Thursday, February 28, 2019

Titian and the Renaissance in Venice

The Städel Museum


 Titian (c. 1488/90–1576), Madonna and Child, St Catherine and a Shepherd (the “Madonna of the Rabbit”), c. 1530. Oil on canvas, 71 x 87 cm. Paris, Musée du Louvre, Département des Peintures ©bpk / RMN - Grand Palais / Michèle Bellot.

The Städel Museum is devoting a major special exhibition to one of the most momentous chapters in the history of European art: Venetian painting of the Renaissance. Entitled “Titian and the Renaissance in Venice”, the show unites more than a hundred masterpieces – In the early sixteenth century, artists of the “City of Water” developed an independent strain of the Renaissance relying on purely painterly means and the impact of light and colour. One of their most important exponents was Titian (ca. 1488/90–1576), who would hold the key position in the Venetian art scene all his life. 

The Frankfurt show assembles more than twenty examples by Titian alone – and thus the most extensive selection of his works ever before on display in Germany. It also presents paintings and drawings by Giovanni Bellini (ca. 1435–1516), Jacopo Palma il Vecchio (1479/80–1528), Sebastiano del Piombo (ca. 1485–1547), Lorenzo Lotto (ca. 1480– 1556/57), Jacopo Tintoretto (ca. 1518/19–1594), Jacopo Bassano (ca. 1510–1592), Paolo Veronese (1528–1588) and others.

These works offer comprehensive insights into the artistic and thematic breadth of the Renaissance in Venice and elucidate why artists of later centuries looked back to the art of this time and place again and again for orientation. The exhibition introduces selected aspects of Venetian cinquecento painting in eight sections: for example its atmospherically charged landscape depictions, its ideal likenesses of beautiful women (the so-called “belle donne”), or the importance of colour. 

The thematically oriented chapters together form a systematic panorama of the extensive material. Apart from the Venetian holdings in the Städel collection – 

Titian (c. 1488/90–1576), Portrait of a Young Man, ca. 1510. Oil on poplar, 20 x 17 cm. Frankfurt am Main, Städel Museum © Städel Museum – ARTOTHEK.

including Titian’s Portrait of a Young Man (ca. 1510) – the show brings together superb loans from more than sixty national and international museums.  

“This powerful theme – an art-historical classic – has recently come more strongly into focus in German museums. It gives us great pleasure to be able to present such a comprehensive, thematically structured panorama of Venetian painting of the Renaissance for the first time ever in Germany here in Frankfurt”, comments Städel director Philipp Demandt.

Titian’s contemporaries, for example Sebastiano del Piombo or Lorenzo Lotto, were soon spreading the innovations beyond the watery confines of Venice as well. The 1540s saw the emergence of a new generation of highly gifted artists, among them Jacopo Tintoretto, Paolo Veronese and Jacopo Bassano, who now likewise competed for commissions. It was Titian, however, who set the standards for his rivals and admirers alike. “Hardly any epoch of art history has known such continual reception. And within that context, Titian, Tintoretto and Veronese have been accorded the admiration otherwise reserved solely for Michelangelo and Raphael”, exhibition curator Bastian Eclercy emphasizes.

A Tour of the Exhibition
The exhibition begins by taking visitors on a representative tour of sixteenth-century Venice. In the giant woodcut


View of Venice (1498–1500; Nuremberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum) based on a design by Jacopo de’ Barbari and published by Anton Kolb, the unusual bird’s-eye perspective provides an astoundingly precise impression of the “Serenissima’s” unique topography.

The prominently placed, large-scale Rest on the Flight into Egypt (ca. 1572; Sarasota, FL, The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art) by Paolo Veronese ushers visitors directly into the first section of the show, introducing a typically Venetian variation on the depiction of the Madonna, a dominant theme in Italy. In its painterly execution, this exotic altarpiece is considered a magnum opus of the Venetian Renaissance; it also marks both the end and the culmination of the development of a pictorial genre known as the “Sacra Conversazione” (“sacred conversation”). Over the course of the sixteenth century, the motif had been invested with ever greater vividness and interaction between the figures. And particularly in Venice, the traditional subject of the Virgin and Child was often expanded to include further protagonists.

From depictions of the Virgin Mary set in luxurious landscapes, the focus shifts to the genre of landscape painting proper – one of the great achievements of the Venetian Renaissance. Even if it is initially still linked with a figural narrative, landscape now takes centre stage as a signifier of mood. This chapter of the exhibition highlights both the lyrical natural sceneries by the early Titian and the dramatically charged ones by such artists as Veronese or Bassano. Over time, these works would come to serve as the foundation for the establishment of the landscape as a genre in its own right. Especially in their mythological compositions, the painters breathed new life into the idea of Arcadia romanticized by the poets of antiquity as an ideal environment.

At this juncture, the exhibition rooms open onto an architecture traversed by arcades. Artistic compositions inspired by poetry – already alluded to in the previous section – are featured here as an independent genre. Sixteenth-century Venetian painters of mythological scenes were no longer content with merely illustrating the literary material, but now laid claim to equal rights in the poetic license of invention. Among the examples representing this development are

File:Titiaan - Boy with Dogs in a Landscape - Google Art Project.jpg

Titian’s Boy with Dogs in a Landscape (ca. 1570–76; Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen)

and Veronese’s Cupid with Two Dogs (ca. 1580; Munich, Alte Pinakothek), which bears a resemblance to the Titian work. Both paintings have continued to defy interpretation to this day.

