Coming to Los Angeles.
|Los Angeles, Autopia of the West|
|Hooray for Hollywood.|
|A View of LACMA|
“A city seventy miles square but rarely seventy years deep apart from a small downtown not yet two centuries old and a few other pockets of ancientry, Los Angeles is instant architecture in an instant townscape.” So wrote the architectural historian Reyner Banham in his famous cultural, architectural and cartographical survey of the city of the Angels. One can appreciate Banham’s description, especially with the first glimpse of L.A. since the impression is of a giant construct that has been thrown up in the middle of nowhere. Flying in at night, the sudden appearance of a configuration of lights, buildings, and as you drop altitude, pulsing arteries that carry the millions of the city from one end of its seventy miles span to the other is truly mind-blowing. The effect on the senses and the mind is overwhelming, and coming from a country that does not make a cult of the automobile, you suffer culture shock when entering this “autopia” where Our Lady Queen of the Angels is also the “Internal Combustion City, Surfburbia, Smogville, Aerospace City, Systems Land, the Dream factory of the Western World.” So where in the middle of this urban explosion in Southern California does the story of museums begin? There are many to choose from. California boasts many fine museums: the Getty (which we shall consider next week), the Hammer Museum of Art, San Francisco Museums of Fine Art, the Pacific Asian Museum, the Norton Simon Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Huntingdon collections, and our subject today, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).
The Ascent of LACMA
|LACMA in 1965 from Wilshire Boulevard|
|An Architect's Vision for LACMA.|
|Japanese Pavilion, LACMA|
LACMA has the distinction of being the largest museum in the Western United States, and its gate is nearly a million visitors every year. Rising up from Wilshire Boulevard against the torrid California sky, it resembles a ziggurat (a raised up building) that is imposing and yet fragile in appearance, typical of its architect William Leonard Pereira who beat Miles van der Rohe of the Bauhaus to the contract. One of the later museums in America, LACMA was established in 1961, but moved to Wilshire Bld, a key arterial road that connects east-west Los Angeles, in 1965. Prior to that LACMA formed part of the Los Angeles Museum of History, Science and Art founded in 1910. LACMA’s holdings are universal, encompassing all cultures of the world, and numbering a staggering 100,000 art works. It was the largest, independent art museum in America to be built after the Washington National Gallery of Art, though it is more disparate and sprawling in nature than that venerable institution. During the boom years of the 1980s, a record $209 m in private donations ensured LACMA’s rise to prominence in the museum world. LACMA especially began to acquire a vast amount of modern and contemporary art, with the help of wealthy collectors like Eli Broad, so a new structure was built to house this which opened in 1986. Also in 1988, one of the most beautiful parts of the museum opened: the Pavilion for Japanese Art as well as the Cantor Sculpture Garden of Rodin bronzes. Since 2004, LACMA has been undergoing further reconstruction under the guidance of the architect Renzo Piano (who we met at Fort Worth last week) aimed to unify LACMA’s spread of buildings. Part of this initiative involved the employment of graffiti artists as well as the plan to work with Hollywood and create an Academy Museum of Moving Pictures. LACMA has a vibrant programme of exhibitions of which the most successful was the Treasures of Tutankhamum which drew 1.2 million visitors for four months in 1978.
Deaccessioning, Sifting and Sorting.
|Is Michael Govan going to deaccesson that piece of land art?|
|Deaccessioned Reynolds, St Cecilia, 2009.|
Analysis of Old Masters at LACMA.
Rembrandt, Portrait of Marten Looten, 1632, Oil on wood, 92.71 x 76.2 cm, Gift of J. Paul Getty
Michael Sweerts, Plague in an Ancient City, 1652-1664, Oil on canvas, 118.75 x 170.82 cm, Gift of The Ahmanson Foundation
Carlo Saraceni, The Martyrdom of St Cecilia, 1610, Oil on canvas, 135.89 x 98.425 cm, Gift of The Ahmanson Foundation
Very brief note on LACMA Renaissance Art.
Jacopo Bellini, Madonna and Child, 1465, Oil on panel, 69.22 x 46.99 cm, Gift of The Ahmanson Foundation
Fra Bartolomeo, Holy Family, 1497, Oil on canvas, 151.13 x 90.81 cm, Gift of The Ahmanson Foundation
Titian, Portrait of Giacomo Dolfin, Oil on canvas, 104.9 x 91 cm, Gift of The Ahmanson Foundation
Notes on American Art at LACMA.
Benjamin West, Thetis Bringing the Armour to Achilles, 1804, Oil on canvas, 68.6 x 50.8 cm, Gift from the family of Bernice West Beyers
William Merrit Chase, Pablo de Sarasate: Portrait of a Violinist, c. 1875, Oil on canvas, 57.15 x 47.78 cm, Mary D. Keeler Bequest
Daniel Huntingdon, Philosophy and Christian Art, 1868, Oil on canvas, 102.55 x 127.95 cm, Gift of Will Richeson
1) Los Angeles from the air.
2) LACMA on Wiltshire Boulevard, Los Angeles.
3) LACMA and Wiltshire Bld in 1965.
4) LA with view of Hollywood sign.
5) Downtown LA.
6) View of Japanese Pavilion, LACMA.
