Published: January 6, 2004
In December, the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) acquired Frans Pourbus’s (Flemish, 1569-1622) “Portrait of Louis XIII (1601-1643) as a Child,” 1611. This brightly colored full-length state portrait of King Louis XIII at the age of 10 was commissioned by his mother Marie de Medici when Pourbus became the official painter of the court of France. The meticulous treatment of this portrait is reflective of the refinement and the luxury of European courts during the Seventeenth Century.
The pose and gesture, with his left hand resting on the sword and right hand on his waist; the symbols of the column; rich velvet drapery in the background; hat resting on the table; blue ribbon of the blue blood across his chest; and the cross of the Order of Saint Esprit all signify a portrait of a ruler.
The painting’s commission followed long negotiations between the crowns of France and Spain, which ended with the marriage of the two children of Marie de Medici and Henry IV with the two children of Philip III of Spain and Mary Marguerite of Austria. This key alliance established the Bourbons’ and Habsburgs’ uncontested dynastic domination over Europe for 200 years until the French Revolution.
During the past year, CMA also acquired and received as gifts a number of other significant rdf_Descriptions.
Robert Gober (American, born 1954) is one of America’s foremost living sculptors, creating works that address a variety of formal and humanistic concerns by juxtaposing functionality and dysfunction with the familiar and the strange. The museum acquired his untitled sculpture of 1990, a carefully wrought wax, hair and fabric sculpture. The piece creates the illusion of a human leg bisected below the knee and is intended to be displayed protruding from a gallery wall. Grounded in Surrealism and Conceptualism, Gober began his career as a painter of intimate scenes of urban life but began to create his first figurative sculptures during the 1980s.
Nicholas J. Velloney (1941-2003), one of Cleveland’s foremost interior designers, died in August 2003, leaving his entire estate to the Cleveland Museum of Art. His executor was instructed to offer the museum anything that it wished to accession into the permanent collection. The remaining would be sold for the unrestricted benefit of the museum. The museum selected 45 works for its Chinese porcelain, European and American decorative arts and works on paper collections. Highlights include: a Chinese ceramic jar with flowers, rocks and pheasants, from the Qing Dynasty (1662-1722); a group of monochromatic yellowware bowls made for the Imperial household; a Louis XVI fire screen, 1780, made by Georges Jacob (French, 1739-1814) for the Duc de Penthièvre; and Paul Storr’s (British, 1771-1844) dessert fork and spoon with hunt scenes, 1822.
The museum purchased 12 photographs by Northeast Ohio photographer Judith K. McMillan (American, born 1945). In addition, the artist donated two additional photographs to the museum’s collection. These works include a six-part series based on the research collections of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. These artistic still life compositions represent the beauty of the many creatures rather than their scientific interest. Her recent work examines the delicate inner structure of botanicals by using an x-ray machine as her camera. She places layers of material directly onto radiographic (x-ray) film to produce a negative. She then prints and treats it with various chemical processes to create richly toned images.
Robert Gwathmey’s (American, 1903-1988) screen print “Farmer’s Wife” 1954, portrays an elderly woman, hardworking and poor, as a dignified and important person. The colorful print mingles Gwathmey’s memories of a pleasant childhood in the South with an adult awareness of the miseries of racism and poverty. This is the second print by Gwathmey’s to enter the collection.
The museum also purchased the woodcut “Summer Clouds” 1924, by Gustave Baumann (American, 1881-1971) along with the six woodblocks from which it was printed and ten progressive proofs. Using brilliant hues, overprinting them in layers, Baumann re-creates New Mexico’s magnificent natural beauty.
Among the museum gifts is untitled, 1957, by Jean Dubuffet (French, 1901-1985), which represents an important work from the major Twentieth Century movement of assemblage and collage, addressing permanence versus transience and fragility and the limited life span of an artwork. This small intimate work uses fragile butterfly wings to create abstract scenes and portraits. This piece is a gift from the Trust of Frank H. Porter, who “had one of the greatest collections of modern art in Cleveland and the Museum is pleased to add this piece to our collection,” added Reid.
“Moses Seymour Jr,” 1789, by Ralph Earl (American, 1751-1801), a gift from Mrs George S. Lockwood, Jr, is a portrait of her late husband’s great-great-great-grandfather. This painting is a fine example of Earl’s work, showing Seymour Jr, ,at age 15, in the landscape setting of his estate. This painting was commissioned by the Revolutionary War Major Moses Seymour of Litchfield, Conn. Litchfield and the Seymour family played an important role in the American cause during the Revolution.
A staunch Loyalist, Earl fled to England during the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, leaving his family behind. In 1785, he remarried and returned to Boston. He eventually became a popular portraitist for prominent American families. Despite his earlier political views, Earl began to visit Revolutionary War battlefields with the engraver Amos Doolittle (American, 1719-1793), forming a collaboration through which they created some of America’s first depictions of historical events.
“Frozen Landscape” by Hung Hsien (Chinese, born 1933) is an abstract painting mounted as a hanging scroll and is done with Chinese brush, ink and colors to resemble landscape forms. It is a fine representation of Twentieth Century Chinese art and was donated by CMA curator of Chinese art Dr Ju-hsi Chou and his wife.
“Angkor Wat, Cambodia Vision of the God-Kings,” 1993, by Lois Conner (American, born 1951) includes a portfolio of 25 panoramic photographs from 30 negatives capturing the eerie beauty of the ancient ruins of the great temple Angkor Wat at Angkor, the site of the Khmer Empire. This portfolio was a gift of Mark Schwartz and Bettina Katz.
Thirteen prints, including five excellent engravings and drypoints by Armin Landeck (American, 1905-1984) – “Studio Interior, No. 2.,” 1936; “Approaching Storm, Manhattan,” 1937; “Housetops- 14th Street,” 1937; “Window on 14th Street,” 1949; and “Restaurant,” 1951 – were donated by Carol W. and Charles B. Rosenblatt.
Rockwell Kent’s (American, 1882-1971) “Harvest Time,” 1949, a printed textile of prominent sheaves of wheat and village landscapes forming a stunning pattern, was originally intended for use as curtains. This textile of strong colors conveys the rich soil, vegetation and buildings, adding to the museum’s holdings of textiles designed by American artists. This work was a gift of the Textile Art Alliance.
Select acquisitions will be on display in two rotations. Frans Pourbus’s (Flemish, 1569-1622) “The Portrait of Louis XIII (1601-1643) as a Child,” untitled, 1957, by Jean Dubuffet (French, 1901-1985) and a select grouping of pieces from the Velloney estate are currently on view. The second rotation will be on view beginning Friday, January 30, and will include Robert Gober’s (American, born 1954) untitled, 1990, Ralph Earl’s (American, 1751-1801) painting of “Moses Seymour Jr” 1789, Chinese ceramic jar with flowers, rocks and pheasants from the Qing dynasty (1662-1722), Robert Gwathmey’s (American, 1903-1988) “Farmer’s Wife,” 1954, and “Frozen Landscape” by Hung Hsien (Chinese, born 1933).
The Cleveland Museum of Art is one of America’s leading comprehensive museums. Its permanent collection spans 6,000 years. For information on, call 888-CMA-0033 or visit www.ClevelandArt.org.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm