Previous Posts: July 2021

Family & Friends: Reynolds at Port Eliot

July 26 2021

Image of Family & Friends: Reynolds at Port Eliot

Picture: The Box Plymouth

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Box Plymouth have just opened a fascinating sounding exhibition entitled Family & Friends: Reynolds at Port Eliot.

According to the exhibition blurb:

15 miles west of Plymouth in the Cornish countryside stands Port Eliot. Home to the Eliot family since 1565, the house contains the largest surviving group of early portraits by Joshua Reynolds in the South West. In 2007, many of them joined The Box’s permanent collections through the Government’s Acceptance in Lieu Scheme.

In this exhibition we use 14 of the 23 works that were acquired in 2007 to explore the relationship between Reynolds and the Eliot family - a relationship that began at the dawn of Reynolds’ artistic career, and ended with Edward, 1st Lord Eliot carrying his coffin into St Paul’s Cathedral almost 50 years later. After Reynolds’ death, the family continued to seek out his work for their home.

Here's a longer piece on the exhibition that has appeared in the Cornish & Devon Post.

The show will run until 5th September 2021.

UK Government Places Export Ban on Peruzzi Nativity

July 23 2021

Image of UK Government Places Export Ban on Peruzzi Nativity


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The UK Government has announced that it is seeking a buyer for Baldassare Thomasso Peruzzi's (1481-1536) The Nativity dating to c.1515. An export ban has been placed on the painting and interested parties will have to find £463,317 to keep it in the country. 

Export committee member Christopher Rowell has been quoted as saying:

Committee Member Christopher Rowell said:  Peruzzi’s rare evocation of the Nativity by night was painted in Rome in the second decade of the sixteenth century, when great artists like Raphael were experimenting with dramatic compositions and light effects. Long attributed to Raphael’s pupil, Giovanni Francesco Penni, it was identified as a Peruzzi in the 1940s by the British Museum’s considerable scholar of Italian drawings, Philip Pouncey, who owned the painting and reattributed no less than 110 drawings to Peruzzi, who was one of his favourite draughtsmen. Painted on panel, the picture is in remarkably good condition. The price seems very reasonable for a painting of this date and exceptional quality and RCEWA hopes that it will remain in Britain, where it offers scope for further research into the innovations of Roman painting around 1515 and into twentieth-century British connoisseurship of Italian art by Philip Pouncey and his distinguished contemporaries.

Lloyd Webber Art Collection on Display in Renovated Theatre Royal

July 23 2021

Image of Lloyd Webber Art Collection on Display in Renovated Theatre Royal


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

An eagle-eyed reader has kindly been in touch with news that Andrew Lloyd Webber has allowed some of his private art collection to be hung inside the newly renovated Theatre Royal on Drury Lane. The theatre, owned by the musicals impresario, has recently undergone a two-year £60m refurbishment and will be opening to the public in due course. Photographs show some of Lloyd Webber's Pre Raphaelite collection hanging in several rooms.

Fortunately, it seems that art and architecture lovers will be able to visit the theatre during the day in due course, which will be an interesting experience I'm sure.

Exhibition on the Inferno in Rome

July 23 2021

Image of Exhibition on the Inferno in Rome


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Scuderie del Quirinale will be opening their latest exhibition in September on the persistence of the iconography from Dante's Inferno. The highlight of the show will be the loan of Sandro Botticelli's The Abyss of Hell, alongside other works by the likes of Beato Angelico, Heronimus Bosch, Pieter Bruegel, Francisco Goya, Édouard Manet, Eugène Delacroix, Auguste Rodin, Paul Cézanne, Franz von Stuck, Giacomo Balla, Otto Dix, Boris Taslitzky, Gerhard Richter, Anselm Kiefer.

The show will run from 15th October 2021 till 9th January 2022.

Vermeer in Dresden

July 23 2021

Video: Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

It seems like the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden is the latest institution to use 3D image manipulation to bring an old master to life. This short video is promoting their latest Vermeer exhibition which has been postponed until September 2021.

Conserving Wall Paintings by G F Watts

July 23 2021

Video: Leighton House Museum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Leighton House Museum in West London have published this short video providing some details in regards to the conservation of two wall paintings by George Frederic Watts.

Hogarth to Hitchens at Cannon Hall Museum

July 23 2021

Image of Hogarth to Hitchens at Cannon Hall Museum

Picture: Cannon Hall Museum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Cannon Hall Museum near Barnsley has an interesting exhibition running over the summer. Hogarth to Hitchens is a free exhibition dedicated to highlighting the British paintings in their collections.

According to the museum's blurb:

Following on from our successful exhibition of paintings by Dutch artists, this exhibition brings together works by British artists from the collections at Cannon Hall Museum. Themes of portraiture and landscape pictures by local and national artists ranging from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries are on display.   

The art of capturing a likeness is an ancient skill. William Hogarth is best remembered for his satirical paintings and prints but was also a well-respected portrait painter. His elegant Portrait of a Lady is a highlight of the exhibition. John Constable was also a skilled portrait painter and his painting of Mrs Tuder shows the sitters’ character as well as her wealth and status.   

Landscape painting as a distinct form of art developed in the eighteenth century and led many British artists to capture and celebrate the countryside. Artists such as David Roberts travelled extensively and painted the landscapes of North Africa and Europe with Rome being a popular destination. Modern representations of landscape have often included a bolder use of colour and form such as the innovative work of Ivon Hitchens.   

In the exhibition there are a number of works by local artists who established national reputations, such as Abel Hold, Joe Scarborough and new additions to the collection by Gertrude Crompton.

The exhibition will run until 7th November 2021.

New Jordaens Van Dyck Journal Out Next Week!

July 23 2021

Image of New Jordaens Van Dyck Journal Out Next Week!

Picture: JVDPPP

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Exciting news that the Jordaens Van Dyck Panel Paintings Project's new Journal will be out next week. This open-access journal will be made available online and print on demand.

I'll post a link as soon as it is published!

Musée Fabre Quietly Acquires 2 Fragonards

July 23 2021

Image of Musée Fabre Quietly Acquires 2 Fragonards

Picture: Louvre

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

La Tribune de l'Art have published an article on news that the Musée Fabre in Montpellier seems to have quietly acquired 2 Fragonard landscapes. The article shows that the paintings have been on the Louvre's online database for a few weeks, although they have not yet provided any details regarding their acquisition.

Update - A reader has kindly forwarded this official press release which gives more background information regarding the acquisition of the works which was made with assistance from the Louvre.

Future Release: 17th cent. French Paintings in the Louvre

July 23 2021

Image of Future Release: 17th cent. French Paintings in the Louvre

Picture: Gallimard

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Here's a future release that might be of interest to some readers. A new catalogue of French Seventeenth Century Paintings in the Louvre will be published and released on 7th October 2021. This new scholarly catalogue was edited by curator Nicolas Milovanovic.

WWII Provenance of Houston Bellotto Questioned

July 22 2021

Image of WWII Provenance of Houston Bellotto Questioned


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Claims by the the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art, into the wartime provenance of Bellotto's The Market Place at Pirna (pictured), have appeared in the press this week.

The foundation claims that the work in the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, part of the Kress Foundation, should be restituted to the heirs of Dr Max J Emden. In particular, the foundation has accused the museum of not being transparent with the work's provenance, which they claim was purchased from Emden by the dealer Karl Haberstock for Hitler's Führermuseum.

The museum has previously refuted claims that the work was in Emden's collection, claiming there was no physical evidence to suggest this provenance was correct alongside citing multiple versions of the scene. The foundation have pointed to a painting inventory mark (featured at the bottom right of the image) as new evidence to suggest otherwise.

BBC's Repair Shop Conserves Henrietta Maria (?)

July 22 2021

Image of BBC's Repair Shop Conserves Henrietta Maria (?)

Picture: BBC

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The BBC's popular tv show The Repair Shop continues to delve into the world of restoring Old Master Paintings.

This week's episode, available on IPlayer, saw the transformation of a portrait of Charles I's Queen Henrietta Maria in mourning. The removal of overpaint and the conservation process in general revealed that many of the features of mourning were later additions, a practise often done with portraits of historic figures.

Overall, the quality of the portrait looks rather handsome. At a glance, it seems to have been executed by a capable hand, from what I can tell from my small screen anyway. Furthermore, the work seems to be loosely based on a Van Dyck prototype (a painting last recorded in the collection of the Earls of Radnor), although the differences between the two would encourage me question the identity perhaps.

Update - Bendor, whose opinion on these things is of much greater value, has written in with the suggestion that it might be a much later seventeenth or early eighteenth-century work based on the aforementioned Van Dyck.

Picasso in the Prado

July 22 2021

Image of Picasso in the Prado


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

I've spotted this rather interesting article (via. @Boro_RR on Twitter) concerning the historic and continuing controversy surrounding the inclusion of a portrait by Picasso into the collection of the Prado Museum in Madrid. After a donation made in 2004, the hang raised a great commotion due to the fact the museum's rules said that no post-1881 works could enter the collection of the museum. The rules were bent somewhat and the painting was hung alongside works by the likes of Velázquez and El Greco (pictured). The museum's current director Miguel Falomir has continued to support the painting's inclusion in the museum's collection.

