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Google Art Project Expands-but still doesn’t include a single work by Picasso

April 12, 2012

Works from the Albertina in Vienna available on the Google Art Project

There’s no substitution for seeing the real thing, whether Van Gogh’s Starry Night at MoMA or Giotto’s Scrovegni Chapel in Padua.  However, the Google Art Project is hoping second best will be good enough. As the New York Times’ Roberta Smith reports: 

It makes available images of more than 32,000 works in 31 mediums and materials, from the collections of 151 museums and arts organizations worldwide, forming a broad, deep river of shared information, something like a lavishly illustrated art book fused with high-end open storage.

There are, however, several notable drawbacks:

Although there are now more than 6,500 names on the list of artists (cumbersomely alphabetized by first name, with no option to reconfigure by last name), the site still does not include a single work by Picasso. There is also apparently nothing by Georges Braque, Marcel Duchamp, Kazimir Malevich or Max Beckmann and only a single painting by Matisse, thanks to the Toledo Museum of Art. Postwar American and European art fares no better; none of the main Abstract Expressionists are represented. No Beuys, Fontana or Manzoni. Nothing notable by Johns, Rauschenberg or Warhol (although the Art Institute of Chicago has managed put up a very nice 1961 painting by Twombly).

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