• The MFA’s collection of European paintings, which ranges from the twelfth to the twentieth centuries, is one of the finest in the world, and contains some 1,500 works. Explore a selection of large-scale medieval and Renaissance altarpieces, a Romanesque chapel, and many easel paintings in oil or tempera on wood, metal, or canvas. Areas of strength include Tuscan painting of the fourteenth century, large holdings from the Dutch Golden Age, and a particularly rich collection of nineteenth-century French paintings, above all Barbizon and Impressionist landscapes.

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  • Christ in Majesty with Symbols of the Four Evangelists

    1150–1200
    Unidentified artist, Spanish (Catalan), 12th century (Spanish (Catalan))

    Description

    This fresco is among the greatest twelfth-century European paintings in the United States. It once decorated the apse - the semicircular area behind the altar - of the small church of Santa Maria del Mur, in the foothills of the Spanish Pyrenees. Huge eyed and solemn, the figure of Christ in majesty dominates the composition. The inscription in the book he holds reinforces Christ’s centralization in Christian art and doctrine: “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh into the Father but by me.” Christ is surrounded by symbols of all four Evangelists (authors of the New Testament Gospels). Lower tiers contain the twelve Apostles (the original followers of Christ) and scenes from the Bible.

    Provenance

    12th century, apse of Santa Maria de Mur, Lérida, Spain (original commission); 1919, frescoes sold by the rector of the church to Ignasi Pollak, removed from the church, and sold by Pollak to Luís Plandiura (b. 1882 - d. 1956), Barcelona [see note 1]; 1921, sold by Plandiura, through Rafael J. Bosch (with the assistance of Gabriel Dereppe), New York, to the MFA for $92,100. (Accession Date: May 5, 1921) NOTES: [1] See Anke Wunderwald and Mireia Berenguer i Amat, "Entorn al Museu: Les circumstàncies sobre la venda de les pintures murals de Santa Maria de Mur," Butlletí del Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya 5 (2001): 121-129 (English translation in MFA curatorial file).

    Credit Line

    Maria Antoinette Evans Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    645 x 382 x 282 cm (253 15/16 x 150 3/8 x 111 in.); 645 cm (254 in.) at greatest height; 282 cm (111 in.) at greatest depth; 382 cm (150 3/8 in.) at greatest breadth.

    Accession Number

    21.1285

    Medium or Technique

    Fresco secco transferred to plaster and wood

    On View

    I. W. Colburn Chapel Gallery (Gallery 254A)

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  • The Crucifixion; the Redeemer with Angels; Saint Nicholas; Saint Gregory

    1311–18
    Duccio di Buoninsegna (Italian (Sienese), active in 1278, died by 1319)

    Description

    Duccio transformed European painting at the dawn of the Italian Renaissance. He was noted for his mastery of crowd scenes and for his ability to create convincing emotional relationships among figures. Here, below the cross, mourners coalesce in shared grief around the swooning Virgin. On the other side, the violent gesticulations of soldiers and onlookers explode outwards in confusion. Duccio himself painted the blessing Christ and angels in the pinnacle as well as the elegant saints on the wings. These saints likely refer to the name of the unidentified patron. One of Duccio’s assistants probably executed most of the central panel, basing his work on prototypes by the master. This intact triptych was a portable object of private devotion, beautiful even when closed: the backs of the wings are painted in imitation of porphyry and marble. Today it is among the greatest Sienese paintings – and one of the best preserved – outside Europe.

    Provenance

    Between 1791 and 1798, probably acquired in Italy by William Young Ottley (b. 1771 - d. 1836), London [see note 1]; by inheritance to his brother, Warner Ottley (d. about 1847); by descent within the Ottley family to Col. Sir John Walter Ottley (b. 1841- d. 1930), Leyton and Surrey, England; between about 1899 and 1904, sold by Ottley to Robert Langton Douglas (b. 1864 - d. 1951), London [see note 2]; June, 1904, sold by Robert Langton Douglas to J. Pierpont Morgan (b. 1837 - d. 1913), Aldenham, Hertfordshire [see note 3]; by inheritance to his son, J. Pierpont Morgan, II (b. 1867 - d. 1943), Aldenham; March 31, 1944, posthumous J. P. Morgan sale, Christie's, London, lot 118, to Duveen Brothers, Inc., London and New York [see note 4]; 1945, sold by Duveen to the MFA for $250,000. (Accession Date: December 13, 1945) NOTES: [1] Ottley lived in Italy between 1791 and 1798 and acquired his collection of Italian paintings there, mostly in Florence and Rome. On the formation of his collection, see J. Allan Gere, "William Young Ottley as a Collector of Drawings," British Museum Quarterly 18, no. 2 (June, 1953), pp. 44-53. The first published reference to this triptych in the Ottley collection is in G. F. Waagen's Kunstwerke und Künstler in England und Paris (Berlin, 1837), vol. 1, p. 395. [2] On the fate of the Ottley collection, see E. K. Waterhouse, "Some notes on William Young Ottley's Collection of Italian Primitives," in Italian Studies Presented to E. R. Vincent (Cambridge, 1962), pp. 272-276. The triptych was in Langton Douglas's possession by 1904, when he sold it. [3] See Denys Sutton, "Robert Langton Douglas: Connoisseurship and Commerce," Apollo 109 (May, 1979), pp. 368-370. [4] Attributed in the auction catalogue to the School of Duccio.

    Credit Line

    Grant Walker and Charles Potter Kling Funds

    Details

    Dimensions

    Center overall, 61.0 x 39.4 cm (24 x 15 1/2 in.); Left overall, 45.1 x 19.4 cm (17 3/4 x 7 5/8 in.); Right overall, 45.1 x 20.2 cm (17 3/4 x 7 15/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    45.880

    Medium or Technique

    Tempera on panel

    On View

    Museum Council Gallery (Gallery 254)

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  • The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine

    about 1340
    Barna da Siena (Italian (Sienese), active about 1330–1350)

    Description

    The legendary Saint Catherine of Alexandria had a vision in which Christ took her as his spiritual bride, placing a ring on her finger. Here, the union symbolized by this gesture is echoed in two smaller scenes below: Jesus flanked by his mother and his grandmother, Saint Anne; and two enemies reconciled by an archangel, embracing after casting away their weapons. The images of saints Margaret and Michael subduing demons also evoke the triumph of good over evil. It appears that Arigo di Neri Arighetti, named in the inscription, commissioned the painting to commemorate the end of a feud. The identity of the artist remains controversial, but the subtle depiction of the faces and the sinuous lines of the drapery hems make clear that he was inspired by the great Sienese master Duccio.

    Inscription

    Above lower register: ARIGO DI NERI ARIGHETTI FECE FARE QUESTA TAVOLA

    Provenance

    About 1340, Arigo di Neri Arighetti (original commission). 1858, Robert Macpherson (b. about 1811/1815 - d. 1872), Rome [see note 1]. 1859, William Blundell Spence (b. 1814 - d. 1900), London [see note 2]. Alexander Barker (d. 1873), London (?) [see note 3]; sold from the Barker collection to the uncle of Algernon Sartoris (?); by descent to Algernon Sartoris (b. 1877 - d. 1907), Paris and London; sold by Sartoris to Gimpel and Wildenstein, Paris and New York [see note 4]; 1915, sold by Wildenstein to the MFA for $17,727 [see note 5]. (Accession Date: October 7, 1915) NOTES: [1] Otto Mündler recorded seeing the painting in Rome on May 12, 1858, at the home of Mrs. Anna Jameson, the aunt of Macpherson's wife ("The Travel Diaries of Otto Mündler," Walpole Society 51 (1985): 234). Robert Macpherson was a Scottish artist who moved to Italy in 1840 and worked as a dealer. [2] From London, Spence wrote to Lord Alexander William Lindsay on July 27, 1859, offering three paintings that had just arrived from Rome (whether directly from Macpherson is not known), including the MFA painting, attributed to Simone Martini. Lindsay did not purchase it. See John Fleming, "Art Dealing in the Risorgimento," Burlington Magazine 121 (1979): 503, n. 62 and 579, and Hugh Brigstocke, "Lord Lindsay as Collector," Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 64 (Spring 1982): 321, n. 4. [3] In a letter from Wildenstein, Paris, to Walter Gay of the MFA (December 28, 1915), the painting is said to have been purchased from Sartoris. The dealer believed Sartoris had received it from one of his uncles, who had purchased it from the Barker collection. It cannot be identified with any of the paintings from the Barker auctions of June 6, 1874 or June 21, 1879. [4] In addition to the information provided by Wildenstein (see above, n. 3), René Gimpel of Gimpel and Wildenstein noted on July 7, 1918, that it had come from the Sartis [sic] collection and been exhibited at the Musée des Arts Decoratifs, Paris as a work by Lorenzo Monaco. See his "Diary of an Art Dealer," trans. John Rosenberg (New York, 1966), p. 46. [5] Accessioned as a work by Lippo Memmi.

    Credit Line

    Sarah Wyman Whitman Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    138.7 x 111.1 cm (54 5/8 x 43 3/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    15.1145

    Medium or Technique

    Tempera on panel

    On View

    Museum Council Gallery (Gallery 254)

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  • Saint Luke Drawing the Virgin

    about 1435–40
    Rogier van der Weyden (Flemish, about 1400–1464)

    Description

    This is among the most important northern European paintings in the United States. In it Rogier exquisitely combined the Gothic legacy of stylized patterning with a new sense of naturalism. He did not, however, merely replicate the world around him, but manipulated details to create an intricate program of symbols. For example, the enclosed garden in this painting refers to the Virgin’s purity while the carved figures of Adam and Eve on the arms of the throne symbolize Christ’s and Mary’s roles in redeeming humankind from original sin. Rogier may have modeled Saint Luke’s features on his own.

    Provenance

    About 1435/1440, possibly the Chapel of St. Catherine, Cathedral of St. Gudule, Brussels (original commission) [see note 1]. Between 1520 and 1574, probably given by Philip II of Spain (b. 1527 - d. 1598) to the Escorial, Madrid [see note 2]. By 1835, Don Infante Sebastián Gabriel Borbón y Braganza (b. 1811 - d. 1875), Madrid [see note 3]; 1837, confiscated from Braganza by Isabella II, Queen of Spain (b. 1830 - d. 1904) [see note 4]; by 1868, returned by the Queen of Spain to Sebastián Gabriel Borbón y Braganza [see note 5]; 1875, by descent to his son Pedro de Borbón y de Borbon, Duque de Dúrcal (b. 1862-d. 1892); April 5, 1889, Borbón y de Borbón sale, American Art Association, New York, lot 67, to Henry Lee Higginson, Boston; 1893, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Lee Higginson to the MFA. (Accession Date: May 30, 1893) NOTES: [1] See Dirk de Vos, Rogier van der Weyden: The Complete Works (Antwerp, 1999), cat. no. 8, pp. 203, 206, n. 14. The panel may have been installed in the chapel devoted to St. Catherine at the Cathedral of St. Gudule, where the city's guild of painters held their services and where the artist was buried. Alternatively, it may have been installed in their guildhouse. Luke was the patron saint of painters' guilds. [2] See De Vos (as above, n. 1), pp. 200, 203-204. This was probably the painting seen by the artist Albrecht Dürer during his stay in Brussels in 1520, and it is probably the painting listed in the 1574 inventory of works of art Philip II placed in the Escorial. [3] Inventory, Galería de Pinturas del Serenísimo Señor Ynfante Don Sebastian Gabriel, 1835, no. 102 (attributed to Lucas van Leyden). Archivo de Palacio, Sección Histórica, caja 123, as cited by Mercedes Agueda, "La colleción e pinturas del infante Don Sebastián Gabriel," Boletín del Museo del Prado, III, 8 (1982): 109. [4] In 1837, Sebastián Gabriel Maria de Borbón y Braganza's possessions were confiscated for political reasons and the paintings were exhibited in the Museo de la Trinidad. [5] The painting was returned to Braganza when he recognized Isabella II as the Queen of Spain. Exhibited, "Catalogue abrégé des tableaux exposés dans les salons de l'ancien asile de Pau, appartenant aux héritiers de feu Mgr. l'Infant don Sébastien [Gabriel] de Bourbon et Bragnace" (Pau, September, 1876), no. 641.

    Credit Line

    Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Lee Higginson

    Details

    Dimensions

    137.5 x 110.8 cm (54 1/8 x 43 5/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    93.153

    Medium or Technique

    Oil and tempera on panel

    On View

    William A. Coolidge Gallery (Gallery 243A)

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  • Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple (?)

    about 1467
    Fra Carnevale (Bartolomeo di Giovanni Corradini) (Italian (Marchigian), active by 1445, died in 1484)

    Description

    This work was part of an altarpiece painted for a church in Urbino, and the repainted area along the top reveals the shape of the original frame. The young Virgin is in the center foreground, dressed in blue. The exact subject matter of this panel remains in doubt, since the Virgin neither climbs the steps of the temple nor is welcomed by the high priest, features generally included in depictions of the Presentation. Fra Carnevale, a Dominican friar, was clearly inspired by ancient Roman architecture and sculpture as well as by the new science of linear perspective, which allowed an artist to create the illusion of deep space on a flat surface.

    Provenance

    1467, Oratory of Santa Maria della Bella, Urbino (original commission); 1632, removed by Cardinal Antonio Barberini (b. 1607 - d. 1671), Rome [see note 1]; by descent to his nephew, Prince Maffeo Barberini (b. 1632 - d. 1685), Rome [see note 2]; until 1935, by descent within the Barberini family to Marchesa Eleanora Corsini Antinori (b. 1861 - d. 1947) and Baronessa Giuliana Corsini Ricasoli (b. 1859 - d. 1959), Florence [see note 3]. 1935, with Robert Frank Ltd., London; 1935, sold by Frank to M. Knoedler and Co., New York (stock no. A 1774); 1937, sold by Knoedler to the MFA for $85,000. (Accession Date: January 14, 1937) NOTES: [1] This painting, along with its companion panel showing the Birth of the Virgin (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York), was taken by Cardinal Antonio Barberini, Papal Legate at Urbino from 1631 to 1633. On July 30, 1632 the archbishop of Urbino announced the shipment of the panels to the Cardinal, who paid to have them replaced with a painting of the Birth of the Virgin by Claudio Ridolfi. See "From Filippo Lippi to Piero della Francesca: Fra Carnevale and the Making of a Renaissance Master (exh. cat. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2004), p. 258, cat. no. 45, and pp. 306-307. The panels are recorded in the inventories of Antonio Barberini of 1644 (nos. 13, 14) and 1671 (nos. 405, 406); see Marilyn Aronberg Lavin, "Seventeenth-Century Barberini Documents and Inventories of Art" (New York, 1975), pp. 158, 312. [2] The paintings were included in the inventory of bequests of Cardinal Antonio in 1672 (nos. 336, 337) and in the inventory of Prince Maffeo, after 1672 (no. 161); Lavin (as above, n. 1), pp. 349, 369 [3] The daughters of Anna Barberini Colonna (b. 1840 - d. 1911) and Don Tommaso Corsini (b. 1835 - d. 1919).

    Credit Line

    Charles Potter Kling Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    146.4 x 96.5 cm (57 5/8 x 38 in.)

    Accession Number

    37.108

    Medium or Technique

    Oil and tempera on panel

    On View

    Museum Council Gallery (Gallery 254)

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  • Martyrdom of Saint Hippolytus

    d
    Fourth quarter of the 15th century
    Unidentified Artist, Flemish, 15th century

    Description

    Hippolytus, a Roman soldier, converted to Christianity upon witnessing the martyrdom of Saint Laurence. After Hippolytus refused to renounce his new faith, the Romans drew and quartered him. Triptychs, three-paneled altarpieces, were the norm throughout northern Europe, but artists most frequently presented a separate scene on each of the three parts. Here, by spreading the scene of torture across all three panels, the artist heightened the drama, emotional fervor, and horror of Hippolytus’s stretched and tortured body.

