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Acquisitions of the month: August/September 2018

3 October 2018

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

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
The Musician’s Table (1914), Juan Gris

Juan Gris’s experiments with the papier collé technique produced some 40 works over a ten-month spell in 1914, which have been acknowledged as some of the artist’s most inventive explorations of Cubist ideas. This work swells the Met’s holdings of Gris’s collages from this period to seven. It was bought at Christie’s Rockefeller sale in May for $31.8m by Leonard A. Lauder, who has now donated it to the Met. The extensive Lauder Cubist Collection at the museum now comprises 83 works by Gris, Picasso, Léger and Braques.

The Musician’s Table (1914), Juan Gris. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection.

The Musician’s Table (1914), Juan Gris. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection.

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.
This You (2006), Tino Sehgal

The first piece of performance art acquired by the Hirshhorn, Tino Sehgal’s This You features a solo female singer regaling strangers in an outdoor location. Sehgal is known to make several stipulations regarding the sale of his artwork, including that ownership was only to be exchanged with an oral contract, in which the artist sets down the conditions for performance. The Hirshhorn’s curator of new media and performance, Mark Beasley, has described ‘the act of acquiring the work almost becomes part of the performance itself’.

Uffizi Galleries, Florence
43 Drawings by Massimiliano Soldani-Benzi

Goldsmith and medallist Soldani-Benzi rose to become the director of the Granducal Mint in Florence in 1682, and exerted considerable influence upon the decorative style of the Medici court during the reign of Grand Duke Cosimo III. Unlike those of his contemporary and rival Giovanni Battista Foggini, however, Soldani-Benzi’s drawings have previously been little known; this tranche of 43, acquired in Paris, promises to shed light upon the development of Soldani-Benzi’s art under the aegis of the last Medici.

Two designs for brackets (18th century), Massimiliano Soldani Benzi

Two designs for brackets (late 17th century), Massimiliano Soldani Benzi. Courtesy Uffizi Galleries, Florence

Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles
Archive of Betye Saar

This acquisition marks the launch of its African American Art History Initiative, an extensive programme of research and endowment at the Getty Research Institute. The Betye Saar Papers run from the artist’s birth in 1926 to the present, and include documentation of the major assemblages and installations she has worked on since the 1960s, as well as sketchbooks, prints, drawings, book illustrations and commercial graphics.

Portrait of Betye Saar at the opening of her solo show at California State University, 1 October 1973. Photo: Fidel Danieli; courtesy the artist and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles, California

Jewish Museum, New York
More than 70 artworks from the Barnett and Annalee Newman Foundation

The Barnett and Annalee Newman Foundation has donated more than 70 artworks to the Jewish Museum in New York, along with $10 million to provide in part for upkeep of the collection and for a curatorial endowment. The artworks include some 30 from the collection of the late Abstract Expressionist painter and his wife, including works by Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and Claes Oldenberg; the remaining 40 or so have been completed by past winners of the Barnett and Annalee Newman Award. The Jewish Museum is planning a programme of exhibitions that will feature the works.

Untitled, Jasper Johns

Untitled (1991), Jasper Johns. Photo: Kris Graves; © Jasper Johns/Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

National Portrait Gallery, London
Portrait of Dylan Thomas (c. 1937–38), Augustus John

This portrait links two generations of pre-eminent Welsh cultural figures; the young poet Dylan Thomas was in his early 20s when he met the well-established society painter Augustus John in a pub in Fitzrovia, but the two became close friends. The new acquisition is one of two portraits of Thomas by John from this period, with the other held by the National Museum Wales.

Dylan Thomas, Augustus John

Dylan Thomas (c. 1937–38), Augustus John. Courtesy National Portrait Gallery; © Estate of Augustus John/Bridgeman Art Library

Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth
Landscape at Le Cannet (1928), Pierre Bonnard

The first work by Bonnard to enter the Kimbell Art Museum’s collection, this painting is one among some 300 in which the French artist depicted the landscape of Le Cannet, near Cannes on the south coast of France, where he had a villa for the final two decades of his life. At almost three metres wide, this is one of Bonnard’s more ambitious images of Le Cannet; the painting is suffused with a rich orange glow that conveys Mediterranean warmth, while the recumbent figure in the foreground and the farmyard animals lend the scene an Arcadian feel.

Landscape at Le Cannet, Pierre Bonnard

Landscape at Le Cannet (1928), Pierre Bonnard. Courtesy Kimbell Art Museum

Pallant House Gallery, Chichester
Six works by contemporary British artists

The collectors Frank and Lorna Dunphy have donated six works by Young British Artists to Pallant House Gallery under the Cultural Gifts Scheme. The works include a ‘Butterfly’ painting by Damien Hirst (whom Frank Dunphy managed between 1995–2010), as well as pieces by Rachel Whiteread, Tracey Emin, Peter Blake, Michael Craig-Martin and Gavin Turk.

Scissors (wallpaper pink), Michael Craig-Martin

Scissors (wallpaper pink) (2004), Michael Craig-Martin. © Michael Craig-Martin

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
The Howard Greenberg Collection of Photographs

The collection of 447 photographs amassed by the art dealer Howard Greenberg includes modernist and post-war works by 191 photographers, including Henri Cartier-Bresson, Dorothea Lange and Sid Grossman. It ranges from art photography to social history and photojournalism, with a significant number of first prints.

Gloria Swanson (1924), Edward Steichen. Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston