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Acquisitions of the month: November 2019

6 December 2019

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

Dallas Museum of Art
More than 80 works, including 58 works on paper

The Dallas Museum of Art is opening a new department of works on paper thanks to a bequest from the estate of trustee and former curator of European art William B. Jordan and his husband Robert Dean Brownlee. The gift includes more than 80 works, of which 58 are works on paper (the rest comprise antiquities, 20th-century furniture, 19th-century oil paintings, ceramics, sculpture, and silver). It builds on the museum’s existing collection of some 5,600 works on paper.

Harbor Scene (Isle of Wight) (1880), Berthe Morisot. Intended bequest of William B. Jordan and Robert Dean Brownlee.

Harbor Scene (Isle of Wight) (1880), Berthe Morisot. Photo: Dallas Museum of Art

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Jayne Wrightsman bequest

A bequest of more than 375 artworks and objects (as well as $80m of funding for future acquisitions) is the grand finale to the late Jayne Wrightsman’s long-term philanthropic support of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Featuring artists Géricault, Guardi, Van Dyck, Seurat and Vigée Le Brun, among others, the latest gift significantly enhances the museum’s holdings of European painting, as well as bolstering the collections of European sculpture and decorative arts, drawings and prints, Asian art and Islamic art. Read Ian Wardropper’s tribute to Jayne Wrightsman for Apollo here.

Queen Henrietta Maria (1636), Anthony van Dyck.

Queen Henrietta Maria (1636), Anthony van Dyck. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Musée des Beaux-Arts de Strasbourg
Une âme d’artiste portée au Paradis (1791), Philippe Jacques de Loutherbourg

A painting by Philippe Jacques (also known as Philip James) de Loutherbourg has returned to his birthplace of Strasbourg. Loutherbourg made his reputation producing landscapes and dramatic naval scenes but this painting presents a rare allegory, in which an artist’s soul is transported to paradise. The acquisition was made in 2017, but has only been publicised in recent weeks.

Une âme d’artiste portée au Paradis (1791), Philippe-Jacques de Loutherbourg.

Une âme d’artiste portée au Paradis (1791), Philippe Jacques de Loutherbourg. Photo: Didier Rykner

Musée du Louvre, Paris
Eight pieces from the silver-gilt toilet service of Duchess of Modena

Eight items from Charlotte-Aglaé d’Orléans, duchess of Modena’s toilet service have been acquired at auction by the Louvre. The original set of 41 pieces was produced by the goldsmith to the king, Nicolas Besnier, and given to Charlotte-Aglaé for her engagement to the duke of Modena. They are a rare survival – all the other Orléans family services were melted. Among the objects acquired by the Louvre are a perfume bottle, a spittoon with a lion-headed handle and a ewer and basin, the counterpart to which is already held by the museum. 

Silver-gilt ewer and basin from the toilet service of Charlotte-Aglaé d’Orléans, duchess of Modena (1719), attributed to Nicolas Besnier.

Silver-gilt ewer and basin from the toilet service of Charlotte-Aglaé d’Orléans, duchess of Modena (1719), attributed to Nicolas Besnier. Photo: Christie’s Images Ltd., 2019

Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York
Sixty-four works from the Saul Steinberg Foundation

Sixty-four works donated to the Parrish Art Museum by the Saul Steinberg Foundation exemplify the considerable range of the illustrator and cartoonist’s output. Best known for his drawings in the New Yorker, Steinberg also worked in collage, watercolour, wood and textiles. The museum’s ‘Saul Steinberg: Modernist Without Portfolio’ exhibition presents 49 of these works, providing a humorous lens on life in post-war America.

Untitled (1968), Saul Steinberg.

Untitled (1968), Saul Steinberg. Photo: © 2019 Saul Steinberg Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS)

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Robert Mapplethorpe works

A group of 21 photographs and three transfer-printed porcelain plates by Robert Mapplethorpe are being donated to the Rijksmuseum by choreographer Hans van Manen and his partner, which will feature in a forthcoming exhibition on American photography since 1839. The collection includes two portraits of Van Manen himself, as well as the photographer’s well-known self-portrait of 1980.

Self-portrait with cigarette (1980), Robert Mapplethorpe.

Self-portrait with cigarette (1980), Robert Mapplethorpe. Photo: © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam and Drents Museum, Assen
Peasant Burning Weeds (1883), Vincent Van Gogh

This view of a peasant burning weeds is one of five surviving paintings produced during Van Gogh’s three-month stay in Drenthe, in the north-east of the Netherlands. Writing to his brother from Drenthe, he shared his hopes of capturing ‘the vastness of the plain and the gathering of dusk, and the small fire with the wisp of smoke as the only point of light’. This is a joint acquisition between the province’s Drents Museum and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

Peasant Burning Weeds (1883), Vincent Van Gogh.

Peasant Burning Weeds (1883), Vincent Van Gogh. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam/Drents Museum, Assen