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Monday, 04 November 2013 18:28

Frick Names New Chief Curator

The Frick Collection in New York has named Xavier F. Salomon chief curator of the museum, filling a vacant spot left by Colin B. Bailey who departed the institution in June to become director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Prior to joining the Frick, Salomon spent three years at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as the curator of Southern Baroque paintings and before that, he was chief curator of London’s Dulwich Picture Gallery. Salomon is an expert in the work of the Italian Renaissance painter Paolo Veronese and the collecting and patronage of the cardinals in Rome during the 17th century.

Salomon will assume his new role at the Frick in January 2014.

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Thursday, 15 August 2013 18:20

Worcester Art Museum Acquires Veronese Painting

The Worcester Art Museum has acquired Paolo Veronese’s Venus Disarming Cupid (circa 1560), one of the last works by the Renaissance master still in private hands. The work was gifted to the museum by the New York-based collector Hester Diamond and will go on view on September 20, 2013 alongside works by Rembrandt, Jacob van Ruisdael and El Greco as part of the exhibition (remastered).

Hester acquired Venus Disarming Cupid at Christie’s in 1990 when its owner consigned it to the auction house as Circle of Francois Boucher. Shortly before the sale, the painting was attributed to Veronese and enthusiastically endorsed by the art historian and Veronese expert Terisio Pignatti. The revered painting has an impressive provenance, once residing in the collection of the German Prince of Hohenzollern-Hechinger and appearing on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2006.

Matthias Waschek, the Worcester Art Museum’s director, said, “It is rare that a museum can announce the acquisition of a single Italian Renaissance work, let alone one as spectacular as this Veronese. Venus Disarming Cupid is a game changer for our collection.”

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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.

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