Favorite

Painting news 

Hint at Crystal Bridges connection to 2008 sale.

click to enlarge 'WAR NEWS FROM MEXICO:'  To be exhibited in the Metropolitan Museum.
  • 'WAR NEWS FROM MEXICO:' To be exhibited in the Metropolitan Museum.

Two paintings in the top-secret collection of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art were revealed last week prior to their public exhibition at museums in New York and Connecticut.

One of them — Richard Caton Woodville's “War News from Mexico” — was once in the collection of a New York museum that art experts speculate sold two Hudson River school masterpieces to Crystal Bridges in a controversial deaccessioning last year.

“War News,” a 27-by-25 inch oil painted in 1848, will go on exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art next week as part of its “American Stories: Paintings of Everyday Life.” John Haberle's “Small Change,” a 9 ¼-by-7 ¼ inch oil painted in 1887, will be part of “John Haberle: Master of Illusion,” in the Museum of American Art in New Britain, Conn. A third, already announced, painting, “The Life of the Hunter: A Tight Fix” by Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait (1856), will also be part of the Metropolitan exhibit, which opens Oct. 12.

The National Academy Museum in New York City, which once owned “War News,” shook the museum world last year when it sold, without prior announcement, masterworks by Frederic Edwin Church and Sanford Robinson Gifford to raise operating funds. The $13.5 million sale earned it the censure of the Association of Art Museum Directors, which instructed its members to suspend loaning art to or collaborating with the National Academy, a serious sanction.

Selling art from a museum collection to raise money to buy more appropriate art is considered ethical policy; selling paintings for cash for operations is not.

A little digging by blogger Lee Rosenbaum (www.artsjournal.com/culturegrrl), who interviewed a prior director of the National Academy, turned up the information that “War News” had also been sold when the Academy needed cash, in the 1990s. Alice Walton wasn't the buyer; private American art collector Richard Manoogian was. Walton apparently bought “War News,” exhibited in 2007 at the National Gallery, from Manoogian.

Now, speculation is that Walton — or, more accurately, the Crystal Bridges Museum foundation that she created — purchased from the academy Church's “Scene on the Magdalene” and Gifford's “Mount Mansfield, Vermont” last year. While the museum is in hot water for selling the pieces, some critics in New York have bemoaned the fact an Arkansas institution may have acquired two Hudson River school pieces. They are probably the same folks who were unhappy when Walton bought Asher B. Durand's much beloved “Kindred Spirits” from an earlier and equally controversial sale by the New York Public Library. The Wall Street Journal described Walton in 2007 as a “culture vulture, poised to swoop down and seize tasty masterpieces from weak hands.” Had Walton been a New Yorker buying for a New York museum, the WSJ might not have been so colorful, one suspects.

To get back in the museum association's good graces, the academy agreed to forego selling two other paintings, which it had wanted $1.5 million for: John White Alexander's “Mrs. Thomas Hastings” (1901) and Robert Blum's “Study for a Japanese Beggar.” When Crystal Bridges opens in Bentonville — and that date is as secret as the rest of the art collection — they won't be on the walls.

In a press release, CB curator Manuela Well-Off-Man (whose last name leaves her wide open for jokes about working for a Well-Off-Woman) said “War News,” which depicts an open-mouthed crowd gathered around a man holding a newspaper, “demonstrates the power of the newspaper to unite people who share certain interests and instant information.” The slaves and woman off to the side depict as well “the stratification among social groups by race, gender and class during the mid-19th century,” she said.

Haberle specialized in trompe l'oeil paintings of currency. “Small Change” was reported to be on the market in 2007; perhaps Walton bought this small piece from Manoogian, owner of another Haberle painting, as well.

***

Artists around Mena will welcome visitors for OAT, the Ouachita Art Trails studio tour Oct. 9-11. Get a map for the self-guided tour at the Mena Art Gallery, 607 Mena St.; the artists would like visitors to pre-register at www.ouachitatrailscom. Twenty-eight artists are participating.

Favorite

Tags:

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Leslie Newell Peacock

  • Sewer plant request off City Board agenda

    The City Board of Directors will not take up at tomorrow's board meeting developer Rick Ferguson's request that the city overrule the Planning Commission's decision denying him a Conditional Use Permit to build a wastewater treatment plant on his property at 25616 Hwy. 10, opponents of Ferguson's plan tell the Times.
    • Dec 5, 2016
  • Arkansas Times Recommends: A Gift Guide

    Arkansas Times Recommends is a series in which Times staff members (or whoever happens to be around at the time) highlight things we've been enjoying this week. This week, a gift guide.
    • Dec 2, 2016
  • Advocates for the disabled object to Capitol gates

    Disability Rights Arkansas Inc. (DRA) and Arkansas State Independent Living Council (ARSILC) have issued a statement objecting to the new gates that will block entrance to the state Capitol grounds on the weekends.
    • Dec 2, 2016
  • More »

Most Shared

  • Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist resigns

    Bob Scoggin, 50, the Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist whose job it was to review the work of agencies, including DAH and the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, for possible impacts on historic properties, resigned from the agency on Monday. Multiple sources say Scoggin, whom they describe as an "exemplary" employee who the week before had completed an archeological project on DAH property, was told he would be fired if he did not resign.
  • Labor department director inappropriately expensed out-of-state trips, audit finds

    Jones was "Minority Outreach Coordinator" for Hutchinson's 2014 gubernatorial campaign. The governor first named him as policy director before placing him over the labor department instead in Jan. 2015, soon after taking office.
  • Lawsuit filed against ADC officials, prison chaplain convicted of sexual assault at McPherson

    A former inmate who claims she was sexually assaulted over 70 times by former McPherson Womens' Unit chaplain Kenneth Dewitt has filed a federal lawsuit against Dewitt, several staff members at the prison, and officials with the Arkansas Department of Corrections, including former director Ray Hobbs.
  • Rapert compares Bill Clinton to Orval Faubus

    Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway)  was on "Capitol View" on KARK, Channel 4, this morning, and among other things that will likely inspire you to yell at your computer screen, he said he expects someone in the legislature to file a bill to do ... something about changing the name of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.

Latest in Art Notes

Visit Arkansas

Arkansas remembers Pearl Harbor

Arkansas remembers Pearl Harbor

Central Arkansas venues have a full week of commemorative events planned

Event Calendar

« »

December

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31
 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation