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Acquisitions of the month: April 2019

10 May 2019

A round-up of the best works of art to enter public collections recently

National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh, and Victoria and Albert Museum, London
James Adam (1763), Antonio Zucchi

In 1760, two years after establishing his architectural practice in London with his brother, Robert, James Adam embarked on a Grand Tour of Italy, seeking inspiration for his neoclassical buildings. This confident portrait was completed during the final year of Adam’s travels by the Roman painter Antonio Zucchi, who later worked on interior design schemes for the Adam brothers. It is the third work to have been jointly purchased by the National Galleries of Scotland and the V&A; at the London museum it will complement the existing collection of Zucchi’s decorative works.

James Adam (1763), Antonio Vecchio.

James Adam (1763), Antonio Vecchio. National Galleries of Scotland and the Victoria and Albert Museum

Cleveland Museum of Art
Banks of the Oise at Dawn (1888), Louis Hayet

The mostly self-taught painter Louis Hayet grew up in then-rural Pontoise, moving to Paris in 1887. This luminous depiction of the Oise at dawn is the Cleveland Museum of Art’s first painting executed in the pointillist style, made famous by Georges Seurat.

Banks of the Oise at Dawn (1888), Louis Hayet.

Banks of the Oise at Dawn (1888), Louis Hayet. Courtesy Cleveland Museum of Art

Tate, London
The British Library (2014), Yinka Shonibare

Shonibare’s artistic celebration of diversity in modern-day Britain takes the form of a library of more than 6,000 books, bound in colourful ‘Dutch wax print’ textiles, inspired by Indonesian batiks. Some have the names of prominent first- and second-generation immigrants printed in gold leaf on the spines, while others record the names of figures who have opposed immigration, from Oswald Mosley to Nigel Farage.

The British Library (2014), Yinka Shonibare.

The British Library (2014), Yinka Shonibare. Photo: Oliver Cowling, Tate; © Yinka Shonibare

Reading Public Museum, Pennsylvania
Henrietta with Red Book (1913), John French Sloan

John French Sloan is best known for his association with the Ashcan school of realist painting in New York, to which he contributed his gritty scenes of urban life in the early part of the 20th century. This portrait of Henrietta Mayer – a store clerk in Manhattan, who modelled for Sloan multiple times – was purchased with the assistance of a public crowdfunding campaign, a first for Reading Public Museum.

Henrietta with Red Book (1913), John French Sloan.

Henrietta with Red Book (1913), John French Sloan. Courtesy Reading Public Museum

Frick Collection, New York
Forty-two works on paper by James McNeill Whistler

This remarkable collection of prints and one pastel, amassed by Gertrude Kosovsky over five decades, spans every period of Whistler’s career. It includes etchings from the French Set (1855) – Whister’s first published series – as well as works from his London years and his later lithographs. The promised gift expands the Frick’s significant holdings of works by Whistler – an artist whom the museum’s founder, Henry Clay Frick, admired greatly.

Billingsgate (1859), James Abbot McNeill Whistler.

Billingsgate (1859), James Abbot McNeill Whistler. Photo: Michael Bodycomb

Pallant House Gallery, Chichester
Modèle assise dans un fauteuil, se coiffant (c. 1903), Édouard Vuillard

This work by Vuillard, allocated to Pallant House as part of the UK government’s Acceptance in Lieu scheme, demonstrates the French artist’s transition at the turn of the century from the flat, decorative style of the Nabis – of which he was a key member – towards a greater naturalism. It is currently on display in Chichester part of an exhibition exploring the links between Post-Impressionism and British art (until 1 June).

Modèle assise dans un fauteuil, se coiffant (c. 1903), Édouard Vuillard.

Modèle assise dans un fauteuil, se coiffant (c. 1903), Édouard Vuillard. Courtesy Pallant House Gallery, Chichester

Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
In Pursuit of Venus [Infected] (2015–17), Lisa Reihan

Lisa Reihana’s panoramic video installation explores the representation of Pacific Islanders in Western culture, by repurposing imagery from a 19th-century French wallpaper, created by Joseph Dufour, depicting early encounters between Europeans and Pacific Islanders. Exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 2017 and as part of the Royal Academy’s ‘Oceania’ exhibition last year, the work is the first joint acquisition by LACMA and FAMSF.

In Pursuit of Venus [Infected] (2015–17), Lisa Reihana

Installation view of Lisa Reihana’s In Pursuit of Venus [Infected] (2015–17) at Cinemania, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Australia, 2018 Photo: Document Photography; © Lisa Reihana/Artprojects

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