Previous Posts: October 2020

Vacancy: Curatorial Research Fellow

October 14 2020

Image of Vacancy: Curatorial Research Fellow

Picture: Armagh Robinson Library

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

This looks like a fascinating opportunity. The Armagh Robinson Library in Northern Ireland are looking for a Curatorial Research Fellow (fixed term). This 15 month contract will be to work on the library's collection of 4,500 prints and engravings. I'm sure there will be many interesting things to be found! The position is being funded by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art.

The salary on offer is £25,481 and the closing date is 16th November 2020.

Free Lecture: Modern Portraits for Modern Women

October 14 2020

Image of Free Lecture: Modern Portraits for Modern Women

Picture: Royal Holloway

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Dr Imogen Tedbury is giving a free online lecture entitled Modern portraits for modern women: principals and pioneers in the Royal Holloway and Bedford New College art collection. As the title suggests, the talk will focus her research into the portraits female principals that remain in the college's collection. Earlier this summer Dr Tedbury reidentified a forgotten portrait of the suffragist Millicent Fawcett in the college's collection, I'm sure she might be discussing a little about that rediscovery too.

The lecture, organised by Royal Holloway, will be broadcast on 20th October at 1pm. It's free to attend but registration is required.

The Watts Gallery is Hiring!

October 14 2020

Image of The Watts Gallery is Hiring!

Picture: The Watts Gallery

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Watts Gallery in Compton, Surrey, is looking for a new Curator.

To quote their job summary:

Watts Gallery Trust (WGT), a registered charity, is seeking to recruit a dynamic, emerging Curator to join the Curatorial Team. The successful candidate will develop exhibitions and displays that engage the widest range of audiences with the art and ideas of the Victorian and Edwardian era. They will also work closely with WGT’s fine and decorative art collection, ensuring its ongoing care, development, display and interpretation. Working within the team, they will play a central part in the development of digital interventions to increase global access to the work of George Frederic and Mary Watts.

The salary on offer is between £28,000 - £32,000, and applications must be in by 13th November 2020.

It really is worth visiting the gallery if you're ever down that way. Its idyllic setting and sumptuous collection is very special. Here's another video featuring the gallery's former curator Richard Jefferies, whose descriptions of Watt's paintings never fails to lift my spirits.

Good luck if you're applying!

Albrecht Altdorfer at the Louvre

October 12 2020

Image of Albrecht Altdorfer at the Louvre

Picture: Albertina, Vienna

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Louvre has recently opened its new exhibition on the sixteenth century German artist Albrecht Altdorfer (c.1480-1538). Around 200 works have been gathered for the show, the first of its kind in France.

As the Louvre's website explains:

Closely connected to humanist circles, Altdorfer was at once a highly original artist, prolifically inventive both in form and choice of subject, and thoroughly aware of the work of his German and Italian contemporaries. Arranged chronologically and by theme, the exhibition features sections devoted to major works commissioned by Emperor Maximilian, as well as to gold and silver smithery, and the two genres pioneered by the artist—landscape and architecture.

I've always found Altdorfer's landscapes incredibly haunting for some reason. I think it is because they are noticeably different from the many Italianate and Netherlandish landscapes we're very used to seeing from this period. Altdorfer's always feel rather jagged to me, which isn't a bad thing at all.

The exhibition will run until 4th January 2021.

Lecture: The Fate of Art in Vienna during the Nazi Period

October 12 2020

Image of Lecture: The Fate of Art in Vienna during the Nazi Period

Picture: MFA Boston

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Here's an interesting lecture. Dr Victoria S Reed, Curator of Provenance at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, will be delivering a online lecture on Zoom entitled The Fate of Art in Vienna during the Nazi Period.

As the lecture's description explains:

Many works of art that were in Viennese private collections before World War II were displaced, looted, or forcibly sold during the National Socialist period. Recent attempts to recover lost and stolen masterworks by Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, and others have led to high-profile ownership disputes in the United States. This lecture will examine the fate of Austrian art collections during the Nazi era, and will take a close look at the journeys of highlights from the MFA’s collection as well as well-known paintings by Klimt and Schiele.

