Previous Posts: July 2020

Hiscox Online Art Trade Report

July 7 2020

Image of Hiscox Online Art Trade Report

Picture: Hiscox

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The insurance company Hiscox have published their 2020 Art Trade Report online. The report is completely free to read.

Amongst their key findings are the following:

- Online art and collectible sales generated an estimated $4.82 billion in 2019, which represents an increase of 4% on the previous year. This amount seems to represent a slow-down of growth experienced in previous years.

- Christie's, Sotheby's and Heritage Auctions passed $1 billion in online sales, compared with $636 million in 2015.

- The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated online sales, with Sotheby's reporting a 131% increase, and Heritage Auction reporting a 10% increase.

Lots of other interests facts to be found inside the online document.

First Constable Retrospective in the Netherlands

July 7 2020

Image of First Constable Retrospective in the Netherlands

Picture: Haarlems Dagblad

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

On 19th September 2020 the first ever solo retrospective exhibition in the Netherlands dedicated to John Constable will open at the Teylers Museum in Haarlem.*

The exhibition will feature a vast array of drawings, watercolour and paintings loaned from collections around the world. Constable, as we know, was greatly influenced by Dutch golden age painters such as Ruisdael, Hobbema and Rembrandt.

The exhibition will run from 19th September 2020 to 31st January 2021.

* - Quite surprising fact, if true! I'm sure an AHN reader will get in touch if there was an obscure exhibition in the 1960s or 70s!

NG Paintings on Canes

July 7 2020

Image of NG Paintings on Canes

Picture: Classic Canes

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

I've spotted on Instagram (via. @arthurbyngnelson) that the firm Classic Canes have bought image licenses from the National Gallery to produce some rather aesthetically pleasing walking aids. Artist inspired canes include works by Stubbs, Bosschaert, Monet, Van Gogh and Nattier.

Portraying Pregnancy - Extended

July 7 2020

Image of Portraying Pregnancy - Extended

Picture: Tate via. Foundling Museum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Good news that the Foundling Museum's current exhibition Portraying Pregnancy: From Holbein to Social Media has been extended till 23rd August 2020. The exhibition is curated by Karen Hearn and features works by the likes of Holbein, Gheeraerts (pictured), Beale, Lawrence and many others. More details on how to book tickets can be found on their website.

Van Dyck Reinterpreted

July 7 2020

Image of Van Dyck Reinterpreted

Picture: Sotheby's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

As AHN often features contemporary reinterpretations of old master paintings, I thought the following artwork might be of interest. The above painting by Kehinde Wiley (b.1977) made $350,000 (inc. fees) at Sotheby's last month. Art lovers will know that it takes direct inspiration from Van Dyck's portrait of Charles I, La Roi à la chasse, in the Louvre, Paris. Wiley's work La Roi a la chasse II (2007) is a continuation of the artist's fascination for Old Masters, and follows his reinterpretations of paintings by the likes of Frans Hals, Rubens and David.

As the catalogue note explains:

Wiley draws attention to Van Dyck’s regal portrait conventions & questions the constructions of authority that now appear as affectation rather than natural elegance & power.

Here is a YouTube video containing an interview with the artist as he presents his own personal view on interpreting and reinterpreting the Old Masters.

ArtTactic Old Master Market Report

July 6 2020

Image of ArtTactic Old Master Market Report

Picture: LAW

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

ArtTactic have published their Annual Old Master Paintings Market Report. It was presented as part of London Art Week alongside a panel discussion yesterday evening on Demystifying the Old Masters Market (Is this available to view online I wonder?). Written and researched by Megan Corcoran Locke, and consisting of 24 pages, the online version costs £150 (exc. VAT) to download.

The organisation have published this rather interesting graph on their Instagram Account. It shows the comparison of Old Master Sales between Sotheby's and Christie's for the past few years.

Recently Upgraded Rubens Offered at Sotheby's

July 6 2020

Image of Recently Upgraded Rubens Offered at Sotheby's

Picture: Metro

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A recently re-emerged portrait by Peter Paul Rubens has been published by the press today.

The above Portrait of a Lady was sold in 2017 at Tennants in Yorkshire for £65,000 (hammer) as by the Workshop of Rubens. Recent cleaning of the work has revealed its true quality, including several pentimenti in the sky. This evidence amounted to the fact that the painting is indeed an original and not a copy. The provenance of the portrait and its exhibition history looks interesting too. I look forward to reading the catalogue note in full.

The portrait will be included in Sotheby's Old Master Paintings sale on 29th July with an estimate of £2.5m - £3.5m.

