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December 13, 2022

Chasing the New Year around the globe

Philippe Halsman. Philippe and Yvonne HALSMAN New Years Card… c. 1960. Photograph. © Estate of Philippe Halsman / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY. Magnum Photos.

Winslow Homer. Adventures of a New Year’s Eve. Negative photostat. Image and data from Smith College Museum of Art.

The New Year is a perennial phenomenon that generates celebrations of varied traditions across the world and throughout the calendar. It is our sincere wish that you may partake of these festivities in good health and with hope for the coming year. Please join us in honoring these holidays of renewal for 2023.

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October 13, 2022

Painting for peace: Art exposes the cruelty of war

Peter Paul Rubens. Consequences of War. 1637-38. Oil on canvas. Image and data from SCALA, Florence.

The power of art to revile and denounce war may be seen in works that cross cultures and centuries. Artstor is replete with examples from the dynastic courts of Europe, to the witnesses of the American Civil War, both World Wars, Vietnam, and beyond. The selection below, featuring monumental and intimate interpretations, provides persuasive evidence of the passion for peace among artists.

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July 13, 2022

Arkhip Kuindzhi: beloved son and painter of Ukraine

Arkhip Kuindzhi. The Rainbow. 1900-1905. Oil on canvas. State Russian Museum. Image and data from SCALA, Florence.

In 2018-2019 the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow hosted an acclaimed exhibition of the nineteenth-century realist landscape painter Arkhip Ivanovich Kuindzhi (c. 1842-1910). The show included about 180 works and was seen by more than 385,000 viewers during its four-month run. One of the paintings, a Crimean mountainscape, was even lifted off the wall and stolen, but happily it was soon recovered. Kuindzhi was born in the Ukraine (then part of the Russian Empire) in the city of Mariupol, a name now familiar to all of us because of the current Russian invasion and devastation. While he studied, practiced, and taught painting in St. Petersburg, he also lived on a large property in Crimea with his wife in relative seclusion. In Mariupol, where a museum named after the artist was established in 2010, he is considered Ukrainian, while in Russia he is claimed as part of their artistic heritage.

Ilya Repin. Portrait of the Painter Arkhip Kuinji. 1877. Oil on canvas. State Russian Museum. Image and data from SCALA, Florence.

In March, the Mariupol museum was largely destroyed by an airstrike. The three important works by Kuindzhi had been removed—it’s unclear whether it was for safekeeping or they had been stolen—but the work of other artists was destroyed, the cultural casualty of war. Other artistic losses during the conflict include treasures of Scythian gold, the precious paintings of the naive painter Maria Pryimachenko, and dozens of historic buildings and monuments, among other works and sites.

Arkhip Kuindzhi. Ladoga Lake. 1873. Oil on canvas. State Russian Museum. Image and data from University of California, San Diego.
Arkhip Kuindzhi. On the Island of Valaam. 1873. Oil on canvas. Tretyakov Gallery. Image and data from SCALA, Florence.
Arkhip Kuindzhi. Evening in the Ukraine. 1878, partly repainted in 1901. Oil on canvas. State Russian Museum. Image and data from SCALA, Florence.
Arkhip Kuindzhi. 1879. Birch Grove. Oil on canvas. 1879. Tretyakov Gallery. Image and data from SCALA, Florence.
Arkhip Kuindzhi. Moonlit Night on the Dnieper. 1882. Oil on canvas. Tretyakov Gallery. Image and data from SCALA, Florence.

A search on Artstor provides a stirring selection of Kuindzhi’s paintings, a virtual exhibition to celebrate his sublime output. His dramatic personal appearance is well known from portraits, including the one by his friend Ilya Repin, highlighting the painter’s brooding countenance of Greek and Tatar origin. An early work by Kuindzhi, Ladoga Lake, 1873, completed soon after his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, portrays the majestic Russian landscape in precise, clean brushstrokes with a clarity that looks back to traditional seascapes. On the Island of Valaam from the same year and on the same lake, also presents meticulous detail and a pellucid atmosphere. Evening in the Ukraine displays the painter’s affection for his native landscape and his growing interest in light effects, particularly dusk and the full darkness of night. His alliance with the scientific community of St. Petersburg fuelled his interest in optical flourishes and theories of perception. Birch Grove, nearly six feet wide and painted when the artist was about 40, and Moonlit Night on the Dnieper, 1882, caused a sensation when they were exhibited for a month in Moscow during the winter of 1882 along with a third work; more than 9,000 viewers visited. The Emperor’s grandson Grand Duke Konstantinovich purchased the nocturne for 5,000 rubles, and it was later displayed at the gallery of the Parisian art dealer Charles Sedelmeyer. The painter also attracted the patronage of Pavel Tretyakov, who was amassing an unprecedented collection of Russian art, today known as the Tretyakov Gallery. At the height of this success, Kuindzhi mysteriously withdrew from public life and never held another exhibition, leaving no explanation behind. He taught at the Academy in St. Petersburg and died in the city in 1910.

Arkhip Kuindzhi. Pasture at Night (Night-watch). 1905-08. Oil on canvas. State Russian Museum. Image and data from SCALA, Florence.

Kuindzhi’s fascination with ephemeral atmospheric effects achieves a lyrical balance in his Rainbow, 1900-1905 (top), an homage to the steppe and the sky. Two of his final works, Night-Watch and Sunset on the Dnieper, both painted around 1905-1908, display his enduring passion for nocturnes. The overwhelming Sunset, more than six feet wide, is a window onto the painter’s cherished Dnieper and his brilliance at seizing the light.

Arkhip Kuindzhi. Red Sunset on the Dnieper. 1905-1908. Oil on canvas, Paintings. Image and data from The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Free reuse CC0 1.0.

Many of Kuindzhi’s paintings and drawings are held at the State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg. May his work endure as a mesmerizing expression of his rich cultural heritage – Greek, Tatar, Ukrainian, and Russian.

— Nancy Minty, collections editor

J.E. Bowlt. A Russian Luminist School? Arkhip Kuindzhi’s “Red Sunset on the Dnepr.Metropolitan Museum Journal, 10, 1975, 119–129.

Viktoria Paranyuk. Painting Light Scientifically: Arkhip Kuindzhi’s Intermedial Environment. Slavic Review, 2019.

Michael Prodger. How the Ukrainian painter Arkhip Kuindzhi laid out the spirituality in nature before Russian eyes, The New Statesman, 20 April 2022.

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May 31, 2022

New: Global Art and Culture from Art Resource

Zhao Mengfu. Autumn Colors on the Qiao and Hua Mountains, detail. Yuan Dynasty. Long scroll. © National Palace Museum / Art Resource, NY.

A collection of world art has been added to Artstor – approximately 1,500 images from four museums – the National Palace Museum, Taipei, The Rubin Museum of Art, Mingei International Museum, and The Newark Museum of Art. The selection features art from China, the Himalayas, Latin America, and Africa. The collections are presented in high-resolution images from Art Resource, the world’s largest stock photo archive of fine art, as well as a licensor for museums across the world.1

Castiglione, Father Giuseppe. One Hundred Horses, detail. 1728. Long scroll. © National Palace Museum / Art Resource, NY.

We invite you to uncover the treasures from this collection–these are just a few of the highlights. The selection includes nearly 600 images of Chinese art from the National Palace Museum, with important examples of scroll paintings and calligraphy displayed both in full views and in comprehensive details. Among these are the One Hundred Horses scroll, 1728, by Father Giuseppe Castiglione, who distinctively blended western and Chinese techniques in fully differentiated depictions of 100 equines, as well as the beloved mountainscape scroll of Zhao Mengfu, Autumn Colors, that combines calligraphic and painterly skills.

