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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 an 800-year-old figure of Christ to a rediscovered Delacroix painting

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) has acquired the monumental bronze sculpture Rumors of War, Kehinde Wiley’s response to the Confederate statues common to the southern United States. The 27ft-high work depicts a young African-American man in urban streetwear astride a horse on a stone pedestal. Currently on view in Times Square in New York, the statue is due to be installed permanently at the entrance to the VMFA on Arthur Ashe Boulevard on 10 December. The museum declined to specify how much it paid for the work, which it purchased through Sean Kelly Gallery in New York. N.K.
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, acquired Kehinde Wiley’s Rumors of War (2019)

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) has acquired the monumental bronze sculpture Rumors of War, Kehinde Wiley’s response to the Confederate statues common to the southern United States. The 27ft-high work depicts a young African-American man in urban streetwear astride a horse on a stone pedestal. Currently on view in Times Square in New York, the statue is due to be installed permanently at the entrance to the VMFA on Arthur Ashe Boulevard on 10 December. The museum declined to specify how much it paid for the work, which it purchased through Sean Kelly Gallery in New York.

An 800-year-old figure of Christ that once belonged to the monks of St Mary’s Abbey in York has been purchased by the museum that now stands beside the abbey’s ruins. Having survived the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII, the 16cm-high gilt copper sculpture from Limoges, France, went unrecorded for almost a century between 1826 and 1920, when it entered a private German collection. There it remained until its recent sale at auction to a dealer for €8,500. York Museums Trust subsequently bought the figure with support from the Arts Council England/V&A Purchase Grant Fund, returning it to York after nearly 200 years.
The Yorkshire Museum, York acquired a thirteenth-century figure of Christ

An 800-year-old figure of Christ that once belonged to the monks of St Mary’s Abbey in York has been purchased by the museum that now stands beside the abbey’s ruins. Having survived the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII, the 16cm-high gilt copper sculpture from Limoges, France, went unrecorded for almost a century between 1826 and 1920, when it entered a private German collection. There it remained until its recent sale at auction to a dealer for €8,500. York Museums Trust subsequently bought the figure with support from the Arts Council England/V&A Purchase Grant Fund, returning it to York after nearly 200 years.

The Getty Museum in Los Angeles has acquired a near-identical twin of Agnolo Bronzino’s Madonna and Child with Saints, held by the National Gallery in London. The purchase for an undisclosed price represents “the single most important addition to our 16th-century paintings collection”, according to the museum’s director, Timothy Potts. Previously attributed to Andrea del Sarto, the Getty’s more colourful version has long been in private hands and has no known exhibition history. From 2015 to 2019 it belonged to the Chilean billionaire Álvaro Saieh and his wife Ana Guzmán, the founders of the Alana Collection of Italian Renaissance art.
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, acquired Bronzino’s Virgin and Child with Saint Elizabeth and Saint John the Baptist (around 1540-45)

The Getty Museum in Los Angeles has acquired a near-identical twin of Agnolo Bronzino’s Madonna and Child with Saints, held by the National Gallery in London. The purchase for an undisclosed price represents “the single most important addition to our 16th-century paintings collection”, according to the museum’s director, Timothy Potts. Previously attributed to Andrea del Sarto, the Getty’s more colourful version has long been in private hands and has no known exhibition history. From 2015 to 2019 it belonged to the Chilean billionaire Álvaro Saieh and his wife Ana Guzmán, the founders of the Alana Collection of Italian Renaissance art.

The Contemporary Art Society acquired 11 photographic portraits from Zanele Muholi’s Faces and Phases series (2006-) from Stevenson Gallery at Frieze London last month, on behalf of Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery. Since 2016, the UK charity’s Collections Fund has bought works from the fair for a selected member museum. Muholi’s ongoing portrait series depicts members of South Africa’s LGBT+ community and aims to draw attention to the hate crimes they face. The works will be displayed at the Nottingham museum when it reopens in spring 2021 after a £30m redevelopment.
Ayanda Mqakayi, Nyanga East, Cape Town, 2011 is one of 11 Muholi portraits bought at Frieze London

The Contemporary Art Society acquired 11 photographic portraits from Zanele Muholi’s Faces and Phases series (2006-) from Stevenson Gallery at Frieze London last month, on behalf of Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery. Since 2016, the UK charity’s Collections Fund has bought works from the fair for a selected member museum. Muholi’s ongoing portrait series depicts members of South Africa’s LGBT+ community and aims to draw attention to the hate crimes they face. The works will be displayed at the Nottingham museum when it reopens in spring 2021 after a £30m redevelopment.

 The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston has bought a rediscovered painting by Eugène Delacroix for an undisclosed price from the Paris-based dealer Philippe Mendes. Suspecting that it was a Delacroix, the owner invited Mendes to visit her home and provide authentication, which was subsequently obtained from an expert. The painting, which is now on view in Houston, had last been recorded in an 1850 sale. It is an early portrait version of Delacroix’s 1834 masterpiece of the same title at the Louvre, which inspired Pablo Picasso’s Women of Algiers series in the 1950s. A third version of the painting belongs to the Musée Fabre in Montpellier, France.
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, acquired Eugène Delacroix’s Women of Algiers in Their Apartment (1833-34)

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston has bought a rediscovered painting by Eugène Delacroix for an undisclosed price from the Paris-based dealer Philippe Mendes. Suspecting that it was a Delacroix, the owner invited Mendes to visit her home and provide authentication, which was subsequently obtained from an expert. The painting, which is now on view in Houston, had last been recorded in an 1850 sale. It is an early portrait version of Delacroix’s 1834 masterpiece of the same title at the Louvre, which inspired Pablo Picasso’s Women of Algiers series in the 1950s. A third version of the painting belongs to the Musée Fabre in Montpellier, France.