Kunstminute at Pinakothek Museums

January 15 2021

Video: Pinakotheken

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A recent article published by the Süddeutsche Zeitung has drawn my attention to this rather nice set of short videos produced last year by the Pinakothek Museums in Munich, Germany. Kunstminute consists of 23 one minute videos on various paintings presented by curators and experts. Well worth browsing through if you have a spare minute or twenty three.

Changes Afoot at BMAG

January 15 2021

Image of Changes Afoot at BMAG

Picture: BMAG

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG) has announced some changes to its 2021 schedule. Firstly, the museum will close throughout 2021 and reopen in 2022 to allow for an essential electrical upgrade. The city will host the Commonwealth Games in 2022, and it seems that this is factored into this decision.

Aesthetically speaking, the museum has also announced a radical change to its famous Round Room (pictured), which houses an impressive selection of its collections in a vaguely nineteenth century format. It seems the displays in the space have changed a lot over the course of the twentieth century.

As their official press release explains:

A radical new display of this stunning gallery will reflect the people of 21st Century Birmingham. In a sweeping change from the current paintings of landscapes, historic subjects and dignitaries from the past, the new We Are Birmingham display will present a vibrant celebration of the city that Birmingham has become. It will draw on new artworks as well as historic items from Birmingham’s Collections.

Cook with the Uffizi

January 14 2021

Image of Cook with the Uffizi

Picture: Uffizi

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Uffizi Gallery in Florence will be teaming up with some famous Italian chefs to produce a series of videos for their website and Facebook channel. Uffizi da Mangiare, or 'The Uffizi on a Plate', will see chefs take well known masterpieces from the gallery's painting collection and transfer them into dishes. This includes works by the likes of Caravaggio, Willem van Aelst and Jacopo Chimenti. The series begins this Sunday 17th January 2021.

The gallery's director Eike Schmidt is quoted as saying:

The idea came to us in these Covid times. We were talking to chefs from restaurants in Florence because they want to know when we will reopen and when the tourists might start returning. Quite a few of them turned out to be interested in art. They were enthusiastic when we came up with the idea...  For some, it could be a little more abstract – they might be inspired by the colour of the composition.

Kauffman Article in Apollo

January 14 2021

Image of Kauffman Article in Apollo

Picture: Apollo

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Art historian Emma Barker has written an article for Apollo on Angelica Kauffman, and why it is a terrible shame that her 2020 exhibition at the Royal Academy was cancelled due to the virus crisis. Fortunately, the RA are selling the catalogue online in case you'd like to experience the exhibition in printed format.

Attribution Controversies Cuts Short Exhibition (?)

January 14 2021

Image of Attribution Controversies Cuts Short Exhibition (?)

Picture: Valenciaplaza.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Spanish digital media outlet Valencia Plaza has published an article regarding the attribution controversy surrounding the above Portrait of a Lady in Profile.

In 2017 Carmen Garrido Pérez, curator and former head of technical documentation at the Prado, unveiled this painting as an early Italian-period canvas by Diego Velázquez. The work was exhibited in the Museum of Fine Arts in València from the Delago Private Collection. Parts of the collection, including the above painting, were due to remain on loan to the museum for 5 years. However, this has been cut short.

The article suggests that controversial attributions of some of the paintings highlighted by experts has played a part in this decision. Carmen Garrido Pérez was also behind the recent controversy regarding a recently upgraded El Greco.

Georgian Group Journals Published Online

January 14 2021

Image of Georgian Group Journals Published Online

Picture: The Georgian Group

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Georgian Group, a conservation charity which promotes the protection of and research into classical buildings in Britain, has published their back catalogue of journals online. This free resource will be of great interest to any scholars or enthusiasts of architecture and design in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The years from 1986 through to 2017 are covered thus far.

Monastery Art Sale to Catalonian Museum Barred

January 14 2021

Image of Monastery Art Sale to Catalonian Museum Barred

Picture: Heraldo.es

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Interesting news from Spain that the sale of 95 works of art from the Monasterio de Sijena to the National Museum of Art of Catalonia has been barred by the Spanish Supreme Court. The works have been deemed as integral to the history of the monastery and thus are protected by the appropriate laws in place. It seems that much of the collection of the religious institution had been looked after by the museum, with several works being sold to them in the 1990s.

German Govt Gives Museums €32m for Security

January 13 2021

Image of German Govt Gives Museums €32m for Security

Picture: Artnet

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The German Government has announced that it is giving museums €32m worth of grants to increase security provisions. This comes after several high profile thefts, including from the Dresden Green Vault in 2019.

German culture minister Monika Grütters is quoted saying:

Preserving our cultural infrastructure is one of the most important cultural policy goals of the federal government, especially in these times of crisis, culture creates identity and cohesion.

The Duke of Buccleuch's Rembrandt Re-hung

January 13 2021

Image of The Duke of Buccleuch's Rembrandt Re-hung

Picture: The Sunday Times

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Sunday Times published a story last weekend in regards to a Rembrandt owned by the Duke of Buccleuch.

The Duke has recently rehung the painting of A Lady Reading (pictured) in Drumlanrig Castle after it had spent years hanging up high in an obscure room. This previous arrangement was sought after a Leonardo was stolen from the castle in 2003. Fortunately, the Rembrandt is now hanging in a secure position at eye line in a more prominent room.

Van Eyck Scanned by the University of Antwerp

January 13 2021

Video: Museabrugge.be

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

I've spotted this interesting video (on Twitter via. @auctionaugur) that the University of Antwerp is undertaking some scans of Van Eyck's Madonna with Canon Joris van der Paele. The scans undertaken onsite in the Groeningemuseum in Bruges will allow researchers to understand more about the material and techniques that went into this masterpiece.

Sotheby's Master Paintings II Sale

January 13 2021

Image of Sotheby's Master Paintings II Sale

Picture: Sotheby's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Sotheby's have published their NY Master Paintings Part II Sale onto their website. This online sale, the equivalent of the old 'day sale', will be held between 22 - 30 January 2021.

There are lots of pictures worth highlighting, but I don't want to spoil too much of the fun. Perhaps worth pointing out is Van Dyck's Virgin and Child, estimated $400k - $600k. This version was taken by William III from the British Royal Collection back to the Netherlands. Recent conservation has revealed many pentimenti, some of which are now visible, showing perhaps that the other version in the Royal Collection might be a repetition of the present picture.

A few others worth pointing out are a Madonna and Child by Lorenzo di Bicci estimated at $200k - $300k; a Roelandt Savery of Venus and Adonis estimated at $150k - $200k; a recently upgraded Gerrit Honthorst violinist estimated at $200k - $300k; and a Guercino Mars at $150k - $200k.

Stolen Bacon Allegedly Revealed in Video

January 11 2021

Image of Stolen Bacon Allegedly Revealed in Video

Picture: @brand_arthur

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Art Investigator Arthur Brand has posted a video on his Twitter account allegedly showing a painting by Francis Bacon which was stolen from a Madrid Gallery in 2015. The video was purportedly made by thieves who are trying to sell the painting for €4m on the black market. Here's an article which gives a little more of the background to the thefts and this recording.

Vermeer Exhibition in Dresden

January 11 2021

Image of Vermeer Exhibition in Dresden

Picture: The Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden will be opening a new exhibition in June 2021 entitled Johannes Vermeer. On Reflection.

This exhibition will focus on the recent conservation of the gallery's Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window. The removal of old overpaint shows that Vermeer had intended the scene to include a painting of cupid in the background. This detail, which also features in Vermeer's Lady at the Virginals in London, was overpainted at some point.

The show will also feature loans from the Rijksmuseum, The National Gallery in London and other works by Vermeer's contemporaries.

It seems that the gallery have pushed back the dates of the exhibition to 4th June 2021 - 12th September 2021.

Bernini & Son up for Auction

January 9 2021

Video: Sotheby's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

It's not often that you get the chance to purchase an Bernini. Let alone a piece of sculpture by the hand of two Berninis! But it seems that these unprecedented times are bringing all sorts of treasures to the marketplace. Sotheby's New York have made the above video to accompany the sale of an early marble sculpture of Autumn by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and his father Pietro. The work will be sold later this month with an estimate of $8m - $12m.

Unrecorded Jan Massys at Christie's

January 9 2021

Image of Unrecorded Jan Massys at Christie's

Picture: Christie's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Christie's are offering a previously unrecorded painting of Mary Magdalene by the Flemish mannerist Jan Massys (1509-1575) in their upcoming sale of the collection of Mr & Mrs John H Gutfreund. It will be offered for sale on 26th January 2021 and carries an estimate of $120k - $180k.