Tsang Province, Tibet. Lama Gyalwa Lhachog Senge. 17th century. Ivory. © Rubin Museum of Art / Art Resource, NY.
Nepal. Mongoose. 16th century. Bronze. © Rubin Museum of Art / Art Resource, NY.
Buddhist lineage, Tibet. Naga King. 14th century. Metal. © Rubin Museum of Art / Art Resource, NY.
Mongolia. Tsiu Marpo, Worldly Protector. 19th century. Wood with pigments. Rubin Museum of Art / Art Resource, NY.

From The Rubin Museum, an eclectic range of Buddhist works offers a minutely crafted ivory figure of a 15th-century abbott, Lama Gyalwa Lhachog Senge; a tiny bronze mongoose, 17th century, a likely fragment from a Ganesha sculpture; a formidable and ornate Naga King, 14th century, a spirit both human and snake; and a wooden carving of the Tsiu Marpo, 19th century, a protector deity enshrined in flames.

Tairona Culture. Shell Pendant. 1000 - 1600 CE. Gold. © Mingei International Museum / Art Resource, NY.
Chimu-Inca Culture. Ceremonial Sprinkler with Lobster Effigy. 1430 - 1540 CE. Blackware. © Mingei International Museum / Art Resource, NY.
Nayarit, Mexico. Pintura de Estambre. 20th century. Yarn, beeswax and wood. © Mingei International Museum / Art Resource, NY.

Mingei Museum takes its name from the Japanese mingei, meaning art of the people. The selection in Artstor comprises approximately 300 works of folk art, decorative arts, jewelry, and fashion from communities in the Americas and the Caribbean, and Asia. The exceptional gold work of the Tairona people is exemplified by a refined shell pendant, 1000 – 1600 C.E.; a hybrid blackware pottery style of the Chimú and Inca people of Peru is displayed in the Ceremonial Sprinkler with Lobster…, 1430 – 1540 CE.; and the artistry of an unknown creator shines in the brilliant lines and colors of the Pintura de Estambre (yarn painting), 20th century, from Nayarit.

Senufo People. Bird finial. 20th century. Wood, metal. © Newark Museum of Art / Art Resource, NY.

Ashanti People. Ring. 20th century. Gold. Newark Museum of Art / Art Resource, NY.

A limited sampling is also offered from the Newark Museum of Art, providing a diverse array of works by Indigenous artists from North America, as well as art from south and east Asia, and Africa–notably a finial from the Senufo people, and a gold ring from the Ashanti, both dominated by striking birds.

View the entire collection in Artstor and JSTOR

—Nancy Minty, collections editor

1Artstor also presents several other collections provided by Art Resource that are highly valued by our community, including Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives and Réunion des Musées Nationaux (RMN) both of which focus primarily on western art.

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May 17, 2022

Explore a world of photography with Artstor and JSTOR

Frank Cancian. Shooting back. 1971. Photograph. © 2001 Frank Cancian. University of California Irvine Libraries.

“Beauty, you’re under arrest. I have a camera, and I’m not afraid to use it.” Thus wrote the pioneering Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron as the medium was taking off in the late 19th century. The open, public, and licensed collections on the Artstor and JSTOR platforms provide a rich survey of the field from the time of its invention in France and England under Henry Fox-Talbot, Louis Daguerre, and others until the present, illustrating developments in fine art, photojournalism, documentary photography, and commercial/editorial work with more than 500,000 images. The collections are replete with examples from leading American photographers: Carleton Watkins, Ansel Adams, Alfred Steiglitz, Edward Steichen, and many more. Documentarian/photojournalists range from Henri Cartier-Bresson to Susan Meiselas. The contribution of women to the field is well supported by the work of Julia-Margaret Cameron, Anna Atkins, Dorothea Lange, Margaret Bourke-White, Diane Arbus, Lola Álvarez Bravo, Cindy Sherman, Ami Vitale, Loretta Lux, and others.

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April 28, 2022

New: 5,000 images from Magnum Photos

Bruno Barbey. Hong Kong. Cheung Chau Bun Festival. 2015. Photograph. © 2022 Bruno Barbey / Magnum Photos / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New
York / SAIF, Paris.

