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The French Cultural Services in Los Angeles present : Artistic Genius in France

Co-organized by the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Musée du Louvre, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, this exhibition brings together a large number of spectacular bronzes. It exemplifies an art form that has been described as "among the most splendid manifestations of artistic genius in France." The exhibition: Cast in Bronze: French Sculpture from Renaissance to Revolution, from June 30 th to September 27 th at the Guetty Center.


  • Exhibition Dates: June 16–September 7, 2009
  • Exhibition Location: Gallery 4b, European Paintings, 2nd floor
  • Press Preview: Monday, June 15, 10:00 a.m. –noon

Michelangelo's First Painting, a special exhibition beginning June 16 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, will present The Torment of Saint Anthony, the first known painting by Michelangelo Buonarroti (Florence 1475- Rome 1564), believed to have been created when he was 12 or 13 years old. Recently acquired by the Kimbell Art Museum, the painting has undergone conservation and technical examination at the Metropolitan Museum. Michelangelo's First Painting will run through September 7, after which the panel will return to the Kimbell Art Museum for display as part of its permanent collection.

Today, many people think of Michelangelo as a sculptor, but he received his early training as a painter, in the workshop of Domenico Ghirlandaio (1449-1494), a leading master in Florence. It was only in about 1490, following this apprenticeship, that he learned to carve marble. Michelangelo's biographers – Giorgio Vasari (1511- 1574) and Ascanio Condivi (1525-1574) – tell us that, aside from some drawings, his first work was a painted copy after a well-known engraving by Martin Schongauer (1448-1491) showing Saint Anthony tormented by demons. To give his monsters greater veracity, Michelangelo went to the fish market to study the colors and scales of the fish. Made about 1487-88 under the guidance of his friend and fellow pupil Francesco Granacci, Michelangelo's painting was much admired – it was even said to have incited Ghirlandaio's envy.

Keith Christiansen, the Jayne Wrightsman Curator of European Paintings at the Metropolitan Museum, who analyzed The Torment of Saint Anthony and organized this exhibition, concludes: "The case for this panel being the one described by Condivi is exceptionally strong . . . and given what we know, the burden of proof that it is NOT the picture described by Condivi is with those who would deny it."

Michelangelo's First Painting will showcase recent technical examinations and scholarly analyses that identify it as the painting described by Michelangelo's biographers. Though it has been known to scholars since the 1830s, when it was purchased in Pisa by a French sculptor, it has not always received proper attention. Accumulations of discolored varnish and disfiguring overpaints had obscured the qualities of the picture's masterful execution and remarkable color palette. A careful cleaning, carried out by Michael Gallagher, the Metropolitan Museum's Conservator in Charge of Paintings Conservation, transformed the painting, while infrared reflectography revealed how the artist modified and elaborated on Schongauer's composition.

In addition to The Torment of Saint Anthony, this small, focused exhibition will include works from the Metropolitan Museum's collection such as Madonna and Child and Triptych with the Crucifixion by Francesco Granacci (1469-1543); and Portrait of Michelangelo by Daniele da Volterra (1509-1566), a faithful follower of the master. Also on view will be a facsimile of the aforementioned Schongauer engraving, Saint Anthony Tormented by Demons.

The Torment of Saint Anthony is the first painting by Michelangelo Buonarroti to enter an American collection, and one of only four known easel paintings generally believed to be by him. The others are the Doni Tondo in Florence's Uffizi Gallery and two unfinished paintings in London's National Gallery, The Manchester Madonna and The Entombment.

Open Minds Support the Met

Metropolitan Museum Exhibition Features Work of Renowned 19th-Century American Sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens

  • Exhibition Dates: June 30–October 12, 2009
  • Exhibition Location: The Erving and Joyce Wolf Gallery

Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848–1907) was a French-Irish immigrant who became the greatest American sculptor of his day. From humble roots, through his prodigious talent, he rose in society, eventually counting some of America's most influential people in art and literature, diplomacy and economics, technology and social policy among his friends and clients. The collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art contains nearly four dozen works by the accomplished artist, representing the entire range of his oeuvre, from early cameos to innovative painterly bas-reliefs to character-penetrating portrait busts and statuettes derived from his public monuments. These unparalleled holdings will be supplemented with loans from private collections and public institutions in the exhibition Augustus Saint-Gaudens in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The presentation will address the artist's groundbreaking position in the history of late-19th-century American sculpture, his role in advancing American art on the international stage, and the long history of presenting and collecting his work at the Metropolitan Museum.

The Eugénie Prendergast Exhibitions of American Art are made possible by a grant from Jan and Warren Adelson.


Beyond Golden Clouds Showcases Traditional and Contemporary Masterpieces from
the Art Institute of Chicago and the Saint Louis Art Museum Collections

