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Last month, the Friedenstein Foundation proclaimed its desire to reunite two estranged halves of a 16th-century painting by Lucas Cranach the Elder, the German newspaper Monopol reported. The announcement came ahead of Picture and Message, Cranach at the Service of the Court, and the Reformation, opening March 28 at the Herzoglichen Museum in Gotha. The exhibition coincides with the 500th birthday of Cranach’s son, Lucas Cranach the Younger.
In 1936, an art dealer inexplicably sawed off the upper half of Cranach’s “Bowl With the Head of John the Baptist.” The lower half, showing the prophet’s severed head, found its way into the museum at Castle Friedenstein in Germany, where it was recently restored and authenticated. The upper half, depicting Salome, hasn’t been seen since it surfaced briefly on the market in the 1970s.
It’s not quite clear why the art dealer mutilated the painting to begin with. Some say he believed the bloody head might put off prospective buyers, though much more gruesome art has been bought and sold — even displayed in churches — without ruffling too many feathers.
Where money’s involved, anything’s possible. Paolo Veronese’s “The Wedding Feast at Cana” was cut in half so that it would travel better after being plundered by Napoleon; it was eventually sewn back together. And in the late 1920s, an avaricious Parisian dealer named Hodebert divided up two large paintings by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and tried to sell each fragment off as individual paintings. They were later reunited and now hang in the Musée d’Orsay.
But other dissected paintings have not been so lucky. After Eugène Delacroix’s death, a dealer cut up his painting of Frédéric Chopin and George Sand, thinking he could make more by separating the lovers. Chopin’s portrait now hangs in the Louvre, while Sand’s is in the Ordrupgaard Collection — seemingly divorced for eternity.
Editor’s Note: This endorsement is part of a special edition that Hyperallergic published on the ongoing legal case to return the photos of Renty and Delia Taylor to their descendants. * * * Your Honour — On April 11, 2018, The New York Times published a report on the differential outcomes for maternal and infant…
he ownership of images has a long and nuanced legal history, which has evolved dramatically in recent years as cultural standards and photographic technologies have rapidly advanced
The show, which honors the 50th anniversary of an exhibition history once ignored, continues a series of projects documenting Wilmington’s contemporary art scene.
Renty and his daughter Delia. Renty was an enslaved African, kidnapped from the Congo, sold and forced into slave labor on the South Carolina plantation of B.F. Taylor
What is the relation between possessing a person, possessing their image, and dispossessing their progeny
As a scholar of African American history and photography whose work has focused on the status of violent images in museums and archives, I fully support the validity of Ms. Tamara Lanier’s claim and the amicus brief.
Two K-12 art teachers will each receive a $1,000 cash gift and an additional $500 to put toward classroom art supplies. Nominations are due October 31.
The daguerreotypes of Renty Taylor, Delia, Drana, Alfred, Jack, George Fassena, and Jem remained in an unused storage cabinet until 1975, when it was discovered by an employee of the Peabody Museum.
I am writing in support of the amicus curiae brief submitted by Professor Ariella Aïsha Azoulay of Brown University for the full restitution of the daguerreotypes of Renty Taylor and his daughter Delia, currently held by Harvard University, to their familial descendant, Tamara Lanier.
We cannot be indifferent to the long-lasting effects of photography. The photographs at the center of Lanier v. Harvard are relentless in making Renty and Delia Taylor work and perform as slaves. The pain inflicted on them has not ceased. Photography has the capacity to propagate harm, and we have the moral obligation to interrupt…