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Acquisitions of the Month: May 2016

30 May 2016

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

Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

The Barns, Lake George (1926), Georgia O’Keeffe

The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum has acquired The Barns, Lake George (1926) using its acquisitions fund. The work – which has been held in private collections since 1946 – depicts the rustic barns near O’Keeffe’ and her husband Alfred Stieglitz’s rural retreat at Lake George in New York State. Coming from a series of less than 10 paintings of the subject made between 1921 and 1934, the work reveals O’Keeffe’s desire to portray a rural, regional identity, as a counterpoint to industrialism and the growth of metropolitan centres. This acquisition will enhance the museum’s ‘My New Yorks’ gallery, which examines how two places in New York State (New York City and Lake George) were significant to the artist.

The Barns

The Barns (1926), Georgia O’Keeffe. © 2016 Christie’s Images Limited

National Portrait Gallery, London

An album of photography, Oscar Gustav Rejlander

The National Portrait Gallery has acquired a rare album of photography by Oscar Gustav Rejlander. This early Victorian photographer is known for his pioneering technique of combining multiple negatives to create new, artificial compositions. The album contains several previously unseen self-portraits and a number of distinguished sitters, such as the poet and dramatist Sir Henry Taylor and the Hon. Lionel Tennyson, grandson of Alfred Lord Tennyson. Purchased with the support of the Art Fund, as well as individual supporters of the gallery and the gallery’s own resources, the album will join 15 of Rejlander’s other photographs already held in the National Portrait Gallery’s collection.

John and Minnie Constable looking into the fire ‘All Hallows Eve’ (John Constable, Minnie Constable)

John and Minnie Constable looking into the fire ‘All Hallows Eve’ (John Constable, Minnie Constable) (1866), Oscar Rejlander. © National Portrait Gallery, London

Colby College Museum of Art

The Vollard Suite (1939), Pablo Picasso

The Colby College Museum of Art has been gifted a set of Pablo Picasso’s Vollard Suite (1939) by Peter and Paula Lunder. Picasso created the series of 100 etchings in a neoclassical style while exploring themes of mythology, identity, creativity and sexuality. This is one of 50 deluxe sets, printed on Montval laid paper, and is believed to be one of only eight examples that the artist signed in full. The suite makes a further addition to the Lunder’s gift of their American art collection to the museum in 2013.

Minotaure aveugle guidé par une filette dans la nuit (Blind Minotaur Led by a Little Girl in the Night)

Minotaure aveugle guidé par une filette dans la nuit (Blind Minotaur Led by a Little Girl in the Night) (1938), Pablo Picasso. Colby College Museum of Art. The Lunder Collection

National Gallery, London

At Handeck (c. 1860), Alexandre Calame and The Lower Falls of the Labrofoss (1827), Johan Christian Dahl

A collector of 19th-century Scandinavian and Swiss landscape paintings, Asbjørn Lunde, has given two landscapes to the National Gallery. At Handeck (c. 1827) by the Alexandre Caleme joins the only other work by the Swiss artist in the gallery’s collection, The Lake of Thun (1854), while The Lower Falls of the Labrofoss (1827) by Johan Christian Dahl is the first work by the Norwegian artist to enter the gallery. Although both artists were well known in their own lifetimes, they are largely unfamiliar to the British public today. This acquisition will allow the National Gallery’s visitors to see the work of these innovative landscape artists alongside the British landscape tradition of Constable and Turner.

The Lower Falls of the Labrofoss

The Lower Falls of the Labrofoss (1827), John Christian Dahl. Photo: © The National Gallery, London

Museum of Modern Art, New York

162 photographs from the Robert B. Menschel Collection

A longstanding trustee of the Museum of Modern Art, Robert B. Menschel has made a substantial gift of 162 images from his photography collection to the museum. The haul – which contains works by 69 different photographers and ranges from early to contemporary works – will further complement the 350 photographs that MoMA has acquired with the support of Menschel over the last 40 years. Highlights of the acquisition include an 1843 view of Paris by William Henry Fox Talbot and a 2002 Carrie Mae Weems staged portrait.

Self-Portrait (Back with Arms Above)

Self-Portrait (Back with Arms Above) (1984), John Coplans. The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Six works by Bill Traylor

The Smithsonian American Art Museum has made one of its most important acquisitions of folk and self-taught art with the addition of six works by Bill Traylor to its collection. The combined purchase and gift from Judy Saslow doubles the museum’s current holdings by this American self-taught artist. Traylor spent the final years of his life (from around 1930 to 1949) in segregated Montgomery, homeless and increasingly disabled. Over this period he produced more than 1,000 drawings and paintings on discarded cardboard and advertising cards. Among the Smithsonian’s acquisitions are the early Untitled (Yellow and Blue House with Figures and Dog) (c. 1930–40) and his largest surviving painting Untitled (Radio) (c. 1942).

Untitled (Radio)

Untitled (Radio) (c. 1939–1942), Bill Traylor. Smithsonian American Art Museum

Swedish National Portrait Gallery

Eight portraits of the Swedish royal family

To celebrate Carl XVI Gustaf’s 70th birthday, the Friends of the Nationalmuseum Sweden have given the Swedish National Portrait Gallery eight portraits of the King of Sweden and members of the royal family. The photographs were taken by four prominent Swedish photographers: Dawid, Bruno Ehrs, Thron Ullberg and Mattias Edwall.

H.R.H. Prince Carl Philip, H.R.H. Princess Madeleine, H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf, H.M. Queen Silvia and H.R.H Crown Princess Victoria

H.R.H. Prince Carl Philip, H.R.H. Princess Madeleine, H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf, H.M. Queen Silvia and H.R.H Crown Princess Victoria (2008), Bruno Ehrs. © Bruno Ehrs

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