Essay Abstracts

<em>Christ Blessing Bread and Wine</em> / Hutin and Basan
Joseph Imorde, "Carlo Dolci and the Aesthetics of Sweetness," Getty Research Journal, no. 6 (2014): 1–12.

This essay reevaluates the works of the Florentine painter Carlo Dolci (1616–87). While for art-historical authors of the late 19th and early 20th centuries the name Dolci was just a byword for mocking the sentimental style of the exclusively religious paintings, the audience of the 17th century could still understand Dolci's "sweetness" as an authentic expression of an old theological concept that went back to the Bible itself—the so-called dulcedo Dei, or sweetness of God. The essay looks at Dolci's reception throughout the centuries to show how it came to be that the theologically substantiated aesthetics of sweetness in Dolci's oeuvre fell into oblivion.

Page from <em>Recueil d'antiquités . . .</em>/ Montagny
Delphine Burlot, "Élie-Honoré Montagny: The Artist and the Antique," Getty Research Journal, no. 6 (2014): 13–28.

In 2004 the Getty Research Institute purchased an album of drawings of antiquities by Élie-Honoré Montagny (1782–1864), a French artist who lived in Italy from 1804 to 1815. The album contains more than four hundred drawings and tracings reproducing antiquities from collections in Rome and Naples. Montagny, a former pupil of Jacques-Louis David, is relatively unknown and very little information about his life has previously come to light. Archival research undertaken for this essay has made it possible to give a detailed account of his itinerary and to understand the context in which the album in the Research Institute's collection was produced. Studying Montagny reveals a society powerfully focused on the Antique whose most ambitious artists were not necessarily its most successful. Having worked for eminent personalities during the Napoleonic regime, Montagny died in Paris penniless and forgotten. This album is his legacy; the surviving drawings bear witness to the academic taste of the first half of the 19th century and seem particularly worthy of interest today.

<em>The Market Cross, Ayr</em> / Hill
Sara Stevenson, "Painting in Light and Chemistry: D. O. Hill's The Market Cross, Ayr (1835) and Its Relation to His Photographic Work with Robert Adamson, 1843–47," Getty Research Journal, no. 6 (2014): 29–46.

This essay examines The Market Cross, Ayr (1835), an oil painting by Scottish artist David Octavius Hill (1802–1870), as part of an extended series of landscapes designed for publication and associated with the poet Robert Burns. The picture, which has recently reemerged, is significant for its relevance to issues that both lead to and inform the new art of photography in the 1840s. Concerns of time, light, and living figures in the picture added to the practical interest in large-scale reproduction for a public audience.

Hill was a painter by profession when he entered into partnership with the young photographer Robert Adamson in Edinburgh in 1843. In the course of four years, they explored and extended the possibilities of photography and established that it was indeed a potential aesthetic art form. The essay offers connections between the earlier painting and the photographs they took in William Henry Fox Talbot's calotype process—the first viable process for negative/positive photography.

<em>Tehran, outer southern gate of the Royal Arg</em> / Pesce
Leila Moayeri Pazargadi and Frances Terpak, "Picturing Qājār Persia: A Gift to Major-General Henry Creswicke Rawlinson," Getty Research Journal, no. 6 (2014): 47–62.

The focus of this essay is a photograph album that Colonel Luigi Pesce created and gave, in 1860, to the British consul in Tehran, Major-General Sir Henry Creswicke Rawlinson. The album's 42 photographs represent some of the first-ever taken of Nasīr al-Din Shah's court; the city gates, mosques, and vicinity of Tehran; and the ruins and reliefs of Persepolis, Naqsh-e Rostam, and Tāq-e Bāstān. Sent to Persia to secure a British presence as part of the Great Game, Rawlinson played a key role in the strategic rivalry between the British and Russian Empires, which were vying for supremacy in central Asia. Rawlinson was not only an accomplished military officer and diplomat, he was also an exceptional linguist who has been described as the father of Assyriology because his translations of the Behistūn inscription enabled a collective scholarly deciphering of cuneiform. As a visual artifact with a historically precise provenance and a known maker and recipient, the Rawlinson album helps to frame the early history of photography in Persia and provides insight into how images contributed to imperial agendas and nation building.