An additional launch of 5,000 shots from Magnum photographers provides a panorama of events across the world and brings the Artstor corpus from the cooperative to more than 130,000 photographs. At Magnum, dozens of photographers and photojournalists are perpetually seeking out stories and offering their visions: the unique perspectives of many members are reflected in the content published by Artstor this year including global manifestations of climate change raging across the planet; refugees seeking shelter and safety; celebrations and concerns around racial, cultural and sexual identity and, domestically, the collision of Covid, and the constitutional crisis at the Capitol on January 6.

Patrick Zachmann. Paris, Notre-Dame cathedral's reconstruction … frameworks under the vaults... Yves Macel, carpenter. March 4, 2021. Photograph © 2022 Patrick Zachmann / Magnum Photos / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SAIF, Paris.
Patrick Zachmann. Bercé's forest in la Sarthe. Cutting of oak trees … to rebuild the spire of Notre-Dame… 2021. Photograph © 2022 Patrick Zachmann / Magnum Photos / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SAIF, Paris.
Patrick Zachmann. Bercé's forest in la Sarthe. Cutting of oak trees … to rebuild the spire of Notre-Dame… 2021. Photograph © 2022 Patrick Zachmann / Magnum Photos / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SAIF, Paris.
Larry Towell. Vancouver Island, BC. Clear-cutting in the Fairy Creek region. Nov. 1, 2021. Photograph. © 2022 Larry Towell / Magnum Photos / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SAIF, Paris.

The proximity and exceptional access gained by the French photographer Patrick Zachmann epitomizes the reach of the members of the cooperative. Since the fire at Notre Dame cathedral in Paris in the spring of 2019, Zachmann has documented the extraordinary labor and skill that have gone into its reconstruction: more than 350 of his photographs in Artstor chronicle this process. As shown here, last year’s progress included the reconstruction of the wooden scaffolding in the vaults of the church, and the felling of ancient oaks in the forest of Bercé to rebuild the spire. The deliberate and selective culling of the tall trees contrasts here with the nearly simultaneous deforestation of the landscape in British Columbia recorded by Canadian photographer Larry Towell – a desecration.

Patrick Zachmann. Paris. The 26 works to give back to Benin are being removed from … the Museum of Quai Branly: the statue Behanzin, the sharkman. Nov. 2, 2021. Photograph. © 2022 Patrick Zachmann / Magnum Photos / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SAIF, Paris.

Patrick Zachmann. Paris, Museum of Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac. Four doors from King Glélé’s palace are moved …. Sept. 15, 2021. Photograph. © 2022 Patrick Zachmann / Magnum Photos / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SAIF, Paris.

Zachmann also provided witness to a triumphant act of repatriation that occurred in his native Paris. Twenty-six works from the Royal Treasury at Abomey, Benin were returned to Cotonou, West Africa in November 2021. They had been in Paris since the 1890s. Here we behold Behanzi, the sharkman and the doors of a royal palace as they began their journey home in gloved hands.

Guy Le Querrec. Neuilly. The American writer James Baldwin in his residence. July 21, 1970. Photograph. © 2022 Guy Le Querrec / Magnum Photos / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SAIF, Paris.
Guy Le Querrec. Algiers. First Panafrican Cultural Festival. Théâtre de l'Atlas. Concert of… Nina Simone. July 30, 1969. Photograph. © 2022 Guy Le Querrec / Magnum Photos / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SAIF, Paris.
Guy Le Querrec. Algiers. Charles Mingus, American bass player. 1970. Photograph. © 2022 Guy Le Querrec / Magnum Photos / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SAIF, Paris.
Guy Le Querrec. Paris, Studio des Buttes Chaumont… Shooting of the show "Deux sur la 2". Tina Turner. Jan. 26th, 1971. Photograph. © 2022 Guy Le Querrec / Magnum Photos / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SAIF, Paris.

