An old master, newly arrived: Valentin de Boulogne at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Editorial Staff Art

A rather depressing article appeared recently in the New York Times concerning a steep and sudden decline in the market for old master paintings. “At a time when contemporary art is all the rage among collectors, viewers, and donors,” Robin Pogrebin wrote, “many experts are questioning whether old master artwork—once the most coveted—can stay relevant at auction houses, galleries, and museums.” There can be a no more thunderous rebuttal to the notion that old masters are irrelevant than the new exhibition of Valentin de Boulogne at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

From specimens to souls: The evolution of early portrait photography at the Cleveland Museum of Art

jbitenc Art

Every photographic portrait confers on its subject some degree of immortality. We take for granted the ability to know what a person looks like, since images of family, friends, and famous strangers dead and alive are at our fingertips through a Google Images or Facebook search. But until 1839 only the wealthy could have a likeness recorded, share it with others, and leave it behind for future generations.

Painting with fire

Art, Furniture & Decorative Arts

Enameling and the Cleveland school. The story of modern enameling in this country begins in the industrial heartland of the Midwest, amid blazing steel mills, smoky oil refineries, and congested railroad yards.1 From the late 1920s to the early 1940s, several forces coalesced to make Cleveland – at the time the fifth largest city in the nation – the preeminent …

Case History: Lost and found


How a tsunami-tossed pair of sacred Japanese artifacts found their way across the Pacific and back home again. Surrounded by seagulls, the first kasagi discovered on the beach in Oceanside, Oregon, in March 2013. Photograph by Judson Randall. A wooden plaque mortised into the second kasagi to wash up in Oregon bore the name of the donor, Toshimi Takahashi, and …

Sculpting Joy: Experiencing the artist and his art at the Renee and Chaim Gross Foundation


In the entranceway to the Renee & Chaim Gross Foundation, located in a town house in historic Greenwich Village, two sculptures by Chaim Gross welcome visitors to the place where he worked and lived. Together, they announce the hallmarks of his art.   The first is Family of Five Acrobats (1955), a bronze sculpture with a black patina that stands …

Women’s work

Editorial Staff Art

For the first time a woman has been nominated by a major party for the presidency of the United States. This summer’s U.S. Olympic team included more women than men. And American art museums are increasingly giving women their due. The Norton Museum of Art in Florida is a good example, as evidenced by its acquisitions of works by American …

That was another country


Notes on Photographs by Larry Silver, 1949–1955 at the New-York Historical Society. Precisely because photography is thought to be the most objective of all mediums, it acquires over the course of years, and seemingly in spite of itself, a haunted quality that no other product of visual culture can claim to the same degree. Fig. 9. Leaving Penn Station, 1952. …

The Real American Grotesque

Art, Exhibitions

A group of circus posters at the Shelburne Museum illustrates the routine stereotypes and exploitative practices of circus owners as they battled one another for primacy. Fig. 3. History and Medical Description of the Two-Headed Girl, published by Warren, Johnson and Company, Buffalo New York, 1869. Pamphlet with woodcut illustrations, 7 by 5 inches. Shelburne Museum, Vermont, gift of the …