{ The Allen's Greatest Hits, 2011 edition (part 1 of 3) }

My intro art history class always ends with a project where the students research a work or works from the Allen, and I've always enjoyed finding out which works they pick. In the Spring of 2009, for example, the two pieces that attracted the most attention were Ribera's Blind Old Beggar, which five students wrote about:

and Ter Brugghen's Saint Sebastian tended by Irene, favored by three:

(All the photos here come from the Allen's site and this one; both these sites have terrific art historical entries for these pieces.)

The previous year two students wrote about the Ribera, but it took fourth place behind Jawlensky's Head of a Woman (4 papers):

Rubens' Finding of Erichthonius:

and Chagall's In the Mountain (3 for each):

This year's final project was different; rather than researching a single work, students assembled a thematic exhibition of ten works of art. Each exhibition had to include at least one work from the Allen, and no more than five. The different assignments mean that it is not possible to make a perfect comparison between this year's numbers and those of previous years, but the results remain interesting.

This year's favorite was Amedeo Modigliani's Nude with Coral Necklace, which figured in six exhibitions:

This painting is perennially popular: it was in a three-way tie for 3rd place in 2009 and 2007 and tied for first in 2006 with Claude Monet's Garden of the Princess:

Monet's Garden appeared in three student exhibitions this year, earning it second place, in a four-way tie with Renoir's Landscape at Cagnes:

Ernst Kirchner's Self-Portrait as a Soldier:

and the same artist's Standing Female Nude:

(Together these two pieces give Kirchner six selections, tying Modigliani.)

Several other pieces appeared in two exhibitions:
Hendrik Ter Brugghen, St. Sebastian tended by Irene (picture above)

Michiel Sweerts, Self-Portrait:

Henri Edmond Cross, Return of the Fisherman:

Ernest Lawson, Harlem River:

Paul Klee, The Kettledrum Organ:

Barnett Newman, Onement IV:

Joan Mitchell, Café:

Roy Lichtenstein, Craig:

Alison Saar, Lave TĂȘte:

Of course, simply looking at the works which were used most is only way of approaching this material, and I'll be back in a week or so with some further observations on the projects.


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