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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.