The Pagoda of Angkor / unknown
Isabelle Flour, "Orientalism and the Reality Effect: Angkor at the Universal Expositions, 1867–1937," Getty Research Journal, no. 6 (2014): 63–82.

During the period of the French protectorate of Cambodia, the Khmer temples of Angkor were prominently displayed at the French expositions of Paris and Marseille from 1867 to 1937. Survey and casting expeditions, which were part and parcel of material practices of colonial appropriation, fueled those three-dimensional reconstructions. This essay investigates the visual strategies and material practices of Orientalism at play in these representations and, in particular, the crucial role of architectural plaster casts made on-site in the construction of the image of colonial Cambodia intended for Western audiences. While plaster casts were materially altered and assembled to create fantasized reconstructions of Khmer monuments, they were simultaneously used to authenticate them—by virtue of their alleged faithfulness to their original referent. This authentication process was emphasized from 1906 onward by performances of the royal troupe of Cambodian dancers, until the contradictions of the French civilizing mission broke through at the 1931 Exposition coloniale at Vincennes.

Saint John's Vision of the Seven Candlesticks / Kirchner
Thomas W. Gaehtgens and Anja Foerschner, "Ernst Ludwig Kirchner's Drawings of the Apocalypse," Getty Research Journal, no. 6 (2014): 83–102.

This essay presents a series of previously unpublished drawings by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880–1938) that are part of the Getty Research Institute's special collections. Dated to 1917, the drawings depict 11 scenes of the Apocalypse and one self-portrait with Death. It has so far remained largely unknown that the German artist had engaged in the biblical story of the Revelation, which, in a state of general existential anxiety at the beginning of the 20th century, was negotiated by several artists. When executing these drawings, Kirchner was in a miserable physical and mental condition, moving from sanatorium to sanatorium and finally to the Swiss mountains. The paper examines the historical and biographical context in which the drawings were created and offers reasons for Kirchner's interest in the topic. Furthermore, the essay compares Kirchner's works to the famous Apocalypse woodcut series by Albrecht Dürer, highlighting differences and similarities in the selection and rendition of scenes from the biblical narrative.

Preserving a Legacy

<em>América tropical</em> / Siqueiros
Emily MacDonald-Korth and Leslie Rainer, "The Getty Conservation Institute Project to Conserve David Alfaro Siqueiros's Mural América Tropical," Getty Research Journal, no. 6 (2014): 103–14.

The mural América tropical, painted by David Alfaro Siqueiros in 1932 in downtown Los Angeles and whitewashed soon thereafter, has a complicated history that resulted in significant deterioration of the work. Efforts to preserve América tropical, begun in the 1960s, led to a collaborative project in 1988 between the Getty Conservation Institute and the City of Los Angeles to develop and implement a comprehensive plan to protect, preserve, interpret, and present the mural to the public through study and conservation; the design and construction of a protective canopy and public viewing platform; and the installation of an interpretive center.

The essay discusses the history and condition of the mural and the documentation, conservation, and long-term monitoring and maintenance undertaken. Conservation included surface cleaning, plaster stabilization, removal of tar and remnant whitewash, loss compensation, and visual reintegration. The aim of the latter was to preserve the artist's hand and delicately reinforce the original composition. Through thorough research and best practices, conservation treatment stabilized the mural and reinstated the legibility of the iconography without restoring it to its original appearance.

Shifra Goldman interviewing the Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros / unknown
Rebecca Zamora, "Shifra Goldman and David Alfaro Siqueiros's América Tropical," Getty Research Journal, no. 6 (2014): 115–27.

