huntington museum of art

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Now a new layout, better signage, and iPads are helping to bring the Huntingtons and their collection to life. Doors that were once closed between the rooms—the Large Library, Large Drawing Room, Small Drawing Room, and Dining Room—are now open. Visitors can move around and among the rooms, making it easier to take in the sumptuousness of the ornate decorations and gain closer, unobstructed views of the precious artworks, furniture, and decorative objects on display. A panel in each room orients the visitor, and smaller displays and iPads offer additional detail.

Read more about some of the new features of the Huntington Art Gallery‘s period rooms in “Open to Interpretation” on VERSO. There’s even a short video you can watch.

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Large Library: In the past, sumptuous furnishings may have tempted visitors to touch. Now, thanks to interactive displays—such as this one on the Savonnerie carpets—visitors can.

Large Drawing Room: Open doors and better access in the Large Drawing Room and other period rooms allow visitors to explore the spaces Henry and Arabella Huntington inhabited. iPads offer detailed histories about the precious objects the rooms contain.

Large Library: Take a seat, really. The chairs on the right are modeled after Arabella Huntington’s favorite chairs and are meant for sitting.

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#ProvenancePeek: June 30

Every art object has a story—not only of how it was made, but of how it changed hands over time until it found its current home. That story is provenance.

This portrait of actress Antonia Zárate by Goya is now part of the collection of the National Gallery of Ireland. The records of famed art dealer M. Knoedler & Co. at the Getty Research Institute reveal its recent provenance: the painting was sold by Knoedler on June 30, 1910, to financier Otto Beit. Part of his collection, including this painting, was later donated to the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin. To this day the Gallery showcases some of its greatest masterpieces in the Beit Wing. This spread from a digitized Knoedler stock book records the transaction (second entry from top).

M. Knoedler was one of the most influential dealers in the history of art. He sold European paintings to collectors (such as Henry Clay Frick, the Vanderbilts, and Andrew Mellon) whose collections formed the genesis of great museums such as the National Gallery of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Frick Collection, the Huntington, and more. Knoedler’s stock books have recently been digitized and transformed into a searchable database, which anyone can query for free.

Portrait of Doña Antonia Zárate, ca. 1805–06, José de Goya y Lucientes. Beit Collection, National Gallery of Ireland. Image courtesy of the National Gallery of Ireland.

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#ProvenancePeek is a monthly series by research assistant Kelly Davis peeking into #onthisday provenance finds from the M. Knoedler & Co. archives at the Getty Research Institute.

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These works are all part of the expanded American art gallery space that’s opening THIS SATURDAY (7/19)!!  The five new rooms will focus on 20th-century art and will run the gamut from photographs to geometric abstraction to the Ashcan school. Read more here.

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Reginald Marsh (1898–1954), The Locomotive, 1935, tempera fresco, 58 × 53 ½ in. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

John Steuart Curry (1897–1946), State Fair, 1929, oil on canvas, 69 × 91 ½ in. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

George Bellows (1882–1925), Summer Fantasy, 1924, oil on canvas, 36 × 48 in. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Edwin Walter Dickinson (1891–1978), Toward Mrs. Driscoll’s, 1928, oil on canvas, 50 × 40 in. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.