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Acquisitions of the Month: July 2022

5 August 2022

Apollo’s monthly survey of the most significant works to enter public collections shines a light on the gaps museums have been able to plug and the new stories they are trying to tell.

National Gallery, London
Portrait of a Gentleman of the Soranzo Family (c. 1585), Paolo Veronese; Christ Carrying the Cross (c. 1500), Lo Spagna

The Acceptance in Lieu scheme brings two significant 16th-century Italian paintings by Veronese and Lo Spagna to the National Gallery’s permanent collection. Settled for £3.4m in lieu of inheritance tax, Veronese’s Portrait of a Gentleman of the Soranzo Family (c. 1585) is one of the few portraits in existence by the artist and the first to be added to the museum’s holdings. Unlike many of the works produced in the artist’s later life which were largely produced by workshop collaborators, this work is thought to have been executed almost exclusively by the master. The acquisition of Lo Spagna’s Christ Carrying the Cross (c. 1500) sees the work reunited with its paired painting Christ at Gethsemane which has been in the museum’s collections since 1900.

Portrait of a Gentleman of the Soranzo Family (c. 1585), Paolo Veronese. © The National Gallery, London

Pallant House Gallery, Chichester
Two landscapes by Paul Nash

Pallant House Gallery has acquired two significant landscape paintings by the modern British surrealist painter Paul Nash – the works Frozen Lake (1928) and Skylight Landscape (1941) have been donated by Jeremy Greenwood and Alan Swerdlow. The watercolour Frozen Lake (1928) is the artist’s final known depiction of Black Park Lane on Iver Heath, a location near to the artist’s childhood home of which he made multiple studies. The works join the gallery’s large collection of works by Nash which currently includes Wittenham (1935) and Garden of the Madamites (c. 1941–44).

Frozen Lake (1928), Paul Nash. Courtesy Pallant House Gallery

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Eighty Indian paintings and drawings from the collection of Howard Hodgkin

More than 80 Indian paintings and drawings from the collection of the late British painter Howard Hodgkin have been acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The acquisition includes Mughal manuscript pages, portraits of Rajput rules and a small painting by Hodgkin himself titled Small Indian Sky (1990). The artist had hoped that his full collection would be purchased by the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, but the museum rejected the acquisition due to concerns that some of the works could have been illegally trafficked out of India. The Met have stated that they have only acquired works for which the provenance is known.

Neue Pinakothek, Munich
Portrait of Mr. Thomas Hibbert (1785), Thomas Gainsborough

Two paired portraits by the British 18th-century painter Thomas Gainsborough have been reunited after nearly 140 years thanks to the latest acquisition by the Neue Pinakothek. Portrait of Mr. Thomas Hibbert (1785) joins the Portrait of Mrs. Sophia Hibbert among the Pinakothek’s wider collection of paintings by British artists including William Hogarth, William Turner and Joshua Reynolds. The donation was organised by Pinakotheks-Verein, the non-profit organisation which supports both the Neue and Alte Pinakothek in growing their collections.

Portrait of Mr. Thomas Hibbert (1795), Thomas Gainsborough. © Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Neue Pinakothek, München

Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, and Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, D.C. 
The photography archives of Ebony and Jet magazines

The historic archive of more than four million prints and negatives has been jointly acquired by the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) and the Getty Research Institute. Chronicling Black life during the 20th century, the collection is widely regarded as one of the most significant collections of Black American culture, featuring photographs from the publications Ebony and Jet.

Muhammad Ali pictured against opponent Floyd Patterson, December 1965. Photo: Hebert Nopson/EBONY Collection

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney, and Tate
Six works by contemporary Australian artists

Six artworks by five contemporary Australian artists have joined the collections of the Tate and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA). The acquisition was made possible by the International Joint Acquisition programme, which is funded by the Qantas Foundation with the aim of bringing the works of Australian artists to wider audiences. Several of the acquired works are included in the Tate Modern’s current exhibition ‘A Year in Art: Australia 1992’ (until 14 May 2023), including Mabel Julie’s painting Garnkiny (2013) which uses natural earth pigments.

Toledo Museum of Art
Twenty-seven works by African American, Indigenous and women artists

The Toledo’s recent acquisition of 27 works by Indigenous, African American and women artists focuses on broadening the museum’s holdings in these areas. The acquisition includes works dating back as far as the fourth century BC, with abstract painter Grace Hartigan’s Harvester (1966) among the highlights.

Harvester (1966), Grace Hartigan. Courtesy Toledo Museum of Art