The painting doesn't seem to have been known to Max J. Friedländer, who compiled the most authoritative catalogues of early Netherlandish paintings during the 1970s. Christie's catalogue note explains that other versions are known, yet the quality of this particular work suggests that it is the primary autograph version on which the others were based.

The work also bears the artist's signature and date (albeit slightly scrubbed):

Article: Pierre Rosenberg as a Collector

January 9 2021

Image of Article: Pierre Rosenberg as a Collector

Picture: La Gazette Drouot

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

La Gazette Drouot has published an article on the collection of art historian Pierre Rosenberg. His work will be familiar to anyone who has researched French painting of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

The piece focuses on some of the stories relating to the 680 paintings and 3,500 drawings he has recently gifted to the yet to be opened Musée du Grand Siècle in Saint Cloud. This includes works by Simon Vouet, Poussin, Claude, Philippe de Champaigne, Laurent de La Hyre and Eustache Le Sueur.

Rubens Head Studies Text out in March

January 9 2021

Image of Rubens Head Studies Text out in March

Picture: @VeroVdK

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Véronique Van de Kerckhof of the Rubenianum in Antwerp has shared news that the upcoming volumes of the Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig Burchard will be published in March of this year. These two volumes will be examining Rubens's head studies, and will surely make for fascinating reading!

By the way, the Rubenianum website is well worth exploring if you're a fan of seventeenth century Flemish art.

Caring for Art during Covid at Tate

January 8 2021

Video: Tate

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Tate have made the video above giving an insight into the work required to look after their collection during the virus crisis. If you've ever wondered how they manage to carry enormous paintings through the doorways of the gallery, this video will be enlightening!

Ps. The video also features a view of the museum's storage areas, which are rather vast considering how much of their collection isn't on display. A video giving art-lovers a peek inside would be fascinating, wouldn't it?

Christie's Halt Archive Enquiries

January 8 2021

Image of Christie's Halt Archive Enquiries

Picture: Christie's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A reader has been in touch, alongside a post made by @MulraineArt on Twitter in December, that the Christie's Archives is no longer responding to requests from researchers.

The Christie's Archives has provided an incredibly valuable service to researchers over the years. The service was particularly useful when it came to identifying old stencil marks on the back of paintings (pictured). In hindsight, it is rather remarkable that they provided this service free of charge for so long. But, it seems that the virus crisis has finally put an end to that.

To provide a short example of my own experience, I had emailed the department in May 2020 and received an auto-reply explaining that staff had been furloughed. A few days later I then received a message that staff were working remotely from home without access to materials.

A reader who had emailed the department in December was told that the member of staff who used to deal with archive enquiries has now left the company. The Department has been closed to outside enquiries since 2nd November 2020.

One wonders whether a subscription or pay-as-you-go system might help the problem of funding resources, if it is indeed money that is the issue.

Update - Christie's have supplied the following comment:

As a courtesy Christie’s has previously supplied complimentary archival information for the purposes of research.  However, with regret, the archives team has had to be reduced and can now only serve the needs of our own specialist teams.

Britain Sheds EU Laws Governing Importation of Art

January 7 2021

Image of Britain Sheds EU Laws Governing Importation of Art

Picture: Sky News

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Art Newspaper has published an article on the swift changes made to the laws that govern the importation of art in Britain. The UK government, which has recently exited the European Union, has rejected new EU import licensing regulations for cultural property which were introduced in 2019 and were due to be enforced in 2025. The regulations were a part of an attempt to prevent crime and the funding of terrorism through the sale of art, yet in turn had much broader implications for the art market.

To quote the article's summary of the rules:

It [the regulations] effectively removes any back stop on the seizure and return of goods illegally removed from their source countries. This would mean that anything from paintings to pots exported hundreds of years ago, or even longer, in breach of local laws of the time can be confiscated and returned under the measures, regardless of subsequent good faith purchase, treaty and convention considerations or the normal statutes of limitation.

Such a far-reaching power is arguably unprecedented in the history of the art market, with serious implications for property rights and business...

In this respect, the UK follows the US now in possessing no similar regulations to the EU in these matters.

Update - Alexander Herman had published an article on Brexit and the Importation of Cultural Goods earlier in December, pointing out that the government have stated that they will follow the EU regulations after all. The article is well worth a read.

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