Leiden Collection goes to Paris
January 6 2017
Picture: Louvre/Leiden Collection
I'm looking forward to seeing this - the Leiden Collection (of Dutch Golden Age works put together over the last decade or so by the US financier, Tom Kaplan) is sending many of its treasures to the Louvre. Above is a portrait of a boy by Jan Lievens. The collection (numbering some 200 works) also includes pictures by the likes of Dou and Vermeer, and is the world's largest private collection of works by Rembrandt. Remember that when people grumble about the 'lack of supply' in the Old Master market these days.
The show opens on February 22nd and runs until May 22nd. After that it goes to the Long Museum in Shanghai, then the National Museum in Beijing, and then finally to the Louvre Abu Dhabi. How wonderful that such important Old Masters are being shown to new audiences in China. We need more of this. It's telling that it's taken a private collector to do it first.
January 6 2017
I was in London yesterday, and visited the excellent mini exhibition on British 17th Century self-portraiture at the National Portrait Gallery. There, Van Dyck and Dobson's self-portraits have been re-united for the first time since the Tate's Van Dyck in Britain show in 2009. It closes after this weekend.
Of course, I couldn't resist taking a selfie. If you go, send me yours.
Waldemar in Conversation (ctd.)
January 4 2017
Video: National Gallery
Here's the Great Waldemar on fine form discussing the National Gallery's 'Beyond Caravaggio' exhibition. Well worth a click.
During the talk we learn that Waldemar is making a film on the Mary Magdelene myth in art, to be on the BBC early this year.
'Drawings for Paintings in the Age of Rembrandt'
December 15 2016
A new exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, Drawings for Paintings in the Age of Rembrandt, has been drawing praise. There's a good podcast, above. More here.
Coming soon to the National Gallery of Scotland
December 13 2016
First Cezanne portraits show
December 10 2016
The first exhibition to look at Cezanne's portraits will be held in Paris, London, Washington. Paris goes first, at the Musée d’Orsay from 13 June-24 September 2017, then the NPG in London form 26 October-11 February 2018, and finally the National Gallery of Art in Washington from 25 March-1 July 2018. More here.
New Rubens drawing after Raphael on display
December 10 2016
Picture: Pheobus Foundation
A previously unknown drawing by Rubens after Raphael has gone on display for the first time in Belgium. The drawing (above) surfaced in a small auction house in Belgium earlier this year, and sold for €670,000 to the Phoebus foundation. I'm told the underbidder was the Metropolitan Museum in New York.
Here's the Phoebus press release:
The pen-and-ink drawing with horsemen is a double-sided drawing. It is a study of Arab horsemen, which came under the management of The Phoebus Foundation in May of this year. Katharina Van Cauteren, curator of the exhibition and Chief of Staff of The Phoebus Foundation, explains why the work is so important. “This sketch is based on a scene by the Italian painter Raphael (1483-1520). However, Rubens isn’t making a copy. He breathes life into Raphael’s composition. Horses snort. Muscles are taut. A clever perspective draws the viewer into the story. This makes the drawing the first example of a brand new style: it is a forerunner of northern Baroque. With his entrepreneurial mind, Peter Paul Rubens was playing a new market here. His refreshing aesthetic was particularly to the taste of the public of his day. Rubens created an innovative visual language that conquered the world in no time”.
The drawing is on display in an exhibition organised by the Phoebus foundation in Ghent, called 'For God and Money: the Birth of Capitalism'. I went to see the show recently, and can highly recommend both it and Ghent. As regular readers will know, Belgium is my new favourite country. More on the show, which runs until 22nd January, here.
'Portrait of the Artist' at the Queen's Gallery
November 7 2016
I went to the opening of the new 'Portrait of the Artist' exhibition at the Queen's Gallery in London. It's a wonderful show and well worth visiting. I'll be reviewing it in the Financial Times. Above is a self-portrait drawing by Rubens. Tickets and details here.
