Key Acquisitions to Carnegie Museum of Art Collection in 2011
Pittsburgh, PA…Carnegie Museum of Art announces the addition of major works to its collection in 2011. The acquisitions include an important early pastel drawing by Pittsburgh native Mary Cassatt featuring a woman with a child; a rare, intricate Bettridge pianoforte made of papier-mâché from the 1860s; a contemporary daguerreotype (and the sole existing presidential inauguration image in the medium) by Jerry Spagnoli; and a prescient early sculpture by Franz Erhard Walther. Other acquisitions in 2011 include an outstanding pair of Bakewell water decanters from the White House service of US President James Monroe, and a major gift of 23 contemporary craft and design objects from Deena and Jerome Kaplan.
“At Carnegie Museum of Art, we look for objects that are fully and beautifully realized examples of what they are. Where possible, we want works that are emblematic of an artist’s achievement. Increasingly, we number ‘destination works,’ major pieces that anyone interested in a particular art area will want to see, among our acquisitions,” says Lynn Zelevansky, The Henry J. Heinz II Director of Carnegie Museum of Art. “Each of these works satisfies these criteria, significantly enhancing our permanent collection, and adding to areas of strength. They are perfect vehicles for the sharing of art, ideas, and knowledge with our audience.”
Mary Stevenson Cassatt
Mathilde Holding Baby, Reaching out to Right, c. 1889
pastel on tan paper on board
28 3/4 x 23 1/2 in. (73 x 59.7 cm)
Heinz Family Fund, Robert S. Waters Charitable Trust Fund, Major Paintings Acquisition Fund, Alan G. and Jane A. Lehman Fund, Alice and Jim Beckwith Art Acquisition Fund and Foster Charitable Trust Fund, 2011.47
The pastel is Carnegie Museum of Art’s most significant acquisition of a work on paper in recent memory. The intricate, carefully observed, and vigorous composition is an ambitious and early example of Cassatt’s most famous subject matter, a woman with a child. It is also the first pastel by Cassatt to enter the collection; it thus enriches the museum’s holdings of her art with work in a medium for which she was particularly renowned..
As a native of Pittsburgh and a major Impressionist artist, Cassatt is of special interest to Carnegie Museum of Art, and representing her prolific career has been a longstanding goal. The pastel will be included in the museum’s upcoming exhibition, Impressionism in a New Light: From Monet to Stieglitz, May 12–August 26, 2012, and will be featured in a forthcoming handbook that highlights the museum’s Impressionist and Post-Impressionist collection.
John Bettridge and Co.
British, 1859–c. 1869
Pianoforte and stool, c. 1867
papier-mâché, verre églomisé, aluminum, and mother-of-pearl with modern upholstery
51 1/4 x 68 1/2 x 27 1/2 in. (130.2 x 174 x 69.9 cm)
Women’s Committee Acquisition Fund, 2011.49
Carnegie Museum of Art adds the first example of papier-mâché furniture to its collection with this splendid John Bettridge and Co. pianoforte. The pianoforte represents the epitome of the papier-mâché technique, and is the largest example of papier-mâché furniture from the World’s Fair known to exist. Rather than producing a carved-wood piece as in a traditional piano, artisans laminated and molded paper to form complex surfaces. The mother-of-pearl inlay, high levels of finish on the gilded and lacquered surface, pierce fretwork, and reverse-painted glass demonstrate the finest craftsmanship of the period. The Moorish style of arabesque ornament and Renaissance-inspired forms are prime examples of mid-19th-century design.
The pianoforte was exhibited in the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1867, and a similar instrument appeared at the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations in London in 1851. It will represent the innovations of papier-mâché in the exhibition Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World’s Fairs, 1851–1939, co-organized by Carnegie Museum of Art and The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, opening in Pittsburgh in October 2012.
