Waldemar in Conversation

November 28 2016

Image of Waldemar in Conversation

Picture: BBC

The Great Waldemar will be giving a talk on Caravaggio alongside Letizia Treves at the National Gallery on Friday 2nd December at 6.30pm. Tickets here.

Apollo Awards (ctd.)

November 28 2016

Image of Apollo Awards (ctd.)

Picture: ArtUK

The Apollo Awards were announced last week, and I was delighted to see that ArtUK won the award for Digital Innovation of the Year. A fitting result for an extraordinary achievement. Other winners were:

  • Acquisition of the Year: The Virgin of the Pomegranate, by Fra Angelico at the Prado
  • Book of the Year: The Print before Photography by Antony Griffiths
  • Exhibition of the Year: Bosch at the Noordbrabants Museum
  • Museum Opening of the Year: National Gallery Singapore
  • Personality of the Year: Sir Nicholas Serota
  • Artist of the Year: Cornelia Parker.

Congratulations to all. 

The young connoisseur (ctd.)

November 28 2016

Image of The young connoisseur (ctd.)

Picture: BG

The Deputy Editor had fun in the National Gallery of Scotland yesterday, as part of her ongoing connoisseurship training. Here she is admiring a Veronese. Or, more specifically, the babies therein.

Update - a reader writes:

It looks as though the Deputy Editor is not so much admiring the Veronese as offering her thoughts on it.  Has she been watching the box set of Civilisation, perhaps?

Fake art history news

November 28 2016

Image of Fake art history news

Picture: Headlines & Global News

Fake news has been in the headlines this past few weeks. Above is an entry for fake art history news; apparently a painting Ventura Salimbeni in a church in Tuscany proves that God came to earth on a Sputnik, 400 years ago. More, if you can bear it, here.

Happy Thanksgiving

November 24 2016

Happy Thanksgiving to all American AHNers. 

And apologies to to the rest of you - no posts today, as heading to London. 

Dispute over Leonardo's 'Salvator Mundi' (ctd.)

November 23 2016

Image of Dispute over Leonardo's 'Salvator Mundi' (ctd.)

Picture: Getty Images/Bloomberg

Bloomberg reports that the ongoing dispute between the Russian collector Dmitry Rybolovlev and his one time advisor, Yves Bouvier, has been widened to include Sotheby's and the consortium of those who discovered, restored and authenticated the painting. Sotheby's brokered the deal between the consortium and Bouvier for a reported $80m, but then Bouvier sold it on for a reported $127.5m.

The painting was sold in 2013 to a company controlled by Bouvier for $80 million by a consortium of dealers that include Warren Adelson, president of Adelson Galleries, New York art dealers Alexander Parish and Robert Simon, Sotheby’s said. Bouvier flipped the painting to Rybolovlev for $127.5 million. The dealers’ group is now threatening to sue Sotheby’s for the difference, claiming they were shortchanged on the sale, the auction house said in a filing in Manhattan federal court Monday.

The international battle is being watched closely by the art market. The Russian fertilizer billionaire accused the freeport mogul of overcharging him by $500 million to $1 billion during the course of a decade for works by da Vinci, Mark Rothko and Pablo Picasso. Rybolovlev sued Bouvier in Monaco and Singapore, claiming he was the victim of fraud.

Rybolovlev declined to comment on the Sotheby’s filing. Simon also declined to comment on behalf of the consortium.

Sotheby’s had nothing to do with the private deal Bouvier struck with Rybolovlev and it didn’t make any money on the sale, the auction house said in the court filing.

Update - more on the story here on Art Market Monitor.

3D printing Old Masters

November 23 2016

Video: Factum Arte

There's an interesting article in the New Yorker about a company called Factum Arte, who are pioneering the field of making 3D printer reproductions of art, from Egyptian tombs to paintings by Rubens, as above. I've never seen one (at least, not knowingly) but would love to one day.

Update - a reader writes:

Factum Arte exhibited at Masterpiece 2016 and among their exhibits was a facsimile of a painting & its frame, originally painted for Strawberry Hill. The quality of reproduction was mindblowingly good - truly amazing.

I see from the news story here that this painting has been given to Strawberry Hill in time for the tercentenary in 2017, and that Factum will be making copies of other significant items from Horace’s collection, also for display at Strawberry Hill.

From the photos on Factum's site, the quality does indeed look amazing.

Art history toilets (ctd.)

November 23 2016

Image of Art history toilets (ctd.)

Picture: Tyler Green

Here's a good spot by Tyler Green on Twitter: a Modigliani hung between two toilets in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. 

Christie's 'Classic Week'

November 23 2016

Video: Christie's

I'm still getting used to the 'classic art' tag now favoured by Christie's, but I think it works.

Sotheby's new Chatsworth series

November 23 2016

Video: Sotheby's

This looks good - a new video series on Chatsworth and the history of its collections. Above is a trailer; the first part appears on 28th November. Its apparently presented by 'Hunstman', whoever he or she is.

Update - my bad; Huntsman is a venerable firm of tailors on London's Savile Row. 

