Last chance to buy £35m Rembrandt

October 16 2015

Image of Last chance to buy £35m Rembrandt

Picture: Telegraph

The UK's Culture Minister, Ed Vaizey, has placed a temporary export bar on the above Rembrandt (Portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet, giving museums a last chance to buy the picture for £35m. It was sold privately to an overseas buyer earlier this year. Here's the press release:

One of Rembrandt’s greatest late portraits is at risk of being exported from the UK unless a buyer can be found to match the asking price of £35 million.

In order to provide a last chance to save it for the nation, Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has placed a temporary export bar on a painting by Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn, Portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet.

The portrait is important, not only for the study of Rembrandt’s late career, but also of Dutch society. The subject of the portrait, Catrina Hooghsaet, was a wealthy Amsterdam Mennonite who, at the time of the painting, was married but separated from her husband, which reflects her strength of character and independence. She is accompanied not by her estranged husband, but by her pet parrot, who features in her will.

Rembrandt’s portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet has been in the UK for more than 250 years and is one of Rembrandt’s best-known paintings in the UK. It has been on loan and on public display at the National Museum of Wales, the National Trust’s Penrhyn Castle, North Wales (for which it was bought in 1860), and most recently at the Ashmolean Museum. The only comparable Rembrandt paintings in the UK, Jacob Trip and his wife Margareta de Geer (National Gallery) datable to about 1661, were executed in the Rembrandt’s ‘rough manner’ whereas the precision of Catrina Hooghsaet’s features recall a style that was present in his much earlier work.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said: “This Rembrandt painting has been enjoyed by the UK public for more than 250 years and provides a fascinating glimpse into history, helping us to better understand how society and art have evolved over the centuries. It’s important that paintings, especially one as famous as this, are available for our students to learn from. I hope that the temporary export bar I have put in place will result in a UK buyer coming forward to buy the Rembrandt painting to save it for the nation.”

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey took the decision to defer granting an export licence for the Rembrandt painting following a recommendation by the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest (RCEWA), administered by Arts Council England. The RCEWA made their recommendation on the Rembrandt painting on the grounds of its close association with our history and national life, its outstanding aesthetic importance and its outstanding significance for the study of Rembrandt’s art and in particular his late works.

RCEWA Member Aidan Weston-Lewis said: “This is an exceptional portrait of a fascinating sitter, about whom there is still much to be discovered. Its departure abroad would be particularly unfortunate in view of its long presence in the UK, notably in Wales, which currently has no publicly-owned painting by Rembrandt.”

The decision on the export licence application for the Rembrandt painting will be deferred for a period ending on 15 February 2016 inclusive. This period may be extended until 15 October 2016 inclusive if a serious intention to raise funds to purchase the painting is made at the recommended price of £35,000,000 (plus VAT of £660,000).

Offers from public bodies for less than the recommended price through the private treaty sale arrangements, where appropriate, may also be considered by Ed Vaizey. Such purchases frequently offer substantial financial benefit to a public institution wishing to acquire the item.

The last paragraph presumably refers to the fact that tax concessions may be offered by the government. In other words, HMG will agree to forego the tax payable on the painting by the owners, leaving a smaller sum to be raised by a museum. I don't know, but I suspect in this case that the painting was 'conditionally exempt' from death duties, meaning that death taxes of 40% were not levied on the painting in cash terms, in return for allowing the public to see the painting at certain times of the year. Thus, if part of the proceeds of the sale are to be taxed at 40%, and the government agrees to forgo that sum, then the effective asking price to a museum is £21m.

So the question is, after the French and Dutch governments each bought a Rembrandt for EUR80m apiece, can we buy one (a considerably nicer one) for less? Will the recent success of "Late Rembrandt" at the National Gallery give momentum to any public campaign? We have until October next year to find out. Here's hoping...

New Ochtervelt for Washington

October 16 2015

Image of New Ochtervelt for Washington

Picture: TAN

Paul Jeromack in The Art Newspaper reports that the National Gallery of Art in Washington has bought a work by Jacob Ochtervelt:

The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, has acquired a recently rediscovered genre painting by the Dutch Old Master Jacob Ochtervelt, A Nurse and a Child in the Foyer of an Elegant Townhouse (1663). The work was bought by the London dealer Johnny van Haeften at Sotheby’s New York for a record $4.4m in January 2014, and two months later he offered it at the Tefaf fair in Maastricht for $7.5m. Sources in the trade say the National Gallery paid a little more than $5m for the work; the museum does not comment on the value of works of art, but a statement says the acquisition was made through “the generous support of The Lee and Juliet Folger Fund”.

