Published: January 27, 2009
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art announces the acquisition of an exceptional European fashion collection that includes approximately 250 examples of fashionable dress and more than 300 accessories for men, women and children dating from 1700 to 1915. The collection significantly enhances LACMA’s Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century European costume collection, elevating the museum’s holding in this area to one of the very best both nationally and internationally.
Highlights include a singular collection of complete three-piece men’s suits from 1750 through 1810; an impressive array of women’s dress documenting the significant stylistic changes that occurred over the span of 200 years; outstanding children’s garments of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries; and a wide range of accessories and undergarments such as fans, hats, purses, shawls, shoes and corsets.
LACMA’s CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director Michael Govan noted, “The acquisition of this transformative collection of dress which has instantly propelled our costume and textiles department into one of the world’s most preeminent is a wonderful addition to what has been a spectacular year for the growth of our collections.”
Senior curator and head of costume and textiles Sharon S. Takeda pursued the incredibly rare costume collection put together by London collector Martin Kamer and Galerie Ruf in Beckenried, Switzerland, both established dealers of fine historic European costume. Govan and Takeda made a trip to view the collection with costume council member Ellen Michelson, which resulted in a significant gift from her and her husband Michael for a third of the collection, and the rights to have the entire collection shipped to Los Angeles in order to pursue additional funds.
Presentations of the collection resulted in additional gifts from the costume council and other patrons. A final major gift from patron Suzanne Saperstein for more than half of the acquisition price ensured that the entire collection would remain at LACMA.
Couture fashion collector and major donor Saperstein noted, “A collection of this caliber rarely enters the market and we simply couldn’t pass up the chance to bring it to LACMA. I’m sure visitors to the museum will be just as awed by the objects as I am.”
LACMA will present an inaugural exhibition of its new acquisition in 2010. “Fashioning Fashion: European Dress in Detail, 1700” will tell the story of fashion’s technical and aesthetic development from the Age of Enlightenment to World War I. It will examine minute details of textile and clothing construction as well as broader cultural themes.
Takeda noted, “These new additions, which will certainly make LACMA a major study center for scholars of European fashion, represent the museum’s commitment to enriching its increasingly prominent holdings in costume and textiles.”
LACMA is at 5905 Wilshire Boulevard. For information, www.lacma.org or 323-857-6000.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm