Category Archives: History of Art

Yale Fight for Van Gogh’s ‘Night Cafe’ May Open More Battles


The great-grandson of collector Ivan Morozov, from whom Van Gogh’s ‘Night Cafe’ was stolen by the Bolshevik government after the 1917 revolution,  has filed suit against Yale claiming rightful ownership.

So whose is it? That turns on the legitimacy of the Bolshevik government and its acts: a matter for international lawyers. Though, I might add, if the world’s museums were to disgorge all the works that have in the past been stolen by armies or expropriated by revolutionary regimes there are going to be an awful lot of gaps. The National Gallery in London and the Hermitage both have works looted by Napoleonic troops; the Louvre and Prado are full of works from the collection of Charles I, sold off by Cromwell’s government. And so on, and on.

Yale Fight for Van Gogh’s ‘Night Cafe’ May Open More Battles Martin Gayford Bloomberg 6/30/09


Social Commentary on Canvas: Dickensian Take on the Real World

Royal Holloway, University of London

Disdained, derided and dismissed by Modernist art critics from Roger Fry to Clement Greenberg, Victorian painting staged a comeback in the Postmodern era.

Though often sappy and moralistic, at its best late-19th-century British painting still delivers a rich mix of visual imagination, narrative intrigue and social commentary. An excellent exhibition at the Yale Center for British Art proves the point. Drawn from a collection created in the early 1880s for students at Royal Holloway College, then just for women, “Paintings From the Reign of Victoria: The Royal Holloway Collection, London” offers pictures that can make you wish painting today were as tuned in to the real world.

Social Commentary on Canvas: Dickensian Take on the Real World Ken Johnson NYT 6/18/09

“Paintings From the Reign of Victoria: The Royal Holloway Collection, London” continues through July 26 at the Yale Center for British Art, 1080 Chapel Street, New Haven


New @ Haas Art Library, Blinky Palermo: Abstraction of an Era

Yale University Press

Via Yale University Press:

Twenty-one-year-old Peter Heisterkamp began signing his colorful and playful abstract artworks Palermo in 1964, when peers noted his resemblance to the American gangster Frank “Blinky” Palermo. This handsome book—a historical and critical study of Palermo’s painting from the time he entered Joseph Beuys’s now famous class at the Düsseldorf academy in 1964 to his death in 1977—explores his significance for postwar and abstract art.

Call Number: ART N6888.P235 M44X 2008 (LC)


New @ Haas Arts Library, Arts of Ancient Viet Nam: From River Plain to Open Sea


Via Yale University Press:

Once a strategic trading post that channeled the flow of riches and ideas among countries situated along the South China Sea and places as far away as India and Rome, Viet Nam has a fascinating history and an artistic heritage to match it. This lavishly produced catalogue will help introduce English-speaking audiences to Viet Nam’s amazing body of artwork, ranging from the first millennium B.C. to the 18th century.

Call Number: ART REF N7314 .T46X 2009 (LC) Oversize


How to Make a Painting Last Forever

“Light, temperature and air pollution can wreck works of art. How do museums protect and preserve artistic and historic artifacts for the ages? It’s a complicated field, including everything from studying the chemical makeup of paints to optimizing the temperature, humidity and lighting conditions in museum galleries. Timothy P. Whalen, director of the Getty Conservation Institute, and James Druzik, senior scientist at the Getty Conservation Institute, talk about the fine art of art preservation.”

How to Make a Painting Last Forever “Talk of the Nation,” June 20, 2008 NPR

Posted by: Tanya

Upcoming @ YUAG

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“Van Gogh’s Cypresses and The Starry Night: Visions of Saint-Rémy”
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Two of Vincent van Gogh’s most renowned paintings, “Cypresses” (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) and “The Starry Night” (Museum of Modern Art, New York) will be presented side by side for the first time in New England. The installation will be on view from June 15-September 7.

To ensure a leisurely viewing, obtain your free timed tickets online at Tickets are available now.

University Architecture Considered

At the Yale University symposium entitled “Building the Future: the University as Architectural Patron” architects and art historians gathered to discuss the relationship between universities and architecture.

MIT professor, William J. Mitchell posited, “it is a fundamental responsibility of universities to pursue architecture and urbanism at the highest intellectual level and the highest level of cultural ambition.”

As for why university architecture often fails, Mitchell explains, “universities are large conservative bureaucracies in many respects, in which people who have to execute projects are often punished for mistakes and not rewarded for innovation. So there’s a cultural issue that has to be dealt with that often creates very risk-averse behavior.”

At Yale, Architects Consider Universities as Patrons Lawrence Biemiller Chronicle of Higher Education 1/28/08

Posted by Chris