This essay discusses activist and art historian Shifra Goldman and her essential role in preserving David Alfaro Siqueiros's mural América tropical, located on Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles. The essay examines the various articulations of Goldman's foundational analysis and interpretations concerning the mural. These reworkings not only situated the artwork and Siqueiros's intent within the local historical context and time frame but also drew connections to the Chicano movement and were informed by Goldman's writings on the popularity and reception of Latin American art in the United States. Through these efforts and texts, Goldman revitalized the campaign she began in 1968 to restore the mural and its visibility to both the general public and a more specialized audience of art and cultural historians.

Tools of Scholarship

<em>Ostia Antica</em> / Hutzel
Tracey Schuster, "Foto Arte Minore: The Max Hutzel Collection of Photographs of Art and Architecture in Italy," Getty Research Journal, no. 6 (2014): 129–36.

Foto Arte Minore represents the life's work of the German photographer and scholar Max Hutzel (1913–88), who photographed the art and architecture of provincial Italy for 30 years. His archive of one million photographs is housed in the Photo Archive of the Getty Research Institute and represents an invaluable resource for scholars studying Italian art. At the time of the Photo Archive's acquisition of Foto Arte Minore, less than one-tenth of these photographs were known or available to scholars. In recent years the interdisciplinary use of these photographs has exposed their historiographic significance and their unrealized research potential.

Getty Research Portal logo
Kathleen Salomon, "Facilitating Art-Historical Research in the Digital Age: The Getty Research Portal," Getty Research Journal, no. 6 (2014): 137–41.

In the past five years, the concept of art-historical bibliography has undergone critical scrutiny in response to evolving research methodologies and newly available technologies. Concerns about the state of the field provided the catalyst for the Future of Art Bibliography (FAB) initiative, a series of international conversations among art historians, librarians, publishers, and technologists. The ensuing complementary and collaborative initiatives have the shared goal of making art-historical literature in its many formats accessible to scholars worldwide, thereby facilitating research and encouraging a new kind of scholarly engagement with the materials. The Getty Research Institute, in collaboration with four international advisory institutions, led a project to create an online search platform that would unify and provide global access to digitized art history books and journals, including fundamental texts, rare books, exhibition catalogues, auction sales catalogues, and related literature. Launched in spring 2012, the Getty Research Portal, is a trusted destination for researchers worldwide and a tool to assist librarians in planning future digitization projects.

Acquisitions and Discoveries

Denise Poncher before a vision of Death / Master of the Chronique scandaleuse
Elizabeth Morrison, "Marriage, Death, and the Power of Prayer: The Hours of Denise Poncher," Getty Research Journal, no. 6 (2014): 143–50.

The Poncher Hours, acquired by the J. Paul Getty Museum in 2011, is a previously unpublished manuscript book of hours known to have been made for the French noblewoman Denise Poncher in Paris around 1500. This essay examines the unusual texts and images incorporated into the book to personalize it for Poncher, raising questions about the position of women, the art of devotion, and the role of books of hours in medieval society.

Binding of
David Brafman, "Diary of an Obscure German Artist with (Almost) No Friends," Getty Research Journal, no. 6 (2014): 151–62.

The note- and sketchbook of the artist Hans Hanberg (active 1568–98) of Cologne contains entries from 1574 to 1598, and the manuscript provides unique insight into the life and practice of a journeyman artist in late 16th-century Germany. Its contents include satirical, figural, allegorical, technical, and armorial sketches, as well as recipes and instructions for artistic techniques such as the preparation of color pigments, the making of marbled paper, how to pour plaster casts, and how to tint glass and porcelain. The notebook also contains designs for calligraphic and cryptographic alphabets, a detailed catalog of the artist's library, and financial and travel accounts, apparently for a tapestry and silk embroidery business he conducted with his wife.

Page from the inventory of paintings from the estate of painter Giacinto Calandrucci / Estate of Giacinto Calandrucci
Anne-Lise Desmas, "Documenting the Family Dynamics of the Calandrucci Heirs," Getty Research Journal, no. 6 (2014): 163–74.

