Acquisitions of the Month: March 2019

8 April 2019

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

Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth
Still Life With Mackerel (1787), Anne Vallayer-Coster

Anne Vallayer-Coster was an 18th-century still-life painter whose work was admired for its naturalism and colour. She exhibited often at the Salon and was particularly favoured by Marie Antoinette and other members of the French court. The Kimbell’s acquisition of this painting by the artist was made at TEFAF New York Fall last October; the painting was put on view on 8 March in celebration of International Women’s Day.

Still Life with Mackerel (1787), Anne Vallayer-Coster.

Still Life with Mackerel (1787), Anne Vallayer-Coster. Photo: Kimbell Art Museum

J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
105 holograms by 20 artists

The C-Project was an experimental collaboration that took place between holographers and contemporary artists during the 1990s. Guy Barron, who was involved with the project at the time, has donated 105 of these works – with examples by all of the artists who participated, including Louise Bourgeois, Ed Ruscha and Robert Ryman – to the Getty Museum with his wife Nora. The Getty Research Institute will also receive photographs, VHS tapes and other archival material related to the project.

The End (2017), Ed Ruscha.

The End (2017), Ed Ruscha. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. Photo: © Ed Ruscha

Museum of Modern Art, New York
The Moon (A Lua) (1928), Tarsila do Amaral

In the early 1920s the Brazilian artist Tarsila do Amaral spent several years training in Paris, where she first exhibited The Moon (A Lua) in 1928. The painting is the first by the artist to enter MoMA’s collection, following a landmark survey at the museum last year, which positioned Tarsila – as she is commonly referred to – as the progenitor of modern Brazilian art, absorbing European influences into works depicting the people and landscape of her native country.

The Moon (A Lua) (1928), Tarsila do Amaral.

The Moon (A Lua) (1928), Tarsila do Amaral. The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū
chicken / man (2019), Ron Mueck

An unlikely stand off between elderly man and chicken rendered in plaster, clay and coloured polyester resin, chicken / man is rendered in hyperreal detail complete with wrinkles, mole and nasal hair. The work has been several years in the making, in part because the chicken feathers had to be fully irradiated before entering New Zealand in the interests of biosecurity. It was bought by the Christchurch Art Gallery Foundation through private donations totalling NZ$1m, of which NZ$219,000 was crowdfunded.

chicken / man (2019), Ron Mueck. Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū.

chicken / man (2019), Ron Mueck. Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū. Courtesy Anthony d’Offay, London

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles
Untitled (2018), Zeng Fanzhi

Though he made his name in the 1990s with psychologically charged figurative works, Zeng Fanzhi has recently produced a series of considerably more abstract, gestural paintings. Untitled is an example of this new direction, and expands the collection of contemporary Chinese art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Untitled (2018), Zeng Fanzhi. Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Untitled (2018), Zeng Fanzhi. Los Angeles County Museum of Art. © Zeng Fanzhi 2019

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia
78 works from the collection of Constance E. Clayton

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts has received a total of 78 works, dating from the late 19th to the late 20th century, from the collection of the American educator and civic leader Constance E. Clayton. Most of the artists represented in the gift are African American; they include Sam Gilliam, Lois Maïlou Jones, Jacob Lawrence and PAFA alumnus Barkley L. Hendricks, among many others.

Head of a boy (n.d.), Barkley L. Hendricks.

Head of a boy (n.d.), Barkley L. Hendricks. Courtesy PAFA

Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Matching Pair (2017), Grayson Perry

On public display since 29 March, the same day that Britain was scheduled to exit the EU, Grayson Perry’s Matching Pair vases are decorated with transfer-printed images and sgraffitoed figures – one representing those who voted to leave in the referendum of 2016, the other those who voted to remain. Perry ‘crowdsourced’ the imagery, calling for members of the public to submit selfies alongside their favourite colours, brands and their idea of British identity. The title refers to the similarity of the vases when viewed at a distance.

Matching Pair (2017), Grayson Perry.

Matching Pair (2017), Grayson Perry. Photo: © Victoria and Albert, London.

National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Francesco (2017), Urs Fischer

A portrait that doubles as a wax candle, Urs Fischer’s sculpture will melt over the course of six months before it is recast back into its original form. The figure, a portrait of the curator Francesco Bonami, stares intently into the screen of his phone as his body slowly morphs. 

Francesco (detail) (2017), Urs Fischer.

Francesco (detail; 2017), Urs Fischer. Photo: Stefan Altenburger. © Urs Fischer, courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London

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