Using LACMA's Free Image Library

September 6, 2011

At a family wedding in Seattle, I met the grandmother of the bride, Elaine—an artist with a love of European painting. After some small talk, I discovered that Elaine’s daughter-in-law had recently visited LACMA and quickly fell in love with Portrait of Madame Paul Duchesne-Fournet, by Jean-Jacques Henner. Upon returning home, this daughter-in-law found a small image of the painting and forwarded it to Elaine—with the desire to have her paint a full-size oil of it.

Portrait of Madame Paul Duchesne-Fournet, Jean-Jacques Henner (France, Bernviller, 1829 - 1905) , 1879, Oil on canvas

Portrait of Madame Paul Duchesne-Fournet, Jean-Jacques Henner (France, Bernviller, 1829 - 1905) , 1879, Oil on canvas

I was thrilled to hear that she was copying this particular painting (one of my favorites from our collection), and I remembered that the work was included in a recent web project launched by the museum. I explained to Elaine that LACMA has made 2,000 high-resolution, public domain images from LACMA’s collection available to the public free of charge, including this work by Henner. After the wedding, I visited LACMA’s online Image Library and forwarded Elaine a link to the image. I loved her response:

“Thank you…just minutes before you sent me the new high resolution version I had already downloaded it from the [Image Library] website. It is so much better than the one I was working off. I sent the new one to be copied at the one-hour photo [and] I can see so many more details. I have more work to do on it than I thought.”

Copy of Portrait of Madame Paul Duchesne-Fournet, Elaine Bush, 2011, Oil on canvas

Copy of Portrait of Madame Paul Duchesne-Fournet (Detail), Elaine Bush, 2011, Oil on canvas

I asked Elaine to send me a few shots of her painting when she finished and they look beautiful. She explained a few differences between the two paintings, and it made me wonder what others are doing with the additional works of art currently available in the Image Library. How are you using the library and in what ways?

Erin Sorensen, Web Content Manager