Published: August 2, 2011
The Philadelphia Museum of Art announced the acquisition of a wide range of works of art, ranging in date from a Tenth Century Indian bronze sculpture of the Chola dynasty to Sean Scully’s monumental triptych “Iona,” 2004‰6.
These works †acquired by purchase, gift or pledged to the museum as donations †include several Impressionist and Modern paintings by major masters as well as nearly 200 paintings, sculptures and drawings from one of this country’s most significant private collections of work by self-taught artists.
“We are grateful for the tradition of enlightened patronage that for more than 130 years has enabled this institution to strengthen and expand its collection and to utilize it creatively in service to the community,” said Timothy Rub, the George D. Widener director and CEO.
The museum has received three paintings by the French Impressionists Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro and Alfred Sisley, as well as a pastel by Mary Cassatt. These gifts of Chara Haas and her late husband John, longtime supporters of the museum, include “Path on the Island of Saint Martin, Vétheuil,” 1881, by Monet; “Apple Tree in the Meadow, Éragny,” 1893, by Pissaro; “Mooring Lines, the Effect of Snow at Saint Cloud,” 1879, by Sisley; and “Madame Bérard’s Baby in a Striped Armchair,” 1880‸1, by Cassatt.
The museum has also acquired “Ruined Bridge with Figures Crossing,” 1767, by Hubert Robert (French, 1733‱808) as a bequest from William B. Deitrich. Inspired by the landscape painter’s study in Italy, it will join more than two dozen works by Robert in the museum’s collection.
In 1993, the museum began to acquire works by self-taught artists, forming a collection that now numbers more than 300 works. Added to these holdings will be some 190 works by self-taught artists, thanks to a generous promised gift of collectors Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz, a member of the museum’s board of trustees.
“Tanis” by Daniel Garber, a leading figure of the New Hope Group of Pennsylvania painters active in the early decades of the Twentieth Century, is widely acknowledged as the artist’s finest figural work. Completed in 1915, this luminous painting depicts the artist’s 8-year-old daughter standing in the doorway of Garber’s studio.
The museum has purchased “Tanis” from the Westervelt Company in Tuscaloosa, Ala., thanks to the generosity of Marguerite and H.F. (Gerry) Lenfest, chairman emeritus of the board of trustees of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It is now on public view in Gallery 119, the centerpiece of a new installation dedicated to Garber, his fellow artists of the New Hope Group and members of the Ashcan School.
“Bombardment,” 1937″8, by Philip Guston, a gift of the artist’s daughter, Musa Mayery, was Guston’s most ambitious and successful painting of the 1930s.
The artist Ellsworth Kelly (American, b 1923) has given the museum “Red Yellow Blue White,” 1952, in memory of the late director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Anne d’Harnoncourt. This work in four colors of fabric is representative of the artist’s early explorations into the intensely felt abstraction for which he came to be best known.
The museum has acquired two works by Sean Scully (b 1945), an American painter of Irish birth. In addition to “Iona,” a partial and promised gift of Ellen and Alan Meckler, which comprises three monumental canvases painted over a period of two years, comes Scully’s “Chelsea Wall #1,” 1999, a gift of John J. Hannan.
Other acquisitions include a major collection of 31 drawings and two sculptures by Frederick Kiesler (American, b Austria-Hungary, 1890‱965) donated by Cincinnati, Ohio, collectors Ronnie L. and John E. Shore; a jar with lid, typical of the white wares produced between the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries in Korea, and “Narishimha (Vishnu’s Man-Lion Avatar in Princely Posture),” circa 1000, a bronze sculpture created under the Chola dynasty.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 26th Street. For information, 215-763-8100 or www.philamuseum.org .
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