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: Recent Acquisition Showcase


Minneapolis Institute of Arts



Institution Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Never let it be said that The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is static! A constant source of excitement at the museum is its mandate to seek out and acquire world-class works of art. The decision to add each new piece to the collection begins with the desire to give the museum visitor a point of entry into a particular time, place, and unique aesthetic experience. Thoughtfully collected and displayed, these objects provide a deep, rich understanding of the wider world, its history, and its people. The intellectual development of collections is always challenging, but often the more formidable task is finding the specific work of art that meets various stringent criteria. The actual physical search, which is always affected by marketplace availability and often requires years of patient effort, covers art galleries, public auctions, and private collections. Ultimately, donor support plays a crucial role in acquiring superior works and enhancing our superb collection.Here are a few recently acquired objects that enable our museum visitors to experience the incomparable excellence of artistic expression. Decorative Arts
Table with Etruscan Decoration, 1872
Olive wood, inlay of green and black ebony and ivory
Designed by Alexander Eugène Prignot
Manufactured by Jackson and Graham, London
Gift of the Decorative Arts Council and The Ethel Morrison Van Derlip FundBeginning with the opening of London's first Crystal Palace in 1851, important pieces of furniture were made not with particular clients in mind but, rather, to garner awards for the maker at international exhibitions of art and industry, based on technical and artistic merit. For example, this Anglo-Etruscan center table was made by the distinguished London cabinet-making firm of Jackson and Graham from designs by Alexander Eugène Prignot, a Parisian, for display at the London International Exhibition of 1872. Prints and Drawings
James Jacques Joseph Tissot
The Comtesse d'Yanville and Her Children, about 1895
Gift of Ruth and Bruce DaytonDuring the 1880s and 1890s, the painter James Jacques Joseph Tissot received numerous portrait commissions from aristocratic, fashionable sitters. He executed these portraits in the medium of pastel, which had returned to fashion after nearly a century of neglect. This large-scale society portrait represents the Comtesse d'Yanville surrounded (clockwise) by her children; Nicole, Simone, Isaure, and Daniel. Tissot's pastel technique brilliantly conveys the sumptuous textures and vivid colors of the costumes and furnishings of the Belle Époque. The two above-mentioned objects will be on view in the 19th century galleries, set to open this summer. Photography
Edward S. Curtis
American, 1868-1952
Horse Capture-Atsina, 1908
From "The North American Indian" series
The Mr. and Mrs. Bernard M. Granum Fund
(See cover photo)There are more than 100 of Curtis's photogravures in the Institute's collection, but few are of this size and none equals the quality and presence of this magnificent image. Curtis's lifelong project of photographing the North American Indian began in 1896; the results were originally published in 20 volumes, between 1907 and 1930. No other photographic project conducted in the United States has ever equaled it in terms of scope, duration, or consistency of purpose. Horse Capture-Atsina is on view in our new American West Galleries as a featured object. Africa, Oceania, and the Americas
Nok People
Nigeria, Africa
Seated Dignitary, about 250 B.C.
The John R. Van Derlip FundThis rare terra-cotta male figure comes from the Nok culture of northern Nigeria, a civilization that existed from approximately 500 B.C. to about A.D. 500. Seated in a pose typical of many Nok male figures, this piece depicts a person of high status with a crooked baton on one arm and a hinged flail on the other, implements also found in ancient Egyptian depictions of the pharaohs and the god Osiris. The Nok figure is an especially important accession for the Institute because it is nearly intact; most objects recovered from the Nok area are merely heads and other small fragments broken off of larger figures. This figure is on view in the African Galleries. Asian Art
Cambodia, Angkor period, Bayon style
Prajnaparamita (Goddess of Transcendent Wisdom), about 1200
Gray sandstone
The John R. Van Derlip FundThe long, rich history of Cambodian art is embodied in the monumental stone sculptures and temple architecture of Angkor. This superb late 12th-century sandstone image of Prajnaparamita, the Buddhist goddess of transcendent wisdom, is recognizable by the seated Buddha at the base of her conical crown. With her eyes closed in cosmic meditation, she expresses the supreme bliss that comes from perfect wisdom. This image is associated with a small group of Bayon-style statues that supposedly represent Queen Jayarajadevi, the first wife of King Jayavarman VII (reign 1181-1218). According to legend, when the queen died prematurely, her older sister, Indradevi, commissioned statues of her in the guise of Prajnaparamita. This object is on view in the Asian galleries. Textiles
Helena Hernmarck, born 1941
Stockholm, Sweden, now living in the United States
Glimpse, 1974
Wool and cotton
The Adele Roller Fund and gift of Mr. and Mrs. Myron T. Kerr, Jr. For centuries, tapestries were an important part of the European artistic tradition, but by the end of the 19th century, the form had fallen from favor. Only fairly recently has interest in this medium been revived, and a major figure in this resurgence of enthusiasm is Helena Hernmarck. After training in Europe and working in London, in the mid-1970s, Hernmarck moved her studio to the United States. She continues to be actively involved in the international art world, doing private commissions, public installations, and museum exhibitions. The acquisition of this 11-foot tapestry, which depicts an aerial view of a small American town, not only increases the Institute's tapestry holdings but also contributes a new dimension to our growing collection of 20th-century textile art. This piece is part of a rotating display of 20th-century art in the museum's east wing, second floor galleries. Lotus Stack is chair of the Curatorial Division and Textile Curator.
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Source: Lotus Stack, "Recent Acquisition Showcase," <i>Arts</i> 21, no. 5 (May 1998): 2-3.
Rights: ©MIA
Added to Site: March 10, 2009