Previous Posts: June 2020

Surrender of Breda Re-enacted

June 8 2020

Image of Surrender of Breda Re-enacted

Picture: The Guardian

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Guardian have reported on a group of re-enactors who have restaged Diego Velázquez's The Surrender of Breda in the backstreets of Seville. This restaging is meant to mark the 395th anniversary of the event alongside the painter's 421st birthday on 5th June 2020. It doesn't seem that this anniversary is being celebrated by the Dutch for obvious reasons.

The story is actually part of a larger and more worthy cause to save and transform Velázquez's childhood home in Seville. Enrique Bocanegra, the journalist and writer who is behind the project, hopes that the previously neglected building will become a destination for art lovers. The present owners are in the process of commissioning high quality reproductions of the artist's work to hang in the building. Displaying some original artwork or 'relic', to physically and spiritually reconnect the building with its former inhabitant, must surely be an essential part of making the transformation a success?

Van Meegeren's Ter Borch

June 7 2020

Image of Van Meegeren's Ter Borch

Picture: Uppsala Auktionskammare

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

An old master painting once owned by the notorious forger Han van Meegeren (1889-1947) is coming up for sale in Sweden this month.

The Music Lesson, catalogued as by Gerard Ter Borch and Studio, was sold by the forger's estate sale in 1950 where it was purchased by the present owner. It was featured in a recent exhibition comparing it against all other known variations Ter Borch made with this particular composition. The auction house has shown in the catalogue note that the provenance of the work can be traced back to the eighteenth century and was even previously owned by Frederick Duke of York.

The auctioneer has also published the accompanying note on his Instagram account;

Technical examination of the painting through X Ray Fluorescence in selected spots and scanning MA-XRay Fluorescence of the whole surface, revealed the presence of modern pigments containing zinc and cadmium in several areas. As zinc sulfide was only developed around 1850, these findings indicate a modern intervention which is likely to have been carried out by Han van Meegeren.

The painting will be offered on 16th June with an estimate of 400,000 - 600,000 SEK / €38,000 - €57,000.

Sotheby's to Auction Rembrandt Self Portrait

June 7 2020

Image of Sotheby's to Auction Rembrandt Self Portrait

Picture: Sotheby's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Exciting news breaking this evening that Sotheby's will be offering a recently rediscovered Self Portrait by Rembrandt in their July sale.

The portrait was seemingly rejected by art historians in 1970 but experts have changed their minds. Reports suggest that this is partly due to new scientific analysis undertaken on the work. Dendrochronology samples have proven that the painting's panel support came from the same tree as used in Rembrandt's portrait of Maurits Huygens in the Hamburg Kunsthalle.

The painting will be offered on 28th July 2020 in London with an estimate of £12m - £16m.

Update - Further press articles have explained that the picture was with Noortman Master Paintings in the mid 2000s where it was acquired by the current owner. It seems that it was also exhibited at TEFAF in this period. The self portrait was exhibited at the Rijksmuseum in 1997 and the National Gallery, London, in 1999. I'll post the full catalogue entry when it is made available in due course.

Update 2 - Here is the official press release from Sotheby's.

Early Boucher Discovered in Wardrobe

June 5 2020

Image of Early Boucher Discovered in Wardrobe

Picture: Gazette Drouot

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Gazette Drouot has published news that the auction house Daguerre have discovered an early work by François Boucher (1703-1770) in a wardrobe of a private house.

The work dating to the 1720s shows a young man playing the hurdy gurdy (click to listen to a music clip), an instrument that was rather popular in eighteenth century France. It was last sold from the collection of Vicomte Beuret in 1924 where it was described as 'attributed to Boucher'.

This rare early work is coming up for sale at Daguerre's sale on 23rd June with an estimate of €40,000 - €60,000. It seems very likely that the final price will soar past this tempting estimate!

Update - The painting made 494,000 (inc. fees).

Dordrechts Museum Acquires Jacob Gerritsz. Cuyp

June 4 2020

Image of Dordrechts Museum Acquires Jacob Gerritsz. Cuyp

Picture: Dordrechts Museums

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Dr Sander Paarlberg, curator of old master paintings of the Dordrechts Museums, has contributed an article on their recent acquisition of a portrait by Jacob Gerritsz. Cuyp (pictured above).

2020 marks the 400th anniversary of the birth of Jacob's father Aelbert Cuyp. The planned exhibition in Dordrecht, celebrating Aelbert's influence on Constable and Turner, has been postponed until October 2021 due to the current crisis.

Sleeper Alert! Polish Edition

June 3 2020

Image of Sleeper Alert! Polish Edition

Picture: Polswiss Art

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

I've been tipped off by a Warsaw based art historian that the record for the most expensive work of art sold at auction in Poland was broken today. The above portrait by the renowned Polish artist Jan Matejko (1838-1893), depicting Prof. Karola Gilewskiego, made 7,000,000 zł / £1.41m (inc. fees) over an estimate of 3,000,000 - 5,000,000 zł.  / £607,000 - £1,01,000. Press reports are calling it 'a lost masterpiece' and suggest it may have been purchased by a museum in Poland.

Curiously, the same portrait made just €344,600 at the Dorotheum in Vienna in 2015. The increase in the picture's value is quite impressive and just goes to show that the location of where you sell a picture can count sometimes.

