Happily, I went back to the Harvard Art Museums for a second day, and I was able to put aside my disappointment as described in my earlier post. So now the good things about The Harvard Art Museums.
They have enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and helpful guards – among the best I've ever encountered.
|Jamu White, a guard at the Harvard Museums and an Art History graduate student.|
|19th–20th Century European Art, The Maurice Wertheim Collection. On the right is a two-sided 1901 painting by Picasso, and behind it (partly obstructed in this photo) is a famous Van Gogh, Self Portrait Dedicated to Paul Gauguin, 1888.|
Which brings me to Harvard's collection – the best thing about the museum, of course. They have more art than Yale; in fact Harvard's collection is the sixth largest in the United States. (All the more frustrating that only a small percentage of it can be on display – let it go, Kessler.) And the collection isn't as encyclopedic as Yale's (for example, there is no pre-Columbian or African art). But they really do have a lot of great art.
Among the highlights currently on view are:
Three very early Picassos painted in 1901, when he was only nineteen years old. Harvard has an astounding 257 works by Picasso, including eleven major paintings.
|Vincent van Gogh, Self Portrait Dedicated to Paul Gauguin, 1888, oil on canvas, 24 ¾ x 19 ¾ inches (Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Bequest from the Collection of Maurice Wertheim, Class of 1906).|
|Left: Piet Mondrian, Composition with Blue, Black, Yellow, and Red, 1922, oil on canvas, 16 ⅛ x 14 9/16 x 9/16 inches. Right: close up detail of the upper right.|
|Left: Paul Cezanne, Study of Trees, c. 1904, oil on canvas, 24 ½ x 18 ½ inches. Right: close up detail of the right side.|
|Attributed to Titian, An Idyll: A Mother and a Halberdier in a Wooded Landscape, c. 1505-10, oil on panel, 18 x 17 ⅜ inches.|
Some of the oldest and best-preserved Chinese bronzes I've ever seen:
|From the left: Wine Vessel in the form of a Water Buffalo, 14 - 11th C. BCE; Guang Wine Vessel, 13th C. BCE; Yu Wine Vessel in Form of Two Owls, 14th - 11th C. BCE. (They're in a glass case; sorry for the reflections.)|
|Max Beckmann, Self-Portrait in a Tuxedo, 1927, oil on canvas, 55 x 37 ½ inches.|
And finally, they have a surprisingly strong collection of contemporary and post WW II art, including major paintings by Clyfford Still, Frank Stella, Jackson Pollock, and a classic Joan Snyder from 1970:
|Joan Snyder, Summer Orange, 1970, oil, acrylic, spray enamel, and graphite on canvas, 42 x 96 inches.|
And Mark Rothko’s Harvard Murals – a topic for a later post.