Dallas Museum of Art Discovers a New Attribution in Its Reves Collection
The Dallas Museum of Art announced today the reattribution of a Baroque sculpture to the artist Giovanni Bonazza, a prominent Italian sculptor active in Padua in the 17th and 18th centuries. The work of art has been in the Museum’s collection for nearly thirty years, entering in 1985 as part of the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection.
When the DMA acquired the Reclining Nymph, it was considered to be by the hand of Alessandro Algardi (1598–1654), an Italian sculptor who was the main rival of the great Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Leo Planiscig, a historian of Italian Renaissance sculpture, made the attribution, but the Museum was doubtful and consulted experts, who confirmed that Algardi did not carve the nymph. The attribution changed to an anonymous artist, and remained that way for over twenty years.
Recently, Olivier Meslay, Associate Director of Curatorial Affairs at the DMA, saw an impressive marble pedestal sculpted by Giovanni Bonazza (1654–1736) at a European art fair. Immediately, he believed the authorship of the DMA’s unsigned marble was by Bonazza based upon visual and stylistic evidence.
According to Meslay, Bonazza's remarkable marble pedestal determined conclusively the authorship of the nymph. Meslay found that the pedestal's allegorical figures of Fides and Decorum related perfectly to the Reclining Nymph. The figures share plump, asymmetrical cheeks and the same slender hands. The most convincing similarity is between the facial shape and structure of Decorum and the nymph's own face, though the former is a male figure.
Image: Giovanni Bonazza, Reclining Nymph, c. 1700, white marble, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection
Dallas Museum of Art Publishes Its First Catalogue Devoted Solely to the Arts of Island Southeast Asia
In the summer of 2013, the DMA published its first catalogue devoted solely to the Museum’s Island Southeast Asian collection, Eyes of the Ancestors: The Arts of Island Southeast Asia at the Dallas Museum of Art. This is the third in a series of catalogues documenting the magnificent works in the DMA’s encyclopedic collection, following the 2009 publication of The Arts of Africa at the Dallas Museum of Art and the publication of The Arts of India, Southeast Asia, and the Himalayas at the Dallas Museum of Art, released in early 2013.
The new catalogue takes an in-depth look at the Dallas Museum of Art’s internationally significant collection of artworks from Island Southeast Asia, which has brought it much acclaim over the past thirty years. Beautiful photography and essays by distinguished international scholars unlock the magic of these distinctive island cultures.
The DMA’s Island Southeast Asia collection is an exemplary one, based on artistic excellence and drawn from indigenous peoples who created these items during the apogee of their traditional cultures. The collection is also internationally known for its iconic works and for its subtle mixture of sculpture, textiles, metalwork, and jewelry. Visitors can experience many objects from the collection that are currently on view in the Asian galleries and other galleries at the DMA, all included in free general admission.
DMA Acquires New Work of Decorative Arts and Design
The Dallas Museum of Art acquired a major work of postmodernism, the Miss Blanche armchair by Japanese designer Shiro Kuramata (1934–1991), in May 2013. An integral addition to the Museum’s decorative arts and design collection, the chair was acquired in honor of outgoing DMA Board of Trustees Chairman Deedie Potter Rose and her many years of service to the Museum. The work is on view, and included in free general admission, in the DMA’s Form/Unformed: Design from 1960 to the Present installation on Level 4.
Miss Blanche is widely considered Kuramata’s masterpiece and debuted at the KAGU Tokyo Designer’s Week in 1988. The armchair, with its artificial roses suspended in acrylic, was inspired by a corsage worn by actress Vivien Leigh as Blanche DuBois in the movie version of A Streetcar Named Desire. The DMA’s example, a prototype, was originally acquired through the estate of the artist.
Miss Blanche is a sculptural experimentation for the designer, incorporating slabs of cast acrylic for its transparent, ethereal quality, seemingly denying what is in fact a weighty mass suspended upon tubes of colored aluminum. The sense of lightness was furthered by Kuramata’s obsession with the placement of the roses in the acrylic; he reputedly admonished the manufacturer’s staff to “make sure they float” by constantly adjusting the position of the stems as the medium cured. In 1990, Kuramata followed his edition of Miss Blanche with a totemic Feather Stool, also in cast acrylic but utilizing feathers in lieu of artificial flowers.
Image: Miss Blanche armchair, Shiro Kuramata, designer; Ishimaru Company Ltd., manufacturer, designed 1988, executed 1989, acrylic, artificial roses, and aluminum with Alumite (anodized) finish, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Caren Prothro, Vincent and Dara Prothro, and Nita and Cullum Clark, and Catherine, Alex, Charlie, Jack, and Will Rose, and Lela Rose and Grey, Rosey, and Brandon Jones in honor of Deedie Rose, DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund, and Discretionary Decorative Arts Fund, 2012.29.a-e
The Quality Instinct: Seeing Art Through a Museum Director’s Eye by Maxwell L. Anderson Provides Readers with Insights and Anecdotes on How to See and Judge Art
Maxwell L. Anderson, the newly named Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art and former director of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, enters the fray with The Quality Instinct: Seeing Art Through a Museum Director’s Eye. Part personal memoir, part thinking person’s guide to the museum, The Quality Instinct is filled with wit, humor, anecdotes, and insights from the author’s thirty years in the highly competitive, often contentious art world. Anderson takes us on a grand tour of ancient and contemporary art, sharing five simple metrics of quality that help us increase our “visual literacy” as we learn to see, not simply look—and yes, to judge.
All proceeds from the sales will go directly to the Dallas Museum of Art.