Enfilade

Mark Hallett Departs the Mellon Centre to Lead the Courtauld

Posted in museums by Editor on November 12, 2022

From the PMC announcement (11 November 2022) . . .

Mark Hallett, shown from the waist up, wearing a blue suit, white shirt, and blue tie.The Paul Mellon Centre’s Director, Mark Hallett, will be stepping down after more than a decade in post to take up a new role next year as the Märit Rausing Director of the Courtauld Institute of Art.

During his time as Director, Hallett has overseen a major expansion and diversification of the London-based Centre, which is part of Yale University, and a partner of the Yale Center for British Art at New Haven. Under his leadership, the Centre has become celebrated for its support of world-class research on all periods and aspects of British art and architecture, understood in their broadest global contexts. Over the past ten years, the Centre has not only dramatically extended its scholarly reach, but also tripled in size. It has enthusiastically embraced the benefits of online publication and communication, and wholeheartedly committed itself to diversifying the field of British art studies. Over this same period, the Centre has also developed a highly ambitious series of research, teaching, learning, and networking initiatives, all of which have been designed to promote the very best scholarship on British art and architecture, to share knowledge and expertise, and to widen the Centre’s audiences.

Mark Hallett said: ‘’It has been a great honour to have led the Centre over the last decade. During that time, I have worked with a brilliant team of colleagues, both in London and in New Haven, to make the PMC a vital, vibrant, and expansive centre for the study of British art. Today, the Centre is in wonderful shape, and I know it will continue to thrive and develop. At the Courtauld, I look forward to building on the remarkable legacy of the current Märit Rausing Director, Professor Deborah Swallow, and to working with similarly world-class academics, curators, students, and supporters in helping the Courtauld write a new and exciting chapter in its history.’’

Susan Gibbons, Vice Provost for Collections and Scholarly Communication, Yale University, and ex-officio Chief Executive of the Paul Mellon Centre, said: ‘’The transformation of the Centre under Mark’s leadership has been remarkable. He has opened the doors of the Centre wide, not only to London, but to the world, while carefully sustaining the high quality research and scholarship that has been the hallmark of the organization. From the launch of British Art Studies and the British Art in Motion undergraduate film competition, to the formation of networks for researchers and practitioners, to broadening fellowship and grant opportunities, Mark has truly championed new ways to understand and engage with British art history.”

Sydney’s Powerhouse Announces Gift of Schofield Jewellery

Posted in museums by Editor on November 10, 2022

French demi-parure consisting of necklace (shown) and a pair of earrings (not pictured), gold and onyx cameos, 1820
(Sydney: Powerhouse, gift of Anne Schofield; photograph by Marinco Kajdanovski)

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Press release (3 November 2022) from Sydney’s Powerhouse:

Powerhouse today announced an unprecedented gift from Australia’s leading antique jewellery dealer, 100 rare pieces of historical gemstone jewellery, this acquisition is one of the most significant donations in the museum’s history.

Ring, gold, chrysoprase, and rose diamonds, ca 1780 (Sydney: Powerhouse, gift of Anne Schofield; photograph by Ryan Hernandez).

Anne Schofield’s personal jewellery collection includes works created between the 17th and early 20th centuries featuring an astonishing range of gemstones and techniques. Highlights from the Anne Schofield Collection include exquisitely crafted archaeological jewellery, 18th-century hardstone intaglios, Carlo Giuliano earrings, an Egyptian-style lapis lazuli demi-parure, Art Nouveau dragonfly and wasp pedants, Cartier and Georg Jensen pieces, and a French demi-parure with onyx cameos from 1820.

Internationally renowned for her knowledge and passion for fine jewellery, Ms Schofield established her legendary boutique Anne Schofield Antiques in Woollahra in 1970. It was the first successful business in Australia to specialise in antique jewellery. A long-standing donor and supporter of the Powerhouse as Life Fellow and honorary adviser for jewellery, in 2014 she generously lent 70 significant objects from her personal collection to the award-winning exhibition, A Fine Possession: Jewellery and Identity. [See The Culture Concept Circle for coverage of that show.]

The Anne Schofield Collection will be photographed and made available on the Powerhouse website and will be on display at Powerhouse Ultimo next year.

“Over the past 30 years I have made many individual donations of antique and costume jewellery to the Powerhouse, to enhance the museum’s existing holdings. Many famous collections throughout the world have grown in importance as a result of private donations and bequests. I strongly believe that collectors who have enjoyed success should consider giving back to their city or country as generously as Australia has given to them,” Anne Schofield said.

Ring (Italy), gold, enamel, garnets, and rose diamonds, ca 1760 (Sydney: Powerhouse, gift of Anne Schofield; photograph by Ryan Hernandez).

“Anne Schofield has extraordinary knowledge and expertise in fine jewellery. Over many years she has generously shared her knowledge with our museum and shared her collections with our audiences and communities. This transformative gift to the people of Sydney and NSW will have an impact for many generations to come,” Powerhouse Trust President Peter Collins AM KC said.

“Across her incredible career, Anne Schofield has continually sought out ways to share her remarkable collections with the public. This generosity of spirit could not be clearer than in this extraordinary donation that will transform the Powerhouse collection. Jewellery is not only powerful decorative art, but a form of social history and it is our privilege to be able to share this with the community. I pass on my deep gratitude and thanks to Anne for this gift and her ongoing commitment to the Powerhouse Museum,” Powerhouse Chief Executive Lisa Havilah said.

During her formative years in London in the early 1960s, Anne became passionate about the decorative arts with a focus on costume and, eventually, antique jewellery. In 1970 she established Anne Schofield Antiques on Queen Street Woollahra. In 2003 Anne was appointed a Member of the General Division of the Order of Australia AM for her services to the performing arts and to the decorative arts, particularly antiques, as an author and consultant. Anne is a member of the international Society of Jewellery Historians (SJH), a Life Fellow of the Powerhouse museum, a member of the Australian Art and Antique Dealers Association (AAADA), and co-author with Kevin Fahy of the seminal book Australian Jewellery: 19th and Early 20th Century.

Powerhouse sits at the intersection of arts, design, science, and technology and plays a critical role in engaging communities with contemporary ideas and issues. We are undertaking a landmark $1.4 billion infrastructure renewal program, spearheaded by the creation of the flagship museum, Powerhouse Parramatta; expanded research and public facilities at Powerhouse Castle Hill; the renewal of the iconic Powerhouse Ultimo; and the ongoing operation of Sydney Observatory. The museum is custodian to over half a million objects of national and international significance and is considered one of the finest and most diverse collections in Australia. We are also undertaking an expansive digitisation project that will provide new levels of access to Powerhouse collections.

