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A selection of French Impressionist paintings from the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA are currently on view at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. ‘The Age of Impressionism: Great French Paintings from the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute’ presents 73 works by artists such as Edouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, and Jean-Francois Millet.

The Clark launched its collection tour, which coincided with a three-year expansion of the museum, in 2011. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston is the second venue in the U.S. to host the exhibition. In total, the show has been seen by more than 1.6 million people around the world.

The works on view span 70 years and include portraits, landscapes, marines, scenes of everyday life and still lifes. ‘The Age of Impressionism’ will be on view in Houston through March 23, 2014.

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New York’s Museum of Modern Art is honoring the legendary gallerist and collector Ileana Sonnabend with the exhibition ‘Ileana Sonnabend: Ambassador for the New.’

The show brings together works that were shown in her galleries in Paris and New York between the 1960s and 1980s. Sonnabend, who opened the Sonnabend Gallery in Paris in 1961, was instrumental in bringing American art of the 1960s, most notably Pop Art and Minimalism, to Europe. Sonnabend opened a New York outpost in 1970 and conversely introduced Americans to European art movements such as Arte Povera.

‘Ambassador for the New’ features works by approximately 40 artists, including Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, John Baldessari, and Jeff Koons. Works on view have been pulled from MoMA’s own collection as well as other public and private holdings.

‘Ileana Sonnabend: Ambassador for the New’ will be on view at MoMA through April 21, 2014.  

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Wednesday, 20 November 2013 19:15

Kimbell Art Museum Prepares to Unveil New Building

The Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas has completed its Piano Pavilion, a glass, concrete and wood structure that has tripled the institution’s gallery space. The addition, which was designed by architect Renzo Piano, will also house classrooms, an expanded library, underground parking and an auditorium.

The new building sits 65 yards from the museum’s original structure which was created in 1972 by Louis Kahn, Piano’s mentor. The two structures are adjoined on the Piano Pavilion’s western side, seamlessly merging the new with the old. The Piano Pavilion will house the Kimbell Museum’s permanent collection, which includes European and American art and antiquities as well as Precolumbian and Oceanic art.

The Kimbell Art Museum, which is free to the public, will officially open its Piano Pavilion on November 27, 2013.   


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Monday, 11 November 2013 18:05

Flemish Masterpieces Go on View in China

Rubens, van Dyck and the Flemish School of Painting: Masterpieces from the Collections of the Prince of Liechtenstein is currently on view at the National Museum of China in Beijing. The exhibition features 100 works of Flemish art from the 16th and 17th centuries and marks the first time that such an remarkable selection of works from the Flemish Painting School has gone on view in China.

All of the paintings, prints and tapestries on view are part of the Princely Collections – the result of over 400 years of continuous art collection by the Princely Family of Liechtenstein. Prince Karl I of Liechtenstein laid the foundations for the collections, which include numerous masterpieces of European art, in 1600. Since then, the Princely House has supplemented, consolidated and expanded the collections.

The exhibition, which includes works by Peter Paul Rubens, Anthonis van Dyck and the Brueghel family of artists, will be on view at the National Museum of China through February 15, 2014. In March 2014, the exhibition will travel to the China Art Museum in Shanghai.

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Tuesday, 29 October 2013 17:46

Rare Vermeer Painting on View in Philadelphia

Young Woman Seated at a Virginal, one of only 36 known paintings by the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, is currently on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The canvas, which is on loan from the private Leiden Collection, will remain on view through March 2014. The painting is the only remaining work by the artist still in private hands.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art, which boasts the largest collection of 17th century Dutch paintings in North America, has given Young Woman Seated at a Virginal its own wall in the museum’s galleries of European art. The work is accompanied by the Leiden Collection’s own Portrait of Samuel Ampzing by Frans Hals, another master of 17th century Dutch painting.

Scholars have long known about Vermeer’s rendering of a solitary woman but disagreed over its authenticity. Scientific and art historical studies started in the 1990s ultimately proved that Vermeer was, in fact, the painting’s creator. Recent analysis has provided further proof, finding that its canvas is from the same bolt of cloth that Vermeer used for his famous painting Lacemaker, which currently resides in the Louvre.

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The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hardford, CT announced the appointment of Oliver Tostmann as the institution’s new Susan Morse Hilles Curator of European Art. Tostmann, who previously served as a curator at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, will officially assume his position at the Wadsworth on October 28,2013.

