The conceptual starting point for Lutter’s residency at LACMA was her ambition to record, with a camera obscura, a photograph similar to the painted scenes of picture gallery interiors popularized during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, such as Hubert Robert’s famous paintings of the Grande Galerie of the Musée du Louvre. To make European Old Masters, a photograph depicting LACMA’s largest European painting and sculpture gallery, Lutter had a room-size camera built directly into the gallery, with its exterior finished to blend seamlessly into the gallery architecture, making it invisible to unsuspecting museum visitors.
Hubert Robert, Project for the Transformation of the Grande Galerie, 1796. Oil on canvas; 44 1⁄8 × 56 1⁄4 in. (112 × 143 cm). Musée du Louvre, Département des Peintures, Paris, RF1975-10. Photo: © 2020 RMN-Grand Palais/Art Resource, NY, by Jean-Gilles Berizzi