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Museum Acquisitions 2019 Director’s Choice
December 10, 2019–March 1, 2020

The Getty Museum announced today Museum Acquisitions 2019: Director’s Choice, the first of a new annual exhibition series that will spotlight some of the most important works of art added to the collection over the course of the year, selected by Getty Museum director Timothy Potts.

The exhibition includes the Museum’s most recently acquired painting, a rare and recently discovered masterpiece by Renaissance master Agnolo Bronzino (1503-1572), Virgin and Child with Saint Elizabeth and Saint John the Baptist; an important collection of ancient Greek, Roman and Etruscan gems; medieval manuscripts; old master French and Dutch drawings; early 20th-century photographs by Japanese-American artists, and other works. All objects were added to the Museum’s collection in 2019.

“The Getty Museum is renowned for its ambitious collecting, and this year was particularly successful for us, with many major acquisitions being made across all of our collecting areas,” says

Potts. “This annual display will make it easier for visitors to appreciate both the quality of works that we are able to acquire and the broad range of periods and cultures that we cover from antiquity to the present day. It also serves to highlight the critical fact that the finest collections are dynamic entities that continue to evolve and expand, allowing ever wider engagement and dialogue with our audiences.”

Museum Acquisitions 2019: Director’s Choice will be on view at the Getty Center Museum from December 10, 2019 through March 1, 2020. It will feature over 30 objects acquired in 2019 across all of the Museum’s collecting areas. Also on view in a nearby gallery will be the recently-acquired The Annunciation (about 1333-34), a masterpiece of Late Gothic sculpture by Giovanni di Balduccio (about 1290-1339).

Käthe Kollwitz: Prints, Process, Politics
December 3, 2019 - March 29, 2020
Research Institute Galleries I and II

Free | No ticket required

Käthe Kollwitz, one of the foremost graphic artists of the 20th century, is celebrated for her affecting portrayals of the hardships of war, poverty, and injustice and for her technical virtuosity. A selection of works on paper from the Dr. Richard A. Simms Collection at the Getty Research Institute—including rare preparatory drawings, working proofs, and trial prints—sheds light on Kollwitz's creative process and reveals the depth of her social and political engagement.

Balthazar: A Black African King in Medieval and Renaissance Art
November 19, 2019–February 16, 2020

Early medieval legends reported that one of the three kings who paid homage to the newborn Christ Child in Bethlehem was from Africa. But it would be nearly one thousand years before artists began representing Balthazar, the youngest of the magi, as a Black African. This exhibition explores the juxtaposition of a seemingly positive image with the painful histories of Afro-European contact, particularly the brutal enslavement of African peoples.

Join the conversation on our blog or @ #BalthazarLA

Peasants in Pastel: Millet and the Pastel Revival
October 29, 2019–May 10, 2020

Long associated with aristocratic portraiture, pastel had fallen out of fashion by the mid-nineteenth century, when Jean-François Millet turned the powdery medium to a quite different purpose: scenes of contemporary peasant life. This installation presents a selection of pastels by Millet and his followers, addressing the relationship between rural labor and urban collecting and encouraging visitors to consider how an artist’s chosen medium affects our understanding of his or her subject matter.

True Grit: American Prints and Photographs from 1900 to 1950
October 15, 2019, through January 19, 2020

The U.S. experienced a number of major changes during the first half of the 20th century: new infrastructure, progressive social reforms, increased immigration, economic booms, and the Great Depression. Seeking to capture the shifting world around them, printmakers and photographers of the time employed innovative techniques to disseminate the vitality of the urban American experience.

Gathering depictions of street life and urban leisure as well as skyscrapers, subways, and tenement apartments, True Grit: American Prints and Photographs from 1900 to 1950, on view from October 15, 2019, through January 19, 2020, offers diverse perspectives on the early twentieth-century American urban experience.

With works drawn from local museums, a private collection, and the Getty’s own collection, the exhibition provides two vibrant surveys of city life: one featuring early 20th-century American prints and a second showing contemporaneous photographs.

