March 22, 1941
Recent accessions acquired in the last few months by the Brooklyn Museum are on view in an exhibition that opens Saturday, March 22nd and continues through April 27th. It is made up of selections from the Departments of Painting and Sculpture, Ancient Art, American Indian Arts and Primitive Cultures, Oriental, American Rooms and Textiles, and Prints and Drawings.
In the painting section there are eight works, all by American artists of the 19th & 20th Centuries. The most recent is “Music” by Max Weber, who received training at Pratt Institute from 1897 to 1900, while living in Brooklyn. The 19th Century work, done about 1860, is “Art Versus Law” by David Blythe, which has become known by its inclusion in important exhibitions, the most recent this season at the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh. It shows an unprosperous-looking figure, a painter, in a stovepipe hat, standing on the steps of his studio reading an eviction notice nailed to the door. Blythe was a Pittsburgh painter who lived from 1815 to 1865.
Two important acquisitions are water colors by Winslow Homer, “Jumping Trout” and “Fisher Girls on the Beach - Tynemouth.” These augment the Museum’s famous Homer collection. “Jumping Trout”, done in 1889 and acquired from the Homer estate, has been exhibited extensively, and the fisher girls subject is an interesting addition to the collection because It was done in 1881 in England when Homer began his marine subjects and his development as a water color painter.
The “Landscape after Ruisdael” by Thomas Doughty, who preceded the Hudson River School, is a gift of the Pierrepont family. The other paintings shown are “Catskills” by A. D. O. Browere, “Long Island” by Emil Carlsen, and “Still Life” by William Harnett.
The exhibits of the Department of Egyptology are described by Mr. John D. Cooney, the Curator: “The Museum has acquired an object intimately connected with the first known monotheist in history - a limestone stela erected by the king showing himself and his famous queen Nefertiti worshipping the sun disk, or Aten, which he was attempting to substitute as the sole God in place of the vast multitudes of gods then worshipped in Egypt.
“It is a fragment of a large stela from the great Aten temple at Tell el-Amarna, excavated by the famous archaeologist, Sir Flinders Petrie, in 1891-92, while conducting excavations for Lord Amherst. The object entered the Amherst Collection in England, where it was considered one of the important examples of Amarna art in this collection. Made of extremely hard calcareous limestone, and judging by its style, it probably dates from the early years of the founding of Amarna. Its mutilated condition is due to the deliberate destruction of all monuments erected of the heretic king upon the collapse of his movement.
“Another piece is a small limestone portrait statuette, dating from the 12th Dynasty (about 2000 B. C.), of exceptionally fine workmanship. Unlike most Egyptian sculptures, the face appears to be a portrait. It is said to be from the collection of Brugsch Pasha, the German Egyptologist. It is an outstanding object of the period.
“A loan from Mr. Charles Pratt strengthens one of the weakest spots in the Egyptian collection. It is a black granite sculpture of a priest, dating from the 25th or 26th Dynasty (about 700 to 500 B. C.)In one of the well-known poses but of a much finer quality than is usual. Large numbers similar to this piece are known from the late period, but most of them are routine productions. This example has considerable individuality and the elaborate inscriptions give the title of the man, who was a priest and official of the Temple of Amon at Karnak. A touching detail in the inscription is that the man begs the God of the Dead, Osiris, to permit him to be among his friends throughout eternity.”
Among the objects shown by the Department of American Indian Art and Primitive Cultures one of the most important is a wood sculpture of the figure of a man, from Easter Island, done about 1800. Pieces of this kind are rare, so that this constitutes a particularly valuable acquisition. The figure is ably carved from driftwood with rich detail, and represents a peculiarity of Easter Island sculptors in that it represents a man dead from starvation, a subject they were particularly interested in.
Another valuable acquisition is a parrot bowl done by a North American mound builder probably before 1000 A. D., product of the oldest American culture and a race credited with doing the best sculpture of all the North American Indians. It is a figure, about nine Inches long, of a parrot with a bowl scooped out of the center and is remarkable because it was patiently chipped from a piece of hard dark green stone without benefit of metal cutting tools. Nevertheless the surface is smooth and everything is indicated so that it could not be mistaken for anything but a parrot. Practically no other comparable specimens of this kind are known.
The companion to the remarkable feather-decorated Tiahuanacan hat, now on view as the Feature of the Month, is the Tiahuanaco poncho, an example of a complete garment of Peruvian tapestry weaving of about 1000 A. D., when the highest technical skills in the world were achieved there. The design is made up of stylized motifs representing jaguars and condors.
One of the largest examples known of fine Mexican lacquer work on wood is shown in a bowl-shaped tray a yard in diameter, covered with a pattern of figures and vegetation. It was executed just after the Spanish Conquest, about 1550. Other pieces in this section are objects from North, Central and South America.
The Department of American Rooms and Textiles will show pottery, costumes and fans, all of which are gifts. The Pierrepont family has given among other things two French porcelain ewer-shaped blue, white and gold vases of the 19th Century. Other gifts from this source are a white brocade gown, American, 1880, originally owned by Mrs. Rutherford Sturtevant, who was Mary Rutherford Pierrepont; a purple moire gown with black lace trimming, American, 1875, once owned by Mrs. Henry Evelyn Pierrepont, who was Anne Marie Jay; and a court costume with dress sword worn by Henry Evelyn Pierrepont when presented at the Irish Court, Dublin, in 1834.
The collection of French and Spanish fans of the 19th Century on display was presented by Samuel Israel. The selection from a remarkable collection of American pottery and porcelain of the 18th and 19th Centuries was given by Arthur W. Clement. The latter is in effect a sampling of the collection which will later be put on permanent exhibition. It is important to those interested in American ceramics because when shown as a whole will present a cross section of American work in this field.
Prints and a drawing presented in memory of Dick S. Ramsay shown are: “Metropolitan Opera Box” by Reginald Marsh, “American Earth,” by Helen West Heller, “Figure in Glass” and “Tragic Figure” by Arthur B. Davies, and the illustrations for “Madeline” by Ludwig Bemelmans entitled “Outside were trees, birds and sky”. Also included is “Jack and the Cornstalk, “a cartoon drawing presented by the artist, Ross A. Lewis.”
Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1939 - 1941. 01-03/1941, 066-9. View Original