18th Century

The McManus Acquires a Katherine Read Portrait

July 29 2021

Video: @McManusDundee

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The McManus Art Gallery & Museum in Dundee have announced that they have acquired Katherine Read's portrait of Willielma Campbell, Lady Glenorchy. The painting was acquired from a private collection with National Fund for Acquisitions and Art Fund support.

Here's a video the gallery made in 2019 when the painting was on loan to the museum.

Family & Friends: Reynolds at Port Eliot

July 26 2021

Image of Family & Friends: Reynolds at Port Eliot

Picture: The Box Plymouth

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Box Plymouth have just opened a fascinating sounding exhibition entitled Family & Friends: Reynolds at Port Eliot.

According to the exhibition blurb:

15 miles west of Plymouth in the Cornish countryside stands Port Eliot. Home to the Eliot family since 1565, the house contains the largest surviving group of early portraits by Joshua Reynolds in the South West. In 2007, many of them joined The Box’s permanent collections through the Government’s Acceptance in Lieu Scheme.

In this exhibition we use 14 of the 23 works that were acquired in 2007 to explore the relationship between Reynolds and the Eliot family - a relationship that began at the dawn of Reynolds’ artistic career, and ended with Edward, 1st Lord Eliot carrying his coffin into St Paul’s Cathedral almost 50 years later. After Reynolds’ death, the family continued to seek out his work for their home.

Here's a longer piece on the exhibition that has appeared in the Cornish & Devon Post.

The show will run until 5th September 2021.

Musée Fabre Quietly Acquires 2 Fragonards

July 23 2021

Image of Musée Fabre Quietly Acquires 2 Fragonards

Picture: Louvre

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

La Tribune de l'Art have published an article on news that the Musée Fabre in Montpellier seems to have quietly acquired 2 Fragonard landscapes. The article shows that the paintings have been on the Louvre's online database for a few weeks, although they have not yet provided any details regarding their acquisition.

Update - A reader has kindly forwarded this official press release which gives more background information regarding the acquisition of the works which was made with assistance from the Louvre.

WWII Provenance of Houston Bellotto Questioned

July 22 2021

Image of WWII Provenance of Houston Bellotto Questioned

Picture: markets.businessinsider.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Claims by the the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art, into the wartime provenance of Bellotto's The Market Place at Pirna (pictured), have appeared in the press this week.

The foundation claims that the work in the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, part of the Kress Foundation, should be restituted to the heirs of Dr Max J Emden. In particular, the foundation has accused the museum of not being transparent with the work's provenance, which they claim was purchased from Emden by the dealer Karl Haberstock for Hitler's Führermuseum.

The museum has previously refuted claims that the work was in Emden's collection, claiming there was no physical evidence to suggest this provenance was correct alongside citing multiple versions of the scene. The foundation have pointed to a painting inventory mark (featured at the bottom right of the image) as new evidence to suggest otherwise.

'600 - '700 Venetian Art

July 21 2021

Image of '600 - '700 Venetian Art

Picture: ansa.it

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Gallerie dell'Accademia in Venice will be hosting a large-scale exhibition dedicated to seventeenth and eighteenth century Venetian painting later this autumn. The show will feature 63 works including newly restored canvases by the likes of Tiepolo (pictured), Luca Giordano and Gianantonio Guardi. Press reports claim the entire exhibition, with the various restoration projects, have been funded by the organisation Venetian Heritage.

The exhibition will open in September 2021.

Too Fragile to Travel (?)

July 15 2021

Image of Too Fragile to Travel (?)

Picture: Latimes.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Apologies, I seemed to have missed this rather fascinating article published by the Los Angeles Times last week.

The newspaper have run a story on the fact that a panel of nine American and European conservators 'strongly recommends against lending ‘The Blue Boy’” to the aforementioned London exhibition in 2022. The Huntington Museum, who appointed the panel of experts to advise them, seems to have overridden the recommendation of the conservators assembled. Frustratingly, no exact reasons seem to have been disclosed, however, it seems that intervening conservation treatment seems to have caused some contention as to the suitability of the loan.

In case you're wondering who was on the panel, the article listed the following experts:

Among the group was Michael Gallagher, conservation head at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art; Rica Jones, a Gainsborough specialist who is retired conservator at Tate Britain, the national collection of British art housed in London on the banks of the Thames; Mark Aronson from the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven; and Mikkel Scharff, head of the Institute of Conservation at the Royal Danish Academy in Copenhagen.