The Art Institute of Chicago and the Saint Louis Art Museum have collaborated on a major exhibition that showcases the rarely seen masterpieces of Japanese screens from both museums' permanent collections. Beyond Golden Clouds: Japanese Screens from the Art Institute of Chicago and the Saint Louis Art Museum--on view at the Art Institute's Regenstein Hall from June 26 through September 27, 2009 --reveals the delicate dynamism of the screen format, its lasting significance in Japan, and its consistent appeal around the world. The exhibition, which will be shown at both museums, will include 21 of the most important screens or pairs of screens from the Art Institute and 13 from the Saint Louis Art Museum. Due to their fragility and sensitivity to light, these screens are rarely seen in such a large presentation. To protect them, the works will be featured at the Art Institute in two rotations, one that begins on June 26 and a second installation that begins on August 15.
The Japanese screen, or byobu , has been an object of perpetual fascination in the West since Europeans had their first glimpse of these expansive, folding paintings in the sixteenth century. Part utilitarian object and part creative expression of the highest order, Japanese screens, then as now, connote status as well as aesthetic sensibility and, because of their uniqueness, have come to symbolize Japan itself. Yet despite the long-held interest in screens, scholarship regarding the form has been almost silent on the role of the screen as an object--that is, a freestanding, framed partition usually meant to be viewed folded. Unlike any other painting format in Japan, the production of a folding screen carries with it particular compositional concerns resulting from the use of hinged panels and from its fusion of painting and craft techniques for the surface, brocade borders, lacquer frames, and metal fixtures. Byobu have also had a wide range of important functions--from displays at special occasions to their integral roles in larger decorative programs at specific locations to their use as luxury gifts.

Beyond Golden Clouds offers a comprehensive view of the art of the folding screen: the place of screens as functional works of art; their characteristic materials and painting techniques; their development in Japan and collection in the West; and their influence on the art of other cultures. The exhibition also examines the "world within the screen": the representation by Japanese artists of the country's tradition and culture as well as the worlds of fantasy, literature, the sacred, and the foreign. Because their size allows for artists to create sweeping visions, larger than those in most other painting formats, the screens occupy a distinctive position in Japanese culture, also examined in the exhibition.

Unlike exhibitions of Japanese screens in the past, Beyond Golden Clouds includes a range of works from pre-Meiji era (1868-1912) ink paintings to modern day installation pieces. This exhibition celebrates the possibilities of the screen format in a way only the collaboration of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Saint Louis Art Museum could achieve, drawing as it does on the Art Institute's strength in decorative and iconic screens of the 17th century and Saint Louis's pivotal calligraphic screens and contemporary works. In terms of media, Beyond Golden Clouds is unprecedented in its inclusion of traditional works on paper or silk alongside contemporary screens made up of ceramic panels and varnished panels resembling lacquer.

Highlights of Beyond Golden Clouds include a pair of screens depicting a bustling ink landscape by Sesson Shukei (c.1490-after 1577), the earliest work on display. Willow Bridge and Waterwheel by Hasegawa Soya is a tour de force of the art of the folding screen, produced during the format's golden age in the seventeenth century. Representing the screen's modern and contemporary eras are Yamakawa Shuho's entrancing Relaxing in the Shade of 1933 and Kayama Matazo's powerful Star Festival of 1968. Morita Shiryu's Dragon Knows Dragon makes use of nontraditional materials; it is a calligraphic work in which the characters appear in gold on a black surface that shines with the finish of lacquer.

A fully illustrated, 216-page catalogue of the same title, published by Yale University Press, accompanies the exhibition. Enlightening essays by important scholars offer a "state-of-the-field" overview that covers such topics as the emergence of screens as an art form and a novel discussion of the relationship of Japanese screens to those made in other countries. Edited by Janice Katz, Roger L. Weston Associate Curator of Japanese Art at the Art Institute of Chicago, the book includes essays by Philip K. Hu, Janice Katz, Tamamushi Satoko, and Alicia Volk, and contributions by Fumiko E. Cranston, Elizabeth Lillehoj, Yukio Lippit, Melissa McCormick, and Hans Bjarne Thomsen. The book is available June 26, 2009, in the Art Institute's Museum Shop.

Beyond Golden Clouds: Japanese Screens from the Art Institute of Chicago and the Saint Louis Art Museum is organized by the Art Institute of Chicago and the Saint Louis Art Museum. After its Chicago presentation, the exhibition will be on view at the Saint Louis Art Museum from October 18, 2009, through January 3, 2010. The exhibition is curated by Janice Katz, Roger L. Weston Associate Curator of Japanese Art at the Art Institute. Support for Beyond Golden Clouds was generously provided in part by the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation.

IMAGE: Hasegawa Soya. Willow Bridge and Waterwheel, c. 1650. Kate S. Buckingham and Frederick W. Renshaw endowment.

Santa Fe The City DifferentArt Santa Fe International Art Fair, the city's largest and oldest art fair, takes place at El Museo Cultural in the Santa Fe Railyard, July 23-26. The boutique setting offers a perfect balance of breadth and intimacy in which to explore the work of hundreds of contemporary artists from around the globe. The Art Santa Fe experience includes Thursday night's Vernissage, the Art In America Party at the LewAllen Gallery in the Railyard on Saturday, cutting edge art installations, emerging artists and dealers, a special new event, "How Things Are Made," demonstrating the lithograph process presented by Landfall Press, and more. 505-988- 8883, www.artsantafe.com.

PhotoArts Santa Fe 2009, July 24-August 2, is a biennial conference on everything photographic in New Mexico for both the amateur and professional photographer. Santa Fe is home to an amazing number of well-known professional photographers as well as some of the best known fine-art photography galleries in the U.S. The conference features lectures, workshops, exhibits, and guided photo shoots through the area's remarkable landscape and iconic settings. This year's field trips include photo excursions to O'Keeffe Country, Chaco Canyon, Ranch Lands, the Jemez Mountains, the High Road to Taos, and many others. Also scheduled are manufacturers demonstrations, product displays, equipment demonstrations and sales markets, plus a symposium on alternative photography and a host of presentations on professional development. For details, a comprehensive schedule, and venues visit, www.photoartssantafe.com/.

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