“The artists featured in True Grit were acute and tireless observers of daily life,” says Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “In their work, they sought to convey not only the beauty of the modern metropolis, but also the everyday triumphs and challenges, the sardonic asides, and the small epiphanies of modern urban life. With few exceptions, the individuals represented in these scenes are members of the working class and recent immigrants whose lives tumble together in congested city spaces. Focusing on recent technological wonders such as the skyscraper, the suspension bridge, and the subway, the artists in this exhibition managed to inject the grit and bustle of early twentieth-century life into images of timeless power and social relevance.”

Looking for effective ways to express the vitality of the urban American experience, artists gravitated to printmaking as a relatively inexpensive medium with great potential for wide circulation. Artists such as Ida Abelman, George Bellows, Mabel Dwight, and Louis Lozowick employed lithographic crayon on limestone to evoke the rugged tenor of the American spirit; Martin Lewis and Edward Hopper experimented with sand-ground etching to suggest the nebulous light of the American city; and Peggy Bacon and Armin Landeck used drypoint needle to produce sharp-edged social satires.

True Grit: American Prints from 1900-1950 also celebrates the rich holdings of prints throughout the L.A. region, with loans of American works on paper from The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); the UCLA Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts at the Hammer Museum; and the private collection of Hannah S. Kully.

True Grit: American Prints from 1900 to 1950 provides a broader geographic, political, historical, and cultural context for the European art on view in the Museum’s galleries,” says Stephanie Schrader, drawings curator at the Getty Museum and co-curator of the exhibition. “This exhibition complements the Getty’s holdings of early 20th-century American photographs, so it seemed natural to present a companion exhibition in an adjacent gallery to allow for a comparative study of related subject matter in a different media.”

True Grit: American Photographs from 1900 to 1950 traces developments in the history of photography as it simultaneously reveals the character and the evolution of New York City. As a center of commerce and culture, the metropolis inspired many photographers to document its growing infrastructure, towering architecture, and increasingly complex social fabric. Artists featured in the exhibition include Paul Strand, Walker Evans, Berenice Abbott, Lisette Model, Alfred Stieglitz and Helen Levitt.

“The photographs chosen for this exhibition dramatically document the transformation of New York City, while also reinforcing how technical and stylistic aspects of photography evolved as rapidly as the urban environment,” said Jim Ganz, senior curator of photographs at the Getty. “Moving from the Pictorialist tradition at the turn of the century and its emphasis on moody, soft-focused cityscapes to modernist visions that accentuate sleek architectural forms and dynamic perspectives, the history of photography in the early 20th century changed dramatically in a relatively short period of time.”

The combined exhibition, True Grit: American Prints and Photographs from 1900 to 1950, shown in adjacent galleries, is on view October 15, 2019—January 19, 2020. It is curated by Stephanie Schrader, curator of drawings at the J. Paul Getty Museum, James Glisson, Bradford and Christine Mishler Associate Curator of American Art at The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, and Jim Ganz, senior curator of photographs at the Getty Museum.

In conjunction with the exhibition, Getty publications will release a catalog, True Grit: American Prints from 1900 to 1950. Written by Stephanie Schrader, James Glisson, and Alexander Nemerov, this catalog examines a rich selection of prints by well-known figures like George Bellows and Edward Hopper as well as lesser-known artists such as Ida Abelman, Peggy Bacon, and Mabel Dwight. Written by three scholars of printmaking and American art, the essays present nuanced discussions of gender, class, literature, and politics, contextualizing the prints in the rapidly changing milieu of the first decades of twentieth-century America.

Manet and Modern Beauty
October 8, 2019–January 12, 2020

Édouard Manet (1832-1883) is best known today for provocative, large-scale paintings that challenged the old masters and academic tradition and sent shockwaves through the French art world in the early 1860s. In the late 1870s and early 1880s, he shifted his focus and produced a different, though no less radical, body of work: stylish portraits, luscious still lifes, delicate pastels, intimate watercolors, and freely brushed scenes of suburban gardens and Parisian cafes.

On view at the J. Paul Getty Museum October 8, 2019 through January 12, 2020, Manet and Modern Beauty explores for the first time in a major museum exhibition the artist’s last years, after his rise to notoriety in the 1860s and the formal launch of the Impressionist movement in the early 1870s. The exhibition will feature more than 90 works of art, including an impressive array of genre scenes, still lifes, pastels, and portraits of favorite actresses and models, bourgeois women of his acquaintance, his wife, and his male friends.

