Previous Posts: August 2021

Dutch Paintings in the Musée Jeanne d’Aboville

August 19 2021

Image of Dutch Paintings in the Musée Jeanne d’Aboville

Picture: Musée Jeanne d’Aboville

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Éléonore Dérisson, Collections Manager at Fondation des Artistes in Paris, has penned the latest CODARTfeatures on Dutch paintings in the Musée Jeanne d’Aboville in La Fère. The article, and high-quality images found within, was made possible due to the museum's recent conservation digitising initiatives.

Short Course: Medieval Fashion 1200 - 1500

August 19 2021

Image of Short Course: Medieval Fashion 1200 - 1500

Picture: University of Glasgow

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Since the Histories of Fashion and Art make for a rather good pair, I thought some readers might be interesting in this 10 week course which starts next month. The University of Glasgow are putting on a short course on the subject of Medieval Fashion 1200 - 1500.

According to the blurb:

Dress in Medieval society functioned as symbols of status and circumstance: from indicating economic levels (e.g. receivers of alms), marriage status of women, to social class at birth. People were conditioned to decode the complex signage system in dress, beyond and above our contemporary 'reading' of fashion. This course offers the opportunity to explore fashion during the High to Late Middle Ages (1200-1500) through investigating period art, literature and surviving textiles, and develop to an understanding of the meaning of high- status clothing. In this class we will do practical exercises, visual investigations, discussions, and where available, field visits.

This online course, which runs on Thursday Evenings, will begin on 23rd September 2021 and will cost £140 to attend. It seems that you don't need to be a student at the University to be able to attend.

Birmingham Museums Trust seeks Masterplanner

August 19 2021

Image of Birmingham Museums Trust seeks Masterplanner


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Birmingham Museums Trust has put out a tender for a Masterplanner to oversee a new flagship museum. 

According to the article above:

A partnership is being developed between BMT, the Science Museum Group and Birmingham City Council for the new museum with a working title of The Birmingham Project. 

The original plan was to create a new museum of science and industry, however, BMT said it recognised the potential to expand this vision to show more of its collections encompassing natural history, the city of Birmingham, world cultures, archaeology, fine art and decorative art.

Suggestions submitted thus far include placing a temporary museum in one of the large empty stores of the city's shopping district.

We'll look forward to seeing what this might mean for the city's Museum and Art Gallery, which houses one of the finest collections in the Midlands.

Spain's 'Guess the Painter' Branded 'Too Easy'

August 19 2021

Image of Spain's 'Guess the Painter' Branded 'Too Easy'

Picture: Twitter

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Spain's Ministry for Culture and Sport have been in the national press this week after their 'Guess the Artist' challenge on Twitter has been ridiculed for being 'too easy'. Their first instalment, showing the image above, was answered after a mere 11 seconds. The ministry has promised to make the next instalments more difficult.

I've not mentioned who painted this hand, just in case any readers want to test their connoisseurship.

Article: Bellotto Restitution Claims

August 18 2021

Image of Article: Bellotto Restitution Claims

Picture: Museum of Fine Arts Houston

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The New York Times have published an article providing a rather fascinating summary of the ongoing restitution disagreement between the Monuments Men Foundation and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. The piece goes into further detail about whether Bellotto's The Market Place at Pirna was sold under duress or not.

The Monuments Men Foundation claim, supported by a report from the German Advisory Commission, that its former owner Max Emden "was not undertaken voluntarily but was entirely due to worsening economic hardship.”

The Houston Museum's lawyers and director Gary Tinterow have disagreed, explaining that American institutions are not bound by the same standards as European institutions. Tinterow is quoted saying that the sale “was initiated by Dr. Emden, as a Swiss citizen, with the painting under his control at his villa in Switzerland, and concluded by him voluntarily.”

Thieves Fire Shots in Botched Attempt to Steal Monet

August 18 2021

Image of Thieves Fire Shots in Botched Attempt to Steal Monet

Picture: Zaans Museum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Worrying news from the Netherlands that armed thieves tried to steal a Monet from the Zaans Museum in Zaandam on Sunday morning. Although shots were fired, reports suggest that museum staff and bystanders intervened and the crooks left empty handed. No one was hurt, fortunately.