NGA Announces the Sant Fund for Women Artists

Posted in museums by Editor on November 2, 2022

From the press release (27 October 2022), which includes links for most works of art referenced in the document:

Victoria Sant served as president of the NGA from 2003 to 2014.

The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. announced today a remarkable gift of $10 million from the family of Victoria P. Sant, former president of the National Gallery of Art, to fund the acquisition of work by women. An endowment fund, the Victoria P. Sant Fund for Women Artists, will further the National Gallery’s ongoing priority of acquiring more work by women, from historic works to living artists.

In an ongoing commitment to this work, many acquisitions over the past years expand the holdings of creations by women artists across genre and medium. Two acquisitions of special significance were recently approved at the May 2022 Board of Trustees meeting: a portrait by Bolognese painter Lavinia Fontana (1552–1614), the first painting by an early modern Italian woman artist to enter the collection, and a small sculpture by Luisa Roldán (1652–1706) that is the first work by a woman sculptor created before 1850 to enter the collection.

“The National Gallery of Art and our millions of visitors have benefited tremendously from Vicki’s dedication to serving the American public,” said Kaywin Feldman, director of the National Gallery. “It is exciting that we now have an endowment fund to help us acquire masterpieces by women artists, and one that will carry the name of such an exemplary advocate and leader. We look forward to adding important works by women artists from all eras to the collection and continuing the work which Vicki so passionately championed.”

The Victoria P. Sant Fund for Women Artists will be the cornerstone in the ongoing efforts to address the gap of women artists represented in the collection. Vicki Sant (1939–2018) was the first woman president of the National Gallery and a member of the Board of Trustees for 15 years. Future acquisitions will benefit from the generosity of her family, given in loving memory toward a cause so important to her. The National Gallery intends to use this fund to expand the of acquisitions of work by women as part of its commitment to increase holdings of works by these artists. In the past two years (May 2020 to May 2022), 50.6% of the works acquired by purchase were by artists of color, compared to just 12.6% in the two years prior (a 302% increase). During the same period, works by women artists comprised 35.5% of the total, compared to just 20.3% during the two years prior (a 75% increase).

Lavinia Fontana, Portrait of Lucia Bonasoni Garzoni, ca. 1590

This highly detailed and exquisite portrait depicts the 16th-century musician Lucia Bonasoni Garzoni (b. 1561–at least 1610) by the most productive woman artist of the late 16th century, the Bolognese painter Lavinia Fontana. This portrait is among Fontana’s best preserved and most accomplished surviving works in the genre. A rare depiction of a 16th-century woman musician by a 16th-century woman artist, this painting tells the story of two accomplished women who were able to overcome obstacles in a patriarchal society to succeed in the artistic spheres of painting and music.

Fontana died just before her 62nd birthday after a highly successful career. Trained by her father, Prospero Fontana (1512–1597), in the late mannerist style, and most famous for her portraits of noblewomen, she produced her first dateable works around 1575. In addition to portraits, she painted secular and religious subjects, including altarpieces for churches (a rarity in the period), portraits of scholars, and mythological nudes—a subject that was unheard of for women in the period. In 1577, Fontana married Gian Paolo Zappi (ca. 1555–1615), who acted as her business manager; she supported her family, which included 11 children, with the profits from her painting. Fontana is one of 68 known women artists from Bologna in the early modern period and was a trailblazer for women artists who succeeded her.

Luisa Roldán, Virgin and Child, ca. 1680/1686

Luisa Roldán, Virgin and Child, ca. 1680/1686, painted wood, 56 cm high (Washington, DC: NGA, 2022.39.1).

This small carved wood and painted statue by Luisa Roldán is the first work by a woman sculptor from before ca. 1850 to enter the National Gallery’s collection. Widely accepted as a work by Roldan on stylistic grounds, it shares close similarities with a range of sculptures that are widely acknowledged to be by her.

Born in Seville, Roldán was the daughter of Pedro Roldán, one of the city’s most accomplished sculptors. Her introduction to sculpture most likely came from Pedro, with whom she worked in close partnership. At the age of 19, she left home to marry one of her father’s studio assistants, with whom she set up a workshop and began undertaking commissions. Some of her earliest works, identifiable by style, include various life-size figures in painted wood for altarpieces in Seville and processional floats (paseos) that reflect but differ from her father’s style. In 1688 Roldán and her husband moved to Madrid, likely in expectation of an appointment at the court of King Carlos II. Eventually she was awarded the royal title of escultora de cámara, which did not prove especially lucrative. She turned to specializing in painted terracotta scenes. When Felipe V ascended to the throne in 1701, she was reappointed to the Spanish court. Lauded for her accomplishments as a sculptor, she nevertheless died destitute, unable to pay for a funeral. On the day she died, she received recognition as an “Accademica di merit” from the Accademia di San Luca in Rome.

Other Acquisition Highlights by Women Artists

The National Gallery has continued to represent the work of women artists with notable acquisitions over the last two years in all areas of the museum.

Paintings

Faith Ringgold’s (b. 1930) The American People Series #18: The Flag is Bleeding (1967) is the first painting by a leading figure of contemporary art to enter the collection. This pivotal work exemplifies the artist’s skill in using art as a vehicle to question the social dynamics of race, gender, and power. The National Gallery also acquired two works by Carmen Herrera (1915–2022), one of the leading practitioners of abstract art during the second half of the 20th century: Untitled (2013) and the sculptural relief Untitled Estructura (Yellow) (1966/2016). Associated with non-representational, concrete abstraction in Europe, the United States, and Latin America, Herrera’s art contributed to the cross-pollination of modernist ideas.

Genesis Tramaine’s (b. 1983) Clinging unto the Lord (2021) blends a provocative use of color with an urban-inspired, mixed-media approach that focuses on the shape and definition of the “American Black Face” and uses exaggerated features to capture the spirited emotions of the untapped, underrepresented souls of Black people. Carla Accardi (1924–2014), a prominent figure of postwar Italian art and the Italian feminist movement, painted the wavelike forms of Rossorosa (1966) in red varnish on a sheet of clear Sicofoil suspended in front of pink cardboard. The work exemplifies Accardi’s preference for combinations of maximum-intensity hues and bold patterns to create powerful optical effects. Two quilts by Rosie Lee Tompkins (1936–2006) also entered the collection last year. Tompkins created irregularly shaped quilt tops that she valued for their visual and spiritual qualities, rather than their functionality.

Other painting highlights include SONG OF SOLOMON 5:16 – BE BEEWORLD: BE B BOY B GIRL (after “Emperor Xuanzong and Yang Gueifei playing the same flute” by Utamaro Kitagawa) (2014–16) by artist Rozeal (formerly known as Iona Rozeal Brown, b. 1966); Sarah Cain’s (b. 1979) Self-Portrait (2020), an exuberant, mixed-media abstract painting; and Eko Skyscraper (2019) by Njideka Akunyili Crosby (b. 1983), the first work by this celebrated artist to enter the collection.