'Artsnight' looks at the art market

October 16 2015

Image of 'Artsnight' looks at the art market

Picture: BBC

The BBC's arts editor Will Gompertz (above right) has made an 'Artsnight' programme looking into the art market. I'm in it briefly, doing my bit on behalf of Old Masters. The programme is on tonight (Friday) on BBC2 at 11pm, and will be on iPlayer shortly afterwards. Here's the blurb:

For his edition of Artsnight, BBC arts editor Will Gompertz investigates the thriving art market. He meets collectors, philanthropists and multi-millionaires pursuing their passion for art, and asks whether record-breaking sales are a good thing or damaging creativity. Arguing for better regulations in the art market, he finds out why you can buy an Old Master for a fraction of the price of contemporary art. He talks to Nobel Prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk about his vision for a new type of museum and meets the 89-year-old grandmother of contemporary art - Delfina Entrecanales - who for 40 years has quietly nurtured a generation of British artists, including more than a dozen Turner Prize nominees.

I can report that Will is an extremely nice fellow, and has a terrific breadth of knowledge.

'Empty Lot'

October 15 2015

Video: Tate

Expect to hear and see a lot more of Abraham Cruzvillegas' new Tate Modern commission, called 'Empty Lot'. Here's the blurb:

Empty Lot is a large geometric sculpture created using scaffolding, a grid of triangular wooden planters, and soil collected from parks across London including Peckham, Haringey and Westminster. Nothing will be planted in the soil, but it will be lit by lamps and watered throughout the six month display. The unpredictable nature of the work, which may grow and change from one week to the next, provokes questions about the city and nature, as well as wider ideas of chance, change, and hope.

In the video above we see a rare thing - a contemporary artist actually making the art work himself. Or at least a bit of it.

Don't tell anyone, but I think Empty Lot looks pretty cool.

'Hitler's art dealer'

October 15 2015

Image of 'Hitler's art dealer'

Picture: Thames and Hudson

Catherine Hickley - an expert on art looted in World War Two - has written a new book about the Gurlitt collection, and its tragic origins in Hitler's obsession with art. Read an excerpt here, and buy the book here.

'New things' at the NPG

October 15 2015

Image of 'New things' at the NPG

Picture: NPG

The Art Newspaper reports that new NPG director Nicholas Cullinan is hoping for 'a very strong contemporary programme' in the years ahead. And in 2017 we have the great treat of a show on portraits by Cezanne to look forward to. It'll be staged at the NPG, the Musée D'Orsay in Paris, and the National Gallery in Washington. It's not often you see the NPG's exhibitions staged at such high-profile galleries - impressive stuff. 

Episode 2 - the Story of Scottish Art

October 15 2015

Video: BBC

The second episode of Lachlan Goudie's extremely good 'Story of Scottish Art' was broadcast last night in here in Scotland. It's now on iPlayer, and I gather it will be soon be broadcast nationally on BBC4. Well worth a watch.

As you can see in the clip above, the programme makes great use of drones, which are gradually transforming the way we make films like this.

431,541

October 15 2015

Image of 431,541

Picture: AHN

That's the number of people who have read AHN since it began in 2011. I've just managed to access my Google Analytics for the first time in a couple of years. It's nice to see how many of you have stuck with the site since the early days, and also how many new readers continue to take a look. I'm so enormously grateful to you all for your interest and support - thank you. We now have on average over 5,000 individual readers a week. And since we began we've had over 3m 'page views' (whatever they are).

I should also probably apologise for the rather erratic posting there has been over the last few months. Apart from being busy setting up a new company (plus a new baby), I've been struggling to find a solution to various eyesight problems.

It's nothing serious, and I mention it here not to elicit any sympathy - but because I'm not sure we all realise quite how bad things like computer screens and smartphones are for our eyes. The kind of light modern screens emit has been proven to be degenerative to our eyes. And because we tend to stare at these screens we blink one third as much as we would normally. This can lead very quickly to having dry eyes, and other such things, because we don't blink and lubricate the surface of the eye. The front of our eyes are covered with thousands of nerve endings, and if these become too dry it's amazing how odd you can feel as a result.

