Category: Discoveries

Rediscovered Van Gogh Study on Display in Amsterdam

September 17 2021

Video: Bloomsberg

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A rediscovered study by Van Gogh has gone on display at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. The pencil study for Worn Out was created in 1882 and had been preserved in a private collection.

According to the BBC report:

"This one has never been seen before anywhere. It's the first time that this drawing is out in the open," said Teio Meedendorp, senior researcher at the Van Gogh Museum. 

Van Gogh appeared to have used the drawing as the basis for a slightly different version of the drawing shortly afterwards, which he preferred, and which is currently in the museum's collection under the title Worn Out. 

The artist made Study for Worn Out when he was living in the Hague and still learning to draw at around the age of 29. Experts say it offers an exceptional insight into Van Gogh's working process at the time.

Update - The Burlington Magazine have made their article on the discovery, written by Teio Meedendorp, accessible online for a limited amount of time. Read it while you can!

'Missing' Dandini Found in US Church

September 15 2021

Image of 'Missing' Dandini Found in US Church

Picture: nypost.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Here's a rather curious story. A painting by Cesare Dandini, reportedly recorded as 'missing', has been discovered in a church in New Rochelle, New York. It was rediscovered by the New York college professor Tom Ruggio who started looking into the work's attribution and history. It seems that no one is exactly sure how the painting ended up in New Rochelle, with some suggestions it was purchased in London during the 1960s. The canvas will be on loan to Iona College in New Rochelle for the next three months.

Is this by Van Gogh ? (ctd.)

September 9 2021

Image of Is this by Van Gogh ? (ctd.)

Picture: smithsonianmag.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Readers might remember this painting from a post earlier in May regarding the quest of its owner Stuart Pivar to prove whether it was by Van Gogh or not.

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam have since rejected the authenticity of the painting based on photographs alone.

The article linked above quotes Head of Collections and Research Marije Vellekoop:

We do not believe that an inspection … in our museum is necessary.

In our opinion, it is evidently clear from the material presented to us, that the painting ‘Auvers’ cannot be attributed to Vincent van Gogh.

The rejected work is in our opinion stylistically, iconographically or technically … clearly too far removed from Van Gogh’s own work that research and further discussion is deemed pointless.

Pivar, who rejects the conclusions above, has opened a $300m lawsuit to settle the matter.

Uffizi Acquire Tibaldi and Gnocchi Saint Paul

September 6 2021

Image of Uffizi Acquire Tibaldi and Gnocchi Saint Paul

Picture: Uffizi

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Uffizi Gallery in Florence have announced their acquisition of a full-length Saint Paul by Pellegrino Tibaldi and his Milanese pupil Giovanni Pietro Gnocchi. The work, dated to c.1585, was purchased after an export ban was placed on it by the authorities in Italy. Recent research undertaken by the scholar Agostino Allegri has established that the work was produced for the Milanese private chapel of the heirs of San Carlo Borromeo in 1585. Indeed, the painting was mentioned in a 1587 text by Giovanni Paolo Lomazzo and managed to survive the bombings of 1943 when the chapel was badly damaged.

Busts Return to Genoa

September 1 2021

Image of Busts Return to Genoa

Picture: finestresullarte.info

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Two seventeenth century busts are heading back to Genoa. The two marbles depicting Tommaso Gentile and Ginetta Pinelli, completed for the Basilica of the Santissima Annunziata del Vastato by sculptor Daniele Solaro (Genoa, 1649 - 1709), had long thought to have been destroyed during the war. The rediscovery was made after research was commissioned by a private collector into their histories. It is not known exactly how the pair came to leave the city, however, they have since been reacquired by the authorities in Genoa.

Rijksmuseum Acquires and Reattributes Sluter Crucifix

September 1 2021

Image of Rijksmuseum Acquires and Reattributes Sluter Crucifix

Picture: Rijksmuseum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has acquired a carved wooden crucifix that it has reattributed to the fifteenth-century Dutch sculptor Claus Sluter.

According to the article above:

Research conducted into art historical and technical aspects of the work has led multiple experts to conclude that this exceptional object can be conclusively attributed to Haarlem-born Claus Sluter, who was the court sculptor to Philip the Bold in Dijon, France, from 1389 to 1406. This makes the work the first by Sluter to be held in a Dutch collection.

Opie's Reynolds Doubles Low-Estimate

August 13 2021

Image of Opie's Reynolds Doubles Low-Estimate

Picture: Woolley and Wallis

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Auctioneers Woolley and Wallis in Salisbury sold this Laughing Girl by Sir Joshua Reynolds yesterday for £37,000 (hammer price) over its £15k - £20k estimate. The painting was rediscovered by specialists in a private collection, whose owners had thought that the work was a mere copy. Furthermore, they were unaware of the painting's illustrious provenance. Reynolds had created the work for the Polygraphic Society in 1787. It was eventually purchased by the artist John Opie and later came into the collection of the Earls of Lonsdale. The last time the work was displayed in public was in 1937.

