|The First Art Newspaper on the Net
||Established in 1996
|| Friday, December 9, 2016
|New Book Says Painting Stored Behind a Couch for 25 Years may Be a Michelangelo|
A lithograph of "La Pieta," believed to have been painted by Michelangelo in the 16th century, is seen here being held by Martin Kober in Tonawanda, N.Y., on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010. AP Photo/Don Heupel.
By: Carolyn Thompson, Associated Press Writer
TONAWANDA (AP).- Could a painting of Mary holding the body of Jesus that hung for years in an upstate New York family's home really be a 16th century Michelangelo?
An Italian art historian thinks so after undertaking years of research, which he documents in a new book, "The Lost Pieta."
Now the painting's owner, Martin Kober, is encouraging the rest of the art world to take a close look with the hope the work will be universally accepted as a Michelangelo, restored and displayed.
"My goal has always been the integrity of the picture, security and trying to do the right thing," Kober said Wednesday in his Tonawanda home, north of Buffalo, where reproductions of the circa 1545 painting now hang. The original 19 x 25-inch work is in a bank vault.
This isn't a story of some wildly lucky garage sale find; Kober can trace the painting's ownership history back to 16th century Rome. Nor is it a case of someone not knowing what they had; it was displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the 1880s.
But until Kober committed to researching the family heirloom full-time following his 2002 retirement from the Air Force, it was hard to get modern-day scholars' or curators' attention.
An examiner at the Isabel Gardner Museum in Boston wouldn't call it a Michelangelo when his mother dropped by with the painting during a trip there in the 1940s, Kober said.
His father and an uncle also were discouraged after going to New York City and hauling the painting from museum to museum, he said.
"Getting the attention of these experts was very difficult to do but my chemical makeup as a retired fighter pilot, iron man triathlete, wasn't going to have me giving up on this," said Kober, whose research has filled at least 24 binders since he received the painting from his parents about nine years ago.
They had tucked it for safekeeping into a leather art portfolio and stored it behind a couch for about 25 years after accidentally knocking it off the wall while dusting its frame.
The artwork, affectionately known as "the Mike," also has taken a couple of hits from tennis balls thrown across the room when Kober and his brothers were kids, he said.
About 2½ years ago, Italian art historian and restorer Antonio Forcellino responded to Kober's invitation and began looking into the painting, done on a half-inch panel of wood when Michelangelo would have been 70 years old. In an article published by the Sunday Times in London earlier this month, Forcellino said he was "breathless" when he saw it for the first time.
"Only a genius could have painted this the darkness which underscores the suffering, the Virgin who looks as if she's screaming and the figure of Christ after he has been deposed from the cross. ... It's definitely by Michelangelo, and I was lucky to find documents that prove it," said Forcellino, whose book was published in Italy and will be available in the United States next year. "The X-rays that have been done are the key," he told the newspaper.
A telephone message for Forcellino left with his publisher, Polity Press, was not returned.
Michelangelo authority William E. Wallace, after examining the painting, stopped short of saying it was the work of Michelangelo's brush but did not rule out the possibility.
"There's never proof, unfortunately," Wallace, an art history professor at Washington University in St. Louis, said Wednesday. "You can do scientific analysis of the paint and the surface and the panel and all that tells you is we're dealing with something old from the 16th century."
Even so, Wallace said, the painting's age and well-documented history make it deserving of display and the chance for scholarly debate about its origins.
"If it does get restored and put on exhibition, I will be happy to give it a second chance," he said. "... I did not declare it a Michelangelo, but I was very interested and thought it was an authentic 16th century object that deserved much greater attention."
The monetary value of a painting by the Italian master best known for his work on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and the statue of David "would be astronomical," Wallace said. Kober said he has heard estimates from $100 million to $300 million.
The painting originally was created for Michelangelo's friend, Vittoria Colonna, and passed to a Catholic cardinal, an archbishop and a family in Croatia that hung it in palaces, Kober said. Through marriage, it found its way to a German baroness who willed it to Kober's great-great-grandfather's sister-in-law, Kober said.
After arriving in America in 1883, the painting was hung briefly in a Syracuse museum and in a temporary exhibit at New York's the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Kober said.
