Acquisitions round-up: National Museum of Women in the Arts receives bequest of more than 60 works


Works from the collection of Wallace Holladay and Wilhelmina Cole Holladay

National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC

The National Museum of Women in the Arts has acquired more than 60 works from the private collection of the institution’s late founders, Wallace Holladay and Wilhelmina Cole Holladay. The bequest will be displayed in the expanded galleries of the museum, set to reopen in 2023, and includes works by Magdalena Abakanowicz, Louise Bourgeois, Sonia Delaunay and Eva Hesse, as well as Portrait of a Woman in White by French Impressionist Eva Gonzalès, the only artist to be trained by Édouard Manet. “When Mrs Holladay began collecting with her husband in the 1970s, she made a rare and bold choice to focus on art by women,” says the museum’s director, Susan Fisher Sterling.

Musée Camille Claudel

Alfred Boucher, Volubilis (1897)

Musée Camille Claudel, Nogent-sur-Seine, France

In life, the French sculptor Camille Claudel was best known as the partner of Auguste Rodin, whom she met after working in his studio. Claudel descended into depression after the relationship came to an end. She became a recluse in her studio and was subsequently committed to an asylum with a diagnosis of paranoia.

In 2017, the Musée Camille Claudel opened near Claudel’s former home in Nogent-sur-Seine, a small commune southeast of Paris, with the intent of shifting the focus back to Claudel’s influence as an artist.

The museum has now acquired a marble sculpture made in 1897 by Alfred Boucher (1850-1934), an older artist who was a friend of Claudel’s parents and of Rodin, and who tutored Claudel in the craft of sculpture from the age of 12. Acquired for £160,000 from the Bowman Sculpture gallery in London, the work is from Boucher’s series of marble sculptures titled Volubilis, which means “intertwined” in Latin, and depicts a nude woman twisting to avert her eyes from the gaze of the artist, a gesture Claudel would later explore in her own works of art.

Courtesy of Gazelli Art House

Khaleb Brooks, The Session Series: What Chu Lookin at Ho?, Before (2020)

Victoria and Albert Museum, London

As part of an initiative designed to strengthen the representation of trans and non-binary artists in its permanent collection, the Victoria and Albert Museum has acquired a portrait from The Session Series: What Chu Lookin at Ho?, Before, by the US-born, UK-based artist Khaleb Brooks, a former artist in residence at London’s Tate Modern. An image from the series headlined the group show Decriminalised Futures at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London from February to May, which advocated for the “full decriminalisation of sex work”, taking “politicised sex worker organising” as a starting point. Brooks’s first major solo museum show, Jupiter’s Song, is at the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool until 30 October.


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