Hammer Hangs a UCLA Gainsborough
The UCLA Hammer Museum is showing Thomas Gainsborough's Peasant Smoking at a Cottage Door. It's the most important of a group of 11 British paintings donated to UCLA in 1954 by the widow of marine engineer James Kennedy. At the time UCLA had no art museum.
Now it does, but the agreement with Armand Hammer's foundation and family restricts UCLA's ability to show other European art next to Hammer's. This is the first time the Gainsborough has been shown at the museum. Another notable UCLA painting, a studio copy of Leonardo's Virgin and Child with Saint Anne, was donated by real estate developer Willits J. Hole in 1939 and is now on loan to the Getty.
Peasant Smoking at a Cottage Door is one of a group of landscapes including a Cottage Door (about 1780) at the Huntington. The Kennedy-UCLA picture reinvents the theme to emphasize the golden light of sunset. It and related paintings were united at the Huntington in a 2006 exhibition, "Sensation and Sensibility: Viewing Gainsborough's Cottage Door."
|Thomas Gainsborough, Peasant Smoking at a Cottage Door, about 1788|