Previous Posts: April 2020

Sotheby's Mid-Season Sale

April 22 2020

Image of Sotheby's Mid-Season Sale

Picture: English School, Piazza, Covent Garden, c. 1649 via Sotheby's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Sotheby's have recently posted their mid-season Old Master Paintings sale. Their online sales have been producing some very encouraging results in the past few years. Lots of fine pictures to peruse, including an intriguing set of full length portraits from the Earl of Clarendon's collection.

Quiz: Find the Original

April 22 2020

Image of Quiz: Find the Original

Picture: The Saleroom

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Following on from yesterday's challenge, here is another copy of a famous picture that was exhibited at the Royal Academy in the nineteenth century. It's coming up for sale in New Orleans catalogued as 'Attributed to Alfred W Thompson'. Can you find the original? A little tip - it's on display in a London Museum.

No prizes, just for fun.

Update - Congratulations to reader Bob Hawkins, who spotted that the above picture is in fact a copy of Edwin Landseer's Doubtful Crumbs at the Wallace Collection. Here is a fine video discussing the collection's other Landseer The Arab Tent. This painting cost Sir Richard Wallace £6,300 making it one of the most expensive paintings acquired by the museum's founders. In comparison, Frans Hals's Laughing Cavalier was bought for a mere £2,040 in 1865.

 

Panel Project Uploads 78 New Images

April 22 2020

Image of Panel Project Uploads 78 New Images

Picture: JVDPPP

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Jordaens Van Dyck Panel Paintings Project (JVDPPP) have uploaded a further 78 panels to their online database. This brings their online collection to a total of 250 panels.

As you'll see, the project also considers copies and works by 'Followers of' and 'Circle Of' - which is very interesting. Getting to know what makes a copy a copy, and how they were made, is an important part of being able to judge pictures. There is also a beautiful selection of works by the copyist and imitator Remigius van Leemput (1607-1675), whom I know the project are taking a special interest in for some exciting future study.

Oliver Millar Journals Indexed Online

April 21 2020

Image of Oliver Millar Journals Indexed Online

Picture: Paul Mellon Centre via. Lucy Anne Dickens

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Paul Mellon Centre for the Studies in British Art have been busy cataloguing the archive of the late Sir Oliver Millar (1923-2007), expert on seventeenth century paintings and former Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures.

Part of their collection is the vast amount of journals noting all the key visits Millar made to collections around the world. This archive will be of great interest to art historians, especially scholars of the likes of Van Dyck. They have uploaded the index of his journals and notebooks online, but you'll have to book yourself in to consult the documents in person when the centre reopens.

Artherstory: Giovanna Garzoni and Artemisia Gentileschi

April 21 2020

Image of Artherstory: Giovanna Garzoni and Artemisia Gentileschi

Picture: Artherstory

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Here is an interesting blog written on two women painters of seventeenth century Italy; Giovanna Garzoni and Artemisia Gentileschi. The piece was written by Dr Mary D Garrad of for the blog site Artherstory, a fine project that specifically showcases the works of female old masters.

The comparison between their self portraits is fascinating (pictured). I must admit that I had never seen Garzoni's painting before, which shows her playing the role of Apollo (Palazzo del Quirinale, Rome). The six thick strings make it look like a viol to me, rather than a plucked string instrument.

 

Holburne Museum sets £50k Target for Survival

April 21 2020

Image of Holburne Museum sets £50k Target for Survival

Picture: BBC

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The BBC have reported that the Holburne Museum in Bath is looking to raise £50,000 to help keep the museum runnning. This is largely due to the loss of funds due to the current epidemic crisis. They are hoping to raise the amount by a Crowdfunding campaign.

The museums director Chris Stephens said;

The Holburne receives no public funding whatsoever so, when we closed we lost all our income other than donations.

Frustratingly, and fortunately, our current exhibition - Grayson Perry: The Pre-Therapy Years - is the most popular show we have ever had.

So we had some cash in the bank, but only enough to last a few weeks.  The crowdfunding is a way of raising emergency funds from people who love the Holburne but who we maybe don't know, and to raise awareness of our plight.

The Charleston Trust, who look after the country home of the Bloomsbury Group, have also started an emergency to fight for their survival.

Quiz: Find the Original

April 21 2020

Image of Quiz: Find the Original

Picture: The Saleroom

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The recent explosion of online art quizes has encouraged me to set a fun but tricky challenge for readers of AHN. The picture above is coming up for sale at Charles Hanson's June sale catalogued as 'Manner of Velazquez' with an estimate of £100-£150. It is a copy of an old master painting. Can any of you find the original? A little tip: It is in a museum in Germany.

No prizes, just for fun.

Update - Congratulations to Andrew Quick who correctly identified the picture as Van Dyck's Portrait of a Man (called a Spaniard) at the Staatliche Museen, Gemäldegalerie, Kassel. A very interesting picture, especially the highly detailed costume which has been identified as being particularly in the Spanish fashion. It was taken by the French to Paris between 1807-15.

