Getty Museum Added $100 Million of Art to Its Collection, And the Art World Went Crazy

mourning woman michaelangelo
Michelangelo Buonarroti (Italian, 1475-1564) Study of a Mourning Woman Photo Credit: Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum recently purchased an 18th-century painting and sixteen Old Master drawings from a British private collection for $100 million.

Although this acquisition is probably the most expensive in Getty’s history, the pieces included works by Rubens, Michelangelo, Degas, Parmigianino, Lorenzo de Credi, Andrea del Sarto, Barocci, Goya, and other masters.

“Any one of these sheets on its own is truly extraordinary and would be a worthy and meaningful acquisition for the Getty,” said senior curator of drawings at the Getty Museum, Julian Brooks. “Together, the 16 drawings form an unparalleled roll call of the ‘best of the best,’ with iconic sheets by some of the world’s most celebrated artists.”

One of the paintings included in the purchase is Antoine Watteau’s mysterious La Surprise, which resurfaced in 2007 after being missing for over 150 years, as discussed in the Los Angeles Times.  

Jean Antoine Watteau (French, 1684 – 1721) La Surprise, ca. 1718 Photo Credit: Getty Museum

“La Surprise exemplifies Watteau’s delightful pictorial inventions, brilliant brushwork, and refined, elegant compositions,” said senior curator of paintings at the Getty Museum, Davide Gasparotto. “It is undoubtedly one of the most exquisite and important Watteau paintings to become available in modern times.”

Most of Getty’s new pieces are still waiting for an export license from the UK, but the art world has been celebrating the acquisition ever since Getty announced that the deal was set. You can read the full story from Getty here, but the story was also covered in Artnet News, and the New York Times.

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