A round-up of the best works of art to enter public collections recently
Albertina Museum, Vienna
Essl Collection of 1,323 contemporary artworks
Worth around €90m, this major donation includes artworks by leading Austrian artists such as Maria Lassnig and Hermann Nitsch, as well as international names including Cindy Sherman, Georg Baselitz and Alex Katz. In 2014 the collection was divided, allowing the Essl family to donate its 40 per cent stake while the majority share, owned by Hans Peter Haselsteiner, is loaned to the museum for a minimum of 27 years. The works will go on display at the Albertina’s new second location at the Künstlerhaus in central Vienna from next year.
Mauristhuis, The Hague
Bust of Constantijn Huygens Surrounded by a Garland of Flowers (1644), Daniel Seghers & Jan Cossiers
Constantijn Huygens was the epitome of the Renaissance man – one of the most significant poets of the Dutch Golden Age and a composer of numerous musical works, he also had a major hand in building the royal art collections in The Hague. So this new acquisition by the Mauritshuis represents something of a homecoming – the portrait, executed in oil on copper plate in 1644, was given to Huygens by the artist Daniel Seghers, yet it had been lost for nearly two centuries before it was recently rediscovered in a private collection.
National Gallery of Canada
At the Lunch Table (1901), Carl Moll
This work, the first by the Austrian modernist to enter a public collection in Canada, was unveiled at the 10th Secession exhibition in Vienna in 1901. A depiction of the artist’s family, it demonstrates Moll’s knack for painting interiors that are at once sombre and brilliantly illuminated, as he depicted the inner world of a modernising society. Believed to have been lost since the 1930s, the painting had in fact been sent to Canada for safekeeping from the Nazis.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
52 works of Native American art
A gift from the estate of David and Peggy Rockefeller, this acquisition includes a range of artworks, from weavings to watercolours, that strengthen the MFA’s holdings of Native American art. The works include Plains beadwork, Navajo rugs, and Nez Perce cornhusk bags. Of particular interest is an oil painting, Smoking Pipe (c. 1926), executed by a famous Taos School artist named Eanger Irving Couse.
Studio Museum, Harlem, and Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Washington, D.C.
More than 650 works from the Peggy Cooper Cafritz Collection
The late Peggy Cooper Cafritz, a staunch patron and collector of black artists in America, has bequeathed more than 650 works to the Duke Ellington School of the Arts (which she co-founded in 1974) and the Studio Museum in Harlem. For the Studio Museum, which will receive more than 400 works, the gift strengthens its collections of artists such as Hank Willis Thomas. The donation of around 250 works to the school will provide the basis for a research collection.
Louvre Abu Dhabi
11 new purchases in various media
The Louvre Abu Dhabi revealed no fewer than 11 new purchases this month, ranging from an Egyptian Mamluk carpet from the late 15th century to four French medieval tapestries and a Song dynasty sculpture of Guanyin. The acquisitions bolster the museum’s holdings of objects from the Middle East as well as further afield.