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Acquisitions of the month: February 2017

1 March 2017

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

Meadows Museum, Texas
Late medieval altarpiece panel (c. 1410), attributed to Pere Vall

This late medieval altarpiece panel, attributed to Pere Vall, will become the third work in the museum’s collection dating before 1450. The tempera on wood panel painting features Saints Benedict and Onuphrius, and is one of six extant panels that originally formed the bottom row of an altarpiece. Not only is this the first work by Vall to enter the museum’s collection, it is also the first work acquired under the new phase of the Meadows Acquisition Challenge Fund, established in 2006.

Saints Benedict and Onuphrius (c. 1410), attributed to Pere Vall. Photo courtesy of Sam Fogg, London

Saints Benedict and Onuphrius (c. 1410), attributed to Pere Vall. Photo courtesy of Sam Fogg, London

The Huntington and LACMA
Two prototype chairs (1979–80), made by Donald Judd

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) have jointly acquired two prototype chairs by American artist Donald Judd (1928–94). LACMA already owns the matching prototype desk, and the now-united suite will go on display at the Huntington in 2018. Judd produced the furniture when he was unable to find any that suited a series of architectural conversions he completed in Marfa, Texas. His designs would later go into commercial production.

Prototype Desk and Chairs (1979–80), produced by Donald Judd. © 2017 Judd Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Prototype Desk and Chairs (1979–80), produced by Donald Judd. © 2017 Judd Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Colby College Museum of Art, Maine
More than 1,100 works of art to launch the Lunder Institute for American Art

Longtime benefactors to the liberal arts college, Peter and Paula Lunder, have gifted more than 1,100 artworks to the collection and will also help launch the Lunder Institute for American Art. The gift features paintings, sculptures, photography, and works on paper spanning more than 500 years, including pieces by major artists such as Jasper Johns, Ai Weiwei, and Vincent Van Gogh. The new institute will make Colby College a global centre for the study of American art, as well as encouraging cross-disciplinary learning on campus. This is not the first time the Lunders have donated art to the institution: they gave hundreds of items in 2007.

Lake George in Woods (1922), Georgia O'Keeffe. © 2017 Georgia O'Keeffe Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Lake George in Woods (1922), Georgia O’Keeffe. © 2017 Georgia O’Keeffe Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
62 works of art acquired by purchase/gift from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation

Over 60 works, including paintings, sculptures, drawing and quilts by 22 contemporary African American artists from the American South, will enter the collection of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. The acquisition includes a significant gift from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, a non-profit organisation that aims to preserve, exhibit and promote the work of contemporary African American artists, and holds a collection of more than 1,200 artworks.

Lost Cows (2000–01), Thornton Dial. © Estate of Thornton Dial / Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY. Photo Stephen Pitkin, Pitkin Studio, Rockford, IL / Art Resource, NY

Lost Cows (2000–01), Thornton Dial. © Estate of Thornton Dial / Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY. Photo Stephen Pitkin, Pitkin Studio, Rockford, IL / Art Resource, NY

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
Watlington hoard, featuring rare coins and pieces of jewellery

The Ashmolean Museum has successfully raised £1.35 million to purchase the Watlington hoard, a small but rare collection of coins, jewellery and ingots (bars of silver). The hoard includes 13 examples of the incredibly rare ‘Two Emperors’ coin, offering fascinating new insights into the relationship between King Alfred the Great and his contemporary and rival, Ceolwulf II of Mercia. Generous grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Art Fund were supplemented by hundreds of individual donations in the nationwide fundraising effort.

Selection of items from the Watlington Hoard showing the range of objects discovered: arm-rings, ingots, coins and cut-up pieces of silver and gold. © Trustees of the British Museum

Selection of items from the Watlington Hoard showing the range of objects discovered: arm-rings, ingots, coins and cut-up pieces of silver and gold. © Trustees of the British Museum

Nationalmuseum Sweden
Study of a Sticky Nightshade or Litchi tomato (Solanum sisymbriifolium) (1683), Herman Saftleven

This botanical watercolour study was commissioned by Agnes Block, a passionate botanist and one of the artist’s most important patrons. Herman Saftleven produced over 100 botanical studies, of which only 27 are known today. In this study, Saftleven depicts a Sticky Nightshade, a prickly plant that produced edible fruits, native to South America and Africa.

Study of a Sticky Nightshade or Litchi tomato (Solanum sisymbriifolium) (1683), Herman Saftleven. Photo: Cecilia Heisser/Nationalmuseum

Study of a Sticky Nightshade or Litchi tomato (Solanum sisymbriifolium) (1683), Herman Saftleven. Photo: Cecilia Heisser/Nationalmuseum

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