Los Angeles County Museum on Fire | LACMA RECENT ACQUISITIONS
October 12, 2022 - William Poundstone for Los Angeles County Museum on Fire
LACMA has added two American portraits: a full-length Robert Henri Spanish Dancer and Frederick J. Brown's portrait of L.A. art patron Dr. Leon Banks.
Abby and Alan D. Levy pledged the Henri to LACMA on the museum's 40th anniversary (2005), and the gift was made official this year. Henri's series of Spanish dancers against velveteen backgrounds show his admiration for Velázquez and Goya. Measuring 85 by 44-5/8 in, it joins a set of Ash Can School works at LACMA that includes three smaller Henris and George Bellows' Cliff Dwellers.
The Metropolitan Museum bought one of Henri's Spanish subjects (not nearly so compelling as the Levy picture) out of the 1913 Armory Show. Within a few years Henri's Spanish naturalism had been overtaken by the modernism of Picasso and Miró.
Frederick J. Brown (1945-2012) was a Chicago-born African-American artist who moved in New York's avant-garde circles of visual art, jazz, and blues. The portrait of Dr. Leon Banks is a study for Brown's monumental Last Supper (1984), a painting honoring men important to the artist's life and career. Dr. Banks is a retired Los Angeles pediatrician, co-founder of the California African American Museum, and a former MOCA board member. He's also known as the subject of several David Hockney portraits. The Brown painting was purchased this May from Berry Campbell Gallery, New York, with funds from the Modern and Contemporary Art Council Acquisitions Endowment.
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