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: Some Recent Accessions in the Print Department


Minneapolis Institute of Arts



Institution Minneapolis Institute of Arts
During 1966 the Institute's collection of prints was handsomely and notably enriched through gifts and purchases. It is hoped that this note may give some indication of the scope of the department's acquisitions during the last year and that the illustrations may begin to suggest some of the more delightful and exciting works.Since this fall the visitor to the Institute can find the distinguished new Herschel V. Jones Print Gallery. The extensive remodeling and renovation of this gallery were accomplished through the munificence of the members of Mr. Jones's family and the Winton Foundation. In honor of this event, and in commemoration of the late Mr. Jones's activities with the print department, his daughter, Miss Tessie Jones, presented a group of twenty-five old master prints. This magnificent gift was the highlight of the inaugural exhibition in the new gallery.One of the most striking works in this gift was the engraving by Israhel van Meckenem of The Judgment of Solomon (fig. 1). Among the engravers of the 15th century in lower Germany, one of the most important was van Meckenem. His composition, The Judgment of Solomon, is a copy in reverse after a work by the Master E.S. The engraving is thought to be one of the earliest works by van Meckenem; this was the opinion of Max Lehrs who did not see the print until after the publication of his won book on the artist in 1926. Ours is apparently a unique impression which is beautifully colored in a contemporary hand.Works by the 15th-century German artist, Martin Schongauer, are extremely rare, and the Institute was very fortunate to receive four engravings by him. Of particular rarity and great beauty is The Virgin Enthroned (fig. 2) which demonstrates not only his mastery in the use of the burin but in the nobility imbued in his figures. The quality of this impression, and the other engravings by Schongauer in the gift, is virtually impossible to find on the market today. The addition of four fine examples by this important master is of great consequence to the museum.Miss Jones's gift also included outstanding examples by other 15th and 16th-century artists: four superbly colored woodcuts by anonymous German artists, three engravings by the Master M.Z. (now called Zasinger), and two superb works by Albrecht Dürer. In the Italian school there were prints by the Master I.I.C.A., the Master of 1515, and Domenico Campagnola. This gift, itself a survey of the early history of printmaking in Western Europe, is a monumental and most distinguished addition to our collection.In August of 1966 the Institute announced a major acquisition: the purchase of the important collection of the late Dr. Dwight E. Minnich and Mrs. Minnich. This extensive collection of prints and drawings is a comprehensive record of the evolution of social and natural history from the latter part of the 15th through the first half of the 19th century. Already well known to many an Institute visitor, the collection of nearly 7500 works is of paramount importance to the museum as it offers extensive documentation in the areas of scientific illustration, dress, and decoration—areas previously scantily represented in our collection.Most of the prints in the collection divide into the two main categories of natural history and social history. The prints in the first category range from early scientific prints by such artists as Schoeffer and Fuchs to the work of Audubon in the 19th century. Reproduced in figure 3 is an example from Archetypa Studiaque Patris Georgii Hoefnagelii, a selection of animals, flowers, and fruits designed by Georg Hoefnagl and published by his son in 1599. Hoefnagl was employed as an artist at the court of the great Hapsburg collector, Emperor Rudolph II, for whom he produced many series on zoological and botanical subjects.The works in the second category are the illustration of social history; often called “fashion prints,” they were the spontaneous reflections of an age. They are of great value today to the student of history as elegant contemporary records of taste. One of the more delightful fashion periodicals included in the Minnich collection is that published by Nicolaus Heideloff in England in the closing years of the 18th century. Figure 4 shows the plate Two Ladies in Kensington Garden from his “Gallery of Fashion,” often acclaimed as the most beautiful fashion magazine ever published.It is impossible in such limited space to describe or discuss adequately the importance of the Minnich collection. It was chosen with great sensitivity not only to works of great beauty and rarity but also to works that would best typify the age in which they were produced. Collections of such scope and depth are only rarely formed; it is this museum's good fortune to have been able to make this historic addition, one from which this community will deeply benefit in future years.In the area of 19th and 20th-century prints, the Institute made significant additions to its holdings with several gifts and purchases. We acquired an important work by Théodore Géricault, A French Farrier, one of the early masterpieces of lithography, and the Grande Bergerie by Charles Jacque, a fine example of the work of this Barbizon master. The Institute added its first cubist print by Jacques Villon to the collection this year; entitled Le Petit Equilibriste (fig. 5), the work was executed in 1914 and is one of the rare and beautiful works from Villon's early period. We were also fortunate in adding three important lithographs by Georges Rouault of which one was the superb Portrait of Paul Verlaine of 1933, presented to the Institute by Mr. and Mrs. Thomas L. Daniels.Several notable purchases were made in the field of German Expressionist graphics. Foremost were an early Heckel woodcut, Standing Nude of 1912 (fig. 6), The Omnibus by Max Beckman of 1922, and a 1919 woodcut by Lyonel Feininger entitled Lehnstadt, which is the first print by this artist to enter the Institute's collection.In the field of contemporary graphics the Museum has acquired many new prints. Perhaps the most significant addition is the series of three Portraits of D.H. Kahnweiler, executed in 1957 by Pablo Picasso, which was the generous gift of Mr. and Mrs. Hall Peterson. The third print in this progressively abstracted series is illustrated in figure 7. A representative group of prints by artists working on both sides of the Atlantic has also been acquired by the Institute. Included are works by David Hockney, Anthony Gross, Gregory Masurovsky, Sidney Nolan, Jean Dubuffet, Ortéga, and Jim Dine.The recent accessions of the Institute in the past year cover all six centuries of the making of fine prints. Only a few of the works have been noted here (a complete listing is given in this issue in the “Catalogue of Accessions for the Year 1966”); yet they begin to suggest the breadth and importance of the whole. In extending our collection, we hope to increase its usefulness and meaning for the community. The debt of gratitude we owe our donors is very great.Referenced Works of Art
  1. Israhel Van Meckenem
    German, 1450-1503
    The Judgment of Solomon
    Engraving, colored by hand
    Gift of Miss Tessie Jones in Memory of Her Parents, Mr. and Mrs. Herschel V. Jones, 1966
  2. Martin Schongauer
    German, 1435 (?)-1491
    The Virgin Enthroned
    Gift of Miss Tessie Jones in Memory of Her Parents, Mr. and Mrs. Herschel V. Jones, 1966
  3. Georg Hoefnagl
    German, 1542-1600
    From Archetypa Studiaque Patris Georgii Hoefnagelii, 1599
    Engraving, colored by hand
    The Minnich Collection
    The Ethel M. Van Derlip Fund, 1966
  4. Nicolaus Heideloff
    German, 1761-1839
    Two Ladies in Kensington Garden, 1794
    From “The Gallery of Fashion”
    Etching and aquatint, colored by hand
    The Minnich Collection
    The Ethel M. Van Derlip Fund, 1966
  5. Pablo Picasso
    Spanish, 1881-
    Portrait of D.H. Kahnweiler, 1957
    Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Hall Peterson, 1966
  6. Erich Heckel
    German, 1883-
    Standing Nude,1912
    The Ethel M. Van Derlip Fund, 1966
  7. Jacques Villon
    French, 1875-1963
    Le Petit Equilibriste, 1914
    Etching and drypoint
    The John R. Van Derlip Fund, 1966
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Source: Everett Fahey, "Some Recent Accessions in the Print Department," <i>The Minneapolis Institute of Arts Bulletin</i> 55 (1966): 36-43.
Rights: ©MIA
Added to Site: March 10, 2009