HOME INDEX EXHIBITIONS EVENTS ABOUT US BLOG LINKS CONTACT US SUBSCRIBE
The Getty Center The Getty Center
Los Angeles, CA
SUPPORT OUR ADVERTISERS. THEY MAKE THIS SITE POSSIBLE
Premium Ad Space

The Getty Center
1200 Getty Center Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90049-1687
Phone: +1 (310) 440-7330
Fax: +1 (310) 440-7751
E-mail: (for general Museum inquiries) gettymuseum@getty.edu
Map


www.getty.edu

Ercole de’ Roberti in Focus: Conserving Two Renaissance Masterpieces
June 18–September 1, 2019

Two rare 15th-century paintings by Ercole de' Roberti have recently undergone conservation at the Getty. Newly cleaned, these remarkable works reveal Ercole's absolute mastery of dramatic narrative and perceptive observation of intricate detail, accomplishments which earned him the status of leading painter in his native city of Ferrara, Italy. Discover the fascinating results of the conservation treatment before the paintings return to their permanent home in Dresden, Germany.

Bauhaus Beginnings
June 11–October 13, 2019

The Bauhaus is widely regarded as the most influential school of art and design of the 20th century. Marking the 100th anniversary of the school’s opening, Bauhaus Beginnings on view at the Getty Research Institute from June 11 through October 13, 2019 examines the founding principles of the landmark institution.

The Bauhaus was a German school of art and design whose brief yet highly influential existence rendered it a key site in the development of a new modern vision for arts education. Established in 1919 after the end of World War I, the Bauhaus sought to erode distinctions between crafts and the fine arts through a program of study centered on theory and practical experience. “For a century the Bauhaus has widely inspired modern design, architecture and art as well as the ways these disciplines are taught,” said Mary Miller, director of the Getty Research Institute. “However, the story of Bauhaus is not just the story of its teachers or most famous students. At the Getty Research Institute our archives are rich in rare prints, drawings, photographs, and other materials from some of the most famous artists to work at Bauhaus as well as students whose work, while lesser known, is extremely compelling and sometimes astonishing. Because of the breadth of our special collections we are able to offer a never-before-seen side of the Bauhaus along with more familiar images.”

Drawn primarily from the Getty Research Institute’s collections, Bauhaus Beginnings, considers the school’s early dedication to spiritual expression and its development of a curriculum based on the elements deemed fundamental to all forms of artistic practice. The exhibition presents more than 250 objects including woodcut prints, drawings, collages, photography, textile samples, artists’ books, student notebooks, masters’ teaching aids and notes, letters, and ephemera from the school’s founding and early years.

Artists featured in the exhibition include teachers at the school such as Lyonel Feininger (American, 1871–1956), Walter Gropius (German, 1883–1969), Johannes Itten (Swiss, 1888–1967), Vassily Kandinsky (Russian, 1866–1944), Paul Klee (Swiss, 1879–1940), Gerhard Marcks (German, 1889–1981), László Moholy-Nagy (Hungarian, 1895–1946), and Oskar Schlemmer (German, 1888–1943). Also included is student work by artists such as Erich Comeriner (German, 1907–1978), Friedl Dicker (Austrian, 1898–1944), Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack (German, 1893–1965), Erich Mrozek (German, 1910–1993), and Margarete Willers (German, 1883–1977). The work of students who later became Bauhaus masters, including Josef Albers (German-American, 1888–1976), Herbert Bayer (Austrian, 1900–1985), Joost Schmidt (German, 1893–1948), and Gunta Sto?lzl (German, 1897–1983), is also featured in the show.

“The Bauhaus continues to spark imagination to this day,” said Maristella Casciato, Head of Architectural Collections at the Getty Research Institute. “By focusing on the vibrant community of artist teachers and student artists who built the school, through a variety of disparate materials, media, and ideologies, we are able to immerse ourselves in the unique, philosophical spirit that birthed some of the most enduring visual ideas of the modern era.”