Sculptures

Sonia Gomes (b. 1948), a contemporary Afro-Brazilian artist, is known for her mixed-media works made of fabric, wire, and other materials. Correnteza (Current) (2018), a sculpture from her Raízes (Roots) series, brings the aesthetic and the human together in memorable sculptures that are at once traditionally Brazilian and fluently contemporary. Chakaia Booker’s (b. 1953) Egress (ca. 2000), the first sculptural work by her to enter the collection, is created with recycled tires that transform familiar symbols of urban waste and blight into extraordinary compositions of renewal.

A pioneer of second-wave feminist and post-war Black nationalist aesthetics, Betye Saar’s (b. 1926) practice examines African American identity, spirituality, and cross-cultural connectedness. The Trickster (1994) reflects Saar’s continued introspection, her assertion of the aesthetic and conceptual power of African cultural forms, and the belief that art can be made from anything. The first major relief by Louise Nevelson (1899–1988), Untitled (ca. 1975), resembles Nevelson’s classic, earlier work in that it consists largely of found pieces of black-painted wood that fit tightly within boxlike containers.

Prints and Drawings

Maria Catharina Prestel, after Louis Bélanger, View of the Loss of the Rhone, 1791, etching and aquatint printed in brown on laid paper, sheet (trimmed to platemark) 56 × 72 cm (Washington, DC: NGA, Ailsa Mellon Bruce Fund, 2021.23.1).

Maria Catharina Prestel (1747–1794) was one of the few prominent female pioneers of aquatint. View of the Loss of the Rhone (1791), depicting a geologic fault in France, exemplifies how Prestel created inventive textures to evoke the tactility of brushwork.

The National Gallery acquired three works by Zarina (1937–2020), one of the most celebrated South Asian artists of the past century, who explores questions of displacement, mobility, loss, memory, migration, and cultural dominance in her work: Homes I Made/A Life in Nine Lines (1997) a portfolio of nine etchings; Corners (1980), made from cast paper; and Untitled (1968), a wood relief print.

Israeli artist Orit Hofshi’s (b. 1959) Time… thou ceaseless lackey to eternity (2018), one of her largest polyptychs, explores the history and founding of Israel and its ongoing conflicts with Palestine using the universal themes of migration, displacement, and the toll that human civilization has taken on the land. Nicole Eisenman (b. 1965) is best known as a painter who skillfully combines art history, queer politics, and popular culture into engaging, often fantastical figurative subjects. Beer Garden (2012–17)—at nearly four feet square—stands out as her most monumental print to date and took five years to complete.

Photographs

Carrie Mae Weems, Echoes for Marian, 2014, chromogenic print, image: 127 × 127 cm (Washington, DC: NGA, 2021.8.1).

Celebrated for her ability to explore issues of race, class, gender, power, and injustice with eloquent insight and passionate conviction, Carrie Mae Weems (b. 1953) often uses the past to shine a light on the present. Weems’s Untitled (1996, printed 2020) consists of seven inkjet prints, each a reproduction of a historic photograph and each framed with sandblasted text on glass inspired by the heroism of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, one of the first African American regiments formed in the North during the Civil War. In her photograph Echoes for Marian (2014), Weems depicts herself standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, paying homage to Marian Anderson, who performed a concert there in 1939 when the Daughters of the American Revolution barred her from singing in Washington’s Constitution Hall. Weems’s photograph shows how architecture can not only exude a sense of power, but also reinforce it.

Other photography highlights include works by Christina Fernandez (b. 1965), a Los Angeles–based Chicana artist who uses photographs and installations to explore her Mexican heritage and themes of identity, migration, labor, and gender. The National Gallery acquired six prints from her Lavanderia series (2002–03), which depicts laundromats in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of LA, an area of the city that was known at the time as a bastion of Chicano culture, as well as her installation piece, Bend (1999–2000, 2020). Two important photographs by JoAnn Verburg, 3 x Three (2019) and WTC (2003), show how Verburg captures extended moments of time in her art, a theme that she has explored since the 1970s.

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Note — 2014 marked the 75th anniversary of Marian Anderson’s performance at the Lincoln Memorial. The same year that Weems produced her photograph honoring Anderson, the Daughters of the American Revolution hosted Of Thee We Sing, a concert in Constitution Hall “to pay tribute to the talent, strength, and courage” of Anderson as a “remarkable and inspiring woman” (as quoted from the organization’s Marian Anderson Statement, available from the DAR website).

 

The Huntington Acquires Portrait by Vigée Le Brun

Posted in museums by Editor on November 2, 2022

From the press release (1 November 2022) . . .

An 18th-century portrait of a French actor and socialite dressed in an ornate brown coat with gold braids, trim, and beads and white silk lining. A blue sash is draped underneath the open coat.

Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, Portrait of Joseph Hyacinthe François-de-Paule de Rigaud, comte de Vaudreuil, ca. 1784, oil on canvas, 51 × 38 inches (San Marino: The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, Gift of The Ahmanson Foundation).

The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens has acquired a major painting by Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun (1755–1842), the most important female artist of 18th-century France. Portrait of Joseph Hyacinthe François-de-Paule de Rigaud, comte de Vaudreuil (ca. 1784) is the second masterpiece to come to The Huntington through a gift from The Ahmanson Foundation.

“We are enormously grateful to The Ahmanson Foundation for making this acquisition possible,” Huntington President Karen Lawrence said. “Adding an important work by Vigée Le Brun helps us achieve one of our goals—adding more works by important women. Once again, The Ahmanson Foundation proves to be an invaluable strategic partner, allowing us to make a masterpiece accessible to Southern California audiences.”

The Vigee Le Brun painting complements The Huntington’s significant collection of 18th-century French decorative art, which was established by Henry and Arabella Huntington in the early 20th century. “This finely painted masterwork will go on display in the Huntington Art Gallery, the building that holds French tapestries and carpets that were once part of the French court’s accoutrements at the Palais du Louvre and Versailles,” said Christina Nielsen, the Hannah and Russel Kully Director of the Art Museum at The Huntington. “It will not only add rich context, but will also shine as a star French painting. While our collection of 18th-century British portraiture is one of the best in the nation, this is our first French portrait of this caliber.”

The painting also has an interesting history. The painter and the subject were both part of the inner circle in the royal court, and they both greatly shaped Parisian salon culture. Their friendship has been celebrated by contemporary writers in poems and verse.