“Manet is a titan of modern art, but most art historical narratives about his achievement focus on his early and mid-career work,” says Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “Many of his later paintings are of extraordinary beauty, executed at the height of his artistic prowess—despite the fact that he was already afflicted with the illness that would lead to his early death. These works sparkle with an insistent – perhaps even defiant – sense of life. Presenting many iconic paintings, including our recently acquired Jeanne (Spring), alongside pastels and intimate watercolors, Manet and Modern Beauty takes a fresh look at this justly renowned and ever-popular artist.”

Manet died at the age of 51 in 1883, after a long and painful illness. Declining health forced him to adjust his working habits: during the last six or seven years of his life his output was generally more intimate in both scale and subject, focusing on fashionable scenes of Parisian life and the stylish women, and sometimes men, of his acquaintance. Too often dismissed as superficial by critics, these later works provide valuable testimony to Manet’s elegant social circle and suggest a radical new alignment of modern art with fashionable femininity while recording the artist’s unapologetic embrace of beauty and visual pleasure in the face of death.

The Four Seasons Project, Manet at Bellevue, and Flowers, Fruits, and Gardens. The first of these takes a look at a notable solo show in 1880, when Manet was invited to exhibit in the gallery affiliated with La Vie Moderne, a new fashion and culture magazine. Introducing the public to his provocative cabaret, bar, and boudoir scenes and to his pastel portraits, this exhibition marked a new beginning for Manet. Numerous works shown at the Vie Moderne gallery are on display in this section.

The following section—Portraits of an Era—demonstrates the importance of portraiture to Manet’s identity as a painter of modern life. Not simply intent on recording individual likenesses, he aimed to capture his epoch by portraying representative social types—the chic parisienne or fashionable dandy, for instance—in their various modes of dress and deportment. This section also explores Manet’s emerging practice of portraiture in pastel, a medium closely associated with his Impressionist colleagues Edgar Degas and Berthe Morisot. Using these dry sticks of pure color did not require the same lengthy and laborious studio procedures as oil painting, and between about 1878 and his death, Manet turned out close to 100 pastels, the great majority of them portraits.

“Unlike Titian and Rembrandt—or indeed, his friends Monet and Degas—Manet didn’t live long enough to develop a late style, but the work of his last years is still distinct from what preceded it, characterized by a new lightness of spirit, of palette, and often of touch,” said Emily Beeny, associate curator of drawings at the Getty Museum. “We see a new interest in watercolor and pastel--media that allowed him to work more quickly than he could in oils. But above all we see a new interest in capturing fleeting pleasures on the wing, making permanent the impermanent. Fashions obviously change; youthful beauty fades; flowers wilt; and in this sense the late production--all those pretty girls and flowers, all those watercolor hats and plums brushed into the margins of his letters, all those bright, little pictures--are also about impermanence. Seen as the work of a dying artist, they give us a vivid sense of beauty snatched from the jaws of time, beauty embraced in the teeth of acute physical suffering.”

Manet intended for his 1882 Salon painting Jeanne, which he also called Spring, to be the first in a series of four seasons, each emblematized by a stylish parisienne. Responding to trends in contemporary painting, popular illustration, and fashion advertising, Manet modernized a time-honored subject in European art. Doing away with the conventional symbolic trappings (a dove for spring, fallen leaves for autumn, and so on), he focused exclusively on the model, her chic apparel, and her decorative surroundings. More than the perennial rhythms of nature, Manet’s principal concern was the modern fashion cycle. Unfortunately, Manet never completed his seasonal cycle, painting only Autumn (1881 or 1882) after Spring. This exhibition reunites the two paintings for the first time in nearly forty years.

Jeanne was an unalloyed critical success for Manet, making it a rare exception in a career dogged by scandal, controversy, and disappointment,” notes Scott Allan, associate curator of paintings at the Getty Museum. “Although it has been overshadowed by A Bar at the Folies-Bergère, its famous companion at the 1882 Salon, Jeanne occupies the heart of our exhibition because it perfectly epitomizes Manet’s consuming late-career interest in fashion, flowers, and seductive Parisian femininity, which was absolutely central to his conception of the painting of modern life. It is worth recalling that Manet’s friend Baudelaire began his famous essay ‘The Painter of Modern Life’ with a section entitled ‘Beauty, Fashion, and Happiness.’ That for us is the perfect epigraph for Jeanne and for this exhibition, which emphasizes the passionate attachments, worldly, sensual and aesthetic, of an ailing artist who would die before his time.”