7) Peter Paul Rubens, The Israelites Gathering Manna in the Desert, c. 1626-27, Oil on wood, 64.77 x 53.34 cm, Frances and Armand Hammer Purchase Fund (M.69.20)
8) Rembrandt, The Raising of Lazarus, 1630-32, Oil on wood, 96.36 x 81.28 cm, Gift of H. F. Ahmanson and Company, in memory of Howard F. Ahmanson (M.72.67.2)
9) Rembrandt, Portrait of Marten Looten, 1632, Oil on wood, 92.71 x 76.2 cm, Gift of J. Paul Getty (53.50.3)
10) Gerrit van Honthorst, The Mocking of Christ, 1617-20, Oil on canvas, 146.05 x 207.01 cm, Gift of The Ahmanson Foundation (AC1999.92.1)
11) Michael Sweerts, Plague in an Ancient City, 1652-1664, Oil on canvas, 118.75 x 170.82 cm, Gift of The Ahmanson Foundation (AC1997.10.1)
12) Salomon de Bray, Martyrdom of Saint Lawrence, 1652, Oil on canvas, 152.72 x 124.78 cm, Purchased with funds provided by the Jones Foundation, the Joseph B. Gould Foundation, Fred Maxwell, and an anonymous gift in memory of Dr. Charles Henry Strub by exchange (M.2003.4).
13) Laurent de la Hyre, Assumption of the Virgin, 1653-55, Oil on canvas, 74.93 x 52.71 cm, The Ciechanowiecki Collection, Gift of The Ahmanson Foundation (M.2000.179.3)
14) Georges de La Tour, The Magdalene with the Smoking Flame, c. 1638-40, Oil on canvas, 117 x 91.76 cm, Gift of The Ahmanson Foundation (M.77.73)
15) Phillipe de Champaigne, St Augustine, 1645-50, Oil on canvas, 78.7 x 62.2 cm, Gift of The Ahmanson Foundation (M.88.177).
16) Carlo Saraceni, The Martyrdom of St Cecilia, 1610, Oil on canvas, 135.89 x 98.425 cm, Gift of The Ahmanson Foundation (AC1996.37.1)
17) Guido Reni, Portrait of Cardinal Roberto Ubaldino, Papal Legate to Bologna, 1627, Oil on canvas, 196.85 x 149.23 cm, Gift of The Ahmanson Foundation (M.83.109)
18) Salvator Rosa (and Studio), Odysseus and Nausicca, oil on canvas, 190.5 x 158.75 x 8.89 cm, William Randolph Hearst Collection (49.17.4)
19) Jacopo Bellini, Madonna and Child, 1465, Oil on panel, 69.22 x 46.99 cm, Gift of The Ahmanson Foundation (M.85.223).
20) Cima da Conegliano, Madonna and Child in a Landscape, c. 1496-99, Oil on panel, 73.03 x 59.37 cm, Gift of The Ahmanson Foundation in memory of Robert H. Ahmanson (M.2008.9)
21) Fra Bartolomeo, Holy Family, 1497, Oil on canvas, 151.13 x 90.81 cm, Gift of The Ahmanson Foundation (M.73.83)
22) Titian, Portrait of Giacomo Dolfin, Oil on canvas, 104.9 x 91 cm, Gift of The Ahmanson Foundation (M.81.24).
23) Benjamin West, Thetis Bringing the Armour to Achilles, 1804, Oil on canvas, 68.6 x 50.8 cm, Gift from the family of Bernice West Beyers (M.88.182)
24) Jules Pages, Genre Scene, French Woman in Kitchen Scene, Oil on canvas, 88.9 x 72.39 cm, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Christian Title (M.91.309.3)
25) William Merritt Chase, Pablo de Sarasate: Portrait of a Violinist, c. 1875, Oil on canvas, 57.15 x 47.78 cm, Mary D. Keeler Bequest (40.12.9).
26) Daniel Huntington, Philosophy and Christian Art, 1868, Oil on canvas, 102.55 x 127.95 cm, Gift of Will Richeson (M.69.48)
27) Engraving of Philosophy and Christian Art.
28) Robert Phillipp, In a Pensive Mood, before 1935, Oil on canvas, 86.84 x 101.92 cm, Gift of Terry De Lapp in Memory of Yrma Marcus (M.81.197)
29) John Singer Sargeant, Mme. François Buloz (Christine Blaze), 1879, Oil on canvas, 54.77 x 46.67 cm, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Harry F. Sinclair and Mary D. Keeler Bequest (M.71.70).
30) Henry Le McFee, Still Life with Carafe, 1931, Oil on canvas, 81.92 x 76.68 cm, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. David N. Allison in memory of Mr. and Mrs. David C. Allison (M.84.196)
31) Elihu Vedder, Japanese Still Life, 1879, Oil on canvas, 54.5 x 88.4 cm, Gift of the American Art Council (M.74.11).
 Gary Schwartz in Rembrandt, His Life, His Paintings, (Penguin, 1985) lists a fourth, “Portrait of a Young Woman” which was on loan, 379.
 John Spike and others, Darkness and Light: Caravaggio and his Followers, New South Wales, 2003-4, nos 29, 32, 45, 51.