The idea at the center of Bauhaus practice was Gesamtkunstwerk – the total work of art. In 1919 Walter Groius (German, 1883–1969), widely circulated a manifesto, illustrated with a woodcut by Lyonel Feininger (American, 1871–1956), that announced his bold vision for the newly reformed, state-sponsored school of design and the model of education that would bridge the fine and applied arts. In the text, on view in the exhibition, Gropius outlined how uniting various forms of practices, especially painting, sculpture, architecture, and design, would produce socially and spiritually gratifying works of art. Feininger’s woodcut of a preindustrial Gothic cathedral represented the total work of art, in which designers, artists, and artisans worked together in service of a spiritual goal.

The exhibition also explores the Preliminary Course at the Bauhaus which introduced all first-year students to what were considered the fundamental principles of color, form, and material. Various Bauhaus masters led these first-year studies: after Johannes Itten (Swiss, 1888–1967) initiated the Preliminary Course in the fall of 1920, László Moholy-Nagy (Hungarian, 1895–1946) and Josef Albers (German-American, 1888–1976) took over beginning in 1923. These courses were supplemented by specialized theoretical seminars led by important Bauhaus faculty, including Gertrud Grunow (German, 1870-1944), Vassily Kandinsky (Russian, 1866–1944), Paul Klee (Swiss, 1879-1940), Joost Schmidt (German, 1893–1948), and Oskar Schlemmer (German, 1888–1943). Despite their many ideological differences, the masters agreed that a firm grounding in the principles of form and color achieved through practical exercises was crucial to the development of a new class of artists.In early 1920, an opportunity to realize a Gesamtkunstwerk “building of the future”—an ideal set forth in the Bauhaus manifesto—presented itself. Adolf Sommerfeld, a lumber mill owner, building contractor, and real estate developer specializing in timber structures commissioned Walter Gropius and Adolf Meyer (German, 1881–1929) to design a residence in the south of Berlin. Gropius recognized the opportunity to bring the various Bauhaus workshops together in the design of the house, which took inspiration from a rustic log cabin. Students from the various workshops designed key elements of the interior, including a large stained-glass window above the staircase, carved wood ornaments, a large curtain, a set of wooden tables and chairs, light fixtures, radiator covers, rugs, and wall hangings.

Masters’ teaching aids and student exercises in the exhibition demonstrate how color theory remained a central focus at the Bauhaus throughout the school’s fourteen-year existence. Committed to understanding the nature of colors, instructors and students produced countless graphic systems of wheels, triangles, grids, and spheres to examine how colors relate to one another.

Though women were admitted to the Bauhaus in relatively large numbers—in 1919, 59 out of 139 enrolled students were women—they did not enjoy equal status with the male students. Despite many objections, the majority of women students were pushed to study weaving rather than other media such as metal-working or architecture after completing the Preliminary Course.

The products produced in the weaving workshop were some of the most successful and financially viable at the Bauhaus. In the aftermath of the war, materials and funds for the school’s workshops were scarce, and the weavers used looms held over from Van de Velde’s School of Applied Arts to produce artisanal, yet popular, one-off objects such as stuffed animals and dolls. Early Bauhaus master Helene Börner instructed weaving students to draw upon foundational theories of color and form developed in the Preliminary Course to produce innovative designs. When former student Gunta Stölzl (German, 1897–1983) became director of the weaving workshop in 1926, she argued that “a woven piece is always a serviceable object,” pushing production away from the loom and toward industrial modes. Bauhaus textiles were manufactured in bulk and sold widely, rendering them one of the most successful and broadly disseminated Bauhaus products. The exhibition features textile samples as well as watercolor and other studies for textiles.

Bauhaus Beginnings is curated by Maristella Casciato, with assistance from Gary Fox, Katherine Rochester, Alexandra Sommer, and Johnny Tran. The exhibition installation is designed in consultation with architect Tim Durfee.

To coincide with Bauhaus Beginnings, the Getty Research Institute will also present an online exhibition, Building the New Artist, which further explores the school’s history, theoretical underpinnings, and novel pedagogy. Launching on June 11, 2019, Building the New Artist will feature three interactive activities modeled after the exercises developed by Bauhaus instructors – a Vassily Kandinsky color survey, a Josef Albers paper cutting exercise, and an activity related to Oskar Schlemmer’s Triadic Ballet.

