VMFA Acquisition: Emil Nolde, South Seas Landscape, ca. 1914-15

German Expressionist Painting, African American Installation, and American and European Decorative Arts Acquired

March 2014 Art Acquisitions

An important German Expressionist painting, a 21st-century installation by a prominent African American artist, an early-20th-century Arts and Crafts chair, and a 17th-century Dutch tankard are among the acquisitions accepted by VMFA’s board of trustees on March 20, 2014.

German Expressionist Painting
Emil Nolde (German, 1867–1956), South Seas Landscape, ca. 1914-15, oil on canvas, 36 ¾ x 41 ½” (framed dimension) Gift of Dr. George and Mrs. Marylou Fischer.

South Seas Landscape is a major work within Emil Nolde’s oeuvre and an important highlight of VMFA’s early-20th-century European collection. A recent gift from George Fischer, grandson of Ludwig and Rosie (who assembled the collection in Germany in the 19-teens and 1920s and divided it between their two sons, Ernst and Max) it joins another painting and 12 works on paper by Nolde, making VMFA a significant repository of his art in the United States. Nolde was one of the first members of the German Expressionist movement Die Brücke. In 1913, he traveled to the South Seas on a cultural expedition. This painting reveals his search for the untamed and unspoiled energy of the natural world. The hand-carved frame, with a motif of devouring monsters, underscores the artist’s belief in the “elemental, animate forces of nature.”

VMFA’s Fischer Collection was brought to America in 1934 by Ernst and Anne Fischer. Brother Max remained in Germany for several more years and most of his half of the original collection was lost. This Nolde painting is one of the few remaining works from Max’s collection and was inherited by his nephew, George Fischer.

African American Installation

Radcliffe Bailey (American, born 1968), Vessel, 2012. tarp, thread, iron, vintage model ship, African sculpture, wicker basket, and glass, ca 120 x 188 x 89” Pamela K. and William A. Royall Jr. Fund for 21st-Century Art and NEA Endowment Fund.

Radcliffe Bailey’s mixed-media paintings and installations are often rooted in personal experiences and family history, but translate into larger narratives of the African American diaspora. Vessel brings together an array of found materials to form a tableau of displacement and migration: rustic French grape-harvesting baskets filled with crushed glass; a weathered shipping tarp embroidered with constellations, black Civil War troop regiment numbers, and states adjacent to the Mason-Dixon line; and an antique toy ship bearing an African sculpture, evoking the Middle Passage and a protective ancestor figure. The acquisition strengthens VMFA’s 21st-century holdings as well as its representation of work by African American artists.

American Decorative Arts

Designed by William Lightfoot Price (1861-1916) Made by Rose Valley Shops (1901-1906) Armchair, 1903, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, white oak, 52 ½ x 26 1/8 x 22 ¼” Branded “Rose Valley Shops”. Gabe Burton Fund.

William L. Price belonged to an important group of cultural reformers working in Philadelphia in the wake of the 1876 Centennial International Exhibition. An architect and designer, he was a founder of the Rose Valley Association, a utopian community established in 1901 near Moylen, Penn. The Rose Valley Shops began producing furniture in 1901 and closed in 1906. This striking chair reveals how Price blended an Arts and Crafts philosophy with historical Anglo-American colonial design, complicating conventional notions of the Colonial Revival—a key theme of VMFA’s forthcoming exhibition Making America: Myth, Memory, Identity (Fall 2015).

European Decorative Arts
Tankard, ca. 1680 Japanese and Dutch Body: porcelain with cobalt underglaze decoration, called Arita ware. Mount: silver domed cover and thumb piece by Wouter Muller (Dutch silversmith and medalist, active 1653-1688), 10” H.

