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Acquisitions of the Month: April 2020

12 May 2020

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

Art Institute of Chicago
Photographs by Eleanor Antin

Two photographs documenting The Angel of Mercy, a performance by Eleanor Antin based on the life of Florence Nightingale, have entered the collection at the Art Institute of Chicago. Titled War Games (1976) and The Gentle Muse (1977), the works reimagine the state-sponsored documentation of the Crimean war produced by British photographer Roger Fenton, two albums of which belong to the Art Institute. A third photograph from a performance titled The King of Solana Beach has also been acquired.

War Games (1976), Eleanor Antin.

War Games, from the series The Angel of Mercy (1976), Eleanor Antin. Art Institute of Chicago

Art Institute of Chicago
Mr Quick as Vellum in Addison’s ‘The Drummer’ (1792), Samuel De Wilde

Another addition to the Art Institute of Chicago’s holdings this month, this one by the London-born Samuel De Wilde. In a work highly typical of the artist, known for his theatrical portraits of Britain’s best-loved actors, we see the comic actor John Quick in one of his most famous roles: Vellum, of Joseph Addison’s The Drummer (1716). The subject’s uncomfortable stance and dubious expression are evidence of De Wilde’s natural ability to capture physical comedy. The model for a print, the painting would have been mass-reproduced for public consumption.

Mr. Quick as Vellum in Addison's "The Drummer" (1792), Samuel De Wilde.

Mr Quick as Vellum in Addison’s ‘The Drummer’ (1792), Samuel De Wilde. Art Institute of Chicago

Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles
Archive of Emmett Williams

The archive of the American poet and artist Emmett Williams, an important figure in the Fluxus movement, has been acquired by the Getty Research Institute, which hopes the artworks, performance instructions, correspondence and photographs, soon to be made available to scholars, will prompt fresh study. Many of the items also contain insights into the work of Williams’ many collaborators, including Claes Oldenburg, George Brecht, Benjamin Patterson, Ay-O and Dieter Roth.

Dance Fragments , from the suite Dance Fragments (1980), Emmett Williams in collaboration with Rosanna Chiessi and Francesco Conz. Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles.

Dance Fragments, from the suite Dance Fragments (1980), Emmett Williams in collaboration with Rosanna Chiessi and Francesco Conz. Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles. Courtesy Archivio Conz, Berlin/Rosanna Chiessi/Pari&Dispari; © The Estate of Emmett Williams

Hepworth Wakefield
One hundred works from the collection of Terence Bacon and John Oldham

A pair of long-standing patrons of the Hepworth Wakefield have bequeathed almost 100 artworks to the gallery. The most significant works from the collection of Terence Bacon and John Oldham include 43 pots by John Ward from various points in his career, as well as ceramic pieces by Lucie Rie, Alison Britton and Angus Suttie. Works on paper and paintings by Trevor Bell, Euan Uglow, Terry Frost, Rose Hilton and Craigie Aitchison are also included in the gift, highlights of which will be shown in a special exhibition when the gallery reopens.

Black and White Hand-built Stoneware Form (c. 1994), John Ward. Hepworth Wakefield. Photo: © Nick Singleton

Jane Austen House, Chawton
Portrait Miniature of Mary Pearson (c. 1795), William Wood

A watercolour portrait on ivory by the miniaturist William Wood depicts Mary Pearson, who was briefly engaged to Jane Austen’s brother Henry, and whom the author met in the summer of 1796. It is rumoured that Pearson may have inspired the character of Lydia Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, which Austen started working on in the same year she met her brother’s then-fiancée.

Portrait Miniature of Mary Pearson (later Higginson, and later Mason), wearing white muslin dress, her dark brown hair curled and upswept (c. 1795), William Wood. Jane Austen House, Chawton

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Self-portrait (c. 1790), Antoine-Jean Gros

Gros is thought to have painted this self-portrait at around the age of 20. He had recently trained in the neoclassical style under Jacques-Louis David; at the Met, the work joins Gros’ portrait of his close friend and fellow student of David, François Gérard. The work is a gift from Karen B. Cohen, and is one of many that have been promised to the museum by more than 150 collectors in honour of its 150th anniversary this year. A larger version is held at the Musée des Augustins in Toulouse.

Self-portrait (c. 1790), Antoine Jean Gros.

Self-portrait (c. 1790), Antoine-Jean Gros. Photo: Metropolitan Museum of Art

Nationalmuseum, Stockholm
Nude Study (1885), Akseli Gallen-Kallela

Akseli Gallen-Kallela made his name with large-scale landscapes and interpretations of mythology, most notably his illustrations of the Finnish epic Kalevala. This study of a nude model, completed when he was around 20 years old and studying at the Académie Julien in Paris, offers a less familiar insight into his artistic formation.

Nude Study (1885), Akseli Gallen-Kallela.

Nude Study (1885), Akseli Gallen-Kallela. Nationalmuseum, Stockholm. Photo: Cecilia Heisser

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Portrait of Ott van Bronckhorst (1606), Cornelia toe Boecop

Little is known about the life of Cornelia toe Boecop, one of the earliest documented women artists from the Netherlands, though it is believed that she was taught to paint by her mother, the artist Mechtelt van Lichtenberg. This portrait of the husband of one of the artist’s cousins is typical of the period and region with its sombre colour palette and the use of symbolic objects to infer the sitter’s status. The work will go on long-term loan to the Stedelijk Museum in Kampen, where it will join the artist’s three other known paintings as well as several by her mother.

Portrait of Ott van Bronckhorst

Portrait of Ott van Bronckhorst (1606), Cornelia teo Boecop. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

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