A Revolution-era oil painting will accompany added 18th-century American works at the St. Louis Art Museum, allotment of a arguable auction by a Massachusetts museum.
Benjamin West’s 1775 painting was awash to advice pay for aliment at the Berkshire Building in Pittsfield afterwards months of criticism and alike a accusation that approved to stop the sale.
Sold to St. Louis for $350,000, the 6-foot-wide “Daniel Interpreting to Belshazzar the Handwriting on the Wall” is a “terrific acquisition,” Brent Benjamin said Thursday.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. • The Massachusetts building that drew all-embracing accusation for its accommodation to accession money by affairs dozens of works o…
“We never anticipation we’d see it on the market,” the museum’s administrator said.
Calling West the “father of American painting,” Benjamin said the artist’s accountable is religious but additionally seems to accept political undertones.
It may accept been a “quiet bulletin to George III to get his act together.” Of advance the baron never did aim for a peaceful way to accomplish nice with affronted American colonialists.
Benjamin presented the painting forth with acquisitions of a admirable account by 18th-century artisan Angelica Kauffman and a accumulating of prints by and afterwards Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel. He additionally previewed for journalists the art museum’s accessible exhibitions.
One of the big shows planned will be “Paul Gauguin: The Art of Invention,” which opens July 21.
With added than 50 works on accommodation from Copenhagen’s Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, the exhibition will accommodate both the French artist’s acclaimed works from his time in Tahiti forth with aboriginal Impressionist paintings. Interestingly, a Gauguin-illustrated album donated by amateur and St. Louisan Vincent Price is included.
Earlier in the year will be a huge affectation of sculptures by Rachel Whitehead (who casts things both ample and small, such as the central of a garden afford or the base of a chair). The assignment by the British artisan goes on appearance March 17.
Next abatement will affection “Dutch Painting in the Age of Rembrandt,” which opens Oct. 20. The works appear from the Building of Fine Arts, Boston.
A western acquaintance of that celebrated Boston institution, the Berkshire Building has aloft about $54 actor by affairs 22 of its works, including two by Norman Rockwell, who lived for abounding years adjacent in Stockbridge, Mass.
The museum’s best admired painting sold, Rockwell’s “Shuffleton’s Barbershop,” was admired at amid $20 actor and $30 million. It was purchased for an bearding sum by the Lucas Building of Narrative Art in Los Angeles.
Selling art to pay for building budget or to addition an award violates the belief of the American Alliance of Museums. The Association of Art Building Directors accustomed the Berkshire in May, allurement associates not to accommodate works to it. Several Massachusetts residents, including a grandson of Rockwell, had filed lawsuits aggravating to anticipate the sale. Those apparel were unsuccessful.
But the museum’s arguable accomplishments were a gift, of sorts, for the St. Louis Art Museum, which had approved to ample a gap in its American collection. Another bright-side appearance of the auction is that the Rockwell and West paintings, forth with a few others that accept been disclosed, are activity to accessible museums instead of clandestine collectors.
The Benjamin West painting won’t be on display, though, until backward abutting year. It needs some charwoman (on Thursday, the assignment seemed to affectation the outline of a baby handprint). Given to the Berkshire in 1909 by Zenas Crane, it is the oldest painting the building sold. Crane, a cardboard magnate, was one of the museum’s founders.
Even admitting the painting will accompany its American aggregation here, the assignment was fabricated in Britain. West was a admired of Baron George III, who appointed him actual painter to the cloister in 1772. Although built-in in Pennsylvania, West catholic to Italy and again England, area he would serve as the additional admiral of the Royal Academy. He never alternate to America.
There’s no accounting evidence, no “smoking gun,” that proves West’s painting of the “handwriting on the wall” was a bulletin to Baron George, says Amy Torbert, the St. Louis museum’s abettor babysitter of American art. But she is assured that the museum’s new accretion independent a bulletin above its biblical story.
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