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Thursday, 04 September 2014 11:00

Washington, D.C. Launches Public Art Project

Following its inaugural outing in 2012, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities’ 5×5 program takes to the streets again this fall. The city’s largest public arts project kicks off with an opening weekend celebration on September 6 and 7, promising both visual art and cultural events spread across each of the city’s eight wards through December. The works take the form of everything from site-specific performance art to sculpture to screenprinting demonstrations, all of which are free and open to the public.

The 25 participating artists — as chosen five apiece by five curators, hence the festival’s name — range in both medium and background.

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Looking to visit the Smithsonian American Art Museum without actually going to the Smithsonian? You might soon be able to do so from the comfort of your own smartphone.

On Friday, the White House announced in a blog post that the Smithsonian American Art Museum would soon open up its digitized collection to developers so they can build it into educational apps. According to the White House, “even museum curators do not have easily accessible information about their art collections. This information will soon be available to everyone.”

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Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is the latest museum to join the Google Cultural Institute, which allows visitors to virtually explore works of art from institutions and archives across the globe. The Gardner added high-resolution images of 52 works of art and allowed Google to use their street view mapping technology to create 360-degree images of each gallery’s interior. Now, in addition to viewing individual works, users can take immersive, online tours of the entire museum.

The exceptional quality of the images available via the Google Cultural Institute coupled with the website’s custom-built zoom view allow users to explore the finest details of each object. Visitors can browse works by artist, title, medium, country, time period, or collection. There are currently more than 57,000 high-resolution images of works ranging from oil on canvas paintings to sculpture and furniture on the Google Cultural Institute site.

Officials at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum will monitor the project to see if it causes a spike in attendance. To take a virtual tour of the museum click here.

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Wednesday, 07 August 2013 18:25

Amazon Launches Online Art Gallery

The online retailer Amazon launched “Amazon Art,” a website that will be used to market works from galleries across the United States, Great Britain, the Netherlands and Canada. The site currently features over 40,000 works from more than 150 galleries and dealers. Offerings range from modest $44 canvases to Norman Rockwell’s Willie Gillis: Package from Home, which carries a price tag of $4.85 million.

Amazon Art’s slogan, “from gallery walls to your walls,” communicates the site’s mission – to make collecting easy and accessible to all. Consumers can search the site by medium, subject, style, size, frame and color. The majority of the galleries involved with Amazon Art are not high end and most of the artworks offered range in price from $100 to $5,000.

Peter Faricy, vice president for the Amazon Marketplace, which is overseeing the art site’s launch, said, “Amazon Art gives galleries a way to bring their passion and expertise about the artists they represent to our millions of customers.”

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The Cleveland Museum of Art acquired a rare enamel-on-copper copy of Titian’s (1485-1576) iconic 16th century masterpiece Bacchus and Ariadne by the English enamel painter Henry Bone (1755-1834). The museum purchased the 19th century work at Christie’s London on July 4, 2013 for $478,346. Curator John Seydl made the winning bid over the telephone from a London hotel in an effort to disguise the museum’s interest from other bidders.

The enamel measures 16 inches by 18 inches, which is exceptionally large for the medium typically used to execute portrait miniatures. The work includes an ornate gilt-wood and gesso frame and serves as a prime example of Bone’s innovative and widely admired enamel technique.

After being shipping to Cleveland, the Titian copy is expected to hang in the museum’s early 19th century gallery, which features French and English art.  

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To this day, Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) is widely considered the greatest German artist ever to live. A master of drawings, watercolors, and engravings, Dürer produced the earliest known self-portrait drawing in European art at the age of 13 as well as some of the first stand-alone landscapes. The craftsmanship of his woodcuts was so exceptional that he singlehandedly changed the public’s perception of the medium from commonplace to fine art.

The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. is currently hosting the exhibition Albrecht Dürer: Master Drawings, Watercolors, and Prints from the Albertina. The Albertina in Vienna, Austria holds one of the finest and largest collections of Dürer’s work including masterpieces such as The Great Piece of Turf, a watercolor nature study of the Renaissance; the beyond iconic chiaroscuro drawing Praying Hands; and his famous self portrait.

Master Drawings, Watercolors, and Prints from the Albertina presents 91 remarkable works from the Albertina as well as 46 related engravings, woodcuts, drawings, and prints from the National Gallery’s own collection. This exhibition, which is the culmination of decades of acquisition, study, and exhibitions of early German art at the National Gallery, will be on view through June 9, 2013.

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On March 19, 2013 Sotheby’s London held a sale of important ceramics by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) from a private collection, which included a wider selection of additional ceramics and prints. The auction, which included 100 of Picasso’s plates, jugs, tiles, vases, and bowls, garnered $2.2 million, exceeding the auction’s high estimate of $2.1 million. All of Picasso’s works sold and 94% of the pieces went for well above their high estimates. The highlight of the auction was Picasso’s vase Gros Oiseau Vert, which sold for $157,732, nearly three times its high estimate.

Picasso’s experimentation with ceramics started in 1946 when he was introduced to the Madoura Pottery workshop in France. He began working with the shop’s owners, Suzanne and George Ramie, and embarked on an exploration of the new artistic medium, which he would soon master.

During his career, Picasso produced several thousand ceramic works and continued to experiment with the medium until his death. The works offered at Sotheby’s were part of a single-owner collection and provided a substantial overview of Picasso’s ceramics and illustrated the full scope of his exploration with the medium.

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The New York Public Library is currently hosting the free exhibition Daring Methods: The Prints of Mary Cassatt, which spans Mary Cassatt’s (1844-1926) printmaking career from 1878 to 1898. In 1875, after having two works refused by the illustrious Paris Salon’s jury, Cassatt joined the Impressionist group at Edgar Degas’ (1834-1917) request. Cassatt created her earliest surviving prints a few years later in 1878, a year before she first exhibited with the Impressionists.

Cassatt, a legendary American artist who is well known for her tender paintings of women and children, had a bold approach to printmaking. She experimented with an array of print media, often repeating compositions and fervently reworking her copper printing plates in an effort to achieve the effects she desired.

Daring Methods tracks Cassatt’s evolution as a printmaker from her exploratory black-and-white beginnings to her mastery of the medium and her creation of technically striking color prints. The exhibition is organized chronologically to emphasize Cassatt’s development as a printmaker, illustrating the evolution of her subjects, compositions, and printing methods.

The show features 88 prints from the library’s archive, many of which have never been seen except on request. The works were donated to the New York Public Library in 1900 by Samuel Putnam Avery, a New York-based art dealer who worked closely with Cassatt.

Daring Methods: The Prints of Mary Cassatt will be on view in the New York Public Library’s Print and Stokes Gallery through June 22, 2013.

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