More information on both exhibitions will be available online at getty.edu/research.

Reading Between the Lines: Drawing Illustrations
June 4–September 15, 2019

The illustration of written texts has provided artists with inspiration, and gainful employment, across the centuries. Presenting some of the most beautifully finished drawings and watercolors in the Getty collection, this exhibition explores illustration as a branch of artistic production in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Book of Beasts: The Bestiary in the Medieval World
May 14 - August 18, 2019

The exhibition represents an unprecedented gathering of bestiaries and the first major exhibition to explore them in depth

Unicorns, lions, and griffins race, tumble, and soar through the pages of bestiaries – the medieval book of beasts. The bestiary brought creatures – both real and fantastic – to life before a reader’s eyes, offering both devotional inspiration and literary enjoyment. A kind of encyclopedia of animals, the bestiary was among the most popular illuminated texts in northern Europe, especially in England, during the Middle Ages (about 500-1500). Book of Beasts: The Bestiary in the Medieval World explores for the first time in a major museum exhibition the bestiary and its widespread influence on medieval art and culture.

“Many of the illuminated manuscripts produced in the European Middle Ages centered around stories from the Christian Bible,” explains Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “Less well known, however, are the various genres of writing and illustration that celebrate and ornament aspects of worldly life and popular belief. Among the most widely-read and striking of these was the bestiary: illustrated collections of real, imaginary and hybrid beasts, many of exotic origin and sometimes entirely fantastic, that give visual form to the creatures believed to inhabit the known world and the distant realms beyond. Both for their artistic inventiveness and for the insights they provide into the fertile

medieval imagination these works are one of the most engaging aspects of medieval art.” This exhibition features one-third of the world’s surviving Latin illuminated bestiaries

and gathers together more than 100 works in a variety of media from institutions across the United States and Europe, including manuscripts, paintings, tapestries, sculpture, and decorative arts from the Middle Ages. A final section includes modern and contemporary works that trace the enduring legacy of the bestiary tradition. The Getty Museum’s three medieval bestiaries, including the famed Northumberland Bestiary (English, about 1250-1260) are central to the exhibition, and provided the inspiration for the exhibition’s theme.

“The bestiary’s images can be seen as the medieval equivalent of contemporary memes,” said Elizabeth Morrison, senior curator of manuscripts at the Getty Museum. “They served as memorable and engaging snapshots of particular animals that went viral in medieval culture. The bestiary, in fact, still impacts how we talk about and characterize animals today.

The very first line of the medieval bestiary introduces the lion as the king of beasts, an idea we take for granted even if most people don’t know its origin.”

Book of Beasts: The Bestiary in the Medieval World is organized into five sections: The Unicorn,
The Bestiary, Beyond the Bestiary, The Bestiary and Natural History, and The Legacy of the Bestiary. The first section focuses on a quintessentially medieval beast, the unicorn. This case study explores the bestiary as one of the most popular sources of information on animals in the Middle Ages. It presented real and legendary creatures as

living allegories, with the animals’ physical and behavioral characteristics symbolizing central aspects of the Christian faith. For example, the bestiary explains that the unicorn is a pure but fierce creature that can only be captured by a maiden placed in the forest alone, allowing hidden hunters to come forth and slay their prize for its valuable horn. The bestiary goes on to interpret this beast as a symbol for Christ, who was born to a virgin, making possible his eventual death and Crucifixion. The unicorn became one of the most popular animals in art of the period, largely due to its powerful Christian message, and exemplifies how the bestiary’s texts and images played a vital role in establishing animal stories and their Christian connotations in the minds of audiences.

