Verso: Archive and Catalogue Raisonné Releases, Artificial Intelligence, and Impressionism

March 2024 |

New in the Romare Bearden Archives

“It is extremely difficult to talk of such a phenomenal person and universal artist in the past tense,” wrote Fabian A. Badejo (Tribute to Romare Bearden), yet so many did. Tributes, obituaries, clippings, condolences, and the program for Romare Bearden’s memorial at St. John the Divine are now available to the public in the WPI archives as Series IV: Memorial Material.

Also available is the Gloria B. Thompson Files subseries (1979–2007, bulk 2003–2005), which comprise an assortment of printed materials that Thompson collected on Romare Bearden, and donated to the Romare Bearden Foundation in 2007. This collection features a variety of newspaper advertisements and clippings that promotes exhibitions featuring the works of Bearden, including clippings pertaining to the Broadway debut of August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson in New York City, a play inspired by Bearden’s iconic work Homage to Mary Lou (1984).  

Image: [Unidentified], Gallery & Studio (2004): 21–22., 2004; Romare Bearden Papers [qvluh9q8], The Wildenstein Plattner Institute, Inc.

Archive Release: The Florence Gould Research Files

Photographs: Headshots and Full-body shots, Publicity, 1931–1935, undated; Florence Gould Research Files [9b412488], The Wildenstein Plattner Institute, Inc.

The Florence Gould Research Files (1931–1957, undated) primarily comprise photographic reproductions of artworks, black-and-white photographs featuring Florence Gould, and sales catalogues documenting the 1957 auction of the collection of her late husband, Frank Jay Gould. Florence Gould was an American socialite, patron of the arts, philanthropist, and controversial figure in France during World War II.

As a socialite in Paris, Florence Juliette Antoinette Gould befriended prominent European and American art collectors, dealers, and cultural leaders, and she entertained influential artists while amassing a collection of artworks, jewelry, books, furniture, decorative arts, and 18th-century French antiques. Some of this collection came from Florence’s purchases of looted works and art labeled as “degenerate” by the Nazi government during World War II. At her death in 1983, her estate was estimated at $123.8 million, and much of it was sold at auctions at Sotheby’s and Christie’s. 

Gould is recognized as a benefactor to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and New York University. The Florence Gould Foundation was established in 1993 to promote Franco-American exchange and amity.

The Challenges of Automatic Art Captioning: A Collaboration Between the Hasso Plattner Institute and the WPI

Digital libraries caption their online digital images to improve the accessibility of their resources. Although recent machine learning models do a good job captioning photographs of common objects, they fail to thoroughly describe digitized artworks. Alejandro Sierra Múnera from the Hasso Plattner Institute will delve into the results of an academic project designed to better understand these challenges, and showcase the strengths and weaknesses of a state-of-the-art captioning model. 

Hiding in Plain Sight: Theodate Pope Riddle’s Hill-Stead Museum 

Theodate Pope Riddle (1867-1946) and the museum she founded are very little known. Designed as a home for her family in 1901, before women were licensed to be architects in Connecticut, Hill-Stead today houses their exceptional collection of masterworks by Monet, Degas, Manet, Cassatt, and Whistler — all displayed in situ as originally installed. Learn more about this exceptional woman and her parents, who were among the first collectors of Impressionism in this country and who left an awe-inspiring legacy.

Anna SwinbournePhD is Executive Director and CEO of Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington, Connecticut. Her previous appointments include the Museum of Modern Art, New York, as a curator, and Assistant Vice President in the Impressionist and Modern Art department at Sotheby’s. She has earned many distinctions as an independent art historian, curator, and educator. 

Mary Cassatt: Impressionist Ambassador

Mary Cassatt was the only American and one of just three women to participate in the official Impressionist exhibitions. Best known for her contributions as an innovative painter and printmaker, she was also a prolific advisor who worked with more than a dozen collectors to bring Impressionism to America. On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874, the year she settled in Paris, and approaching the centenary of her death in 1926, Dr. Laura Corey reevaluates Cassatt’s legacy and indelible impact on Impressionism.

Laura Corey is Associate Research Curator and Project Manager in the Office of the Director and CEO at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. She holds a Ph.D. from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, where she specialized in nineteenth-century French art and the history of collecting and wrote her dissertation on Mary Cassatt’s role as an advisor to American collectors. 

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