Young Gainsborough: Rediscovered Landscape Drawings

August 13 2021

Image of Young Gainsborough: Rediscovered Landscape Drawings

Picture: York Art Gallery

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The York Art Gallery have announced a new exhibition which will open on 1st October 2021. Young Gainsborough: Rediscovered Landscape Drawings will be the first time that the twenty-five drawings recently rediscovered in the Royal Collection will be on display.

According to the gallery's website:

They will be presented alongside paintings and works on paper borrowed from collections across the UK and Ireland, including the National Gallery’s recently conserved masterpiece Cornard Wood (1748). Together, they will shed new light on Gainsborough’s early landscape practice and the techniques which made him one of the country’s most significant and influential artists.

The show will run until 13th February 2022.

A Michel Sittow Rediscovered in Spain (?)

July 27 2021

Image of A Michel Sittow Rediscovered in Spain (?)

Picture: Twitter via. @Inde

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Interesting news from Spain that a rare work by the enigmatic fifteenth century artist Michel Sittow has been reportedly rediscovered in the Museo de Arte Sacro de Teruel. The Intercession of the Virgin Mary before God the Father and Jesus Christ (pictured) has been reattributed by the scholar María del Carmen Lacarra. Sittow, who was probably born in Estonia but is often considered Flemish, worked for the Habsburg monarchs in Spain and the Netherlands. In a 2011 catalogue raisonné the art historian Matthias Weniger included 111 works with only 13 attributed with absolute certainty.

We'll wait and see if other scholars rally around this new attribution.

Michelangelo's Thumb Print found on Wax Model in V&A (?)

July 13 2021

Image of Michelangelo's Thumb Print found on Wax Model in V&A (?)

Picture: The Times

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Curators at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London have discovered a previously unknown thumb print on a wax preparatory model which they hope might belong to Michelangelo. The model of a Young Slave, linked to an incomplete statue carved for Pope Julius II, has been questioned in the past due to the difficulty in dating wax models. The appearance of this thumb print will, they hope, prove that it was modelled by Michelangelo himself. The fate of the wax model will appear in the new BBC2 series Secrets of the Museums which begins next Tuesday.

Van Eyck Plea found in Vatican Archives

July 9 2021

Image of Van Eyck Plea found in Vatican Archives

Picture: The National Gallery, London

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Here's a curious story that appeared a few days ago. Historian Hendrik Callewier of the State Archives and KU Leuven has come across what he describes as a previously unknown application in the Vatican administration from painter Jan Van Eyck and his wife Margareta. The document, dated 26 March 1441, is a plea written to Pope Eugenius IV requesting a letter which would allow him to go to confession and absolve him from his sins.

According to the article linked above:

...according to Callewier “It is the first time that we see Van Eyck mentioned together with his wife Margareta in a document during his lifetime.” 

The find may also help determine Van Eyck’s birthplace. “There is no document from his time that says where he comes from,” Callewier said. “Ten different places have been named in the past hundred years, with Maaseik as the most likely contender. Our discovery shows that he comes from the diocese of Liège, so we can now exclude a number of places.” In this way, the search is traced back to Maaseik, Bergeijk, Maastricht and Arendonk.

Potential Dürer (?) to be featured in Aachen Exhibition

July 5 2021

Image of Potential Dürer (?) to be featured in Aachen Exhibition

Picture: The Times

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Times published an interesting article on Saturday relating to the above painting which will be featured in the current Dürer exhibition in Aachen. The picture was bought at auction in the 1980s by the late Sebastian Thewes who has spent decades trying to prove that this is an autograph work by the German master. Lots of interesting analysis has been put forward, including dendrochronology which places the panel at c.1521. The work will be included in the show catalogued as 'by an unknown painter', however, the article invites the possibility that Dürer experts might use this opportunity to reappraise the work.

A newly Rediscovered Saint Simon by Velázquez

June 30 2021

Image of A newly Rediscovered Saint Simon by Velázquez

Picture: @carolblumenfeld

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News is emerging from France that a rediscovered painting of Saint Simon by Diego Velázquez has been unveiled at the aforementioned exhibition at the Musée des Beaux-Arts d'Orléans. It seems that the painting was discovered in a private collection and had been placed in front of Guillaume Kientz, director of the Hispanic Society Museum in New York and former head of Spanish painting at the Louvre. The painting will be the subject of an upcoming article in a Spanish scientific journal.

Here are some quotes from curator Corentin Dury:

From infrared and an X-ray, the “examinations reveal a density of pigments and also of white lines of positioning of various contours, which may be consistent with what could be observed in the other apostles and various pictures of the young Velázquez." 

The apostle “has very close characteristics, a posture (…), other elements, such as the texture of the painting, the spelling of the letters, the dimensions”

Rediscovered Constable Poetry Watercolours Up for Sale

June 29 2021

Video: Gorringe's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Gorringe's auction house in East Sussex will be offering up an interesting book in their sale today. This particular edition of Thomas Gray's Elegy Written in a Country Church-Yard happens to contain three watercolours by John Constable. Constable was asked to contribute illustrations for a printed edition, commissioned it seems by editor John Martin. 