The next section — The Bestiary — presents the development of the bestiary’s textual and visual tradition, highlighting a series of animals and their related stories. Medieval bestiaries contained anywhere from a few dozen to more than 100 descriptions of animals, each accompanied by an iconic image. Although the essential elements of the text and imagery associated with the beasts remained consistent across manuscripts, the bestiary was not a standardized book. The aim of the stories and illuminations was not to impart factual information or visual accuracy but rather to convey the wonder, variety, and hidden meaning found in the natural world. This section will introduce the animals through one of the most common arrangements of the medieval bestiary: quadrupeds, birds, serpents, and sea creatures. Elephants, eagles, sirens, hippos, and dragons are just a few of the fabulous animals encountered in this section and discussed in depth by the medieval bestiary.

The third section — Beyond the Bestiary — takes a look at different incarnations of the bestiary’s animals. The bestiary’s stories and images were so popular that medieval artists readily adapted them to a variety of works of art, ranging from ivories and metalwork to stained glass and tapestries. Because many bestiary animals communicated complex religious messages, they often appeared in liturgical and devotional contexts where worshippers could easily link them to Christian ideology. In addition, the well-known characteristics associated with numerous beasts were effortlessly appropriated for secular works made for the elite world of the court. The use of animals as allegories for human virtues and vices was not limited to European Christian art but was a widespread phenomenon that transcended geography and religion. This section the exhibition will include Hebrew and Arabic manuscripts with moral stories featuring animal characters.

Bestiary and the Natural World encompasses the use of bestiary material in natural history texts, encyclopedias, and maps. The medieval bestiary was never intended as a scientific work, but much of its lore was eventually incorporated into the nascent field of natural history. The period of the bestiary’s greatest popularity corresponded with a movement toward the creation of encyclopedia intended to gather together all knowledge. Many of these included a section devoted to animals, which relied heavily on the bestiary but often stripped away the Christian symbolism. At the same time, the European conception of the world was being broadened by a growth in trade and travel that increasingly linked the West with other parts of the globe. The stories popularized through the bestiary continued to influence natural history texts and images well into the sixteenth century.

The final section — The Legacy of the Bestiary — explores the medieval bestiary’s artistic impact in more recent times with work by modern and contemporary artists such as Pablo Picasso, Alexander Calder, Kate Clark, Claire Owen, and Damien Hirst. So influential is this medieval art form that today the term bestiary often refers to any collection of description of animals, whether in words or images. Modern bestiaries, as well as contemporary works of art in an array of media that explore the human-animal relationship, draw on the medieval tradition while also introducing elements from the artists’ own time and place.

Book of Beasts: The Bestiary in the Medieval World is curated by Elizabeth Morrison with Larisa Grollemond, assistant curator of manuscripts at the Getty Museum. In conjunction with the exhibition, Getty Publications will release a catalog of the same name edited by Morrison with Grollemond. With over 270 color illustrations and contributions by 26 leading scholars, this gorgeous volume explores the bestiary and its pervasive influence on medieval

art and culture as well as on modern and contemporary artists. In conjunction with the exhibition, Getty Publications will also release Don’t Let the Beasties Escape This Book! written by Julie Berry, and featuring fantastical illustrations by April Lee. This children’s book contains engaging back matter with information on life in the Middle Ages and a mini-bestiary drawn from original manuscripts of the era.

The exhibition is generously supported by The Leonetti/O'Connell Family Foundation, The Ruddock Foundation for the Arts, Jeffrey P. Cunard, and Elizabeth and Mark S. Siegel. Additional support is provided by Allen Adler and Frances Beatty, Ariane David on behalf of the Ernest Lieblich Foundation, the J. Paul Getty Museum Director’s Council, Dar and Geri Reedy, Virginia Schirrmeister, and Brian and Kathy Stokes.

Leonardo da Vinci: 500 Years
Through June 2, 2019

Leonardo da Vinci (Italian, 1452–1519) was a deeply influential painter, sculptor, architect, engineer (military, civil, and aeronautical), inventor, anatomist, cartographer, theoretician, and musician. We are still only beginning to comprehend some of his discoveries and achievements from the surviving pages of his handwritten notes and drawings. This display of the Getty’s two rare Leonardo drawings marks five hundred years since the artist’s death on May 2, 1519, at age sixty-seven, in Cloux, France. Incorporating draft studies for paintings, sculpture, machinery, and human physiognomy, along with his characteristic “mirror-writing,” the two sheets present a fascinating glimpse into the mind of this celebrated Renaissance polymath.
THE WONDROUS COSMOS IN MEDIEVAL MANUSCRIPTS
April 30-July 28, 2019

