19th Century

Teatro di San Carlo to Restore Giant Theatre Curtain

May 4 2021

Image of Teatro di San Carlo to Restore Giant Theatre Curtain

Picture: anfols.it

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Teatro di San Carlo in Naples have announced their plans to conserve their enormous painted theatre curtain. The painting of Parnassus, which measures 12 metres high x 17 metres wide, was completed by artist Giuseppe Mancinelli (1818-1875) in 1854. Surprisingly, especially given the curtain's current appearance, the enormous painting had been treated as recently as 2011. The new campaign of restoration will be undertaken by the Italian company Ambra Restauri.

Large Robert Scott Lauder Conserved in Empty Gallery

April 29 2021

Image of Large Robert Scott Lauder Conserved in Empty Gallery

Picture: BBC

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A large painting of Christ Teacheth Humanity by Robert Scott Lauder (1803-1869) has been conserved in an empty room of the Royal Scottish Academy (RSA) in Edinburgh. The BBC have run a short article claiming that the RSA has "only one painting in it and one person at work" at the present. This enormous picture is owned by the National Gallery of Scotland and was one of the first paintings purchased by the galleries.

As conservator Lesley Stevenson explained:

I needed a space and by chance the galleries at RSA were empty so we were able to negotiate a space to work in peace and relative isolation.

These galleries are usually busy with people visiting exhibitions, the noise from Princes Street and security staff coming in and out so it has been very strange.

I'll be really delighted when the new galleries open and the painting will be reunited with its restored frame. That will be the best moment, really.

Bode Museum Finally Describes their 'Leonardo' as 'Manner of'

April 20 2021

Image of Bode Museum Finally Describes their 'Leonardo' as 'Manner of'

Picture: Bode Museum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Bode Museum in Berlin have finally come round to re-cataloguing a dubious sculpture in their collection as 'In the manner of Leonardo Da Vinci'.

The above sculpture of Flora was purchased as a Leonardo in full in 1909 by the then director of Prussian art collections, Wilhelm von Bode. However, recent analysis by the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) has concluded that the piece must be a nineteenth century imitation. Scientific analysis has shown that the majority of the sculpture is made from spermaceti wax, a type of wax harvested for candles during the nineteenth century. Strong comparisons have been made with several works by the sculptor Richard Cockle Lucas (1800-1883), who has been suggested as the likely creator of the piece.

Update - A reader has kindly alerted me to the fact the sculpture is included within a new exhibition on the museum's history entitled Klartext (Plain Talk). A free virtual tour of the exhibition, plus audio guides, can be accessed here.

Seurat Studies at Christie's

April 15 2021

Image of Seurat Studies at Christie's

Picture: Christie's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Christie's New York have announced that they will be offering two rare studies by Georges Seurat in their upcoming 20th Century Art sale in May. Paysage et personnages (La jupe rose), 1884 (pictured) and Le Saint-Cyrien (1884) have been in private collections for over a century and are now being sold by the relatives of the Boston-based collector Robert Treat Paine II. The estimates for these works are $7m - $10m and $3m - $5m respectively.

Repin Masterpiece Conservation Underway

March 29 2021

Picture: tass.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News from Moscow that Ilya Repin's Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan (1883-5) is in the process of being restored in the State Tretyakov Gallery. The painting was badly damaged in 2018 when it was attacked by a visitor using the gallery's metal security poles. Shockingly, its protective safety glass was smashed and the canvas pierced in three places. Restoration began in 2019 and the gallery has taken the opportunity to undertake a thorough research project on the work.

The Pinacoteca Civica Acquire Portrait by Francesco Podesti

March 22 2021

Image of The Pinacoteca Civica Acquire Portrait by Francesco Podesti

Picture: Pinacoteca civica "Francesco Podesti"

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Pinacoteca Civica "Francesco Podesti" in Ancona, Italy, have acquired a painting by the artist from whom the museum takes its name. The full length Portrait of the Marquises Busca was made when Francesco Podesti (1800-1895) was a mere 25 years old and is considered one of his earliest masterpieces. The work was acquired from the Mellini Collection in Vernoa and will eventually hang in a prominent position within the refurbished galleries in Ancona.

Rodin Museum Forced to Publish 3D Scans of Artworks (?)

March 9 2021

Image of Rodin Museum Forced to Publish 3D Scans of Artworks (?)

Picture: Il Giornale dell'Arte

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Some interesting news in the Italian art press today (spotted via. @Boro_PR). The Rodin Museum in Paris may be forced to publish 3D scans of its artworks on Open Source.