The final section of this first part of the exhibition is like a return to reality – but only at first sight. That is because true-to-life likenesses of women were rare in Venice, whereas “ideal portraits” of beautiful ladies were quite common. Even if they are often classified as portrait paintings, the “belle donne” depicted in these works were presumably not real persons, but poetic ideals of feminine beauty.

Within the context of this exhibition, a new interpretation of


Sebastiano del Piombo’s fascinating Woman in Blue with Incense Burner (ca. 1510/11; Washington, National Gallery of Art) has led to its identification as an early example of this genre. It exhibits the typical features of the ideal of beauty prevailing in the period in question: a roundish face, voluptuous lips, an enigmatic gaze and dark blond hair.

An excursus in this section, based on the costume book De gli habiti antichi et moderni di diverse parti del mondo (1590; Of Ancient and Modern Dress of Diverse Parts of the World) by Cesare Vecellio, a cousin of Titian’s, is devoted to contemporary fashions in Venice and beyond.

Now the tour continues on the first floor of the exhibition annex. Taking its starting point in the Frankfurt portrait of a young man from Titian’s early period, this chapter explores how the Venetian male portrait came to flourish in the cinquecento – and to exert a lasting influence on European portrait painting.

Characteristic examples here are the portraits of casually elegant young men in black, for example by Titian or Tintoretto, based on Baldassare Castiglione‘s Libro del cortegiano (1528; The Book of the Courtier). Yet expensively dressed wearers of ermine and portraits of the doges – the chief magistrates of the Republic of Venice – also contributed to shaping the image of the era.

At the centre of the room, visitors encounter three depictions of men in splendid armour.  The special degree of mastery such paintings required of their makers is evident, for example, in Sebastiano del Piombo‘s Man in Armour (ca. 1511/12; Hartford, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art)

or Titian’s Portrait of Alfonso d’Avalos (ca. 1533; Los Angeles, The J. Paul Getty Museum). With their depictions of the gleaming metallic surfaces, the artists achieved a highly realistic impression of light.

Colour and effects – Unlike the painting of Florence and Rome, which was based more strongly on drawing, the Venetian Renaissance is distinguished above all by the art of colour, called “colorito”. The fact that Venice was a centre of the paint trade will surely have played a role in this phenomenon. The Venetian palette ranged from berry red to gloomy black, from chiaroscuro to brilliant polychromy. Whereas the Florentines favoured smooth, porcelain-like surfaces, the Venetians often left the brushstroke clearly visible as a testimony to the act of painting.

The second-to-last chapter of the show takes a look at the reception of Florentine art in the Venetian cinquecento. It was particularly the depiction of muscular male nudes as perfected by Michelangelo that impressed the Venetians in the art of Florence. Nude males such as Titian’s Frankfurt  

Study of St Sebastian (ca. 1520) and his St John the Baptist (ca. 1530–33; Venice, Gallerie dell’Accademia), or


Tintoretto’s St Jerome (ca. 1571/72; Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum) bear witness to an indepth artistic study of the great Florentine master’s work and to a reciprocal influence.

The final section of the exhibition features a number of works representing the long history of its influence. Many of the most prominent artists have schooled themselves on this powerfully colourful painting and exported it – in the case of El Greco, for example, to Spain. The great French painters of the nineteenth century, for instance Théodore Géricault, were likewise among those to learn from Titian and Veronese.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Impressionism in the Age of Industry: Monet, Pissarro and More

Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)  
Opening Feb. 16, 2019

Pulsing with life, Paris in the 1870's was transforming – thanks to wider streets, increased traffic, an explosion of factories in the suburbs, and faster and more frequent steam-powered trains. No one in France was immune to the rapid pace of change, least of all artists. This winter the AGO presents a groundbreaking new exhibition, exploring how French Impressionist artists and their contemporaries, famous for their lush landscapes and sea vistas, were equally obsessed with capturing the spirit of the industrial age. Opening in Toronto on Feb. 16, Impressionism in the Age of Industry: Monet, Pissarro and More features over 120 artworks, including numerous loans from across Europe and North America. The exhibition is curated by Dr. Caroline Shields, Assistant Curator, European Art.

“This exhibition invites us to journey through this period of immense change, experiencing its thrills and challenges alongside the artists. As our cities and technologies rapidly change, it’s a journey that continues to resonate today,” Dr. Shields says. “Seeing these works together for the first time provides an incredibly rich addition to the story of Impressionism as we know it.”

Organized thematically, and featuring paintings, photographs, prints, drawings, sculptures, and period films, the exhibition opens with the dramatic rebuilding of Paris in the 1860’s and 1870’s. The Paris Opera was among the many monuments built during this period, and in an image by the renowned architectural photographers Delamet & Durandelle from 1865, View of Auditorium Floor from Stage (Paris Opera), the building appears in its earliest stages, draped in scaffolding.

File:Camille Pissarro - Place du Thtre Franais, Paris Rain - 18.19 - Minneapolis Institute of Arts.jpg

Pissarro’s Place du Théâtre Français, Paris: Rain, (1898) on loan from the Minneapolis Institute of Art, offers a plunging view toward the Opera and down the new boulevard constructed by urban planner Baron Haussmann.

Steam-powered trains and boats, coupled with new bridges, dramatically changed life in France, affording workers the ability to commute daily between the suburbs and the city.