Attendance for non-members of the host society is $20 and the lecture will be broadcast on 15th October 2020 at 6pm (GMT -4).

HRP is Hiring!

October 12 2020

Image of HRP is Hiring!

Picture: HRP

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Historic Royal Palaces in the UK are hiring a Curator of Inclusive History. This news comes only a few weeks after the HRP announced it was shedding 145 jobs across their sites.

As their job advert explains:

As the custodians of nationally significant sites, we cannot ignore the fact that for hundreds of years colonialism and empire, enslavement and exploitation were part of our national story but have allowed much of this story, and the stories of people of different race and ethnicity to go untold.

Our aim is to give the palaces a future as bright as their past and to create unique and memorable experiences for everyone. In order to undertake this work, we need help and so are seeking a new Curator for Inclusive Histories, directly focused on introducing inclusive perspectives into all our research. The new curator will lead this, but it will be the responsibility of our entire research team to deliver it. This research will inform the experiences that we create at our sites. In future, it will provide the content for our exhibitions, programming, publications and digital activity.

This 4 day a week role comes with a salary of £38,978 and applications must be in by 1st November 2020.

Good luck if you're applying!

Paris Biennale Christie's Sale Results

October 12 2020

Image of Paris Biennale Christie's Sale Results

Picture: The Art Newspaper

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Art Newspaper has published an article on the disappointing results of the recent Paris Biennale sale at Christie's. The auction generated a total of €1.5m (including commission) with only 21 out of 91 lots sold. The presale estimate was between €7m to €10m.

There were a few impressive results, including the above Virgin and Child with a Parrot which made 150,000 over its 120k - 180k estimate.

The article quotes a French trade source who said:

this was a good idea that went wrong…for this to have been a success, the auction needed to include some exceptional works.

However, in defense of the sale Biennale board member Marella Rossi Mosseri said:

There were some exceptional pieces. The [sale] result was not the aim, the aim was to get people talking about La Biennale. The [initiative] also brought people into the galleries.


As I pointed out in June, making a success out of dealer lead auctions isn't always as easy as it might first appear. Buyers generally tend to like fresh-on-the-market pictures, rather than ones that dealers may have already presented at several fairs. Equally, if the estimates aren't tempting enough, as the mark-up dealers add on for costs such as restoration etc., then this may prevent bidders from getting involved.

On the other hand, and as this blog points out, the market for sleepers seems to be as vibrant as ever!

Lord Salisbury's Pictures

October 12 2020


Video: HHCMF

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival has uploaded this splendid video. It contains a tour of Hatfield House with Lord Salisbury and looks at many of the paintings in his collection. The tour is co-presented by the art historian Dr Emily Burns.

Sleeper Alert!

October 11 2020

Image of Sleeper Alert!

Picture: Marion Auctions

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News on Twitter (via. @RohanGreyFA) that this portrait catalogued as 'Drawing of a Nobleman' just achieved a staggering $430,000 over its $200 - $300 estimate at Marion Auctions in the USA. It bears the signature I L and the date 1653.

Eagle eyed art historians on Twitter have also worked out that it is in fact a portrait of Admiral Maarten Harpertsz Tromp.

Updated - I should have mentioned that the name Jan Lievens has been suggested on Twitter as the likely candidate.

Recognise this Country House?

October 10 2020

Image of Recognise this Country House?

Picture: Kingham and Orme

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Here's a rather nice painting that sold at the Kingham and Orme auction today. This unidentified landscape, featuring a timber framed country house and garden, sold for £17,000 over its £400 - £500 estimate. It looks like it may date to the turn of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

A fun appeal has been made on the Country Houses of the UK and Ireland Facebook page if anyone can identify the house. Might a reader of AHN have any idea, perhaps?

Here is a closeup of the house featured within the painting:

Update - AHN reader David Bailey has gotten in touch to make the suggestion of Packwood House in Warwickshire. The gables do look remarkably similar, and have undergone restoration in recent times of course.


UK Cultural Recovery Fund Announcements

October 9 2020

Image of UK Cultural Recovery Fund Announcements

Picture: HHA

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News announced today that over 450 heritage organisations have benefitted from the first wave of the UK Government's £1.57bn Cultural Recovery Fund. Twitter seems to be full with announcements from individual organisations, many of which hold collections of fine and decorative art. It seems that this will benefit conservation projects the most, rather than front line jobs.