    Provenance

    About 1490, Hippolyte de Berthoz (d. 1503) (original commission) [see note 1]. 1888, Émile Gavet (b. 1830 - d. 1904), Paris; December 1888, sold from the Émile Gavet collection to Lucien Félix Claude-Lafontaine (b. 1840 -d. 1909), Paris [see note 2]; by inheritance to his daughter, Mme. Jean Emmanuel Marie Bès de Berc (d. 1961), Paris; April 11, 1962, posthumous Bès de Berc sale, Palais Galliera, Paris, lot 14, to Rosenberg and Stiebel, New York; 1963, sold by Rosenberg and Stiebel to the MFA. (Accession Date: May 16, 1963) NOTES: [1] Hippolyte de Berthoz was financial advisor at the court of Burgundy, serving under Charles the Bold, Margaret of York, and Philip the Fair. He commemorated himself and his wife, Elisabeth Hugheins, with their joint coats-of-arms on each of the outer wings of this triptych and with the presence of their patron saints, Hippolytus and Elizabeth of Hungary, on the outer right wing. The triptych may have been commissioned for the church of Saint-Hippolyte, Poligny, the patron's home town. For more information on this work as well as the triptych that served as its model (Bruges, Saint-Sauveur), see Christiane Van den Bergen-Pantens, "Etude et datation du Triptyque de Saint Hippolyte (Cathédrale Saint-Sauveur à Bruges)," in Bouts Studies, Proceedings of the International Colloquium (Leuven, 26-28 November 1998), ed. Bert Cardon et al. (Leuven, 2001), 11-18 and Didier Martens, "Un témoin méconnu de la peinture Bruxelloise de la fin du Moyen Age: le triptyque de Saint Hippolyte au Musée des Beaux-Arts de Boston," Revue Belge d'Archéologie et d'Histoire de l'art 69 (2000): 59-112. [2] The provenance of the painting from 1888 to 1962 is provided in a letter from Olivier Bès de Berc to Perry T. Rathbone of the MFA (September 21, 1963).

    Credit Line

    Walter M. Cabot Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall (Center Panel, unframed): 87.6 x 133.7 cm (34 1/2 x 52 5/8 in.) Other (Right wing, unframed): 87.6 x 59.7 cm (34 1/2 x 23 1/2 in.) Other (Left wing, unframed): 87.6 x 59.7cm (34 1/2 x 23 1/2in.)

    Accession Number

    63.660

    Medium or Technique

    Tempera and oil on panel

    On View

    William A. Coolidge Gallery (Gallery 243A)

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  • Lamentation over the Dead Christ

    1485
    Carlo Crivelli (Italian (Venetian), about 1430–35–about 1495)

    Description

    A native of Venice, Crivelli spent his career mostly in the Marches, along Italy’s Adriatic coast, where he perfected a very personal art of intense emotion and ornamental splendor. In this painting, acute suffering is conveyed by the variety of grieving expressions and by the intertwined hands of Saint John and Christ-one tense with grief, the other rigid in death. At the same time, the striking swag of fruit and vegetables and the three-dimensional decoration in the haloes and costumes give this image the quality of a precious object. The picture’s shape and its viewing point, well below the level of the figures, suggest that it may have been the central panel of the upper tier of an altarpiece.

    Provenance

    By 1856, Ferdinand Panciatichi-Ximenes (b. 1813 - d. 1897), Florence [see note 1]; about 1901, sold from the Panciatichi-Ximenes collection to John Marshall for Edward Perry Warren (b. 1860 - d. 1928), Lewes, East Sussex, England [see note 2]; 1902, sold by Edward Perry Warren to the MFA for £ 1000. (Accession Date: February 17, 1902) NOTES [1] Seen by Otto Mündler on September 23, 1856, as recorded in Book I of his travel diaries, fol. 63v ("Palazzo Panciatichi. ... A charming little 'Pietá' by Carlo Crivelli, signed and dated 1485"). See "The Travel Diaries of Otto Mündler, 1855-1858," Walpole Society, vol. 51 (1985), p. 131. [2] A label on the reverse of the panel bears a customs stamp from Milan and is dated 1901. Also see Walter Muir Whitehill, "Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: A Centennial History" (Cambridge, MA, 1970), vol. 1, p. 190. John Marshall was a friend of Edward Warren and often purchased on his behalf.

    Credit Line

    Anonymous Gift and Julia Bradford Huntington James Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    88.3 x 53 cm (34 3/4 x 20 7/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    02.4

    Medium or Technique

    Tempera on panel

    Not On View

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  • Virgin and Child with Saints Jerome and Nicholas of Tolentino

    1523–24
    Lorenzo Lotto (Italian (Venetian), about 1480–1556)

    Description

    The vibrant colors and deep, atmospheric landscape of this painting are hallmarks of the painting of Lotto, a Venetian contemporary of Titian. The small coffin on which the Christ child sits foretells his death, as does the crucifix held by the weeping Saint Jerome. Meditation on the death of Christ was encouraged as a way of understanding Christ’s suffering and man’s redemption. Lotto’s sensitivity to human emotion is evident in the expressions of the saints who flank the Virgin and Child.

    Provenance

    1811, Louis Varisco, Paris; 1811, Varisco sale, Paris, no. 8 [see note 1], probably to Joséphine Bonaparte (b. 1763 - d. 1814), Empress of the French, Malmaison, near Paris [see note 2]; by inheritance from Joséphine to her daughter, Hortense de Beauharnais (b. 1783 - d. 1837), Queen of Holland; June 15, 1819, Beauharnais sale, Augsburg, lot 33, unsold; 1820, Beauharnais sale, Augsburg, lot 26, unsold; 1823, Beauharnais sale, Vienna, lot 20, unsold [see note 3]; by descent from Hortense de Beauharnais to her son, Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte (b. 1808 - d. 1873), Paris and Chislehurst, Kent; August 20, 1840, Prince Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte sale, Christie's, London, lot 142, to Sir John Easthope (d. 1865), 1st Bart., Plas Dulas, Abergele, Denbigshire, Wales, for £33.12; by descent within the family to his great-grandson, Robert McGillivray Dawkins (d. 1955), Oxford and Plas Dulas; November 2, 1955, Dawkins sale, Sotheby's, London, lot 160, to Mr. Johnson. 1960, with Mr. Wright, London; 1960, sold by Wright to Rudolf J. Heinemann (dealer, b. 1902 - d. 1975), New York; 1960, sold by Heinemann to the MFA for $75,000. (Accession Date: March 10, 1960) NOTES: [1] Attributed to Correggio. See Hipolyte Delaroche, "Catalogue d'une Collection Précieuse de Tableaux," Paris, 1811, pp. 11-13. Varisco was a Parisian art dealer. The 1811 sale was not an auction, but rather, the sale of his stock. [2] Most of the paintings in the Varisco sale of 1811 were subsequently in the collection of Joséphine. The Lotto appears in her inventory of 1814, no. 1166, attributed to Correggio. [3] The sale catalogues of 1819, 1820, and 1823 do not bear Queen Hortense's name but rather that of the gallery at Malmaison. In each one, the painting is attributed to Correggio, as it is in the Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte sale of 1840.

    Credit Line

    Charles Potter Kling Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    94.3 x 77.8 cm (37 1/8 x 30 5/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    60.154

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

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  • The Dead Christ with Angels

    about 1524–27
    Rosso Fiorentino (Giovanni Battista di Jacopo) (Italian (Florentine), 1494–1540)

    Description

    Rosso Fiorentino was one of the primary practitioners of the highly refined and decorative sixteenth-century style now known as Mannerism. It is characterized by strong, unusual colors; crowded or ambiguous space; and elongated, often twisting figures. Rosso painted this altarpiece in Rome for his friend Leonardo Tornabuoni, the bishop of Borgo San Sepolcro. Rosso’s admiration of Michelangelo’s recently painted frescoes on the Sistine Ceiling is reflected in the muscular nude body of Christ. One of very few surviving works by this exceptional artist, the painting is also unusually well preserved.

    Inscription

    Lower right, on bench: R U B E VS FLO F A CIEB A T

    Provenance

    About 1524/1527, commissioned by Bishop Leonardo di Lorenzo Tornabuoni (b. about 1494 - d. 1540), Rome; 1527, still in the artist's possession [see note 1]. By 1550, Giovanni della Casa (b. 1503 - d. 1556); until at least 1568, by descent within the Della Casa family [see note 2]. About 1812/1819, acquired in Italy by Charles IV, King of Spain (b. 1748 - d. 1819), Rome; 1820, sent to Spain [see note 3] and passed by inheritance to his son, Infante Francisco de Paula (b. 1794 - d. 1865), Madrid; probably by descent to his daughter, Infanta Maria Cristina (b. 1833 - d. 1902) and her husband, Infante Sebastián Gabriel Borbón y Braganza (b. 1811 - d. 1875), Pau, France and Madrid [see note 5]; 1837, confiscated from Braganza by Isabella II, Queen of Spain (b. 1830 - d. 1904) [see note 6]; by 1868, returned by the Queen of Spain to Sebastián Gabriel Borbón y Braganza [see note 7]; 1875, by inheritance to his widow, Infanta Maria Cristina de Borbón y Braganza (b. 1833 - d. 1902), Madrid; October, 1902, posthumous Borbón y Braganza sale, JPGM, Madrid, lot 44, not sold; until 1958, by descent within the family to Infante Don Enrique Bourbón, Madrid. 1958, Rudolf J. Heinemann (dealer, b. 1902 - d. 1975), New York; 1958, sold by Heinemann to the MFA for $85,000. (Accession Date: June 5, 1958) NOTES: [1] According to Giorgio Vasari, Rosso executed a Dead Christ with Angels for his friend, Leonardo Tornabuoni, who was the bishop of Borgo San Sepolcro ("In questo tempo fece al Vescovo Tornabuoni amico suo un quadro d'un Cristo Morto, sostenuto da due Angeli"; see "Le vite de' più eccellenti pittori, scultori ed architettori," ed. Gaetano Milanesi [Florence: Sansoni, 1880], vol. 5, p. 162). It was probably intended for an altar in San Sepolcro, but was never installed; instead, it remained in the artist's possession. In September 1527, it was in the custody of a nun at the convent of San Lorenzo in Panisperna, Rome. As attested in a document of September 29, 1527, the artist, at that time in San Sepolcro, attempted to recuperate the panel -- described as a Pietà with the figure of Christ surrounded by angels -- and other of his possessions from the nun; with all probability this can be identified with the MFA painting. It is possible that Rosso had left his belongings with her just prior to the sack of Rome in May, 1527. Whether the panel was returned to Rosso is unknown, but it seems unlikely, since it was in Rome by 1550 and had, therefore, probably remained there (see below, n. 2). See David Franklin, "Rosso in Italy: The Italian Career of Rosso Fiorentino" (New Haven, 1994), 139-142; the 1527 document is transcribed on p. 309. [2] In the first edition of Vasari's "Vite de' più eccellenti pittori..." (1550), the painting is said to be owned by Giovanni della Casa ("oggi è appresso Monsignor della Casa"). The second edition (1568) states that it is with his heirs ("oggi è appresso agli eredi di monsignor Della Casa"). [3] The identification of the MFA painting with the Dead Christ by Rosso Fiorentino listed in Charles IV's posthumous inventory was made by Gabriele Finaldi, "Works by Alessandro Turchi for Spain and an unexpected Velázquez connection," Burlington Magazine 149 (November, 2007): 758, n. 57. [4] Arturo Perera, "Carlos IV, 'Mecenas' y coleccionista de obras de arte," Arte Español 1958, pp. 28, 30. [5] In 1835, it was listed in his inventory, "Galería de Pinturas del Serenísimo Señor Ynfante Don Sebastian Gabriel," 1835, no. 181 (attributed to Fosquini). Archivo de Palacio, Sección Histórica, caja 123, as cited by Mercedes Agueda, "La colleción e pinturas del infante Don Sebastián Gabriel," Boletín del Museo del Prado, III, 8 (1982), p. 113. [6] In 1837, Sebastián Gabriel Maria de Borbón y Braganza's possessions were confiscated for political reasons and the paintings were exhibited in the Museo de la Trinidad. [7] The painting was returned to Braganza when he recognized Isabella II as the Queen of Spain.

    Credit Line

    Charles Potter Kling Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    133.4 x 104.1 cm (52 1/2 x 41 in.)

    Accession Number

    58.527

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on panel

    On View

    Museum Council Gallery (Gallery 254)

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  • Moses and the Israelites after the Miracle of Water from the Rock

    1527
    Lucas van Leyden (Netherlandish, about 1494–1533)

    Description

    On their arduous journey from slavery in Egypt, the Israelites bitterly complained of thirst. Instructed by God, Moses, their leader, struck a rock with his rod and water spilled out. In this work, the artist emphasized calm resolution by depicting the travelers after the miracle rather than during it, possibly to symbolize the Church’s deliverance of spiritual refreshment to humanity. Although a prolific printmaker, Lucas van Leyden made only about fifteen paintings. Painting with tempera on linen, as in this work, was considered a less-expensive alternative to tapestry decoration, but the medium has proven susceptible to darkening over time.

    Inscription

    lower center, on rock: 1527 / L

    Provenance

    By 1657, Borghese family, Rome [see note 1]; by descent within the family to Agnese Borghese (b. 1836 - d. 1920), Principessa di Piombino, Rome [see note 2]. 1900, with Julius Böhler, Munich. 1900, acquired on the Munich art market by the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg [see note 3]; 1954, sold by the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, through the Schaeffer Galleries, New York (stock no. 1563), to the MFA for $135,000 [see note 4]. (Accession Date: December 9, 1954) NOTES: [1] This is probably the painting by Lucas van Leyden recorded in the Borghese collection as early as 1657. See the summary of the early provenance by Elise Lawton Smith, "The Paintings of Lucas van Leyden: A New Appraisal, with Catalogue Raisonné" (University of Missouri Press, 1992), pp. 101, 302-302, cat. no. 7. [2] On its acquisition by the Principessa di Piombino in or about 1888, see Giovanni Piancastelli, in "L'Arte" 1 (1898): 219. The Principessa must have been Agnese Borghese, wife of Rodolfo, 7th Prince of Piombino (b. 1832 - d. 1911). The painting is said to have remained in the Villa Borghese until 1891 in the "Katalog der Gemälde-Sammlung des Germanischen Nationalmuseums in Nürnberg" (Nürnberg, 1909), p. 28, cat. no. 80, though when it left the possession of the family is not clear. [3] It is unclear whether it was purchased directly from Böhler. See the "Katalog der Gemälde-Sammlung" (as above, n. 2). [4] On its sale, see "Entering the Public's Domain," Art News, December 1955, p. 16.

    Credit Line

    William K. Richardson Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    181.9 x 237.5 cm (71 5/8 x 93 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    54.1432

    Medium or Technique

    Glue tempera on linen

    On View

    William A. Coolidge Gallery (Gallery 243A)

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  • Self-Portrait

    Italian
    about 1556
    Sofonisba Anguissola (Italian (Cremonese), about 1532–1625)

    Description

    Praised by her contemporaries as the foremost woman painter of her day, Anguissola executed more self-portraits than any other artist in the period between Dürer and Rembrandt. This miniature displays the artist’s meticulous technique and a Renaissance taste for puzzles: the interwoven letters at the center of the medallion form a monogram or phrase that has been satisfactorily explained. Around the rim, the medallion is inscribed in Latin: “The maiden Sofonisba Anguissola, depicted by her own hand, from a mirror, at Cremona.”

    Provenance

    By 1801, Richard Gough (b. 1735 - d. 1809), London [see note 1]. By 1862, Henry Danby Seymour (b. 1820 - d. 1877), Ashridge [see note 2]; by descent to his niece, Miss Jane Margaret Seymour (b. 1873 - d. 1943), Knoyle, Wiltshire; May 9, 1928, Seymour sale, Sotheby's, London, lot 61. November 9, 1959, anonymous sale ("the property of a lady"), Sotheby's, London, lot 28, to F. Kleinberger and Co., New York; 1960, sold by Kleinberger to the MFA for $3,000. (Accession Date: March 10, 1960) NOTES: [1] For the history of this miniature, see "Catalogue of Fine Portrait Miniatures, Scientific Instruments, Watches, and Objects of Vertu," Sotheby's, London, November 9, 1959, lot 28. The work was recorded in the Gough collection in "Gentlemen's Quarterly," October 1801, p. 897. [2] Henry Danby Seymour lent the work to the South Kensington Museum as early as 1862, and, according to a letter from Harry G. Sperling of Kleinberger to the MFA (November 12, 1959), from 1912 to 1928, J. M. Seymour lent it to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Information about the dates of these loans (but not about the lenders) is confirmed in the 1959 auction catalogue (as above, n. 1).