Vigée Le Brun was the daughter of a portraitist and was painting professionally by the time she was in her teens. When she was 28, she was inducted into the French Royal Academy, with the support of Marie Antoinette, and she was one of only four female members. Vaudreuil (1740–1817) was an actor, socialite, and Vigée Le Brun’s primary private patron. In her memoir Souvenirs, Vigée Le Brun reveals her affection for him, calling him “l’Enchanteur” (The Magician).

Painted to commemorate the day when Vaudreuil was made Knight of the Order of the Holy Spirit by King Louis XVI, the seated portrait shows off the sitter as well as the artist’s virtuosity. Vaudreuil is dressed in an ornate brown coat with gold braids, trim, and beads and white silk lining. He wears a sheer lace jabot and cuffs. His shimmering blue sash and the silver badge on his coat represent the knightly Order of the Holy Spirit. The red silk rosette and ribbon are of the royal military order of Saint Louis, which he received from King Louis XVI in 1770. He clasps a fashionable tricorn hat with white plumes under one arm and holds the handle of a ceremonial sword.

Vaudreuil was the son of the governor and commander-general of the French colony Saint-Domingue on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. In addition to a great inheritance, Vaudreuil’s wealth also derived from his own Saint-Domingue sugar plantations, which were powered by enslaved people. “As with our recently acquired drawings of the Jamaican sugar plantation where the famous ‘Pinkie,’ from our British portraits collection, grew up, the Vaudreuil portrait provides us with an opportunity to shine a brighter light on the history of European colonization,” Nielsen said. “We must, and will, reckon with the lives of the people represented on our walls.”

The painting is slated to be installed in the Huntington Art Gallery in November.

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The painting sold in Paris at Christie’s, Maîtres Anciens: Dessins, Peintures, Sculptures (Sale 21059, Lot 232), on 17 May 2022 for €592,200, over twice its low estimate (€250,000–350,000). Two versions of the painting exist: the other is in the collection of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

NGA Acquires 2-Volume Illustrated Book by Giorgio Fossati

Posted in museums by Editor on October 29, 2022

From the NGA press release (14 October 2022) . . .

Giorgio Fossati, Raccolta di Varie Favole delineate ed incise in rame, 1744, six volumes in two, with three etched headpieces and 216 etchings printed in colors, bound in full contemporary Venetian vellum, each book 30 × 21 cm (National Gallery of Art, Washington, 2021.29.1).

Giorgio Fossati (1705–1785), born in Switzerland but active in Italy, was an architect, writer, stage designer, draftsman, and printmaker. The National Gallery of Art has acquired Raccolta di Varie Favole delineate ed incise in rame (1744), a book that was issued in six parts and bound in two volumes featuring letterpress text and 216 full-page illustrations. The first major work by Fossati to enter the National Gallery’s collection, these volumes feature their original 18th-century Venetian vellum binding boards and illustrations inked and printed in a different color, including hues of red, blue, and green.

Fossati’s etchings depicting the fables of Aesop and Jean de La Fontaine targeted an international audience with text written in Italian as well as French—the cosmopolitan language of the 18th century. Some of Fossati’s images reference earlier printed works, including Albrecht Dürer’s woodcut The Rhinoceros (1515).

New Acquisitions at The Huntington

Posted in museums by Editor on October 28, 2022

From the press release (15 September 2022) . . .

The Huntington acquires large-scale Jacobean portrait and a rare early 19th-century portrait of a young Black man, among other works.

Unknown artist, British, 19th century, Portrait of a Young Black Man, 1800–20, oil on canvas, 9 × 7 inches (The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens).

The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California has acquired a group of art works to add to its well-regarded British collections, including a large-scale, meticulously painted Jacobean portrait of a noblewoman, probably by Robert Peake the Elder (ca. 1551–1619), and a rare British painting of a Black man made around 1800. The acquisitions were funded by The Huntington’s Art Collectors’ Council. Among other purchased works were a set of drawings relating to the girl depicted in The Huntington’s iconic painting Pinkie by Thomas Lawrence; a modernist pastel by C.R.W. Nevinson; and a vase by Christopher Dresser, one of Britain’s most important designers of the late 19th century. The two paintings will go on view in the Huntington Art Gallery on 15 February 2023, with the opening of the related special exhibition The Hilton Als Series: Njideka Akunyili Crosby.

“These new acquisitions offer important depth and nuance to the interpretation of our signature British art collections of paintings, works on paper, and decorative art,” said Christina Nielsen, the Hannah and Russel Kully Director of the Art Museum at The Huntington. “I’m delighted that we will debut these two centuries-old portraits in a gallery where Njideka Akunyili Crosby’s intimate contemporary portraits of Nigerian children will be across the room. Akunyili Crosby’s work evokes tropes of Western portraiture and should provide fascinating context to the two older paintings.”

Robert Peake the Elder, Portrait of a Lady, traditionally identified as Eleanor Wortley, Lady Lee, 1615, oil on canvas, 82 × 47 inches.

Robert Peake the Elder, Portrait of a Lady, traditionally identified as Eleanor Wortley, Lady Lee, 1615, oil on canvas, 82 × 47 inches (The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens).

The expertly rendered full-length portrait of a noblewoman from Jacobean England (1603–25) was probably painted by Robert Peake the Elder (ca. 1551–1619). The sitter had been identified as Eleanor Wortley, Lady Lee, from Oxfordshire, based on clues from a record written in the 18th century. However, that theory is now in question, as other evidence indicates the painting was probably made in 1615, when Wortley was still married to Sir Henry Lee and not yet widowed—but this sitter is in mourning clothes.

The woman in the painting stands between two red curtains on a precious imported carpet. She is richly dressed, styled in a black satin gown with a white silk lining, diamond encrusted jewels, strings of pearls, and expensive lace at the neck and wrists. An embroidered petticoat edged with a silver thread fringe is visible at the bottom of the skirt. In her left hand, she holds a white handkerchief bordered with Flemish lace. Her jewelry is particularly fine and includes a crown of pearls in the style typically worn by a countess. There are also jewels in her hair, a bejeweled gold chain inset with pearls and rubies around her neck, and heavy ropes of pearls on her wrists.

Robert Peake the Elder was active in the latter part of Queen Elizabeth I’s reign and for most of King James I’s. The portrait probably dates to the late years of Peake’s career, when he specialized in the full-length ‘costume pieces’ that were unique to England at the time.

“This is our first example of the kind of painting that anticipated the grand manner formula of full-length portraits of nobles dressed in lavish clothing, which influenced such artists as Anthony van Dyck and later Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough, all of whom are already beautifully represented in our collections,” said Melinda McCurdy, curator of British art at The Huntington. “This impressive acquisition allows us to broaden the story that we can tell about British art in our galleries.”

Unknown artist, British, Portrait of a Young Black Man, 1800–20, oil on canvas, 9 × 7 inches.