Manet at Bellevue focuses on Manet’s time in the spa town of Bellevue in June of 1880 where he was sent to undergo a course of bathing treatments prescribed by his doctors. Though accompanied by his family, Manet quickly grew lonely and bored with life in the “country,” as he called it, and began to fill the margins of his letters to friends and colleagues back in Paris or on vacation at the beach in Normandy with watercolor illustrations: plums, cats, flowers, and so on. On view in this section is the largest group of Manet’s adorned watercolor letters ever exhibited outside France.

The final section—Flowers, Fruit, and Gardens—follows his final years. As Manet’s health continued to deteriorate, the painting of flowers, fruit, and garden scenes increasingly occupied his time. He spent his last two summers outside the city, taking rest cures at Versailles in 1881 and Rueil in 1882 where he painted the gardens of his rental houses and pined for Paris. Paralysis of his left leg confined him to his apartment and studio; he no longer visited friends or frequented cafes. Instead, café life came to him, as friends and acquaintances flocked to his studio to gossip and watch him work. Visitors came bearing flowers, which Manet adored and painted. These final still lifes are among the most beautiful pictures in his oeuvre, evidence of his evolution as a painter to the very last.

Manet and Modern Beauty is curated by Getty curators Scott Allan and Emily Beeny, and Gloria Groom, chair of European Painting and Sculpture and David and Mary Winton Green Curator at the Art Institute of Chicago. It has been co-organized by the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago, and is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

In conjunction with the exhibition, Getty Publications released a catalog of the same name. Featuring nearly 300 illustrations and nine essays by both established and emerging Manet scholars, the publication Manet and Modern Beauty brings a diverse range of approaches to bear on a little-studied area of this major artist’s oeuvre.

The presentation in Los Angeles is made possible with major support from Elizabeth and Bruce Dunlevie. It is sponsored by City National Bank and generously supported by Ellen and David Lee and Maria Hummer-Tuttle and Robert Holmes Tuttle.

In Focus: The Camera
July 30 –January 5, 2020

The camera, once a simple wooden box with a primitive lens and cap for controlling light, has undergone enormous changes since its invention, eventually becoming a tool that is in most people’s back pockets. In Focus: The Camera, on view July 30, 2019 – January 5, 2020 at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center, explores the evolution of this ingenious device through a selection of historic cameras and photographs.

During the early 19th century, the three essential components of photography—a dark chamber, a light-sensitive substrate, and a method of fixing the image—were used in different ways in the experiments of Nicéphore Niépce (French, 1765-1833), Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre (French, 1787-1851), and William Henry Fox Talbot (British, 1800-1877). In subsequent decades, advancements such as flexible film stocks, built-in light meters, motor drives, and megapixels transformed the way the camera captures and preserves a moment in time.

On view in the exhibition will be a number of cameras manufactured in the 19th century to present day, including the simple camera obscura, a daguerreotype camera, a stereo camera, an early roll-film camera, a large portable camera, a miniature spy camera, an early color camera, and the first digital camera marketed to the general public. The exhibition will include text that explains how photographs are created using each of these cameras and techniques. Cameras produced by well-known brands such as Kodak, Leica, Nikon, Hasselblad, and Canon will be displayed.

The gallery will also include a number of portraits, self-portraits, and images of artists at work by famed photographers such as Imogen Cunningham (American, 1883-1976), Dorothea Lange (American, 1895-1965), Lisette Model (American, born Austria, 1901-1983), Helmut Newton (German-Australian, 1920-2004), Edward Steichen (American, born Luxembourg, 1879-1973), Andy Warhol (American, 1928-1987), and Edward Weston (American, 1886-1958). These images remind the viewer of the inextricable relationship between the camera and the artist.

In Focus: The Camera is curated by Paul Martineau, associate curator of photographs for the J. Paul Getty Museum. Related events to come.

Once. Again. Photographs in a Series
July 9–November 10, 2019

Photographers often record change through images in series. This exhibition features both historical and contemporary artists who have photographed faces and places over minutes, months, or years. Their artworks prompt reflection on the ways the passage of time impacts how we see people and spaces.

