Previous Posts: February 2011

Christie's Impressionist & Modern evening sale

February 10 2011

Totaled £61.8m.

Which is just below the £68.8m made by Sotheby's evening sale. The difference may be explained by a £7-10m Gauguin that failed to sell

Picasso - A Lecture

February 9 2011

Image of Picasso - A Lecture

Picture: Sotheby's

The lesson of the lecture is - if you have a Picasso, sell it now.

Last night, Picasso's 'La Lecture' (a portrait of one of his mistresses) sold well above its £12-18m estimate at £25.2m.

Its success demonstrates the incredible buoyancy of the modern art market at the moment. In 1996 the same picture had been offered at $6-8m, when it failed to sell. 

Titians on Tour - Jangling the Tin?

February 8 2011

Image of Titians on Tour - Jangling the Tin?

Picture: National Gallery of Scotland

The LA Times wonders whether The National Gallery of Scotland's decision to send Titian's Diana & Actaeon and Diana & Callisto to America is part of a fund-raising trip; 

It’s perhaps no coincidence that a U.K. institution has decided to send some of its choicest goods to America at this moment: private philanthropy dominates our arts economy, and the Brits are starting to get used to the fact that their own economically pressed government is pulling back the kind of public support that has long made American arts institutions jealous.

Treat of the Week

February 7 2011

Image of Treat of the Week

Picture: Bonhams

I love paintings that combine raw history and artistry. At Bonhams on Wednesday is this study by John Lavery of the German naval surrender in 1918. Lavery was aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth and witnessed the scene.

Prado & Hermitage swap-shop

February 7 2011

The Prado and The Hermitage are to temporarily exchange a slew of works for an exhibition. AFP reports:

About 66 works from the Spanish museum will be put on display at the Hermitage between February 25 and May 29 as part of the "Prado at the Hermitage" exhibit.

In return 170 works from the Hermitage will be put on display at the Prado between November 8 and March 26, 2012.

Celebs meet History of Art

February 6 2011

Image of Celebs meet History of Art

Picture: Sky Arts. Myleene Klass as the Girl With a Pearl Earring. 

A new TV series sees forger John Myatt paint celebrities "in the style of" the Old Masters. Also featured are Stephen Fry, James May, and Imelda Staunton. 

Impressionist, Modern & Contemporary sales on view

February 5 2011

Image of Impressionist, Modern & Contemporary sales on view

The atmosphere at Sotheby's and Christie's auction viewings of Impressionist & Modern art is very different to the Old Master sales I'm used to. The pictures are sparsely hung and strongly lit. Sharp-suited specialists slink silently between the high-rollers. Everyone whispers.

Of the two sales, I thought Sotheby's had the edge. But that's probably because I was drawn to the trio of Lucian Freuds, which was complimented by Francis Bacon's triptych portrait of Freud. The latter will surely beat its £7-9m estimate, in which case cue headlines saying 'Bringing home the Bacon'.

The picture I most liked was the tiny self-portrait by Lucien Freud. Painted in 1952, it is an intense work suffused with self-doubt. The estimate is £600,000-800,000, which in this market is probably rather low. 

Being Norman Rockwell's Model

February 4 2011

Image of Being Norman Rockwell's Model

Scott Ingram recalls his role in some of Rockwell most famous paintings; 

'He never paid us much, but it didn't really matter,' Ingram said.

Picture Loans - the Way Ahead?

February 4 2011

Image of Picture Loans - the Way Ahead?

Left: Renoir, Right: Caillebotte.

The Carnegie Museum and the Milwaukee Museum of Art are betting on the outcome of the Superbowl to decide the loan of two Impressionist paintings.

The stakes are as follows: if the Green Bay Packers win, the Carnegie Art Museum in Pittsburgh will loan Pierre-Auguste Renoir's "Bathers With Crab" to the Milwaukee Art Museum.

But if the Pittsburgh Steelers steal victory, the Milwaukee Art Museum stands to temporarily lose to the Carnegie its prized "Boating on the Yerres" by Gustave Caillebotte.

"Our art director is from Green Bay, so this is personal," said Kristin Settle, head of Public Relations for the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Should we do the same in the UK with the FA Cup Final? Why not?

Like, totally amazing.

February 3 2011

Image of Like, totally amazing.

Picture: Gemaldegalerie,Berlin

Google have a new website,, where you can virtually explore some of the world's leading art galleries; Tate, Uffizi, Met, the National in London, etc. etc. 

The most amazing thing of all, however, is the ability to zoom in in ultra-high resolution on some of the paintings. I've never seen digital art images as good as this online, and all for free too. Usually, galleries are so terrified of protecting their image rights, that you all you get is a blurry thumbnail.

It's brilliant. Congratulations to everyone involved. 

I hope more UK art galleries can participate with Google in this project. The goal should be a comprehensive online database of the UK's national art collection. With Google's help, we could do this far more cheaply and effectively than if we tried to do it as, say, a government project.  

The best exhibition advert you'll ever see?

February 3 2011


Check out the Hollywood-style trailer for a new exhibition at the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art, 'Vatican Splendors: A Journey through Faith and Art'. (I dare someone at the National Gallery to do a similar video for 'Leonardo'...)

There's an interesting ticketing system too;

'The Parish Advantage' offers discounts and premiums to Parishioners and members of the Church.'

Hans Eworth Lecture

February 3 2011


Hope Walker, who is doing a PhD on Hans Eworth, has YouTube-d her recent illustrated lecture on the artist.

New Acquisition at the Mauritshuis

February 1 2011

Image of New Acquisition at the Mauritshuis

Picture: The Mauritshuis (detail).

The Mauritshuis have unveiled their latest acquisition, Moses and Pharaoh's Crown by Jan Steen. Bought from a private owner for an undisclosed sum, the picture fills a gap in their collection. Although they have fourteen Steens, none of them are historical pictures. More here

The Spirit of Romney...

February 1 2011

Image of The Spirit of Romney...

How weird is this? Two related works by George Romney are discovered independently by dealers, and end up in galleries next to each other. [more below]

Read More

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