    Credit Line

    Emma F. Munroe Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    8.3 x 6.4 cm (3 1/4 x 2 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    60.155

    Medium or Technique

    Varnished watercolor on parchment

    Not On View

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  • Fray Hortensio Félix Paravicino

    1609
    El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos) (Greek (active in Spain), 1541–1614)

    Description

    El Greco was born on Crete and trained in Italy before emigrating in his thirties to Spain. Best known for his intense and spiritual religious paintings, El Greco was also a perceptive and powerful portraitist. Paravicino, a close friend of the artist, was an important theologian, orator, and poet. Limiting the colors almost entirely to the black and white of the friar’s habit, El Greco created a subtle and compelling image that emphasizes psychological rather than physical presence. The work was purchased in 1904 on the recommendation of John Singer Sargent, another great portraitist and an admirer of Spanish art.

    Inscription

    Center right: domenikos theotokopoulos / e'poiei (in Greek characters)

    Provenance

    By 1724, Duque de Arcos, Madrid [see note 1]. By 1786, Convent of San Hermenegildo, Madrid (?) [see note 2]. Until 1904, Javier de Muguiro, Madrid; 1904, sold by Muguiro to the MFA for $17,166. (Accession Date: May 1, 1904) NOTES: [1] According to notes in the MFA curatorial file, Antonio Palomino recorded the painting there in 1724; see his "El Parnaso Español" vol. 3 (1724), p. 287. [2] According to notes in the MFA curatorial file, this painting was listed in the inventory of the convent in 1786.

    Credit Line

    Isaac Sweetser Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 112.1 x 86.1cm (44 1/8 x 33 7/8in.) Framed: 152.4 x 125.1 cm (60 x 49 1/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    04.234

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    William I. Koch Gallery (Gallery 250)

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  • Portrait of a Young Married Couple

    about 1621–22
    Jacob Jordaens (Flemish, 17th Century)

    Description

    Although the sitters in this portrait are unidentified, in all likelihood they were husband and wife. The painting has the typical format of a seventeenth-century marriage portrait, and the ivy clinging to the architecture behind them is a symbol of marital love and fidelity. Although the figures’ poses suggest an affectionate connection to one another, their faces turn to the spectator.

    Provenance

    1880, possibly John Robert Townshend, 1st Earl Sydney (b. 1805 - d. 1890), Kent, England [see note 1]. 1907, Messrs. Lawrie and Co., London; 1907, sold by Lawrie, through Blakeslee Galleries, New York, to Robert Dawson Evans (d. 1909), Boston; 1909, by inheritance to Mrs. Robert Dawson Evans (Maria Antoinette Hunt) (b. 1845 - d. 1917), Boston; 1917, bequest of Mrs. Robert Dawson Evans to the MFA [see note 2]. (Accession Date: November 1, 1917) NOTES: [1] According to notes in the curatorial file, the Earl of Sydney lent a painting attributed to Rubens to the Royal Academy in 1880 (no. 54, "A Lady and a Gentleman," 48 1/2 x 36 1/2 in.). [2] Accessioned as a work by Peter Paul Rubens.

    Credit Line

    Robert Dawson Evans Collection

    Details

    Dimensions

    124.5 x 92.4 cm (49 x 36 3/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    17.3232

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on panel

    On View

    William I. Koch Gallery (Gallery 250)

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  • The Sacrifice of the Old Covenant

    about 1626
    Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, 1577–1640)

    Description

    This oil sketch is the design for one tapestry in a cycle known as The Triumph of the Eucharist. The Old Testament sacrifice of a lamb was presented as a foreshadowing of the sacrifice of Christ, commemorated in the sacrament of the Eucharist, or Holy Communion. Rubens depicted the scene as if on a tapestry suspended from the surrounding architecture; the illusion in the final woven version would be of one tapestry within another.

    Provenance

    Elector Palatine (?) [see note 1]. Robert Spencer (b. 1611 - d. 1702), 2nd Earl of Sunderland, Althorp, Brington, Northamptonshire; by descent within the family to Albert Edward John Spencer (b. 1892 - d. 1975), 7th Earl of Spencer, Althorp; sold by Spencer to Thomas Agnew and Sons, London; 1961, sold by Agnew to William A. Coolidge (b. 1901 - d. 1992), Topsfield and Cambridge, MA; 1985, gift of William A. Coolidge to the MFA. (Accession Date: November 27, 1985) NOTES: [1] Nora de Poorter, "The Eucharist Series," vol. 1, Corpus Rubenianum series (London and Philadelphia, 1978), p. 318, notes that the provenance can be securely traced back to Robert Spencer, 2nd Earl of Sunderland, "who bought many paintings on the continent to adorn his home at Althorp," and that while it is said to have come from the collection of the Elector Palatine, this has never been verified. See, for example, "Exhibition of Pictures from the Althorp Collection" (exh. cat. Agnew, London, February-March, 1947), cat. no. 15.

    Credit Line

    Gift of William A. Coolidge

    Details

    Dimensions

    70.5 x 87.6 cm (27 3/4 x 34 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    1985.839

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on panel

    On View

    Leo and Phyllis Beranek Gallery (Gallery 243)

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  • Artist in his Studio

    about 1628
    Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (Dutch, 1606–1669)

    Description

    In this small painting, the young Rembrandt seems to represent the daunting moments of conception and decision necessary to the creation of a work of art. An artist confronts his easel in a studio bare of everything except his essential tools. This drama, with its emphasis on thought rather than action, is intensified by the expressive use of light and shadow. The painting’s daring perspective is also important: the distant figure of the painter seems dwarfed by his work, looming large in the foreground.

    Provenance

    Chevalier Antoine de la Roque (b. 1672 - d. 1744), Paris; April, 1745, posthumous La Roque sale, Gersaint, Paris, lot 65, to Nelson. 1773, Le Favre and Jean Baptiste Pierre Le Brun (b. 1748 - d. 1813), Paris; January 11, 1773, Le Favre and Le Brun sale, Basan, Paris, lot 25. George Douglas (b. 1761 - d. 1827), 16th Earl of Morton and his wife, Susan Elizabeth Buller-Yarde-Buller (b. 1793 - d. 1849), Countess of Morton, Dalmahoy House, Kirknewton, Midlothian, Scotland [see note 1]; April 27, 1850, Countess of Morton sale, Christie's, London, lot 70, not sold [see note 2]; passed to the Countess of Morton's brother, John Buller-Yarde-Buller (b. 1799 - d. 1871), 1st Baron Churston, Lupton, Devonshire; until 1925, by descent within the family; June 26, 1925, Lord Churston and others sale, Christie's, London, lot 14, sold for £1417.10 to Zink, probably for Robert Langton Douglas (b. 1864 - d. 1951), London [see note 3]. By 1926, Zoë Oliver (Mrs. Henry S.) Sherman, Boston [see note 4]; 1938, gift of Zoë Oliver Sherman to the MFA. (Accession Date: December 31, 1938) NOTES: [1] In the 1926 Churston sale catalogue, the painting is said to be "formerly in the collection of the Right Hon. The Earl of Morton, at Dalmahoy, Kirknewton, Midlothian." The seller of the collection in 1850 was his (deceased) wife, the Dowager Countess of Morton. [2] The painting brought only six guineas when it was put up for auction in 1850. [3] Although published sale results give the purchaser as "Zink," Robert Langton Douglas is said to have acquired the painting by C. Hofstede de Groot, "Rembrandt's Painter in His Studio," Burlington Magazine 47, no. 272 (November, 1925): p. 265. [4] First published in her collection by W. R. Valentiner, "Two Early Self-Portraits by Rembrandt," Art in America 14 (1926): p. 118, fig. 1.

    Credit Line

    Zoe Oliver Sherman Collection given in memory of Lillie Oliver Poor

    Details

    Catalogue Raisonné

    Bredius 419; RRP A 18

    Dimensions

    Overall: 24.8 x 31.7cm (9 3/4 x 12 1/2in.)

    Accession Number

    38.1838

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on panel

    On View

    Art of the Netherlands in the 17th Century Gallery (Gallery 242)

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  • Mars and Venus

    about 1630
    Nicolas Poussin (French (active in Rome), 1594–1665)

    Description

    Poussin was the foremost French painter of the seventeenth century, although he spent almost his entire career in Rome. His restrained and idealizing style, inspired by the art of classical antiquity and the Renaissance, influenced the course of French painting for three hundred years. This allegory of the triumph of love over war shows Mars, god of war, enraptured by Venus, goddess of love, while her attendant Cupids make playthings of his weapons and armor. In its harmonious landscape, warm tonalities, and sensuous mood, this early work demonstrates Poussin’s deep admiration of painters of the Venetian Renaissance.

    Provenance

    1689, Carlo Antonio dal Pozzo (b. 1606 - d. 1689), Rome [see note 1]; by descent to his son, Gabriele dal Pozzo (d. 1695), Rome [see note 2]; by descent to his widow, Anna Teresa Benzoni, Marchesa Lancellotti de'Ginnetti, Rome [see note 3]; 1730, sold in Florence, either to Henry Furnese (d. 1756), Gunnersbury Park, England or to his cousin, Robert Furnese (b. before 1697 - d. 1733), 2d Bt., from whom it passed to Henry Furnese (d. 1756), Gunnersbury Park; February 4, 1758, posthumous Henry Furnese sale, Prestage, London, lot 55, to Simon Harcourt, 1st Earl Harcourt (b. 1714 - d. 1777), Nuneham, England [see note 4]; until 1940, by descent within the family; 1940, sold by Lord Harcourt, through Roland and Delbanco, London, to the MFA for $25,000. (Accession Date: April 11, 1940) NOTES: [1] This has been identified with the Mars and Venus in Carlo Antonio dal Pozzo's posthumous inventory of 1689. See Francis Haskell and Sheila Rinehart, "The Dal Pozzo Collection, Some New Evidence, Part I" Burlington Magazine 102 (July, 1960): 318-326, esp. Appendix 2, p. 324. How he acquired it is not known. Both he and his brother, Cassiano del Pozzo, were friends and patrons of Poussin, and both possessed art collections. Cassiano left his art collection to his brother upon his death in 1657, but its contents were not recorded, so it is not known if the Mars and Venus had been included. For further on Carlo Antonio, see Donatella L. Sparti, "Carlo Antonio dal Pozzo (1606-1689): An Unknown Collector," Journal of the History of Collections 2, no. 1 (1990): 7-20. [2] The painting appears in an inventory of his collection, made shortly after his death in 1695 (no. 100, "Altro quadro di 7, e 9 con La favola di monsù Pusino"); see Arnauld Brejon de Lavergnée, "Tableaux de Poussin et d'autres artistes français dans la collection Dal Pozzo: deux inventaires inédits," Revue de l'Art 19 (1973): 79-96 and Timothy J. Standring, "Some Pictures in the Dal Pozzo Collection: Three New Inventories," Burlington Magazine 130 (August, 1988): 611-613. [3] In 1729 an inventory of the collection was drawn up, when the Marchesa retained custody of the picture collection for her son and Gabriele's heir, Cosimo Antonio Dal Pozzo (d. 1740); Mars and Venus appears as "Bacchanale," see Standring (as above, n. 2). A legal declaration of 1731 records that in 1730 four pictures by Poussin, held by the Marchesa, were sold to Englishmen in Florence. As Standring has shown, the Mars and Venus was among them, and the purchaser was probably either Robert Furnese or his cousin, the collector Henry Furnese. [4] The name of the purchaser is recorded in a copy of the auction catalogue. Also see Edward William Harcourt, ed., "The Harcourt Papers" (Oxford, 1880-1905), vol. 3, p. 233.

    Credit Line

    Augustus Hemenway Fund and Arthur William Wheelwright Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    154.9 x 213.7 cm (61 x 84 1/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    40.89

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    William I. Koch Gallery (Gallery 250)

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  • Don Baltasar Carlos with a Dwarf

    1632
    Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez (Spanish, 1599–1660)

    Description

    As court painter to Philip IV, Velázquez painted countless portraits of the king and his family, images at once majestic and human. This charming, child-size version of the traditional royal portrait may commemorate the swearing of allegiance by the nobles of Castile to the two-year-old heir to the throne. Baltasar Carlos is shown standing regally still beside one of the lively dwarves who served as jesters and companions at the Spanish court. The dwarf’s rattle and apple can be interpreted both as playthings appropriate to the prince’s age and as symbols of the orb and scepter he will someday wield as king of Spain.

    Inscription

    Center right: A E T A T. S A N N[...] / M E N S 4

    Provenance

    Mid-18th century, acquired in Parma by Henry Howard, 4th Earl of Carlisle (b. 1694 - d. 1758), Castle Howard, York, England [see note 1]; by descent within the family until 1900; May 1, 1900, sold by George James Howard, 9th Earl of Carlisle (b. 1843 - d. 1911), Castle Howard, to Messrs. Lawrie and Co., London, for Knoedler and Co., London and Paris (stock no. 2583); October, 1900, shipped to Knoedler and Co., New York (stock no. 9285) [see note 2]; 1901, sold by Knoedler to the MFA for $80,000. (Accession Date: February 2, 1901) NOTES: [1] The provenance was provided by Knoedler at the time of the painting's acquisition. The painting was attributed to Correggio until the 19th century, and was thought to represent the Duke of Parma. It was first recorded at Castle Howard in 1769, according to notes from the Keeper of Textiles at Castle Howard (September, 1983; in the MFA curatorial file). [2] Information about the Knoedler transactions was provided by the Getty Research Institute. Online, see the Getty Provenance Index, M. Knoedler and Co. records, PI record number K-14822 (Stock book 5, no. 9285, p. 28). http://www.getty.edu/research/tools/provenance/

    Credit Line

    Henry Lillie Pierce Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    128.0 x 101.9 cm (50 3/8 x 40 1/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    01.104

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    William I. Koch Gallery (Gallery 250)

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  • Rough Sea

    about 1670
    Jacob Isaacksz. van Ruisdael (Dutch, 1628 or 1629–1682)

    Description

    The sea was an integral part of Dutch life and landscape; a powerful navy and ships that traded as far as Asia and the Americas made this small nation one of the wealthiest in Europe. The exhilarating expanse of space in Ruisdael’s view of the estuary of the river Ij, near Amsterdam, is dominated by a towering sky. Clouds, white-capped waves, and the almost palpable presence of the wind are captured with compelling realism and an eloquent appreciation of the grandeur of nature. This is one of the finest of the rare seascapes by Ruisdael, widely considered the greatest Dutch landscape painter of the seventeenth century.

    Inscription

    Lower left: Ruisdael

    Provenance

    Acquired in Holstein, Germany by Georg Ernst Harzen (b. 1790 - d. 1863), Hamburg. Richard Foster (d. 1830), Clewer Park, Berkshire, England; by descent to Edmund Foster (d. 1863), Clewer Park; by descent to Edmund Benson Foster (b. about 1850), Clewer Park; July 13, 1895, Richard Foster sale, Christie, Manson, and Woods, London, lot 70, to Colnaghi. Until 1906, Alfred Beit (b. 1853 - d. 1906), London; 1906, by inheritance to his brother, Sir Otto John Beit (b. 1865 - d. 1930), London [see note 1]; 1930, probably by inheritance to his widow or his son, Sir Alfred Lane Beit (b. 1903 - d. 1994), London [see note 2]. 1956, H. J. Spiller, London; July 30, 1956, sold by Spiller to Duits, London (stock no. 604) [see note 3]; 1956, sold by Duits to Rudolf J. Heinemann (dealer, b. 1902 - d. 1975), New York [see note 4]; 1957, sold by Heinemann to the MFA for $39,000. (Accession Date: January 10, 1957) NOTES: [1] The painting was in his possession until at least 1929, when he lent it to the Exhibition of Dutch Art, 1450-1900 (London: Royal Academy of Art, 1929), cat. no. 100. [2] Upon Otto Beit's death in 1930, his collection was divided between his widow and his son. See Adrian Le Harivel et al., "The Beit Collection" (Dublin: National Gallery of Ireland, 1988). [3] According to information on file at the Getty Research Institute (Duits Records, Accession No. 860290, boxes 16 and 37), Duits acquired a half-share in the painting at this time. [4] Agnew's, London, purchased a half-share in the painting from Heinemann in October, 1956 and sold it back to him in February, 1957.