Monet's The Voorzaan and the Westerhem was purchased by the museum in 2015 for €1.16m. The work has been removed from display amidst speculation that the work has been damaged.

Upcoming Release: The Art of Doris and Anna Zinkeisen

August 18 2021

Image of Upcoming Release: The Art of Doris and Anna Zinkeisen

Picture: Unicorn Publishing Group

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Unicorn will be publishing Philip Kelleway, Emma Roodhouse and Nicola Evans's new book on The Art of Doris and Anna Zinkeisen later in September.

According to the book's blurb:

This lavishly illustrated book celebrates the life of Doris and Anna Zinkeisen, charting the rise of the sisters from a childhood in Scotland, to their emergence as amongst the most eminent artists of their day in London, to a quieter yet still highly productive life during their twilight years in rural Suffolk. During the golden age from the 1920s through to the 1950s, the Zinkeisen sisters enjoyed a huge success and won numerous accolades. 

Their paintings and design work, including posters, murals and luxury ocean liners, and costume designs for stage and film, are today emblematic of that period in British art.

Odaliscas. De Ingres a Picasso

August 18 2021

Image of Odaliscas. De Ingres a Picasso


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Here's a summer exhibition that I failed to spot earlier. Odaliscas: De Ingres a Picasso is the latest exhibition being held at the Museo de Bellas Artes de Granada. As the name suggests, the display investigates the fascination for the Odalisque during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

This particular exhibition contains 48 works including pictures by the likes of Ingres, Delacroix, Chasseriau, Gérôme, Constant, Bernard, Matisse and Picasso from collections such as the Musée du Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, Musée de l’Orangerie, Centre Georges Pompidou, Musée Picasso de Paris, Musée Ingres-Bourdelle de Montauban and Musée de Rouen.

The show will run until 10th September 2021.

'Lost' Canaletto Discovered in East Sussex Home

August 18 2021

Image of 'Lost' Canaletto Discovered in East Sussex Home

Picture: Gorringes

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The UK press have published news from the Auction House Gorringes that a 'lost' Canaletto of the Dogana da Mar in Venice has been discovered in a house in East Sussex. The painting emerged during a valuation undertaken by specialists from the auction house.

According to the article:

The back of the canvas is inscribed with the name of Auguste Chatelain, a 19th century Swiss psychiatrist and historian who is known to have owned at least one other similar work by Canaletto. 

It also has a label on the reverse for the Mayfair art dealer Arthur Tooth and Sons, where the late owner's mother originally bought the painting 101 years ago.

Although the owners are said to have known the work was by Canaletto, the painting seems to have been kept in private hands for a century.

The painting will be put up for sale on 28th September 2021 with an estimate of around £150,000.

SMBA Reopens

August 17 2021

Image of SMBA Reopens

Picture: SMBA

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Santa Barbara Museum of Art in California reopened to the public a few days ago. The museum had been closed for a while as it underwent a six-year and $50m refurbishment project. The picture above shows the Ludington Court, which houses the museum's display of European Art focused around the Lansdowne Hermes.

Let's hope that those pictures, some hung rather high up it seems, are visible from the floor!

The University of Chicago are Hiring!

August 17 2021

Image of The University of Chicago are Hiring!

Picture: The University of Chicago

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The University of Chicago's Department of Art History are looking for an Assistant Professor.

According to the job description:

The Department seeks applicants with innovative approaches to scholarship in art history, visual media or studies, and/or the built environment, an ambitious research agenda, and a commitment to developing pedagogical techniques for teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Scholars working in any pre-modern (before ca. 1850) period and any geographic area, with any theoretical or methodological focus are invited to apply. The position includes a normal teaching load of four courses per year, as well as commensurate advising and service responsibilities.

Applications must be in by 14th October 2021.

Good luck if you're applying!