The cosmos—full of shining stars and orbiting planets—inspired works of art and literature throughout the Middle Ages (about 500-1500). Awe-inspiring cosmic phenomena were thought to inform every aspect of a person’s physical, mental, and spiritual well-being, provoking students of medicine, philosophy, and religion carefully to track the progress of the twelve signs of the zodiac and the celestial luminaries (the sun and moon) across the sky. The Wondrous Cosmos in Medieval Manuscripts, on view April 30-July 28, 2019, at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, explores the complexity of the celestial realm in medieval European faith and science traditions through the art of illuminated manuscripts and printed books.

“In the Middle Ages, people knew a considerable amount about the cosmos,” says Getty Museum Director Timothy Potts. “Manuscripts produced in Western Europe, for example, reveal a wealth of information about the ancient Classical and Near Eastern origins of astrology, based on a sophisticated knowledge of the solar system and constellations that was inherited by Islamic scholars and transmitted to Europe in medieval and Renaissance times.”

A medieval timepiece called a volvelle was used to calculate the positions of the sun, moon, and stars of the zodiac at various times during the year. By rotating layered parchment discs, one could indicate the phases of the moon, the number of days in each month, and the sign that governs each hour of the day. With this information calendars were made as a guide to days of religious observance and activities that suit the season, such as riding in springtime and preparing wine in the summer.

Students of medicine carefully observed the relationship between the celestial luminaries and the twelve signs of the zodiac and divined the effect on one’s physical well-being. Medieval doctors developed the ancient technique of bloodletting, or withdrawing blood, a preventative and curative practice intended to balance bodily fluids, or humors, to keep an individual in good health. They made diagrams to show which of the major bodily veins should be selected for bloodletting based on the appropriate phase of the moon, time of year, or auspicious astral portents. Many people – astrologers, rulers, priests, and individuals of all classes – believed that each zodiac symbol had a power over a part of the body (Aries governed the head and Pisces the feet, for instance).

In writings about the celestial realm of heaven, theologians discussed the nature of angels, saints, and ultimately God. Peoples of various religions believed that the radiant sun, full moon, twinkling stars, and distant planets held great power over their lives, the seasons, and daily activities, or that God, spirits, demonic forces, and deceased souls could traverse the veil between heaven and earth. The belief in angels, demons, and spirits in turn inspired wondrous works of art, especially on the pages of illuminated manuscripts.

“The exhibition demonstrates the close relationship between astronomy—the study of the physics of cosmic phenomena—and astrology, which seeks to correlate these celestial events with happenings on earth,” said Bryan C. Keene, associate curator of manuscripts. “Although we might now separate faith from science—or the sciences from the humanities and art—these categories were more closely aligned in the Middle Ages, as seen on the pages of illuminated manuscripts.”

The Wondrous Cosmos in Medieval Manuscripts will be on view April 30-July 28, 2019, at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center. Related programming will include:

Drinking in the Past: Wine and Astrology from the Middle Ages to Today, a lecture and tasting program with curator Bryan C. Keene and certified sommelier Mark Mark Keene that explores the relationship between the history of wine and astrology, on Saturday, June 1 and Sunday, June 2 (tickets $65 including appetizers and wine tasting).

Creation and Cosmos in the Twelfth Century: Hildegard’s Cosmic Egg, on Sunday, June 23. Join Margot Fassler, professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame, on a journey through the stages of creation according to the Book of Genesis and a 12th-century, egg-shaped model of the universe as envisioned by the German nun, visionary, and scientist Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179).

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.

