It’s the time of year for spring cleaning, and that offers us the opportunity to discover all kinds of things: dust bunnies, the remote control we lost over Thanksgiving weekend, and of course, 16th-century Old Master paintings that were somehow forgotten for decades.
At least, that’s what happened at Hoyt Sherman Place Art Gallery in Des Moines, Iowa. One day, Robert Warren, the executive director, found a missing piece of the museum’s collection in an underused storeroom. It had been neglected for so long that no one even remembered it was missing. The piece turned out to be “Apollo and Venus” by the Dutch painter Otto van Veen, donated to the museum by the Collins Family in the 1920s.
“It was loaned in 1922 to the Des Moines Women’s Club — who built the art gallery at Hoyt Sherman Place in 1907 — along with four other paintings from the Collins Family,” Warren told Hyperallergic in a phone interview. “Bartholomew Collins had been on the board of directors for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and this was one of the paintings that was displayed there, in their Old Masters wing.”
Image courtesy of Barry Bauman Conservation