The BBC have announced that:

Organisations, including English Heritage, the Landmark Trust and Historic Royal Palaces, will receive £34m from the Heritage Stimulus Fund to restart conservation and maintenance.

The Historical Houses Association have also announced that several of their associated properties, many with exquisite art collections, have also benefitted from the scheme. This includes properties such as Highclere Castle and Penshurst Place.

'Jack the Indian' Re-identified (?)

October 9 2020

Image of 'Jack the Indian' Re-identified (?)

Picture: Warwick Castle via. Adam Busiakiewicz

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

I thought it might be of interest to share this blog written by my friend and colleague Aaron Manning. Aaron is a fellow Warwick Castle enthusiast, although his day job is being Interpretation Manager at the Historic Royal Palaces.

Through some painstaking and diligent research into some seventeenth century account books, Aaron seems to have been able to give a possible name for the black servant that features within a family portrait at Warwick Castle.

This painting (pictured) has intrigued us for a long time. It shows Robert Greville (d.1677), 4th Baron Brooke, being attended to by a black servant who offers up a silver basket of oranges and lemons. The question has always been does the portrait depict a real black servant (or slave) who worked for the family, or was his inclusion in the picture a piece of artistic license.

Aaron's research into the many account books has identified an 'Indian Boy' who worked in the castle's kitchens during the 1640s. He is later referred to in the accounts as 'Jack the Indian'. The Greville family had established colonies in modern-day Connecticut and the Caribbean in the 1630s. Jack may have been an indigenous American from New England or the Caribbean who was brought back over the Atlantic to work for the family. Might it have been Jack who was featured in this family portrait?

Aaron and I had criticised the recent removal of the portrait from the castle's walls in the press last month. The current owners of the castle and portrait, Merlin Entertainments, had said they removed the painting to "conduct a full review into the subject matter portrayed in the painting discussed." We hope they will change their minds and have it redisplayed in due course.

Dutch Museum Chiefs Agree to Return Stolen Art

October 9 2020

Image of Dutch Museum Chiefs Agree to Return Stolen Art

Picture: Tracing Patterns Foundation

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Several Directors of Dutch Museums have agreed to cooperate with the return of statues and other artefacts stolen during the colonial era. This approach has been sanctioned it seems by the Dutch Council for Culture and will be put to government ministers. The museums represented in the council are in possession of an estimated 270,000 objects that might have claims on them.

In the article above, Stijn Schoonderwoerd, director of the National Museum of World Cultures, is quoted as saying: 

I don’t hide behind the state, but everyone should take responsibility.

We have here a number of 13th century Singosari statues from Java. They were standing next to a crumbling temple and the Dutch thought, they’re nice, we’ll have those. And now they’re here at the Leiden museum.

However, Leiden University Professor Pieter ter Keurs points out that these returns should not be a one-way street:

The Dutch would also like to have artefacts from the Golden Age returned to them. It would be endless. I would say, please think about how you handle restitution very carefully.


Update - Here is The Guardian's take on the news. They point out that emphasis will be placed on return where "involuntary loss" is identified. Also, the author of the report Lilian Gonçalves-Ho Kang You is quoted saying “If it doesn’t belong to you then you must return it.”

Charterhouse Great Chamber Refurbished

October 9 2020

Video: The Charterhouse

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Charterhouse in London, one of the city's best preserved complex of historic buildings, has recently finished off a refurbishment project on a room known as 'The Great Chamber'. This space happens to be one of the last remaining Tudor great chambers in the entire city.

The Charterhouse also took the opportunity to have several historic portraits, including those of Charles II, the Duke of Monmouth and the Duke of Buckingham, conserved and rehung in the room. Follow the link above to enjoy a 3D tour of the space.

Duncan Grant Drawings Donated to Charleston

October 8 2020

Video: BBC

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

422 drawings by the British artist Duncan Grant (1885-1978) have been donated to Charleston, the former home of several members of the Bloomsbury Group. The drawings were given by Grant to his friend the artist Edward Le Bas, many believe due to their highly erotic and private nature. It had been previously thought that they may have been destroyed. They eventually passed into the hands of the theatre designer Norman Cotes who kept them under his bed.

