Exhibitions

The Scottish Visitors: A Family from Pitlessie

Sir David Wilkie (1785–1841), Pitlessie Fair (detail), 1804. Oil on canvas, 24¼ x 43½ in. Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh. Purchased 1921 (NG 1527)

These might not appear to be the most pious folks—the fifth commandment concerning honoring your parents doesn’t appear to be high on these kids’ list. But read more about how Sir David Wilkie secretly sketched his fellow parishioners in church, and then used those drawings to populate his great painting, Pitlessie Fair from 1804.

The latest of our Scottish visitors, the excerpt below is from the exhibition catalog for Botticelli to Braque: Masterpieces from the National Galleries of Scotland, available for purchase in the Museum Store.

The Scottish Visitors: Berthia Hamilton Don-Wauchope

Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell 1883–1937, Portrait of a Lady in Black, about 1921. Oil on canvas, 30 x 25 inches. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh. Bequeathed by Mr and Mrs G.D. Robinson through the Art Fund, 1988

A drawing room with lilac walls and highly polished black floors—and a pile of props like top hats, opera cloaks, and fans. Read more about how Cadell used his spectacular living space to inject a little glamour into his portrait of our next Scottish vistor, Berthia Hamilton Don-Wauchope, the artist's 50-something neighbor from Edinburgh. The except below is from the  exhibition catalog for Botticelli to Braque: Masterpieces from the National Galleries of Scotland, available for purchase in the Museum Store.

The Scottish Visitors: Lady Agnew of Lochnaw

John Singer Sargent 1856–1925, Lady Agnew of Lochnaw (1865–1932), 1892. Oil on canvas, 125.7 x 100.3 cm (49½ x 39½ in). Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh. Purchased with the aid of the Cowan Smith Bequest Fund, 1925 (NG1656).

The next in our weekly series of Scottish visitors is Lady Agnew, who sat for John Singer Sargent at the age of 27. Her pose is "notably langorous," possibly because she was recovering from a period of nervous exhaustion at the time. The except below is from the  exhibition catalog for Botticelli to Braque: Masterpieces from the National Galleries of Scotland, available for purchase in the Museum Store.

The Scottish Visitors: Colonel Alastair Ranaldson Macdonell

Sir Henry Raeburn 1756–1823, Colonel Alastair Ranaldson Macdonell, 15th Chief of Glengarry (1771–1828), about 1812, Oil on canvas, 241.9 x 151.1 cm (95¼ x 59½ in), Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, Purchased 1917 (NG420).

Sir Henry Raeburn 1756–1823, Colonel Alastair Ranaldson Macdonell, 15th Chief of Glengarry (1771–1828), about 1812, Oil on canvas, 95¼ x 59½ inches, Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, Purchased 1917 (NG420).

There’s a full cast of characters in Botticelli to Braque: Masterpieces from the National Galleries of Scotland—everyone from a Tahitian temptress painted by Paul Gauguin, to a rowdy Dutchman by Frans Hals. But there are also plenty of Scots, and once a week we'll highlight one of them by excerpting a section from the exhibition catalog, available for purchase in the Museum Store.

The View from LA

Joseph Mallord William Turner, Norham Castle, Sunrise, ca.1845. Oil on canvas, 35 ¾ x 48 in. (90.8 x 121.9 cm).
Tate London. Image © Tate, London 2014

From our pen pals at the Getty: What J. M. W. Turner might have loved about the City of Angels. J. M. W. Turner: Painting Set Free, currently at the Getty, heads to the de Young on June 20; stay tuned for why we think Turner should have left his heart in San Francisco.

Accidental Collectors: Robert and Jane Meyerhoff’s Modernism Collection

In 1987, Jane and Robert Meyerhoff announced their pledge to donate their art collection to the National Gallery of Art, including many of the works currently on view in the de Young’s special exhibition Modernism from National Gallery of Art.  But before they were given to the nation, these works first made up a personal collection that the couple had built and lived with for many years.

Man in the Mirror

Tonight, Friday Nights at the de Young celebrates the history of the dandy from Oscar Wilde to Jean Paul Gaultier. Whereas Oscar Wilde’s aesthetic style was derided as too feminine, Jean Paul Gaultier embraces gender bending, dressing men in skirts and women in exquisitely tailored suits. In this way, Gaultier's designs approach a new androgyny and subvert established fashion codes. The designer toys with standard concepts of the masculine and feminine throughout the special exhibition The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk , but one exhibit in particular literally speaks to this issue. He is the Man in the Mirror.

Love and the Maiden: A Harmony of Hues

In this installment of our continuing blog series examining key elements of the Aesthetic Movement through the lens of John Stanhope’s masterwork Love and the Maiden (typically on view in gallery 18 at the Legion of Honor and currently on view in The Cult of Beauty: The Victorian Avant-Garde, 1860–1900), curatorial assistant of European art Melissa Buron takes a closer look at color.

Love and the Maiden

John Roddam Spencer Stanhope (English, 1829–1908). Love and the Maiden, 1877. Tempera, gold paint and gold leaf on canvas. Museum purchase, European Art Trust Fund, Grover A. Magnin Bequest Fund and Dorothy Spreckels Munn Bequest Fund. 2002.176

FRAME|WORK: Flora and Pomona by Edward Burne-Jones

The integration of art and beauty into every aspect of life was one of the foremost tenets of the Aesthetic Movement. Artists who subscribed to this ideal stepped outside of the confines of their medium of choice and experimented with all variety of design: painters became furniture designers and architects designed textiles. This week’s FRAME|WORK features two luscious tapestries from the Museums’ permanent collections included in the special exhibition The Cult of Beauty: The Victorian Avant-Garde, 1860–1900 (on view at the Legion of Honor through June 17). Created by Edward Burne-Jones for Morris & Co., Flora and Pomona exemplify the aesthetics of the Aesthetic Movement.

Flora and Pomona

Edward Burne-Jones (English, 1833–1898) for Morris & Co. Flora (left) and Pomona (right), 1886–1920. Wool, silk, cotton; tapestry weave. Museum purchase, Dorothy Spreckels Munn Bequest Fund. 2001.120.1–2.

Word Gallery: Impressionism

Throughout art history, scholars have devised a special vocabulary to talk about art. These terms are very useful, but they are not always self-explanatory. Enter into the art historical word gallery, where we provide some definitions commonly used to describe artistic styles, techniques, or movements in art.

Impressionism

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