East Coast museum adds to collection

“River landscape with boats and Liesvelt Castle”, 1641, oil on panel, by Salomon Jacobsz van Ruysdael, Wadsworth Atheneum M useum of Art, The Douglas Tracy Smith and Dorothy Potter Smith Fund, and The H. Hilliard Smith Fund, 2016.4.1

“River landscape with boats and Liesvelt Castle”, 1641, oil on panel, by Salomon Jacobsz van Ruysdael, Wadsworth Atheneum M useum of Art, The Douglas Tracy Smith and Dorothy Potter Smith Fund, and The H. Hilliard Smith Fund, 2016.4.1

New works of art by major artists, a 17th-century Dutch landscape by Salomon Jacobsz van Ruysdael and a portrait by contemporary American artist Kehinde Wiley, were acquired by the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art and are on view to the public.

 

     “One of the more serious activities for a museum is the thoughtful building of its collections with the education and delight of future generations of museum-goers in mind,” said Thomas J. Loughman, Director and C.E.O. “In the case of these two new works of art, we are especially fortunate to have acquired stellar exemplars by two very different but much sought-after artists. Both fundamentally strengthen the Wadsworth Atheneum’s encyclopedic collection.”

     “River Landscape with Boats and Liesvelt Castle” (1641) by 17th-century Dutch painter Salomon Jacobsz van Ruysdael (1602-1670) was purchased at Maastricht during The European Fine Art Fair in March. Signed and dated 1641 and imbued with soft, subtly applied colors, the work is one of the most felicitous achievements of van Ruysdael’s early period. Its lyrical character and everyday life scenery can stand emblematically for the Dutch term for Ruysdael’s time: “the Gouden Eeuw,” the Golden Age of the Netherlands.

Dutch artists revolutionized landscape painting during the 17th century, as the watery, flat and prosaic countryside of the Netherlands inspired countless painters to depict the land in an often naturalistic way. Among them, Salomon van Ruysdael became, along with Jan van Goyen, one of the most influential Dutch landscape painters in his own day and for later generations, including the burgeoning landscapists of the Hudson River School in early 19th-century America.

“Portrait of Toks Adewetan (Christ, The King of Glory)”, 2016, oil on canvas, by Kehinde Wiley,  Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Gift of Anonymous Donor, 2016.6.1

“Portrait of Toks Adewetan (Christ, The King of Glory)”, 2016, oil on canvas, by Kehinde Wiley, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Gift of Anonymous Donor, 2016.6.1

     “Portrait of Toks Adewetan (The King of Glory)” (2016) by American artist Kehinde Wiley (b. 1977) is the first work by the artist to enter the museum’s collection. Wiley is one of the more interesting contemporary portrait painters working today. His work raises questions about race and the politics of representation, accomplished by imitating the paintings of Old Masters, but replacing the aristocratic European subjects with contemporary black and brown men and women. Wiley approaches his subjects on the streets of New York. In the studio, the sitter selects a portrait for art history on which his image will be based. Toks Adewetan’s source image is a 14th-century Russian icon of Christ in the collection of the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow.

Artist Wiley’s portraits are painted in a photorealistic, hyper-baroque style, with confrontational figures and highly ornate, classic gilded frames. The backgrounds of Wiley’s paintings are often derived from the textile and wallpaper designs, in this case William Morris’s 1866 design “Blue Fruit” or “Pomegranate” wallpaper, which has come to life with flowering, leafy branches springing from the background over the sitter’s crossed arms.

In terms of iconography, the pomegranate is a symbol of Christ. Often split open, the red juice represents Christ’s blood and suffering and the seeds that burst forth from the fruit represent his resurrection. The thorny branches of the pomegranate tree suggest Christ’s crown of thorns. But the sitter wears two symbols of non-Christian religions: the Ankh is the Egyptian cross symbolizing life; the Green Buddha is a symbol of environmentalism and Buddhist practice.

For more information, call 860.278.2670 or see: www.thewadsworth.org.

 




Published by on May 2016. Filed under At the Museums dept, Connecticut, News (Time related), Palette News Arts Network/PNAN, PaletteBoards Section. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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