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Cortot & Associés

Acquisitions

Top five museum acquisitions of the month

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Our pick of the latest gifts and purchases to enter international museum collections—from a rising star of Weimar-era Berlin to a Bohemian Virgin and Child

The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation in New York has donated a large abstract painting by the US post-war artist to the Tate. Vessel, the first work by Frankenthaler to enter a UK national collection, will be on show at Tate Modern in London until November 2020 alongside four paintings on loan from the foundation. Made using the signature “soak-stain” technique of pouring thinned oil paint on to an unprimed canvas placed on the floor, Vessel is one of Frankenthaler’s most significant paintings from the 1960s, according to the foundation’s director, Elizabeth Smith. K.J.
The Tate has acquired Helen Frankenthaler’s Vessel (1961). © 2019 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Jordan Tinker, courtesy of Helen Frankenthaler Foundation

The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation in New York has donated a large abstract painting by the US post-war artist to the Tate. Vessel, the first work by Frankenthaler to enter a UK national collection, will be on show at Tate Modern in London until November 2020 alongside four paintings on loan from the foundation. Made using the signature “soak-stain” technique of pouring thinned oil paint on to an unprimed canvas placed on the floor, Vessel is one of Frankenthaler’s most significant paintings from the 1960s, according to the foundation’s director, Elizabeth Smith.

The Dutch choreographer Hans van Manen and his husband Henk van Dijk have donated 21 photographs and three porcelain plates by the US photographer Robert Mapplethorpe to the Rijksmuseum. The gift includes Mapplethorpe’s Self-portrait with Cigarette (1980), an erotic male nude and two portraits of Van Manen himself. “Good Mapplethorpes fetch such high prices—and have been doing so for a long while—that they are beyond the reach of the museum unless they can be acquired through donation,” the Rijksmuseum says in a statement. The new acquisitions will join the museum’s only other work by the artist, a portrait of the musician Patti Smith, in a forthcoming exhibition of American photography from 1839 to the present.
The Rijksmuseum has acquired photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe. ©Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Photo courtesy of Rijksmuseum

The Dutch choreographer Hans van Manen and his husband Henk van Dijk have donated 21 photographs and three porcelain plates by the US photographer Robert Mapplethorpe to the Rijksmuseum. The gift includes Mapplethorpe’s Self-portrait with Cigarette (1980), an erotic male nude and two portraits of Van Manen himself. “Good Mapplethorpes fetch such high prices—and have been doing so for a long while—that they are beyond the reach of the museum unless they can be acquired through donation,” the Rijksmuseum says in a statement. The new acquisitions will join the museum’s only other work by the artist, a portrait of the musician Patti Smith, in a forthcoming exhibition of American photography from 1839 to the present.

The Berlinische Galerie has bought a gouache and oil painting on paper by Lotte Laserstein, a rising star of Weimar-era Berlin, who fled Nazi Germany for Sweden in 1937 and is now receiving belated recognition. This portrait appeared in the gallery’s recent exhibition, Lotte Laserstein: Face to Face, which is at the Kunsthalle zu Kiel until 19 January. The Friends of the Berlinische Galerie supported the acquisition for an undisclosed price from the dealer Michael Nöth. H.M.
The Berlinische Galerie has acquired Lotte Laserstein’s Lady with Red Beret (around 1931). Photo: Anja Elisabeth Witte; © VG Bild-Kunst / Berlinische Galerie Landesmuseum für Moderne Kunst, Fotografie und Architektur

The Berlinische Galerie has bought a gouache and oil painting on paper by Lotte Laserstein, a rising star of Weimar-era Berlin, who fled Nazi Germany for Sweden in 1937 and is now receiving belated recognition. This portrait appeared in the gallery’s recent exhibition, Lotte Laserstein: Face to Face, which is at the Kunsthalle zu Kiel until 19 January. The Friends of the Berlinische Galerie supported the acquisition for an undisclosed price from the dealer Michael Nöth.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has purchased a devotional panel depicting the Virgin and Child enthroned by the anonymous 14th-century Bohemian artist known as the Master of Vyšší Brod. The auction house Cortot & Associés says that a dealer representing the Met made the final bid of €6.2m for the tempera painting in Dijon, France—well above the work’s pre-sale estimate of €400,000 to €600,000. “A work of this beauty and importance has not come on the market in a very long time,” says Keith Christiansen, the chairman of the Met’s European paintings department. He adds that the panel will require conservation treatment to remove its overpainted background and reveal an elaborate architectural throne.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has acquired Virgin and Child Enthroned (around 1350) by the Master of Vyšší Brod. Courtesy of Cortot & Associés

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has purchased a devotional panel depicting the Virgin and Child enthroned by the anonymous 14th-century Bohemian artist known as the Master of Vyšší Brod. The auction house Cortot & Associés says that a dealer representing the Met made the final bid of €6.2m for the tempera painting in Dijon, France—well above the work’s pre-sale estimate of €400,000 to €600,000. “A work of this beauty and importance has not come on the market in a very long time,” says Keith Christiansen, the chairman of the Met’s European paintings department. He adds that the panel will require conservation treatment to remove its overpainted background and reveal an elaborate architectural throne.

The New York Public Library has acquired 153 items relating to Virginia Woolf, including letters, photographs and works of art. Officials say the part-purchase, part-gift from William Beekman enriches the library’s considerable holdings to what is “arguably the most complete and important collection of Virginia Woolf material in the world”. Among the highlights is the writer’s proclamation on the eve of her sister Vanessa Bell's 1907 marriage, narrated from the vantage point of three apes and a wombat. N.K.
The New York Public Library has acquired a collection of works related to Virginia Woolf. Photo: Robert Lorenzson, NYC

The New York Public Library has acquired 153 items relating to Virginia Woolf, including letters, photographs and works of art. Officials say the part-purchase, part-gift from William Beekman enriches the library’s considerable holdings to what is “arguably the most complete and important collection of Virginia Woolf material in the world”. Among the highlights is the writer’s proclamation on the eve of her sister Vanessa Bell's 1907 marriage, narrated from the vantage point of three apes and a wombat.