National Gallery to acquire Lawrence's Red Boy

July 22 2021

Image of National Gallery to acquire Lawrence's Red Boy

Picture: The National Gallery, London

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Some significant news today that the National Gallery in London is set to acquire Thomas Lawrence's portrait of Charles William Lambton, known affectionately as The Red Boy.

The sale of the portrait, valued at £9.3m, is being brokered by Christie's and will officially become the property of the gallery when the sale is completed in December 2021. Also of interest is news that the painting will be conserved in the gallery's conservation studios before going on display. I hope they'll make a video showing the transformation, which will surely be quite outstanding.

'600 - '700 Venetian Art

July 21 2021

Image of '600 - '700 Venetian Art


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Gallerie dell'Accademia in Venice will be hosting a large-scale exhibition dedicated to seventeenth and eighteenth century Venetian painting later this autumn. The show will feature 63 works including newly restored canvases by the likes of Tiepolo (pictured), Luca Giordano and Gianantonio Guardi. Press reports claim the entire exhibition, with the various restoration projects, have been funded by the organisation Venetian Heritage.

The exhibition will open in September 2021.

The Paul Mellon Centre is Hiring!

July 21 2021

Image of The Paul Mellon Centre is Hiring!

Picture: PMC

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Paul Mellon Centre in London is hiring a Head of Research and Learning.

According to their online post:

Following an internal review of roles and responsibilities, the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art has created the new role of Head of Research and Learning to join the team at a time of transformation for the Centre and the arts sector more broadly. This is a senior position within the organisation, and the post-holder will also join the Centre’s Senior Leadership Team and contribute to our broader strategic development. The Centre runs an active research and learning programme that is known for its innovation, generosity and rigour. We are looking for a Head of Research and Learning to shape and direct the next phase in the Centre’s commitment to sharing knowledge about British art and its histories.

The role is accompanied by a salary of between £60k - £65k per annum and applications must be in by 5th September 2021.

Good luck if you're applying!

UK Export Report

July 21 2021

Image of UK Export Report


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The UK's Department for Culture, Media and Sport have released their report on the Export of Objects of Cultural Interest for the years 2018-19 and 2019-20.

The top headline is that 12 objects representing a value of £7.6m were saved by the nation. £99.9m worth of deferred objects, including works by Joseph Wright of Derby, Canova, John Singer Sargent, Monet and Turner were not saved.

This stark comparison seems rather alarming, especially as only one painting out of the eleven deferred was saved. Let's hope this isn't a growing trend (!)

Better Late than Never...

July 21 2021

Image of Better Late than Never...

Picture: Louvre

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News from Russia that the Louvre's La Belle Jardinière by Raphael has finally made it to Saint Petersburg. The painting was due to be included within their recent Raphael exhibition that opened last year, however, 'difficulties encountered at customs' prevented this from happening.

The painting will be on display in the State Hermitage Museum from today until 19th September 2021.

Provenance Hunting in the Louvre

July 19 2021

Image of Provenance Hunting in the Louvre

Picture: The New York Times

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The New York Times have run an article at the weekend on the work being conducted by Emmanuelle Polack (pictured). Polack was hired by the Louvre in 2020 to investigate restitutions and has since uncovered several works with questionable war-time provenances.

As the article explains:

In March, the Louvre put a catalog of its entire collection online — nearly half a million artworks. There is a separate category for a mini-collection of more than 1,700 stolen artworks returned to France after World War II that the museum still holds because no rightful owners have come forward. Other French museums hold several hundred more works. 

Their presence is still an embarrassment for France. After World War II, about 61,000 stolen paintings, sculptures and other artworks were returned; the postwar government swiftly turned over 45,000 of them to survivors and heirs, but sold thousands more and kept the funds. The ones that remain in French museums are sometimes known as the “orphans.”

Observing Weather Patterns in Art

July 19 2021

Image of Observing Weather Patterns in Art

Picture: The Washington Post

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Washington Post have published an interesting full-length article on observing weather patterns in art. The piece is written by the art critic Philip Kennicott and meteorologist Matthew Cappucci as they look at the weather depicted in several paintings throughout the centuries.

As the piece explains:

Weather is more than incidental to art, especially in the past few centuries, as scientists, poets and painters have squabbled over how best to process and make sense of the natural world. But look at art with a meteorologist, and you quickly learn that the clues to making atmospheric sense of an image go far beyond vapor in the air. What direction is the sun coming from? Is the grass wet? What do the trees tell us about the season, or the larger climate conditions? From what direction is the wind coming, and how are people dressed?

It seems that the piece eventually comes to realise that paintings are not photographs, as my favourite line explains:

Some images didn’t seem to make much sense, meteorologically.

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