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Getty Museum Acquires Italian Masterworks and the Largest Museum Collection of Photos by Laura Aguilar

Plus, a Banksy painting has set another auction record for the artist, and a trove of archives from the Underground Railroad shine a light on a dark history.

“Virgin and Child With Saint Elizabeth and Saint John the Baptist” by Agnolo Bronzino. (image courtesy J. Paul Getty Museum)

The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles welcomed two new Italian works to its collection in an announcement this afternoon. The works are a vibrant painting, “Virgin and Child with Saint Elizabeth and Saint John the Baptist,” by 16th-century Florence artist Agnolo Bronzino and a pair of marble sculptures, “The Annunciation” (about 1333-34), by Late Gothic sculptor Giovanni di Balduccio. The painting is on view at Getty Museum, Getty Center starting today, October 3, while the sculptures will be shown as part of the exhibition Acquisitions 2019: Director’s Choice from December 10, 2019, to March 1, 2020.

Laura Aguilar “Three Eagles Flying” (1990) gelatin silver print, image (each, approximately): 61 × 50.8 cm (24 × 20 in) (image courtesy The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, purchased with funds provided by the Photographs Council © Laura Aguilar Trust of 2016)

Additionally, the J. Paul Getty Museum has acquired a large collection of works by noted LA photographer Laura Aguilar, who died last year at 59. “Laura Aguilar left us far too soon, but her powerful work remains as a testament to her vision and talent,” said Timothy Potts, director of the Getty Museum, in a statement. This is the largest museum acquisition of Aguilar’s output, a cache of 35 photos pulled from five series produced in her three-decade career.

Records of the Dickinson & Shrewsbury salt works, with more than 2000 items, bulk 1820-65. Sold for $173,000. (image courtesy Swann Galleries)
Shugart family papers, including documentation of the Underground Railroad, 1838-81. Sold for $100,000. (image courtesy Swann Galleries)

A Swann Galleries sale of Printed & Manuscript Americana included several archival documents pertaining to American slavery, selling for a total receipt of $1,054,311. The top lot was a collection of “Records of the Dickinson & Shrewsbury salt works, including extensive slave labor correspondence” which sold for $173,000. According to materials provided by Swann, the archive is notable “for its thorough documentation… for the literally thousands of documents relating to the enslaved people who operated its furnaces and wagons… [and] for the plant’s numerous connections to Booker T. Washington, who lived near the salt works after abolition.” The runner-up price-wise was a 63-item archive of “Shugart family papers including documentation on the Underground Railroad,” which sold for $100,000 and outlined, among other activities, details of the 107 passengers Zachariah Taylor Shugart helped from 1841-43.

The Sotheby’s London Contemporary Art Evening Auction on October 3 reached a total sales receipt of £54,386,250 (~$67,106,650) with multiple seven- and eight-figure sales represented. Banksy’s monumental painting “Devolved Parliament” (2009), sold for £9,879,500 (~$12,142,893), setting an auction record for the artist. “Shame I didn’t still own it,” the artist wrote on Instagram in response.

A Sotheby’s sale of Contemporary Art Online reached a final ticket of $3,139,625. The top lots: Richard Hambleton‘s painting “Shadowman” (1987), which sold for $200,000.

The Sotheby’s sale of Classic Photographs hit a ceiling of $2,382,250 and featured works from the likes of Robert Mapplethorpe, Man Ray, Richard Avedon, and more. Of those, Walker Evans’ photo of “Floyd Burroughs, A Cotton Sharecropper, Hale County, Alabama” (1936) topped the lots, selling for $150,000.

 

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