Technological Revolutions and Art History at the Frick

October 8 2020

Image of Technological Revolutions and Art History at the Frick

Picture: The Frick Collection

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Frick Collection in New York, in partnership with their Digital Art History Lab, are running a very interesting four part webinar series called Technological Revolutions and Art History.

As their blurb explains:

Historically, science and the humanities were not considered two discrete disciplines: the separation of these two branches of knowledge developed only in the modern era. For art historians in the twenty-first century, this divide is only widening as some scholars embrace technological advances while others remain unconvinced that computational techniques and tools can bring meaningful changes to the field. Like the previous symposium Searching Through Seeing: Optimizing Computer Vision Technology for the Arts hosted by the Library in 2018, this four-part event seeks to encourage art historians to connect with the computer sciences by exploring the role that technology has played in the development of the discipline of art history and providing an opportunity for conversation and the exchange of ideas.

The sessions are free to join, although registration is required, with the first part beginning on 15th October 2020.

Louvre Flood Risk Documentary

October 8 2020

Image of Louvre Flood Risk Documentary

Picture: arte

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The television company Arte has uploaded a documentary it made in 2017 detailing the plans the Louvre has been making in case the Seine burst its banks. This nearly happened after a particularly bad flood in 2016. A renewed look at their disaster plan ended with the construction of a new storage facility in Liévin which was begun in 2015 and completed in 2019.

The documentary, which is only available in French and German, will be available to watch via. the link above until 14th October 2020. 

Sell the Kandinskys and Schieles, say Deutsche Bank

October 8 2020

Image of Sell the Kandinskys and Schieles, say Deutsche Bank

Picture: Deutsche Bank

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Deutsche Bank is the latest organisation to announce that it will begin selling off parts of its art collection. The Art Newspaper have reported that the bank is to start selling over 200 works in the next three years, beginning with three works by Wassily Kandinsky and Egon Schiele. The bank is said to have around 55,000 works of art in its collection, focusing mostly on works on paper and photographs.

The article features an interview with the bank's art department head Friedhelm Hütte who says:

“We are not as active in exhibiting and loaning this older part of our collection, and that is a shame,” Hütte says. “These works are very valuable and some of them have to stay in storage.”

The proceeds expected from upcoming the auctions “are not of the dimensions to strengthen the bank’s finances,” Hütte says. “This relatively small sum is great for buying art.” 

“This is linked to our continued commitment to artists and galleries, which is particularly important at the moment,”

The bank is currently in the process of cutting a reported 18,000 jobs in a major restructuring plan.

Dreaming at Colnaghi

October 8 2020

Image of Dreaming at Colnaghi

Picture: Colnaghi

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The art dealers Colnaghi have just opened an exhibition in their London galleries entitled Dreamsongs: from Medicine to Demons to Artificial Intelligence. The show examines the way that artists have approached the subject of dreams from the antiquity to the present day.

Alongside the sort of 'Post-Freud' pictures you'd expect to see, there are earlier works on display too by the likes of Lucas Cranach the Elder, Salvator Rosa, William Blake, Jean-François Millet, John Martin, Samuel Palmer and Henri Fuseli (pictured).

The exhibition is curated by Bjorn Stern and runs until 23rd November 2020.

Marquess of Huntly Returning Home

October 7 2020

Image of Marquess of Huntly Returning Home

Picture: Sarasota Estate Auctions

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Antiques Trade Gazette has published a small story that the above portrait of George Gordon, 2nd Marquess of Huntly, has been purchased by the Marquess's descendant. The painting came up for sale in Florida last month, catalogued as 'Manner of Anthony Van Dyck' and made $37,000 (hammer price). It has been purchased by Alastair Granville Gordon, Earl of Aboyne, and son of the 13th Marquess of Huntly. The picture will be returning to Aboyne Castle in Scotland.

The best version of this composition, perhaps the prime version although suffering with condition issues, is owned by the Duke of Buccleuch.

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