“In this mysterious portrait, a young Black man stares out at us with a captivating face, his brow slightly furrowed and his gaze direct and calm,” McCurdy said. “Dressed in a frock coat, waistcoat, and red neckerchief, he has a presence that is dignified and self-possessed, and we wonder, ‘Who is this person?’”

The sitter’s name and identity are not known. He is possibly British; by 1800, there were about 15,000 people of African or Afro Caribbean descent living in England. During the period, there were some prominent figures of African descent in British society, such as the abolitionist and grocer Ignatius Sancho (1729–1780), whose portrait was painted by Thomas Gainsborough in 1768. The sitter was possibly a servant or, given his dress, a sailor, since the style of his coat and red neckcloth are consistent with sailor attire of the period.

“While a bit of mystery surrounds it, this portrait is an exceptional addition to our collection of British portraiture,” McCurdy said. “Single-figure British portraits of Anglo African sitters from the early 19th century are exceedingly rare. The portrait also adds a new historical lens through which we can view the works of other artists in our collection, including Joshua Reynolds, who was active in the English abolitionist movement. Perhaps most strikingly, the painting serves as a historical counterpart to our already iconic Kehinde Wiley painting, A Portrait of a Young Gentleman.”

Mary Clementina Barrett, Cinnamon Hill Great House, Home of Samuel and Mary Barrett, ca. 1830, graphite on embossed Bristol board, 9 × 14 inches; Retreat Sea House, St. Ann’s, Jamaica, 30 January 1830, graphite on paper, 9 × 14 inches; and Slave Houses on the Barrett Plantation, Jamaica, ca. 1830, graphite on embossed Turnbull’s superfine board, 9 × 14 inches.

Mary Clementina Barrett, Slave Houses on the Barrett Plantation, Jamaica, ca. 1830, graphite on embossed Turnbull’s superfine board, 9 × 14 inches (The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens).

The Huntington also acquired three drawings by Mary Clementina Barrett (1803–1831), the wife of Samuel Barrett Moulton Barrett, who is the brother of Sarah Goodin Barrett Moulton, better known to Huntington audiences by her nickname, ‘Pinkie’. Had she lived beyond childhood, Pinkie would have been Mary Barrett’s sister-in-law. The drawings depict Cinnamon Hill Estate, the Barrett family’s Jamaican sugar plantation where Pinkie grew up. Two of the drawings focus on the owners’ residences: Cinnamon Hill Great House and Retreat Sea House. A third drawing shows the buildings that housed the enslaved people of the estate. Together, the drawings present a visceral reminder of the system of human bondage that underpinned the wealth of many British families.

Pinkie was born in Jamaica, where she spent the first nine years of her life on her family’s plantation before being sent to school in England, where she died of an infection two years later in 1795. “The tragic circumstances of this girl’s short life, immortalized in Thomas Lawrence’s famed 1794 portrait, have kept Pinkie’s family history in the background,” McCurdy said. “These drawings bring that story to light.”

Mary Barrett would have received training in draftsmanship, considered an essential part of a wealthy young woman’s education, and her drawings reveal her mastery of the pencil. The views are taken from a wide vantage point, capturing incidents in the life of the plantation. Rendered in fine, precise strokes, Barrett’s drawings are full of incidental details, valuable for what they show of plantation life as well as for what they leave out. Two of the scenes include the residences of the estate’s enslaved people and all three present images of the people themselves, but Barrett does not depict the back-breaking labor of the sugar cane fields that made her family’s position in British society possible.

“These three drawings are essential to building a fuller understanding of The Huntington’s collections. We plan to use them in installations illuminating the history of the British Empire; in educational programming; and in traditional and online publications that foster diversity, equity, and inclusion at the institution,” Nielsen said. “As stewards of the greatest assembly of 18th-century grand manner portraits outside of the United Kingdom, we must reckon with the real lives of the people represented on our walls. These portraits are reflective of the age in which they were produced—in all its complexity—and that is the most important story we can tell.”

Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson, From an Office Window, 1916, pastel on paper, 12 × 9 inches.

A soft geometry characterizes the newly acquired 1916 pastel by British modernist C.R.W. Nevinson (1889–1946). Depicting the rooftops of London from the vantage point of an office window, the painting features a strong, refracted composition of zigzags populated by glowing windows, puffs of smoke, and telephone wires. The atmospheric effect of smog over the city, perhaps at dusk or dawn, is rendered in a soft grisaille (a technique using gray tones). A thin window frame, just slightly askew, sets off the whole picture through its angular borders. Nevinson is most famous for his pictures of war. Witnessing the carnage of trench warfare during World War I, Nevinson returned from the front to exhibit his controversial pictures of war, including soldiers facedown in the mud or convalescing on stretchers. From an Office Window comes from this formative period in the artist’s career, when he also focused on the atmosphere of the city and, in particular, London’s smoke and smog. Several years after making this picture, Nevinson helped to form the Brighter London Society, which advocated for the beautification of the city and the improvement of such conditions as air quality. “From an Office Window is particularly relevant today, given our own increasing awareness of the climate crisis,” McCurdy said.

The Huntington holds another urban Nevinson drawing, Bar in Marseilles (1921). From an Office Window may have been a study for a 1917 oil-on-canvas version of the same composition, which was also translated to a mezzotint in 1918.

Christopher Dresser (designer), Basket Vase, 1892–96, glazed earthenware, 9 inches high.

Christopher Dresser was one of Britain’s most important independent designers of the late 19th century. The rare ‘basket’-style vase, designed by Dresser and produced by Ault Pottery, bears a variety of international influences characteristic of Dresser’s imaginative, deeply historical, and improvisational style. The vase’s luscious deep green and yellow glaze is inspired by traditional Chinese and Japanese pottery, and is typical of Dresser’s finer pieces. The form—with its pouch-like, curving shape tapering to a thin handle—is reminiscent of Japanese bronze vessels and woven moon baskets used for ikebana, or flower arranging.

Dresser worked for a variety of manufacturing firms during his long and influential career. Early on, he trained as a botanist, often incorporating his knowledge of flowers and plants into his wallpaper, textile, ceramic, furniture, and metal designs. He also drew inspiration from ancient cultures, taking cues from ancient Peruvian pottery and Persian, Egyptian, and Moroccan objects, as well as Asian styles that influenced his cutting-edge, modernist designs. He was a proponent of the Anglo Japanese style, writing and lecturing widely on the topic, and he played a significant role in introducing the style to middle-class audiences in Britain and the United States.

“Although The Huntington’s collection is strong in British Arts and Crafts and aesthetic movement material, it astonishingly did not include works by Dresser, who was among the most prolific designers of his era,” McCurdy said. “This vase adds to our substantial collection of works by such contemporaneous designers as William Morris and Walter Crane.” It also connects with the Japanese influences that are visible in The Huntington’s American works by Louis Comfort Tiffany, the Herter Brothers, and Greene and Greene.

Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco Acquire Work by Canaletto

Posted in museums by Editor on October 26, 2022

Canaletto, Venice, the Grand Canal Looking East with Santa Maria della Salute, ca. 1750, oil on canvas, 133 × 165 cm
(Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco)

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From the press release (20 October 2022) . . .

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco are delighted to announce the acquisition of Venice, the Grand Canal Looking East with Santa Maria della Salute, a preeminent work by Giovanni Antonio Canal, called Canaletto (1697–1768), considered the greatest Venetian view painter of the eighteenth century. The acquisition was made possible by a generous donation from the San Francisco philanthropist Diane B. Wilsey. Originally commissioned in 1750 by William Holbech for Farnborough Hall in England, the painting has been continuously held in private collections, including most recently that of Ann and Gordon Getty. The painting will now take its place as one of the public treasures of San Francisco as part of the European Paintings collection at the Legion of Honor, widely known for its exceptional quality.

“We extend our deepest gratitude to Diane B. Wilsey for her generous gift of this breathtaking work to the city of San Francisco, and unmatched support of the Fine Arts Museums over many years, including funding our beloved free Saturdays program for Bay Area residents,” states Thomas P. Campbell, director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. “The first major painting by Canaletto to enter the Fine Arts Museums’ collections, Venice, the Grand Canal Looking East with Santa Maria della Salute, builds on the Legion of Honor’s robust holdings of eighteenth-century Italian art.”

“With the Legion of Honor Centenary approaching in 2024, I wanted to give a gift to the museum, to the residents of San Francisco, and to our visitors from around the world, that matched the magnitude of this moment. It is an honor to help the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco in its acquisitions of serious and important works of art that continue to elevate and distinguish its collection,” says Diane Wilsey.

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, The Empire of Flora, ca. 1743, oil on canvas (Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, 61.44.19).

“Christie’s is thrilled to have facilitated this pre-auction private sale that will benefit the public twice, by funding the arts and sciences through the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, and by ensuring that a Canaletto masterpiece will inspire and amaze visitors to the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco for generations to come,” commented Bonnie Brennan, President of Christie’s Americas, “On behalf of Christie’s I want to congratulate Diane B. Wilsey and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco for making this wonderful acquisition for the good of all a reality.”

Venice, the Grand Canal looking East with Santa Maria della Salute joins an exquisite group of eighteenth-century Italian pictures, including the Empire of Flora by Canaletto’s Venetian compatriot Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, architectural capricci by his Roman rival Panini, and further works by his Guardi and Pietro Longhi held in the Legion of Honor’s collection. The painting also joins a closely related view, painted a century and a half later depicting the Grand Canal and church of the Salute, a 1908 masterpiece by Claude Monet.

Claude Monet, The Grand Canal, Venice, 1908, oil on canvas (Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 1960.29).

“Acquiring a masterpiece by Canaletto has long been a priority for our collections. Venice, the Grand Canal looking East with Santa Maria della Salute represents a cornerstone acquisition for the kickoff of our Gift of Art Campaign to celebrate the Legion of Honor’s Centenary. Thanks to Mrs. Wilsey’s remarkable generosity, this masterpiece returns to San Francisco where it will be featured prominently as a highlight in our galleries,” says Melissa Buron, Director of Curatorial Affairs.

Bathed in late afternoon light, Canaletto’s composition looks eastward, down the Grand Canal, past the stately church of Santa Maria della Salute and the customs house on the Punta della Dogana. Sailboats and gondolas dot the placid water, and Venetians of various social classes mingle in the foreground. On the horizon, the bell towers of San Giorgio dei Greci, the Piazza San Marco, and San Pietro di Castelo float like buoys, while half the canvas is given over to a radiant sky, its clouds tinted pink by the approaching sunset.

“Depicting one of the most famous views in Venice, this is among the most important pictures by the artist to come onto the market in the last twenty years. Taking as its principal subject the church of Santa Maria della Salute, built in an act of civic piety following the 1629–31 outbreak of plague in Venice, the painting offers contemporary audiences a symbol of hope and resilience as we emerge from our own pandemic,” adds Emily Beeny, Curator in Charge of European Painting at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Canaletto left Venice in 1746, to spend nearly a decade in England, where he had developed a loyal clientele among the British gentlemen who had visited his Venetian workshop during their grand tours of Italy. Once such client was William Holbech (c. 1699–1771), the owner of a country house in Warwickshire called Farnborough Hall. Having acquired two earlier Venetian views by Canaletto (today in the Städtliche Kunstsammlungen, Augsburg; and the National Gallery of Canada, Ottowa), he commissioned this painting and its pendant, a view of the Bacino di San Marco from the Piazzetta (today in the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne), from the artist in 1749 or 1750. These four works were likely installed, along with a group of Roman view paintings by Canaletto’s Roman counterpart, Giovanni Paolo Panini, in the dining room at Farnborough Hall in the fall of 1750, and there they remained for nearly two hundred years. Ann and Gordon Getty acquired this picture in 1987, making it the centerpiece of their legendary San Francisco collection, which contained no fewer than four Venetian view paintings by Canaletto, as well as examples by his contemporaries and rivals Francesco Guardi and Bernardo Bellotto.

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Over the past 40 years, Diane B. Wilsey has established herself as one of greatest benefactors in San Francisco history. A leader, trustee, and long standing supporter of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, she raised over $200 million for a building for the new de Young museum, has donated key works of art and supported numerous exhibitions at the museums. Beginning in 2019, she generously underwrites the museums’ Free Saturday program, providing free general admission to the de Young and Legion of Honor for Bay Area residents every Saturday throughout the year. Her support extends to other major cultural organizations such as SFOpera, whose Center for Opera bears her name, SF Ballet, UCSF, the renovation of San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral to the SF Zoo, and further to the SFSPCA, The Shanti Project, ICA Christo Rey Academy, Tenderloin housing programs, innumerable hospitals and schools, and the City of San Francisco’s Pandemic recovery efforts. San Francisco Mayor London Breed honored her during Women’s History Month as one of four ‘Women in Philanthropy: the Givers and the Doers’.

Williamsburg Acquires Its Earliest Piece of American Silver

Posted in museums by Editor on October 25, 2022

Press release (17 October 2022) from Colonial Williamsburg:

Caudle Cup, John Hull and Robert Sanderson, and marked by Jeremiah Dummer, silver, Boston, ca. 1670, broad, baluster-shaped body with a lightly everted rim, a low base and a pair of cast handles applied to opposite sides (Colonial Williamsburg, 2022-74).