£1.57 Billion for the Arts in Britain

July 6 2020

Image of £1.57 Billion for the Arts in Britain

Picture: Evening Standard

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Big news from the British Government last night as a £1.57 billion rescue package has been arranged for the arts, culture and heritage industries. The list of areas eligible for grants and loans include the performing arts and theatres, heritage, historic palaces, museums, galleries, live music and independent cinema. This will provide a much needed lifeline for many of the cultural institutions that have been facing collapse due to the virus crisis.

Ashmolean Appeal to buy Van Dyck

July 6 2020

Image of Ashmolean Appeal to buy Van Dyck

Picture: Ashmolean

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford is fundraising to purchase an early full-length portrait by Sir Anthony Van Dyck. The above Portrait of a Lady, dated to 1618-20, is part of a collection of artworks that the museum is hoping to acquire as part of the Acceptance in Lieu of Tax Scheme (AIL). Alongside the portrait are nine pieces of English Silver from the celebrated Cassel collection including the Bacon Cup.

The total value of the group is about £15million but with the AIL scheme the Ashmolean can acquire them for just £500,000. They are working to raise £150,000 over the next six months in order to complete the acquisition.

Sounds like an absolute bargain, right?

Here is a leaflet that explains more.

Hounds Export Bar

July 4 2020

Image of Hounds Export Bar

Picture: ArtDaily

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A temporary export bar has been placed by the British Government on a pair of marble hounds dating from the 2nd century AD. These beautiful Roman statues were excavated in the late eighteenth century and were once in the collection of the British antiquarian Thomas Hope.

Any institution hoping to keep them in the country will have to find £2,000,000 to purchase them. The decision on the export license has been deferred to 2 October 2020.

Room 32 Renovations Complete

July 3 2020

Image of Room 32 Renovations Complete

Picture: @JHRTrust

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Photos of the newly refurbished Room 32 at the National Gallery in London have been shared online.

The refurbishment was funded by a £4m donation from the Julia & Hans Rausing Trust. Work included reinstating the nineteenth century decorative work in the upper frieze and lunettes. This central space houses the gallery's collection of seventeenth century Italian paintings and had been closed for 21 months. The room will be renamed The Julia and Hans Rausing Room to recognise this generous donation.

Digital Access in French Museums

July 3 2020

Image of Digital Access in French Museums


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Here is an interesting article explaining the current situation of the opening up of digital collections in Museums in France. It highlights how slow museums have been in organising proposals to meet the French government's 2018 'Museums of the 21st Century' Mission.

The mission had included specific requests to:

“formulate proposals, respectful of copyright, regarding free access to images from major museums in connection with the RMN-GP [official organization for the national museums of France]."

The article is penned by Pierre-Yves Beaudouin of Wikimédia France. Naturally, this organisation promotes the notion that digital images should be opened up as much as possible and made accessible on large platforms like Wikipedia.

Lost Photo of Napoleon Emerges...

July 2 2020

Image of Lost Photo of Napoleon Emerges...

Picture: @Ganbrood

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Dutch artist Bas Uterwijk, from Amsterdam in the Netherlands, has been recreating famous faces into photo realistic images. He does this with the help of 'AI' (which he calls 'Artbreeder') and some other fancy tools using historic paintings as guides. Some are more successful than others. I thought his image of Napoleon above (compared with the original by Jacques-Louis David on the left) is quite amusing. Click here for examples of Rembrandt and Van Gogh.

'Evening Sale' at Sotheby's

July 2 2020

Image of 'Evening Sale' at Sotheby's

Picture: Sotheby's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Sotheby's have announced that they are continuing to shake-up their usual calendar of summer sales. On 28th July 2020 they will be holding a special auction known as the 'Evening Sale' where high estimate works across the categories will be sold together in one sale. This includes artworks from Old Masters, Impressionist & Modern Art, Modern & Post-War British Art and Contemporary Art. One imagines that this sale will be held in the manner of their recent Modern & Contemporary Art auction.

Alongside the highly anticipated Rembrandt self-portrait, buyers will be able to bid on works by the likes of Picasso, Henry Moore, Chagall, Kandinsky and Léger. Here is the list of highlighted works thus far, which on the Old Master front includes a P Brueghel the Younger, Bosschaert the Elder, Van Goyen and a Turner. Andrew Fletcher, head of sales, has also just teased a fabulous Frans Hals portrait on his Instagram Account to be included in the sale.

