Painting on Paper: Vera Lutter’s Old Master Photographs, TEFAF, New York, NY October 28 - November 1, 2017
Ludovico Mazzanti, The Death of Lucretia, c. 1735-37: February 10 - March 16, 2017,
unique, silver gelatin print
72 1/8 x 56 inches (183 x 142 cm)
Painting on Paper: Vera Lutter's Old Master Photographs LACMA Exhibition
LACMA Exhibition

This special exhibition at TEFAF New York showcases the European painting collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) as seen through the beautiful and compelling photographs of contemporary artist Vera Lutter. Since February 2017, Lutter has been in residence at LACMA creating a new body of work that examines the museum’s exterior architecture, gallery interiors, and permanent collection. The presentation at TEFAF New York is the first public display of photographs resulting from the residency.

An Ambitious Residency at LACMA

Under the leadership of CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director Michael Govan, LACMA has been committed to using its encyclopedic collection to foster artistic dialogues across cultures and time periods, often through the intervention of contemporary artists. Over the past decade, the museum has commissioned works and projects by artists including Chris Burden, Michael Heizer, Robert Irwin, Barbara Kruger, and Jorge Pardo. Lutter’s ambitious residency at LACMA has three major components. First, working with a custom-built plywood camera, Lutter has photographed portions of the museum campus that are slated for demolition to make way for a permanent collection building designed by architect Peter Zumthor. Second, Lutter is photographing interior views of selected museum galleries, including the museum’s largest gallery for European painting and sculpture. Finally, the artist is using two room-sized cameras and several small, trunk-sized cameras, to make photographs of paintings in LACMA’s permanent collection. Although she has previously photographed classical and modern sculptures, her reproductions of LACMA’s paintings represent Lutter’s first photographs of two-dimensional artworks.

Photographic Transformations

The first photograph Lutter made of a painting in LACMA’s collection was of Ludovico Mazzanti’s The Death of Lucretia, c. 1630. In Lutter’s photograph, the crisp folds of Lucretia’s dress and the surrounding fabric of the bed on which she lies become more dramatic in their negative-positive reversal, heightening the swirling compositional lines of the painting, and lending it an almost vortex-like energy. As J. Patrice Marandel, LACMA curator emeritus, and former chief curator of European Art, observes, “After Vera photographed it, it came out as a completely different Baroque object. And it turned out, in my mind, to look like another staple subject of Baroque painting, the Virgin Mary ascending to heaven.”

Vera Lutter’s residency at LACMA is supported by Sotheby’s.