A 17th-century caudle cup that belonged to the Puritan congregation of the First Church of Christ in Farmington, Connecticut, and was used there as a vessel for sacramental wine, was recently acquired by The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation making it the earliest piece of American silver in its famed collection. The cup, wrought around 1670 in Boston, was fashioned by the first silversmiths making goods in what is now the United States.

“Colonial Williamsburg’s curators have worked diligently and with notable successes over the last decade to assemble a collection of American-made silver worthy of the institution’s other decorative arts holdings,” said Ronald Hurst, senior vice president for education and historic resources. “The acquisition of this particularly early and well-preserved cup provides us with an excellent starting point for the story of American silversmithing over the next century and half.”

Although perfectly shaped to serve caudle—a hot, sweet, often alcoholic porridge—this so-called ‘caudle cup’ was used as a treasured part of the church’s ecclesiastical service. The cup’s stable, low body with its two handles (or ‘ears’) made it easy to pass from one congregant to another. Clearly popular, five others that are nearly identical to this earliest example, were acquired by the church before 1720.

Adding to the distinctiveness of this cup, struck into one side of it near the rim is the mark of Robert Sanderson, Sr. (ca. 1608–1693), a London-trained goldsmith who emigrated to America in 1639. On the bottom is the mark of his partner John Hull (1624–1683), a British-born tradesman who arrived in Boston in 1635. Also stamped into the cup is the mark of Jeremiah Dummer (1645–1718), the first native-born American silversmith, apprenticed to Hull in 1659. Interestingly, Dummer’s mark was struck over Sanderson’s, while Hull’s mark was struck over Dummer’s. Exactly what this means is unclear, but it likely has to do with Dummer’s transition from journeyman to master, and the opening of his own silversmithing business. The caudle cup is the only known piece to carry the marks of all three artisans. Sometime after the marks of Hull over Dummer were made, the church’s initials ‘F’ and ‘C’ (the ownership mark of ‘Farmington Church’) were engraved on the bottom of the cup flanking the center point.

The trio of Hull, Sanderson, and Dummer are also important in the world of numismatics as they were responsible for the birth of American money. John Hull was appointed Mintmaster of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1652 and was assisted by his partner Sanderson as well as his apprentice/journeyman Dummer. Operating from 1652 until 1682, Hull & Sanderson’s mint produced the famed Oak Tree and Pine Tree coinage, among other types, in their shop in Boston’s North End. Furthermore, when Massachusetts authorized the first issue of American paper money in 1690, it was Jeremiah Dummer who engraved the printing plates.

“Considering the rarity and significance of Hull & Sanderson’s work, I’d long wanted to see an example of their hollowware come to Colonial Williamsburg, but wasn’t sure it would be possible,” said Erik Goldstein, the Foundation’s senior curator of mechanical arts and numismatics and interim curator of metals. “This caudle cup, which ties the silversmithing partners to their famed apprentice Jeremiah Dummer and has an impeccable provenance back to the time it was wrought, is almost too much to ask for. It will be in very good company with our comprehensive, 94-piece collection of Hull & Sanderson’s silver coins, gifted to the Foundation by the Lasser Family.”

Around 1907, Farmington Church (as it is also known) decided their centuries-old silver should be housed elsewhere for safe keeping. Stored in a bank vault until 1964, the caudle cups were loaned to the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, approximately 10 miles from Farmington. In the early 2000s, the congregation decided to sell the group in order to advance the church’s mission; the proceeds from the 2005 sale went to structural renovation and the construction of a new building.

The caudle cup was purchased with funds from The Joseph H. and June S. Hennage Fund. American silver aficionados, Mr. and Mrs. Hennage would have been delighted to know that funds from their bequest to The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation were used for this important acquisition.

Strawberry Hill Acquires Walpole’s Iconic Blue and White Tub

Posted in museums, on site by Editor on October 22, 2022

Yes, that tub! Lots of places to go for more information, but one might start with Luisa Calè, “Gray’s ‘Ode’ and Walpole’s China Tub: The Order of the Book and The Paper Lives of an Object,” Eighteenth-Century Studies 45.1 (Fall 2011): 105–25. From the press release, via Art Daily:

One of the most iconic and macabre objects owned by Horace Walpole (1717–1797) has been reacquired by Strawberry Hill House, thanks to the UK’s Acceptance in Lieu scheme. The beautiful, large blue and white vase achieved a certain notoriety after Walpole’s favourite cat, Selima, drowned in it while trying to catch goldfish, which the author kept in it. The incident was later immortalised in a mock-heroic ode by Walpole’s friend, the poet Thomas Gray, “Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat, Drowned in a Tub of Gold Fishes” (1747).

The cat’s death actually occurred at Walpole’s London house, in Arlington Street. The bowl, along with many other works of art, was moved to Strawberry Hill sometime in the 1760s. In 1773, Walpole commissioned a Gothic-style pedestal for the tub and a label to be affixed to it with the first stanza of the poem. After 1778 the tub was moved to the Little Cloister, outside of the house, with the 1784 Description describing the new location: “On a pedestal, stands the large blue and white china tub in which Mr. Walpole’s cat was drowned; on a label of the pedestal is written the first stanza of Mr. Gray’s beautiful ode on that occasion, ‘Twas on this lofty vase’s side, Where China’s gayest art has dy’d. The azure flow’rs that blow, Demurest of the tabby kind, The pensive Selima reclin’d, Gaz’d on the lake below’.”

Research prompted by last year’s In Focus exhibition devoted to the tub, together with the expertise required to secure its return to Strawberry Hill House, demonstrated that it is an outstanding work of art in its own right—albeit with an extraordinary backstory. The quality of every aspect of the jardiniere is superior; from the shaping of the pot, to the glazing and firing, all demonstrate a remarkable level of artistry.

Announcing the permanent return of the vase, Derek Purnell, Director, Strawberry Hill House & Garden, said: “Once again, we are grateful to the Acceptance in Lieu scheme, which has allowed us to reacquire one of the most iconic objects in the collection. An object whose true value recently emerged, thanks to the attention prompted by our 2021 In Focus exhibition featuring the goldfish bowl. Traditionally described as a typical 18th-century Chinese product, made for a foreign clientele, Walpole’s porcelain vase is in reality an older and more valuable object. The jardinière, of exceptional quality, dates from the 17th century and is decorated with a continuous design of the ‘Three Friends of Winter’—pine, prunus, and bamboo—within a fenced garden of rocks and plants.”

Edward Harley OBE, Chairman of the AIL Panel said: “This Chinese jardinière is remarkable for its association with Horace Walpole and the drowning of his favourite cat. It was placed on prominent display in the cloisters at Strawberry Hill during Walpole’s lifetime, and it is fitting that, thanks to the Acceptance in Lieu scheme, it has been returned to its former home.”