Is this by Goya (?)

July 15 2021

Image of Is this by Goya (?)

Picture: artnet.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

It seems that the curators of the Prado Museum in Madrid are not entirely sure either.

Artnet.com have published an article on the changing debate surrounding the authorship of this painting of The Colossus (pictured). The picture had long been described as being by an apprentice, however, the museum has recently upgraded the work to 'Attributed to Goya'.

To quote the final paragraph of the article:

The Prado declined to comment to Artnet News, but a museum spokesperson told the Independent that “we have changed the attribution as part of a reorganization of 19th-century works. It seemed the right time to do this to reflect the ongoing debate over the authorship of the work, but we are not saying it was by Goya.”

Giandomenico Tiepolo Frescos Acquired by the Italian State

July 13 2021

Image of Giandomenico Tiepolo Frescos Acquired by the Italian State

Picture: finestresullarte.info

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A set of frescos by Giandomenico Tiepolo (1727-1804) have been acquired by the Italian State. These delicate wall paintings were removed from the walls of a residence belonging to the Valmarana family of Vicenza during World War Two. Although they have been on loan to the Palladio Museum in Vicenza for several years, the current owners had managed to secure a sale agreement with Alessandro Benetton for the sum of €1,850,000. Due to the pre-emption laws governing art in Italy, the Italian government managed to raise the money to keep them in the hands of the State.

Gainsborough's Cornard Wood Conserved

July 13 2021

Image of Gainsborough's Cornard Wood Conserved

Picture: The National Gallery, London

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The National Gallery in London have revealed on Twitter that Thomas Gainsborough's Cornard Wood has been conserved and redisplayed in the galleries. The picture was last cleaned during World War Two, and at a glance it seems the most recent campaign seems to have had a rather nice harmonising effect on the colours and shadowing.

'Redecoration' of Eighteenth-Century Church in Italy causes Outrage

July 13 2021

Image of 'Redecoration' of Eighteenth-Century Church in Italy causes Outrage

Picture: finestresullarte.info

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The 'redecoration' of the eighteenth-century Chiesa di San Gennaro in Naples has caused public outrage in Italy. The now-redundant church, built in 1745, was redecorated by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava in a blue theme dedicated to the 'Light of Naples' and features a new stained-glass window and ceramics on the ceiling imitating stars. Critics in Italy have likened the newly decorated interior to a "an autogrill bathroom, McDonald's toilet, aquarium, waiting room of a dentist in Dubai, luxury boutique of a shopping centre..." and many other insults. In defence of attacks from conservation groups, supporters of the architect's work have said that the new scheme is not a restoration but a 're-treatment' and is naturally reversible.

Restoring a Damaged Piazzetta

July 2 2021

Video: The National Gallery, London

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

I missed this new video published by the National Gallery in London last week. Larry Keith and Kendall Francis explain how they approached the retouching of Piazzetta's Sacrifice of Isaac.

The Blue Boy is Coming Home

June 30 2021

Image of The Blue Boy is Coming Home

Picture: The Guardian

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Thomas Gainsborough's The Blue Boy will be returning to the UK for a special exhibition at the National Gallery, London, in January 2022. The painting was purchased by the American railway magnate Henry E Huntington a century ago for $728,000. It will feature within a free exhibition exploring Gainsborough's reaction to the legacy of Van Dyck, which is sure to be of great interest to many readers of AHN.

Prado Conserves Martin Archer Shee Portrait

June 28 2021

Image of Prado Conserves Martin Archer Shee Portrait

Picture: Prado, Madrid

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News on Twitter (via. @jorgegrien) that the Prado Museum in Madrid have recently conserved a few of their British paintings. This includes Martin Archer Shee's portrait of Mr Storer. I really do recommend clicking through the link, where you'll be able to zoom in on the lovely details found within this painting.

Online Exhibition: Thomas Lawrence Coming of Age

June 24 2021

Video: Holburne Museum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Apologies if I'm a little late to this, but, the Holburne Museum in Bath have uploaded a very useful online exhibition Thomas Lawrence Coming of Age. The online catalogue notes are particularly helpful, and will hopefully provide admirers of Lawrence's work with a handy list of collections to see his works in person.