An expert on Renaissance and Baroque artists, Tostmann has lectured extensively throughout the United States and Europe and his writings have been widely published. He will oversee the Wadsworth’s comprehensive European art collection, which includes 900 paintings, 500 sculptures, and 3,500 works on paper. Tostmann said, “I am delighted and honored to work in such a renowned institution. To explore the Wadsworth’s collection of European art is simply irresistible, and I embrace its commitment to scholarship.”

The Wadsworth Atheneum is the oldest free public art museum in the United States and boasts an impressive collection of baroque paintings, French and American Impressionist paintings, Hudson River School landscapes, modernist masterpieces, and extensive holdings in early American furniture and decorative arts.  

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From October 10, 2013 through January 13, 2014, the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) will present Caravaggio’s Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy, one of the artist’s earliest masterpieces. The painting, which is on loan from the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, CT, will be exhibited alongside the DIA’s own painting by Caravaggio, Martha and Mary Magdalene.

Salvador Salort-Pons, the DIA’s executive director, Collections Strategies and Information, said, “Caravaggio influenced many painters from other European countries who came to Rome to learn the master’s dramatic and realistic style. Visitors will be able to explore two of the best Caravaggios in America side by side in the same gallery.” Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy is most likely the first religious scene that Caravaggio painted, a genre for which he is admired. It is also one of the artist’s few nightscapes, showcasing Caravaggio’s masterful use of light.

While Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy is one of the Italian master’s first religious paintings, Martha and Mary Magdalene is one of Caravaggio’s first known religious works staged in an interior. Side by side, the paintings will allow patrons to compare and contrast two of artist’s most spiritually and emotionally charged early works.

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A painting by Fitz Henry Lane, an American painter and printmaker from Gloucester, Massachusetts, recently sold for $1,384,000 million at an auction at Skinner, Inc. in Boston. Camden Mts. From the Graves was the top lot at the sale of American and European Works, which grossed $3.2 million in total. The record for Lane at auction is $5.5 million, which was set at Skinner in 2004.

Lane, who is often associated with Luminism due to his use of pervasive light, frequently painted marine scenes. Robin Starr, Skinner’s vice president and director of American & European Works of Art, said, “[Camdens Mts. From the Graves] has all the elements you expect to see in a strong Lane of his mature style. It has the wonderful sense of quiet in it. You have everything from the golden hour light catching the sails to the two figures you can see in the catboat in the foreground.”

The painting, which was signed and dated ‘FH Lane 1862,’ was created during one of the four well-documented trips Lane made to Maine during his career.

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Sotheby’s Old Masters auction, which took place during the evening of July 3, 2013 in London, garnered over $52 million and included the sale of El Greco’s (1541-1614) Saint Dominic in Prayer. The painting sold for $13.9 million, exceeding its high estimate of $7.5 million and setting the record for a Spanish Old master at auction.

The auction, which captured the attention of collectors from 33 different countries, included another work by El Greco, Christ on the Cross, which sold for $5.1 million. The sale marked the first time in living memory that two masterworks by the artist were offered as part of the same auction.

Alex Bell, Worldwide Head of Sotheby’s Old Master Paintings, said “The greatest Old Master paintings have a timeless quality that transcends their era and gives them a relevance to audiences today, as tonight’s global bidding and record result for El Greco’s St. Dominic in Prayer attest. The dialogue between Old and New is injecting fresh energy into our field. We’re now firmly in a new era, where clients from new markets are collecting Old Masters in new ways. Our response has been to offer the most exciting and diverse works we can find – and to present them in a more contemporary way.”

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Edgar Degas’ (1834-1917) La Masseuse (The Masseuse), which was once owned by the German-born British painter Lucien Freud (1922-2011), has been given to the Walker Art Gallery as part of the British government’s Acceptance in Lieu (AiL) of law. The AiL is a provision under which inheritance tax debts can be written off in exchange for the acquisition of objects of national importance.

The Degas sculpture was one of three works by Degas bequeathed to England following Freud’s death. The Walker Art Gallery, which is located in Liverpool and houses one of the largest art collections in England outside of London, was granted the sculpture after a competitive process with other UK museums and galleries. La Masseuse, Degas’ only two-figure sculpture, will join the artist’s painting Woman Ironing at the Walker.

Xanthe Brooke, Curator of European Art at the Walker Art Gallery, said, ‘We’re very grateful to Arts Council England for allocating the sculpture to the Walker Art Gallery, where it will be appreciated by an enthusiastic and diverse audience.”

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