    Credit Line

    William Francis Warden Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    107.0 x 125.8 cm (42 1/8 x 49 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    57.4

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Art of the Netherlands in the 17th Century Gallery (Gallery 242)

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  • Apollo and the Muses on Mount Helicon

    1680
    Claude Lorrain (Claude Gellée) (French (active in Rome), 1600–1682)

    Description

    Born in the Lorraine region of France, Claude settled early in Italy and spent most of his life painting the countryside around Rome, with its many associations to the ancient world. This painting, done when he was eighty-two years old, represents Apollo, god of poetry and music, surrounded by the nine Muses, goddesses of the creative arts. At the upper right is the winged horse Pegasus, who has kicked a rock to release the spring that is the source of artistic inspiration. Although most of Claude’s paintings included biblical or classical themes, their true subject was the light, atmosphere, and poetic mood of the natural world.

    Inscription

    Lower center: PARNASS[...]PARN[...]SS [...] CL[...]D[...] (indistinct)

    Provenance

    1680, Prince Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna (b. 1637- d. 1689), Rome (original commission); probably until 1789, by descent within the family; 1789, probably sold by the Colonna family, Rome [see note 1]. Acquired in Rome by Robert Sloane (d. 1802); 1803/1804, imported to England by Sloane's widow; 1804, Sloane sale, Mr. Bryan's Picture Gallery, London, bought in; sold privately to William Buchanan (b. 1777 - d. 1864), London; May 24, 1808, Buchanan sale, Oxenden Street, London, lot 7, bought in [see note 2]. Rev. William Holwell Carr (b. 1758 - d. 1830), London (?) [see note 3]. Walsh Porter (d. 1809), Bath (?); sold or passed by descent to Porter's brother-in-law, William Scrope (b. 1772 - d. 1852), Castle Coombe, Wiltshire; June 10, 1815, Scrope sale, Christie, Manson, and Woods, London, lot 10, withdrawn; April 6, 1816, Scrope sale, Christie, Manson and Woods, lot A92, to Bernard Pinney (for Scrope?) [see note 4]. By 1824, possibly Aynard collection, Paris (?) [see note 5]. May 10, 1827, possibly anonymous sale, George Stanley, London, lot 92 (?) [see note 6]. Edward Gray; by 1854, sold by Gray to Wynn Ellis (b. 1790 - d. 1875), London [see note 7]; June 17, 1876, Ellis estate sale, Christie, Manson and Woods, London, lot 6, to Waters; probably acquired from Waters by William Graham (b. 1817 - d. 1885), Oakdene, near Guildford, Surrey; April 8, 1886, Graham estate sale, Christie, Manson and Woods, London, lot 376, to William Grindlay (d. by 1887), London; April 23, 1887, posthumous Grindlay sale, Christie, Manson, and Woods, London, lot 99. 1889, Thomas Humphry Ward (b. 1845 - d. 1926), London [see note 8]. June 28, 1890, anonymous sale, Christie, Manson, and Woods, lot 95, to Sir William James Farrer (b. 1845 - d. 1906), London; March 23, 1912, posthumous Farrer sale, Christie, Manson and Woods, London, lot 5, to Agnew, London (stock no. 3915); April 29, 1912, sold by Agnew to Trotti et Cie., Paris; 1912, sold by Trotti to the MFA for 180 pounds (British sterling). (Accession Date: October 3, 1912) NOTES: [1] See Marcel Röthlisberger, "Claude Lorrain, The Paintings." (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1961), vol. 1, no. LV 193, pp. 451-454. Röthlisberger identifies the painting in Filippo III Colonna's 1783 inventory (no. 152) and in a Colonna inventory of 1787 (no. 78). [2] Information on the sales was first provided in a letter to the MFA from Burton Fredericksen (September 6, 1988) and can also be accessed online at the Getty Provenance Index (http://piweb.getty.edu): Description of Sale Catalog Br-273; Description of Sale Catalog Br-587. [3] According to Röthlisberger (as above, n. 1), Carr is recorded as the owner in the inscription found on an aquatint of 1812 and he "probably put up [the painting at auction] under the more famous name of Porter" in 1815 and 1816. Curiously, in discussing the history of the Colonna Parnassus imported by Sloane, Buchanan does not mention it among the paintings he sold in 1808, nor those owned by Porter or Carr, who had been his business partner. See his "Memoirs of Painting" (London, 1824), vol. 2, pp. 112-117. [4] The auction catalogue of 1816 includes it among the paintings that had belonged to Walsh Porter, although unlike the others from his collection, it did not appear in his posthumous sales (April 14, 1810, June 21, 1811). There can be no doubt that this is the MFA painting, however, as its description in the Scrope sales of 1815 and 1816 matches that of the MFA work. According to information provided by the Getty Provenance Index (Description of Sale Catalog Br-1376) this painting was bought in and remained with Scrope until his after his death in 1852. This would make its ownership by Aynard by 1824 impossible. [5] Buchanan (as above, n. 3), pp. 117, 389. [6] It is unclear whether this is the painting now at the MFA. The sale catalogue does not describe the painting, except to say that it is known as the 'Colonna Claude' and it 'is too well known to need description'. It can be assumed that this refers to the MFA composition, although several paintings by Claude Lorrain were in the Colonna collection. The catalogue gives the provenance as Rev. Holwell Carr, Mr. Walsh Porter, and Lord Kinnaird. It has not been indicated elsewhere that the MFA painting was owned by Kinnaird. [7] Gustav Friedrich Waagen, "Treasures of Art of Great Britain," vol. 2 (London, 1854), p. 294, no. 3. [8] According to Rothlisberger (as above, n. 1) he lent the painting to an exhibition at Whitechapel, St. Jude's, 1889, no. 97.

    Credit Line

    Picture Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    99.7 x 136.5 cm (39 1/4 x 53 3/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    12.1050

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    William I. Koch Gallery (Gallery 250)

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  • Bacino di San Marco, Venice

    about 1738
    Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal) (Italian (Venetian), 1697–1768)

    Description

    Affluent eighteenth-century visitors to the enchanting city of Venice delighted in taking home painted topographical views known as vedute. Canaletto, one of the foremost vedute painters, here animates the entrance to Venice with cargo boats and gondolas that lead the eye back to precisely rendered buildings along the shore. Clearly identifiable are the gothic intricacies of the Doge’s palace at left and the church of San Giorgio Maggiore at right. Light from the cloudy sky, dappling the water with shadow, gives the view grandeur and unity.

    Provenance

    About 1738/1739, possibly Henry Howard (b. 1694 - d. 1758), 4th Earl of Carlisle, Castle Howard, North Yorkshire, England (original commission), or in 1768, acquired in Italy by Frederick Howard (b. 1748 - d. 1825), 5th Earl of Carlisle [see note 1]; by descent within the family to the Hon. Geoffrey William Algernon Howard (b. 1877 - d. 1935), Castle Howard [see note 2]; 1939, sold by the Trustees of the late Hon. Geoffrey Howard through Spink and Son, Ltd., London, to the MFA for $11,731.25. (Accession Date: September 8, 1939) NOTES: [1] Exactly when and how the painting entered the Carlisle collection is unclear. The bulk of the art collection at Castle Howard was acquired by Frederick, 5th Earl of Carlisle, who traveled to Italy in 1768. However, at least some of the paintings by Canaletto may have been acquired by his father, as several unspecified views of Venice by the artist were recorded at the Castle in 1745. The 4th Earl of Carlisle arrived in Venice on his Grand Tour in November, 1738, and he may have commissioned the paintings at that time. This hypothesis is supported by details of the painting's topography, which suggest that it was executed about 1738/1739, that is, when the cupola of the church of S. Antonin was in its final phase of construction. To the right of San Zaccaria one can see the church with scaffolding still on the steeple, and the cupola near completion. On Canaletto paintings in the Howard collection, see W. G. Constable, "Canaletto", 2d ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989), vol. 2, pp. 203 and 250, cat. no. 131. On the representation of S. Antonin and the dating of the painting to the late 1730s, see Alessandro Bettagno, "In margine a una mostra," Notizie da Palazzo Albani XII, nos. 1-2 (1983), pp. 227-228, supported by Katharine Baetjer and J. G. Links, "Canaletto" (New York, 1989), pp. 192-196, cat. no. 51. The suggestion that the 4th Earl of Carlisle commissioned the views of Venice from Canaletto in 1738/1739 was made by Charles Beddington (correspondence to the MFA, February 23, 2005). [2] There may have been as many as sixteen paintings by Canaletto in the Castle Howard collection by the early twentieth century. This painting has been identified by Constable (as above, n. 1) as the composition singled out from the collection in 1854 by G. F. Waagen: "Large View of Venice. In every respect one of the best works of this master." See Waagen, Treasures of Art in Great Britain, vol. 3 (London, 1854), p. 323, no. 64. It may also be the "General View of the Harbour in Venice. One of the best works of the master" recorded there in 1851; see Henry Ibbotson, The Visitor's Guide to Castle Howard, pt. 1 (Ganthorpe, 1851), p. 17.

    Credit Line

    Abbott Lawrence Fund, Seth K. Sweetser Fund, and Charles Edward French Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    124.5 x 204.5 cm (49 x 80 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    39.290

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Ruth and Carl J. Shapiro Gallery (Gallery 246)

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  • Picture Gallery with Views of Modern Rome

    1757
    Giovanni Paolo Pannini (Italian (Roman), 1691–1765)

    Description

    This extravagant souvenir was one of four similar paintings commissioned by the Duc de Choiseul to commemorate his stay in Rome as the French ambassador to the Vatican. Pannini, who became the most celebrated view painter in Rome, had been trained in a school of stage designers in Bologna. He depicted the duke seated in the center of a fantastic art gallery, surrounded by sculptures by Michelangelo and Bernini. Around him hang Pannini’s meticulously detailed views of Roman buildings, fountains, and monuments of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, including Saint Peter’s Square, the Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps.

    Inscription

    Lower left, on face of block of stone, I. P A U L P A NINI. R O M A E; on edgeof stone: 1757

    Provenance

    1757, Etienne François, Duc de Choiseul (b. 1719 - d. 1785), Paris (original commission) [see note 1]; 1792, sold by the Duc de Choiseul to Jacques-Donatien Le Ray (b. 1726 - d. 1803), Chaumont; by descent to his son, James Le Ray (b. 1760 - d. 1840), Chaumont and Otsego County, NY; by descent to his son-in-law, the Marquis de Gouvello; sold by Gouvello to William J. Davis; 1834, sold by Davis to the Boston Athenaeum [see note 2]; 1975, sold by the Boston Athenaeum to the MFA. (Accession Date: March 10, 1976) NOTES: [1] Information about the provenance of this painting is taken from Ferdinando Arisi, Gian Paolo Panini (Piacenza, 1961), pp. 211-212. [2] See "The Descriptive Catalogue of the Four Magnificent Paintings of the Most Interesting Monuments of Ancient and Modern Rome" (exh. cat. Boston Athenaeum, 1834) and Mabel Munson Swan, The Athenaeum Gallery, 1827-1873 (Boston, 1940), pp. 124-125. The picture was first lent to the MFA in 1876.

    Credit Line

    Charles Potter Kling Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    170.2 x 244.5 cm (67 x 96 1/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    1975.805

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Ruth and Carl J. Shapiro Gallery (Gallery 246)

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  • Halt at the Spring

    1765
    François Boucher (French, 1703–1770)

    Description

    Boucher was the most fashionable and influential French artist of the eighteenth century. He painted major decorative ensembles, portraits, landscapes, and mythological scenes, and also designed tapestries, opera sets, porcelains, and book illustrations. Halt at the Spring was originally a smaller religious painting portraying the Rest on the Flight into Egypt, with Mary, Joseph, and the Christ Child at the left. Between 1761 and 1765, the painting was enlarged (the strips of added canvas are visible at the top and sides) and reworked into a picturesque fantasy of peasant life.

    Signed

    Center right, on pedestal of vase: FBoucher / 1765 (F and B joined)

    Provenance

    By 1769, Pierre-Jacques-Onésyme Bergeret de Grancourt (b. 1715 - d. 1785), Paris [see note 1]; April 24, 1786, posthumous Bergeret de Grancourt sale, Hôtel de Bergeret, Paris, lot 47, not sold. December 21-22, 1846, anonymous sale, Beurdley, Paris, lot 1. 1846/1848, probably acquired in Paris by Edward Preble Deacon (b. 1813 - d. 1851) and his wife, Sarahann Parker Deacon (b. 1821 - d. 1900), Boston [see note 2]; 1861, to Mrs. Deacon's father, Peter Parker (b. 1785 - d. 1870), Boston [see note 3]; February 1-3, 1871, Deacon House sale, Leonard and Co., Boston (unnumbered catalogue), sold to Franklin for the heirs of Peter Parker; 1871, gift of the heirs of Peter Parker to the MFA. (Accession Date: March 10, 1871) NOTES: [1] This painting was exhibited at the Salon of 1761, though the owner at the time is not known. This painting was subsequently reworked and enlarged; Boucher signed and dated it 1765. It was exhibited with its pendant (MFA accession no. 71.3) at the Salon of 1769, when Bergeret de Grancourt was recorded as the owner of both works. See Eric M. Zafran, "French Paintings in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston," vol. 1 (Boston, 1998), cat. nos. 42-43, pp. 107-112. [2] It is possible that the Deacons purchased the two Boucher paintings at the December 21 auction in Paris. They are known to have made two trips to Paris, in 1846-47 and in 1848, to acquire furnishings for their home. See Zafran (as above, n. 1), p. 112. [3] Mr. Deacon died in 1851 and his widow and children went abroad in 1861, at which time the ownership of their home, known as Deacon House, passed to her father. See Zafran (as above, n. 2).

    Credit Line

    Gift of the heirs of Peter Parker

    Details

    Dimensions

    208.6 x 289.9 cm (82 1/8 x 114 1/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    71.2

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Ann and William Elfers Gallery (Gallery 245)

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  • Still Life with Melon and Pears

    about 1772
    Luis Meléndez (Spanish, 1716–1780)

    Description

    Meléndez favored arrangements of everyday objects painted with sober yet sensuous realism. He savored shapes, surfaces, and colors—from the webbed rind of the melon to the glint of a wine bottle cooling in a cork bucket—and despite the profusion of objects, his paintings convey a satisfying sense of balance and measure. This still life may be from a series of forty-five, said to represent “every species of food produced in Spain,” that Meléndez created for the king’s summer residence outside Madrid. Ironically, many were painted at a time when poor harvests had produced severe food shortages. The artist himself had no money to buy food, claiming that his brush was his only asset.

    Inscription

    Lower right, on edge of table: EG L M D. S. P.

    Provenance

    R.F. Ratcliff, England [see note 1]. Possibly Mrs. Olga Bode Matthiesen [see note 2]. By 1938, Matthiesen Ltd., London; 1939, sold by Matthiesen to the MFA for $300. (Accession Date: February 9, 1939) NOTES: [1] Eleanor Tufts, "Luis Meléndez: Eighteenth-Century master of the Spanish Still Life with a Catalogue Raisonné (Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 1985), 92-93, cat. no. 59. [2] According to information provided by the Matthiesen Gallery (December 1, 2005).

    Credit Line

    Margaret Curry Wyman Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    63.8 x 85.1 cm (25 1/8 x 33 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    39.41

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    European Painting Gallery (Gallery 249)

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  • Grotto by the Seaside in the Kingdom of Naples with Banditti, Sunset

    1778
    Joseph Wright of Derby (English, 1734–1797)

    Description

    Wright was an inventive and talented artist who painted portraits, landscapes, and unusual images of contemporary life. He spent most of his career in his native Derby in England, but a trip to Italy in 1773–75 provided much material for his art. He witnessed an eruption of Mount Vesuvius and sketched the grottoes off the coast of Salerno, near Naples; both subjects became favorites for his later work. A group of melancholy bandits adds a picturesque note to this composition, one of Wright’s most important grotto paintings. With its hazy atmosphere and soft, golden light, the landscape is at once poetic and realistic.

