The Dahesh Museum of Art is delighted to announce the acquisition of three American paintings, generously donated by William and Abigail Gerdts. All three works were painted in Europe by painters who were either expatriates or long-term residents. But, from a distance, all three paintings were also intended for the American art market by artists who remained actively involved with the American art world. As such each work marks an Atlantic crossing, truly representative of both the universality of the academic tradition and its global reach. The gift includes:
Diane et deux amours, 1860s–1870s
Oil on canvas, 11 3/8 x 9 3/4 in.
Signed lower left: Wm Babcock
Gift of William and Abigail Gerdts
Babcock’s Classical paintings reflect the influence of the Barbizon master, Narcisse-Virgilio Diaz de la Peña (French, 1807/8–1876), who, in addition to his rural landscapes, painted rococo revival figure compositions throughout his career. Preparatory sketches for the painting are in the collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington (Corcoran Collection).
Water Carriers, Egypt, 1877
Oil on canvas, 12 1/8 x 9 in.
Gift of William and Abigail Gerdts
While Hall is best-known for his finely detailed still lifes, he always considered himself primarily a figure painter. After exhibiting many French, Italian and Spanish scenes in New York, Hall traveled to the Middle East in the 1870s in search of Orientalist subject matter. Here, Hall’s fine attention to detail, interest in the figure, and nuanced sense of the exotic borders on reportage.
Study for “The Strayed Maskers,” ca. 1871
Oil on canvas, 10 3/8 x 12 1/2 in.
Signed lower right as a monogram: EB ROME
Gift of William and Abigail Gerdts
When it was exhibited in Rome in 1872, the correspondent for the Boston Daily Advertiser described The Strayed Maskers:
“One of the noted American pictures of the season is by Eugene Benson. It also enjoys international repute, and is admired greatly by the artists of all nations…. It is a marvelously fine picture.”
Scene of the January Uprising of 1863, 1882
Oil on canvas, 21 1/2 x 41 in.
Signed lower left: A. Piotrowski. 1882. Krakow.
Antoni Piotrowski was a Realist painter and war correspondent, whose battle illustrations frequently appeared in French and British publications. After training in Wojciech Gerson’s studio and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, he studied under Poland’s preeminent history painter Jan Matejko. He painted genre scenes and mythological vignettes, but his primary subject matter was battle imagery, and in 1885 he traveled to the Balkans to portray the Serbo-Bulgarian war. His cycle of nine paintings depicting this conflict toured Europe and won him the position of Court Painter to the Duke of Bulgaria as well as the prestigious Austrian Order of Litteris et Artibus. The present work depicts the recurrent motif of the Polish uprising against the Russian Empire in 1863: a group of Polish insurgents chase down an enemy soldier, who looks back in terror at a rebel preparing to fire on him.
Mrs. Mervat Zahid, President of the Dahesh Museum Board of Trustees, purchased this work from the van Eyck family estate, in memory of Mrs. Irene van Eyck—beloved mother of Museum board member Mr. Peter van Eyck. It is the second work by Piotrowski to enter the collection.
Study after an Antique Sculpture of Marsyas (Studio tratto da un’antica scultura di Marsyas), ca. 1810–20
Charcoal and white chalk on wove paper, 18 3/4 x 15 in.
Gift of Gina Milano in honor of Frank, Lucille, and Robert Milano
The Dahesh recently acquired 11 drawings and a sketch album containing an additional 42 drawings by the Italian artist Tommaso Minardi, the generous gift of Gina Milano in honor of Frank, Lucille, and Robert Milano.
Minardi was a celebrated draftsman, who influenced generations of artists through his publications on aesthetics and as director of the Accademia di Belle Arti in Perugia (1819–1822) and professor at the Accademia di San Luca in Rome (1822–1852). The drawings and sketch album comprise exquisite examples of figure and facial studies as well as copies after Classical and Renaissance works, demonstrating Minardi’s divergent interests in Neoclassicism and Purismo––the Italian movement he championed that drew inspiration from the Nazarenes, a contemporary group of German artists active in Rome. Many of his works are notable for their study of light effects, as illustrated in the drawing of an ancient sculpture of Marsyas, in which he recreates the raking light across a marble surface.
