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Displaying items by tag: oil paint

Thursday, 17 April 2014 10:33

Exhibition at the Morgan Explores Sky Studies

The Morgan Library & Museum in New York has organized an exhibition that explores the importance of sky studies in landscape art. During the second half of the 18th century, landscape artists often worked outside, using oil paint on paper to quickly capture their ever-changing view. The varying effects of light, the subtle hues of the atmosphere, and the fleeting shape of clouds made the sky the perfect subject for artists hoping to develop and refine their techniques.

The exhibition at the Morgan features sky studies by artists from France, Germany, and Scandinavia, including Johan Christian Dahl, Carl Gustav Carus, and Eugène Louis Boudin. The works on view have been drawn from the collection of oil sketches acquired by Morgan Trustee Eugene V. Thaw and his wife, Clare. The Thaws are well-known for having built one of the finest collections of drawings in private hands. In 1975, the couple promised their collection to the Morgan, which is internationally recognized for its holdings in works on paper.

In 2009, the Thaws donated their collection of more than 130 oil sketches jointly to the Morgan and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “Sky Studies: Oil Sketches from the Thaw Collection” includes sketches from the 2009 gift as well as newly acquired pieces.

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Energy efficient LED lighting, which is widely used in museums across the world, has altered the color of Vincent van Gogh’s (1853-1890) famous Sunflowers (1888). Once a vivid yellow hue, van Gogh’s masterpieces are darkening; scientists have discovered that certain yellow pigments from the 19th century become unstable after exposure to LED lights, turning them a brownish green over time.

Researchers in France and Germany sampled 14 works dating from 1887 to 1890 and tested for the reaction, which affects the oil paint color chrome yellow. A popular pigment at the time, artists such as Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) and Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) often used chrome yellow in their paintings. Upon their discovery, researchers suggested that museums avoid using LED lighting on certain works and switch to a safer illumination alternative.

Van Gogh painted his sunflower series as a welcoming present for his friend, Gauguin, and planned to hang the works in the room where he was to stay while in Arles. A copy by van Gogh from the original series is on view at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

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