Russian Painting Sells for £2.29m Online

June 3 2020

Image of Russian Painting Sells for £2.29m Online

Picture: Sotheby's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Katya Kazakina (@artdetective), Bloomberg News's Art market reporter, has noted that Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky's view of The Bay of Naples (pictured above) may have just set the record for the most expensive picture sold in an online auction. The painting sold yesterday at Sotheby's online Russian Sale for £2,295,000 (inc. fees) over at estimate of £800,000 - £1,200,000.

Aivazovsky's gargantuan paintings are highly prized in Russia, and fill the principal galleries of The State Russian Museum in Saint Petersburg.

It will be interesting to see if similarly impressive results will be achieved in the major London auctions this summer, especially during this age of online only sales.

Send Religious Works Back to Churches says Uffizi Director

June 3 2020

Image of Send Religious Works Back to Churches says Uffizi Director

Picture: Uffizi

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Arts Newspaper has published a story relating to a claim made by Eike Schmidt, Director of the Uffizi in Florence, that many religious works of art currently in Italy’s museums and stores should be returned to the churches from which they came. He further went onto to suggest that Duccio's Rucellai Madonna (pictured on the right) should go back to its original home, the Florentine Church of Santa Maria Novella.

The reasons given by Schmitt suggest that the return of such works would help audiences better understand the importance of their spiritual contexts, as well as give back meaning to the buildings they were removed from.

This argument is by no means a new one, but it is one fraught with all sorts of thorny issues. The article makes it clear, however, that such ideas are provoking but 'unrealistic' for now.

Cardinal Giuseppe Betori, archbishop of Florence, is quoted:

"the proposal deserves to be noted and commended” but “every case would have to be considered on its own merits".

Test your connoisseurship - Spot the Copy

June 3 2020

Image of Test your connoisseurship - Spot the Copy

Picture: Christie's & Indianapolis Museum of Art

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Following on from my Reynolds post last week, here is another fun chance for readers of AHN to hone their connoisseurship skills. The upcoming Christie's Old Masters sale in NY contains a copy of Rembrandt's Portrait of the Artist c.1629, the prime version of which is in the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The Christie's copy is catalogued as by the 'Studio of Rembrandt' with an estimate of $40,000 - $60,000.

Here is a high resolution image of both works side by side, so that you can challenge yourself to spot the copy.

Once you've worked out which is which, follow these links to the Christie's copy and the Indianapolis Museum of Art prime version to find out if you're right.

Wilson Lecture: Georgian Provocations

June 3 2020

Image of Wilson Lecture: Georgian Provocations

Picture: The Cobbe Collection

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art is running a public lecture series entitled 'Georgian Provocations' this summer. All lectures are presented online and are available to watch on YouTube.

Tomorrow's lecture (4th June) will be delivered by scholar Martin Postle on landscape painter Richard Wilson's The White Monk, a classical landscape which the artist painted many times with a multitude of compositional variations. The image above is the version in the Cobbe Collection, which has a rather good website with beautiful images to peruse by the way.

Mark Hallett's lecture on Hogarth's The Four Times of Day is available to watch on the PMC's YouTube channel.

Open Access Collections Article

June 3 2020

Image of Open Access Collections Article

Picture: Apollo Magazine

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Apollo have published an article by Douglas McCarthy and Andrea Wallace on the case for open access collections. It contains a good summary of the current state of the debate which this blog has been a passionate supporter of over the years.

This description of the benefits that Cleveland Museum of Art have seen from their open access policy is encouraging:

Open access can also be transformative inside heritage institutions. One year after the Cleveland Museum of Art’s open access launch, its chief digital information officer, Jane Alexander, noted the following impacts: increased updating of attribution, provenance and collections information; curators forging new connections with scholars; and resources being reallocated from responding to image requests to supporting digitisation. The vast majority of the museum’s online users who are looking for images now self-serve from its online collections, freeing up valuable staff time.

It is also a good time to draw attention to this recently established campaign group Art for All, which is dedicated to fighting the cause here in the UK. I'm sure Bendor might have more to say about this project in due course.

Mary Boleyn Portrait Reidentified in Royal Collection

June 1 2020

Image of Mary Boleyn Portrait Reidentified in Royal Collection

Picture: The Royal Collection

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Sunday Telegraph have reported on news of a discovery made in the Royal Collection by the Jordaens Van Dyck Panel Paintings Project (JVDPPP). For a long time the above portrait was simply known as 'Portrait of a Woman' and thought to be a copy of some missing picture. Through diligent research the project was able to reidentify this portrait as an image of Mary Boleyn, sister to the Henry VIII's second wife Anne Boleyn.

The reidentification was made possible by drawing comparison with other versions of Mary Boleyn's likeness including those at Longford Castle and Warwick Castle

Furthermore, research had shown the portrait to have been one of the '14 Beauties' that decorated Queen Anne's Bathing Room at Windsor Castle. These portraits were mostly seventeenth century copies of known pictures by the likes of Van Dyck, Lely and Cooper. The project was also able to reidentify a stunning portrait by Remigius van Leemput now known to depict Margaret Smith, Mrs Thomas Carey later Lady Herbert.

The JVDPPP have uploaded the full article on their website if you can't get through the Telegraph paywall.

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