Update 2 - The picture sold for £1,150.

Weston Park's Pictures

April 21 2020

Image of Weston Park's Pictures

Picture: @Weston_Park

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Weston Park in Staffordshire, the ancestral home of the Earls of Bradford, have been sharing some rather good high-resolution images of their paintings collections via their Twitter account over the past few weeks.

The picture above is a Holbein of Sir George Carew, Captain of the Mary Rose. It's so good that I can zoom in to see the detail of the badge in Carew's hat, which might be a figure of Neptune especially considering the sitter's naval career. The drawing for this portrait is in the Royal Collection.

The property is run and maintained by the Trustees of the Weston Park Foundation. This foundation was established in 1986 after the house and parkland was given to the nation by the 7th Earl of Bradford. It is not immediately clear whether this included the collection, or whether the artworks are still privately owned. Regardless, it is incredible rare for a collection of this kind to share images of this quality for free.

Pictures worth seeing are this Lely, a portrait by Constable, Gainsborough (posted last year) , Van Dyck (posted last year).

Mijn Rembrandt

April 19 2020

 

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

This is a DVD release I'm looking forward to (not often that you say that these days). Mijn Rembrandt is a documentary that revolves around the stories of several collectors and their paintings by (or not by) Rembrandt. It includes the tale of dealer and collector Jan Six's efforts to have his newly discovered Portrait of a Young Gentleman authenticated by Rembrandt scholar Ernst van de Wetering. It was premiered last November at the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), who produced the trailer above. The film contains cameos from collectors Eijk and Rose-Marie De Mol van Otterloo, Thomas Kaplan, The Duke of Buccleuch and Eric de Rothschild.

The DVD is released on 8th May 2020.

Stay at Home Museum: Rubenshuis

April 18 2020

Video: Flemish Masters 2018-2020

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Ben Van Beneden, the director of the Rubenshuis in Antwerp, will be giving a live personal tour of the museum next Wednesday. This is part of a fabulous series created by Flemish Masters 2018-2020, an organisation that promotes Flanders and Brussels tourism. The tour will be followed by a Q&A which viewers can take part in (I have a question of my own regarding some architectural salvage as it happens).

The livestream tour will be available on the Flemish Masters Facebook page on Wednesday 22nd April at 7pm (CET).

Update - The full episode has been uploaded to YouTube.

Cranach at Compton Verney

April 18 2020

Image of Cranach at Compton Verney

Picture: Compton Verney

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Another of the recent exhibitions cut short by the virus was Compton Verney's excellent Cranach: Artist and Innovator. Fortunately, the gallery have uploaded a rather good video tour onto their website (which I can't upload directly here unfortunately). On the same page you'll have access to a recorded conversation with the curators organised by the Colnaghi Foundation.

Another exhibition I wish I had got to before it closed was The Foundling Museum's Portraying Pregnancy: From Holbein to Social Media curated by Karen Hearn. Curator and writer Emma Shepley has posted her review of the exhibition on Twitter.

 

Art Uncovered Blog

April 17 2020

Image of Art Uncovered Blog

Picture: Milodickinson.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Milo Dickinson, Old Master Paintings Specialist at Christie's and son of art dealer Simon Dickinson, has started a new blog entitled 'Art Uncovered'. It is filled with many amusing anecdotes and beautiful photographs. His most recent post is an interesting interview conducted with his collector friend Todd, whose interiors (pictured) are in his words where "Minimalism is consigned to the bin, which sits next to the large elephant skull."

Yale Uploads 10k Images to Google

April 17 2020

Image of Yale Uploads 10k Images to Google

Picture: Yale Centre for British Art

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Yale Centre for British Art have uploaded a further 10,000 images of their collection to Google Arts & Culture. This is probably one of the best digital resources available at the moment and allows you to zoom right into the craquelure of paintings. The high resolution of images is breathtaking.

As the centre's Director Courtney J. Martin explains;

The Yale Center for British Art is proud to expand its collection offerings in partnership  with Google Arts & Culture and in support of Yale University’s ambitious Open Access  Policy, which seeks to enhance access to the collections in the museums, archives, and  libraries for students, faculty, and the world.

As one of the earliest university museums to join this pioneering initiative in 2011, we are  pleased to know that the museum draws global audiences who can see and experience the  largest collection of British Art outside of the United Kingdom and contextualize these  works within the broader scope of art history.

Digitising collections can make discoveries possible too. As a short aside, here is a portrait by Daniel Mytens that I spotted a few weeks ago in the Utah Museum of Fine Arts's database catalogued as A Cavalier of the Stuart Court (left). After posting the unidentified picture on Twitter Edward Town (Head of Collections and Information at Yale) replied within 24 hours identifying the picture with another version formerly with Weiss Gallery identified as Darcy Conyers, 1st Earl of Holderness (right).