La Cona dei Lani - Restored & Redisplayed

August 16 2021

Video: Direzione regionale Musei Campania

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Certosa e Museo di San Martino in Naples, Italy, reopened last week to visitors. Amongst their new displays this summer are a set of restored fragments of sixteenth century sculpture known as the Cona dei Lani. These monumental terracotta artworks, originally housed in the city's Sant’Eligio Maggiore church, were badly damaged after bombing during WWII. The video above gives a brief history of the artworks and their new display within the museum.

Sotheby's to Auction Off 11 Picassos from Las Vegas Hotel

August 16 2021

Image of Sotheby's to Auction Off 11 Picassos from Las Vegas Hotel

Picture: CNN

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Interesting news from the US that Sotheby's will be auctioning off 11 Picassos from the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. Famously, these art works were collected by the hotel's eccentric founder Steve Wynn. It is believed that around $70m - $100m will be raised to allow the hotel to expand its contemporary art collection. Furthermore, reports have suggested that the auction will take place in the casino itself.


One wonders whether the new collection will consist entirely of screens displaying NFTs?

Warburg Podcasts Online

August 16 2021

Image of Warburg Podcasts Online

Picture: Warburg Institute

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Warburg Institute in London have done a brilliant job of uploading 139 podcasts onto their website. This new site is fully searchable and contains many fascinating subjects which are all free to listen to / watch.

Dürer's Journeys at the National Gallery

August 16 2021

Video: National Gallery London

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The National Gallery in London is the latest institution to jump on the bandwagon of commissioning 3D videos of artworks. In this case it is to promote their upcoming exhibition Dürer's Journeys: Travels of a Renaissance Artist which opens in November.

Ernst van de Wetering (1938 - 2021)

August 15 2021

Video: Toledo Museum of Art

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Sad news to report that the Dutch art historian Ernst van de Wetering (1938 - 2021) passed away last week. Van de Wetering became one of the great modern scholars on Rembrandt. He is most widely known for his association with the Rembrandt Research Project, an endeavour he dedicated 46 years of his life to. The six volumes of the Corpus of Rembrandt's Paintings, begun in 1982 and finished in 2014, will surely remain one of the greatest pieces dedicated to questions of authenticity, connoisseurship and scientific analysis. This is not to mention the other books he has published on the artist, which always made for extremely enjoyable reading in my experience.

Fortunately, there are many of his videos on YouTube to browse through, which give a wonderful sense of his passion for the artist and period.

Hermitage Musings...

August 13 2021

Image of Hermitage Musings...

Picture: AB

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

I had the joy of spending a good few hours admiring the French pictures of the State Hermitage Museum this afternoon. Their collection features some rather stunning pictures by the likes of Claude, Poussin, Boucher, Lancret and Lemoyne to name but a few.

Speaking as someone who delights at visiting English Country Houses, whose collections often remain intact over the centuries, I often enjoy investigating whether equivalencies exist abroad. The rich, fascinating and often turbulent history of Russia has affected its collections of art in varying ways. In comparison to the French Revolution, the Russian revolution’s effect on the art world is yet to receive as much attention as it probably deserves.

The French works I encountered in the Hermitage returned my thoughts to another fine building I had visited earlier this week. The Yusopov Palace on the Moika River was formerly the home of one of the greatest private collections in Russia. The impressive State Apartments, decorated in the most exuberant eclectic manner of styles, were captured in a set of watercolours by Andrey Redkovsky during the 1860s. Curators of the Palace have reproductions of these watercolours displayed on big boards in each room. It is hard not to compare these fine illustrations with the rooms as they stand today. They are still grand and impressive, yet, comparatively empty.

The Yusopov Palace used to contain the city’s most enviable collection of French eighteenth century art. Prince Felix Yusopov (1887-1967), who had a hand in the assassination of Rasputin, managed to escape the country with his two Rembrandts to help secure himself financially in exile. Like the Romanov Tsars, the aristocracy and those able to own vast art collections were squeezed for their assets. They were often referred to as Бывшие (former people) whose property was nearly entirely confiscated. Most of the Yusopov French masterpieces were eventually nationalised and spread across the museums of Moscow and Saint Petersburg. This was the fate of many collections which survived the mass looting of 1917, with many being persuaded to deposit their treasures with institutions such as the Russian Museum for ‘safety’.