So, as a result I've not been as diligent at putting stories up every day or so, as I used to. I've also not been as diligent at getting back to emails - for which further apologies, or putting up reader's comments - sorry again.

But fear not AHNers, for the solution is at hand. I've an array of new spectacles; some for reading screens, some for looking at pictures, some for looking afar, some for reading books, and so on. And a smart new 'manbag' to lug them all around in. It means I'm able to scour the world's auction houses for pictures (which must come first in my tasks of the day) without feeling too ropey to tend to AHN.

I'm also something of an evangelist about this new 21st century problem. Did you know there's a new type of spectacle lens you can get for screen use, called 'blue protect'? It filters out some of the degenerative light, and I highly recommend it. I'd urge all of you, whether you use glasses or not, to take extra care when looking at screens, especially things like reading text on smartphones, and to try and limit the amount of screen time in your day. Except when reading Art History News of course.

Update - a reader writes;

I was interested about your comments about the damage computer and I pad screens do to your eyes. I sit every night before I go to sleep and look at auction sites, mainly paintings. I had laser treatment on my eyes by Dr David Gartry at Moorfields eye hospital some years ago. My eyes were perfect until recently and I am sure it's the I pad. Too many auctions to look at and that habit has taken its toll on my eyes. I totally agree with your comments.

Another reader has this suggestion;

I'm in no way affiliated with it but I use a neat little tool called f.lux you might like to try alongside all the new spectacles. It essentially links your screen's 'blueness' to the day's natural cycle - in the day you'll see no change but as the sun sets in your time zone the screen's light becomes warmer in tone to compensate for it, should you be using your computer at sunrise you'll see it gradually shift from the warm tones to a cooler, daylight one. Which probably sounds rather odd but the software is free, the link is https://justgetflux.com/ and the site has a 'f.luxometer' which gives a demonstration of how it alters the night-time screen colour for various models of computers and devices. 

You can switch it on and off if you're viewing art and need an unfiltered sense of the colours in a piece but its warmer evening shades are fantastic at reducing eye strain when writing or reading late into the night.

As a contact lens wearer who works with screens and a laptop everyday and reads entirely too much, I suspect f.lux might be the sole reason my vision has remained stable over the last two years and I stopped having migraines. Anyway, I hope you find it of interest and/or use.

Update II - another reader, inspired by AHN, has been shopping:

Sorry to hear about the eye problems Bendor, as a photographer, I know how the eyes tire somewhat. Even getting on a bit things change ! 

Just to let you know I read AHN everyday, and have learnt a lot from you wise musings.. and have found a sleeper awhile back at my bootfair..by Richard Ansdell..though as it was waterlogged [ a sixth of the painting was missing..]

Update III - another reader wonders:

Read your updates today. Congratulations on your impressive viewing figures; surely there must be a way for you to financially benefit on these!

Alas not, and I've always resisted the temptation to take adverts. That said, I do every now and then plug something else I'm involved with. 

What you're missing at Frieze

October 14 2015

Video: Vernissage TV

People trying desperately hard not to look confused.

'Highlights of the Wallace Collection'

October 14 2015

Video: Wallace Collection

Here's a video featuring highlights from the Wallace Collection, presented by its director Dr Christoph Vogtherr. I was interested to hear him say at the end:

"We are still trying to find out more about our collection and to reveal the secrets of the artworks in the museum."

A laudable aim. But some years ago now I urged Dr Vogtherr to investigate a painting in the Wallace Collection which is described as 'Ascribed to Titian' [which essentially means 'the label says Titian but we don't believe it], and hung high up above a display case on the ground floor. For what it's worth, I'm pretty sure it's an early Titian, but it is much obscured by dirt, old varnish and over-paint. The thing is, early Titians like this don't grow on trees, and if it were 'right' it would instantly become one of the Wallace Collection's highlights. I'm not the only person to rate it highly, by the way.

But alas, Dr Vogtherr's response (to me at least) seemed to suggest he wasn't really bothered, and nor that he was a particular believer in the concept of authorship. Perhaps something was lost in translation, but each time I go to the Wallace I am saddened to see it hanging in the same place, unloved.

Surely it's worth a little further exploration?

The Wallace's website says:

The picture’s poor condition makes it difficult to attribute with certainty, but it is evidently an original Venetian composition, related to Titian’s early Giorgionesque phase, c.1510-15.

