Acquisitions round-up: the first painting by Swiss avant-garde artist Ferdinand Hodler to head to London’s National Gallery


Ferdinand Hodler, The Kien Valley with the Bluemlisalp Massif, 1902

The National Gallery, London

The National Gallery in London has acquired its first painting by the Swiss artist Ferdinand Hodler (1853-1918). The Kien Valley with the Bluemlisalp Massif fuses avant-garde ideals with elements of traditional landscape painting. Hodler painted the work in 1902 in the Bernese Oberland. The influence of the Swiss painter Alexandre Calame (1810-1864) is clear, but the landscape also owes a debt to Picasso and Braque’s Cubist landscapes, and to Japanese woodblock prints—whose stylisations are evident in Hodler’s exaggerated depiction of the clouds and interlacing foothills. The acquisition was made possible by a donation from the Athene Foundation, a bequest from the estate of David Leslie Medd and funding from the National Gallery Trust.

Photo: Photo: Nicolas Roux Dit Buisson

Maquette of the Holy Sepulchre

Musée du Louvre, Paris

The Louvre in Paris has acquired a 17th-century maquette of the Holy Sepulchre complex in Jerusalem—the reputed site of the crucifixion, entombment and resurrection of Jesus—in order to further scholarship on ancient architecture and devotional practices, the museum said in a statement. Around 30 similar pieces are known to exist, all of which were produced between the 17th and 18th centuries by anonymous craftsmen working in monasteries in Bethlehem. They were likely created as gifts for visiting European officials or wealthy pilgrims. This maquette is made from olive wood and features mother-of-pearl rosettes and carved bone inlays which reflect the intricate architectural details of the chapel. The work was acquired through a public sale at the Millon Riviera Auctions in Nice and had been held in a private collection since the 18th century. Similar maquettes are held by the British Museum in London and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Sandra Vásquez de la Horra’s Despierta te Espero, (2022) was acquired from Sprovieri gallery

© Tate Photography/Matt Greenwood

Nine works from Frieze and Frieze Masters

Tate, London

Supported for the seventh year by Endeavor, the majority owner of art fair firm Frieze, the Frieze Tate Fund provides a team from the Tate and guest curators with a budget of £150,000 and early access to Frieze and Frieze Masters to buy works for the Tate’s collection. This year, the Tate team was joined by Habda Rashid, a curator at Kettle’s Yard and the Fitzwilliam Museum, both in Cambridge, and the US artist Carolyn Lazard, who will have a solo show at Nottingham Contemporary in February 2023. “It’s amazing the Tate has decided to include artists in this process of institutional acquisitions,” says Lazard. “Artists have a lot to say about art history and the issues of the day that are not always shared by curators.” The acquisition includes works from artists spanning six generations: Romany Eveleigh, Leonor Fini, Lewis Hammond, Rita Keegan, Sandra Vásquez de la Horra, and Frida Orupabo, as well as three works on paper by Amol K. Patil.


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