Snow Scene, ca. 1917–18
Oil on canvas, 28 x 39 3/4 in.
Signed and inscribed lower right: P. Mônsted Skogli-Lillehammer
Gift of C. Frederick Vorm and Arlowa S. Vorm
Born at the end of the “Golden Age” of Danish painting, Mønsted is best known for landscapes of his home country in a style that has often been described as “virtuoso naturalism.” Our recently acquired painting is among the artist’s numerous winter scenes that illustrate a diverse set of influences — the distant figures recall one of the earliest winter landscapes, The Hunters in the Snow (1565, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna) by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, which is complemented by the detailed brushwork typical of Danish “Golden Age” painting and an Impressionist’s sensitivity to light. In Snow Scene Mønsted depicted a vignette from the rural outskirts of Lillehammer, which shows two figures moving along a snowy road past rustic cottages. The combination of charm and artistic skill in Mønsted’s winter scenes proved popular, and he showed four different views from around Lillehammer at the prestigious art exhibition at Charlottenburg Palace in Copenhagen, one in 1918, two in 1920, and another in 1923.
Snow Scene was generously donated to the Museum by Charles Frederick Vorm, and it joins two paintings already in the Dahesh collection — a fine Orientalist image Portrait of a Nubian (ca. 1886) and Heather-covered Hills by the Lakes near Silkeborg (1907).
Two Tigers on the Hunt
Oil on panel, 28 1/4 x 36 in.
Signed lower left: R. Ernst
Although famous for his Orientalist images of daily life, Ernst also produced a series of paintings of large felines as captives or pets, resting or on the prowl like Two Tigers on the Hunt. This work, however, is strikingly different from his other bright tiger compositions, such as The Tiger Hunt in the Dahesh Collection. Here, Ernst chose a dark and ominous setting, with two tigers standing at the base of a gnarled tree eyeing their prey across the stream. While he traveled extensively through the Middle East and North Africa, Ernst could not have observed such a scene in that area of the world—the baobab tree is native to Africa, a motif he also used in Cobbler in the Shade of a Baobab Tree, where he fused a Turkish kiosk with a cobbler who seems to be wearing an eclectic Egyptian and North African costume (private collection).
An Egyptian Girl
Oil on canvas, 18 1/2 x 11 in.
Signed lower left: Leopold Carl Müller
Best known for his color and light effects, Müller enjoyed a successful career as an Orientalist painter and instructor at the Vienna Academy. He visited Egypt nine times between 1873 and 1886—earning him the nickname “Müller the Egyptian” from his students—where he captured the country’s everyday life and its people. He wrote his sisters in 1881, “Currently, I only wish to paint a picture which reproduces, even to some degree, the magic of this landscape. I wish you could see the picturesque brown and black Arabs, Nubians, Biscahris, and Barabas gathering in the streets in colorful crowds.” An Egyptian Girl is an exquisite example of Müller’s sensitive bust- or three-quarter-length portraits he made of the different ethnic types. In this picture of a girl shown from the chest up, Müller limits his palette to ochre and brown tones, juxtaposing loose brushstrokes on the girl’s garments and a smooth matte finish on her face in order to intensify her solemn expression—a technique that goes back to the Spanish master Velasquez.
General View of Constantinople (Vue Générale de Constantinople), 1842
Oil on canvas, 19 x 27 1/4 in.
Signed and dated lower right: J. Jacobs / ..42.
Best known for his Romantic European landscapes and seascapes—and as an influential instructor in landscape painting at the renowned Antwerp Academy of Fine Arts—Jacob Jacobs also painted Orientalist scenes inspired by his travels to Egypt and Turkey in the late 1830s. General View of Constantinople is one of several paintings by the artist offering a picturesque view of Istanbul’s Golden Horn, and some of the city’s famous sites, including Hagia Sophia and its newly added minarets, as well as the Galata Tower. A version of this painting was displayed at the 1842 Brussels Salon, where it won a gold medal, and was described as showing Sultan Mahmoud II disembarking in Tophane, a neighborhood in Constantinople (modern day Istanbul).
General View of Constantinople is the first work by Jacobs to enter the Dahesh collection.
Portrait of ‘Naile Hanim’, Mme. Hamdi Bey
Pastel and charcoal on paper, 16 3/4 x 13 3/4 in.