New Breughel the Younger discovered in Bath
November 7 2016
Picture: Guardian/Holburne Museum
A newly discovered work by Peter Breughel the Younger will go on display next year at the Holburne Museum in Bath. The Wedding Dance was found by the new director there, Jennifer Scott, whilst having a rummage around the museum's stores. It was thought to be a later copy. The Guardian reports:
A rollicking painting of peasants dancing in the open air at a boozy wedding immediately caught the eye of the new director of the Holburne Museum in Bath when she first toured the stores of her new kingdom. Her eye was keen: from under layers of grime and discoloured varnish, a previously unrecognised work by the 17th-century Flemish painter Pieter Brueghel the Younger has emerged.
Wedding Dance in the Open Air had previously been catalogued not even as a studio work but as a lowly later copy. It has now been accepted by experts as a genuine work by the master, and will form the centrepiece of an exhibition next year at the museum on the Brueghel dynasty of artists, the first in the UK.
“The more I looked at the panel, the better it seemed,” said Jennifer Scott, who was curator of the Royal Collection before taking over in Bath two years ago. “Even under the grime the detail and the colour seemed fantastic, far too good for a mere copy.
“It helped that I had so recently been working on the Dutch and Flemish paintings in the Royal Collection. He is a wonderful painter, whose reputation has steadily been on the rise – even a few years ago people would have said: ‘Oh, bad luck, the Younger not the Elder,’ but now everyone is genuinely excited to hear of a new discovery of his work.”
The attribution means the museum now has three paintings by the artist, more than in any other UK collection.
The picture will be featured in an exhibition on the Brueghel dynasty, which opens February 11th, until June 4th. I'll be giving a talk at some point during the exhibition, date to be confirmed.
The £1.4m doorstop
September 27 2016
A £1.4m marble bust which until recently was being used as a doorstop is to go on display at the Louvre. The bust is by the French sculptor Edme Bouchardon, and shows a Scottish MP, Sir John Gordon. It was made in 1728, and belongs to a Scottish local authority, Highland Council. They were bequeathed in the 1920s, but it became lost for decades, before being found on an industrial estate in 1998, propping open a door. Inevitably, the council tried to sell it. But hopefully its inclusion in a new Louvre exhibition dedicated to Bouchardon will help persuade them to keep this important piece of local heritage.
Update - Colin Harrison, Senior Curator of European Art at the Ashmolean museum, writes:
Good to read that the bust of Gordon of Invergordon will be included in the forthcoming Bouchardon exhibition. It was published in:
Malcolm Baker, Colin Harrison, Alastair Laing, 'Bouchardon's British Sitters: Sculptural Portraiture in Rome and the Classicising Bust around 1730', The Burlington Magazine, Vol. 142, No. 1173 (Dec., 2000), pp. 752-762,
which you can read on JSTOR, if you have it.
Unfortunately, we found no evidence as to who owns the bust. Certainly, the local authority cannot claim title until it produces proper proof - ' found in a municipal store' might very well mean that, as often happened, it was merely lent by the owner for safe-keeping, perhaps in the First World War or at some other point of crisis. That particular branch of the Gordon family died out in the eighteenth century, but they married into the Mackenzie Earls of Cromartie, whose descendants may well be the legitimate owners. In the absence of any documentation, the only sensible solution would be for the bust to be displayed in Inverness Museum, where it has been in storage for nearly twenty years.
Fascinating. Might any claimants now come forward?
'The mysterious landscapes of Hercules Segers'
September 19 2016
Picture: Rijksmuseum/New York Times
The Rijksmuseum has spent two years re-examining the oeuvre of the 17th Century Dutch landscape artist Hercules Segers, and has added a number of newly attributed works, reports the New York Times. The research has been done ahead of a new exhibition on Segers' life, which opens at the Rijksmuseum on October 7th till January 8th, when it will then travel to the Met in New York, where it opens on February 13th.
More on the Rijksmuseum's research and exhibition here.
