Privilege

Art preparator Theresa King-Dickinson ruminates on the universal privilege of art appreciation.

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I look at works and I wonder, "What was your day like? Who are you?"

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  • Theresa King-Dickinson
    1280852
  • Madame de Saint-Maurice  |  1776  |  Joseph Siffred Duplessis (French)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Bequest of James A. Aborn, 1968 (69.161)
    8241024
  • Modern Rome  |  1757  |  Giovanni Paolo Panini (Italian)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Gwynne Andrews Fund, 1952 (52.63.2)
    1280996
  • The Third-Class Carriage  |  ca. 1862–64  |  Honoré Daumier (French)  |  Oil on canvas  |  H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (29.100.129)
    1280931
  • Seated Peasant  |  ca. 1892–96  |  Paul Cézanne (French)  |  Oil on canvas  |  The Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg Collection, Gift of Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg, 1997, Bequest of Walter H. Annenberg, 2002 (1997.60.2)
    8471024
  • Portrait of a Woman  |  ca. 1907/8–14  |  Egon Schiele (Austrian)  |  Published by Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna, Austria)  |  Color lithograph  |  Museum Accession, transferred from the Library (WW.288)
    6771024
  • Portrait of a Woman  |  ca. 1907/8–14  |  Egon Schiele (Austrian)  |  Published by Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna, Austria)  |  Color lithograph  |  Museum Accession, transferred from the Library (WW.288)
    12801004
  • Juan de Pareja (born about 1610, died 1670)  |  1650  |  Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez (Spanish)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Purchase, Fletcher and Rogers Funds, and Bequest of Miss Adelaide Milton de Groot (1876–1967), by exchange, supplemented by gifts from friends of the Museum, 1971 (1971.86)
    8851024
  • Juan de Pareja (born about 1610, died 1670)  |  1650  |  Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez (Spanish)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Purchase, Fletcher and Rogers Funds, and Bequest of Miss Adelaide Milton de Groot (1876–1967), by exchange, supplemented by gifts from friends of the Museum, 1971 (1971.86)
    9261024
  • The Adoration of the Magi  |  ca. 1470–75  |  Hieronymus Bosch (Netherlandish)  |  Oil and gold on wood  |  John Stewart Kennedy Fund, 1913 (13.26)
    8101024
  • The Adoration of the Magi  |  ca. 1470–75  |  Hieronymus Bosch (Netherlandish)  |  Oil and gold on wood  |  John Stewart Kennedy Fund, 1913 (13.26)
    5371024
  • Portrait of a Woman, Perhaps Madame Claude Lambert de Thorigny (Marie Marguerite Bontemps, 1668–1701)  |  1696  |  Nicolas de Largillierre (French)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Rogers Fund, 1903 (03.37.2)
    7821024
  • Portrait of a Woman, Perhaps Madame Claude Lambert de Thorigny (Marie Marguerite Bontemps, 1668–1701)  |  1696  |  Nicolas de Largillierre (French)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Rogers Fund, 1903 (03.37.2)
    5661024
  • Saint Maurice  |  ca. 1522–25  |  Lucas Cranach the Elder (German) and Workshop  |  Oil on wood  |  Bequest of Eva F. Kollsman, 2005 (2006.469)
    2821024
  • Saint Maurice  |  ca. 1522–25  |  Lucas Cranach the Elder (German) and Workshop  |  Oil on wood  |  Bequest of Eva F. Kollsman, 2005 (2006.469)
    8581024
  • La Capresse des Colonies  |  1861  |  Charles Henri-Joseph Cordier (French) and Charles-François Rossigneux (French)  |  Algerian onyx-marble, bronze and gilt-bronze, enamel; white marble socles; red and white marble pedestal with gilt-bronze mounts and ornaments  |  European Sculpture and Decorative Arts Fund, 2006 (2006.112a–c)
    6511024
  • La Capresse des Colonies  |  1861  |  Charles Henri-Joseph Cordier (French) and Charles-François Rossigneux (French)  |  Algerian onyx-marble, bronze and gilt-bronze, enamel; white marble socles; red and white marble pedestal with gilt-bronze mounts and ornaments  |  European Sculpture and Decorative Arts Fund, 2006 (2006.112a–c)
    10851024
  • Bashi-Bazouk  |  1868–69  |  Jean-Léon Gérôme (French)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Gift of Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, 2008 (2008.547.1)
    8291024
  • Street Story Quilt  |  1985  |  Faith Ringgold (American)  |  Oil, felt-tip pen, dyed fabric, and sequins on canvas, sewn to quilted fabric  |  Purchase, Arthur Hoppock Hearn Fund and funds from various donors, 1990 (1990.237a–c)
    1250794
  • Theresa King-Dickinson
    1280852
  • My name is Theresa King-Dickinson, and I am an art preparator for the European Paintings department.

