Previous Posts: July 2021

New Château de Chantilly Online Database

July 5 2021

Image of New Château de Chantilly Online Database

Picture: Château de Chantilly

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Château de Chantilly in France has launched a new online database for its rich collection fine and decorative arts. Although it doesn't quite match up to the experience of those by other museums, it is rather good fun to have a rummage around a collection as fine as this one from the comfort of your armchair!

Private View of the Velázquez Exhibition

July 3 2021

Video: Scribe Accroupi

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A curator tour of the Velázquez exhibition in Orleans has been uploaded onto YouTube.

New Release: Memorable Dog Portraits

July 2 2021

Image of New Release: Memorable Dog Portraits


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Italian readers are in for a treat this month. The Italian publisher NFC have released the following book entitled LA MIA STORIA NELL'ARTE. RITRATTI DI CANI MEMORABILI. In other words, a book dedicated to memorable dog portraits. The publication is edited by Sabrina Foschini and contains essays by several other scholars.

Artists featured within the publication include Piero della Francesca, Titian, Bronzino, Guercino, Andrea Lilio, William Hogarth, Joshua Reynolds, Edwin Henry Landseer, Gustave Courbet, Édouard Manet, Giovanni Boldini, Frida Kahlo, Felice Casorati,Andy Warhol, Lucian Freud, David Hockney.

Let's hope they produce a version in English. I have a feeling that it would do rather well.

Restoring a Damaged Piazzetta

July 2 2021

Video: The National Gallery, London

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

I missed this new video published by the National Gallery in London last week. Larry Keith and Kendall Francis explain how they approached the retouching of Piazzetta's Sacrifice of Isaac.

Conference: Artists and the Garden

July 2 2021

Image of Conference: Artists and the Garden

Picture: Hestercombe

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Gardens and art go together perfectly, don't they? If you agree, then this interesting sounding conference in September may be of interest.

Artists and the Garden: New Perspectives will explore the relationship between cultural production and the garden, across creative disciplines and media, from the 18th century until the present day.

According to the blurb:

In this historical setting [Hestercombe in Taunton, Somerset], ‘Artists and the Garden: New Perspectives’ draws together artists, art historians, critics and curators who reflect on the multifaceted web of relations and influences between cultural creativity and the garden. Illustrated papers will explore the historical, contemporary and experiential role of the garden through disciplines as diverse as painting, interior architecture, installation art, literature, garden design and drawing.

This live conference, held in Somerset, will take place between 27 - 28 September 2021. Registration is £120.

Andrew Graham Dixon on Christie's Leonardo Bear

July 2 2021

Video: Christie's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

After television art historian Andrew Graham Dixon's successful video with Sotheby's last year, it seems that Christie's has now asked him to have a look at the upcoming drawing of a Bear's Head by Leonardo da Vinci.

Members of the public who want to see the drawing, between 3 - 8 July, will have to book in advance to do so.

Courtauld Announces Van Gogh Exhibition for 2022

July 1 2021

Image of Courtauld Announces Van Gogh Exhibition for 2022

Picture: Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Courtauld Gallery in London have announced that they will be hosting an exhibition of Van Gogh's Self-Portraits in 2022. The show, which will open in February 2022, will feature 15 of the artist's works including major loans from the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Detroit Institute of Arts; the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC; the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, and the National Gallery, London.

The exhibition is expected to run from 3rd February - 8th May 2022.

Art Libraries in the Age of Covid-19

July 1 2021

Image of Art Libraries in the Age of Covid-19

Picture: Courtauld Institute of Arts

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

I thought that it might be worth drawing attention to the difficulties in accessing the London libraries at the moment. This is particularly the case with art history related materials, which are essential for both academia and the art market.

The National Art Library in the Victoria and Albert Museum, the go-to for nearly all art related printed materials and auction records, is closed until December 2021 for updates. The Heinz Library and Archive at the National Portrait Gallery is also currently closed due to Covid restrictions. This leaves just the British Library which is running an online booking system (full of bugs in my experience) with a very long waiting time to book a desk. Pre-ordering of materials, 48+ hours in advance, is also mandatory. This process, which was already tricky at times, has become even more user un-friendly than before.

I know that many of you will be thinking – ‘why doesn’t Adam just get his act together and organise himself properly?’ All picture researchers will know that visits to libraries often require a certain degree of spontaneity with quick and light-footed work. Intriguing references can take you to all sorts of places, many of which are quickly accessible when one has the ability to request materials on the day. This sort of work will now take multiple days, if not weeks, to complete. In particular, I have no idea how auction houses and art dealers have managed to cope in preparation for the upcoming sales and fairs. There are only so many books that can be purchased for their private libraries, hence why resources of rare sales catalogues, image archives, exhibition catalogues and book libraries are so important for due diligence.

University libraries, including the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, are also currently barring visitors access to their resources due to the ‘need to prioritise our internal students and staff who have been without library access for the majority of this year’. In recent correspondence with the Courtauld Library they explained to me that they ‘would be unable to say when we will open to visitors.’

Art historians in New York are also relaying the same issues. The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Library is running a limited strictly appointment only service, with pre-ordering required, that is booked out weeks in advance. The Frick Collection Library, already reduced due to ongoing renovations, are also booked up until September.

In London’s case, one hopes that the UK's planned wide lifting of restrictions on 19th July will help the situation greatly. I’m sure many art historians are hoping that these libraries have a plan to get things back to normal as quickly as possible with the resources they need to do so smoothly and efficiently.

