Art Gallery of Ontario

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 £1m flower pyramids to an enigmatic portrait of a young black woman

The British Museum has purchased a European Bronze Age hollow gold pendant, known as a bulla, in the form of a stylised geometric sun. It was discovered by a metal detectorist in Shropshire in 2018 and is the second sun pendant ever recorded in the UK, 300 years after the first (now lost) was found near Manchester. The British Museum acquired the pendant for £250,000 with support from Art Fund and its American Friends group. It will be displayed for the first time this November at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery, near the site where it was discovered, before moving to the London museum.
The British Museum in London has acquired a bronze age bulla (around 1000BC-800BC)

The British Museum has purchased a European Bronze Age hollow gold pendant, known as a bulla, in the form of a stylised geometric sun. It was discovered by a metal detectorist in Shropshire in 2018 and is the second sun pendant ever recorded in the UK, 300 years after the first (now lost) was found near Manchester. The British Museum acquired the pendant for £250,000 with support from Art Fund and its American Friends group. It will be displayed for the first time this November at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery, near the site where it was discovered, before moving to the London museum.

With around 25 paintings and 60 watercolours, pastels and drawings, the Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris holds the world’s largest collection of works by the female Impressionist Berthe Morisot. It gained another in February with the purchase for $230,000 of this painting after a mythological scene by François Boucher from Freeman’s in Philadelphia. Inspired by Boucher’s work during a visit to the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Tours, Morisot chose to focus on a detail from the lower-left corner featuring two nymphs embracing in the shade of luxuriant trees.
The Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris has acquired Apollo Revealing his Divinity  to the Shepherdess Issé (1892) by Berthe Morisot

With around 25 paintings and 60 watercolours, pastels and drawings, the Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris holds the world’s largest collection of works by the female Impressionist Berthe Morisot. It gained another in February with the purchase for $230,000 of this painting after a mythological scene by François Boucher from Freeman’s in Philadelphia. Inspired by Boucher’s work during a visit to the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Tours, Morisot chose to focus on a detail from the lower-left corner featuring two nymphs embracing in the shade of luxuriant trees.

The Kunstmuseum Den Haag has acquired a pair of 17th-century flower holders described as “probably the last pair on the open market” by the museum’s director, Benno Tempel. They were purchased at Sotheby’s Paris last December for €1,032,500 from the collection of the Count and Countess de Ribes, with support from the Rembrandt Association, the Mondriaan Fund, the Kunstmuseum Fund and BankGiro Loterij. The pyramids will go on show in the exhibition Royal Blue, due to open on 7 April after the Dutch government’s coronavirus (Covid-19) shutdown of museums is lifted.
The Kunstmuseum Den Haag in The Hague has acquired Two Delftware flower pyramids (around 1690)

The Kunstmuseum Den Haag has acquired a pair of 17th-century flower holders described as “probably the last pair on the open market” by the museum’s director, Benno Tempel. They were purchased at Sotheby’s Paris last December for €1,032,500 from the collection of the Count and Countess de Ribes, with support from the Rembrandt Association, the Mondriaan Fund, the Kunstmuseum Fund and BankGiro Loterij. The pyramids will go on show in the exhibition Royal Blue, due to open on 7 April after the Dutch government’s coronavirus (Covid-19) shutdown of museums is lifted.

The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) has bought an enigmatic 18th-century portrait of a young black woman by an unidentified European artist and is inviting scholars to contribute their insights. Purchased for $68,750 at Sotheby’s in New York in January, the portrait depicts the sitter wearing a lustrous blue gown with intricate lace trim and pearl jewellery. Her identity is unknown, and while her regal bearing and luxurious attire suggest she was a free woman, the AGO conjectures that “her ancestors and even one of her parents may have been enslaved”. As research continues, the gallery describes the acquisition as “an important step toward acknowledging the rich and vital presence of people of colour in the history of Europe and its art”.
The Art Gallery of Ontario has acquired Portrait of a Lady Holding an Orange Tree Blossom (mid-1700s)

The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) has bought an enigmatic 18th-century portrait of a young black woman by an unidentified European artist and is inviting scholars to contribute their insights. Purchased for $68,750 at Sotheby’s in New York in January, the portrait depicts the sitter wearing a lustrous blue gown with intricate lace trim and pearl jewellery. Her identity is unknown, and while her regal bearing and luxurious attire suggest she was a free woman, the AGO conjectures that “her ancestors and even one of her parents may have been enslaved”. As research continues, the gallery describes the acquisition as “an important step toward acknowledging the rich and vital presence of people of colour in the history of Europe and its art”.

The Cleveland Museum of Art has received a donation from a local couple of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and Modern paintings, drawings and prints, and other coveted works that it says will transform the story it tells of the history of art. Valued at more than $100m, the gifts from Joseph and Nancy Keithley consist of 97 works donated outright and 17 that are promised. Among many highlights are Gustave Caillebotte’s still-life Chickens, Game Birds and Hares (around 1882), Georges Braque’s Fauvist landscape The Port of l’Estaque, the Pier (1906) and Pierre Bonnard’s Fruit and Fruit Dishes (around 1930).
The Cleveland Museum of Art has acquired a series of Impressionist and Modern paintings, drawings and prints

The Cleveland Museum of Art has received a donation from a local couple of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and Modern paintings, drawings and prints, and other coveted works that it says will transform the story it tells of the history of art. Valued at more than $100m, the gifts from Joseph and Nancy Keithley consist of 97 works donated outright and 17 that are promised. Among many highlights are Gustave Caillebotte’s still-life Chickens, Game Birds and Hares (around 1882), Georges Braque’s Fauvist landscape The Port of l’Estaque, the Pier (1906) and Pierre Bonnard’s Fruit and Fruit Dishes (around 1930).