    Provenance

    1780, sold by the artist to Josiah Cockshutt (b. 1737 - d. 1801), Chaddesden, Derbyshire [see note 1]; by descent from Cockshutt to his grandson, Cockshutt Heathcote (b. 1793 - d. 1885), Derbyshire; 1840, from Heathcote to Godfrey Meynell, Meynell Langley, Derbyshire [see note 2]; until 1986, by descent within the Meynell family; July 9, 1986, anonymous (Meynell) sale, Sotheby's, London, lot 82, to Thomas Agnew and Sons, Ltd.; 1990, sold by Agnew to the MFA. (Accession Date: February 28, 1990) NOTES: [1] See Benedict Nicolson, "Joseph Wright of Derby: Painter of Light" (New Haven and London, 1968), vol. 1, cat. no. 277. Wright sent Cockshutt a bill on August 29, 1780, for this painting and two others, "A Cavern with the Figure of Julia," and "Virgil's Tomb." [2] The painting was accepted in lieu of payment for a debt owed to Meynell; see Nicolson (as above, n. 1) and Judy Egerton, "Wright of Derby" (exh. cat. Tate Gallery, London, 1990), p. 162, cat. no. 99.

    Credit Line

    Charles H. Bayley Picture and Painting Fund and other Funds, by exchange

    Details

    Dimensions

    121.9 x 172.7 cm (48 x 68 in.)

    Accession Number

    1990.95

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Ruth and Carl J. Shapiro Gallery (Gallery 246)

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  • Stour Valley and Dedham Church

    about 1815
    John Constable (English, 1776–1837)

    Description

    Constable’s varied brushstrokes capture the light and weather of the English landscape, the textures of earth and foliage. He was the son of a miller, and his images of his native Suffolk often record the activities of the agricultural year. This down-to-earth scene shows manure being taken from a dung heap to be spread over the fields after harvest. The painting was commissioned as a wedding present for a bride who, like Constable, had grown up in this area.

    Provenance

    1815, Thomas Fitzhugh (b. 1770 - d. 1856), Old Hall, East Bergholt, Suffolk, England, for his wife, Philadelphia Godfrey Fitzhugh (d. 1869) (original commission) [see note 1]. About 1880/1900, James McLean [see note 2]; by descent to his daughter, Alice T. McLean; sold by Alice McLean to John Mitchell, New York; 1948, sold by Mitchell to the MFA for $16,250. (Accession Date: March 11, 1948) NOTES: [1] See R. B. Beckett, "A Constable of 1814-15," Burlington Magazine, January 1956, p. 18. On October 25, 1814, Constable wrote in a letter to his future wife, Maria Bicknell: "I have almost done a picture of 'The Valley' for Mr. Fitzhugh (a present for Miss G to contemplate in London)...." Philadelphia Godfrey married Thomas Fitzhugh on November 11, 1814. On June 30, 1815, Constable wrote again to Miss Bicknell, "I am now going to send home Mrs. Fitzhugh's picture of Dedham." [2] According to John Mitchell, in a letter to to W.G. Constable of the MFA (February 17, 1948), James McClean purchased the painting "fifty to sixty-five years ago" in England.

    Credit Line

    Warren Collection—William Wilkins Warren Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    55.6 x 77.8 cm (21 7/8 x 30 5/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    48.266

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

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  • Slave Ship (Slavers Throwing Overboard the Dead and Dying, Typhoon Coming On)

    1840
    Joseph Mallord William Turner (English, 1775–1851)

    Description

    When Turner exhibited this picture at the Royal Academy in 1840 he paired it with the following extract from his unfinished and unpublished poem “Fallacies of Hope” (1812): “Aloft all hands, strike the top-masts and belay; Yon angry setting sun and fierce-edged clouds Declare the Typhon’s coming. Before it sweeps your decks, throw overboard The dead and dying - ne’er heed their chains Hope, Hope, fallacious Hope! Where is thy market now?” For the full text of Turner’s verse see A. J. Finberg, The Life of J.M.W. Turner, R.A., 2nd ed., 1961, p. 474


    One of Turner’s most celebrated works, Slave Ship is a striking example of the artist’s fascination with violence, both human and elemental. The painting was based on a poem that described a slave ship caught in a typhoon, and on the true story of the slave ship Zong whose captain, in 1781, had thrown overboard sick and dying slaves so that he could collect insurance money available only for slaves “lost at sea.” Turner captures the horror of the event and terrifying grandeur of nature through hot, churning color and light that merge sea and sky. The critic John Ruskin, the first owner of Slave Ship, wrote, “If I were reduced to rest Turner’s immortality upon any single work, I should choose this.”

    Provenance

    Consigned by the artist to his dealer, Thomas Griffith (b. 1795); December, 1843, sold by Griffith to John James Ruskin (b. 1785 - d. 1864), London, for his son, John Ruskin (b. 1819 - d. 1900) [see note 1]; April 15, 1869, Ruskin sale, Christie's, London, lot 50, unsold; 1872, sold by Ruskin, through William T. Blodgett (b. about 1832 - d. 1875), New York, to John Taylor Johnston (b. 1820 - d. 1893), New York [see note 2]; December 19-22, 1876, Johnston sale, American Art Association, New York, lot 76, to Alice Sturgis Hooper (b. 1841 - d. 1879), Boston [see note 3]; by descent to her nephew, William Sturgis Hooper Lothrop, Boston; 1899, sold by William Lothrop to the MFA for $65,000. (Accession Date: February 24, 1899) NOTES: [1] See Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, "The Paintings of J. M. W. Turner" (New Haven and London, 1984), text vol., pp. 236-237, cat. no. 385 and John Gage, ed., "Collected Correspondence of J. M. W. Turner" (Oxford, 1980), 282-283. [2] See Madeleine Fidell Beaufort and Jeanne K. Welcher, "Some Views of Art Buying in New York in the 1870s and 1880s," Oxford Art Journal 5, no. 1 (1982): 51. [3] For further on Alice Sturgis Hooper, her brother-in-law, Thornton K. Lothrop, and his son, William, see Andrew Walker, "From Private Sermon to Public Masterpiece: J. M. W. Turner's _The Slave Ship_ in Boston, 1876 - 1899," Journal of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 6 (1994): 4-13.

    Credit Line

    Henry Lillie Pierce Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    90.8 x 122.6 cm (35 3/4 x 48 1/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    99.22

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    The Beal Gallery (Gallery 251)

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  • Forest of Fontainebleau

    1846
    Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (French, 1796–1875)

    Description

    Corot based this painting on sketches made in the Forest of Fontainebleau, just south of Paris, where he had worked since the 1820s. The artist reworked his sketches into a carefully structured composition, with the horizontals of foreground and background balanced by the verticals of trees, and the cows positioned to mark recession into space. Nevertheless, the acceptance of this work for the Salon of 1846 was a landmark event in the history of French landscape painting, for it depicts an ordinary, easily recognized local site without the “justification” of a noble human subject.

    Inscription

    Lower left: COROT

    Provenance

    February 5-6, 1872, contributed by the artist to the Auguste Anastasi sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris [see note 1], lot 26, sold to Alfred Robaut (b. 1830 - d. 1909), Paris [see note 2]; 1878, still with Robaut [see note 3]; possibly sold by Robaut to Louis Latouche; sold by Latouche to Ferdinand Barbédienne (b. 1810 - d. 1892), Paris [see note 4]; 1881, sold by Barbédienne to Thomas Robinson for Seth Morton Vose (b. 1831 - d. 1910) [see note 5]; by 1884, sold by Vose to Beriah Wall, Providence, RI [see note 6]; March 30 - April 1, 1886, Wall sale, American Art Galleries, New York, lot 263, to Seth Morton Vose for Susan Cornelia Clarke (Mrs. Samuel Dennis) Warren (b. 1825 - d. 1901), Boston; 1890, gift of Mrs. Samuel Dennis Warren to the MFA. (Accession Date: December 2, 1890) NOTES: [1] Several artists contributed works of art to this auction to raise money for the painter Auguste Anastasi (b. 1820 - d. 1889), who had become blind. [2] Alfred Robaut, "L'oeuvre de Corot, catalogue raisonné et illustré" (Paris, 1905), cat. no. 502. [3] He lent the painting to Durand-Ruel in 1878; see Robaut (as above, n. 2). [4] Louis Latouche's part in these transactions was suggested by Robert Vose in a letter to Charles Cunningham of the MFA (November 9, 1937; in MFA curatorial file); also see Achille Oudinot's comments in the "Catalogue of the Private Collections of Modern Paintings belonging to Mr. Beriah Wall and John A. Brown," American Art Galleries, March 30 - April 1, 1886, p. 93. [5] See "Catalogue of the Private Collections of ... Beriah Wall and John A. Brown" (as above, n. 4), p. 93 and the letter from Robert Vose (as above, n. 4). Vose had the painting imported to the United States. The date of the sale is recorded in notes in the MFA curatorial file. [6] It was in his possession by 1884; see the "Illustrated Catalogue of the Art Collection of Beriah Wall, Providence, R. I." (Providence, 1884), cat. no. 27.

    Credit Line

    Gift of Mrs. Samuel Dennis Warren

    Details

    Dimensions

    90.2 x 128.8 cm (35 1/2 x 50 3/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    90.199

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

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  • The Sower

    1850
    Jean-François Millet (French, 1814–1875)

    Description

    Jean-François Millet was the artist that van Gogh most revered. Although he never saw Millet’s famous Sower - already in a Boston collection before he was born - van Gogh admired Millet’s other treatments of the theme, and sought to emulate them. At the very beginning of his career, he wrote that “I must draw diggers, sowers, men & women at the plough, without cease… I no longer stand as helpless before nature as I used to do.”

    Inscription

    Lower left: J. F. Millet

    Provenance

    About 1851/1852, sold by the artist to William Morris Hunt (b. 1824 - d. 1879), Boston [see note 1]; 1874, sold by Hunt through Doll and Richards, Boston, to Quincy Adams Shaw (b. 1825 - d. 1908), Boston; 1917, gift of Quincy Adams Shaw through Quincy Adams Shaw, Jr. and Mrs. Marian Shaw Haughton, to the MFA. (Accession Date: March 29, 1917) NOTES: [1] Alexandra R. Murphy, "Jean-François Millet" (Boston: MFA, 1984), pp. 31-34, cat. no. 18.

    Credit Line

    Gift of Quincy Adams Shaw through Quincy Adams Shaw, Jr., and Mrs. Marian Shaw Haughton

    Details

    Catalogue Raisonné

    Murphy 18

    Dimensions

    101.6 x 82.6 cm (40 x 32 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    17.1485

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    The Beal Gallery (Gallery 251)

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  • The Quarry (La Curée)

    1856
    Gustave Courbet (French, 1819–1877)

    Description

    Courbet was the self-styled leader of the Realist movement in French art. Most of his paintings of modern life were condemned as offensively ordinary, but The Quarry was well received when it was exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1857. Probably set in the Jura Mountains along the French-Swiss border, the painting features the artist himself, posed as a huntsman. Courbet enlarged the original canvas as he worked, adding one piece across the top above the hunter’s head and others to include the horn blower and the dogs. In 1866 when he learned that The Quarry had been purchased by a group of young Boston artists, Courbet exclaimed: “What care I for the Salon, what care I for honors, when the art students of a new and great country know and appreciate and buy my works?”

    Inscription

    Lower right: G. Courbet

    Provenance

    1858, sold by the artist to van Isacker, Antwerp, for 8,000 francs; 1862, exchanged by van Isacker with the Galerie Cadart et Luquet, Paris [see note 1]; April, 1866, brought to the United States by Cadart et Luquet and sold to the Allston Club, Boston, for 25,000 francs ($5000) [see note 2]; about 1873, upon the dissolution of the Allston Club, passed to Henry Sayles (b. 1834 - d. 1918), Boston; 1918, by inheritance to his nephew, George Tappan Francis, Boston and Needham, MA; 1918, sold by George Tappan Francis to the MFA for $75,000. (Accession Date: September 12, 1918) NOTES: [1] See René Brunesoeur, Museum Contemporain: Biographies. Gustave Courbet (Paris, 1867), p. 22 and Robert Fernier, "En Voyage avec Courbet," Les Amis de Gustave Courbet 1966, p. 43. Citing Fernier, Bruce K. MacDonald suggested that the artist "probably transferred the painting" to him in 1858; see his "The Quarry by Gustave Courbet," MFA Bulletin 67, no. 348 (1969): 52. Van Isacker exhibited the painting in 1860; see "Catalogue de Tableaux Tirés de Collections d'Amateurs" (26 Boulevard des Italiens, Paris, 1860), cat. no. 125 (measuring 160 x 175 cm.). Courbet enlarged the painting in 1862 at the insistence of the dealer Luquet. [2] On the sale of the painting to the Allston Club, see "Boston Painters and Paintings," The Atlantic Monthly 62 (October, 1888): 503-504 and Martha A. S. Shannon, "Boston Days of William Morris Hunt" (Boston, 1923), pp. 87-88. The Allston Club exhibited the painting in 1866 ("First Exhibition," cat. no. 1) and 1867 ("Second Annual Exhibition," cat. no. 1), and lent it to the Boston Athenaeum between 1869 and 1872.

    Credit Line

    Henry Lillie Pierce Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    210.2 x 183.5 cm (82 3/4 x 72 1/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    18.620

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    The Beal Gallery (Gallery 251)

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  • Bocca Baciata (Lips That Have Been Kissed)

    English
    1859
    Dante Gabriel Rossetti (English, 1828–1882)

    Description

    Rossetti here depicts his mistress, Fanny Cornforth, gazing at the viewer or perhaps at her own reflection in a mirror. The sensual sitter represents an idealized beauty, while the artist’s use of luxurious decorative elements invites sheer visual enjoyment. Inscribed on the back of this panel is a line from a sonnet by the fourteenth-century Italian writer Giovanni Boccaccio: “Bocca baciate non perda ventura, anzi rinova come fa la luna” (The mouth that has been kissed loses not its freshness; still it renews itself even as does the moon).

    Inscription

    Lower left: G C D R (monogram); Reverse: Bocca Baciata no perde ventura, anzi rinnova come fa la / Boccaccio

    Provenance

    1859, commissioned by George Price Boyce (b. 1826 - d. 1897), Chelsea, England [see note 1]; July 2, 1897, posthumous Boyce sale, Christie, Manson and Woods, London, lot 211, to Dunthorne [see note 2]. 1897, Agnew, London, and Charles Fairfax Murray (b. 1849 - d. 1919), London [see note 3]; 1897, ownership passed fully to Murray; 1906, sold by Murray to Mary Pratt (Mrs. Edward D.) Brandegee (b. 1871 - d. 1956), Brookline; by descent to her daughter, Martina Brandegee Lawrence (b. 1906 - d. 1959), Brookline; by inheritance to her husband, James Lawrence (b. 1907 - d. 1995), Brookline; 1980, gift of James Lawrence to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 18, 1980) NOTES: [1] Boyce, an architect, painter, and founding member of the Pre-Raphaelite society, was also a close friend and patron of Rossetti. He commissioned this painting from Rossetti on July 23, 1859 and it was completed on October 13. He lent it to the "Exhibition of Old Masters," Royal Academy, London, 1883, cat. no. 309. [2] The name of the buyer is recorded by Algernon Graves, "Art Sales," vol. 3 (London, 1921), p. 104. He may have been an agent for Agnew or Murray. [3] Charles Fairfax Murray was a partner with Agnew and purchased paintings for the firm. According to Barbara Bryant, in "The Age of Rossetti, Burne-Jones, & Watts: Symbolism in Britain, 1860-1910" (exh. cat., Tate Gallery, London 1997), p. 96, cat. no. 2, the painting was owned jointly by Agnew and Murray until 1897, and Murray sold it to Mrs. Brandegee in 1906.

    Credit Line

    Gift of James Lawrence

    Details

    Dimensions

    32.1 x 27.0 cm (12 5/8 x 10 5/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    1980.261

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on panel

    Not On View

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  • Street Singer

    about 1862
    Edouard Manet (French, 1832–1883)

    Description

    Manet was inspired by the sight of a woman with a guitar emerging from a sleazy café. She refused to pose for the picture, so Manet employed his favorite model of the 1860s, Victorine Meurent. The style and subject matter seemed crude to academic critics when the painting was exhibited in 1863. But Manet’s friend, the novelist and critic Emile Zola, admired its formal beauties and its apparent confrontation with real life.