Signed and inscribed lower right: à Madame / Hamdy Bey / Pour reconnaissance / L. Lévy Dhurmer / 1901
A practitioner of the late-19th century Symbolist and Art Nouveau movements in France, Lévy-Dhurmer was also a popular portraitist, who excelled in the medium of pastel. His Portrait of ‘Naile Hanim,’ Mme. Hamdi Bey (1901) is an intimate portrait dedicated by the artist to the sitter, the second wife of Osman Hamdi Bey, a prominent Ottoman painter, archaeologist, and administrator.
This is the first work by Lévy-Dhurmer to enter the Dahesh Museum collection.
A Standing Female Figure
Colored chalk on brown paper, 11 1/2 x 4 1/2 in.
Signed lower right with anthemion
Moore’s drawing, A Standing Female Figure, is typical of the British artist’s luxurious Classical compositions, which display idealized, placid female figures. An advocate of the theory of “art for art’s sake,” Moore emphasized color and form in this work over narrative content. This small sketch may be connected to the artist’s life-size painting Sapphires (1877, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery), or it may have been conceived as an independent work. Both share a similar composition, however the color scheme is entirely different in the final canvas.
A Standing Female Figure is the first work by Moore to enter the Dahesh Museum Collection.
Study for Joseph, Overseer of Pharaoh’s Granaries, ca. 1874
Pencil and watercolor heightened with gouache on card, 16 3/4 x 22 in.
This sheet by Alma-Tadema is related to the splendid painting in the Dahesh Museum collection, Joseph, Overseer of Pharaoh’s Granaries (acquired in 2002), first exhibited in 1874 at the Royal Academy. The subject derives from the Book of Genesis, with Joseph seated on a throne in his role as the Pharaoh’s overseer of the royal granaries, accompanied by a scribe reading him the account of sales. The finished painting follows the general composition and colors of the sketch, with the addition of details of the ancient Egyptian decorations and accoutrements. This study was in the collection of Andy Warhol.
Going to Market, 1851
Oil on canvas, 19 x 27 1/4 in.
Signed and dated lower right: Rosa Bonheur 1851
When Bonheur painted Going to Market, her reputation as an animal painter was already firmly established. The composition, peasants with their ox-drawn carts, demonstrates Bonheur’s command of animal anatomy, which she had studied at horse fairs, cattle markets, and in the family menagerie. While Bonheur won the highest artistic and governmental honors in France, her works were also greatly admired in Great Britain and the United States.
This is the seventh work by Bonheur to enter the Dahesh Museum collection.
The Woman of Boulogne
Bronze with green patina, 24 3/4 x 7 7/8 x 6 5/8 in.
Signed on base back top: Dalou
Foundry mark on base back bottom edge center: SUSSE Fres PARIS …rcue
Foundry mark on base bottom right: SUSSE FRÈRES EDITEURS PARIS.
Inscribed on base bottom right: Susse Fes EJes Paris
Gift of Tracy and Laurel Pulvers
Best known for his public monuments in Paris, in 1870 Dalou began to create statuettes of women. During his exile in London from 1871 to 1879, he executed a series of women from Boulogne—a theme made popular by the paintings of Alphonse Legros, who also lived in England at the same time. The original composition, entitled Palm Sunday at Boulogne, was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1872 and purchased by George Howard, later Earl of Carlisle. A girl returning from church, clasps a prayer book and a branch of leaves, indicating the Palm Sunday mass. In London, Dalou frequently exhibited at the Royal Academy and taught at the National Art Training School in South Kensington (later the Royal College of Art), where he had a profound influence on the development of British sculpture.
David, ca. 1872
Bronze, brown patina, 25 1/2 x 12 3/4 x 17 7/8 in.