Magnificently bound in a small octavo format, the inventory of the estate of the Italian painter Giacinto Calandrucci (1646–1707) is unique not only because of its private nature and function; it also constitutes an incredibly rich source of information about artists and collectors in 18th-century Rome, describing over 2,000 works of art in the Calandrucci family collection. The essay investigates the context in which this rare document (ca. 1737) was created and used, and develops how it illustrates, along with extant drawings by Giacinto, particular aspects of his studio practice. In addition the essay introduces overlooked works of the painter's nephew and heir, Giovanni Battista Calandrucci (before 1694–after 1737).

American Indians in full regalia from <em>The Historiscope: A Panorama and History of America</em> / Milton Bradley & Co
Jennifer Lynn Peterson, "The Historiscope and the Milton Bradley Company: Art and Commerce in Nineteenth-Century Aesthetic Education," Getty Research Journal, no. 6 (2014): 175–84.

The Historiscope: A Panorama and History of America, a toy manufactured by the Milton Bradley Company around 1870, was marketed as a form of instructive entertainment. As part of the Bradley Company's larger project to promote aesthetic education (as evidenced by a series of Bradley Company publications on color theory also found in the Getty Research Institute's collection), the Historiscope's series of scenes from American Revolutionary history reveals how pre-cinema devices and educational toys have served as a hinge media between fine art and mass culture, copying earlier and more established image motifs and presenting them in an impersonal style that is easy for other visual media to later reinterpret and propagate.

Page from manuscript for
David Mather, "Mobilizing Desire in Boccioni's 'Small Dress Shoe + Urine,'" Getty Research Journal, no. 6 (2014): 185–94.

The handwritten version of Umberto Boccioni's "Small Dress Shoe + Urine" (1913) contains repetitions and deletions of a particular word, unknown (ignoto), which bear upon the interpretation of the artist's visual works from this period. Pivoting around an ingrained gender dichotomy, this word designates a quality of strangeness attributed variously to an erotic encounter, its uncertain outcomes, and to a more general sense of abandonment.

Page detail from Allan Kaprow's, <em>Assemblage, Environments & Happenings</em> / Photo by Ken Heyman
Eva Ehninger, "What's Happening? Allan Kaprow and Claes Oldenburg Argue about Art and Life," Getty Research Journal, no. 6 (2014): 195–202.

In 1961 Allan Kaprow (1927–2006) and Claes Oldenburg (b. 1929) exchanged a number of letters in which they argued about the definition of their avant-garde practices as Happenings. Kaprow, who first introduced this "root-metaphor," as he would later call it, describes with it the necessity of the respective activity to be as far removed as possible from all motives, materials, and formats conventionally connected to art. Oldenburg, who at the time of this exchange was just as active in the New York performance scene as Kaprow, disagrees with his colleague's removal of their practice from the artistic sphere. Oldenburg is also dissatisfied with the fact that Kaprow, through his writings, launches a critical discourse that follows his own definition of the Happening. The two artists thus argue just as much about the positioning of their practices with respect to art as over the authority to establish such a position. This essay traces their argument through their written conversation and in doing so exposes the immense influence Kaprow's rhetoric had on the subsequent art-historical canonization of their respective practices: Oldenburg's more ambivalent position is today amalgamated with Kaprow's theoretical stance.

<em>Charog-15</em> / Komar and Melamid
Ksenya Gurshtein, "Utopia by Mail: Komar and Melamid's A Catalogue of Superobjects: Supercomfort for Superpeople," Getty Research Journal, no. 6 (2014): 203–13.

This essay discusses how Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid's A Catalogue of Superobjects: Supercomfort for Superpeople (1977) was shaped by the intersection of dramatic events in the artists' private lives with their understanding of multiple failed utopias as the defining historic forces affecting their age. Created during the Cold War while the artists were trying to emigrate from the U.S.S.R., the work questioned the cultural polarization associated with this period by rendering as ludicrous certain basic assumptions of both Western capitalism and Soviet socialism. At the same time, however, despite its creators' desire to speak to both Soviet and Western audiences, the work remained very much a product of a Soviet worldview and material environment. As such, it serves today as a fascinating time capsule for a set of historical circumstances, ideas, and references that defined the U.S.S.R.'s cultural distinctiveness.