This large example of blue-and-white Arita ware reveals the taste for Japanese art in 17th-century Netherlands. Although China historically supplied porcelain to Europe—true porcelain was not produced there until the German Meissen manufactory “discovered” its composition of ingredients in the 18th century—the new Dutch monopoly on trade with Japan led to a demand for works such as this tankard. Mounted in Amsterdam, the silver lid incorporates a medal representing a celebrated Dutch admiral. Uniting a European form with floral decoration typical of Japanese design, this cross-cultural work is an ideal acquisition for VMFA given its resonance for the museum’s American, Asian, and European holdings.

Additional Acquisitions

• Yoruba culture (Nigeria, Republic of Benin), Torque (currency), 17th-18th century, copper alloy, 10¼” D. Gift of Jacques and Brigitte Hautelet, La Jolla, Calif.

• Three African Objects: Zulu culture (South Africa): Beaded Cape (Isikoti), pre-1950, cotton trade cloth, glass beads, fiber, 38 x 33½” (2013.731); Beaded Cape (Isikoti), ca 1960s, cotton trade cloth, glass beads, fiber, 37 x 35½” (2013.732). Mbukushu culture, (Okavango region, Namibia), Thihukela-style Wig, ca. 1970, leather, fiber, ocher, glass and plastic beads, 25½” L (2013.733). Gift of William D. and Norma Canelas Roth, Winter Haven, Fla.

• Seven African Objects: Eture Egbed (active 1960s-70s), Isoko culture (Nigeria) Ivri figure, 20th century, wood, paint, 13¼” H (2013.738); Yoruba culture (Nigeria, Republic of Benin): Ibejis (Twin Statuettes), 19th-20th century, wood, 12”h and 11⅞” H (2013.735.1-2); Hunter or Warrior with Attendants, 20th century, wood, paint, 16” H (2013.736); Esu, 20th century, wood, paint, 9½” H (2013.737); Fante culture (Ghana) Akua’ba (Fertility Doll), 20th century, wood, string, glass beads (2013.739); Akan (Fante) culture (Ghana), Kente Cloth, mid-20th century, cotton, 126 x 87” (2013.734). Gift of Dr. Richard K. and Barbara Priebe, Richmond, Va.

• Unknown artisan, American, Pair of Sconces, ca. 1800–1810, tulip poplar, carved, gessoed, and gilded; iron wire chain, 39 x 14½”. Floyd D. and Anne C. Gottwald Fund.

• William Henry Jackson (American, 1843-1942), and the Detroit Publishing Company, 154 assorted photochroms, ca. 1898-1905, 119 cards: 3½ x 7”; 35 cards: 7 x 9”. Gift of an Anonymous Donor.

• Clare Leighton (American, b. England, 1898-1989), Ice Cutting (New England Industries set for Wedgwood Queen’s Ware), ca. 1949-50, transfer-printed creamware, 10⅝” D (2013.706). Gift of Stephen Borkowski, Provincetown, Mass.

• Elizabeth Nottingham (American, 1907-1956), 12 works on paper, 1929-1943, gouache, watercolor, pen and ink, and lithographs, various sizes (2013.707-2013.718). Gift of H. Talmadge Day, Alexandria, Va.

East Asian
• 100 Japanese woodblock prints by various artists, including Utagawa Kunisada, Utagawa Kuniyoshi, Toyohara Kunichika, Utagawa Kuniaki, and Utagawa Fusatane, 19th century (2013.740-2013.839). Gift of Japan-Virginia Society, Richmond, Va.

• Eugène Grasset (French, 1845-1917), La Plante et ses applications ornementales, 1896, Volumes 1 and 2, Paris, Libraire Centrale des Beaux Arts; E. Lévy & Cie, editor, 144 colored plates in two-volume folio with linen cover, 18-7/64 x 12-63/64”. Swenson Art Nouveau Fund for VMFA Freeman Library Special Collection.

• Félix Bracquemond (French, 1833-1914), Couple au Bord d’un Etang, 1850, pen and brown ink on laid paper, Sheet: 9¼ x 12⅛” (2013.704). Gift of Frank Raysor, Richmond, Va.