ENCORE: REENACTMENT IN CONTEMPORARY PHOTOGRAPHY
March 12-June 9, 2019

From reenactments of battles to dramatic theater productions, the restaging of historical events has a long history. For some contemporary photographers, reimaging events for the camera has become a powerful means to explore art historical narratives or reinterpret personal stories. Encore: Reenactment in Contemporary Photography, on view March 12-June 9, 2019 at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center features seven photographers who employ reenactment as a tool to investigate the past: Eileen Cowin (American, born 1947), Christina Fernandez (American, born 1965), Samuel Fosso (Cameroonian, born 1962), Yasumasa Morimura (Japanese, born 1951), Yinka Shonibare CBE (British-Nigerian, born 1962), Gillian Wearing (English, born 1963), and Qiu Zhijie (Chinese, born 1969).

These artists explore a range of topics, including the enduring power of celebrated works of art, the legacies of famous historical figures, and the politics of identity.

“The fascinating and sometimes startling photographs in this exhibition weave together allusions to historical events and personalities, famous works of art, and personal narratives as a way to reflect upon the issues of our times,” says Tim Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “Visitors will see a number of famous works that are recreated in images, such as Eileen Cowin’s reenactment of the obscured kiss in Rene Magritte’s The Lovers II or Yasumasa Morimura’s self-portrait as the barmaid in Édouard Manet’s Bar at the Folies-Bergère.”

The exhibition includes objects from the Getty Museum’s permanent collection and loans from several generous lenders.

Following is a summary of the artists’ works on view:

  • Eileen Cowin
    Cowin’s work focuses on the depiction of personal relationships and the exploration of photography’s narrative possibilities. In the mid-1980s, she created a series of photographs in which Cowin, her husband, and her father enact various scenarios inspired by European masterpieces. Eschewing elaborate sets and period costumes, she relies on subtle expressions, dramatic gestures, and familiar poses to allude to her sources. Cast against a black background, the actors wear contemporary clothing, bringing specific art historical moments into the present. By inserting members of her family into well-known images, the artist blurs the line between reinterpreting works understood as masterpieces and alluding to the complexities of familial relationships.
  • Christina Fernandez
    María’s Great Expedition (1995–96) interweaves familial and national histories to create a suite of prints that are both personal and political. Christina Fernandez inserts herself into the title role, and through six photographs of staged scenes and a map reimagines the story of her great-grandmother, who as a single mother migrated from Mexico to Southern California. Drawn from interviews she conducted with family members as well as historical accounts of life in both Mexico and the United States at the turn of the 20th century, these scenes reference stories about the formidable challenges of starting anew in an unfamiliar place. By employing various costumes and printing techniques, Fernandez signals the passage of time. She also provides intimate narratives that offer insight into the circumstances of María’s journey and undermine stereotypes about immigrants.
  • Samuel Fosso
    Samuel Fosso’s African Spirits (2008) presents a series of self-portraits that celebrate prominent political and intellectual figures from countries within Africa and its large and diverse diaspora. These photographs pay homage to individuals who not only championed independence movements and resisted colonial narratives of subjugation but also raised their voices in the American struggle for civil rights. Through meticulous attention to makeup, costume, and pose, the artist restages the physical characteristics of his subjects and re-creates iconic images that originally circulated in newspapers and popular magazines. Among his subjects are the political leader Patrice Lumumba, who was instrumental in establishing the Republic of the Congo; and Aimé Césaire, the French poet and politician from the Caribbean island of Martinique who advocated the celebration of racial identity by black writers. American subjects include civil rights pioneer Martin Luther King Jr., educator and activist Angela Davis, and boxer Muhammad Ali.
  • Yasumasa Morimura
    Since the early 1980s, Yasumasa Morimura has been appropriating and restaging famous works of art, casting himself in the role of the figures depicted. By fabricating elaborate sets and costumes, he does not merely replicate his sources but presents a pastiche of references that simultaneously pay homage to and satirize the original works. His re-interpretations challenge assumptions underlying narratives of celebrated historical episodes while also commenting on Japan’s absorption of Western culture after World War II. Morimura often poses as female characters, further highlighting his otherness in the context of European masterpieces, including poses drawn from paintings by Francisco de Goya and a recreation of Édouard Manet’s Bar at the Folies-Bergère. Some of these constructions also reference the Japanese tradition of Kabuki, highly stylized theatrical performances that include actors with elaborate white mask-like makeup.
  • Yinka Shonibare
    Yinka Shonibare CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) has long explored ideas of contemporary African identity and the legacies of European colonialism and global conquest. For his 2008 series The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters, Shonibare reworked an iconic etching by the Spanish artist Francisco de Goya in five iterations, each representing a different continent. In each image, the artist depicts a central, sleeping figure whose clothing and appearance are entirely at odds with the continent he represents—including America, Europe, and Asia—reflecting the artist’s interest in the complications of race, class, and the construction of cultural identity. For these reenactments Shonibare uses Dutch wax fabrics based on Indonesian patterns, which were produced in Europe for the West African market during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
  • Gillian Wearing
    1997 Turner Prize winner Gillian Wearing CBE questions the differences between individual and collective identities through staged photographs, videos, and performances. For her ongoing series Album (begun in 2003­), Wearing orchestrates a series of self-portraits using masks, wigs, and prosthetic elements to re-create photographs of her immediate family. Using family photo albums as a source, the artist explores the notion of identity, both in terms of likeness attributable to shared genetic makeup and as shaped by external influences. Highly detailed silicone masks, made with the help of experts from the wax museum Madame Tussaud’s in London, complicate our ability to discern fiction and reality. In these portraits, Wearing explores the way that ordinary people fashion public and private identities, as preserved both in spontaneous snapshots and formal portraits.
  • Qiu Zhijie
    Known primarily for creating elaborate installations and videos, Qiu Zhijie has also been making staged photographs since the early 1990s. For the series Standard Pose (1996), he costumed actors in business attire and directed them to mimic the poses of groups of figures portrayed in advertising posters that appeared after the Cultural Revolution in China. The posters promoted operas meant to instruct people how to be model citizens, featuring slogans such as “Learn from the workers” and “Long live the dictatorship of the proletariat.” The artist’s use of Mao-era propaganda as a source for photographs provides a subtle critique of the party’s growing acceptance of Western worldviews despite its allegiance to a political system rooted in communism.