Monet AGO.jpg
Claude Monet, Arrival of the Normandy Train, Gare Saint-Lazare, 1877. Oil on canvas, 60.3 x 80.2 cm. Art Institute of Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection, 1933.1158.

A painting by Claude Monet, Arrival of the Normandy Train: Gare Saint-Lazare (1877), captures the bustling energy of a train station as steam and iron mix overhead. The exhibition shows how artists used the frequent subject of trains and train stations to express the thrill of speed and feats of engineering.

Factories sprang up in the suburbs and transformed life there. A symbol of change, productivity and national pride, towering factory smokestacks became a hallmark of landscape paintings of this period.

The exhibition features several extraordinary examples including


Edgar Degas, Henri Rouart in front of his Factory (1875) on loan from the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh

and Maximilien Luce’s, Factory in the Moonlight (1898) on loan from the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid.

The industrial age created incredible demand for new material comforts. In portraits of laundresses, shopkeepers and domestic labourers, Impressionist artists spotlight the labour behind the leisure.

James Tissot - The Shop Girl.jpg

James Tissot’s The Shop Girl (1883-85, AGO) provides a glimpse into decadently appointed retail shops of Paris. Through the lens of works like

 File:Mary Cassatt - Children in a Garden (The Nurse) - Google Art Project.jpg

Mary Cassatt’s Children in a garden (The Nurse), (1878) on loan from the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the exhibition highlights the prevalence of women in domestic, retail, and service-sector labour.

As Paris grew and more people flocked to the cities and suburbs to work in factories, many artists fled Paris in search of an idealized, simpler way of life.

Pissarro, a mentor to many Impressionist artists, captures that idyllic sentiment in The Pork Butcher, on loan from the Tate, London.

Pissarro - Pont Boieldieu in Rouen, Rainy Weather.jpg

Camille Pissarro’s Pont Boieldieu in Rouen, Damp Weather,

Edgar Degas’ Woman at Her Bath,


Vincent van Gogh - Factories at Asnières, Seen from the Quai de Clichy

The countryside wasn’t the only escape. Around the turn of the 20th century, Monet left France, turning instead to London for inspiration. There, he produced a series of dazzling urban landscapes featuring trains and factories, not unlike those he had left behind. Three such views of London by the master artist close the exhibition,

Claude Monet’s Charing Cross Bridge, Fog

two of Charing Cross Bridge, and

File:Claude Monet - Waterloo Bridge, Effet de Soleil.jpg

one of Waterloo Bridge. In each work, the sky overhead is a misty mix of industrial smog and fog, as the sun rises and sets over the Thames River.


The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated hardcover catalogue, edited by Dr. Caroline Shields, and featuring essays by Joseph Clarke, Mary Hunter, James Rubin and Monique Johnso.

This generously illustrated book examines the relationship between 19th-century Impressionism and industry in Europe.

The late-19th century was a time of new technology, industry, and modernity. People were enthralled with their changing world and artists were not an exception. Fascinated by progress in every form, artists depicted factories, trains, and construction sites. Artists such as Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Vincent van Gogh, and Camille Pissarro began to paint the world around them, from laundresses in the basements of Paris to rural laborers in fields. This book focuses on how Impressionist artists engaged and treated the topic of industry in their art. Chapters discuss how Paris was transformed into a bustling, modern city, the role of women in labor, and the demographic shift from rural to urban centers. Paintings, drawings, and prints, along with archival photographs help to illustrate this rich and complicated moment in art history.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Albrecht Dürer Drawings- Albertina Museum

Albertina Museum 
20 September 2019 –6 January 2020

With its nearly 140 works, the Albertina Museum is home to the world’s most important collection of drawings by Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528). And this exhibition, rounded out by valuable,rarely shown international loan works, focuses on Dürer’s drawn oeuvre—presenting it as an artistic achievement that is in every respect equal to his paintings and printed graphics.

The historical backgroundof the Albertina Museum’s Dürer holdings islikewise a matter ofconsiderable distinction:their provenance can be traced back to 1528 without any gaps, thus representing a group of works from the artist’s workshop that have been together for nearly 500 years. This collection prominently featuresfamily portraits and both animal and plant studies as well as the lion’s share ofDürer’s head, hand, and clothing studies on colored paper.These holdings thus offer a uniquely ideal starting point from which to reconstructhis personal conceptionof drawing done in a workshop setting, allowing one to also gain an understanding of his personal, early-humanist concept of art.

When one observes a work on paper such as the Praying Hands: Is this miracle of analytical observation and incomparably precise reproduction not far too ambitious for the purpose for which it is assumed to have been created—namely, to serve as a preliminary study?And to what purpose associated with typical workshop practices should one attribute a work like the famous Young Hare

While Dürer was not the first artist north of the Alps to produce such studies, his creations indeed do go far beyond the tradition of other such exemplary15th-century works on paper in terms of their consummate technical, compositional, and artistic quality, a quality that frequently even extends to his carefully placed monogram signature. 

These drawings, casual tours de force and display pieces of superlative quality, consciously probe the outer limits of that which is artistically and technically feasible. And Dürer, thus equipped with a collection of his own drawings, was in possession of an artistic treasury of sorts that enabled him to showall visitors to his workshop a concise and impressive demonstration of his God-given talentas consummate proof of his artistry. 

It was particularly in the medium of drawing the Dürer succeeded in hismost daring artistic feats, achievements that were as yet unthinkable in the painting and reproducible media of his day. 