Wallace is not surprised by the art world's skepticism. "New" Michelangelos have been popping up at the rate of about two a year for the last decade, he said, and so far all but a couple of drawings have been determined to be the work of a follower or imitator or assistant.
"These are all hailed as great discoveries and they tend to fade from our attention and interest fairly quickly unless the object is inherently of high quality," he said, "and I do think we're talking about a high quality object here."
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.
October 14, 2010
The Audrey Hepburn Stamp: A Portrait of Eternal Beauty to Be Sold by Schlegel Briefmarken
Frieze Art Fair Features 173 of the World's Most Exciting Contemporary Art Galleries
Art World Acts to Save Energy and Money, Mayor Launches Green Visual Arts Guide at Frieze Art Fair
U.S. Collector and Gallery Owner Larry Gagosian Tops 2010 Art Review Power List
Exhibition at Yale Center for British Art Assesses the Career and Legacy of British Architect James Stirling
19th Century Quill Pen Given to Russian Prince Aleksander Gorchakov to Sell for £100,000 at Bonhams
Exhibition at Berlin's German Historical Museum Views Hitler's Hold on Germans
World Records for David Hockney, Aaron Young, Sterling Ruby & Dana Schutz at Phillips de Pury
Museum of American Finance To Display Jeweled Monopoly Set and Host Tournament
Iconographic Analysis Conducted by Archaeologists on Murals Reveal Maya Military Life
Royal Academy of Arts Announces Jeff Koons as New Honorary Member of the Royal Academy
Up to 100 Greek Culture Ministry Workers Shut Down the Acropolis, Clash with Police
Jewish Museum in New York Exhibiont Shows Key Works by Top Women Artists
Joshua Hagler and George Pfau: Nearly Approaching Never To Pass at Reaves Gallery
Michelle Obama Says She's Bringing the Arts to the White House to Lift Young People
3,500 Courtroom Sketches by Marilyn Church Heading for Library of Congress
Egypt's Chief Archaeologist Says United States to Return Smuggled Sarcophagi
Russian Claims to Uncover "Caucasian Stonehenge"
Exhibition at Cantor Arts Center Provides a Glimpse into the Practice of Modern-Day Vodou
Exhibition of New Installations, Light Works, Sculptures and Prints by James Turrell at Gagosian
North Sea Paintings by Distinguished Artist John Virtue on View at Marlborough Fine Art
LACMA Debuts World.Class European Costume Acquisition with Fashioning Fashion
National Gallery in London Invites Contemporary Artist Clive Head to Display His Work
New and Key Past Works in First Show by Marina Abramović on View at Lisson Gallery
Important Photographic Archive Acquired for Birmingham Central Library
Sothebys Announces the Inaugural Sale of Important Russian Art in New York
Personal Collection of Elton John's Mother Sheila Farebrother Offered to Music Fans Around the Globe
Navy Birthplace in Dispute; Five Communities Claim to Be the Navy's Birthplace
Thomas Moran's Early Landscape of Juniata Valley, Pa, is Acquired by National Gallery of Art
Galerie St. Etienne Shows Works by Max Beckmann's Student, Marie-Louise Motesiczky
Norman Dilworth's First Solo Show in Britain in Almost 30 Years Opens at Laurent Delaye
New Book Says Painting Stored Behind a Couch for 25 Years may Be a Michelangelo
Ex-J. Paul Getty Museum Curator Marion True's Trafficking Trial Ends in Italy
Sotheby's Launches App for iPhone and iPad
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- Dutch National Museum of Ethnology says ancient Mixtec skull a forgery
2.- Sotheby's Russian Art Sales soar over estimate to £13.8m / $17.2m
3.- Pirelli's new 'feminist' calendar sexes up the wrinkles
4.- Black Death burial pit found by archaeologists at English 14th-century abbey
5.- It's a squeeze, but Paris Impressionist museum is still a hit after 30 years
6.- Versailles presents the infinite variety and ingenuity of entertainment in the court
7.- Van Gogh Museum rules out debate over 'lost' notebook
8.- Wife of Putin aide shocks with Holocaust-themed skating routine
9.- A visitor's guide to Art Basel Miami Beach and beyond
10.- President-elect Donald Trump, politics on the mind at Art Basel Miami Beach
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.