for the its care.

The bronze sculpture, which is marred by discoloration, deterioration, and incised graffiti, will undergo conservation beginning February 16, 2013. Conservator Rupert Harris will lead the effort, which involves removing the sculpture’s protective lacquer and abrading its surface to eliminate the damage. The work will then be repatinated and treated with wax in order to protect it from future environmental damage.

The conservation project is expected to cost a little over $50,000 with most of the funding coming from the Parliamentary Art Collection. The Henry Moore Foundation will contribute about $17,000 to the effort. The Knife Edge Two Piece restoration project is expected to reach completion at the end of March 2013.

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Although the exhibition Chihuly at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts closed on February 10, 2013, the show’s success left a lasting mark on the Richmond institution. The exhibition, which opened on October 10, 2013, was devoted to the popular American glass artist and sculptor, Dale Chihuly (b. 1941), who is credited with revolutionizing the Studio Glass movement.

Chihuly at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts brought a record number of visitors during its nearly four-month run. The show welcomed around 160,000 patrons, far exceeding the 115,000 visitors museum officials were expecting. The exhibition also set records for the museum store where Chihuly Studio editioned glass sculptures and lithographs were for sale. The store sold 69 works priced between $4,600-$8,600 and $2,500-$2,800 between November, December, and January.

The show at the Virginia Museum was the third major exhibition in the U.S. to focus on Chihuly’s work in recent years. He was also the subject of record-breaking shows at San Francisco’s de Young Museum (2008) and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2011).

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Monday, 11 February 2013 15:51

American Artist, Richard Artschwager, Dies at 89

Genre-defying painter, sculptor, and illustrator, Richard Artschwager (1923-2013), died February 9, 2013 in Albany, NY. He was 89.

Artschwager, who was often linked to the Pop Art movement, Conceptual Art, and Minimalism, resisted classification through his clever genre mixing. His most well known sculpture, Table with Pink Tablecloth (1964) is an amalgamation of Pop Art and Minimalism and consists of a box finished in colored Formica, creating the illusion of a wooden table draped in a pink tablecloth. Artschwager often used household forms in his work including chairs, tables, and doors. In his paintings, Artschwager often painted black and white copies of found photographs and then outfitted them with outlandish frames made of painted wood, Formica or polished metal.

Artschwager was born in 1926 in Washington, D.C. and went on to study at Cornell University. In 1944, before he could finish his degree, he was drafted into the Army and sent to Europe. Upon returning to the United States after World War II, Artschwager completed his degree and decided to pursue a career in art. He moved to New York City and began taking classes at the Studio School of the painter Amédée Ozenfant, one of the founders of Purism. With a growing family and bills to pay, Artschwager took a break from making art to start a furniture-making business. After a fire destroyed his workshop, Artschwager returned to making art, developed his defining style, and was taken on by the Leo Castelli Gallery, which represented him for 30 years.

A few days prior to Artschwager’s death, the Whitney Museum of American Art in Manhattan closed a major career retrospective of his work. It was the second of its kind to be organized by the museum.    

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Ellsworth Kelly: Colored Paper Images is currently on view at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. through December 1, 2013. Kelly (b. 1923), a painter, printmaker, and sculptor, is best known for his hard-edge and Color Field paintings as well as for his involvement in the minimalist movement.

The exhibition at the National Gallery features a series of paper-pulp works that were first unveiled in 1977. The 23 works, which are drawn from the museum’s collection, feature erratic edges and irregular textures, a departure from Kelly’s previous works, which are comprised of sharp angles and precise curves. Earl A. Powell III, director of the National Gallery of Art said, “Kelly has long been recognized for his mastery of form and color, but even to those who know his work well, these Colored Paper Images will come as a revelation.”

A pioneering force in postwar abstraction, Kelly created his colored paper images by placing molds on single sheets of paper and filling them with colored and pressed paper pulp. Once the pulp settled, the molds were removed and the sheet along with the colored pulp was run through a printing press, fusing the damp paper layers together. Multiple impressions were made of each image.

The National Gallery of Art has a longstanding relationship with Kelly, which began in 1975 when the institution acquired its first work by the artist. The Gallery now owns over 200 pieces by Kelly including paintings, sculptures, drawings, and prints.

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Monday, 03 December 2012 13:10

Alexander Calder Lithograph for Sale at Goodwill

The month after a Salvador Dali sketch turned up at Washington state Goodwill shop, an Alexander Calder lithograph was discovered at one of the bargain chain’s outposts in Milwaukee, WI. Karen Mallet, a media relations specialist for Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., bought the print for $12.34 after she spotted a Calder signature on the bold black-and-white artwork.

Mallett did some research on the Internet and found a number of Calder lithographs that bore a striking resemblance to the work she had purchased. She discovered that the piece in question, titled Rudolph, was the 55th lithograph in a series of 75 created by Calder in 1969. Jacobs Fine Art Inc. in Chicago valued the piece at $9,000.

An important American artist of the 20th century, Calder is best know for his sculptures, specifically his mobiles and stabiles. However, Calder also produced an impressive number of paintings and prints throughout his illustrious career.

Although Mallett was not particularly enamored by the Calder lithograph at first, she says that she is growing to like it and has no plans to sell.

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Wednesday, 24 October 2012 12:20

Two Picassos in One

Picasso Black and White opened earlier this month at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. The first major exhibition to focus on the artist’s lifelong exploration of a black and white palette features 118 painting, sculptures, and works on paper spanning from 1904 to 1971. Five of the works have never been exhibited or published and another thirty-eight works have never been on view in the U.S.

The Guggenheim exhibition has received plenty of praise since its opening but there is one painting in the show that is unlike the others. Woman Ironing (La Repasseuse) is a quintessential image of the disenfranchised people Picasso focused on during his Blue Period (1901–1904). Painted at the tail end of the period, the white and gray palette creates a tired, bleak atmosphere for the frail woman who stands hunched over her iron. But there is something beyond this gloomy woman.

Picasso painted Woman Ironing while he was a struggling artist in his 20s. For economy’s sake he reused an old canvas that he had already used for the beginnings of a portrait of man with a mustache, which he later abandoned. In 1989 an infrared camera detected the presence of the man underneath Woman Ironing. Advances in x-ray and infrared technology have allowed a clearer image of the mysterious mustachioed man and scholars, curators, and conservators have various theories as to who he is. Suggestions include Richard Canals, a rival artist and friend of Picasso, Mateu de Soto, a sculptor with whom Picasso shared apartments and studios with, and Benet Soler, a tailor who was one of Picasso’s oldest friends. Some theories suggest the man with the mustache was one of Picasso’s early self-portraits.

Black and White and Woman Ironing will be on view at the Guggenheim through January 23, 2013.

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Art collector, philanthropist, and financier, Eli Broad, announced this week that he will donate 19 works to the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at his alma mater, Michigan State University. The contemporary art museum is slated to open on November 10th. Designed by the architect, Zaha Hadid, the 46,000-square-foot museum was expected to open in April but was delayed due to construction.

Broad’s donation includes a large-scale piece, Containment 1, by the American sculptor Roxy Paine that will be displayed outdoors. There are other works by various artists including Robert Longo, Elizabeth Murray, Terry Winters, and Jonathan Lasker, which are worth around $2 million collectively.

Broad donated $28 million for the museum, with $21 million going toward construction and $7 million for acquisitions, exhibitions, and other functions. Michael Rush, the museum’s director, is curating the inaugural show.  

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