Monday, January 12, 2015

Research: Worcester Art Museum "Then and Now" by Travis Simpkins. Update #36

     -The first photo, from about 1905, shows a view of the third floor's West Gallery at the Worcester Art Museum. It appears as though the artwork represented was part of a special exhibition of portraiture, with several works by John Singer Sargent prominently displayed. This same view today finds the viewer at the entry to the Donnelly Gallery, facing Nam June Paik's 1995 Rocket-inspired piece, "Robert Goddard."
     -In the second "Then and Now" composition, the 1970 photo shows the WAM Library, complete with a stylish spiral staircase leading up to the mezzanine. This look, with wood-slat paneling, was also seen in the Auditorium (now the Contemporary Gallery) across the way, which was probably renovated around the same time. Today, the spiral staircase is gone, but many of these aesthetic elements are still present in the Library's rearranged set-up. I believe that is the same desk used today, just turned clockwise and pulled back towards the wall.
     -I was recently invited to be a regular contributor to Stolen Cavalier, an Art Theft awareness site, and this sketch was made to post there. Stolen Cavalier is a group effort, managed by art crime and security experts: Anthony Amore in the United States and Vicki Oliveri in Australia. The sketch depicts a quick version of Picasso's 1901 Blue Period work, "Mother and Child by a Fountain," which was on loan to WAM from 1931-1982 as part of the Dial Collection. It was amongst the four works stolen, and later recovered, in 1972. The post can be viewed here: Pablo Picasso's "Mother and Child by a Fountain": Stolen, Recovered and Lost Again
     -Picasso's "Mother and Child by a Fountain" can be seen on the table at far left, along with the other three works stolen from WAM, as FBI agents and Worcester Police peruse the recovered paintings in 1972.

     Update for last week's post: For those keeping track of the dates and places that the Hogarth portraits were displayed at WAM. I was contacted by longtime WAM staff member, Stephen Jareckie, who worked at the Worcester Art Museum from 1961-1996. Stephen said the Hogarth portraits were first moved to the British Gallery (Gallery 205) 53 years ago, when he arrived as Registrar in 1961.

3rd Floor. Worcester Art Museum. by Travis Simpkins

Library. Worcester Art Museum. by Travis Simpkins

Pablo Picasso's "Mother and Child by a Fountain", 1901. The Met. by Travis Simpkins

FBI and Worcester Police. Worcester Art Museum Heist, 1972