Signed on base top right: A. MERCIÉ
Stamped on base at side back center: REDUCTION MECANIQUE A. COLLAS BREVETÉ
Gift of Tracy and Laurel Pulvers
Mercié, one of the most successful sculptors of late 19th- and early 20th-century France, began as a pupil of François Jouffroy and Alexandre Falguière at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He won the Prix de Rome in 1868 and found immediate success with the first plaster model of David that he executed while in Rome. The sculpture symbolized a glimmer of hope for France after its crushing defeat by Prussia. David, armed with a slingshot, brought down the giant Goliath, proving that France too could triumph over its enemy. The State awarded Mercié the Legion of Honor for the work, making him the only artist to receive this distinction while still a student at the French Academy. In 1872 the state commissioned a bronze version of David (Musée d’Orsay), and the Barbedienne foundry cast a miniature version, in six different sizes. The work was widely praised by critics and even caught the attention of Cézanne, who drew the statue on the back of a sketchbook page.
Gloria Victis (Glory to the Vanquished), modeled ca. 1874, cast after 1879
Bronze, dark brown patina with gilt highlights, 36 5/8 x 21 x 16 in.
Signed on base right: A. MERCIE
Inscribed on base at front edge: GLORIA VICTIS
Foundry mark on back base: F. BARBEDIENNE, Fondeur Paris
Stamped on back base: REDUCTION MECANIQUE A. COLLAS BREVETE
Gift of Tracy and Laurel Pulvers
Mercié executed the plaster model for this group while studying in Italy as a Prix de Rome boursier, and exhibited it at the 1874 Salon. The winged female figure carrying a wounded soldier holding a broken sword expressed the loss and sacrifice of the French at the hands of the Prussians in the 1870–71 war. The sculpture won critical and popular acclaim. In his review of the Salon that year, the critic Jules-Antoine Castagnary observed: “while monarchists quarrel over the debris of our battered fortunes…there exists a young sculptor who has undertaken to speak directly to our nation and to console our people who have suffered so much.” Mercié received a medal of honor; the city of Paris purchased the sculpture for 12,000 francs and the model was cast in bronze by Thiébaut et fils (Musée du Petit Palais, Paris). Replicas of it adorned monuments dedicated to those who served in the Franco-Prussian War in many towns and cities throughout France, and the Barbedienne Foundry provided bronze reproductions in different sizes.
Study for The Black Eagle of Prussia, 1870-71
Graphite, black and brown ink on off-white wove paper, 9 5/8 x 14 1/8 in.
Signed lower right: G. Doré
This sheet by Gustave Doré, the most recent addition to the Museum’s substantial drawing collection, is of particular interest because it is a study for an important painting in the Museum collection. The Black Eagle of Prussia is one of three monumental canvases the artist painted in 1870–71, when Prussia defeated France and civil war broke out in Paris. One of three known studies for the painting, it most likely documents Doré’s first idea for the subject. With rapidly executed strokes, Doré determines the general composition: a defeated and prostrate France, embodied by a winged woman wearing a robe and Phrygian bonnet, clutching a broken sword and standard, is threatened by an ominous black eagle, the emblem of Prussia. The drawing differs in several areas from the finished painting, which adds fallen battlefield soldiers and enlarges the size of the bird in relation to the figure.
This is the fourth work by the artist to enter the collection.
Ploughing in the Nivernais (also called The First Dressing), 1868
Oil on canvas, 25 3/4 x 51 in.
Signed and inscribed lower right: E.J. Gardner/Rosa Bonheur/Paris 1868
One of the first American women to study art in Paris, Elizabeth Jane Gardner Bouguereau funded her training by initially making portraits and copies of famous paintings at the Louvre and Luxembourg Museums. Copying works by established artists was a common practice for the student, and this is an especially appropriate painting for the young American to select. A great admirer of Rosa Bonheur—who became her friend and mentor—Gardner aspired to improve her skill at painting animals, revealing to her biographer, Theodore Stanton: “I realized that the animals in my compositions were very inferior to Rosa Bonheur’s.”
Before entering the Académie Julian in 1873 and becoming William Adolphe Bouguereau’s student and eventually his wife, she studied with various prominent faculty members. This canvas, painted during her time of study with the great animal sculptor Antoine-Louis Barye at the Paris Botanical Gardens and Zoo, is a copy of Bonheur’s acclaimed Realist painting Ploughing in the Nivernais (also called The First Dressing), commissioned by the French state in 1848 and displayed at the Luxembourg Museum (now in the Musée d’Orsay). During her 58-year career in Paris, Gardner exhibited her work at the Paris Salon and became the first and only American woman to win a medal.