Encore: Reenactment in Contemporary Photography is on view from March 12 through June 9, 2019 at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center. The exhibition is curated by Arpad Kovacs, assistant curator of photographs at the Getty Museum. The exhibition will be on view alongside Oscar Rejlander: Artist Photographer in the Getty’s Center for Photographs.

Oscar RejlanderL Artist Photographer
March 12–June 9, 2019

Often referred to as the “father of art photography,” Oscar G. Rejlander has been praised for his early experiments with combination printing, his collaboration with Charles Darwin, and his influence on the work of Julia Margaret Cameron and Lewis Carroll. This exhibition is the first major retrospective on Rejlander, highlighting new research and a selection of works brought together for the first time.

Organized by the Canadian Photography Institute of the National Gallery of Canada.

MAPPING SPACE: RECENT ACQUISITIONS IN FOCUS
February 26–July 14, 2019
In Focus gallery in the Center for Photographs

Photography’s dynamic relationship to the landscape can be traced to the origins of the medium, when the camera offered a revolutionary method for recording the world. The 19th century witnessed a range of approaches, from land surveys that systematically documented the topography of unsettled regions, to artistic depictions of nature’s majesty that rivaled landscape painting. Beginning in the 1960s, many artists sought novel approaches to representing their surroundings by incorporating personal, critical, and symbolic references to their work. Mapping Space: Recent Acquisitions in Focus, on view February 26-July 14, 2019 at the J. Paul Getty Museum, features a selection of recently acquired works by artists whose photographic views have been informed by new ways of thinking about a familiar subject.

On view at the Getty for the first time are works by five artists: Robert Kinmont (American, born 1937), Wang Jinsong (Chinese, born 1963), Richard Long (English, born 1945), Mark Ruwedel (American/Canadian, born 1954), and Uta Barth (German, born 1958). These artists draw from a variety of influences, ranging from photography’s documentary tradition to Conceptual Art, a movement that first gained significance during the 1960s for its prioritization of ideas over the production of objects. Operating against conventional notions of landscape photography, each of these artists has developed his or her own approach to site-specific spaces.