Flight of Fancy: The Galle Chandelier
April 9, 2019 - April 19, 2020

The extraordinary Galle Chandelier, 1818-1819, has long stood out as a highlight of the J. Paul Getty Museum’s decorative arts collection. Flight of Fancy: The Galle Chandelier is a special, year-long display of the chandelier that allows visitors to see one of the Getty’s most beloved objects in a new light.

Resembling a hot-air balloon, the chandelier is a work of extreme novelty that includes a glass bowl intended to hold water and small goldfish and eighteen candles whose flames would illuminate a room after dark. It was made by a French bronze caster and gilder Gérard Jean Galle (1788-1846) in 1818-1819. While the balloon-like form is entirely modern for the era, various aspects of the design evoke the ancient concept of the four.

Acquired by J. Paul Getty in 1973, the Chandelier has been on permanent display at the Getty Center since it opened in 1997. After being de-installed early this year for conservation, photography, and study, the new exhibition encourages close viewing of the chandelier and explores the inspiration, sources, and themes of its imaginative design. The chandelier is displayed at eye-level, allowing visitors to examine it’s rich detail more closely. Also on view are prints from the collection of the Getty Research Institute that illustrate sources of inspiration for the artist. Didactic panels and close-up photographs illustrate the chandelier’s details. An accompanying interactive video will allow visitors to see what the chandelier would look like lit.

Gérard Jean Galle described how the continuous movement of fish in the water would amuse the viewer. This idea reflected a design theory of the early 1800s that suggested objects should be not only functional but also gratifying to the eye and the imagination. Representing the heavens, the blue globe at the center of the chandelier has gilt stars and is encircled by a gilt-bronze band bearing the twelve symbols of the zodiac.

Gérard Jean Galle (French, 1788–1846) was a bronze caster and gilder who designed and made luxury items in gilt bronze such as clock cases, candelabra, chandeliers, and vases. He exhibited a number of pieces at the Paris Exhibition of French Products of Industry in 1819. He then wrote to the government of King Louis XVIII, offering the works for sale and providing detailed descriptions of each. These included a chandelier of the same design as that at the Getty:

Fish chandelier: In the middle of a blue enameled globe scattered with stars is a circle with the signs of the zodiac and six griffins carrying candles … [below is a glass bowl fitted with] a plug intended for the removal of the water which one places in the bowl with small goldfish whose continuous movement will give agreeable recreation to the eye.

Galle was not successful in his appeal to sell the chandelier to Louis XVIII and struggled financially throughout his career. Nevertheless, he continued producing high-quality objects in gilt bronze and was awarded a gold medal at the Paris Exhibition of 1823.

Flight of Fancy was curated by Jeffrey Weaver, associate curator for sculpture and decorative arts at the Getty Museum.

Spring in the Alps, 1897 By Giovanni Segantini
February 12, 2019 - TBD

The J. Paul Getty Museum announced the acquisition of Spring in the Alps, 1897, by Giovanni Segantini (Italian, 1858-1899). Originally painted for Jacob Stern, a San Francisco collector and director of Levi Strauss & Co, the painting has a long connection to California. It was on continuous loan to Legion of Honor in San Francisco from 1928 until it was sold by Stern’s descendants in 1999.

“Giovanni Segantini was at the peak of his career when he created this luminous panoramic scene,” said Timothy Potts, director of the Getty Museum. “Featuring his characteristic thick brushstrokes and brilliant color palette—which includes flecks of gold leaf—the painting is among the most extraordinary and captivating landscapes produced in Europe at the end of the 19th century. It will resonate powerfully alongside our great Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works from France and paintings by northern European artists of the era. Significantly, with this acquisition, Spring in the Alps finds a permanent public home in California, its original destination, and we hope museum-goers from San Francisco, where it was on view for more than 70 years, will visit the painting at the Getty when they are in Los Angeles.”

At more than four by seven feet, Spring in the Alps is a monumental, sweeping depiction of an alpine landscape near the village of Soglio in Switzerland, with its recognizable church tower visible on the right side of the picture. The view is of an expansive plateau and valley ringed by glaciers and majestic snow-capped mountains. In the middle of the composition a farm woman dressed in a blue and red peasant costume characteristic of eastern Switzerland leads two large horses past a watering trough. They are coming from a freshly plowed field where a sower scatters seeds and a black and white dog stands guard. The scene is sunny and colorful, emphasizing a glorious vista with a brilliant blue sky and ribbons of clouds.

