A Century's Worth of Important Art History Is Going Online

Tulip fields in Holland, Claude Monet (1886)
Tulip fields in Holland, Claude Monet (1886)
Museé d’Orsay, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

A century’s worth of art history research will soon be coming online. According to Artnet, the nonprofit Wildenstein Plattner Institute plans to digitize its extensive collection of art records.

The nonprofit WPI, founded in 2016, is a scholarly endeavor created by the billionaire art dealer Guy Wildenstein, who runs an international art-dealing empire that includes the Paris-based Wildenstein Institute. The Wildenstein Institute publishes catalogues raisonnés (comprehensive listings of every known artwork an artist has created), and the nonprofit arm, WPI is going to receive the rights to publish those catalogues. The research materials amassed by the Wildenstein family over the last 100 years will be digitized and made available online, the WPI announced this summer.

Though the institute hasn’t announced an exact timeline for this project, it plans to develop extensively researched online catalogues raisonnés for Impressionist artists like Claude Monet and Edouard Manet within the next few years. They will be regularly updated as new scholarship becomes available.

The institute will also have research on individual artworks, stock books from art galleries, collections of artists’ letters, annotated sale catalogues, and other materials vital to art historians. According to Artnet, this includes materials that were previously unavailable to the public or thought to have been destroyed. A full list of the materials available within the archives is scheduled to go online by the end of 2018, allowing researchers to request certain items from WPI for study.

“We are committed to using the latest technology to reveal the scope and richness of these holdings for the first time,” the WPI’s executive director, Elizabeth Gorayeb, says in a press release [PDF].

[h/t Artnet]

Disney's Most Magical Destinations Have Been Reimagined as Vintage Travel Posters

UpgradedPoints.com
UpgradedPoints.com

Many of the iconic settings of animated Disney movies were modeled after real places around the world. Ussé Castle in France’s Loire Valley, for example, is widely rumored to have been the inspiration behind the original Sleeping Beauty story. (Although the castle in the movie more closely resembles Germany's Neuschwanstein Castle.) Likewise, the fictional island in Moana was made to look like Samoa, and the Sultan’s palace in Aladdin shares some similarities with India's Taj Mahal.

If you’ve ever dreamed of exploring Agrabah or Neverland, then you’ll probably enjoy getting lost in these Disney-inspired travel posters from the designers at UpgradedPoints.com, an online resource that helps individuals maximize their credit card travel rewards. Only one of the posters features a real destination ("Beautiful France"), but these illustrations let you get one step closer to scaling Pride Rock or plumbing the depths of Atlantica.

All of the images are rendered in a vintage style with enticing slogans attached—much like the exotic travel posters that were prevalent in the 1930s.

“A few of our designers wanted to capture that longing to experience the true locations of these fantastic films, and the inner child in all of us couldn’t resist seeing how they interpreted the locations of their favorite films,” UpgradedPoints.com writes. “The results are breathtaking and make us wish we could fall into our favorite Disney movies.”

Keep scrolling to see the posters, and for more travel inspiration, read up on eight real-life locations that inspired Disney places (plus one that didn't).

A Disney-inspired poster of France
UpgradedPoints.com

An Atlantica travel poster
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A Disney-inspired poster
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A Disney-inspired poster
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A Lion King travel poster
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A Neverland travel poster
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Last Surviving Person of Interest in Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Heist to Be Released From Prison

Federal Bureau of Investigation, Wikimedia Commons // Public domain
Federal Bureau of Investigation, Wikimedia Commons // Public domain

Almost exactly 29 years ago, two men disguised as police officers weaseled their way into Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and started removing prized artworks from the wall. They made off with 13 famous paintings and sculptures, representing a value of more than $500 million. It remains the largest property theft in U.S. history, but no one has ever been charged in connection with the heist.

Now, as Smithsonian reports, the last living person who may have first-hand knowledge about the heist will be released from prison this Sunday after serving 54 months for an unrelated crime. Robert (Bobby) Gentile, an 82-year-old mobster who was jailed for selling a gun to a known murderer, has been questioned by authorities in the past. In 2010, the wife of the late mobster Robert (Bobby) Guarente told investigators she had seen her husband give several of the artworks in question to Gentile—a good friend of Guarente’s—eight years prior.

A 2012 raid of Gentile’s home also revealed a list of black market prices for the stolen items. Previous testimony from other mob associates—coupled with the fact that Gentile had failed a polygraph test when he was questioned about the art heist—suggest Gentile might know more about the crime than he has let on. For his part, though, Gentile says he is innocent and knows nothing about the art or the heist.

The FBI announced in 2013 that it knew who was responsible for the museum heist, but would not reveal their names because they were dead. Still, the whereabouts of the artworks—including prized paintings by Rembrandt, Manet, Vermeer, and Degas—remain unknown. The museum is offering a $10 million reward to anyone who can provide information leading to “the recovery of all 13 works in good condition," according to the museum's website. A separate $100,000 reward will be provided for the return of an eagle finial that was used by Napoleon’s Imperial Guard.

[h/t Smithsonian]

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