 

Write on Art Prize

April 17 2020

Image of Write on Art Prize

Picture: Writeonart.org

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Art UK and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art are teaming up again to offer an art writing prize for those between the age of 15-18. They are inviting young budding art writers to pick any work of art from the Art UK website and write a short essay about it. The top prize is a £500 cash prize.

The deadline for essays is 31st July 2020.

Black in Rembrandt's Time

April 16 2020

Video: The Rembrandt House Museum via YouTube

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Rembrandt House Museum in Amsterdam have posted a mini documentary on their recent exhibition entitled 'Black in Rembrandt's Time'. It was due to run to 31 May 2020. You'll have to switch on the English subtitles if you don't understand Dutch.

The Courtauld are Hiring!

April 16 2020

Image of The Courtauld are Hiring!

Picture: via. @CourtauldRes (Twitter)

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Courtauld Institute of Art in London are advertising for a 'Lecturer in the History of Art'. In particular, they are looking for a candidate with knowledge and experience in Northern European Art. The salary on offer for this fixed-term 12 month position is between £38.4k - £51.7k depending on experience.

Applications, which include submitting a 15 minute video presentation if you get through to the interview stage, end on 22nd April 2020.

Good luck if you're applying.

Update - By coincidence, Oxford Brookes University are also looking for a lecturer in History of Art. Specialism in the Renaissance, curating and museums studies desired.

Auction Houses becoming Art Dealers?

April 15 2020

Image of Auction Houses becoming Art Dealers?

Picture: Christie’s

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

I might be extremely late to this, but it seems that both Sotheby’s and Christie’s have been vamping up their private sales platforms recently. Both auction houses now have web pages specifically geared towards selling individual works at set prices (some as enquiry only, of course). This is a very interesting trend, which sees the auction houses increasingly taking on a role usually associated with art dealers.

Private Sales are nothing new. The Arts Newspaper reported that 17% ($990m) of Sotheby's revenue came from Private Sales in 2019. Most specialist departments in auction houses have dedicated directors who deal in seeking out and brokering sales between collectors. There are many reasons why a collector would rather not send their works of art to public auction. Risk that it might not sell being one of them, but other factors such as publicity also play a part in our increasingly connected world. Selling exhibitions, attached onto the side rooms of sale previews, have usually been the way that this is done. However, having a specific public page dedicated to available artworks seems like quite a recent feature.

Will it work? Only time will tell, perhaps. One of the strengths at selling at auction is the limited time factor. This must have contributed to Sotheby’s recent successful sale with London dealer Rafael Valls for example. 

Art dealers have their own unique strengths too. Many of the most longstanding dealers have strong brand identities, specialist knowledge and momentum that they can use to their advantage. For example, it is noteworthy how many dealers are increasingly using platforms like Instagram and other social media to present their artworks in an aesthetic that differentiates them from the rest. In comparison, auction houses can look rather lost, as they have many more hats to wear and plates to spin. Do all of these social media gimmicks help to sell pictures though, I wonder?

Will Independent Museums Survive the Lockdown?

April 15 2020

Image of Will Independent Museums Survive the Lockdown?

Picture: BBC

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The BBC have reported on an appeal from the Association of Independent Museums (AIM), warning that independent museums might be lost due to the impact of the coronavirus.

They have highlighted the case of two museums in London in particular, including the Charles Dickens Museum and the Florence Nightingale Museum respectively. The article claims that such museums are vulnerable due to their success as individual businesses. As these attractions generally rely on entrance fees they are less likely to received regular grants or funding to keep their finances ticking-over.

Particularly concerning is the claim;

The body's chair, Andrew Lovett, said he believed it was inevitable some museums would "just run out of cash and go to the wall", with collections potentially lost.

Watts at Home

April 15 2020

Image of Watts at Home

Picture: The Watts Gallery via Smartify

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Watts Gallery in Compton, Surrey, has been working on a series of short audio tours entitled ‘Watts at Home’. The clips, compiled by curators in lockdown, is hosted by Smartify and is completely free to access.

George Frederic Watts is surely one of the most underrated artists, especially considering his fame in late Victorian Britain. The above self-portrait, completed when the painter was seventeen, just shows you how talented he was. I’d also recommend a series of videos on YouTube made with the gallery’s former curator Richard Jefferies, who provides some of the most memorable interpretations of the artist’s later symbolist works.

Dulwich Picture Gallery Quiz

April 14 2020

Image of Dulwich Picture Gallery Quiz

Picture: The Guardian

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Guardian and the Dulwich Picture Gallery are running a little art quiz at the moment in collaboration with Art UK. Some of them are rather tricky. We expect readers of AHN to get top marks (!).

Update - Today's quiz is set by Compton Verney, Warwickshire.

Update (2) - A few more from this series run with The Guardian;

The National Museums Liverpool

The Ulster Museum, Belfast

The Holburne Museum, Bath

The Derby Museums

Waddesdon Manor

 

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