May 3, 1940:
Accessions for the months of January, February and March at the Brooklyn Museum are on view in a Recent Accessions Exhibition, from Friday, May 3, through Sunday, June 2. Objects in the Departments of American Indian Art and Primitive Cultures, Egyptology, Painting and Sculpture, American Rooms, and Prints and Drawings, will make up the exhibition.
Among the outstanding pieces are a 16th Century Peruvian textile; an Egyptian late 18th Dynasty statuette of painted ivory; paintings by Eastman Johnson, William S. Mount, Frank Duveneck and Maurice Utrillo; a bronze head by Gaston Lachaise; eighteen pieces of silver; nine pieces of glass; and among the prints and drawings examples of the work of the two Japanese artists, Kunisada and Kenjiro, and lithographs by George Bellows and Daumier.
The most noteworthy piece, from the Museum's point of view, is the Peruvian 16th Century tapestry, which it purchased, showing native weaving with Spanish influence in the design. M.D.C. Crawford, Research Editor of the Fairchild Publications, says, “It is, in my judgment, one of the finest pieces of its kind in any museum, here or abroad.
The predominant color is light brown; other colors are bright blue, reddish brown, black, white and gray. The center portion of the tapestry is Inca in design, showing animals, birds and flowers in an all-over pattern, with a small animal in the center. The central portion has a border of serpent-like scroll, animal and bird motives on a blue ground. The wide border surrounding this has an elaborate all-over pattern of vases, birds, animals and flowers in various colors on a gray ground. The next border is bright blue, repeating in design the other blue border. The outer border of the tapestry is light brown with conventionalized floral and geometric patterns.
Other objects purchased for the Department of American Indian Art and Primitive Cultures are four American Indian paintings by Oqua Pi, Awa Tsireh, Louis Lomoyesva, and Mootzka; and three 19th Century Santos from Christianized Spanish communities in New Mexico.
The same Department is also showing a pair of Peruvian 17th Century silver spurs, the gift of Mrs. Luke Vincent Lockwood, and two standing figures in light brown wood of the Bantu race, Beira, Mozambique, Portuguese East Africa, the gift of Mrs. C. von Merz.
The only object shown from the Department of Egyptology is a late 18th Dynasty figure purchased by the Museum; a small painted ivory statuette of a nude girl wearing an elaborately braided wig and standing on a blue faience base in which there is an oblong depression bearing a cartouche of Amenophis III inlaid in light blue faience.
“Playing Truant,” an oil painting by William S. Mount, is a purchase for the Department of Painting and Sculpture. It is from the collection of Judge Selah B. Strong, in whose family the picture remained since it was painted in 1848. It represents a scene near the Strong house at Setauket, Long Island, and includes figures of Judge Strong’s father as a boy playing truant, and his grandfather, an old gentleman, coming up the hill.
Frank Duveneck’s “Mary Cabot Wheelright,” of Boston, is also a purchase. It was painted in 1882, and is a well-known picture. It was shown in the large Duveneck exhibitions at the Cincinnati Art Museum in 1936 and at the Whitney Museum’s exhibition of American Art in 1938. The third painting purchase is Maurice Utrillo’s oil, “Rue Norvins, Paris,” done about 1916, which is generally regarded as his best period.
As a result of the comprehensive Eastman Johnson Exhibition early in the year, the Museum now owns, as gifts, two oils, “Not at Home” and “A Ride for Liberty - The Fugitive Slaves,” presented by Miss Gwendolyn O. L. Conkling; one of the artist’s sketch books of anatomical studios, given by Mr. Albert Duveen; and one of the only known lithographs by Johnson, called “Marguerite,” presented by Mrs. William P. Hamilton and Miss Grace Parsons Hart. “Not at Home” is now hanging in the current special exhibition of costumes, and “A Ride for Liberty -The Fugitive Slaves” will represent the new group in the Recent Accessions showing.
The latter is one of Johnson’s Civil War subjects. There is a record of an inscription on the back of another version of it, which has so far not been located, in which the artist notes, “A veritable incident of the Civil War, seen by myself at Centerville on the morning of McClelland’s advance to Manassas, March 2, 1862.”
Other examples of graphic arts shown by the Department of Painting and Sculpture are two drawings by Andre Lhote; a pastel, “Two Dancers,” by Raphael Soyer; and a gouache, “Farm Ruins,” by Aaron Bohrod.
The only piece of contemporary sculpture shown is the bronze “Head of a Woman by Gaston Lachaise, purchased from the artist’s widow. It was specially cast for the Museum from a plaster model in Mme. Lachaise’s possession, and is the first bronze cast to be made of the work.
A rare Japanese print, presented to the Department of Prints and Drawings, and shown for the first time in this exhibition, is “View of Fuji” from Miho Bay, a woodcut by Kunisada, printed in blue only. Another is a modern woodcut by Kenjiro, showing the actor “Makamura Gansiro as Kamiya Jihei.” Both were presented by Mr. Louis V. Ledoux. There will also be shown Timothy Cole’s wood engraving after Sargent of John D. Rockefeller, Sr., the gift of Mr. John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
Some of the Museum’s growing collection of colored American glass will be revealed by the group of nine purchases arranged for this show, consisting of a light sapphire blue bull’s-eye light, attributed to the Brooklyn Flint Glass Works established in 1824 by John L. Gilliland; three vases, a Stiegel amethyst, a Washington, D.C. clear glass, and a clear glass one unidentified as to factory; an amethyst Stiegel and an amber Ohio-Stiegel bottle; a South Jersey pale aquamarine sugar bowl, a Stiegel sapphire blue bowl and a Kent-Ohio light green bowl.
At this time, silver presented by Miss Elsie W. Atwater, is shown. This comprises eighteen pieces of early 19th Century American work decorated with the “basket of flowers” pattern, various pieces bearing different maker’s marks.
Several additions to the Museum’s extensive costume collection will also be on exhibition, including a Bohemian and a Roumanian 19th Century costume, gift of Miss Mabel Choate; brocade evening dress, gift of Mrs. William H. Childs; black satin dress with rhinestone trimming, made by Premet, Paris (1926), gift of Mr. Julian Street, Jr.; white satin ball dress (1890), gift of Mr. Frederick Street Hoppin; embroidered gray satin afternoon costume (1910), gift of Mrs. Edwin Carrington Ward; brown and gold net evening dress (1934) and a red suede hat with green coq feathers (1940), given by Miss Charlotte Churchill Starr.