Before we get to the meat and potatoes of this month’s topic I wish all of you a very happy holiday season. This volume marks the end of our third year and while we have a number of topics in the hopper, I am always interested in hearing from our readers concerning issues and subjects they would like me to comment on.
Last month I discussed ways in which owners of important works of art can loan their paintings to interesting and important museum exhibitions. A number of our readers voiced their concerns about the length of time a work would need to be ‘on the road’. This month I will give you some tips on:
Have no fear, this is not a discussion on finance, but rather the opportunities for you to loan works of art you own to museums for short periods of time. Typically, traveling museum exhibitions will go to 4 – 6 venues and run for 2 to 3 years --- many people are not comfortable giving up a work of art, which is in their home, for that length of time. However, numerous museums would be more than happy to display specific works of art for short periods of time … especially if those works not only relate to the museum’s collection, but actually fill voids in them.
To begin with we need to define ‘short term’ … from the curators and directors I have talked with, the minimum amount of time a museum would consider borrowing a single work of art would be 3 months, but of course, the longer the better. Remember, they will want to get the most they can from the loan and not only need time to properly promote it, but to give their visitors ample time to come and view it.
As with any possible loan (short or long term), a little homework is needed. Try to determine which museums are right for the work in question and make sure that they are willing to actually display the work during the loan period. Our recommendation is to not only choose a museum that specializes in the period of art that your work relates to, but one that would be considered a small to mid-size institution … they will have the most flexibility when it comes to moving works around on short notice.
Another often overlooked option is to contact your local museum, possibly one you frequently visit or support, to see if they would be interested in displaying an important work from a local collection. Even if they do not have a great collection, or one that actually relates to the work in question, the fact that it is from a local collector might be of interest to them, and it is a great way to show your support!
As I have stated in the past, we believe that individual collectors should help support the museum community through loaning works so that others can also enjoy them (even if it is only for short periods of time); and while these loans will bring you a great deal of personal satisfaction, in many cases there may also be a few small monetary benefits!
Let’s say that you own two homes, one of which you use for only a few months each year and in that home you have a number of important original works of art. Some of the smaller museums in your area may be willing to store (and display) the works while the house is not in use. If you have enough works from a single period, the museum might even be willing to create a theme exhibition based solely on the collection. These smaller museums may also cover many of the costs associated with the transportation and, while in their possession, pay for the insurance, installation and security. This would not only allow you the opportunity to share the works with the public, but would reduce your carrying costs for a period of time.
I am sure you are now wondering -- why a museum would be willing to do this? And one of the questions I posed to the curators I spoke with was – are you borrowing these works with the hopes of some day receiving them as a gift? The answer was always No! Of course the museum would be delighted to receive the works as a gift; however their main concern is creating interesting exhibits to increase the museum’s attendance, visibility and stature in the community. Finding and displaying previously ‘unknown’ works is a great way for them to accomplish this.
A quick call or letter to the curator or director of your selected museums is all it takes. You will find that they will be very interested in learning about your collection and the potential loans that may come from it.
This is a great way to support your local, or favorite, museum.
There is a very interesting show currently on view at The Dahesh Museum of Art, New York City, titled Charles Bargue: The Art of Drawing (November 25, 2003 – February 8, 2004). This is the first exhibition devoted to this artist and his oeuvre and will feature a magnificent selection of lithographs from the Cours de Dessin on loan from the Musée Goupil, Bordeaux, one of only 2 institutions known to own the complete set; a large selection of Bargue’s extremely rare oil paintings, jewel-like works that were highly prized by major collectors in both Europe and the United States; and a selection of his most significant drawings.
Lenders to the exhibition include the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Walters Art Museum; the National Museum and Gallery of Wales; the National Museum of Sweden, Stockholm; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and the Princeton University Art Museum; as well as a number of private collectors.
Generations of late 19th-century art students, including Vincent van Gogh and Pablo Picasso, made active use of a series of 197 lithographs created by a little-known French artist, Charles Bargue (1826/27–1883). Bargue, hugely talented and probably self-taught, first published the exquisite collection of plates called the Cours de Dessin in Paris with Goupil & Cie between 1868 and ca. 1871. Goupil’s connected Bargue with one of their best-selling artists, Jean-Léon Gérôme, and together they published and sold thousands of these teaching manuals. Young artists copied plates in sequence in order to perfect their drawing skills, hoping to emulate Bargue’s refinement of line, shading, volume, and perspective. While other such manuals were in circulation at the time, Bargue's was considered by far the most complete and technically proficient. It soon became the most popular drawing course of the 19th century and gave Bargue a reputation as not only a lithographer, or craftsman, but also as an artist to watch.
The exhibition celebrates the long anticipated re-publication (by ACR Editions, Paris) of Bargue’s original Cours de Dessin, housed in a clothbound slipcover. Guest Curator Professor Gerald M. Ackerman, the pre-eminent Gérôme and Bargue scholar, is the author of this monograph. Ackerman’s incisive interpretations of each plate afford the artist/reader a clear understanding of how the manual was meant to function as a teaching tool. His biography of Bargue is the first published anywhere.
Howard L. Rehs
© Rehs Galleries, Inc., New York City - December 2003
Gallery Updates: Please note that the gallery will be closed this month from December 29 – January 4 and will reopen on Monday January 5th, 2004. Since our last update we have acquired interesting and unique works by Louis M. de Schryver, Adrien Moreau, George Sheridan Knowles, Jean Carolus, Édouard Cortès, George Armfield, Antoine Blanchard, and Sally Swatland – some of which have been added to our site.
Virtual Exhibitions: This month we have updated Rehs Galleries: A Visual History with a fabulous work by the French Neoclassical artist Guillaume Seignac (1870 – 1924) titled Reflections that the gallery sold in 1984 …. I am sure you will enjoy seeing it.
Guillaume Seignac - Reflections
Since our last update we have sold a number of paintings by many of our favorite artists. Images of most of these works have been added to their respective Virtual Exhibitions; among them were: Francesco Bergamini’s In the Tavern, Paul Blondeau’s Waiting for the Ferryman, Victor Gilbert’s Marche aux fleurs, Theodor Schmidt’s Wake Up, Gregory Frank Harris’ Gladiolas & Copper, a number of works by Édouard Cortès including: Théâtre du Vaudeville, Place de la Republique, Place de la Concorde, Place du Tertre (Montmartre), Flower Market (Madeleine), and Famille le soir à la veillée; a number of works by Antoine Blanchard including: Place de la Republique and Rue de la Paix, Opera along with Sally Swatland’s Sunny Afternoon, and Early Morning on the Island.
Next Month: A year-end wrap-up.