As the catalogue note explains:

All three of Constable’s original completed watercolour designs are included in this specially bound quarto volume of the second ( 1836) edition of Martin’s Elegy, together with fourteen more by other contributors. He clearly went to a great deal of care and trouble over them, making preliminary sketches in watercolour for all three , now mainly held in public collections. 5 He may have produced these as sample designs for Martin to approve. Alternatively, he may have wished them to serve as guides when working up his finished designs, thus mirroring his practice of using same scale sketches for his oil paintings.

The edition will be offered for sale today with a rather punchy estimate of £100k - £150k.

Update - The lot didn't manage to find a buyer. Although of historical interest, one imagines the high estimate might have been rather unrealistic.

Fragonard Philosopher makes €6.3m

June 28 2021

Video: artcento

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The aforementioned rediscovered Philosopher by Fragonard realised an impressive €6,300,000 (hammer price) / €7,686,000 (with commission) over its €1.5m - €2m estimate on Saturday. It has been suggested that the picture has been purchased by a French private collection. This is a sure sign as any that high quality old masters, even of unassuming subjects, can still command very high prices. The excitement of a rediscovered painting must have also helped in this case, one imagines.

The Bonnie Prince Charlie by Domenico Dupra, featured in the same sale, smashed through its estimate of €6k - €8k to realise €155,000.

The Transformation of a Sleeper

June 24 2021

Image of The Transformation of a Sleeper

Picture: @auctionrada / Sotheby's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Twitter's @auctionradar has pointed out the transformation of a sleeper that appeared on the continent last year. The painting on the left, catalogued by a provincial European auction house as 'Lombardy School 17th Century', eventually realised €148,000 over its €1,100 estimate last December. The same painting has since been cleaned and authenticated by Prof. Alberto Cottino as an autograph work by Fede Galizia (1578-1630). It will be offered for sale by Sotheby's next month with an estimate of £400k - £600k.

A Rembrandt (?) Revealed in Rome ?

June 22 2021

Image of A Rembrandt (?) Revealed in Rome ?

Picture: finestresullarte.info

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Italian Press have reported on the unveiling of a newly attributed to Rembrandt at the Fondazione Patrimonio Italia (FPI) in Rome. The painting of the Adoration of the Magi was thought to be known only through copies, the best of those being preserved in St Petersburg (described as 'Studio of') and Gothenburg (described as 'Follower of'). The new attribution has been made possible by a restoration project began in 2016 by the restorer Antonella Di Francesco which removed vast amounts of darkened overpaint.

A list of Italian art historians has been provided, particular those who have supported the project. Crucially though, no mention is given as to whether any other Rembrandt scholars have given the the painting the thumbs up.

Update - Here's the write up from The Times. The article explains that the picture is in the collection of an undisclosed noble family in Italy.

The following quote is also provided by Alessandro Caucci Molara, president of the Abraham Teerlink Foundation and an adviser to Talarico:

We haven’t heard of anyone who opposes the attribution but it’s a work in progress and the art history community is welcome to view it.

Mysterious Marble Skull turns out to be by Bernini

June 15 2021

Image of Mysterious Marble Skull turns out to be by Bernini

Picture: artnet.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Here's an important discovery that I missed the other week.

A marble skull on display at Schloss Pillnitz, south of Dresden, has been discovered to be the work of the seventeenth-century sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The mysterious object had raised the curiosity of curators for some time, especially since the unattributed piece was known to have Roman provenance.

As the article above explains:

“Everybody had the same reaction to it,” Kryza-Gersch told the Art Newspaper. “We were standing around a table, looking at it. The question of course was—who made it? And since it has Roman provenance, someone jokingly said ‘maybe it’s a Bernini?’” 

In fact, further research revealed that the skull was indeed made by the Italian master for Pope Alexander VII in the mid-17th century. “Our jokes were proven right,” the curator said.

Restoration reveals Silver Eyes of Cellini Bust

May 25 2021

Image of Restoration reveals Silver Eyes of Cellini Bust

Picture: ansa.it

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The National Museum of Bargello in Florence, Italy, have shared news that a recent campaign of restoration has revealed the original silver eyes of Benvenuto Cellini's bust of Cosimo I de' Medici. The silver foil, which was an original part of Cellini's work dating to 1545-48, had become obscured by centuries of grime and a dark coating which may have been applied to the sculpture in the eighteenth or nineteenth centuries. The delicate process of removing the later layers was undertaken by conservator Ludovica Nicolai.

For those wanting to see the results of this interesting project, the newly restored bust will be heading to the MET's upcoming exhibition on Medici Portraits.

Murillo's Madonna del latte Conserved

May 15 2021

Image of Murillo's Madonna del latte Conserved

Picture: barberinicorsini.org

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Palazzo Barberini and Corsini Gallery in Rome will be opening a new exhibition next week dedicated to the restoration of Murillo's Madonna del latte. A recent campaign of x-ray analysis and conservation has revealed several interesting elements regarding the artist's process, all which will be revealed in this small show.

The exhibition will run until 11th July 2021.

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