As “master drawings”, Dürer’s works on paper stand at the dawn of drawing’s autonomy as an artform. And it was with this intent, though still within the protected sphere of the workshop, that he created these exquisitely precious works that would pave the way for the esteem that the medium of drawing was to be accorded in the future.

 Albrecht Dürer
Hare, 1502
Watercolor and gouache, brush, heightened with white gouache
© The Albertina Museum, Vienna


Albrecht Dürer
Wing of a Blue Roller, ca. 1500 (or 1512)
Watercolor and body color, heightened with white body color, on vellum
© The Albertina Museum, Vienna


Albrecht Dürer
The Large Piece of Turf, 1503
Watercolor and body color, heightened with white body color
© The Albertina Museum, Wien

Albrecht Dürer
Praying Hands, 1508
Brush, gray and white ink, gray wash, on blue prepared paper
© The Albertina Museum, Vienna

Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature / Monet: Places.

Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature 
 Denver Art Museum.
October 21, 2019 to February 2, 2020  

Monet: Places.
Museum Barberini in Potsdam, Germany
February 29 to June 1, 2020 

The Museum Barberini and the Denver Art Museum are currently collaborating on a large-scale Monet retrospective, exploring the role of the places that inspired the artist as well as his approach to rendering their specific topography, atmosphere, and light. 

Denver's presentation of Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature will uncover Claude Monet's (1840– 1926) continuous dialogue with nature and its places through a thematic and chronological arrangement, from the first examples of artworks still indebted to the landscape tradition to the revolutionary compositions and series of his late years.

From February 29 to June 1, 2020, the Museum Barberini in Potsdam, Germany, will present the co-organized exhibition with the title Monet: Places.

Featuring key loans, the exhibition, at Denver and Potsdam, explores Monet's approach towards the depiction of sites and topographies that influenced his stylistic development, including Paris and London, the Seine villages of Argenteuil, Vétheuil and Giverny, the coasts of Normandy and Brittany as well as Southern travel destinations such as Bordighera, Venice and Antibes. Amongst the show’s many highlights are numerous depictions of Monet’s garden and pond in Giverny, including several variations of his world-famous waterlilies.

[Also on view this year, The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (opening Feb. 16) and the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth will show Monet: The Late Yearsthe first exhibition in more than 20 years dedicated to the final phase of Monet’s career.]

In the second half of the nineteenth century, the rise of Impressionism dramatically changed the evolution of European landscape painting. One of the movement’s most influential practitioners was Claude Monet, whose exceptionally prolific career spanned more than six decades. Although he was a highly versatile artist, Monet’s key interest lay on depictions of the natural world, characterized by a relentlessly experimental exploration of color, movement, and light. Inspired by the artistic exchange with his colleagues Eugène Boudin and Johan Barthold Jongkind, Monet’s early Impressionist compositions radicalized the practice of plein-air painting, as he largely rejected the studio in favor of working in open nature and directly in front of the motif.

More than any of his fellow Impressionists, he was deeply attracted to exploring the character of specific sites and locations in situ, from the sundrenched Riviera or the wind-swept, rugged coastline of the Belle-Île in Brittany to the picturesque banks of the river Seine. At the very heart of Monet’s artistic practice lay a keen interest in capturing the impression of a fleeting moment, as he tried to translate the most evanescent effects of the atmosphere into the material structure of paint.

“For me, a landscape does not exist in its own right, since its appearance changes at every moment”, Monet explained in 1891. “But its surroundings bring it to life – the air and light, which vary continually (…). For me, it is only the surrounding atmosphere which gives objects their real value.”

 From his very first documented composition through to the late depictions of his farmhouse and water-garden in Giverny, the show Monet: Places offers a rich overview of his entire career, demonstrating his unique place within the French avantgarde of his time. The show engages with some of the major questions that were already touched upon by the museum’s opening exhibition Impressionism: The Art of Landscape, which attracted over 320,000 visitors in its three-month run in 2017.

Daniel Zamani, curator at the Museum Barberini, explains: “Monet’s career has been the subject of intense scholarly scrutiny, but our focus on the places that inspired him offers new insights into his artistic interests and methods. Our aim is to demonstrate just how significant specific topographies were at key junctures in Monet’s career and to look more deeply into how and why these places influenced his development as a painter.”

Claude Monet, Water Lilies and Japanese Bridge, 1899. Oil paint on canvas; 35 5/8 x 35 5/16 in. Princeton University Art Museum: From the Collection of William Church Osborn, Class of 1883, trustee of Princeton University (1914-1951), president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1941-1947); given by his family, 1972-15. Image courtesy Princeton University Art Museum.

“Water Lilies and Japanese Bridge” (1899),

 “The Parc Monceau” (1878),

“Path in the Wheat Fields at Pourville (Chemin dans les blés à Pourville)” (1882) and

Monet - canoaepte01.jpg
Claude Monet, The Canoe on the Epte, about 1890. Oil paint on canvas; 52.55 x 57.5 in (133.5 x 146 cm). Purchase, 1953. Inv. MASP.00092. Collection Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand. Photo by Eduardo Ortega.

“The Canoe on the Epte” (1890).

Monet traveled more extensively than any other impressionist artist in search of new motifs. His journeys to varied places including the rugged Normandy coast, the sunny Mediterranean, London, the Netherlands and Norway inspired artworks that will be featured in the presentation.
The exhibition will uncover Monet's continuous dialogue with nature and its places through a thematic and chronological arrangement, from the first examples of artworks still indebted to the landscape tradition to the revolutionary compositions and series of his late years.

