Los Angeles County Museum of Art
October 17, 2011
Mary Jo Gibson
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) being the principal museum of the western United States, contains over 100,000 objects that date from ancient times to modern. Established in 1961, it was originally part of the Los Angeles Museum of History, Science and Art founded in 1910. Moving to Wilshire Blvd. in 1965, the institute established itself as an independent, art focused facility, the largest museum built in the USA after the National Gallery of Art located in Washington DC.
The holdings of LACMA cover a myriad of styles, German Expressionism, Islamic, Egyptian, Korean, and Latin American art, Photography, Costumes and Textiles. While perusing the online collection, two viewers are available, one offering basic enlargement, the second, a mega pixel magnifier that allows examination to the closest detail. Below are some choice pieces from the collection, with a bit of descriptive history to expand the experience.
Oval Tray with Pavilion, 1279-1368
A tranquil garden scene; inside the pavilion, the gentleman bends over, falling asleep at a table laden with food, a servant watching over him. On the terrace, another gentleman departs carrying a musical instrument. A band of lingzhi, mushrooms of immortality, encircles the border.
Objects of lacquer were produced in China, Japan and Korea before recorded history. Made from purified sap of a sumac, lacquer can carry several pigments, although black, red or a combination are the most common. These decorations are found on Chinese Palace walls dating to the 14th century BC. Once cured, it is virtually impervious to moisture, alcohol, food acids or decay.
Tile Section of Mihrab, early 14th century-Iran
A characteristic architectural element in mosques, theological colleges and tombs throughout the Islamic world, its purpose to emphasize the location of Mecca, the direction which Muslim prayer is oriented.
The inscription reads “In the name of god, the merciful, the compassionate. But the righteous will surely be amidst gardens and fountains. Enter therein, in peace and security. We shall cleanse their hearts of rancor; as brothers, they shall be upon couches set face to face.”
Created in France, 1867, by Jules Wiese, a copy of an original made for the granddaughter of a French king at the occasion of her wedding. The original produced by Maison Froment-Meurice, an artist patronized by the French aristocracy. Decorations of French lilies, roses intertwined with ivy symbolize fidelity. The figures surrounding the box are famous French women known for their piety, courage and talent.
Abraham and the Three Angels, Jan Polack, 1500, Germany
William Randolph Hearst Collection
Thank you for joining me on a virtual tour of the Los Angeles Museum of Art. The virtual museum experience is something available to everyone with a love for learning. So many things are within the reach of the internet to enrich our lives. Next week I will offer a review of the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio with a physical visit of the museum and surrounding area.