The current launch also draws from the Magnum archives, notably on three artists all born around 1940. The South African photographer Ernest Cole is represented by about 600 photographs in Artstor, most depicting apartheid in his homeland, as recorded in his book House of Bondage. Guy Le Querrec whose specialization is portraying jazz musicians actually likened his own work to the syncopation and improvisation of their performances. He is represented by nearly 2,000 photographs in Artstor, including the portraits of the writer James Baldwin, singer Nina Simone, bassist Charles Mingus, and the inimitable Tina Turner displayed here.

Bruno Barbey. Sichuan province. Leshan. The foot of a Buddhist statue, …8th century… 1980. Photograph. © 2022 Bruno Barbey / Magnum Photos / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SAIF, Paris.

Finally, we added works by the Moroccan born French photographer Bruno Barbey who died in 2020. The new photographs span his 55 year career and raise the total in Artstor to nearly 4,000. Above, his Cheung Chau Bun Festival, 2015, represents the popular early May ritual and demonstrates Barbey’s painterly command of color – not to mention his abiding interest in China where he began working in the early 1970s. Barbey was also known for his courageous practice in conflict zones. As we celebrate World Press Freedom Day (May 3) and honor the rights and safety of photojournalists, Barbey’s shot of the foot of the great Buddha at Leshan, 1980, underscores a humbling message of peace.

— Nancy Minty, collections editor

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April 11, 2022

Explore Earth Day with Artstor and JSTOR: Environmental Studies and the Biosphere

Ami Vitale. A field of blue… 2008. Photograph. © Ami Vitale / Panos Pictures.

In homage to Earth Day we have gathered a list of resources on the Artstor and JSTOR platforms, from licensed to freely available community-generated collections. We encourage you to explore this content — it combines art and science, enriching the study of the environment and the biosphere across the globe: photography from the microscopic to the panoramic, scientific and anatomical illustrations, evidence from surveys and studies, models, artists’ interpretations in varied media, the vision and work of conservationists, and the effects of our existence on this planet from millennia of cultivation and development to the threats of climate change.

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March 1, 2022

Genius has no gender*: Rethinking the Old Master moniker

Artemisia Gentileschi. Esther before Ahasuerus. Oil on canvas. Image and data from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Once upon a time–not so long ago–it seems that we believed that all the great pre-modern western painters were men! If not, why did we call them the Old Masters? The honorific derives from the masculine latin term magister meaning teacher, master, chief, coming from magis–more or greater. By definition and origin, the concept excludes women. Since the late 1900s the term has become so pervasive that a title search for old masters returns 74,000 + hits on WorldCat. Notwithstanding false results and the many auction catalogs, a lot of ink has been spilled on the Old Masters.

Seriously though, there have been many scholars, notably women, who have labored to dispel this myth. Beginning with the trailblazers Linda Nochlin’s “Why have there been no great women Artists?” and Old Mistresses, women art and ideology by Griselda Pollock and Rozsika Parker, the pendulum started to swing back and women artists began to take their rightful places. Women’s History Month provides an opportunity to revisit some of these “rediscovered” creators and their accomplishments. We already know their names: Artemisia Gentileschi, Judith Leyster, Rosa Bonheur… Thankfully, they are celebrated today, and it’s always worth taking another look; after all, how many times have we lauded their counterparts the Old Masters? Of course, the current small selection under-represents women painters, but it is intended here as a temporal counterpart to the Old Masters and as an indication of far greater numbers. Apologies to the many artists unmentioned, particularly to contemporary figures.

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February 25, 2022

Illuminate Women’s History Month with Artstor and JSTOR

In celebration of Women’s History Month we have compiled a list of resources available on the Artstor/JSTOR platforms, from licensed to freely available community generated collections.

Bain News Service. Woman suffrage pageant. May 191. Photograph. Image and data from Eyes of the Nation: A Visual History of the United States (Library of Congress).

We encourage you to explore the resources: photographic, graphic, and written accounts of the women’s suffrage, labor, and reproductive rights movements: the artistic output of female painters, sculptors, architects, designers, and craftswomen; the work and lives of women in science; photographs of women and by women, including a wide selection of portraits of literary luminaries, as well as of communities of women around the globe.

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