By 'poor condition' they mean as it is currently seen. I should have thought some cleaning tests and technical analysis might reveal whether there are further grounds for attributional optimism. And, AHNers, I have tried my best to get the Wallace Collection to get a little excited about the prospect of finding a Titian in their collection - but so far with no luck. So in case anyone at the Wallace is reading; if the question is one of cost, then I'm very happy to help meet them.

Update - a reader writes:

I have only two old (concise and inadequate) lists of the Wallace collection: 1970 gives 'Attributed to...', and 1979 gives 'Follower of....', and now the website as you say gives ' Ascribed to....'  -  all round the houses. I did look at the BM Van Dyck Italian sketchbook drawing that one entry refers to (no doubt that has increased your interest in the Wallace 'Titian'. It is a hasty sketch of the figures of Venus and Cupid, said to be copied from the Wallace painting - that has differences but what do I know? As a Van Dyck nerd (?) I'm sure you do.  I do think you should pursue it - looks good to me - and it has a top-notch pedigree / provenance. If nothing else, a bit of prodding might get them to crowd-fund (!) cleaning and research. You presumably remember the insouciance that the Wallace accepted the demotion of their Rembrandts many years ago - it seems they are now back in favour - with van de Wetering's reappraisals. The collection, being fixed, seems to have adopted a less than troubled attitude to such external opinion and accepted the RRP verdicts, and now the changes. What difference would it make to have (another) Titian to add to their already bursting treasure chest of art. As you suggest, it would matter to some people outside the ivory tower of the Wallace.

Update II - another reader writes:

Thank you for reminding me about the Ascribed to Titian on the ground floor of the Wallace.

When I saw it last year I also was struck by the similarities to other early Titians, and was disappointed that it was hung in such a difficult place. 

Good luck with your efforts. If nothing else, perhaps you can get it hung somewhere where it is possible to look at it closely.

Update III - another reader likes the pic;

A fine thing indeed though I have concerns about the anatomy of the female figure and, BTW, they already have a Titian of course [Perseus and Andromeda, which was once owned by Van Dyck, but which alas is in pretty ropey condition, perhaps even worse than the Venus and Cupid].

Was there the other day and wondered about their skying of the excellent Eworth – I don’t think I’ve been closer than a couple of metres in nearly 40 years of going to the Wallace.

'Entertaining at the National Gallery'

October 14 2015

Video: National Gallery

I know not everybody is keen about institutions like the National Gallery being used for corporate parties. But videos like the above help explain why the National Gallery's income is higher than it has ever been, despite 'the cuts'.

So many of our great galleries, across the regions, are tailor-made to follow the National Gallery's example - great architectural spaces, great art, central locations, and lying empty after 6pm. We should expect to see videos like this one on the website of pretty much every large art gallery in Britain.

Framing at the National Gallery

October 14 2015

Video: National Gallery

Here's a nice video on framing at the National Gallery. Nice to see the NG making films like this now. And what a great advocate for framing Peter Schade is.

'Artoons'

October 12 2015

Image of 'Artoons'

Picture: Peter Duggan

I do like the work of cartoonist Peter Duggan, whose 'Artoons' appear in The Guardian newspaper. He has a new book out soon, which you can order here.

Update - be sure to translate the hieroglyphic. Took me a while.

Meanwhile in France...

October 12 2015

Video: L'Obs

Regular readers will know about the curious French approach to 'restoring' ancient buildings and sites, which is to effectively rebuild them like new. At Chartres cathedral they're busy cleaning even the soot off the famous 'Black Madonna' and, as in the video above, entirely re-plastering the walls.

Christie's 'Classic Art Week'

October 12 2015

Image of Christie's 'Classic Art Week'

Picture: via Newyorkhotels.com

I heard about this a while ago, but couldn't quite believe it - Christie's are cancelling their New York January Old Master sales, and moving them to April as part of a re-branded 'Classic Art Week'. Traditionally, the Old Master sales are bi-annual; New York in January and June, and London in December and July. The New York sales are usually stronger in January, and London's in July, and the wider market is pretty much geared up around those dates. But no more.

Here's Christie's press release, via Art Daily'

As a further step in its sales innovation strategy, Christie’s introduces a new themed week of sales, Classic Art Week which will take place at Rockefeller Center, New York in April 2016. This week of sales will include Old Master Paintings, Sculpture, Antiquities, and Christie’s signature Exceptional Sale of decorative arts.