New Hockney window at Westminster Abbey

November 23 2016

Image of New Hockney window at Westminster Abbey

Picture: Guardian

Exciting news that David Hockney is to design a new window at Westminser Abbey (at right in the photo) in honour of HM the Queen. More here

Tate archives

November 23 2016

Video: Tate

I've spent many happy hours in the Tate archive. Here's a good new video on some of the treasures you'll find there.

Early Irish art

November 23 2016

Image of Early Irish art

Picture: Irish Academic Press

I like this look of this new book on Irish art in the early modern period, available here

'Re-discovered' Kahlo

November 23 2016

Image of 'Re-discovered' Kahlo

Picture: Sotheby's

On twitter, Sotheby's tells us that the above Frida Kahlo was 're-discovered' just this summer. It sold yesterday for $1.8m. But the catalogue entry states that the picture was illustrated in Kahlo literature in 1998 and 2008. We have to work a lot harder for our re-discoveries in the Old Master world. 

Edinburgh's Smoking Maori Chieftainess

November 23 2016

Image of Edinburgh's Smoking Maori Chieftainess

Picture: Lyon & Turnbull

Another picture that caught my eye in tomorrow's Lyon & Turnbull sale was the above picture by J F Goldie, of a Maori chietaness called Te Hei smoking a pipe. The estimate is £50k-£80k. Yesterday in New Zealand another Goldie sold for NZ$265k, about £150k.

Update - it made £203k!

Rockwell vs Trump

November 23 2016

Image of Rockwell vs Trump

Picture: Huffington Post

There's a fascinating piece on Huffington Post, written by Norman Rockwell's granddaughter, Abigail. It seems an important picture was moved in the White House specifically for Donald Trump's meeting with Barack Obama:

A painting by Norman Rockwell was moved in the Oval Office for the first meeting between President Obama and Mr. Trump so it would hang over Mr. Trump’s shoulder. In the painting the torch of the Statue of Liberty is being repaired by five men, one of whom is an African-American. All of them are precariously roped to her flame.

Who moved the painting and why? It is clearly too small for that space; a larger landscape painting had hung there previously. Originally the Rockwell painting was displayed to the right of President Obama’s desk and the expansive window, over a Frederick Remington sculpture, The Bronco Buster.

What is the meaning of this gesture? Most of my grandfather Norman Rockwell’s paintings are about tolerance, unity and the inherent goodness and resilience of the human spirit. The reflection of that vision and the profound presence of Martin Luther King, Jr. in the bust below, by African-American sculptor Charles Alston, speak volumes without saying a word. Perhaps they are able to say what Obama could not in these circumstances of necessary protocol.

"Sold!" Christie's on the BBC

November 21 2016

Image of "Sold!" Christie's on the BBC

Picture: BBC

There's a new two-part series about Christie's on BBC2 (and iPlayer here). It's not the programme I'd have made, and has more than an air of informercial about it. Christie's will be pleased with the publicity. But it rolls along well enough, and there's some good characters (collector Adam Lindemann is always good value). I was glad to see fellow blogger Marion Maneker, of Art Market Monitor, equipping himself well - bravo!

Who should pay for the upkeep of Buckingham Palace?

November 21 2016

Image of Who should pay for the upkeep of Buckingham Palace?

Picture: BuckinghamPalace.co.uk

There's been a hoo-ha here in the UK over news that an extra £36.9m is to be provided by the government to refurbish Buckingham Palace. The programme will last for next ten years, so the total will therefore be £369m. 

Many have expressed outrage that 'the Royals' are getting this extra cash. There's the inevitable petition, and of course some over the top online comments:

the richest woman in the country should not be given, or take handouts from the government whilst there's kids living in poverty, pensioners freezing to death and the country is on its knees. Remember the Romanovs?

The Labour party has said the Queen should 'do the decent thing' and pay for this herself - despite the fact that the Palace is not 'hers', and is almost exclusively used for public events throughout the year. 

I used to work at Buckingham Palace, many years ago, during one of their Summer openings. Even then it was obvious that behind the scenes (and sometimes in front too) the place was getting tired around the edges. The money is to be spent not on redecoration or luxury, but on humdrum things like re-wiring. It's essential maintenance, required to make sure the place doesn't burn down or fall down.

So I hope the government doesn't do a U-turn on this. Of course, we're only in this position because spending on general maintenance is never done with public buildings; we wait till it's about to collapse, and then panic. Another royal palace, Westminster, is a good example - that requires a refurbishment costing billions.

London Old Master catalogues online

November 21 2016

Image of London Old Master catalogues online

Picture: Bonhams

The December Old Master auction catalogues are online: Sotheby's evening sale here, day sale here; Christie's evening here, day here; and Bonhams here. There are many fine pictures, including a handsome newly re-discovered oil sketch by Constable at Bonhams (above, £200k-£300k). I've written a short preview of the sales for The Art Newspaper, and will post more thoughts on the offerings soon.

Of course my usual service for AHN readers applies - if want me to look at anything just ask.

This is still not Shakespeare (ctd.) (ctd.)

November 21 2016

Image of This is still not Shakespeare (ctd.) (ctd.)

Picture: BG

Back in 2013, when I was just getting started on the whole 'this is not Shakespeare' thing, I harrumphed about a pub in Victoria using the wrong portrait.

Passing it the other day I was glad to see that the local pigeons agree with me.

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