Bellotto's Verona Brought to Life

June 22 2021

Image of Bellotto's Verona Brought to Life

Picture: Christie's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Christie's have published a rather fun video onto their Instagram Account giving a sweeping 3D view of Bellotto's View of Verona with the Ponte delle Navi.

You'll have to click on the links above to view the video.

Ps. Sotheby's did the same with their Canalettos and Bellottos a few years ago.

Fragonard and Bonnie Prince lead Petit Epernay Sale

June 21 2021

Image of Fragonard and Bonnie Prince lead Petit Epernay Sale

Picture: cabinetturquin

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Two paintings to watch this week are the aforementioned Fragnoard philosopher and a Portrait of Charles Edward Stuart by Domenico Dupra that are coming up for sale on Saturday 26th June 2021 at Antoine Petit - Hôtel des ventes d'Epernay. The pictures are estimated at €1.5 - €2m and €6k - €8k respectively.

Getty Museum acquires Pastel from Christie's Women in Art Sale

June 21 2021

Image of Getty Museum acquires Pastel from Christie's Women in Art Sale

Picture: Christie's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Getty Museum in Los Angeles has acquired a pastel of Madame Charles Mitoire with Her Children (1783) by Adélaïde Labille-Guiard. The art work achieved €644,000 (inc. fees) over its €100k - €150k estimate at the Women in Art Sale Christie's Paris.

Both Sotheby's and Christie's inaugural female artists sales seem to have achieved some rather impressive results. The Sotheby's sale totalled £4,570,100 (inc. fees), and the Christie's sale realised a total of €3,090,750 (inc. fees). With these rather encouraging totals, we'll wait and see if these sales become a regular feature.

Städel Museum Conserve a Gandolfi Oil Sketch

June 18 2021

Image of Städel Museum Conserve a Gandolfi Oil Sketch

Picture: Städel Museum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Städel Museum in Frankfurt have published an interesting blog on the recent conservation of an oil sketch of Saints Petronius of Bologna and Bernardin of Siena by Gaetano Gandolfi. This sketch, which dates to c.1774, was acquired by the museum in 1920 and had been in storage for several decades. The removal of old varnish has revealed the fresh colouring and has been further enhanced by a new period Italian frame. Gandolfi's sketch will now hang alongside other eighteenth-century Italian masterpieces from the collection, including works by Giovanni Battista and Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, Canaletto, Pompeo Batoni and Alessandro Magnasco.

Couple Donate 18th Century Painting to Jersey Heritage

June 16 2021

Image of Couple Donate 18th Century Painting to Jersey Heritage

Picture: Jersey Heritage

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News from the Island of Jersey that couple Simon and Clare Perrée have donated a signed painting by Thomas Whitcombe (c.1763 - 1824) of A view of a ship approaching St Helier harbour with Elizabeth Castle in the background to Jersey Heritage, an organisation that runs the Island's local museums.

According to their press release:

"It is the only painting of an Island scene by Whitcombe that we know of so it is wonderful that it can go on display in Jersey where it has the most meaning and relevance.” [said Louise Downie, Jersey Heritage’s Director of Curation & Experience]

The Whitcombe painting is an oil on canvas and captures a time in Jersey’s history when smuggling was a big issue for the authorities. In the 18th century, the Channel Islands and French waters were rich pickings for smugglers and in an effort to stop this illegal trade, the British Navy sent revenue cutters – small ships built for speed and armed with cannons. In the painting, a cutter has sails full of cannon ball holes, suggesting it had recently been in action.

Nelly O'Brien Conserved

June 14 2021

Image of Nelly O'Brien Conserved

Picture: tefaf.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Wallace Collection's Miss Nelly O'Brien by Sir Joshua Reynolds has been conserved and redisplayed to the public. The project was funded by the TEFAF (The European Fine Art Foundation) Museum Restoration Fund, which the museum received in 2014 (?)

According to the TEFAF website:

The portrait is notable for its interplay of light and shadow, particularly in the upper part of the sitter’s body, where the wide brim of the bonnet casts a shadow over her face and bosom. However, the painting had been untouched for over 150 years and had several thick layers of discoloured varnish obscuring its beauty. The conservation of this painting, which was carried out in collaboration with the National Gallery, served two main purposes: to reveal the original luminous beauty of the work and to bring to light new information about Reynolds’s techniques and processes.

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