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Acquisitions of the month: January 2021

13 February 2021

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

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Six upside-down portraits by Georg Baselitz

To mark the Met’s 150th anniversary last year, Georg Baselitz and his wife Elke have given six of the artist’s portraits to the collection, including depictions of the gallerist Michael Werner and one of Elke herself. All painted in 1969, the works present the sitters upside down, a tool Baselitz landed on to shift the viewer’s focus on to his painterly technique, blurring the boundary between figuration and abstraction. The works are on public display at the Met until 18 July; you can read Christopher Turner’s piece for Apollo on Baselitz an upside-down paintings here.

Portrait of Elke I (1969), Georg Baselitz. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Portrait of Elke I (1969), Georg Baselitz. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Photo: Jochen Littkemann; © Georg Baselitz 2021

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam
Surrealism library

Cover design for a 1961 copy of Surrealistische ontmoetingen by J.H. Moesman. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam

Cover design for a 1961 copy of Surrealistische Ontmoetingen (Surreal Encounters) by J.H. Moesman. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam

A library of more than 4,000 items including catalogues, essays and poetry relating to the Surrealist movement has been donated to Boijmans by Laurens Vancrevel and Frida de Jong, who starting building the collection in the 1960s. The museum, which has an important collection of Surrealist art (including works previously donated by Vancrevel and De Jong), plans to establish a research centre dedicated to the study of Surrealism, the first of its kind in the world.

Museum of London
Trump Baby blimp

A blimp known as the ‘Trump Baby’, which floated above Parliament Square during protests against the former US president’s visit to the UK in July 2018, has been acquired by the Museum of London. The caricature shows Trump holding a smartphone, and copies have appeared across the US and at protests in France, Ireland and Denmark. The museum has also acquired 13 tweets posted by Londoners during the first lockdown. The tweets belong to ‘Going Viral’, a digital collection of virtually shared experiences of the pandemic in the capital.

Trump Baby in Parliament Square. Photo: Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images

Princeton University Art Museum
Little Girl in a Large Red Hat (c. 1881), Mary Cassatt

A colourful portrait of a young girl by Mary Cassatt has been acquired by the Princeton University Art Museum. The work is imbued with psychological depth, as the sitter gazes pensively past the viewer. This is the first painting by Cassatt to enter the museum’s collection, which has a number of drawings and prints, as well as one pastel, by the artist. Though she was born in America, Cassatt spent most of her adult life in France, where she worked and exhibited alongside the Impressionists.

Little Girl in a Large Red Hat (c. 1881), Mary Cassatt. Princeton University Art Museum

Little Girl in a Large Red Hat (c. 1881), Mary Cassatt. Princeton University Art Museum

Minneapolis Institute of Art
Portrait of the painter Francesco Santoro (1887), Joaquín Sorolla

Mia has acquired its first work by the Spanish artist Joaquín Sorolla. An early example of Sorolla’s impressionistic style, the painting depicts fellow artist Francesco Santoro, whom Sorolla met shortly after moving to Rome in 1885. Sorolla offers a casual snapshot of his subject, whose attention appears to have been caught by something to his left, just past the viewer.

Portrait of the Painter Francesco Santoro (1887), Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida. Minneapolis Institute of Art

Portrait of the Painter Francesco Santoro (1887), Joaquín Sorolla. Minneapolis Institute of Art

Toledo Museum of Art
Saint Francis Adoring the Cross (1596), Jacopo Ligozzi

A sombre depiction of Saint Francis in a moment of private devotion, rendered in a muted palette of brown and grey, joins the collection of Italian Renaissance art at the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio. The artist, Jacopo Ligozzi, was a miniaturist and court painter for the Medici in Florence. He repeatedly depicted Saint Francis, illustrating scenes from his life for a series of frescoes in the church of Ognissanti in Florence.

Saint Francis Adoring the Cross, (1596), Jacopo Ligozzi. Toledo Museum of Art

Saint Francis Adoring the Cross (1596), Jacopo Ligozzi. Toledo Museum of Art

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