Raphael goes to Moscow
September 19 2016
Eight paintings by Raphael from Italian museums, including the artist's self-portrait, have gone on display in Moscow's Pushkin museum. “Raphael. Image Poetry: Works from the Uffizi and Other Italian Museums” runs until December 11th. More here on Artinfo, and here (in Russian) on the Pushkin site. Quite a coup for the Pushkin museum.
Cornelius Johnson exhibition
July 13 2016
Picture: Weiss Gallery
I've been meaning to mention an excellent exhibition on the work of Cornelius Johnson, Charles I's sometime court artist, at the Weiss Gallery in London. The show is on till 15th July, and there is a good catalogue published too - the front cover shows a newly identified self-portrait (above).
Rembrandt pair at the Rijksmuseum
July 13 2016
The Rijksmuseum has made a nice video about their new Rembrandt acquisition (made jointly with the Louvre) of the portraits of Marten and Oopjen Coppit. Meanwhile, in the New York Times, their former owner Eric de Rothschild has spoken of the process of selling them.
Selfies galore in Edinburgh
July 13 2016
Picture: Scottish National Portrait Gallery
A new self-portrait exhibition opens this week at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, including examples by Rembrandt and the Scottish artist John Byrne (above), of whom I'm a great fan. More here.
Leighton's 'Flaming June' returns to London
June 20 2016
Picture: Guardian/Museo de Arte de Ponce
In The Guardian, Maev Kennedy reports that Lord Leighton's masterpiece, Flaming June, is to return on loan to the studio where it was painted in London (now the Leighton House Museum). She also recounts the picture's extraordinary history after Leighton's death in 1896:
In the early 20th century, when Victorian art was already falling out of fashion, Samuel Courtauld, the millionaire collector and founder of the Courtauld Institute, called it “the most wonderful painting in existence”.
It was on loan to the Ashmolean in Oxford in the early 1900s, but vanished for decades before being rediscovered in the early 1960s, boxed in over a chimney in a house in Battersea. The composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, whose own collecting helped revive serious interest in the art of the period, never forgave his grandmother for refusing to lend him £50 to buy it when he saw it soon afterwards in a shop on the Kings Road. “I will not have Victorian junk in my flat,” she told him.
The picture was bought by the Museo de Arte de Ponce in Puerto Rico in 1963.
Unknown Lucian Freud self-portrait
June 16 2016
Picture: Lucian Freud Archive
A previously unknown self-portrait by Lucian Freud (archive) has gone on display at the National Portrait Gallery in London. A new exhibition will explore the NPG's recently acquired Freud archive, which features a range of letters and sketches. More here at the NPG's website.
Flemish drawings at the Scottish National Gallery
June 2 2016
Picture: NGS, Jacob Jordaens, 'Head of an Old Woman'
It's a bumper time for lovers of Flemish drawing at the moment - as I mentioned earlier, there's a show at the V&A on until November, and opening soon here in Edinburgh is 'Rubens & Company - Flemish drawings from the Scottish National Gallery'. Says the Gallery's website:
The Scottish National Gallery has a fine collection of Flemish paintings, including famous works by Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony van Dyck. The Print Room houses some 35,000 works on paper which, due to their fragility and sensitivity to light, can only be displayed for short periods of time and are therefore little-known.*
Rubens & Company highlights an outstanding selection of the Gallery’s Flemish drawings of the seventeenth century. Masterpieces by Rubens, the towering figure of the Flemish Baroque, are shown alongside famous works by Jordaens and Van Dyck and accompanied by works by less prominent artists such as Jan Cossiers, Abraham van Diepenbeeck and Cornelis Schut, which have rarely, in some cases never, been displayed before. Many of them are preparatory drawings or studies which offer a fascinating insight into the function of drawings as well as studio practice. Rubens & Company celebrates these artists and invites our visitors to discover and enjoy their skill in the art of drawing.
The exhibition is accompanied by a beautifully illustrated catalogue, providing a lively panorama of Flemish draughtsmanship in the seventeenth century, its subjects and techniques.
The show opens 18th June, until 28th August. Come to Edinburgh!
*Note to the Scottish National Gallery - none of your drawings by Rubens and Van Dyck are illustrated on your website.