Jacques-Louis David’s Apollo and Diana Attacking the Children of Niobe to Become Museum’s Newest Addition
The Dallas Museum of Art recently acquired Jacques-Louis David’s dramatic work, Apollo and Diana Attacking the Children of Niobe, through the Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund of the Foundation for the Arts as the newest addition to the Museum’s permanent collection, it was announced by John R. Lane, the Eugene McDermott Director of the DMA.
An integral addition to the Museum’s collection of 18th-century European art, its acquisition is also a commemoration of outgoing curator Dorothy Kosinski, Senior Curator of Painting and Sculpture and The Barbara Thomas Lemmon Curator of European Art, and her many years of service to the Museum.
Rarely exhibited, Apollo and Diana Attacking the Children of Niobe is one of David’s earliest works. It was completed in 1772 as the final test in David’s second bid to win the coveted Grand Prix, also known as the Rome Prize, which granted four years of advanced study at the French Academy in Rome.
The painting, currently on view in the Museum’s second floor galleries, depicts the scene from Ovid’s Metamorphoses in which Latona orders her children, Apollo and Diana, to kill Niobe’s 14 children in an act of revenge. Described by Heather McDonald, the Lillian and James Clark Assistant Curator of Painting and Sculpture, who joined Dr. Kosinski in proposing the acquisition, as a “stunning example of 18th -century art,” the painting enhances the DMA’s collection of art from the period and gives museum-goers a more comprehensive taste of the entire 18th Century. “Considering most of David’s works are now already in museum collections, the acquisition of an important mythological painting by the artist is remarkable,” noted Dr. Lane. Apollo and Diana Attacking the Children of Niobe has descended directly in the family of Dr. Andry, Louis XVI’s personal physician, and the first owner of the painting.
Dr. Kosinski has spent 12 of her nearly 30 years of curatorial experience at the DMA. In December 2007, she was named Director of the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., and will assume her position there in May 2008. The acquisition of the painting is in honor of her dedication to and accomplishments on behalf of the Dallas Museum of Art.
“Both Dorothy Kosinski and the Foundation for the Arts have been important assets to the Dallas Museum of Art,” said Dr. Lane. “The acquisition of this beautiful painting by the Foundation in her honor is a generous and much appreciated gift to us that will greatly enrich our already significant collection of French painting.”
The Foundation for the Arts is a nonprofit organization with an independent board of trustees purposed to hold and acquire art for the benefit of the Dallas Museum of Art. The Foundation stewards the Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund created by Mrs. O’Hara in 1975 for the purpose of acquiring 18th and 19th century art.
About the Dallas Museum of Art
The Dallas Museum of Art, established in 1903, has an encyclopedic collection of more than 23,000 works, spanning 5,000 years of history and representing all media, with renowned strengths in the arts of the ancient Americas, Africa, Indonesia and South Asia; European and American painting, sculpture and decorative arts; and American and international contemporary art.
The Dallas Museum of Art is the anchor of the Dallas Arts District and serves as the cultural magnet for the city with diverse programming ranging from exhibitions and lectures to concerts, literary readings, dramatic and dance presentations, and a full spectrum of programs designed to engage people of all ages with the power and excitement of art.
The Dallas Museum of Art is supported in part by the generosity of Museum members and donors and by the citizens of Dallas through the City of Dallas/Office of Cultural Affairs and the Texas Commission on the Arts.