"We're thrilled to organize and present this monumental exhibition, which will provide a new perspective on such a beloved artist," said Christoph Heinrich, Frederick and Jan Mayer Director of the DAM. "Visitors will gain a better understanding of Monet's creative process and how he distanced himself from conventions associated with the traditional landscape genre of painting."

Drawn from major institutions and collections from across the globe, Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature will include works as early as  

File:Monet, Claude - View At Rouelles, Le Havre (1858).jpg
Claude Monet, View from Rouelles, 1858-61. Oil paint on canvas; 18-1/2 x 25-5/8 in. Marunuma Art Park.
View from Rouelles (Marunuma Art Park, Japan), the first painting Monet exhibited in 1858 when he was 18 years old,

Image result

and as late as The House Seen through the Roses (Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam), a 1926 work completed in Giverny only a few months before Monet’s death.

Claude Monet, 1873-74, Boulevard des Capucines, oil on canvas, 80.3 x 60.3 cm, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City.jpg 
Claude Monet, Boulevard des Capucines, 1873-1874. Oil paint on canvas; 31-5/8 x 23-3/4 in. (80.3 x 60.3 cm). The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri. Purchase: the Kenneth A. and Helen F. Spencer Foundation Acquisition Fund, F72-35. Photo courtesy Nelson-Atkins Media Services / Jamison Miller.
Other highlights include the Boulevard des Capucines (1873-74) from The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art,  

Image result

Claude Monet, Under the Poplars (Sous les Peupliers), 1887. Oil paint on canvas; 28-3/4 x 36-1/4 in. Private collection.
Under the Poplars (1887) from a private collection and 

The exhibition also will include six Monet paintings from the DAM collection;

Claude Monet
French, 1840-1926
Waterloo Bridge
Oil paint on canvas
Funds from Helen Dill bequest, 1935.15

Claude Monet
French, 1840-1926
Le Bassin des Nympheas
Oil paint on canvas
Funds from Helen Dill bequest, 1935.14

four of them were part of the Frederic C. Hamilton Collection bequest in 2014:

Artworks by acknowledged mentors such as Eugène Boudin and Johan Barthold Jongkind, from whom Monet learned to capture the impression of fleeting moments en plein air, will also be featured.The presentation of Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature will explore Monet’s continuous interest in capturing the quickly changing atmospheres, the reflective qualities of water and the effects of light, aspects that increasingly led him to work on multiple canvases at once. Additionally, the exhibition will examine the critical shift in Monet’s painting when he began to focus on series of the same subject, including artworks from his series of Haystacks, Poplars, Waterloo Bridge and Water Lilies.

"Throughout his career, Monet was indefatigable in his exploration of the different moods of nature, seeking to capture the spirit of a certain place and translating its truth onto the canvas," said Angelica Daneo, curator of European painting and sculpture at the DAM. "Monet's constant quest for new motifs shows the artist's appreciation for nature's ever-changing and mutable character, not only from place to place, but from moment to moment, a concept that increasingly became the focus of his art."

Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature will also delve into the artist's increasing abandonment of any human presence in the landscapes he created, a testimony to his commitment to isolate himself in nature. This creative process simultaneously established an intimacy with his subject, which culminated later in Giverny, where he created his own motif through meticulous planning, planting and nurturing of his flowers and plants, which he then translated onto the canvas

This landmark exhibition, which will fill three galleries totaling about 20,000 square feet, is organized and curated by the DAM’s Angelica Daneo, Christoph Heinrich and Alexander Penn and Museum Barberini’s Director Ortrud Westheider. Major lenders include the Musée d'Orsay, Paris; Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Art Institute of Chicago and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

A catalog accompanying the exhibition, and published by Prestel Publishing, will include essays by renowned scholars, including Marianne Mathieu, James Rubin, George T.M. Shackelford and Richard Thomson, among others. The publication will be available in The Shop at the Denver Art Museum and through the online shop. A related academic symposium will be held in Potsdam, Germany, in January 2019.

Group tickets and event reservations will go on sale December 17, 2018. Single ticket sales will be announced at a later date.

Claude Monet, The Artist's House at Argenteuil, 1873. Oil paint on canvas; 23-11/16 x 28-7/8 in. (60.2 x 73.3 cm). The Art Institute of Chicago: Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection, 1933.1153. Photo credit: The Art Institute of Chicago/Art Resource, NY.

Sotheby’s American Art sale on 6 March. 2019

Sotheby’s American Art sale on 6 March will present a wonderful group of paintings, sculptures and works on paper. Among the highlights is

Milton Avery’s Portrait of the Artist’s Daughter Reading from 1951.

Also included is Andrew Wyeth’s Cordwood, a striking watercolor executed in 1968 at the artist’s neighbor’s farm in Chadds Ford, PA.

Guy Carleton Wiggins
$120,000 — $180,000


Ernest Lawson
William James Glackens

Friday, February 22, 2019

Liechtenstein. The Princely Collections From Rubens to Makart


16 February –10 June 2019 

On the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the founding of the Principality of Liechtenstein in 2019, the  is presenting a comprehensive selection of the most outstanding works from the Princely Collections under the title From Rubens to Makart. The museum is also devoting a simultaneous, separate jubilee exhibition to the Viennese watercolor, an important and central category of works within the Princely Collections, in an exhibition entitled Rudolf von Alt and his Time. 

