A round-up of the best works of art to enter public collections recently
Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University, New Jersey
More than 17,000 works of Soviet nonconformist art
This collection of more than 17,000 works of Soviet nonconformist art, worth around $34 million, becomes the largest single gift in the museum’s history. Promised to the Zimmerli by Nancy Dodge, who amassed the hoard with her late husband Norton, it joins the 4,000 works previously donated by the couple in 1991. The Dodges’ entire collection, now permanently united at the museum, represents the work of over 1,000 artists, extending across the Soviet republics. The gift is accompanied by an endowment of $10 million from the Avenir Foundation.
National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen
View Through a Door to Running Figures (1845), C.W. Eckersberg
The National Gallery of Denmark has purchased C.W. Eckersberg’s 1845 painting View Through a Door to Running Figures through auction house Brunn Rasmussen, for the hammer price of DKK 2.1 million. The work had been in storage for the past 19 years due to an export ban placed by the Danish cultural assets commission, which prevented its international owner from transporting the painting. One of two works by the ‘father of Danish painting’ included in the auction, it captures the rhythms of everyday life in mid 19th-century Copenhagen.
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City
800 photographs through a donation from the Hall Family Foundation
The Nelson-Atkins Museum recently announced that, over the past two years, it has acquired 800 photographs by nearly 150 artists and spanning a period of over 190 years. This major acquisition was funded by a donation of $10 million from the Hall Family Foundation, founded by the owners of Hallmark to support projects within Kansas City. One hundred of the new photographs will be shown in an exhibition this spring to celebrate the acquisition.
Victoria & Albert Museum, London
A section of Robin Hood Gardens council estate
The V&A has acquired a three-storey section of Robin Hood Gardens, a celebrated example of brutalist architecture in east London. The building was designed for the Greater London Council by Alison and Peter Smithson and completed in 1972, and is being demolished as part of a controversial redevelopment. The 8.8m high, 5.5m wide and 8m deep fragment salvaged by the V&A includes both the interiors and exterior of a maisonette flat, concrete stairway, and part of the residential estate’s ‘streets in the sky’ walkway.
Portrait of Hassan El Berberi, keeper to Mehmet Ali Pasha’s giraffe, bust–length, in Ottoman dress (1827), Claude-Marie Dubufe
Painted in Paris in 1827, the subject of this portrait has recently been identified as Hassan El Berberi, a Bedouin man who became the chief keeper of a giraffe sent as a gift by Mehmet Ali, the Ottoman Pasha of Egypt, to King Charles X of France. The giraffe’s arrival in October 1826 caused a sensation in Parisian society, inspiring writers and artists across the city. The painting was recently on display in London at Frieze Masters in October.