Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Fine Art Specialty Tour at Assets 2018

Irene Szylinger, ISA AM
With the holidays behind us, I am getting very excited about our annual conference, Assets, coming up March 9-12 in Pasadena, California. Be sure to register if you haven't already! The specialty tours at Assets always provide a wonderful taste of our host city, and on our Fine Art tour in Pasadena on Friday, March 9, we will visit two outstanding institutions. There will be something for everyone when we view the art collections, grounds and libraries at the Huntington and the Norton Simon Museum.

The Huntington, where we will go first, has a long and respected reputation. Established by Henry E. Huntington in 1919, the institution is a non-profit educational and research-based complex comprising a library, art collection, and botanical gardens.

In the Library, the general public can view some of the finest rare books and manuscripts of Anglo-American civilization, including the Ellesmere manuscript of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, a Gutenberg Bible on vellum, the double-elephant folio edition of Audubon’s Birds of America, and a world-class collection of the early editions of Shakespeare’s works.

Thomas Lawrence,
Sarah Barrett Moulton: Pinkie (1794)
The Huntington's permanent art collections are displayed in three galleries while a fourth space is dedicated to changing exhibitions. The collections focus on European art from the 15th to the early 20th century and American art from the late 17th to the mid-20th century. The Huntington Art Gallery, originally the Huntington residence, contains one of the most comprehensive collections in the US of 18th and 19th century British and French art. It serves as home to Thomas Gainsborough’s Blue Boy and Thomas Lawrence’s Pinkie.

After an orientation talk about the Huntington, we will be divided into groups. Each of the groups will have two fine art talks based on the vast Huntington collections. Afterwards, we will have some free time to visit parts of the collections on our own before we depart for lunch.

Thanks to ISA member Wendy Gerdau, lunch has been arranged at The Raymond, a charming restaurant in the craftsman architecture style filled with California plein-air art offering 4-star Zagat-rated cuisine. ISA Fine Art and AFDA members will have the exclusive use of the entire restaurant.

After lunch, we'll head to the Norton Simon Museum. The Norton Simon came into existence in 1941 as the Pasadena Art Institute before it merged with the Pasadena Museum of Art. In 1953, the Museum received nearly 500 artworks from the Scheyer estate, including works by German Expressionists Kandinsky, Klee, Jawlensky, Feininger and others. The gift not only included art works but an archive of correspondence with the artists. In the 1960s, the Museum added works by Larry Bell, Richard Diebenkorn, Ellsworth Kelly, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, Ed Ruscha, Frank Stella and Andy Warhol.

Norton Simon collections featuring
Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen by Edgar Degas

Norton Simon’s activity as a collector spanned more than 30 years and encompassed the purchase of more than 8,000 works of art during his lifetime. Today, the collection is comprised of about 12,000 objects, including the only painting by Raphael on the west coast, three portraits by Rembrandt, six superb paintings by Van Gogh, over one hundred works by Degas, an important collection of Indian and Southeast Asian sculpture that spans over 2500 years, and other superlative works.

At the Norton Simon we have a custom-designed tour of the Degas as Sculptor exhibition. Towards the end of the presentation, the exhibition’s curator, Emily Talbot, will address our whole group. While we are at the Norton Simon, we are free to visit the special Rembrandt exhibition as well as the permanent collections on view.

I can't wait to see all of you at Assets!

Irene Szylinger, ISA AM, is a specialist in American, Canadian and European art from the 19th century to the present. She spent over twenty-five years working in museums and art galleries, and is now principal of an arts management and appraisal business as well as a provider of Public Art Commissions. She has been an accredited member of ISA since 1997.


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