Five Centuries of Art History

Well over 100 of the most important paintings and sculptures from the exquisite collection of this family, rich in tradition like few others in Europe, span an impressive range from the Early Renaissance in Italy to the Baroque period, from Viennese Biedermeier to the historicism of the Makart era. Iconic works such as Antico’s Bust of Marcus Aurelius, which was acquired for the Princely Collections just recently, the life-size bronze sculptures of Adrian de Vries, and Peter Paul Rubens’s famous Venus in Front of the Mirror are the focus of an exhibition that amounts to a veritable promenade through five centuries of art history.

A Private Collecting Passion of The Highest Order

The documentation of the Liechtenstein Princes’ continuous and passionate collecting activities goes back over 400 years—a period during which outstanding personalities and their individual artistic tastes gradually gave rise to a private collection that remains unparalleled to this day.

And as a city in which the princely family maintained a permanent residence until 1938, Vienna is of exceptional significance:under Prince Johann Adam Andreas I, who acquired numerous masterpieces of the Flemish Baroque, the collection was presented on the second bel étage of the newly built Liechtenstein City Palace on Bankgasse (formerly known as Schenkenstraße) beginning in 1705.

In 1810, Prince Johann I of Liechtenstein made his masterpieces accessible to the Viennese public for the first time at the family’s Garden Palace in the Rossau neighborhood.During the Second World War, the family transferred its residence—and thus also its collections—to the Principality of Liechtenstein.

Ever since then, the official home of the Princely Collections has been in Vaduz. Selected works are permanently displayed in the galleries of the Liechtenstein Garden Palace and City Palace in Vienna, however, and these can be viewed bythe general public as part of guidedtours.


This exhibition presents the Princely Collections’greatest treasures, providing an exemplary impression of their formidable richness. In contrast to the permanent presentation at the Liechtenstein family’s two Viennese palaces, within which these works can be experienced more or less in their traditional context, one of the central intentions of this exhibition lies in their recontextualization:the reduced setting of the ALBERTINA Museum, with its modern spaces, makes possible a fresh look at the masterpieces on exhibit.In lieu of art-historical stringency, the primary objective here has been to arrive at a form of presentation determined by aesthetic considerations. And it is thus that, through alternative groupings and/or deliberate isolation, these paintings and sculptures now tell entirely different stories. 

Peter Paul Rubens
Venus in Front of the Mirror, ca. 1614/15
Oil on panel
© LIECHTENSTEIN. The Princely Collections, Vaduz–Vienna

Giuseppe Arcimboldo
Terra (Earth), ca. 1570
Oil on panel
© LIECHTENSTEIN. The Princely Collections, Vaduz–Vienna

Anthonis van Dyck
Portrait of Maria de Tassis, ca. 1629/30
Oil on canvas
© LIECHTENSTEIN. The Princely Collections, Vaduz–Vienna

Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller
Roses, 1843
Oil on panel
© LIECHTENSTEIN. The Princely Collections, Vaduz–Vienna

Friedrich von Amerling
Young Girl, 1834
Oil on canvas
© LIECHTENSTEIN. The Princely Collections, Vaduz–Vienna

Friedrich von Amerling
Portrait of Princess Marie Franziska von Liechtenstein (1834–1909) at the Age of Two, 1836
Oil on cardboard
© LIECHTENSTEIN. The Princely Collections, Vaduz–Vienna

Jan Jansz van den Uyl
Breakfast Still Life with Pewter Flagon, 1635
Oil on panel
© LIECHTENSTEIN. The Princely Collections, Vaduz–Vienna

Hans Makart
The Death of Cleopatra, 1875
Oil on panel
© LIECHTENSTEIN. The Princely Collections, Vaduz–Vienna

Peter Paul Rubens
Portrait of Clara Serena Rubens, the Daughter of the Artist (1611–1623), ca. 1616
Oil on canvas on panel
© LIECHTENSTEIN. The Princely Collections, Vaduz–Vienna

Wall Texts(Selection)

Naddo Ceccarelli 

In addition to images of the Madonna, the Ecce Homo motif became akey theme of Christian art starting in the Trecento. In their depictions of Christ as the Man of Sorrows, both 

Naddo Ceccarelli
Christ as the Man of Sorrows, ca. 1347
Tempera and gold on panel
© LIECHTENSTEIN. The Princely Collections, Vaduz–Vienna

Naddo Ceccarelli (active c. 1330–60) 

and Marco Palmezzano (1459–1539) have succeeded in depicting Jesus's silent suffering in a most unique fashion. The two paintings represent highlights of religious art from the Princely Collections. The figure of the dead Savior is shown in the pose of a half-length figure standing in a sarcophagus that is also typical of icon painting. The unnatural posture illustrates the divinity of Christ, who died as a human. 

A devotional painting from fifteenth-century Ferrara was equally intended to arouse sympathy and compassion in the viewer. The Redeemer wears the coronation rohe and crown of thorns, his facial features expressing silent, introverted grief rather than suffering. This type of image in which the figure of Christ is removed from any narrative context is referred to as Christ in Repose. 


The medalist, goldsmith, and sculptor Pier Jacopo Alari-Bonacolsi (c. 1455–1528) was Mantua's leading sculptor at the time. His nickname ''Antico '' testifies to his profound knowledge of the classical word.

This Bust of a Youth, which dates from around 1520, was probably commissioned by Isabella d'Este. The young man turns his head slightly to the side, and his eyes gaze down into the void, as if in introspection. His pensiveness is combined with a hint of melancholy, yet his expression is wakeful and eloquent. The lavishly curled hair lends the head a strong sculptural appeal. Despite the alternation of smoothly polished suifaces, protruding forms, and linear accents, Antico infuses the bust with the greatest sense of coherence. In hardly any other work did the artist succeed in conveying such a subtle psychologizing consolidation of the sitter. 

Pier Jacopo Alari-Bonacolsi, known as Antico
Bust of Marcus Aurelius, ca. 1500
Bronze, gold-plated
© LIECHTENSTEIN. The Princely Collections, Vaduz–Vienn

This magnificent sculpture of Marcus Aurelius is one of most spectacular responses of the Italian Renaissance to antiquity. The Roman emperor was famous for his wisdom and in the sixteenth century was celebrated as the author of the Meditations. 

Pier Jacopo Alari-Bonacolsi, nicknamed ''Antico'' (c. 1455–1528), has created an entirely new image here, one that represents the experienced ruler at the height of his powers, but still in the vigor of full manhood. The gilding suggests that it must have been an exceptionally costly commission. The papal court in Rome would seem the most likely context for such a splendid and luxurious object as the Bust of Marcus Aurelius

Represented here is the very moment in the Gospel of Luke in which the archangel Gabriel delivers the good message of God to the Virgin: she has been selected to be the mother of his son, Jesus. In all probability there originally existed Gabriel's bust as a pendant. The intensely animated folds of her gown and the fluttering veil not only indicate Mary's startled pulling away at the moment of the angel's appearance, but in a fashion typical of the High Baroque they also lend tension and drama to the sculpture.

Sebastiano Ricci

The paintings The Rape of the Sabine Women and The Battle of the Romans and Sabines have been conceived as companion pieces and rank among the most monumental and impressive compositions by the Venetian history painter Sebastiano Ricci (1659–1734). They illustrate a central episode in the Roman founding myth: in the newly founded city of Rome settled a mainly male population so that there was a lack of marriageable women. Romulus invited the Sabines, who lived in the surrounding countryside, to attend a festive banquet, in the course of which armed Roman troops abducted their women so as to ensure the Eternal Cityfuture. The Sabines swore vengeance and called for a battle toretaliate. However, the Sabine women, fearing not only for their brothers and fathers but also for their now-husbands and sons, interposed themselves between the battle lines and brought the conflict, which was eventually settled by merging the two regions under a dual government, to an end.

Giovanni Toschini

The monumental marble bust of the Greek philosopher Heraclitus fascinates with the expressive emotion of the internally agitated thinker, who turns to the right with facial features almost distorted with pain and a plaintively open mouth. The protruding eyebrows, the wrinkles on the forehead and the corners of his eyes, and the tears running down his cheeks intensify the expressive effect. The sweepingly curved cloak that envelops the head at the rear further illustrates the figure's intense inner experience. That the philosopher is turned to the side suggests that there was originally a second bust, which must certainly have been the laughing Democritus. The pair is often complemented by a globe as a symbol of human life, which is wept over by the one and mocked by the other.


The ltalian vedutist and landscape painter Giovanni Antonio Canal (1697–1768), known as Canaletto, acquired fame with numerous painted views of his native city Venice: his almost photorealist depictions were created with the aid of a camera obscura. 

Giovanni Antonio Canal gen. Canaletto
View of the Estuary of the Canale di Cannaregio, ca 1735-1742
Oil on canvas
© LIECHTENSTEIN. The Princely Collections, Vaduz–Vienna

His The Cannaregio Canal offers a picturesque vista of the lagoon city: several boats and figures animate the scenery, which is bathed in warm light. Lying in the shade, the bridge in the middle ground forms a spatial separation between the gleaming palazzi in the foreground and the houses of the ghetto, which are represented in slightly darker colors.  

The Piazza San Marco in Venice shows the prominent motif of the square Canaletto captured time and again from various perspectives. Starting out from the Palazzo Ducale, here it extends from today's Biblioteca Marciana and the Procuratie Nuove. Stalls and colorful staffage figures enliven the scene and give it an everyday atmosphere.

Hyacinthe Rigaud

Hyacinthe Rigaud
Portrait of Prince Joseph Wenzel I von Liechtenstein in the Full Regalia of the Order of the Golden Fleece (1696–1772), 1740
Oil on canvas
© LIECHTENSTEIN. The Princely Collections, Vaduz–Vienna

To document the glorious moment of his appointment as Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece, Joseph Wenzel I von Liechtenstein commissioned the epoch's most famous portraitist, Hyacinthe Rigaud (1659–1743). The artist, who was already eighty-one years old at the time, has depicted the prince frontally and as a full-length figure, wearing the prestigious collar around his neck. In terms of composition type, the picture is an official state portrait. Against the backdrop of an imaginary palace, the sitter is depicted in a majestic pose, surrounded by huge stone pillars and pompous, cloud-like draperies. In its impressively tactile reproduction of the shimmering fabrics and the marble floor, the painting evidences Rigauds exceptional realism and highprecision as a painter.

Franz Anton von Scheidel & Bauer Brothers

As an illustrator, FranzAnton von Scheidel(1731–1801) documented the newly gained insights and discoveries of the Swedish scientist Carl von Linné. The drawings in Scheidel's Album of 80 Watercolors of Fishes or in his Album of 100 Watercolors of Birds identify the artist not only as a keen observer of nature but also as a skillful colorist. Among the probably most impressive scientific illustrations by his hand is the series Conches in Watercolor after Johann Carl Megerle von Mühlfeld, which comprises more than 200 sheets. The artist delved into the wealth of color and form of the various shells and snails, studying them with remarkable precision. Rendering their diversified surface textures in his virtuoso watercolor technique, he has lent the conches a three-dimensional and tactile quality through a most refined description using hard shadows. 

These depictions seem to be the last documents of a now-lost cabinet of natural curiosities compiled under Prince Johann I von Liechtenstein as collector and Megerle von Mühlfeld as scientific consultant.

A work closely related to the history of the Hause of Liechtenstein is the sumptuous fourteen-volume tome Liber regni vegetabilis(Book of the Plant Kingdom, also known as Hortus Botanicus), assembled over a period of more than thirty years. On 2,748 pages, the compilation contains illustrations of some 3,100 different species of plants. The book's initiator was the physician and monk Norbert Boccius from the convent of the Brothers Hospitallers at Valtice. Boccius had close ties with the Liechtenstein family and from 1799 on gave the work to them in successive installments. 

Most of the illustrations are by the hand of the Valtice-born brothers Joseph Anton (1756–1831), Franz Andreas (1758–1840), and Ferdinand Lukas Bauer (1760–1826). They likely began working on this large-scale project shortly after 1770, when they were only ten, twelve, and fourteen years old-a fact that earned the brothers the reputation of being "child prodigies" during their own lifetime.

Ferdinand GeorgWaldmüller

Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller (1793–1865) was not only remarkably successful as a portraitist and genre painter but also as a landscapist and, above all, painter of still lifes. In this discipline the artist benefited from his profound training as a miniaturist: especially his depictions of flowers were admired for their freshness, brilliant colors, and virtuoso rendition of details. Waldmüller mostly arranges his compositions against black backdrops, thereby achieving an effective coloristic contrastto the sheen of the pieces of fruit and blossoms, the gleam of the silver, or the dull white of the vases. The artist skillfully sets the matte and waxy surface of the flowers against the hard, metallic luster of the vessels and dishes. In his compositions, Waldmüller has depicted an innumerable diversity of richly nuanced textures. The result is an impressive play of light and shadow, of reflection and opacity. In 1829 Waldmüller traveled to the Salzkammergut for the first time. 

His painting View of Lake Altaussee and the Dachstein betrays the wonderful idiosyncrasy with which the artist has interpreted the Biedermeier landscape. The imposing mountainscape is practically devoid of humans: only in the middle ground can we see a handful of houses along a strip of dense forest, against which the sunlit mountain massif and the sparkling blue lake are sublimely set off. Waldmüller knew how to lend his  View of the Dachstein with Lake Hallstattan outstanding presence and virtually palpable luminosity through his intense pleinairism. In the history of Austrian painting, the picture is considered a milestone on the way to modernism, due to its enhanced and almost Impressionist atmosphere. 

Friedrich von Amerling 

Alongside Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller, Friedrich von Amerling (1803–1887) was the leading Austrian portraitist of the nineteenth century. A keen observer, he used his talent not only for pure character studies but also documented the self-image of his sitters as members of the aristocracy and the bourgeoisie in a most unique fashion. This outstanding painting in the Princely Collections shows the melancholy face of a girl delicately modeled by means of light. Both the black veil the artist has skillfully draped over her hair and shoulders and the book of music in her hand identify the depicted as a praying widow. Her brownish green eyes, gently looking to the left, avoid direct contact with the viewer and give the impression of deep introspection.

Friedrich Gauermann

Friedrich Gauermann (1807–1862) established a new naturalistic Viennese landscape school by abandoning the genre of vedute animated with figures and instead leaning on seventeenth-century Netherlandish painting. Over the years he accumulated sketches made from nature, which were then amalgamated in the studio to create ever-new compositions. He masterfully understood how to combine different ambiences to forma coherent and convincing whole. Gauermann renders each and every element of a scene in jewel-like colors and an almost photorealist sharpness. The signed painting The Harvest Wagon with its impressive rendering of a thundery sky is regarded as one of the artist's absolute masterpieces.

Hans Makart

With a prayer book in her lap and a rosary in her hands, the elegant lady in this painting by Hans Makart (1840–1884) appears to be completely lost in thought. What is particularly striking is the great freedom and spontaneity with which the tonal brown foreground of the picture has been executed. Since a completely identical costume photograph related to this work exists, it is probably not an ordinary portrait but rather the painted likeness of a role in a play: Makart was frequently involved in the organization and decoration of semi-private theater performances and tableaux vivants reenacting various works of the visual arts with living people. The costume of the woman depicted leads back to the Elizabethan age or to the epoch of Charles V, which Makart likewise studied intensively. This outstanding masterpiece shows the Egyptian queen Cleopatra at the moment of her death, sitting upright, alone, staring into oblivion. Hans Makart has depicted the pharaoh on the verge of her demise, brought about by the bite of a snake, in a sensuous nakedness that can hardly be surpassed in its immediacy. The complexion and the textural details of the fabrics and draperies lavishly enveloping the body have been rendered with equal refinement. The famous Burgtheater actress Charlotte Wolter posed for the painting. The picture shows the artist at the height of his creative powers. Receptive to all currents of contemporary painting in Europe, he opened the door to the final phase of Viennese painting in the nineteenth century.