Modern & Contemporary
• Henrique Oliveira (Brazilian, b. 1973), Xilempasto 6, 2013, plywood and pigment, 124 x 94½”. Pamela K. and William A. Royall Jr. Fund for 21st-century Art and the Aldine S. Hartman Endowment Fund.

• Angel Otero (American, born Puerto Rican, 1981), Untitled (SK-MY), 2013, oil paint and oil paint skins collaged on canvas, 96½ x 72½ x 4”. Pamela K. and William A. Royall Jr. Fund for 21st-century Art and the Aldine S. Hartman Endowment Fund.

• Katie Grinnan (American, b. 1970), Brainwaves, 2011, mixed media construct with projector, DVD player, and 90-minute video (2013.840). Gift of Pamela K. and William A. Royall, Jr., Richmond, Va.

• Shirley Kaneda (American, born in Tokyo, 1951), Disloyal Devotion, 1998, oil and acrylic on canvas, 82 x 62 ½” (2013.705). Gift of Jean Crutchfield and Robert Hobbs, Richmond, Va.

• Sol LeWitt (American, 1928-2007), 2 prints: Abstract (Circle), 1979, etching 18½ x 22½”, trial print (2013.729); and Abstract (Circle), ca. 1979, etching, 10¼ x 10¼, ed. 2/10 (2013.730). Gift of Dr. Brigitte de la Burdé, Richmond, Va.

• Seymour Lipton (American, 1903-1986), 10 drawings, 1950s-1960s, black conte crayon, ink, and pencil, each approximately 11 x 8½” (2013.719-2013.728). Gift of Mr. Alan Lipton, Bethesda, Md.

• Sally Mann (American, b. 1951), Untitled: Self Portraits (18), 2006-2007, Ambrotypes with sandarac varnish, 82¼ x 45½” overall (2013.841). Gift of Pamela K. and William A. Royall, Jr., Richmond, Va.

• Seven Portfolios by One/Off Printmakers collective, various artists, 2000-2013, works on paper. Gift of One-Off Printmakers, Richmond, Va.

• Arthur Rothstein (American, 1915-1985), Cider Stand, Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia, 1935, gelatin silver print, 8⅝ x 12”. Aldine S. Hartman Endowment Fund.

• Brett Weston (American, 1911-1993), Virginia Farm, 1947, vintage gelatin silver print, 7½ x 9½”. Aldine S. Hartman Endowment Fund.

• Andy Warhol (American, 1928-1987), Little Red Book 154, 1972, 22 dye diffusion photographs (Polacolor), paper and plastic, 3½ x 5½ x ½” (album). Gift of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., New York.

South Asian
• Indian, North India, 15th century, Page from a behari Qur’an, ink, gold, opaque watercolor on paper, 9 1/16 x 8½”. Adolph D. and Wilkins C. Williams Fund.

About VMFA acquisitions
These works of art were approved by the VMFA Board of Trustees in March 2014. VMFA is a state agency and a public/private partnership. All art is purchased with private funds from dedicated endowments. After VMFA’s board approves proposed acquisitions on a quarterly basis, the art becomes the property of the Commonwealth of Virginia to protect, preserve, and interpret.

About the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
VMFA’s permanent collection encompasses more than 33,000 works of art spanning 5,000 years of world history. Its collections of Art Nouveau and Art Deco, English silver, Fabergé, and the art of South Asia are among the finest in the nation. With acclaimed holdings in American, British Sporting, Impressionist and Post-Impressionist, and Modern and Contemporary art – and additional strengths in African, Ancient, East Asian, and European – VMFA ranks as one of the top comprehensive art museums in the United States. Programs include educational activities and studio classes for all ages, plus lively after-hours events. VMFA’s Statewide program includes traveling exhibitions, artist and teacher workshops, and lectures across the Commonwealth. VMFA, a certified Virginia Green attraction, is open 365 days a year and general admission is always free. For additional information, telephone 804-340-1400 or visit www.vmfa.museum.

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