  • When you hear the word privilege you have an assumption about a certain amount of entitlement and the haves and the have-nots.

  • I think people think of the Museum and think that, "I don't want to go there," or "only certain people go to the Museum." And for me, privilege is the privilege that I have

  • to have these relationships with artists, to be here and have these works evoke emotion within me.

  • And I think it's an innate privilege that everyone should have their own say about the work. When I approach art

  • I come to it, first impression, walk up to something and take a look. And as I walk closer, I usually start to feel a relationship

  • towards the sitter. It becomes personal, and it starts to speak to me, the work.

  • Juan de Pareja is looking directly at you, and I know that Juan de Pareja was the slave of Velázquez, but he also was his friend and companion, his assistant in the studio, actually. And I think sometimes knowing the background to the painting and then looking at the work, I'm not so sure that this man could ever have been enslaved by anyone. There are no threads of slavery in his body. He just says

  • beauty and he is full of selfness, he knows who he is. And myself being a person of color, I often

  • look for works with people of color in them, and there are few at the Museum, just because in history there are not that many that have been preserved, and certainly we do have a large collection of works on view.

  • I look at works and I wonder, you know, what was your day like, you know, who are you? I look at

  • this portrait of this woman with this very big, ostentatious dress. And because I am looking at this picture in terms of someone who looks like me, that has my skin tone, that is part of my race, I see him.

  • I look at him, and I wonder is he fearful? Is he okay? Is he taken care of as best he can be, because he certainly isn't part of the family. And you think about the time period, and you think about what went on. It breaks my heart. You have no clue what journey he's taken, and you don't know where he ends up either.

  • Saint Maurice. The ornaments on his armor just say so much about his personality. And he is certainly a soldier in arms, but wow, he is the

  • pimp of the sixteenth century. You know, this man of color, well he made out okay.

  • There are pieces of art where all the features of African Americans are over-the-top and turned into something else. Here it's done just so, to let you understand what certain peoples look like, but certainly to keep their beauty intact. And she is stunning, and regal almost.

  • She was a slave, I'm sure. But there was a certain air of just herself, that she was happy in who she was. It didn't matter her place in life, what rung on the ladder she stood, she had a major presence.

  • The Bashi-Bazouk talks to me in a sense of strength that you must have in order to survive in this world. Supposedly Bashi-Bazouk is a soldier that's sort of a renegade, so you sort of say to yourself, "Oh I'm not supposed to like him." But then when I look, I go, my God, he is bursting out of the frame and he's just telling you that he is proud of who he is and his station in life.

  • You meet very different people every day. You know, you hear people say, "It's my privilege to have met you." That's a relationship that the artist wants you to have.

  • And what you take away from it is very important.

