Art History Is Not Linear,
Ryan McGinness (American), 2010. Born in Reston and raised in Virginia Beach, New York City-based McGinness is recognized worldwide for his marriage of abstraction and representation. For its McGlothlin Wing, the VMFA commissioned the 32-foot-long acrylic-on-canvas work. The 16-panel painting presents 200 of McGinness' signature "logo" drawings, each based on a piece in the museum's collection.
Splotch #22, Sol LeWitt (American), 2007. The last sculpture LeWitt made, thus unseen by the public. The 8-feet-high, colorful fiberglass piece welcomes visitors in the new atrium. John B. Ravenal, the Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, says it's like a "hallucination of mountain peaks." Punch bowl with three ladles, 1900. Henry O. Havemeyer, a New York City refined-sugar magnate, commissioned this creation of glass, silver, gilding and copper from the Louis Comfort Tiffany Glass and Decorating Co. It was acquired in 1974 through the gift of Sydney and Frances Lewis. Indian pavilion, 19th century. This never-exhibited-before white marble garden structure from Rajasthan is nearly 10 feet tall and weighs 27 tons. Joseph M. Dye III, VMFA's curator of South Asian and Islamic Art, explains how last fall a London dealer contacted the museum on behalf of a businessman who was eager to sell the pavilion, which was "fortuitously already in Northern Virginia." Venus and Cupid, by Artemisia Gentileschi (Italian), 1625. This oil-on-canvas painting was acquired in 2001.Gentileschi painted independent women who suffer but are celebrated for their courage and beauty. After she accused her art tutor of rape, she was put in thumbscrews, a test to determine her claim's veracity. Her attacker served some jail time. Just 53 Gentileschi paintings are known, and five are in public collections in the United States. Imperial Peter the Great Easter Egg, Fabergé, workmaster Mikhail Perkhin and miniaturist Vasili Zuiev (Russian), 1903. The gold-and-platinum egg, set with diamonds and rubies, was a gift of Czar Nicholas to Czarina Alexandra of Russia. When the top is opened, a tiny replica of a statue of Peter the Great rises. Red-figured calyx-crater, Nikias Painter (Greek), circa 500 B.C. The two-handled terra-cotta bowl used for mixing water and wine is attributed to Nikias Painter, who lived near Athens. One side depicts the birth of Erichthonios, a mythical early Athenian ruler; and the other, Eos, the goddess of Dawn, chasing the mortal youth, Kephaleos. It was last exhibited in 2005 The Virgin and Child with Young Saint John the Baptist, Francesco d'Ubertini Verdi aka Il Bacchiacca (Italian), ca. 1540s. Verdi studied under Perugino, who also trained Raphael. At 68 1/2 inches high and 56 3/8 inches wide, this oil on panel served as an altarpiece in Verdi's native Florence. It was acquired in 2007.
Fred Tomaselli (American), 2008. An acrylic, gouache and photo collage on wood panel, this is one in a series of Tomaselli birds that has not been on view before. Measuring 6 feet by 6 feet, the figure is composed of images of hundreds of beaks and thousands of flowers.
Cecilia Beaux (American), 1888. While studying in Brittany, Beaux painted her Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts expatriate colleague. Sylvia Yount, VMFA's Louise B. and J. Harwood Cochrane Curator of American Art, says Beaux was an internationally acclaimed portraitist and "the most successful woman artist working in turn-of-the-century America." The portrait was acquired in 2009.