Nymph of the Spring
“Nymph of the Spring” by Lucas Cranach the Younger. Courtesy San Diego Museum of Art

The San Diego Museum of Art has acquired paintings by a German Renaissance artist and 19th Century American John Singer Sargent that fill important gaps in its permanent collection.

The two new paintings are “Nymph of the Spring” (circa 1540) by Lucas Cranach the Younger and “Portrait of John Alfred Parsons Millet” (1892) by Sargent.

“During the time of the Reformation, Cranach’s mythological scenes like this one were especially popular with his sophisticated patrons, when Humanism and the Italian Renaissance were beginning to reach Northern Europe through artists like Cranach,” said Roxana Velásquez, executive director of the museum. “We hope this masterpiece, which is now the museum’s most important Northern Renaissance work, will resonate with and inspire viewers for many years to come.”

Portrait of John Alfred Parsons Millet
Portrait of John Alfred Parsons Millet

The newly acquired portrait is the first by Sargent, the most fashionable painter of his day, to be included in the museum’s extensive portrait collection.

“The museum has acquired works by many important portraitists throughout time, yet one of the great American painters of the genre was absent,” noted Velásquez.

“Nymph” is on display in the museum’s Genre and Myth section, and Sargent’s portrait in the American Art galleries.

The two paintings were acquired from different private collections with funds from a number of donors.

“It is our responsibility to grow the collection in a considered, strategic, and thoughtful way,” said Harvey White, president of the museum’s board of trustees. “These two masterworks magnificently strengthen the museum’s mission to inspire, educate, and cultivate curiosity through great works of art.”

The museum in Balboa Park has an internationally renowned collection of more than 20,000 works dating from 5,000 B.C. to present day.

It’s open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Tuesday, with extended hours to 8 p.m. on many Fridays.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.