  • 69.161
    Madame de Saint-Maurice, 1776, Joseph Siffred Duplessis (French), Oil on canvas Bequest of James A. Aborn, 1968 (69.161)
  • 52.63.2
    Modern Rome, 1757, Giovanni Paolo Panini (Italian), Oil on canvas Gwynne Andrews Fund, 1952 (52.63.2)
  • 29.100.129
    The Third-Class Carriage, ca. 1862–64, Honoré Daumier (French), Oil on canvas H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (29.100.129)
  • 1997.60.2
    Seated Peasant, ca. 1892–96, Paul Cézanne (French), Oil on canvas The Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg Collection, Gift of Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg, 1997, Bequest of Walter H. Annenberg, 2002 (1997.60.2)
  • WW.288
    Portrait of a Woman, ca. 1907/8–14, Egon Schiele (Austrian), Published by Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna, Austria), Color lithograph Museum Accession, transferred from the Library (WW.288)
  • 1971.86
    Juan de Pareja (born about 1610, died 1670), 1650, Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez (Spanish), Oil on canvas Purchase, Fletcher and Rogers Funds, and Bequest of Miss Adelaide Milton de Groot (1876–1967), by exchange, supplemented by gifts from friends of the Museum, 1971 (1971.86)
  • 13.26
    The Adoration of the Magi, ca. 1470–75, Hieronymus Bosch (Netherlandish), Oil and gold on wood John Stewart Kennedy Fund, 1913 (13.26)
  • 03.37.2
    Portrait of a Woman, Perhaps Madame Claude Lambert de Thorigny (Marie Marguerite Bontemps, 1668–1701), 1696, Nicolas de Largillierre (French), Oil on canvas Rogers Fund, 1903 (03.37.2)
  • 2006.469
    Saint Maurice, ca. 1522–25, Lucas Cranach the Elder (German) and Workshop, Oil on wood Bequest of Eva F. Kollsman, 2005 (2006.469)
  • 2006.112a-c
    La Capresse des Colonies, 1861, Charles Henri-Joseph Cordier (French) and Charles-François Rossigneux (French), Algerian onyx-marble, bronze and gilt-bronze, enamel; white marble socles; red and white marble pedestal with gilt-bronze mounts and ornaments European Sculpture and Decorative Arts Fund, 2006 (2006.112a–c)
  • 2008.547.1
    Bashi-Bazouk, 1868–69, Jean-Léon Gérôme (French), Oil on canvas Gift of Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, 2008 (2008.547.1)
  • 1990.237a-c
    Street Story Quilt, 1985, Faith Ringgold (American), Oil, felt-tip pen, dyed fabric, and sequins on canvas, sewn to quilted fabric Purchase, Arthur Hoppock Hearn Fund and funds from various donors, 1990 (1990.237a–c)
  • Madame de Saint-Maurice, 1776, Joseph Siffred Duplessis (French), Oil on canvas Bequest of James A. Aborn, 1968 (69.161)
    Modern Rome, 1757, Giovanni Paolo Panini (Italian), Oil on canvas Gwynne Andrews Fund, 1952 (52.63.2)
    The Third-Class Carriage, ca. 1862–64, Honoré Daumier (French), Oil on canvas H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (29.100.129)
    Seated Peasant, ca. 1892–96, Paul Cézanne (French), Oil on canvas The Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg Collection, Gift of Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg, 1997, Bequest of Walter H. Annenberg, 2002 (1997.60.2)
    Portrait of a Woman, ca. 1907/8–14, Egon Schiele (Austrian), Published by Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna, Austria), Color lithograph Museum Accession, transferred from the Library (WW.288)
    Juan de Pareja (born about 1610, died 1670), 1650, Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez (Spanish), Oil on canvas Purchase, Fletcher and Rogers Funds, and Bequest of Miss Adelaide Milton de Groot (1876–1967), by exchange, supplemented by gifts from friends of the Museum, 1971 (1971.86)
    The Adoration of the Magi, ca. 1470–75, Hieronymus Bosch (Netherlandish), Oil and gold on wood John Stewart Kennedy Fund, 1913 (13.26)
    Portrait of a Woman, Perhaps Madame Claude Lambert de Thorigny (Marie Marguerite Bontemps, 1668–1701), 1696, Nicolas de Largillierre (French), Oil on canvas Rogers Fund, 1903 (03.37.2)
    Saint Maurice, ca. 1522–25, Lucas Cranach the Elder (German) and Workshop, Oil on wood Bequest of Eva F. Kollsman, 2005 (2006.469)
    La Capresse des Colonies, 1861, Charles Henri-Joseph Cordier (French) and Charles-François Rossigneux (French), Algerian onyx-marble, bronze and gilt-bronze, enamel; white marble socles; red and white marble pedestal with gilt-bronze mounts and ornaments European Sculpture and Decorative Arts Fund, 2006 (2006.112a–c)
    Bashi-Bazouk, 1868–69, Jean-Léon Gérôme (French), Oil on canvas Gift of Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, 2008 (2008.547.1)
    Street Story Quilt, 1985, Faith Ringgold (American), Oil, felt-tip pen, dyed fabric, and sequins on canvas, sewn to quilted fabric Purchase, Arthur Hoppock Hearn Fund and funds from various donors, 1990 (1990.237a–c)
    8000–2000 B.C.
    2000–1000 B.C.
    1000 B.C.–1 A.D.
    1–500 A.D.
    500–1000 A.D.
    1000–1400 A.D.
    1400–1600 A.D.
    1600–1800 A.D.
    1800–1900 A.D.
    1900–Present

