Friday, September 18, 2015

Mrs. Havemeyer's Mistakes

Francesco Montemezzano
Portrait of a Woman
16th century
Acquired as by Veronese

Spanish painter
Head of a Man
mid-17th century or later
Acquired as by Velázquez

In 1915 Lousine Havemeyer composed Sixteen to Sixty, memoirs. The book was published in 1930, shortly after the author's death. Simultaneously, her art collection was being cataloged in its new home at the Metropolitan Museum. Mrs. Havemeyer never needed to discover what the museum found out about the true histories of the objects grouped together here. She and her husband believed that "conviction" was a collector's most important characteristic. They had a fondness for searching out European art in the hands of private individuals, believing that this brought them nearer to the source. Alas, several of their independent collecting coups are now only accorded meager black-and-white reference photographs like these at the Met, and forever tagged NOT ON DISPLAY.

French sculptors
Bust of an Angel
Carved limestone
Acquired as early Renaissance 
The body is a genuine 13th-century fragment. The head is late 19th or early 20th-century

French painter
Orpheus & Eurydice
third quarter of 17th century
Acquired as by Poussin

Abraham van Diepenbeeck
Saint Cecilia
17th century
Acquired as by Rubens

Italian forger
Portrait of a Man
18th century
Acquired as by Goya

French forger
Portrait drawing of a Woman
19th century
Acquired as by Ingres

French forger
Spring Flowers
c. 1855-60
Acquired as by Courbet

French forger
second half of the 19th century
Acquired as by Courbet 

British forger
Man with a Mask
early 20th century
Acquired as by Beardsley