Segantini painted the sizeable canvas in the open air, with additional work completed in the studio. He took liberties with the topography to suit his composition, adjusting the relative scale of the mountains, the perspective of the valley, and the position of the town. He created the vibrant color scheme and brilliant effects of light following the principles of Divisionism, the practice of juxtaposing pure local colors in the belief that the hues mix optically in the eye of the viewer, creating especially luminous effects. This pseudo-scientific movement in painting was first launched in France in the 1880s by George Seurat and Paul Signac, where it was dubbed “Neo-Impressionism.” The movement was subsequently adopted by Italian painters, with Segantini becoming a principal exponent. In contrast to Seurat’s pointillist brushstrokes, Segantini employed long, thin strokes of contrasting color. The rich impasto and the tactile, almost woven, quality of the painted surface, marvelously capture the crisp transparency of the atmosphere, the harshness of the rocks, the thickness of the grass, and the roughness of the skin of the animals.

Spring in the Alps is a joyous hymn to the cycle of life and the reawakening of nature in spring after a long, hard winter,” said Davide Gasparotto, senior curator of paintings at the Getty. “It is an extraordinarily accomplished work where symbolism and naturalism are inextricably intertwined. Segantini himself counted it among his absolute masterpieces. Panoramic in scale and astonishingly luminous, Spring in the Alps is one of the greatest paintings of the Italian Ottocento in America, an iconic work that expands our ability to tell the story of 19th-century European painting.”

Spring in the Alps was commissioned by the American painter Toby E. Rosenthal (1848-1917), who resided in Munich, for San Francisco businessman and collector Jacob Stern (1851-1927), whose father, David Stern, co-founded Levi Strauss & Co. Segantini exhibited the picture at the 7th Munich Secession in 1897 and then took the painting back to his studio in Switzerland where he made further adjustments. In early 1899 the picture was sent to San Francisco to be the centerpiece of Stern’s collection. It was so well known even then, that the painting’s rescue from the 1906 earthquake and fire was reported in the national press. Upon Stern’s death in 1927, and in accordance with his wishes, Spring in the Alps was loaned by his heirs to the California Palace of the Legion of Honor. There it stayed on public view for more than 70 years. In 1999 the estate of Stern’s heir sold the picture at auction in New York.

Born in Arco (Trento) in 1858, Giovanni Segantini counts among the most important Italian artists of his generation. He was internationally famous for his dreamy Alpine landscapes, which combine elements of Jean-François Millet’s reverent naturalism with Georges Seurat’s dappled Divisionist technique and the allegorical subjectivity of the work of contemporary Symbolists, from Gustav Klimt to Paul Gauguin. Segantini's work represents the transition from traditional nineteenth-century art to the changing styles and interests of the twentieth century.

Orphaned as a boy, Segantini was apprenticed to a photographer in Milan, where in 1873 he began attending night classes at the Brera’s Academy of Fine Arts. In the early 1880s, on the advice of the painter-dealer Vittore Grubicy de Dragon, he experimented with plein-air painting during an extended visit to the Brianza region. Marketed by Grubicy, with whom Segantini signed an exclusive contract in 1883, the resulting landscapes attracted international attention and quickly made their author’s fortune. Segantini settled in the picturesque Swiss valley of the Engadine, where he painted views of the surrounding mountains for the rest of his career, often carting his enormous canvases out into the elements to work directly from nature. Despite his somewhat remote location, Segantini kept abreast of the contemporary art scene, maintaining a lively correspondence with Gustav Klimt, Max Liebermann, and others, while his work was exhibited in London, Amsterdam, Paris, and Munich.