“The In Focus gallery in the Center for Photographs provides us an opportunity to highlight the Museum’s collection in telling ways, frequently with thematic overviews of the history of the medium, or, as in this case, by emphasizing recently acquired works that indicate an area of collecting interest,” says Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “Spanning almost half a century, from the late 1960s to 2012, the works in this presentation build on the Museum’s important holdings of landscape photography while revealing the importance of site-specificity and a personal response to our environment.”

Robert Kinmont’s photographs of the landscape emphasize the mundane over the majestic. His series of gelatin silver prints My Favorite Dirt Roads (1969) features empty and unpaved roads that lead to Bishop, California, where the artist grew up. These images show open, unpaved roads and views of the horizon that, with their occasional stippling of powerlines, indicate the presence of communities. In documenting the vastness of this remote landscape, Kinmont communicates a personal connection to a place that most people would overlook.

Destruction, symbolism, and power are encapsulated in Wang Jinsong’s series One Hundred Signs of the Demolition (1998). Depicting brick walls painted with the Chinese character “chai,” which translates to “tear down,” these photographs document buildings slated for demolition in order to make way for new construction. The artist’s decision to focus on a written notice that signals demolition instead of the act, or the aftermath, serves as a quiet critique of a carefully coordinated government practice of the 1990s that discarded vestiges of the past to accommodate rapid growth in cities such as Beijing. The massive scale of these prints, their extreme frontal view, and the elimination of all architectural surrounds heighten the immediacy of this programmatic urban transformation.

Richard Long’s iconic work A Line Made by Walking (1967) depicts a field outside of London in which the grass has been flattened in a straight line by the artist’s footsteps. Performed in the landscape, this modest intervention underscored the potential for an ordinary act to become a work of art that is a meditation on the relationship between the artist and the landscape. This photograph reflects not only the artist’s interest in nature but represents his role in the Land Art movement that emerged in the late 1960s and operated on the notion of direct engagement with the environment.

Mark Ruwedel’s We All Loved Ruscha (15 Apts.) (2011-2012) is deeply informed by the legacy of Conceptual Art. In returning to the urban and suburban locations of the apartment buildings originally captured by the artist Ed Ruscha (American b. 1937) almost 50 years earlier and published in the 1965 book Some Los Angeles Apartments—photographs from this publication are well represented in the Getty’s collection—Ruwedel pays homage to a project that is widely associated with defining the tone of West Coast Conceptual photography. Displaying the same deadpan approach that became a hallmark of Ruscha’s style, these photographs are also documents of the changes these buildings have undergone.

Photography’s perceived ability to faithfully describe the environment has long been a central concern for Uta Barth. Made between 1981 and 1982, the nine untitled gelatin silver prints in this exhibition present some of her earliest investigations of the medium’s limitations in conveying the spatial dimensions of a specific area. After photographing her immediate surroundings, Barth marked the surface of each print with black and red grease pencils to delineate various compositional elements. The inclusion of numbers, brackets, and occasional curvilinear forms suggests a desire to create a rational order. These markings also guide the viewer’s eyes to consider areas of each print that are not the obvious subject, thereby creating additional layers of meaning.

“Conceptual Art has been a major source of inspiration and influence for many contemporary photographers,” says Arpad Kovacs, assistant curator of photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum and curator of the exhibition. “The Department of Photographs has made the collecting of Conceptual photography a priority over the last decade and this show provides an opportunity to display some of the works acquired.”

Mapping Space: Recent Acquisitions in Focus is on view February 26-July 14, 2019 at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center. The exhibition is curated by Arpad Kovacs, assistant curator of photographs at the J. Paul 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.

Back to Page 1

Calendar

previous museum
next
museum
Advertise
Support Your Local Galleries and Museums! They Are Economic Engines for Your Community.

Subscribe to Our Free Weekly Email Newsletter!

ADVERTISE ON THIS SITE | HOME | EXHIBITIONS | INDEX | EVENTS | ABOUT US | LINKS | CONTACT US | DONATE | SUBSCRIBE
Copyright 2019 Art Museum Touring.com