Acquisitions

Top five acquisitions of the month

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Our pick of the most significant new gifts and purchases to enter museum collections worldwide, from a vintage Hawaiian shirt to an heirloom Chinese art collection

Dia Art Foundation, New York. Minimal sculptures by Charlotte Posenenske: New York’s Dia Art Foundation has made the largest-ever museum acquisition of work by the German artist and sociologist Charlotte Posenenske. The purchase comprises 155 sculptural elements from four series of mass-produced, modular forms, which Posenenske designed between 1967 and 1968 before giving up her 12-year art career for sociology. They include geometric shapes that can be arranged in different configurations on the wall or floor, and pieces in cardboard or galvanised steel that resemble industrial ventilation systems. Dia:Beacon is due to present the works in the first North American survey dedicated to Posenenske (8 March-19 September 2019). The veteran feminist artist Judy Chicago recently praised the foundation’s director, Jessica Morgan, for “bringing all the women minimalists into the man-fest that has been Dia”.
© Estate of Charlotte Posenenske

Dia Art Foundation, New York. Minimal sculptures by Charlotte Posenenske: New York’s Dia Art Foundation has made the largest-ever museum acquisition of work by the German artist and sociologist Charlotte Posenenske. The purchase comprises 155 sculptural elements from four series of mass-produced, modular forms, which Posenenske designed between 1967 and 1968 before giving up her 12-year art career for sociology. They include geometric shapes that can be arranged in different configurations on the wall or floor, and pieces in cardboard or galvanised steel that resemble industrial ventilation systems. Dia:Beacon is due to present the works in the first North American survey dedicated to Posenenske (8 March-19 September 2019). The veteran feminist artist Judy Chicago recently praised the foundation’s director, Jessica Morgan, for “bringing all the women minimalists into the man-fest that has been Dia”.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Chinese art collection: The Museum of Fine Arts Boston has received its biggest and most significant gift of Chinese art to date, the 183 objects in the Wan-go H.C. Weng Collection. Particularly rich in works from the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1912) dynasties, the donation encompasses 130 paintings, 31 calligraphic works, 18 ink rubbings and four textiles, and will complement the museum’s holdings from the Song (960-1279) and Yuan (1279-1368) periods. The core objects were amassed in the 19th century by Weng’s great-great-grandfather and passed down from generation to generation. Highlights of the collection, which emphasises the expressive literati school of Chinese painting, are to go on view at the museum this autumn.
Courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Chinese art collection: The Museum of Fine Arts Boston has received its biggest and most significant gift of Chinese art to date, the 183 objects in the Wan-go H.C. Weng Collection. Particularly rich in works from the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1912) dynasties, the donation encompasses 130 paintings, 31 calligraphic works, 18 ink rubbings and four textiles, and will complement the museum’s holdings from the Song (960-1279) and Yuan (1279-1368) periods. The core objects were amassed in the 19th century by Weng’s great-great-grandfather and passed down from generation to generation. Highlights of the collection, which emphasises the expressive literati school of Chinese painting, are to go on view at the museum this autumn.

Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt. Joseph Beuys’s Boxing Match for Direct Democracy: Frankfurt’s Museum of Modern Art (MMK) has purchased Joseph Beuys’s 1972 zinc vitrine housing the leather mitts, helmet and boxing ring ropes from his “boxing match for direct democracy” at Documenta 5 with the German sculptor Abraham David Christian. The fight at the Museum Fridericianum in Kassel took place on 8 October 1972, the last day of Harald Szeemann’s exhibition, where Beuys had spent 100 days in residence, debating social reform with visitors at his office for the Organisation for Direct Democracy. Beuys later said that the three-round match, which he won, “expresses nothing other than this fight for a humane future”. The sculpture—bought through London’s Waddington Custot gallery for €672,350—will be on view at the MMK until the end of March.
© Axel Schneider, MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst

Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt. Joseph Beuys’s Boxing Match for Direct Democracy: Frankfurt’s Museum of Modern Art (MMK) has purchased Joseph Beuys’s 1972 zinc vitrine housing the leather mitts, helmet and boxing ring ropes from his “boxing match for direct democracy” at Documenta 5 with the German sculptor Abraham David Christian. The fight at the Museum Fridericianum in Kassel took place on 8 October 1972, the last day of Harald Szeemann’s exhibition, where Beuys had spent 100 days in residence, debating social reform with visitors at his office for the Organisation for Direct Democracy. Beuys later said that the three-round match, which he won, “expresses nothing other than this fight for a humane future”. The sculpture—bought through London’s Waddington Custot gallery for €672,350—will be on view at the MMK until the end of March.

J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. Quentin Metsys’s Christ as the Man of Sorrows: The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles has acquired Christ as the Man of Sorrows, painted around 1525-30 by the Antwerp master Quentin Metsys but attributed to the Netherlandish artist Rogier van der Weyden until recently. It is the first work by Metsys to enter the Getty’s collection and is in “a remarkably fine state”, the museum says. Purchased for an undisclosed price through a London-based dealer after entering the UK from Germany, the painting had been in a private collection for centuries and was reattributed by experts in 2016. It is to go on view at the Getty this spring after conservators clean and frame it.
Courtesy of J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. Quentin Metsys’s Christ as the Man of Sorrows: The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles has acquired Christ as the Man of Sorrows, painted around 1525-30 by the Antwerp master Quentin Metsys but attributed to the Netherlandish artist Rogier van der Weyden until recently. It is the first work by Metsys to enter the Getty’s collection and is in “a remarkably fine state”, the museum says. Purchased for an undisclosed price through a London-based dealer after entering the UK from Germany, the painting had been in a private collection for centuries and was reattributed by experts in 2016. It is to go on view at the Getty this spring after conservators clean and frame it.

British Museum, London. Hawaiian shirt and contemporary works from Oceania: The British Museum has bought a 1970s vintage Hawaiian shirt for little over £100 as part of its exhibition, Reimagining Captain Cook: Pacific Perspectives (until 4 August 2019), marking 250 years since the British explorer’s first voyage. The colourful shirt is decorated with images based on illustrations of Hawaii by artists who accompanied James Cook on his third and final voyage; it is displayed alongside several such 18th-century prints in the museum’s collection. The acquisition of the shirt—and eight contemporary works in the show by Pacific Island artists who “reflect on Cook and his legacy”—continues the museum’s long-standing collaboration with communities in the region, says Gaye Sculthorpe, the head of the Oceania department.
© The Trustees of the British Museum

British Museum, London. Hawaiian shirt and contemporary works from Oceania: The British Museum has bought a 1970s vintage Hawaiian shirt for little over £100 as part of its exhibition, Reimagining Captain Cook: Pacific Perspectives (until 4 August 2019), marking 250 years since the British explorer’s first voyage. The colourful shirt is decorated with images based on illustrations of Hawaii by artists who accompanied James Cook on his third and final voyage; it is displayed alongside several such 18th-century prints in the museum’s collection. The acquisition of the shirt—and eight contemporary works in the show by Pacific Island artists who “reflect on Cook and his legacy”—continues the museum’s long-standing collaboration with communities in the region, says Gaye Sculthorpe, the head of the Oceania department.