- Richard Hamilton, 1922-2011. British pioneer of Pop art, most famous for his 1956 collage, Just What Is It That Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing?
- John Chamberlain, 1927-2011. American sculptor who worked in crushed automobile metal.
- Helen Frankenthaler, 1928-2011. American painter, associated with both Abstract Expressionist and Color-field painting.
The new Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art opened on November 11 in Bentonville, Arkansas. Housed in a building designed by architect Moshe Safdie, the museum features an impressive collection of American art amassed by Alice Walton, daughter of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton and heiress to the company’s fortune. Bentonville, a small city in the Ozarks of northwestern Arkansas, is also home to Wal-Mart’s corporate headquarters.
John Wilmerding, the distinguished historian of American art, advised Walton in her purchases for the new museum. Among the most important works at the Crystal Bridges are paintings by Asher B. Durand, Thomas Eakins, John Singer Sargent, George Bellows, Thomas Hart Benton, and Norman Rockwell. Despite its relatively small size and remote location, the collection has instantly become one of the best in the country for American art.
Some critics have had a hard time regarding the Crystal Bridges as anything other than the “Wal-Mart Museum of Art.” And Walton’s acquisitions in recent years have not been without controversy. In 2005 she outbid such New York institutions as the Metropolitan Museum of Art to obtain Durand’s Kindred Spirits, a major landscape of the Hudson River School, from the New York Public Library. But she failed in her attempt the following year to secure Eakins’s masterpiece, The Gross Clinic, from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. After a citywide campaign to match Walton’s $68 million offer, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts arranged to purchase the work jointly in 2007, and thereby kept the painting from leaving the city. Both institutions were forced to sell other works by Eakins in their collections to raise the necessary funds.
If you have gone to ARTstor’s search page in the past few days, you may have been greeted by a new image. The Macintosh 128K Home Computer pictured there is the original model released by Apple in 1984, and the one marketed that year in the company’s famous Super Bowl commercial. It’s ARTstor’s low-key tribute to the late Steve Jobs, Apple’s co-founder.
This image also highlights the Museum of Modern Art’s Architecture and Design collection in ARTstor, which includes images of a number of Apple products at MoMA. Also among the nearly 7000 images in this collection are works by such designers as Louis Comfort Tiffany, Hector Guimard, Antoni Gaudí, Marcel Breuer, and Frank Lloyd Wright.
The Israel Museum in Jerusalem has teamed up with Google to digitize the Dead Sea Scrolls and make them accessible online. The Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Project has just released the first five complete scrolls.
The Dead Sea Scrolls were first discovered in 1947, and over the next decade fragments of nearly a thousand scrolls came to light. They are among the oldest and most important Biblical artifacts ever found, yet for years access to them was tightly controlled. The Huntington Library‘s decision in 1991 to make even its photographs of the scrolls available to scholars caused controversy at the time, so this latest development is truly welcome news.
A few more art-related items in the recent headlines:
- An obituary for Cy Twombly, 1928-2011. The American artist, best known for making paintings that look like blackboard scribbles, died on July 5th at age 83.
- An architectural review of Zaha Hadid’s Guangzhou Opera House in China.
- An article on Samuel F. B. Morse’s Gallery of the Louvre. The painting, currently on view at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, is one subject in David McCullough’s new book, The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris.
Is this a newly discovered painting by Leonardo da Vinci? Some experts say it is.
It has long been known that the famous Renaissance artist painted a picture of Christ as the Savior of the World (Salvator Mundi), but while many copies and emulations by Leonardo’s followers have survived, the master’s own original was presumed lost.
After a recent cleaning (left), several Leonardo scholars now think that one of these supposed “copies” is in fact the original. Its authenticity, they believe, was obscured by centuries of retouching and overpainting (right).
What do you think? Is this really a long-lost masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci?