Latest Acquisitions by the Clark Institute

1. Vienna Factory
Painting of Ignaz A. Bottengruber (active in 1721–1736)
Cup and Saucer, c.1726–1730
Hard-Paste porcelain, Schwartzlot, gold -
Cup : H. 4.4 x D. 9.8 cm, Saucer : D. 12.7 cm
Williamstown, Clark Art Institute
Photo : Clark Art Institute

25/10/11 - Acquisitions - Williamstown, The Sterling and Francis Clark Institute - Pursuing a dynamic acquisitions policy over the last four years, the Clark Institute has enriched its collections with art objects, sculptures, drawings and paintings (see the article on the subject). First off, in ceramics, a cup and saucer in hard-paste porcelain (acquired in 2009), with a grisaille décor of a battle, were produced in 1726-1730 by the Vienna factory founded by Claudius Innocentius du Paquier in 1718 (ill. 1). A rival of the Meissen firm, it became a government factory after being sold to the Empress Maria Theresa in 1744.
Next, a portrait of Louis XV in fine earthenware, a technique invented in the 18th century, was probably elaborated by the factory on the rue de Charenton after a model by Jean-Baptiste II Lemoyne (ill. 2). This establishment was created in 1743, in the rue de Charenton, then transferred to Pont-aux-Choux in 1749 until it closed in 1788. The official portraitist to Louis XV, Lemoyne offers an elegant portrait, animated by the movement of the drapery, although more understated, true, than that of Louis XIV by Bernini. There are a few replicas of this work, notably at the Musée national de la céramique or at the Getty which also holds its pair : the bust of Marie Leszczynska.

2. After a model by Jean-Baptiste II Lemoyne (1704–1778)
The Paris, Rue de Charenton Manufacture
Bust of Louis XV , c.1745
Faience fine - H. 57.5 cm
Williamstown, The Clark Art Institute
Photo : The Clark Art Institute

3. Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (1827–1875)
Mater dolorosa, 1870
White Marble - 34 x 70 x 49 cm
Williamstown, The Clark Art Institute
Photo : The Clark Art Institute

Carpeaux represented another Mary in a different material : sculpted in marble, a Mater Dolorosa (acquired in 2007) was exhibited at the Salon in 1870 (ill. 3). The original cast resides at the Petit Palais in Paris and there are various known versions in bronze, terracotta and plaster, notably at the National Museum in Stockholm, at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Bordeaux and also the one at Nancy, as well as at the church of Notre-Dame de La Garde in Marseilles. The sculptor treated a religious subject with realism, attributing an emaciated face and sunken eyes to the Virgin. It seems that he was inspired by a woman he ran into on the street who had just lost her child. He is also said to have looked at Bouchardon’s Madonna in the church of Saint Sulpice, Paris, using the same draping effect and emphasizing the movement of the head in contorted pain.

4. Pierre-Eugène-Emile Hébert (1828–1893)
Honoré de Balzac, 1877
Plaster with terracotta slip - H. 101 cm
Williamstown, The Clark Art Institute
Photo : The Clark Art Institute

5. Claude Monet (1840–1926)
Caricature of a Man with a Snuff Box, c.1858-1859
Charcoal heightened with white chalk - 58.8 x 33 cm
Williamstown, The Clark Art Institute
Photo : The Clark Art Institute

The very beautiful plaster portrait of Honoré de Balzac, a lively though massive likeness, is by Pierre-Eugène-Emile Hébert and was acquired in 2009 (ill. 4). Commissioned long after the writer’s death by Alexandre Houssiaux, his former publisher, this bust was exhibited at the Salon in 1877 before ornating Houssiaux’s bookshop where he would offer a miniature version of it to anyone buying Balzac’s complete works. The bas relief on the base illustrates a chapter in Balzac’s earthy essay on The Physiology of Marriage, and more precisely his theory on going to bed. A retrospective bust in terracotta of this same work resides at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta (see article in French).

6. Bartolomeo Pinelli (1781–1835)
Juno Swears to Avenge the Death of Almo and Galesus, 1812
Pen and brown and gray Ink - 61.3 x 88 cm
Williamstown, The Clark Art Institute
Photo : The Clark Art Institute

7. Bartolomeo Pinelli (1781–1835)
The Death of Epaminondas, 1812
Pen, brown and gray ink - 61.3 x 89 cm
Williamstown, The Clark Art Institute
Photo : The Clark Art Institute

Some interesting sheets have also joined the collections at the Clark Institute, for instance a charcoal with highlights in white chalk, representing a man with a snuff box, from about 1858-1859, reminds us that the early Monet began by producing caricatures under the name of Oscar Monet (ill. 5). The washerwomen of Tivoli, the policemen in Naples, the market or carnival... Bartolomeo Pinelli is known for his sometimes satirical drawings and engravings representing Italian sites, customs and costumes. He was also interested in mythology, choosing to evoke unfamiliar or even obscure episodes, in compositions somewhere between a neo-Classical and Romantic style. He produced notably a series of illustrations for a new translation of the Aeneid in 1811, and it is thought that the large, very accomplished, drawing held at the Clark Institute, was executed by the artist afterwards, based on his own graphic works (ill. 6).