American, b. 1956
The Inauguration of Barack Obama, The Address, Plate 1, January 20, 2009
5 1/2 x 7 1/2 in. (14 x 19.1 cm)
The William T. Hillman Fund for Photography, 2011.13
Jerry Spagnoli is one of the few photographers in the world currently practicing the earliest form of photography, as seen in this recently acquired daguerreotype. Daguerreotype photography does not produce a reproducible negative; instead, it results in a single positive image on a metal plate. The images Spagnoli captured of the inauguration of President Barack Obama are, somewhat ironically, the only known daguerreotypes of any Presidential inauguration. Spagnoli’s work was featured in the Digital to Daguerreotype exhibition at Carnegie Museum of Art, June 2009–January 2010, and is also in collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Portrait Gallery, the Getty Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Museum of the City of New York.
Franz Erhard Walther
German, b. 1939
Projection Sculpture, 1962–1963
pieces of a mattress, white thread, and clear synthetic resin
35 3/8 x 25 3/8 x 7 3/4 in. (89.9 x 64.5 x 19.7 cm)
The Henry L. Hillman Fund and A. W. Mellon Acquisition Fund, 2011.48
German artist Franz Erhard Walther, a precursor of the US postminimalist and conceptual artists of the 1960s and ’70s, is among those who first sought to define a new more active role for the viewer. A worn child’s mattress props against a gallery wall, occupying the same realm as the viewer, engaging and confronting her with its contrasts in texture and material, bringing to bear all of the psychological associations of the object itself. Challenging ideas of artists as creators, Projection Sculpture also blurs the distinction between found and invented objects. This sculpture is a prime example of Walther’s early work, demonstrating his prescience in developing themes that would resonate all over the West during next two decades.
Bakewell, Page and Bakewell
American, under name 1813–1827
Water decanters, 1818–1819
11 1/2 in. (29.21 cm), diam. 5 in. (12.70 cm)
Ailsa Mellon Bruce Fund and Gift of Christopher T. Rebollo, 2011.16
The museum acquired two remarkable cut and engraved glass water decanters commissioned as part of a large service by President James Monroe in 1818 and made by renowned Pittsburgh glass firm Bakewell, Page and Bakewell. Objects from the service had long eluded scholars and collectors; until recently, the last documentation of the objects occurred in 1833, when a dozen glass decanters were sold from the White House. The objects are significant not only for their presidential provenance but also for their rarity, as they are the earliest known fully cut and engraved American water decanters.
Benjamin Bakewell is recognized as the “father of the American flint glass business”.Bakewell’s glass was renowned in America for its high-quality, colorless formula, perfected only shortly before the Monroe decanters were made. Monroe ordered the 340-piece service of cut and engraved glass after a visit to Pittsburgh in September 1817, as recorded on the original invoice preserved in the National Archives.
The Deena and Jerome Kaplan Gift
In 2011, the museum received a large gift of fine contemporary craft and design from Deena and Jerome Kaplan of Bethesda, Maryland. Their donation of 23 objects marks the largest single contribution to the decorative arts and design collection in the last decade and dramatically augments the museum’s holdings of American studio ceramics, contemporary wood art, and studio furniture.
Major ceramic gifts from the Kaplans include works by seminal 20th-century figures such as Rudy Autio, Kenneth Ferguson, and Beatrice Wood. Especially important are the acquisitions of a figure, Grandma with Baseball Player, and a boldly sculpted plate by prominent California clay artist Viola Frey, whose work was not previously represented in the collection. A double rocking chair by California furniture maker Sam Maloof, a bronze and walnut Monkey Settee by Judy Kensley McKie, and a humorous Architect’s Valet chair by Alphonse Mattia add to the museum’s growing chair collection.
General operating support for Carnegie Museum of Art is provided by The Heinz Endowments and Allegheny Regional Asset District. Carnegie Museum of Art receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Carnegie Museum of Art
Located at 4400 Forbes Avenue in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Museum of Art was founded by industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1895. One of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, it is nationally and internationally recognized for its distinguished collection of American and European works from the 16th century to the present. The Heinz Architectural Center, part of Carnegie Museum of Art, is dedicated to enhancing understanding of the physical environment through its exhibitions, collections, and public programs. For more information about Carnegie Museum of Art, call 412.622.3131 or visit our web site at www.cmoa.org.