This is due to the legal action of Cosmo Wenman, an operator of the reproductions market and activist for the free circulation of reproduction rights. He has been pursuing the museum to make their scans open access citing particular aspects of French law that make Administrative Documents Accessible to the public. However, the museum has refuted the claims that their 3D scans should be included in such freedom of information requests.

Wenman has publicly stated that if he wins the case, he intends to publish all of the scans online. This will allow anyone with a 3D printer to make an exact copy of a Rodin sculpture in their own homes. In contrast, some experts have spoken out against this potentially damaging result, which would inevitably lead to financial losses at the museum it is claimed.

Painting Auctioneer Described as "Ugly and Damaged" makes €14k

March 8 2021

Image of Painting Auctioneer Described as "Ugly and Damaged" makes €14k

Picture: Stanislas Machoïr

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

I was amused by this article which has been published on the news website connexionfrance.com. It describes the unexpected fate of the painting above which appeared at auction in France last week catalogued as 'Mexican School 19th Century'. Despite being described by the auctioneer Stanislas Machoïr as "ugly and torn", the painting soared past its €30 - €50 estimate to make €14,600 (inc. fees).

The auctioneer gave the following statement:

The buyer is a British person who fought with an American as though it was a very famous painting. But it’s probably just a painting done by an amateur, such as we find all over France, sometimes in churches.

It seems that [such works] are rare in South America, where it will be sent. But honestly, after expert assessment, it is worth nowhere near this sum. It is however possible, according to this buyer, that he may still be able to make a profit.

This is surprising but, according to him, there is a strong demand [for such works] in these countries. That's new to me. I've sold hundreds of paintings, but this one, let's face it, is ugly - and on top of that it's damaged, and very torn up. It’s a very strange case.

Amon Carter Museum of American Art Acquire Moran Watercolour

March 5 2021

Image of Amon Carter Museum of American Art Acquire Moran Watercolour

Picture: Amon Carter Museum of American Art

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, Texas, has acquired a watercolour by the Hudson River School painter Thomas Moran (1837-1926). Mount Superior, as viewed from Alta, Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah, 1879 had previously been in the collection of John Ruskin until his death and reappeared on the art market in 2018.

According to the museum's director Andrew J. Walker:

[The work] serves as a key touchstone within the museum’s American Pre-Raphaelite holdings. The acquisition of Moran’s 'Mount Superior' perfectly complements the Carter’s collection of the artist’s etchings and watercolors and exemplifies our commitment to preserving American masterworks and the stories they tell.

Is this Medici Marble a Nineteenth Century Imitation?

March 5 2021

Image of Is this Medici Marble a Nineteenth Century Imitation?

Picture: Burlington Magazine

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Jeremy Warren's recent article in the Burlington Magazine definitely makes a strong case for it!

Warren's recent piece on the nineteenth century imitator Giovanni Bastianini (1830-1868), whose reproductions fooled many collectors of sixteenth century Italian art, has been made free to read online for a very short while.

The article provides a fantastic overview of Bastianini's work and collaboration with dealers who were often less honest that the sculptor was himself. In particular, Warren points out a set of the sculptor's marble renaissance busts that were sold in the Florentine dealer Giovanni Freppa (d.1870) estate sale during the end of the century. Most of these are accounted for. However, the Museum of Fine Arts in San Francisco's marble bust of Cosimo de' Medici (pictured), after a famous Cellini in Florence, comes from exactly the same source. It was purchased by the museum in 1957 and is still being catalogued a sixteenth century original. Is it time for the museum to face the facts that their prized marble is a nineteenth century copy?

Click on the link above to read the article while you can!

New Deal for Hugh Lane Bequest

February 26 2021

Image of New Deal for Hugh Lane Bequest

Picture: The National Gallery

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Art Newspaper have published an article on the new deal reached between The National Gallery in London and the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin. Both galleries have agreed to continue sharing 8 of the masterpieces of the bequest, including the likes of Manet's Music in the Tuileries Gardens (pictured), on five year cycles. Two other paintings have been added to the list of shared works, including Daumier’s Don Quixote and Sancho Panza (1855), and Corot’s Avignon from the West (1836). New agreements have also been struck in regards to collection care and conservation.

Van Gogh not seen for a Century Up for Sale

February 24 2021

Image of Van Gogh not seen for a Century Up for Sale

Picture: The Guardian

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A painting by Vincent Van Gogh of Montmartre which has been in a family collection for a century is coming up for sale next month at Sotheby's. The work, painted in 1887, shows one of the old windmills that used to decorate this once rural part of Paris. It has not been seen in public since it was acquired in 1920.