In 2017 Christie's showed that it was possible to sell an old master painting in a contemporary art sale. That was an easy task for a Leonardo, perhaps. It will be exciting to see what happens, and whether the market is truly less concerned about categories as it has been in the past.*

The usual Old Master Paintings sales will be held online between 20-29 July 2020.

More updates as and when they are announced...

Update - Here is a link to that very fine portrait by Frans Hals, which carries as estimate of £2m - £3m.

* - See this recent post for more background information on this theme.

Gainsborough Letter at Auction

July 2 2020

Image of Gainsborough Letter at Auction

Picture: International Autograph Auction, Malaga

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A rare signed letter by the painter Thomas Gainsborough is coming up for auction later this month. Dated 29th September 1783, the letter written to the artist's sister discusses money matters. Amusingly, it makes reference to Thomas's brother John Gainsborough, whom the painter referred to as 'Scheming Jack' due to his many failed business ventures.

The letter carries an estimate of €6,000 - €9,000. If it makes its top estimate it won't be far off the price made by this original portrait that sold for £12,500 (inc. fees) at Sotheby's in 2010.

Hidden Layers on Google Arts

July 2 2020

Image of Hidden Layers on Google Arts

Picture: MFA Houston

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston has uploaded its 2018 exhibition Hidden Layers: Painting and Process in Europe, 1500–1800 onto Google Arts & Culture. The exhibition focuses on technical analysis undertaken on their collection of paintings. It includes many fascinating x-rays and infrared images that show exactly how painters created, and often modified, their artworks.

Pissarro to be Restituted

July 2 2020

Image of Pissarro to be Restituted


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

ArtDaily reports that a painting by Camille Pissarro will be returned to the heirs of the family it was confiscated from during World War II.

France's top appeal court rejected a bid by an American couple who had purchased the painting at Christie's in 1995 for $800,000. It seems that the picture's murky provenance was not established at the time of sale, and the couple had purchased the painting in good faith.

As the report goes on to say:

The Cassation ruling said that even if the Tolls had acquired the picture in good faith "they could not claim to have become the legal owners".

The descendants of Bauer -- some 20 people -- will now be able to take hold of the painting, which has been kept safely at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris throughout the case.

Rhoda Delaval

July 2 2020

Image of Rhoda Delaval

Picture: The National Portrait Gallery, London

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

This blog tends to stay away from celebrating #OTD (onthisday) anniversaries. However, I thought this would make for a good exception.

Yesterday Twitter was awash with posts celebrating the birth of the artist Rhoda Delaval (1725-1757). The image above is Arthur Pond's portrait of Delaval at work, owned by the NPG and on loan to the No. 1 Royal Crescent Museum in Bath.

Despite her relative fame, one account pointed out that Rhoda Delaval does not yet have an entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. This seems like a very good opportunity for a scholar of art history to correct this omission.

For anyone who might like to read more in the meantime, here is Neil Jeffares's entry for the artist in his online Dictionary of Pastellists. Furthermore, here is a link to the three paintings by here on ArtUK. I'm sure there are more pictures by Delaval waiting to be reidentified.

Istanbul's Acquisition of Painting Causes Controversy

July 1 2020

Image of Istanbul's Acquisition of Painting Causes Controversy

Picture: Christie's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A curious news story has erupted in Turkey this past week. The Municipality of Istanbul had recently purchased the above Portrait of Sultan Mehmed II with a Dignitary by the workshop of Gentile Bellini. The painting, which had appeared at Sotheby's in 2015, was sold again at Christie's last week for £935,250 over an estimate of £400,000 - £600,000

Ekrem Imamoglu, the city's mayor, is said to have bypassed the country's Ministry of Culture and Tourism in order to acquire the work. Critics have expressed doubts as to whether the picture was overpriced or even authentic. Sultan Mehmed II's conquest of Istanbul has been a key part of  President Erdogan's rhetoric used in political campaigning and is celebrated in festivals each May.

Leiden Collection Updates Website

July 1 2020

Image of Leiden Collection Updates Website

Picture: The Leiden Collection

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Leiden Collection, one of the finest collections of Dutch Old Master Paintings, has updated its website with new entries and essays. There is a rather excellent videos section too, offering short multimedia presentations on various topics related to the collection and the artists represented within.

Notice to "Internet Explorer" Users

You are seeing this notice because you are using Internet Explorer 6.0 (or older version). IE6 is now a deprecated browser which this website no longer supports. To view the Art History News website, you can easily do so by downloading one of the following, freely available browsers:

Once you have upgraded your browser, you can return to this page using the new application, whereupon this notice will have been replaced by the full website and its content.