The fate of these centralised collections was mixed. It was during the late 1920s and early 30s that the value of the Soviet National Art Collections was re-appraised. Great deals of cash was needed for Stalin’s first mass industrial and agricultural Five Year Plan. Reluctant curators of the Hermitage, then called ‘The Palace of Art’, were ordered to reorganise the collection for purposes unknown. Curator Tatiana Chernavina later explained in her 1934 memoir that they were instructed to reorganise the whole collection:

“on the principle of sociological formations…under the guidance of semiliterate, half-baked ‘Marxists’ who could not tell faience from porcelain or Dutch masters from the French or Spanish.”

Celebrated artworks by the likes of Watteau, Lancret and Houdon (alongside works by many top-tier Old Masters such as Raphael and Rembrandt) were secretly sold off to capitalist buyers. This included the likes of petroleum magnate Calouste Gulbenkian and the American businessman and banker Andrew Mellon through dealers such as M. Knoedler & Co.  These sales amounted to 1,681 tons of art objects leaving the country, equating to millions of dollars and countless paintings, drawings and objet d’art.

Visiting these stunning places and buildings today evokes all sorts of thoughts concerning our complex relationship with history. The never-ending restoration and protection of the Palaces of Saint Petersburg is impressive. This is especially considering the harsh climate and the damage inherited from catastrophes such as the Siege of Leningrad and post-war period. Modern Russia seems to be very adept in reintegrating both their complicated Imperial and Soviet histories into their national consciousness.

The popularity of these art galleries and buildings with rightfully proud Russian visitors is very evident. Their enthusiasm and willingness to share their treasures with international visitors is equally evident too.

Opie's Reynolds Doubles Low-Estimate

August 13 2021

Image of Opie's Reynolds Doubles Low-Estimate

Picture: Woolley and Wallis

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Auctioneers Woolley and Wallis in Salisbury sold this Laughing Girl by Sir Joshua Reynolds yesterday for £37,000 (hammer price) over its £15k - £20k estimate. The painting was rediscovered by specialists in a private collection, whose owners had thought that the work was a mere copy. Furthermore, they were unaware of the painting's illustrious provenance. Reynolds had created the work for the Polygraphic Society in 1787. It was eventually purchased by the artist John Opie and later came into the collection of the Earls of Lonsdale. The last time the work was displayed in public was in 1937.

Restoring Titian's Europa

August 13 2021

Video: Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A reader has very kindly drawn my attention to this very satisfying video providing an account of the recent restoration of Titian's The Rape of Europa in the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum. The removal of thick dirty varnish seems to have been absolutely transformative in this example!

Furthermore, the latest leg of the travelling exhibition Titian: Women, Myth & Power opened yesterday at the museum in Boston. The show will run there until 2nd January 2022.

Update - And here's a review of the exhibiton from The New York Times.

Upcoming Release: Emotions, Art, and Christianity in the Transatlantic World

August 13 2021

Image of Upcoming Release: Emotions, Art, and Christianity in the Transatlantic World

Picture: Brill Studies on Art

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Brill Studies on Art will be publishing a new title later this month entitled Emotions, Art, and Christianity in the Transatlantic World, 1450–1800. The collection is edited by Heather Graham and Lauren Kilroy-Ewbank.

According to the book's blurb:

Emotions, Art, and Christianity in the Transatlantic World, 1450–1800 is a collection of studies variously exploring the role of visual and material culture in shaping early modern emotional experiences. The volume’s transatlantic framework moves from The Netherlands, Spain, and Italy to Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, and the Philippines, and centers on visual culture as a means to explore how emotions differ in their local and global “contexts” amidst the many shifts occurring c. 1450–1800. These themes are examined through the lens of art informed by religious ideas, especially Catholicism, with each essay probing how religiously inflected art stimulated, molded, and encoded emotions.

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