A new curated sale entitled “Revolution” will be the centerpiece of this auction series, and will feature masterworks from the 18th to the 20th centuries, including paintings, drawings, prints, photography and sculpture, which will explore the radical social, political and artistic changes that defined this period of history.

“This classic series of sales and exhibitions will provide a wonderful contrast to our 20th Century art series which generated so much interest and electricity in our salerooms in May. The Classic Art Week will provide an opportunity for the world’s collectors to see the very best in each field as Rockefeller Center transforms itself into a museum of classical art,” noted Jussi Pylkkänen, Global President, Christie’s International.

“We have spoken to the collectors, art dealers and museum curators in these fields and so many are supportive of this new Classic Art Week concept and April provides the perfect moment in the auction calendar. The series promises to invigorate interest in these wonderful fields that are the DNA of the art market. We look forward to welcoming everyone to Rockefeller Center to celebrate the very best in Old Master Paintings, Antiquities, Sculpture and Decorative Art.”

Whoa. This is the first time I can recall that Christie's and Sotheby's will not have had their major sales in the same location in the same week. Traditionally, whatever the offering (from Contemporary to Old Masters) both auction houses have their sales at roughly the same time, and dealers and collectors will travel to London or New York to see them. It's convenient, and makes each bi-annual sale more of an event. I hope this move does not lead to a deterioration in the wider New York Old Master market.

So why change things? Could it be that Christie's felt there was too much Old Master (sorry, 'classic') art on sale at one time? Perhaps, but that logic doesn't seem to extend yet to London, and nor to other categories. Is January too winter-y for Old Master clients to go to New York, and might April be a more Spring-like time? Perhaps - after all, it can be arse-achingly cold in January in New York. But then actually winter in New York is part of the fun, and in any case doesn't an April sale risk coming up against the July sales in London: might people not wait, and see what better pictures are coming up a few months later?

Or - more worryingly still - is Christie's running up the white flag in its battle with Sotheby's in New York? For the last few January sales, Sotheby's has decisively won the contest, with higher sales figures and better offerings. I hope Christie's are not blaming the calendar for their apparent inability to compete. But maybe Christie's are hoping that by re-packaging their Old Master sales with more modern works, they'll be able to persuade consignors that they have better access to a wider pool of clients. 

What are we to make, then, of the re-branding of Old Masters to 'Classic Art'? It strikes me as a little defeatist, but then I'm an old stick-in-the-mud when it comes to these things. The National Gallery in London, in its most recent blockbuster exhibition for Late Rembrandt didn't refer to him as a 'Classic artist'. He was/is an 'Old Master'. It's a term everybody understands. Getting people to buy works by the likes of Rembrandt isn't going to be made easier just by taking the word 'old' out of the equation. Is it? Or are we concerned, these days, that 'Old Masters' is too gender-specific? Yikes.

Update - an art dealing reader writes:

Christie’s postponing their NY January OM sales is not a novelty as you write. It also happened in 2006, when they were shifted to April. At the time, some said it had to do with the Venetian Turner that fetched 35 million. [...]

 Anyway it a daft thing to do.

Goya - 'one of the greatest portraitists in art history'

October 9 2015

Video: National Gallery

Curator Xavier Bray makes the case.

Update - a reader writes:

As someone who has never been terribly impressed by Goya’s work, I believe that a more appropriate caption for the short video by Bray would be, “Curator Xavier Bray tries to make the case.”  

I see Goya’s skills in portraiture as being much more akin to those of the American, Gilbert Stuart or the Scott, Henry Raeburn than to the greater abilities of portrait painters who actually reached the highest levels of this specialty — van Dyck, Holbein the Younger, Hals, or among closer contemporaries, the great 18th century English portraitists or even the Italian, Batoni.  While others proclaim the glory of Goya’s portraits, too often I see little more than stiffly posed subjects depicted in mundane colors through less-than-impressive brushwork. And instead of penetrating studies of individualistic character, I much more often encounter modestly described faces staring blankly into voids. Even those few Goya portraits which are rather impressive on some levels, such as that of the Dowager Marchioness of Villafrance, with her imposing crown of hair, the artist still doesn't actually reveal very much about his sitters' personalities, inner joy, or conflicts. My eyes strain to see much more than what Goya might have achieved by painting mannequins dressed up in the fashions of the various classes of 18th/early 19th century Spanish society.  I know, I'm overstating my case, but I would contend that I am closer to the truth than those critics who are placing Goya's art on the highest pedistal only after first admiting that the artist doesn't always make a good first impression.

