Three major works of art have been added to the Toledo Museum of Art’s permanent collection: a fiber artwork titled “Riscos y oro, 2” by Colombian artist Olga de Amaral; “Saint Francis Adoring the Cross,” an oil painting by Jacopo Ligozzi; and a five-color lithograph, “Interior with Pink Wallpaper II,” by Edouard Vuillard.
“These three additions to the Toledo Museum of Art collection help to broaden the narrative of art history presented at TMA,” said Adam Levine, Edward Drummond and Florence Scott Libbey director of the Museum. “The aesthetically significant works bring new perspective to TMA’s presentation of historic and contemporary art.”
“Riscos y oro, 2 (Crags and Gold, 2)” is a fiber artwork by Olga de Amaral (b. 1932), a major figure in the craft world in her native Colombia and North America. De Amaral attended Cranbrook Academy of Art, which is a particularly important school for craft art forms – fiber, ceramics and glass. The object is monumental in scale and represents a transition in de Amaral’s career; the artist made this in her 50s after she already had a large body of work. “Riscos y oro, 2” was created by weaving fiber and painting on top, then adding an essence of gold leaf. With twisted features and layered elements, de Amaral creates a craggy landscape capped with an emerging light, with a nod to the physical landscape of Colombia.
“This is an important acquisition for TMA, as one of our main collecting priorities is to diversify and bring underrepresented artists and artworks into the collection,” said Diane Wright, senior curator of glass and contemporary craft. “With ‘Riscos y oro, 2’ we are expanding the art history narrative of the collection in three areas, adding work by a Latin American woman artist who is a major influence in the craft community working in fiber. De Amaral is the first contemporary Colombian artist to be represented in TMA’s collection.”
Italian painter Jacopo Ligozzi (1547-1627) was a versatile artist who also worked as a painter, draftsman, illuminator, printmaker and designer of decorative objects. A devout Catholic, he frequently depicted the life of Saint Francis as his subject.
In “Saint Francis Adoring the Cross” the saint is represented in intense adoration of a crucifix. His left hand shows stigmata – the wounds suffered by Christ when he was nailed to the cross. A halo is visible above his head, signifying his sainthood. In the lower left, a skull rests on a stump, a reference to the theme of memento mori (remember death). The work is currently installed in one of TMA’s Renaissance galleries, hanging with chronological companions, including a roughly contemporaneous rosary decorated with Colombian pearls. As a court artist of the Medici, Ligozzi frequently illustrated the Medici’s collection of flora and fauna of the new world. Ligozzi’s reserved, monochromatic work engages both the brighter and lighter paintings that surround it but also early modern narratives of globalization and colonialism.
“‘Saint Francis Adoring the Cross,’ presumably, was commissioned for a patron’s private devotions, to encourage the viewer to emulate the extreme religious conviction of the saint,” said Lawrence W. Nichols, TMA’s William Hutton senior curator, European and American painting and sculpture before 1900. “The restricted color palette augments the painting’s emotional intensity. We are very pleased to have acquired this painting that fills a significant area in our Italian painting collection. While Ligozzi is not a household name, he is an important figure in this time period, and this acquisition makes Toledo one of only three American museums with one of his works.”
“Interior with Pink Wallpaper II” is a five-color lithograph by Edouard Vuillard, a member of the Nabis (the Hebrew word for prophet). The Nabis were a group of French painter-printmaker artists active from 1888-1900 and often credited with paving the way for 20th-century modernism. Vuillard became a master of color lithography in the 1890s, and like his Nabis friend Pierre Bonnard, invented a decorative visual language comprised of competing patterns, lyrical color and ornament to express everyday life’s intimate and personal experiences.
This work, along with its companion “Interior with Pink Wallpaper I,” already in TMA’s collection, belongs to Vuillard’s suite of 13 lithographs, Landscapes and Interiors. Widely regarded as Vuillard’s most important work as a printmaker, the series is also considered a highlight of late 19th-century graphic art.
“Vuillard’s ‘Interior with Pink Wallpaper I & II’ illustrate the innovations in printmaking introduced during the 1890s by major French artists such as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and others that led to color lithography’s acceptance as a fine art medium,” said Robin Reisenfeld, senior curator, works on paper at TMA. “Vuillard’s stylistic fondness for rich patterns made up of a web of dots and hatches, vivid color and ambiguous space is completely realized in this lithograph; this acquisition allows us to present a more robust display of the period.”