In 1897, Segantini was commissioned by a group of local hotels to build a huge panorama of the Engadin valley to be shown in a specially built round hall at the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris. Before it was completed, however, the project had to be scaled down for financial reasons. Segantini redesigned the concept into a large triptych known as Life, Nature, and Death (Museo Segantini, St. Moritz), which is now his most famous work. Eager to finish the third part of his large triptych, Nature, Segantini returned in 1899 to the mountains near Schafberg. The pace of his work, coupled with the high altitude, affected his health, and in mid-September he became ill with acute peritonitis. Two weeks later he died at the age of 41. Two years later the largest Segantini retrospective to date took place in Vienna. In 1908, the Museo Segantini was established in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

Spring in the Alps joins another important work by Segantini in the Getty Museum’s collection, Study for “La Vita” (1897), a large pastel that parallels the painting’s composition and is dedicated to his friend Toby Rosenthal, who facilitated the commission of Spring in the Alps from Jacob Stern. In excellent condition, Spring in the Alps comes to the Getty in the elaborate frame that the artist originally designed for it. It will be put on exhibition in the Museum’s West Pavilion on February 12th, alongside other works of art from 19th century Europe.

Interior with an Easel, Bredgade 25, painted in 1912 by Vilhelm Hammershøi (Danish, 1864-1916)
December 18, 2018 - TBD

The J. Paul Getty Museum has acquired Interior with an Easel, Bredgade 25, painted in 1912 by Vilhelm Hammershøi (Danish, 1864-1916). The painting will go on view at the Getty Center in Los Angeles on Tuesday, December 18, 2018.

“Interior with an Easel, Bredgade 25 is a characteristically luminous and enigmatic image that encapsulates Hammershøi’s particular visual poetry,” said Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “Hammershøi’s carefully orchestrated compositions are defined by their sparse atmospheric mood, using a few familiar pieces of furniture and the fall of light through a window to create some of the most beautiful, contemplative interiors in the history of painting. This work is especially important for its play on the art of painting itself: it is a painting about paintings—one seen from the back on the easel, the other hanging on the wall. All that is missing, as so often in Hammershøi’s work, is the human protagonist—in this case the artist himself. There could be no more appropriate subject for the Getty Museum, or any museum, and we are delighted to be able to add this extraordinary work by one of the most important Scandinavian artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries to our collection. Hammershøi clearly saw himself in the tradition of old master painters (he is often touted as ‘the modern Vermeer’), and I am sure visitors will see many resonances with our paintings by other great northern European artists, such as Caspar David Friedrich, Fernand Khnopff, and Edvard Munch.”

Hammershøi began depicting interiors in the late 1890s, and these austere and meditative paintings came to define his artistic reputation, already well established by the time he made Interior with an Easel, Bredgade 25. With single-minded focus, these interiors represent the apartments in Copenhagen that Hammershøi shared with his wife Ida and that served as his de facto studio (Bredgade 25 was the address of his final apartment). Sometimes his work features his wife quietly absorbed in some domestic task, but frequently there is no human presence—the primary subject being the play of light in the sparsely furnished architectural space. Here the only props, besides the artist’s easel, are a framed painting hung high on the wall, to protect it from direct sunlight, and a small table in the far room, framed perfectly by the half-open doorway.

Well-known and highly regarded in his own lifetime, Hammershøi’s career was cut short by his death from cancer at the age of 51. His work fell into relative obscurity and for much of the 20th century he was scarcely known outside of Denmark. Over the last few decades, however, there has been a resurgence of interest in Hammershøi’s work internationally, as numerous exhibitions in Europe, Asia, and the United States have attested. His compositions’ rigorous geometry, sober palette, and lack of sentimental anecdote appeal greatly to modern sensibilities, while the domestic settings, refined painterly handling, and sophisticated light effects call to mind the European old master tradition, and particularly Dutch seventeenth-century painting. Tellingly, both Whistler’s and Vermeer’s names have been invoked in connection with Hammershøi’s art.

“Interior with an Easel, Bredgade 25 is a work of great power and stark beauty, mesmerizing in its sense of stillness and silence. All the elements of a great Hammershøi are here: the masterful rendering of the cool Nordic light, the exquisitely nuanced tonal harmonies, the geometric rigor of the planar composition, the shimmering weave of small, textured brushstrokes – all working to transfigure the mundane into something haunting and poetic,” said Davide Gasparotto, senior curator of paintings at the Getty Museum. “Hammershøi is one of Denmark’s most fascinating painters and the renewed interest and scholarship that his work is now receiving is well overdue.”

Interior with an Easel, Bredgade 25 is 31 x 27 5/18 inches and in excellent, practically untouched condition. Never exhibited in public before its emergence on the market in 2018, it will go on display in the Getty Museum’s West Pavilion galleries on December 18, 2018.

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