    Works of art in order of appearance

    Last Updated: August 19, 2013. Not all works of art in the Museum's collection may be on view on a particular day. For the most accurate location information, please check this page on the day of your visit.

    Madame de Saint-Maurice
    1776
    Joseph Siffred Duplessis (French)
    Oil on canvas
    Bequest of James A. Aborn, 1968 (69.161)
    On view: Gallery 615
    European PaintingsSecond Floor
    Modern Rome
    1757
    Giovanni Paolo Panini (Italian)
    Oil on canvas
    Gwynne Andrews Fund, 1952 (52.63.2)
    On view: Gallery 620
    European PaintingsSecond Floor
    The Third-Class Carriage
    ca. 1862–64
    Honoré Daumier (French)
    Oil on canvas
    H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (29.100.129)
    On view: Gallery 802
    European PaintingsSecond Floor
    Seated Peasant
    ca. 1892–96
    Paul Cézanne (French)
    Oil on canvas
    The Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg Collection, Gift of Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg, 1997, Bequest of Walter H. Annenberg, 2002 (1997.60.2)
    On view: Gallery 822
    European PaintingsSecond Floor
    Portrait of a Woman
    ca. 1907/8–14
    Egon Schiele (Austrian)
    Published by Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna, Austria)
    Color lithograph
    Museum Accession, transferred from the Library (WW.288)
    Not on view
    Drawings and PrintsSecond Floor
    Juan de Pareja (born about 1610, died 1670)
    1650
    Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez (Spanish)
    Oil on canvas
    Purchase, Fletcher and Rogers Funds, and Bequest of Miss Adelaide Milton de Groot (1876–1967), by exchange, supplemented by gifts from friends of the Museum, 1971 (1971.86)
    On view: Gallery 610
    European PaintingsSecond Floor
    The Adoration of the Magi
    ca. 1470–75
    Hieronymus Bosch (Netherlandish)
    Oil and gold on wood
    John Stewart Kennedy Fund, 1913 (13.26)
    On view: Gallery 640
    European PaintingsSecond Floor
    Portrait of a Woman, Perhaps Madame Claude Lambert de Thorigny (Marie Marguerite Bontemps, 1668–1701)
    1696
    Nicolas de Largillierre (French)
    Oil on canvas
    Rogers Fund, 1903 (03.37.2)
    Not on view
    European PaintingsSecond Floor
    Saint Maurice
    ca. 1522–25
    Lucas Cranach the Elder (German) and Workshop
    Oil on wood
    Bequest of Eva F. Kollsman, 2005 (2006.469)
    On view: Gallery 643
    European PaintingsSecond Floor
    La Capresse des Colonies
    1861
    Charles Henri-Joseph Cordier (French) and Charles-François Rossigneux (French)
    Algerian onyx-marble, bronze and gilt-bronze, enamel; white marble socles; red and white marble pedestal with gilt-bronze mounts and ornaments
    European Sculpture and Decorative Arts Fund, 2006 (2006.112a–c)
    On view: Gallery 555
    European Sculpture and Decorative ArtsFirst Floor
    Bashi-Bazouk
    1868–69
    Jean-Léon Gérôme (French)
    Oil on canvas
    Gift of Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, 2008 (2008.547.1)
    On view: Gallery 804
    European PaintingsSecond Floor
    Street Story Quilt
    1985
    Faith Ringgold (American)
    Oil, felt-tip pen, dyed fabric, and sequins on canvas, sewn to quilted fabric
    Purchase, Arthur Hoppock Hearn Fund and funds from various donors, 1990 (1990.237a–c)
    Not on view
    Modern and Contemporary ArtSecond Floor

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