    Inscription

    Lower left: ed. Manet

    Provenance

    1872, sold by the artist to Durand-Ruel, Paris; 1872, sold by Durand-Ruel to Ernest Hoschedé (b. 1837 - d. 1891), Paris [see note 1]; June 5-6, 1878, Hoschedé sale, Hotel Drouot, Paris, lot 42, to Jean-Baptiste Faure (b. 1830 - d. 1914), Paris; about 1895, sold by Faure to Durand-Ruel, Paris [see note 2]; about 1899, sold by Durand-Ruel to Sarah Choate Sears (b. 1860 - d. 1935), Boston [see note 3]; 1935, by descent to her daughter, Helen Sears (Mrs. J. D. Cameron) Bradley (b. 1889 - d. 1966), Boston; 1966, bequest of Sarah Choate Sears to the MFA. (Accession Date: May 19, 1966) NOTES: [1] Ernest Hoschedé, a Parisian department store magnate, was a friend and important patron of many of the Impressionists. His sale in 1878 was the result of bankruptcy. For the results of this sale, see Merete Bodelsen, "Early Impressionist Sales 1874-94 in the light of some unpublished 'procès verbaux,'" Burlington Magazine vol. 110, no. 783 (June, 1968), pp. 339-40. [2] Lionello Venturi, "Archives de l'Impressionisme: Lettres de Renoir, Monet, Pissaro, Sisley et autres. Mémoires de Paul Durand-Ruel. Documents" (Paris and New York, 1939), vol. 2, p. 191. [3] Paul Durand-Ruel recommended the painting to the Havemeyer family on February 3, 1899; they did not acquire it, and Mrs. Sears purchased it thereafter. See Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen et al., Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection (New York, 1993), p. 225.

    Credit Line

    Bequest of Sarah Choate Sears in memory of her husband, Joshua Montgomery Sears

    Details

    Dimensions

    171.1 x 105.8 cm (67 3/8 x 41 5/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    66.304

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

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  • Edmondo and Thérèse Morbilli

    about 1865
    Edgar Degas (French, 1834–1917)

    Description

    In 1863 Degas’s sister Thérèse married her first cousin Edmondo Morbilli, who lived in Naples. This majestic portrait was probably painted in 1865 during the couple’s visit to Paris after the loss of a child expected in early 1864. Thérèse sits, literally and figuratively, in the shadow of her husband, and Degas contrasted her worried expression with Edmondo’s attitude of self-assurance. The artist set off the subtle grays and blacks of their clothing against the simple, ocher-and-gray drapery behind them and the richly embroidered Islamic textile on the table, which recalls portraits from the Italian Renaissance.

    Provenance

    Until 1917, with the artist; 1917/1918, to his brother, René de Gas (b. 1845 - d. 1926), Paris [see note 1]; November 10, 1927, posthumous René de Gas sale, Hotel Drouot, Paris, lot 71, to Galerie Georges Petit, Paris. 1930, Wildenstein and Co., New York; 1930, sold by Wildenstein to Robert Treat Paine, 2nd (b. 1861 - d. 1943), Boston [see note 2]; 1931, gift of Robert Treat Paine, 2nd, to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 15, 1931) NOTES: [1] Degas did not sell his family portraits but kept them in his studio until his death in 1917. His brother, René de Gas, removed this and other portraits prior to the sales of the studio contents, which took place in 1918. [2] In the brief article "Paine Lends Degas to Boston Museum," Art News 28 (August 16, 1930), p. 4, it is noted that "the painting was purchased a few weeks ago, from the Wildenstein Galleries by Mr. Paine."

    Credit Line

    Gift of Robert Treat Paine, 2nd

    Details

    Dimensions

    116.5 x 88.3 cm (45 7/8 x 34 3/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    31.33

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Out on Loan

    On display at National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia, June 24, 2016 – September 18, 2016

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  • Execution of the Emperor Maximilian

    1867
    Edouard Manet (French, 1832–1883)

    Description

    In 1867, Maximilian, emperor of Mexico, was executed with two of his generals by order of the opposing leader, Benito Juárez. The Parisian press reacted with horror against the rebel troops in Mexico and against Napoleon III in France; Napoleon had installed the Austrian Maximilian on the Mexican throne in 1864, but later withdrew support for his regime. Breaking with tradition, Manet represented the contemporary event on the grand scale usually reserved for scenes from ancient history or myth. This unfinished canvas is the first of several versions.

    Provenance

    1883, probably passed by descent from the artist to his widow, Suzanne Leenhoff Manet (b. 1830 - d. 1906), Asnières, France [see note 1]; given by Mme. Manet to her son, Léon Koëlla Leenhoff (b. 1852 - d. 1927), Paris [see note 2]; 1899, sold by Mr. Koëlla Leenhoff to Ambroise Vollard (b. 1867 - d. 1939), Paris; July 1, 1909, sold by Vollard to Frank Gair Macomber (b. 1849 - d. 1941), Boston [see note 3]; 1930, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Gair Macomber to the MFA. (Accession Date: May 1, 1930) NOTES: [1] The provenance given here (to 1899) is provided by Adolphe Tabarant, "Manet et ses oeuvres" (Paris, 1947), p. 176. [2] Manet married Suzanne Leenhoff in 1863. Her illegitimate son, Léon, born in 1852, was almost certainly Manet's child. He inherited Manet's estate after his mother's death. [3] The sale to Macomber is recorded in Vollard's stock book on July 1, 1909; it was shipped to Boston on September 16, 1909 (Bibliothèque des Musées Nationaux, Fonds Vollard, MS 421 [5,4] f. 134 and MS 421 [4,13] f. 19). Additionally, in a letter from Vollard to Macomber (September 11, 1909), the dealer discusses the latter's payment for the "sketch of the Execution of Maximilian, which you purchased from me." According to notes in the MFA object file (about 1939, taken by Charles C. Cunningham), Mr. Macomber said that he purchased the painting in Paris upon the advice of the painter Mary Cassatt, after she had taken him to see it at "Kelekian's shop." Whether Kelekian played a role in the transaction has not been determined. Correspondence between the MFA and Vollard, dating to September and October 1909, indicates that Vollard had been responsible for the sale and shipment of the painting.

    Credit Line

    Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Gair Macomber

    Details

    Dimensions

    195.9 x 259.7 cm (77 1/8 x 102 1/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    30.444

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    The Beal Gallery (Gallery 251)

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  • Automedon with the Horses of Achilles

    1868
    Henri Regnault (French, 1843–1871)

    Description

    Regnault’s painting illustrates a story from Homer’s Iliad. Automedon, chariot driver for the Greek warrior Achilles, restrains the horses Xanthos (behind) and Balios, two beasts who could predict the future. As Regnault wrote, “the horses, aware that their master [Achilles] is taking them into combat, and that this combat will be the last and will cost him his life, struggle and wrest with the groom who has come to take them from their pasture. One of them, chestnut brown, rises like a great dark phantom, outlining himself against the sky. I wanted to give the picture a foretaste of disaster.”

    Inscription

    Lower left: H. Regnault / Rome. / 1868

    Provenance

    By 1872, acquired in France by Levi Parsons Morton (b. 1824 - d. 1920), New York [see note 1]; March 1, 1882, Morton sale, George A. Leavitt and Co., New York, lot 157, to Samuel A. Coale, St. Louis, MO [see note 2]; 1890, sold by Coale to the MFA for $1000. (Accession Date: June 17, 1890) NOTES: [1] The painting was executed in Rome in 1867/1868 and sent by the artist to Paris. Notes in the curatorial file indicate that Morton acquired it in France, where he served as U.S. Minister, though how and when is not known. It was first published as being in his possession by Henri Cazalès, "Henri Regnault: sa vie et son oeuvre" (Paris, 1872), p. 141. [2] In 1883, Coale exhibited the painting at William and Everett Gallery, Boston. It was on loan to the MFA from 1884 until 1890, during which time funds were raised for its purchase. See Walter Muir Whitehill, "Museum of Fine Arts Boston: A Centennial History" (Cambridge, MA, 1970), vol. 1, pp. 78–81.

    Credit Line

    Museum purchase with funds donated by contribution

    Details

    Dimensions

    315 x 329 cm (124 x 129 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    90.152

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    The Beal Gallery (Gallery 251)

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  • At the Races in the Countryside

    1869
    Edgar Degas (French, 1834–1917)

    Description

    This painting was one of the first works that Degas sold (in 1872) to Paul Durand-Ruel, the dealer who became the early champion of the Impressionists. It is not only a landscape but also a scene from everyday life and - most of all - a family portrait. The driver of the carriage is Degas’s friend Paul Valpinçon, who is shown with his wife, a wet nurse, and in the nurse’s lap, the couple’s son, Henri.
    With its subtly ironic title - the races play a minor role in the composition - the painting was among the artist’s contributions to the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874.

    Inscription

    Lower left: Degas

    Provenance

    September 17, 1872, sold by the artist to Durand-Ruel, Paris (stock no. 1910) [see note 1]; October 12, 1872, sent to Durand-Ruel, London; April 25, 1873, sold by Durand-Ruel through Charles Deschamps, Paris, to Jean-Baptiste Faure (b. 1830 -d. 1914), Paris; January 2, 1893, sold by Faure to Durand-Ruel, Paris (stock no. 2566); March 29, 1918, deposited with the Durand-Ruel family, Les Balans; December 20, 1926, sold by Durand-Ruel, New York to the MFA for $30,000. (Accession Date: December 20, 1926) NOTES: [1] The provenance given here is taken from Jean Sutherland Boggs, "Degas at the Races" (exh. cat. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1998), p. 248, cat. no. 38.

    Credit Line

    1931 Purchase Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    36.5 x 55.9 cm (14 3/8 x 22 in.)

    Accession Number

    26.790

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

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  • L'Eminence Grise

    1873
    Jean-Léon Gérôme (French, 1824–1904)

    Description

    Gérôme’s art epitomized the officially sanctioned, academic style against which the Impressionists rebelled. His paintings, with their imperceptible brushwork, meticulous detail, and brilliant effects of color and light, commanded huge prices in both France and America. L’Eminence Grise recreates the palace of Cardinal Richelieu, the “Red Cardinal,” virtual ruler of France during the childhood of Louis XIII. Descending the staircase is Richelieu’s chief adviser, François Le Clerc du Trembly, a Capuchin friar known as L’Eminence grise (the Gray Cardinal), a term that has come to mean “the power behind the throne.”

    Inscription

    Lower right: J.L. GEROME

    Provenance

    May, 1873, sold by the artist to Goupil et Cie., Paris (stock no. 8120); June 4, 1873, sold by Goupil to James H. Stebbins, New York [see note 1]; February 12, 1889, Stebbins sale, American Art Association, New York, lot 76, to M. B. Mason, Boston for Susan Cornelia Clarke (Mrs. Samuel Dennis) Warren (b. 1825 - d. 1901), Boston [see note 2]; January 8, 1903, Mrs. S. D. Warren sale, American Art Association, New York, lot 113, to Samuel Putnam Avery, New York, for the MFA for $16,000. (Accession Date: January 13, 1903) NOTES: [1] Almost certainly sold by the artist, who was the son-in-law of dealer Adolphe Goupil. As "Le Père Joseph," Getty Provenance Index, Goupil et Cie. records, PI record no. G-10411 (stock book 6, no. 8120, p. 208). Also see PI record no. G-5867 (stock book 7, no. 8824, p. 125), March, 1874, where it is listed as "L'eminence grise." [2] As annoted in a copy of the auction catalogue (reproduction in curatorial file). The buyer may have been Mortimer Blake Mason (b. 1850 - d. 1909), the nephew, friend, and business partner of S. D. Warren. See Martin Green, "The Mount Vernon Street Warrens" (New York, 1989). Mrs. Warren lent the painting to the World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893, Department K - Fine Arts, cat. no. 2924.

    Credit Line

    Bequest of Susan Cornelia Warren

    Details

    Dimensions

    68.6 x 101 cm (27 x 39 3/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    03.605

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

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  • La Japonaise (Camille Monet in Japanese Costume)

    1876
    Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926)

    Description

    Monet exhibited this work at the second group show of the Impressionist painters in 1876, where it attracted much attention. Large-scale figure paintings had traditionally been considered the most significant challenge for an artist. Using this format, Monet created a virtuoso display of brilliant color that is also a witty comment on the current Paris fad for all things Japanese. The woman shown wrapped in a splendid kimono and surrounded by fans is Monet’s wife, Camille, wearing a blond wig to emphasize her Western identity.

    Inscription

    Lower left: Claude Monet 1876

    Provenance

    April 14, 1876, Monet and Ernest Hoschedé sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, lot 37 [see note 1]. April 19, 1877, anonymous ("L.") sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, lot 48, to Constantin de Rasty (d. 1923), Paris; 1918, sold by Rasty to Paul Rosenberg and Co., Paris and New York [see note 2]; 1920, sold by Rosenberg to Philip Lehman (b. 1861 - d. 1947), New York [see note 3]; 1921, sold by Lehman to Duveen Brothers, Inc., London [see note 4]; 1937, shipped from Duveen, London to Duveen, New York; 1956, sold by Duveen to the MFA for $45,000. (Accession Date: March 8, 1956) NOTES: [1] Traditionally referred to as Monet's sale, the auction was organized by Ernest Hoschedé (b. 1837 - d. 1891) and included several works belonging to him, leading Hélène Adhemar ("Ernest Hoschedé," in Aspects of Monet: A Symposium on the Artist's Life and Times, ed. John Rewald and Frances Weitzenhoffer [New York: Abrams, 1984], p. 61) to suggest it was a joint sale and Hoschedé "was without a doubt in possession of the Monet paintings" ("il était sans doute en possession des tableaux de Monet"). When the painting was acquired, Edward Fowles of Duveen Brothers stated that "it was originally in the collection of a Mr. Hoschede" (letter to W. G. Constable, MFA, February 16, 1956). [2] René Gimpel noted on August 10, 1918, that the dealer Georges Bernheim informed him that "Rosenberg has bought a life-size Monet, a Japanese woman." See his "Diary of an Art Dealer", trans. John Rosenberg (New York, 1966), p. 55; also pp. 59 (August 19) and 67 (October 29). Monet himself wrote to Rosenberg about the painting (August 6, 1918, copy of letter in curatorial file). [3] In the brief notice "New Monet for New York," American Art News XVIII, no. 18 (February 21, 1920): p. 1, the painting is said to have "recently been purchased by a New York collector." Edward Fowles (as above, n. 1) stated that "Philip Lehman purchased it from Paul Rosenberg." [4] According to a memo from the London office to the Paris office of Duveen Brothers (December 31, 1926, Duveen Brothers Records, Getty Research Institute, Box 267, folder 24). The official sale date is given, in a memo to the New York branch of the gallery (December 13, 1937), as January 1, 1922.

    Credit Line

    1951 Purchase Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    231.8 x 142.3 cm (91 1/4 x 56 in.)

    Accession Number

    56.147

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Lorna and Robert Rosenberg Gallery (Gallery 252)

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  • Madame Cézanne in a Red Armchair

    about 1877
    Paul Cézanne (French, 1839–1906)

    Description

    Cézanne’s wife, Hortense Fiquet, was his most frequent model—he painted nearly thirty portraits of her. Posing for Cézanne demanded great patience, for he was a slow and painstaking worker and always required the presence of the model. This early portrait has a serene monumentality, its many small blocks of subtly varied color locked into a harmonious whole. In one of his most frequently quoted statements, Cézanne said, “I want to make of Impressionism an art as solid as that of the museums.”

