201 Articles
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Researching the Wertheim Collection at the Harvard Art Museums

Collections; Juilee Decker AltaMira Press ePub

Elizabeth M. Rudy

Harvard Art Museums

Abstract     The Harvard Art Museums have led a two-year, joint conservation and archival project on the Wertheim Collection, a group of 43 French paintings, sculptures, and drawings that was bequeathed to the museum in 1951 and has been on view in a separate gallery since 1974. Recent investigations into certain aspects of this important collection at private and institution’s archives have revealed new information about Maurice Wertheim’s collecting practices, the origins of some of the paintings’ frames, and the exhibition of the Collection before its arrival at Harvard. Archival documents have also contextualized and helped to advance the examinations and treatments of these singular objects by the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies. This project has been critical for the preparation of the rehanging of the Collection at the renovated Harvard Art Museums, which will open in 2014.

Over the last two years, the Harvard Art Museums have led a joint curatorial and conservation project on the Wertheim Collection. This group of 43 paintings, sculptures, and drawings was assembled by Maurice Wertheim (1886–1950), an investment banker and philanthropist from New York. Wertheim’s myriad and diverse charitable activities included serving as a trustee of The Nation magazine, serving as a board member of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York, and co-founding the New York Theatre Guild in 1919. His commitment to Harvard University was one of his greatest legacies: from 1936 until his death in 1950, he assembled a collection of fine art that included masterpieces by French impressionist, post-impressionist, and contemporary masters, which he bequeathed to the Fogg Art Museum. His estimable collection has been on view at the museum in its own gallery since 1974.1

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“Everyone Brings a Piece to the Puzzle”: Conversations with Elaine Rosenberg and Reflections on Provenance Research among The Paul Rosenberg Archives

Collections; Juilee Decker AltaMira Press ePub

Laurie A. Stein

Smithsonian Institution

Reflections on Using The Paul Rosenberg Archives

I can no longer recall the exact date of my first contact with Elaine Rosenberg and of my initial visit to the archive of Paul Rosenberg and Company in New York. It must have been in the early 2000s. However, I can vividly recall the feeling of the experience: arriving at the renowned address, gazing up at the impressive gallery building on 79th Street between Madison and Fifth Avenues, and traveling with anticipation in the elevator to the top floor. When I emerged, I found myself in several small rooms filled with fabulous books, great art, and tempting document boxes, and where I was greeted by Elaine Rosenberg (daughter-in-law of Paul Rosenberg and widow of his son and gallery successor, Alexandre Rosenberg) and by Ilda François, Mrs. Rosenberg’s assistant. I sat on a low sofa and tried hard to succinctly and articulately describe my research inquiry, and what I hoped to find in the documentary resources of one of the most important international art galleries of the twentieth century. Mrs. Rosenberg listened with a mien of elegance, intelligence, and a dash of humor. And from that first moment, I was enchanted.

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Author Biographies

Collections; Juilee Decker AltaMira Press ePub

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHIES

Compiled by Manon Gaudet

Provenance Research Intern, Smithsonian Institution

Dorota Chudzicka is an art historian working in Doha, Qatar and Washington, D.C. She is currently a curator at the Qatar Museums Authority. Between 2008 and 2013 Chudzicka was a member of the Smithsonian Institution World War II Provenance Project as a Provenance Research Associate at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, where she conducted systematic provenance research of Asian artworks. Prior to this role, Chudzicka worked at the Art Institute of Chicago, where she focused on the research, documentation and care of the 19th and 20th century European collection. She contributed her research and writing to a number of exhibitions, including Manet and the Sea (2003), Seurat and the Making of La Grande jatte (2004), Ambroise Vollard, Patron of the Avant-Garde (2006-2007), and Impressionists: Master Paintings from the Art Institute of Chicago (2008). Dorota earned her M.A. from the Warsaw University Department of History after completing her medical studies at the Warsaw School of Medicine. In 2013 she completed her doctoral thesis entitled “From Modernism Towards Expression of National Identity: Stanislaw Szukalski’s Concept of Art,” at the Warsaw University.

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Princes, Dukes, and Counts: Pedigrees and Problems in the Kress Collection

Collections; Juilee Decker AltaMira Press ePub

Nancy H. Yeide

National Gallery of Art

Project Overview In 2010 the Samuel H. Kress Foundation supported a grant for centralized provenance research on the Kress collection of Old Master paintings donated by the Foundation to repositories across the United States. The grant supports museum best practices in the field of provenance research and transparency in museum collection information—as promoted by the American Alliance of Museums and the Association of Art Museum Directors—and also advances the Samuel H. Kress Foundation’s mission to serve the field of art history as practiced in American art museums. The project is based at the National Gallery of Art, which has taken a leadership role in the field of provenance research, facilitated by its location in Washington in close proximity to the United States National Archives, the Archives of American Art, and its own outstanding art historical research resources. The project is centered on a systematic approach to research that provides methodological efficiencies, economies of scale and a consistency in research standards that would not be capitalized upon if conducted independently by Kress repositories or on a case by case basis. The current article is a preliminary report on the project.

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“In Love at First Sight Completely, Hopelessly, and Forever with Chinese Art”: The Eugene and Agnes Meyer Collection of Chinese Art at the Freer Gallery of Art

Collections; Juilee Decker AltaMira Press ePub

Dorota Chudzicka

Smithsonian Institution

Abstract    The Agnes and Eugene Meyer collection of Chinese bronzes, paintings, and sculptures came to the Freer Gallery of Art through Agnes Meyer’s donations in the 1960s, her bequest in 1971—the largest single expansion of the Freer Gallery’s collection to date—and her children’s donations in the 1990s and 2000s. Research on this collection reveals that the Meyers, who were active supporters of avant-garde art in New York, also acquired their Asian collection in the years between 1910-20. The study of the Meyer collection, and the circumstances of its acquisition, provides a fascinating look at the rapidly expanding Asian art market in the United States in the World War I era, and especially of the influence of Charles Freer on the collectors during this era. Encouraged and guided by Freer, Agnes and Eugene Meyer acquired Chinese art objects from many newly established dealers of Chinese art in the U.S. While the Meyers’ personal acquisition activities began to dwindle in the 1920s, Agnes Meyer remained closely involved in shaping the Freer Gallery’s collection in subsequent years.

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