Arts Minister Stuart Andrew said: “The Acceptance in Lieu scheme exists so important works of art and heritage objects can be owned by the nation and displayed for everyone to enjoy. It is fantastic that this vase has been returned to Horace Warpole’s former estate where it can go on permanent display in its rightful home.”

The porcelain vase will go on permanent display in the Hall at Strawberry Hill House, from Wednesday, 26 October 2022.

Baltimore Museum of Art Announces New Appointments

Posted in museums by Editor on October 21, 2022

From the BMA press release (22 September 2022) . . .

Dr. Lara Yeager-Crasselt has been named Curator of European Painting and Sculpture and Department Head at the Baltimore Museum of Art.

The Baltimore Museum of Art recently announced that Dr. Lara Yeager-Crasselt has been named Curator of European Painting and Sculpture and Department Head. Yeager-Crasselt is a scholar and curator of early modern European art, specializing in painting, sculpture, and tapestry produced in Northern Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries. As part of her new role, she will oversee the reconceptualization of the BMA’s galleries of 15th- through 19th-century European art, with a particular emphasis on expanding the narratives told through the museum’s expansive holdings.

The BMA has also promoted Dr. Leslie Cozzi to Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs in recognition of her numerous contributions to the museum since she joined in 2018.

Additionally, the museum announced that it has received a generous $2 million gift from BMA trustee and longtime Baltimore-based philanthropist Anne L. Stone to endow a curatorial position in the Decorative Arts department. The funds are currently applied to the position of Assistant Curator of Decorative Arts, which is held by Brittany Luberda, a scholar of 18th-century objects and furniture who has been with the BMA since 2019. In recognition of Stone’s gift, the position is named the Anne Stone Assistant Curator of Decorative Arts. This named endowment will also follow future promotions in the department. The BMA’s Decorative Arts collection comprises approximately 8,000 works of art, including examples across media from North America, Europe, and non-Indigenous South America from around 2500 BCE to the present day.

Dr. Asma Naeem, Interim Co-Director and The Eddie C. and C. Sylvia Brown Chief Curator at the BMA states, “We are delighted to have such exceptional scholars to support the BMA’s mission. Dr. Lara Yeager-Crasselt’s appointment brings an incredible depth of knowledge, experience organizing world-class exhibitions, and alignment with our mission for equity and scholarship that will be invaluable to the ongoing development of the museum’s curatorial vision. Dr. Leslie Cozzi is an outstanding scholar, curator, and colleague who has a record of championing underrepresented artists with her acquisitions and exhibitions, and we are deeply grateful to our trustee and friend Anne Stone for her generous gift to endow the position of Assistant Curator of Decorative Arts, which highlights the importance of the department. The decorative arts are crucial to the museum’s mission to connect Baltimore communities and upend hierarchies of painting and sculpture.”

Yeager-Crasselt is a renowned scholar of early modern European art with significant experience in curating, teaching, and writing on a range of subjects in the field. Prior to joining the BMA, Yeager-Crasselt served as Curator of The Leiden Collection, a private collection of Dutch and Flemish art based in New York. There, she co-edited the online catalogue and oversaw the collection’s research, loans, and exhibitions, including co-curating its global tour with exhibitions at Louvre Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates; the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts and The State Hermitage Museum in Russia; and the National Museum of China in Beijing. Closer to home, she developed the collection’s focus exhibitions with recent shows at the Loeb Art Center at Vassar College and Exchanging Words: Women and Letters in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Genre Painting, currently on view at the Timken Museum of Art in San Diego. Previously, Yeager-Crasselt held positions at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA; the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC; and KU Leuven as a Belgian American Educational Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellow. Her publications include Michael Sweerts (1618–1664): Shaping the Artist and Academy in Rome and Brussels (Brepols, 2016), as well as contributions to exhibition catalogues and articles in journals. She has held teaching positions at several universities, and her research focuses on artists working in the Southern Netherlands and Brussels, the dynamics of artistic exchange between the Low Countries and Italy, as well as broader issues of artistic mobility, identity, and collaboration. Yeager-Crasselt earned her PhD in Art History from the University of Maryland and her BA in History, Art History, and French from Vassar College.

Dr. Leslie Cozzi joined the staff of the BMA in the fall of 2018 as Associate Curator in the department of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs. She is responsible for the museum’s post-1900 collection of works on paper, and over the past four years has curated exhibitions on the work of William Cordova, SHAN Wallace, Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick, Zackary Drucker, Ana Mendieta, and Valerie Maynard. She co-curated the critically acclaimed survey A Modern Influence: Henri Matisse, Etta Cone and Baltimore and is currently organizing solo exhibitions on Darrel Ellis and Omar Ba. Prior to her arrival at the BMA, Cozzi was the 2017–18 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation/National Endowment for the Humanities Post-Doctoral Rome Prize Winner in Modern Italian Studies at the American Academy in Rome, where she conducted research on the intersections between feminism, race, and text in post-war and contemporary Italian art. Between 2013 and 2017, Cozzi served as the Curatorial Associate at the Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts at the Hammer Museum. She received her PhD from the University of Virginia in 2012 and her BA from Yale University in 2003.

Brittany Luberda is a scholar of 18th-century objects and furniture, and as the Anne Stone Assistant Curator of Decorative Arts, she oversees and works with a growing collection of approximately 8,000 objects and furniture from North America, Europe, and non-Indigenous South America. She curated the exhibition She Knew Where She Was Going: Gee’s Bend Quilts and Civil Rights, co-curated a major reinstallation of the American Modernism collection, and is currently organizing an exhibition of works by regional artists who have received a Baker Artist Award. Prior to joining the BMA in 2019, Luberda spent three years as the Research Assistant in Decorative Arts and Design at the Saint Louis Art Museum, where she studied European and American decorative arts from the 15th through 19th centuries. From 2013 to 2016, Luberda was a department assistant in both Conservation and Decorative Arts at The Frick Collection in New York. She has additional curatorial experience at the Dallas Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Smart Museum of Art in Chicago. Luberda holds an MA in Art History from Southern Methodist University and a BA in Art History from the University of Chicago.

Anne L. Stone is a Baltimore native and a longtime supporter of local education and arts organizations. She has a passionate interest in the arts and collects fine art, craft furniture, and fine American antiques. A BMA Trustee since 2021, Stone has been very supportive of the museum for many years as an active Council Member and generous contributor of works of art. Her early education in Baltimore was at Calvert and Bryn Mawr schools, along with piano training at the Peabody Institute. After earning her master’s degree in Library Science, Stone worked in Manhattan at a publishing company before returning to Baltimore and working at the Enoch Pratt Free Library. She has previously served on the boards of the Choral Arts Society and Maryland SPCA and volunteered extensively at the Forbush School at Sheppard Pratt.

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