8. Horace Vernet (1789–1863)
Bonaparte at the Battle of Aboukir, c.1810s
Black Chalk, Pencil and brown Ink - 44.5 x 59.7 cm
Williamstown, The Clark Art Institute
Photo : The Clark Art Institute

In this sheet, he describes a passage from the Latium War provoked by Juno, glimpsed in the immediate background on her chariot, opposing the Trojans and the Latins. Pinelli drew the young Almon and the older Galesius, killed during the battle, whose death added further turmoil to the war. Another of the artist’s drawings recounts The Death of Epaminondas (1812) (both works were acquired in 2009) : wounded, the Theban general demonstrates his virtus by withdrawing the sword from his chest, knowing this would hasten his death (ill. 7).
Another general, another war : Bonaparte is represented at the battle of Aboukir in 1799 by Horace Vernet (ill. 8) in a drawing depicting the confrontation between the victor and the vanquished, Bonaparte astride his horse eyeing Mustapha Pacha, wounded but impassive, held up by his soldiers, while all around him the Ottoman Turks implore the clemency of the French troops. The Clark Institute also holds the pair to this sheet (both joined the collections in 2008) illustrating another episode of the campaign in Egypt : Bonaparte forgiving the rebels in Cairo. Here again, the large format of the two sheets and their very accomplished treatment suggest that these are actual works and not preparatory studies.

9. Eugène Isabey (1803–1886)
The Cliffs, 1810–1886 Oil on Panel - 37.5 x 30.5 cm
Williamstown, The Clark Art Institute
Photo : The Clark Art Institute

10. Théodore Rousseau (1812-1867),
Farm in Les Landes, 1844-1867
Oil on Canvas - 64.8 x 99.1 cm
Williamstown, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute
Photo : Clark Art Institute

In concluding, the paintings acquired by the Clark Institute reflect a great variety, from Mannerism to the Barbizon school, depending on market offerings and the generosity of donors. In 2009, the museum acquired the Normandy cliffs as seen by Eugène Isabey (ill. 9) as well as a farm in the Landes region, a very beautiful painting by Théodore Rousseau (ill. 10) seen at Maastricht at the Matthiesen Gallery and recently exhibited in Giverny (see article in French).

11. Panel for the Music Room
in the Home of Henry G. Marquand, c.1883-1884
Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema’s Drawing
Made by Johnstone, Norman & Co., London
Juniper, Ivory, Boxwood, Ebony, Elm - 21 x 52.1 x 2.5 cm

12. Giuseppe Cesari, called the Cavaliere d’Arpino (1568–1640)
Perseus Rescuing Andromeda, 1594/1595
Oil on Panel - 52.5 x 38 cm
Williamstown, Clark Art Institute
Photo : Clark Art Institute

A panel created by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema around 1883-1884, acquired in 2010, gives us an idea of the furniture he designed for the music salon of Henry G. Marquand, a wealthy industrialist and president of the Metropolitan Museum. The Clark holds a grand piano with a piano stool from this ensemble ; the panel appears to be a sample meant to show his client the quality and beauty of the future product (ill. 11).
However, 2010 will be remembered most of all for the acquisitions in Italian history paintings of the 16th and 17th centuries, notably a canvas by the Cavaliere d’Arpino, representing Perseus Rescuing Andromeda (c. 1594-1595), a beautiful example of the small formats which the artist, at the height of his career, executed for private commissions (ill. 12).

13. Giovanni Battista Cremonini (c.1550- c.1610)
The Agony in the Garden, c.1595
Oil on panel - 42.2 x 32 cm
Williamstown, The Clark Art Institute
Photo : The Clark Art Institute

14. Giovanni Battista Cremonini (c.1550-c.1610)
The Crucifixion, c.1595
Oil on panel - 42.2 x 32 cm
Williamstown, The Clark Art Institute
Photo : The Clark Art Institute

15. Alessandro Turchi (1578-1649)
The Lamentation, c.1615-1620
Oil on Touchstone - 25 x 35 cm
Williamstown, The Clark Art Institute
Photo : galerie Aaron

From approximately the same period, there is also a work by Giovanni Battista Cremonini, active in Bologna, representing The Agony in the Garden (ill. 13) on the front and The Crucifixion (ill. 14) on the back. This Way of the Cross continues with the Veronese artist, Alessandro Turchi in a chiaroscuro rendering of The Lamentation (ill. 15), a scene where the Virgin is, strangely, missing. Painted in 1615-1620, this painting was acquired in 2011 from the Aaron Gallery which had exhibited it at the Biennale des Antiquaires (see article) and also at Maastricht. We hope that the Salon Paris-Tableau, starting next week, will also attract museums, French if possible.

Version Française

Bénédicte Bonnet Saint-Georges, mercredi 26 octobre 2011

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