The painting will be sold next month with an estimate of €5m - €8m.

Nineteenth Century Cockfight Painting Found in Castle Cellar

February 23 2021

Image of Nineteenth Century Cockfight Painting Found in Castle Cellar

Picture: vrt.be

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News from Belgium that a nineteenth century painting of a cockfight has been rediscovered in a basement of Portegem Castle in Waregem. The painting by Emile Claus had been presumed to have been lost during the war until researcher Hans Bourlon decided to look into the fate of this 1882 work. It transpires that the canvas was taken off of its stretcher, rolled up and hidden in the castle's cellars in an attempt to hide it from the Nazis. Fortunately, the painting has been restored and will be on display once more.

Scream Scans shows Inscription was made by Munch

February 22 2021

Image of Scream Scans shows Inscription was made by Munch

Picture: artnet.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The National Museum of Norway have concluded that an inscription made on Edvard Munch's The Scream was made by the artist's own hand. In the top left hand corner resides a sentence which reads 'Can only have been painted by a madman', a piece of text which has long baffled art historians. Recent scans of the work have helped to reveal more details of the writing. It's been suggested that Munch might have added the sentence after the work received a critical reception in an 1895 exhibition.

Les Musées de Strasbourg Acquires Guérin Self-Portrait

February 15 2021

Image of Les Musées de Strasbourg Acquires Guérin Self-Portrait

Picture: dna.fr

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Les Musées de la Ville de Strasbourg have acquired a self-portrait by the artist and draughtsman Jean-Urbain Guérin (1760-1836). Unfortunately a pay-wall has prevented me from gleaming too many details, but it seems the portrait had been in the family of the printer Levrault for two centuries.

Pre-Raphaelites Drawings and Watercolours at the Ashmolean

February 5 2021

Image of Pre-Raphaelites Drawings and Watercolours at the Ashmolean

Picture: Ashmolean

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Yesterday was supposed to be the opening of the Ashmolean Museum's most recent exhibition Pre-Raphaelite Drawings and Watercolours.

Although lockdown means that the museum won't be opening any time soon, there are several talks and lectures you can book onto in the upcoming weeks. Equally, their exhibition catalogue is already available for order too.

The exact dates of the exhibition are yet to be confirmed, but it seems likely that they'll be extended due to the pandemic.

Liverpool Museums Loan Boxer Painting from NPG

February 3 2021

Image of Liverpool Museums Loan Boxer Painting from NPG

Picture: NPG

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Liverpool Museums have been loaned a portrait of the nineteenth century boxer Jem Wharton (1813-1856) from the National Portrait Gallery in London. This portrait by the artist William Daniels has been sent as part of the COMING HOME project, which sees artworks being loaned to locations that they are intimately connected with. Wharton made Liverpool is home towards the end of his unbeaten career, where he worked as a trainer and ran a tavern.

The portrait will be on display when the Museum of Liverpool reopens to the public after lockdown.

Ipswich Museum Acquires Constable Album

February 2 2021

Image of Ipswich Museum Acquires Constable Album

Picture: Ipswich Museum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Ipswich Museum have acquired the Mason family album which was offered for sale at Sotheby's last year. The unrecorded album contains four works by John Constable including drawings of his family members. The album was purchased for £24,000 through funding from the Friends of the Ipswich Museums, Arts Council England/V&A Purchase Grant Fund, Art Fund and Ipswich Council’s Felix Cobbold Bequest.

The council run museum were sure, it seems, to include this particular line in their press release:

The album was bought for £24,000 - but no council taxpayers' money was used.

Frederic George Stephens Lecture on YouTube

February 1 2021

Image of Frederic George Stephens Lecture on YouTube

Picture: Tate

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The De Morgan Foundation have published a lecture on the Victorian art critic and aspiring painter Frederick George Stephens (1827-1907) onto their YouTube Channel. The talk is given by the art historian Dr Robert Wilkes who concentrated on Stephens's often underappreciated works for his doctoral thesis.

Manet Dog Sketch up for Sale

January 24 2021

Image of Manet Dog Sketch up for Sale

Picture: Drouot

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A rare and very sketchy painting of a dog by Édouard Manet is coming up for sale at the French auction house Drouot next month. This pet, owned by the daughter of a Paris innkeeper Marguerite Lathuille, was supposedly completed in a mere twenty minutes. It has remained in the same family's collection until now.

The painting will be sold on 26th February 2021 with an estimate of €220,000 - €280,000.

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