    Provenance

    Ambroise Vollard (b. 1867 - d. 1939), Paris [see note 1]; by 1907, probably sold by Vollard to Egisto Fabbri (b. 1866 - d. 1933), Florence [see note 2]; 1928, sold by Fabbri to Georges Wildenstein and Paul Rosenberg and Co., Paris (stock no. 2265) [see note 3]. By 1930, Robert Treat Paine II (b. 1861 - d. 1943), Boston [see note 4]; 1944, bequest of Robert Treat Paine II to the MFA. (Accession Date: November 9, 1944) NOTES: [1] Vollard archives, no. 231. See John Rewald, "The Paintings of Paul Cézanne: A Catalogue Raisonné" (New York, 1996), vol. 1, cat. no. 324, pp. 219-220. [2] Egisto Fabbri was one of the first collectors to purchase the works of Cézanne through Vollard. According to notes in the curatorial file, Fabbri lent this painting to the Salon d'Automne, Paris, in 1907. Also see Lucien Henraux, "I Cezanne della Raccolta Fabbri," Dedalo 1 (1920): 53-58 and ibid., "Une grande collection de Cézanne en Italie: La Collection Egisto Fabbri," L'Amour de l'Art November 1924, p. 331, fig. 6216. [3] Fabbri sold thirteen of his Cézanne paintings to the dealers Georges Wildenstein and Paul Rosenberg of Paris. A document of November 15, 1928, confirms their receipt by intermediary Tammaro De Marinis, who oversaw their transport out of Italy. See Francesca Bardazzi, Cézanne in Florence: Two collectors and the 1910 exhibition of Impressionism (exh. cat. Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, March 2 - July 29, 2007), 25-26, 278, doc. 11. [4] Mr. Paine first lent this painting to the MFA in 1930.

    Credit Line

    Bequest of Robert Treat Paine, 2nd

    Details

    Dimensions

    72.4 x 55.9 cm (28 1/2 x 22 in.)

    Accession Number

    44.776

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Sidney and Esther Rabb Gallery (Gallery 255)

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  • Dance at Bougival

    1883
    Pierre-Auguste Renoir (French, 1841–1919)

    Description

    The open-air cafés of suburban Bougival, on the Seine outside Paris, were popular recreation spots for city dwellers, including the Impressionist painters. Renoir, who was primarily a figure painter, uses intense color and lush brushwork to heighten the sense of pleasure conveyed by the whirling couple who dominate the composition. The woman’s face, framed by her red bonnet, is the focus of attention, both ours and her companion’s.

    Inscription

    Lower right: Renoir. 83.

    Provenance

    April 16, 1883, deposited by the artist with Durand-Ruel, Paris; November 12, 1884, returned to the artist; February 19, 1886, deposited by the artist with Durand-Ruel and shipped to New York; November 22, 1886, sold by the artist to Durand-Ruel and sold the same day to Mme. Hiltbrunner; June 15, 1889, deposited by Mme. Hiltbrunner with Durand-Ruel; August 25, 1891, sold by Mme. Hiltbrunner to Durand-Ruel and, in September, 1891, transferred back to Paris [see note 1]; January 2, 1894, sold by Durand-Ruel, Paris to Félix-François Depeaux (b. 1853 - d. 1920), Rouen; May 31 - June 1, 1906, Depeaux sale, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, lot 38, to Depeaux's brother-in-law, Edmond Décap, Paris; by descent to Maurice Barret-Décap, Biarritz, France; 1937, sold by Barret-Décap, possibly through Anthony H. Manley, Paris [see note 2] to the dealers Paul Brame (b. 1898 - d. 1971) and César de Hauke (b. 1900), Paris, for Jacques Seligmann et Fils, Paris [see note 3]; March 19, 1937, transferred from Seligmann, Paris, to Jacques Seligmann and Co., New York; April, 1937, sold by Seligmann, New York, to the MFA for $150,000. (Accession Date: May 5, 1937) NOTES: [1] The early provenance and information about Durand-Ruel's transactions is taken from Colin B. Bailey, Renoir, Impressionism, and Full-Length Painting (exh. cat. Frick Collection, New York, 2012), p. 212. [2] Maurice Barret-Décap owned the painting until at least February 9, 1937, as his correspondence with Seligmann attests. The provenance provided by Seligmann at the time of the painting's acquisition lists the name of Anthony Manley after that of Barret-Décap. The gallery's shipping papers from March 19, 1937, note that it was purchased from Manley on February 13 (year illegible; presumably 1937); Manley also wrote to Seligmann on April 3, 1937, regarding the payment of interest on the painting. It is possible that Barret-Décap sold the work to Seligmann through Manley, that the two men owned it jointly, or that Manley owned the work for a very short period of time, around February 9-13, 1937. [3] De Hauke was a sales representative for Jacques Seligmann and Co. While he purchased works of art that were sold by the gallery, the ownership of the objects was often officially shared by several art dealers, and the transactions became quite complicated. De Hauke and Brame worked together on several occasions.

    Credit Line

    Picture Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    181.9 x 98.1 cm (71 5/8 x 38 5/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    37.375

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Out on Loan

    On display at Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Japan, March 19, 2016 – August 21, 2016

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  • Poppy Field in a Hollow near Giverny

    1885
    Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926)

    Description

    Monet and his fellow Impressionists believed that art should express its own time and place and that it should do so in an appropriately modern style. In the 1860s and 1870s, working primarily outdoors, the Impressionists observed that objects seen in strong light lose definition and appear to blend into one another. No clear outlines exist in this sunny landscape. Its forms and textures are suggested by the size, shape, and direction of the brushstrokes, and the juxtaposition of complementary reds and greens gives the painting a vibrant intensity. By the mid-1880s, most members of the original group had turned away from Impressionism, but Monet declared: “I am still an Impressionist and will always remain one.”

    Inscription

    Lower left: Claude Monet 85

    Provenance

    September 1885, sold by the artist to Durand-Ruel, Paris [see note 1]; probably sold by Durand-Ruel to Mr. and Mrs. Albert Spencer, Paris and New York [see note 2]; March 24, 1911, sold by Mrs. Spencer to Durand-Ruel, Paris (stock no. 9548); 1911, sold by Durand-Ruel, Paris to Durand-Ruel, New York (stock no. 3459); 1911, sold by Durand-Ruel, New York, to Arthur B. Emmons (d. 1922), Newport, R.I. [see note 3]; January 14-15, 1920, Emmons sale, American Art Association, New York, lot 31, to Durand-Ruel for Robert Jacob Edwards (d. 1924), Boston; 1925, bequest of Robert J. Edwards to the MFA. [see note 4] (Accession Date: April 2, 1925) NOTES: [1] Daniel Wildenstein, "Monet: Catalogue Raisonné" (1996), vol. 3, p. 377, cat. no. 1000. [2] Albert Spencer is mentioned among the collectors with whom Durand-Ruel dealt by Anne Distel, "Impressionism: The First Collectors," trans. Barbara Perroud-Benson (New York: Abrams, 1990), 242. According to Wildenstein (as above, n. 1) the Spencers owned the painting by 1886. [3] A handwritten note in the curatorial file (November 14, 1939) states that, according to Herbert Elfers of Durand-Ruel, this painting was purchased from Durand-Ruel, Paris, on September 16, 1911 and sold to Emmons on September 29, 1911. However, according to a later letter from Durand-Ruel to the MFA (1962), the sale to Emmons was on August 23, 1911. [4] Siblings Robert (d. 1924), Hannah (d. 1929), and Grace (d. 1938) Edwards were each collectors of art, who seemed to have had joint ownership of the objects in their possession. When Robert died, he bequeathed his collection to the MFA in memory of their mother, Juliana Cheney Edwards. In 1925, after his death, part of his collection was acquired by the Museum, and the remainder went to his sisters, with the understanding that the objects would ultimately be left to the MFA in the collection begun in memory of their mother. The collections of Hannah and Grace were left to the MFA in 1939, following Grace's death. It is not always possible to determine exactly which paintings each sibling had owned.

    Credit Line

    Juliana Cheney Edwards Collection

    Details

    Catalogue Raisonné

    W. 1000

    Dimensions

    65.1 x 81.3 cm (25 5/8 x 32 in.)

    Accession Number

    25.106

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Lorna and Robert Rosenberg Gallery (Gallery 252)

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  • Postman Joseph Roulin

    1888
    Vincent van Gogh (Dutch (worked in France), 1853–1890)

    Description

    One of van Gogh’s closest friends and favorite sitters in Arles was the local postman, Joseph Roulin. While painting this work, van Gogh wrote to his brother, “I am now at work with another model, a postman in blue uniform, trimmed with gold, a big bearded face, very like Socrates.” Indeed, the modest postman has all the authority of an admiral. Van Gogh also painted several portraits of Madame Roulin (for example, MFA object no. 48.548), as well as images of their children, delighted, as he wrote, to depict “a whole family.”

    Provenance

    1889, given or left by the artist to Joseph and Marie Ginoux, Arles; July 9, 1897, sold by the Ginoux, through Henri Laget, to Ambroise Vollard (b. 1867 - d. 1939), Paris [see note 1]; probably September 1, 1897, sold by Vollard to Cornelis Hoogendijk (b. 1866 - d. 1911), The Hague [see note 2]; May 21-22, 1912, posthumous Hoogendijk sale, Frederik Muller, Amsterdam, lot 26, to Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Paris (stock no. 19248) and Paul Cassirer, Inc., Berlin; 1916, sold by Cassirer to Carl Sternheim (b. 1878 - d. 1942) and Théa Sternheim (b. 1883 - d. 1971), La Hulpe, Belgium [see note 3]; February 11, 1919, Théa Sternheim sale, Frederik Muller, Amsterdam, lot 8, not sold [see note 4]; until 1928, in the Sternheim collection [see note 5]; 1928, sold by Théa Sternheim, through Alfred Flechtheim, to the Galerie Étienne Bignou, Paris [see note 6]; 1928, sold by Bignou to M. Knoedler and Co., New York (stock no. A289) and Alex Reid and Lefèvre, Ltd., London [see note 7]; 1928, sold by Knoedler to Robert Treat Paine, 2nd (b. 1861 - d. 1943), Boston; 1935, gift of Robert Treat Paine, 2nd, to the MFA. (Accession Date: December 5, 1935) NOTES: [1] Although in 1888 van Gogh sent many paintings from Arles to his brother Theo in Paris, he retained the painting of the Postman Roulin. When the artist departed Arles for St. Rémy in May 1889, he left a number of paintings with his landlords the Ginoux -- though whether he intended to store them or leave them as gifts is not known. After his death the paintings were rediscovered and sold by the Ginoux through the agent Laget. See Walter Feilchenfeldt, By Appointment Only (London: Thames and Hudson, 2006), pp. 293-305. [2] Hoogendijk made at least seven visits to Vollard's gallery between 1897 and 1899. He is known to have purchased a large group of paintings by Van Gogh on September 1, 1897; he acquired further paintings by the artist in 1899. See Herbert Henkels, "Cézanne en Van Gogh in het Rijksmuseum voor Moderne Kunst in Amsterdam: de collectie van Cornelis Hoogendijk (1866-1911)," Bulletin van het Rijksmuseum 41 (1993): 274-275, n. 23 and Rebecca A. Rabinow, ed., Cézanne to Picasso: Ambroise Vollard, Patron of the Avant-Garde (exh. cat., Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2006), pp. 57, 59 n. 38, and 223. According to Feilchenfeldt 2006 (as above, n. 1), p. 304, this painting was among those sold in September, 1897. [3] See Théa Sternheim, "Tagebücher, 1905-1927" (Mainz, 1995), pp. 181, 449. The picture was purchased in January of that year. [4] Only three paintings from the auction were sold; all the others, including the "Postman Joseph Roulin," were returned to the Sternheims. See Carl Sternheim, "Briefe: Briefwechsel mit Thea Sternheim, Dorothea und Klaus Sternheim" (Luchterhand, 1988), vol. 2, p. 759. [5] The painting was lent by Carl Sternheim to the exhibition "Ausstellung von Meisterwerken aus Privatsammlungen," Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Germany, August 20 - September 24, 1922. Following the exhibition, the painting - along with other works of art from the Sternheim collection - was deposited at the Kunstmuseum Winterthur. A letter from Heinz Keller, Curator, Kunstmuseum Winterthur to Angelica Rudenstine of the MFA (April 24, 1964), indicates that he did not know when the paintings were returned. However, the "Postman Joseph Roulin" was lent to the exhibition "Vincent van Gogh," Kunsthalle, Basel, March 27 - April 21, 1924 and Kunsthaus, Zurich, July 3 - August 10, 1924. In the catalogue it is said to be on deposit at Winterthur. Théa and Carl Sternheim divorced in 1927 and Théa retained possession of the painting. [6] See Théa Sternheim, "Erinnerungen" (Freiburg, 1995), p. 504. [7] According to letters from Duncan Macdonald of the Bignou Gallery (November 1, 1940) and G. Corcoran of Alex Reid and Lefèvre, Ltd. (April 30, 1964) in the MFA curatorial file. The galleries Bignou and Reid and Lefevre were associated, and shared a stock of paintings.

    Credit Line

    Gift of Robert Treat Paine, 2nd

    Details

    Dimensions

    81.3 x 65.4 cm (32 x 25 3/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    35.1982

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Sidney and Esther Rabb Gallery (Gallery 255)

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  • Summer Night's Dream (The Voice)

    1893
    Edvard Munch (Norwegian, 1863–1944)

    Description

    Munch was strongly influenced by the work of Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin, in particular by these artists’ use of color and form to express intense personal meaning. In the late 1880s, Munch conceived an epic series of paintings entitled The Frieze of Life, which dealt poetically and symbolically with life, love, and death. Many of his most memorable images were part of this ultimately unfinished project. Summer Night’s Dream, the first work in the cycle of Love, portrays the initial glimmer of adolescent sexual awakening. Bathed in an eerie light, the painting is probably set in the Borre Forest, a traditional place of courtship during Norway’s long midsummer nights.

    Inscription

    Lower left: E. Munch 1893

    Provenance

    Sold by the artist to Professor Helge Bäckström (b. 1865 - d. 1932) and his wife Rägnhild Bäckström (b. 1871 - d. 1908), Stockholm, Sweden [see note 1]. 1924, with Galerie Commeter, Hamburg [see note 2]. 1926, Paul Cassirer, Berlin [see note 3]. Between about 1927 and 1937, with the Moderne Galerie Thannhauser, Berlin [see note 4]. 1937, acquired by Harald Holst Halvorsen (d. 1960), Oslo, Norway [see note 5]; 1959, sold by Halvorsen to the MFA for $35,000. (Accession Date: May 14, 1959) NOTES: [1] In the MFA curatorial file are photographs of the painting hanging in the Bäckströms' home. The couple knew the artist personally; Mrs. Bäckström was the sister of Munch's model, Dagny Juell Przybyszewski, and she herself posed for Munch twice. [2] According to Gerd Woll, Edvard Munch: Complete Paintings, Catalogue Raisonné (London, 2009), vol. 1, cat. no. 319, the painting was included in an exhibition held October 9-21, 1924, at the Galerie Commeter. [3] Lent to the exhibition "Edvard Munch: Gemälde und Graphik," Städtische Kunsthalle, Mannheim, November 7, 1926-January 9, 1927, cat. no. 5, as "Mondschein am Fjord." Many thanks to Hannah Krause of the Kunsthalle, Mannheim (correspondence to the MFA, May 18, 2010) for providing information about this exhibition. [4] According to the exhibition catalogue "Edward Munch" (New York: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1965), cat. no. 19, the painting was with the Galerie Thannhauser, Berlin, before it was owned by Halvorsen, though no dates of ownership are given. The gallery opened its Berlin branch in 1927 and closed it in 1937, so if the painting was at the gallery, it would have been there within that decade. [5] According to a letter from Mr. Halvorsen to the MFA (April 4, 1959). He does not specify from whom he acquired it.

    Credit Line

    Ernest Wadsworth Longfellow Fund

    Copyright

    © 2013 The Munch Museum / The Munch-Ellingsen Group / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

    Details

    Dimensions

    87.9 x 108 cm (34 5/8 x 42 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    59.301

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Sidney and Esther Rabb Gallery (Gallery 255)

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  • Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?

    1897–98
    Paul Gauguin (French, 1848–1903)

    Description

    In 1891, Gauguin left France for Tahiti, seeking in the South Seas a society that was simpler and more elemental than that of his homeland. In Tahiti, he created paintings that express a highly personal mythology. He considered this work—created in 1897, at a time of great personal crisis—to be his masterpiece and the summation of his ideas. Gauguin’s letters suggest that the fresco-like painting should be read from right to left, beginning with the sleeping infant. He describes the various figures as pondering the questions of human existence given in the title; the blue idol represents “the Beyond.” The old woman at the far left, “close to death,” accepts her fate with resignation.