Comments from readers are always welcome and will, as ever, be treated anonymously.

Update - A reader writes:

I too have a list as long as my arm of archives I need access. In contrast to the terrible service from the BL, NAL and RIBA, the local libraries and archives have been so helpful and prompt in offering their services over the past year or so that they are really showing up the big boys.

Another reader writes:

Thank you for drawing attention to this extremely trying situation. You are absolutely right that research has become very difficult with these libraries staying closed. Far from thinking ‘why doesn’t Adam just get his act together and organise himself properly?’, I am thinking why on earth is the Heinz Archive, the National Art Library and the Witt staying closed when so much else is doing its utmost to re-open? What possible justification can there be for the NAL to be closed for the whole of the rest of this year other than the fact that they recently proposed closing permanently and Covid is an excuse to effectively do so by the back door. Disgraceful.

Another reader has pointed out some of the alternative libraries available:

I quite agree that the closure of the National Art Library is highly disappointing.  On a positive note, the London Library has been brilliant: careful, with a straightforward booking system, opening promptly and flexibly.  Elsewhere things are getting better.  The British Library and the National Archives have systems that can be navigated with experience!  The Tate library and the Paul Mellon Centre library have responded positively.  Not all doom and gloom!

Another reader gives their experience of regional archives:

This is most certainly not restricted to London. I am booked tomorrow to visit my third regional archive since they have reopened, and it hasn't been easy. This particular archive is only open two days a week, and you are only able to book a three hour slot for either the morning or afternoon, and only 8 documents in advance can be ordered. I'm impressed with how helpful they have tried to be in the face of this. I visited another archive who had similar restrictions last week, and was told that two thirds of the staff have been made redundant owing to the pandemic, and there were no plans to hire additional staff because of cuts. This is definitely going to have a knock on effect upon the art market and art research. I also can't see this being rectified any time soon. 

National Gallery cleans Van Dyck's Abbé Scaglia

July 1 2021

Image of National Gallery cleans Van Dyck's Abbé Scaglia

Picture: The National Gallery, London

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The National Gallery in London has shared news on Twitter that Van Dyck's portrait of Abbé Scaglia has been cleaned. The gallery's board of trustees approved the treatment of this painting back in January 2020. It is well worth heading over to the gallery's online catalogue entry where you'll be able to zoom in on the beautiful details of this fine picture.

Monet Exhibition in Seattle

July 1 2021

Video: Seattle Art Museum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Seattle Art Museum have opened their latest exhibition today. Monet at Étretat will examine artworks created during the artist's trips to the Normandy coast during the 1880s. It contains 10 works by Monet himself, alongside 12 works by other contemporaries.

Here's the review of the exhibition from The Seattle Times.

The show will run until 17th October 2021.


It seems that these sorts of videos really are in vogue at the moment?!

Young Ambassadors at the National Gallery

July 1 2021

Image of Young Ambassadors at the National Gallery

Picture: The National Gallery, London

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The National Gallery in London announced a new young patrons programme yesterday entitled Young Ambassadors. The initiative is inviting young professionals and art enthusiasts between the ages of 20 - 45 years to help support the gallery in exchange for close access to its collection and experts. The programme is co-chaired by Sabine Getty and Harriet Clapham (pictured).

The benefits of the programme, which requires a donation of £1,200, are as follows:

Unlimited entry to all exhibitions at the National Gallery for member plus a guest

Invitation to two major exhibition openings

Private views with curator-led talks for major exhibitions

Invitation to Unexpected View, the Gallery’s signature event during Frieze week featuring leading contemporary artists

Invitation to the annual Patrons Open House event in January (plus one guest)

Studio and collection visits

Publications including a Young Ambassadors newsletter, the Gallery Insider, and a copy of the Annual Review

Acknowledgement in the National Gallery Annual Review

Here is the full brochure explaining more.

Borrowed Gems from the Taft Museum of Art

July 1 2021

Image of Borrowed Gems from the Taft Museum of Art

Picture: Taft Museum of Art

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Cincinati Museum Center will be opening a special exhibition next month featuring 40 works of art loaned from the Taft Museum of Art. Borrowed Gems from the Taft Museum of Art was made possible due to a major renovation project at the Taft Museum, a collection bequeathed to the people of Cincinati by Charles Phelps Taft and Anna Sinton Taft in 1927. Artworks on display will include paintings by the likes of Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Charles François Daubigny, J. M. W. Turner and Thomas Gainsborough, in addition to decorative arts featuring Qing dynasty Chinese ceramics and 18th-century watches.

The exhibition will run from 27th July 2021 - 21st February 2022.

Salon du Dessin 2021

July 1 2021

Image of Salon du Dessin 2021


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The works on paper fair Salon du Dessin 2021 opens in Paris today. This year's fair features a combination of live and online formats. Their website, which gives a comprehensive list of dealers and their catalogues, explains that only 9 out of 42 galleries were not able to travel to the event.

Turner's Seascape Brought to Life

July 1 2021

Video: Sotheby's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The battle between which auction house can create the most immersive sweeping view video continues.

Sotheby's have released the following film giving an evocative representation of Turner's Purfleet and the Essex Shore as seen from Long Reach. The painting will feature within their evening sale on 7th July 2021 carrying an estimate of £4m - £6m.

Will these sorts of presentations become a staple of the summer and winter sales? 

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