Perhaps Goya’s oeuvre is more impressive when many examples are seen in close proximity, but these monographic exhibitions often show the opposite to be true. And I suspect that with Goya, we will see that more isn’t merrier, regardless of how many of his portraits are making their London debut.

Phew - I am not alone.

Update II - another reader writes:

Further to interesting discussion regarding merits or otherwise of Goya. It strikes me, as somebody who takes a good deal of interest in British portraiture but who knows very little of the 'Continental' craft, that his 'greatness' stems from two particular factors 

a) He is the only Spanish portrait painter most of us have ever heard of*

b) His style may be odd, stiff and arguably rather bland but it is distinctive and that is important these days when for most connoisseurship has (regrettably) given way to the realm of instant impressions.

*I suspect Valasquez is far less widely known.

'Goya' - the trailer

October 9 2015

Video: National Gallery

Great self-portrait. The others? 'Most curious'.

Job Opportunity

October 9 2015

Image of Job Opportunity

Picture: BBC

Tate Britain is looking for a Curator of Contemporary Art. For £29,300 a year, you will:

possess a high level of knowledge of contemporary art, with specialist expertise in British art, and have significant relevant experience in an art gallery, museum, collection or similar. Besides having a strong track record of devising and delivering exhibitions with curatorial flare and imagination for diverse audiences, of working on commissions, and of published writing on contemporary art, the successful candidate will possess the ability to lead a team and to work with others to achieve results. This is an exciting opportunity to make a major contribution to Tate Britain’s programmes.

This is a position that requires commitment to and awareness of issues of equality and cultural diversity as they affect the work of a major museum. 

More here. I don't suppose the Curator(s) of Contemporary Art at Tate Modern could do a job share.

Introducing 'The Art Breakers'

October 9 2015

Video: Ovation

Hmm - someone's having another go at an art world reality TV show. It's called 'Art Breakers', which is a pun it seems on art broking and heart breaking, because the two stars Carol Lee Brosseau and Miller Gaffney are art dealers who happen to be blonde. And M.H. Miller, for Artnews, is not impressed:

The first episode features the following voice-over introduction from our stars:

Brosseau: Buying art is not for the faint of heart.

Gaffney: It’s a multibillion-dollar industry…

Brosseau: …and the biggest party around. The art world is our world.

Gaffney: Cuba! Vegas! Hollywood?

Brosseau: We travel the globe in search of the chicest galleries and hottest artists.

And so forth. With the exception of Jack Shainman—a dealer of great American artists, including Nick Cave, Hank Willis Thomas, and Carrie Mae Weems—whose brief appearance on this show is, as far as I can tell, a low point in his career, I’ve never heard of most of the “chicest” galleries nor of almost any of the “hottest” artists. (This isn’t to say that I’m the last word on the contemporary canon, or that these people aren’t perfectly nice, but hey, I also watch the art market every day, to paraphrase my subjects. I want a TV show, too!) One of my favorite moments on Art Breakers comes when Brosseau and Gaffney walk into a Los Angeles gallery called Kopeikin Gallery (I have never heard of it) and inquire about a photograph by an artist named Blake Little (I have never heard of him). They have the following exchange with a gallery employee.

Brosseau: Is that Blake Little?

Gallery Employee: Yeah, he dumps ten gallons of honey on each of his models.

Brosseau: That’s so hot.

Gaffney: He is the most cutting edge—he is hot right now.

Gallery Employee: He’s super hot.

Update - is it possible that Art Breakers is some sort of parody, and the joke's on us? Genius if so.

Update II - a reader writes:

Recently, on Art Breakers...

Brosseau:  *squints while reading small sign next to portrait on gallery wall*  "Hey, it says this dude with the sunflower is Anthony van Dyck."

Gaffney:  "Hey, my mom says he was in that old-school movie 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang'". 

Brosseau:  'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' is so hot right now. 

Gaffney:  So hot. 

* Opening credits *

Van Dyck coffee!

October 9 2015

Image of Van Dyck coffee!

Picture: Van Dyck Kaffee

I had no idea such wonderfulness existed. But it does, in Germany, and now I will have to drink it täglich.

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