    Inscription

    Upper left: D'ou Venons Nous / Que Sommes Nous / Où Allons Nous; Upper right: P. Gauguin / 1897

    Provenance

    1898, sent by the artist in Tahiti to Georges Daniel de Monfreid (b. 1856 - d. 1929), Paris; consigned by Monfreid and his agent to Ambroise Vollard (b. 1867 - d. 1939), Paris [see note 1]; 1901, sold by Vollard to Gabriel Frizeau (b. 1870 - d. 1938), Bordeaux [see note 2]; probably 1913, sold by Frizeau to the Galérie Barbazanges, Paris; before 1920, sold by Barbazanges to J. B. Stang, Oslo; 1935, probably sold by Stang to Alfred Gold, Berlin and Paris [see note 4]. 1936, Marie Harriman Gallery, New York [see note 5]; 1936, sold by the Harriman Gallery to the MFA for $80,000. (Accession Date: April 16, 1936) NOTES: [1] The painting was exhibited at the Galerie Ambroise Vollard, November 17 - December 10, 1898. [2] On Frizeau's acquisition and sale of the painting, see Claire Frêches-Thory, "Le premier acheteur d'Où venons-nous? Le collectionneur bordelais, Gabriel Frizeau (1870 - 1938) et ses rapports avec Gauguin," in Rencontres Gauguin à Tahiti: actes du colloque 20 et 21 juin 1989 (Papeete, 1989), pp. 48 - 56. The Galérie Barbazanges exhibited the painting in 1914. [3] The Galérie Barbazanges sought to buy the painting back from Stang in 1920; see Frêches-Thory (as above, n. 2), p. 51. [4] A letter of February 1, 1935 to the dealer Germain Seligmann, held by the Archives of American Art (Seligmann papers, box 426), states that the dealer Alfred Gold said the painting was still the property of Stang ("la grand Gauguin était toujours la proprieté de Stang") and that it would be included in the forthcoming Brussels exhibition. The writer has not been identified. Later that year, Gold lent the painting to the exhibition "L'impressionisme," Palais de Beaux-Arts, Brussels, June 15 - September 29, 1935, cat. no. 28. Gold purchased other works from the Stang collection, and almost certainly acquired this painting directly from him. [5] A letter from the supervisor of Museum Education at the MFA (April 21, 1936) states that Marie Harriman acquired the painting in Paris. It was exhibited at her New York gallery, April 22 - May 9, 1936.

    Credit Line

    Tompkins Collection—Arthur Gordon Tompkins Fund

    Details

    Catalogue Raisonné

    Wildenstein 561

    Dimensions

    Image: 139.1 x 374.6 cm (54 3/4 x 147 1/2 in.) Framed: 171.5 x 406.4 x 8.9 cm (67 1/2 x 160 x 3 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    36.270

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Sidney and Esther Rabb Gallery (Gallery 255)

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  • Carmelina

    1903
    Henri Matisse (French, 1869–1954)

    Description

    Matisse represented the female nude many times, both in painting and in sculpture. In this striking early work, the rounded forms of Carmelina’s body, strongly modeled in light and dark, stand out almost in relief against the pattern of rectangular shapes behind her. The subject of the nude, usually relaxed and seductive, here becomes a confrontation between the boldly posed model and the artist, who is visible in the mirror at the back of the studio.

    Inscription

    Lower left: Henri Matisse

    Provenance

    By 1912, Bernheim-Jeune, Paris [see note 1]. 1931, Baron Shigetaro Fukushima (b. 1895 - d. 1960), Paris; 1931, sold by Fukushima, through the Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York, to the MFA for $10,050 [see note 2]. (Accession Date: February 4, 1932) NOTES: [1] Bernheim-Jeune et Cie. lent the painting to the "Second Post-Impressionist Exhibition" (Grafton Galleries, London, October 5 - December 31, 1912), cat. no. 9. [2] MFA accession numbers RES.32.2-RES.32.18 were purchased together for $10,050.

    Credit Line

    Tompkins Collection—Arthur Gordon Tompkins Fund

    Copyright

    © 2011 Succession H. Matisse, Paris / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

    Details

    Dimensions

    81.3 x 59 cm (32 x 23 1/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    RES.32.14

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Charlotte F. and Irving W. Rabb Gallery (Gallery 155)

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    Europe

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  • Standing Figure

    1908
    Pablo Picasso (Spanish (worked in France), 1881–1973)

    Description

    This painting of a nude woman with her arms crossed behind her head was created during a key period of invention and experimentation, as Picasso began to construct his paintings in a new way. The figure is translated into simplified, geometric forms, reflecting Picasso’s interest in the art of Africa and Oceania. Using only a few colors, he focuses our attention on the intersection of these forms, linking figure and ground in a dynamic, curving rhythm.

    Inscription

    Reverse of original support: Picasso

    Provenance

    1909, sold by the artist to Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler (b. 1884 - d. 1979), Paris [see note 1]; June 13-14, 1921, Kahnweiler sale, Hotel Drouot, Paris, lot 83, to "Winberg" [see note 2]. Possibly Carroll Carstairs (dealer; b. 1888 - d. 1948), New York [see note 3]. Private collection, Paris. By 1958, Galerie Nathan, Zurich; 1958, sold by Galerie Nathan to MFA. (Accession Date: October 9, 1958) NOTES: [1] According to letters of March 7, 1961 and March 18, 1961 from Kahnweiler to Mrs. Emay Buck of the MFA in curatorial file. This painting was among the possessions of Kahnweiler that were sequestered by the French government as legalized retribution against German citizens in the wake of World War I. [2] The buyer's name is annotated in a copy of the auction catalogue (reproduction in MFA curatorial file). [3] According to information provided by the Galerie Nathan, which has not yet been corroborated, dealer Carroll Carstairs may have owned the painting, or a share in the painting. At the time the painting was purchased, it was said to come from a private collection in Paris.

    Credit Line

    Juliana Cheney Edwards Collection

    Copyright

    © 2011 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

    Details

    Dimensions

    150.2 x 100.3 cm (59 1/8 x 39 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    58.976

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Saundra B. and William H. Lane Galleries (Gallery 328)

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  • Reclining Nude

    1909
    Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (German, 1880–1938)

    Description

    In 1905 Kirchner was among the founders of an idealistic artistic brotherhood in Dresden called The Bridge (Die Brücke). Inspired by the intensity of Vincent van Gogh’s vision of nature, Paul Gauguin’s arbitrary color, and the expressive distortion of the Norwegian painter Edvard Munch, these young artists and others developed a powerful style now known as German Expressionism. This nude embodies the Expressionist ideal - brilliant, exaggerated color; a deliberate roughness of texture; and the freshness of a sketch retained in the finished work.

    Inscription

    Lower left: E.L Kirchner 09

    Provenance

    Possibly with Alfred Flechtheim or the Galerie Flechtheim [see note 1]. 1935, possibly with Galerie Dr. Schumann, Frankfurt; 1935, possibly sold by Schumann to Mr. Ris; by 1948, given by Ris to his sister, Elisabeth Ris (b. 1872 - d. 1959), Zurich; 1953, sold by Miss Ris to Dr. Hermann Ganz, Zurich [see note 2]; January 1955, sold by Ganz to Roland, Browse and Delbanco, London; February 19, 1955, one-half share sold by Roland, Browse and Delbanco to Marlborough Fine Art, Ltd., London; April 8, 1957, remaining one-half share sold by Roland, Browse and Delbanco to Marlborough [see note 3]; 1957, sold by Marlborough to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 10, 1957) NOTES: [1] "Flechtheim" appears to be written in pencil on the back of the painting stretcher. Whether it was actually owned by Alfred Flechtheim or the Galerie Flechtheim (which had galleries in Düsseldorf, Berlin, Cologne and Frankfurt) is not known. [2] This information comes from a letter from Hermann Ganz to Thomas N. Maytham of the MFA (February 27, 1957); according to Dr. Ganz, Elisabeth Ris received the painting from her brother. He had purchased "some paintings" at the Galerie Schumann in 1935, but Miss Ris did not know if the Kirchner painting was among them. It was certainly in her possession by 1948, when she lent it to the Kunsthaus, Zurich. [3] The information about the transactions between Roland, Browse and Delbanco and Marlborough Fine Arts, Ltd., was provided by Carol Togneri, Research Scholar, Norton Simon Museum on November 4, 2002.

    Credit Line

    Tompkins Collection—Arthur Gordon Tompkins Fund

    Copyright

    © (for works by E. L. Kirchner) by Ingeborg & Dr. Wolfgang Henze-Ketterer, Wichtrach/Bern

    Details

    Dimensions

    74 x 151.5 cm (29 1/8 x 59 5/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    57.2

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Charlotte F. and Irving W. Rabb Gallery (Gallery 155)

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  • Two Nudes (Lovers)

    1913
    Oskar Kokoschka (Austrian, 1886–1980)

    Description

    Painted in Vienna in the years just prior to World War I, Two Nudes is a self-portrait of Kokoschka with Alma Mahler, a symbolic testimonial to the artist’s tumultuous affair with the widow of the great composer Gustav Mahler. Kokoschka’s haunted expression and the ambiguous poses of the two lovers—who seem both to embrace and to move past each other—reflect a complex and tormented relationship. Kokoschka’s bold brushwork and Expressionist style were influenced not only by van Gogh but by the sixteenth-century Spanish painter El Greco, whose work Kokoschka greatly admired.

    Inscription

    Lower center: OK

    Provenance

    About 1914/1915, sold by the artist to Oskar Reichel (b. 1869 - d. 1943), Vienna [see note 1]; February, 1939, transferred by Reichel to Otto Kallir (b. 1894 - d. 1978), Galerie St. Etienne, Paris and New York [see note 2]; 1945, sold by Galerie St. Etienne, New York, to the Nierendorf Gallery, New York; 1945, sold by Nierendorf to Silberman Galleries, New York; 1947/1948, probably sold by Silberman to Sarah Reed (Mrs. John) Blodgett, later Sarah Reed Platt (d. by 1972), Grand Rapids, Portland, Oregon and Santa Barbara; 1973, bequest of Sarah Reed Platt to the MFA. (Accession Date: April 11, 1973) NOTES: [1] Dr. Oskar Reichel, an admirer and collector of Kokoschka's work, also knew him personally and almost certainly acquired this painting directly from him. Tobias G. Natter, Die Welt von Klimt, Schiele und Kokoschka: Sammler und Mäzene (Cologne, 2003), 254, suggests it was acquired around 1914/1915. The painting was first published as being in Dr. Reichel's collection by Paul Westheim in Das Kunstblatt 1 (1917), p. 319. [2] On February 1, 1939, Reichel transferred the painting--along with four other Kokoschka paintings--to the dealer Otto Kallir, who at that time ran the Galerie St. Etienne in Paris. Kallir exhibited it in Paris that spring and brought it to the United States later that year. After his arrival in the United States, he paid Reichel's two sons, who had already immigrated to North and South America, for the paintings. Kallir opened a branch of his Galerie St. Etienne in New York and exhibited this work often between 1940 and 1945. For further information, please see "Resolved Claims" at http://www.mfa.org/collections/provenance/nazi-era-provenance-research

    Credit Line

    Bequest of Sarah Reed Platt

    Copyright

    © 2015 Fondation Oskar Kokoschka / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ProLitteris, Zürich

    Details

    Dimensions

    163.2 x 97.5 cm (64 1/4 x 38 3/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    1973.196

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Charlotte F. and Irving W. Rabb Gallery (Gallery 155)

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  • Nuage et Oiseaux (Cloud and Birds)

    1927
    Joan Miró (Spanish, 1893–1983)

    Description

    André Breton, the poet and philosopher who served as the intellectual anchor of Surrealism declared Miró “the most surrealist of us all.” But while Miró was influenced by Surrealist ideas, he was not a central figure in the movement, having more strictly visual interests than many of the Surrealists. This work, with its cloud surrounded by calligraphic black scrawls and wispy strokes that hint of birds, dates from a period in Miró’s career when he was pushing ever closer to almost completely abstract works, often defined by broad areas of color and inhabited by strange “biomorphic” shapes.

    Inscription

    Lower right: Miro / 1927

    Provenance

    Galeria Maeght, Barcelona [see note 1]. 1973, Max Pellequer, Paris; June, 1973, sold by Pellequer to the Galerie Beyeler, Basel; July, 1973, sold by Beyeler to Giuseppe Nahmad, Galleria Internazionale, Milan. 1980, Davlyn Gallery, New York; 1980, sold by and exchanged with the Davlyn Gallery to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 18, 1980) NOTES: [1] A label from the Galeria Maeght can be found on the reverse of the painting's stretcher, with the number B 534 (or B 594).

    Credit Line

    Sophie M. Friedman Fund and Charles H. Bayley Picture and Painting Fund

    Copyright

    © 2011 Successió Miró / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

    Details

    Dimensions

    146 x 114 cm (57 1/2 x 44 7/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    1980.273

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

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  • Still Life with Three Skulls

    1945
    Max Beckmann (German, 1884–1950)

    Description

    Beckmann fled Germany in 1937, taking refuge in Amsterdam, where he painted this still life during the final months of World War II. He combines a modern style of flattened space, schematic forms, and intense colors with traditional still-life objects-skulls, an extinguished candle, playing cards-that suggest the frailty and transience of human life. The artist described these years as “a truly grotesque time, full to the brim with work, Nazi persecutions, bombs, hunger.” In the choice of objects, the predominance of black, and the thick, rough paint, this still life captures the grim mood underlying such words.

    Inscription

    Lower right: beckmann / A 45.

    Provenance

    May 29, 1945, sold by the artist to Paul Cassirer and Co., Amsterdam [see note 1]; September 10, 1946, sold by Cassirer to Curt Valentin; November 19, 1946, sold by Valentin to Lois (Mrs. Culver) Orswell, Pomfret Center, CT [see note 2]; 1967, gift of Mrs. Culver Orswell to the MFA. (Accession Date: November 8, 1967) NOTES: [1] According to a letter from a representative of Paul Cassirer to the MFA (May 9, 1968). Jan Fontein, former MFA director, wrote to Theodore Stebbins of the MFA (October 12, 1994) that it may have been Cassirer's agent, Helmuth Luetjens, who was responsible for the purchase. Luetjens knew Beckmann during the war. [2] According to a letter from Mrs. Culver Orswell (1968).

    Credit Line

    Gift of Mrs. Culver Orswell

    Copyright

    © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn.

    Details

    Dimensions

    55.2 x 89.5 cm (21 3/4 x 35 1/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    67.984

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Saundra B. and William H. Lane Galleries (Gallery 334)

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  • Rape of the Sabine Women

    1963
    Pablo Picasso (Spanish (worked in France), 1881–1973)

    Description

    Painted when he was eighty-two, this is Picasso’s last major statement about the horrors of war, perhaps inspired by the Cuban missile crisis. Here, Picasso transforms a familiar subject from the art of the past-the story of early Romans who, suffering a shortage of marriageable women, invited the neighboring Sabines to Rome and then carried off all their young women. Against a sunny background of blue sky and green fields, the overlapping forms of grotesquely distorted figures are compressed into the foreground space, the horses and soldiers trampling a woman and her child.

    Inscription

    Upper right: Picasso; Reverse: 4.1.63. / 10. / 11. / 12. / 13. / 14. / 15. / 16. / 17. / 18. / 19. / 20. / 21. / 22. / 23. / 25. / 26. / 28. / 29. / 31. / 2.2.63. / 7. (in irregular columns)

    Provenance

    Probably sold by the artist to the Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris [see note 1]; 1964, sold by the Galerie Leiris to M. Knoedler and Co., New York (stock no. A8624); 1964, sold by Knoedler to the MFA. (Accession Date: May 13, 1964) NOTES: [1] It was included in the exhibition "Picasso Peintures 1962-1963" (Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris, January 15 - February 15, 1964), cat. no. 17.

    Credit Line

    Juliana Cheney Edwards Collection, Tompkins Collection—Arthur Gordon Tompkins Fund, and Fanny P. Mason Fund in memory of Alice Thevin

    Copyright

    © 2011 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

    Details

    Dimensions

    195.3 x 131.1 cm (76 7/8 x 51 5/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    64.709

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

    Collections

    Contemporary Art, Europe

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