Judith H. Dobrzynski
Judith H. Dobrzynski
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

Latest Articles

Masterpiece: Feasting on a Delicious Pastel
Jean-Étienne Liotard's 'The Chocolate Girl' is a technically flawless aesthetic triumph of the medium.

May 23, 2020  •  The Wall Street Journal

When the art connoisseur Francesco Algarotti saw a pastel called "The Chocolate Girl" (c. 1744) in Venice in 1745, he immediately wanted to acquire it from the artist, Jean-Étienne Liotard, for King August III of Saxony. The king loved pastels—especially those by Rosalba Carriera (1673-1757), a Venetian artist internationally renowned for hers—and was building a unique chamber in his Dresden palace for works in this light-sensitive medium.

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Breathing New Life Into Aging Art Works
Online videos show that art conservation is part scholarship, part exploration, and part artform itself.

May 18, 2020  •  The Wall Street Journal

Every now and then, the art world is rocked by a sensational story about art conservation. There are good ones, like the recent unveiling of Jan Van Eyck's Mystic Lamb in the Ghent Altarpiece, freed from 16th-century overpainting that had obscured his human-like face. And there are bad ones, like the century-old Spanish fresco of Christ that was ruined by an overzealous amateur restorer in 2012. No wonder museums have increasingly built special exhibitions around these fascinating stories or included conservation as part of their shows.

Right now, while the doors to museums are closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, many windows on the art and science of art conservation are wide open online.

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The show must go on: what American curators are up to in isolation
How have curators been filling their time while their museums remain closed? Creatively.

May 5, 2020  •  The Art Newspaper

As the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic barrelled through the US, closing museums indefinitely, many curators caught mid-project had to switch gears and start working from home. While many have been busy renegotiating and rebudgeting current and near-term exhibitions, others are planning new ones and doing research. The Art Newspaper asked several curators around the US what they are doing now, and here are excerpts from their replies.

Katie Pfohl

Katie Pfohl is the curator of Modern and contemporary art, New Orleans Museum of Art

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The Pleasures of Spring Without the Pollen
Online offerings from botanical gardens let you watch the world come to life from home.

May 4, 2020  •  The Wall Street Journal

Want to take a walk but cloistered inside because of the pandemic? You can still visit gardens virtually. And there's good reason to do so. Scientific studies have found that exposure to parks and gardens raises our spirits, improves our mental and physical health, and may even lower mortality—sometimes even via passive exposure, as through a window.

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'Van Eyck: An Optical Revolution' Review: Truer Than Life
The painter created illusions that seem more real than reality.

March 23, 2020  •  The Wall Street Journal

Little is known about the early years and training of Jan van Eyck (c. 1390-1441). Yet he emerged in early 15th-century Northern Europe as a colossus, defining artistic perfection with his luminous, incredibly detailed, naturalistic pictures. When his name first definitively appeared in a document, dated 1422, he was identified as a "master"; today, he'd also be called a disrupter. Many art historians revere him as the greatest painter of all time.

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