Previous Posts: January 2022

Masters Week at Sotheby's New York

January 25 2022

Video: Sotheby's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

It is Masters Week for Sotheby's New York. The following video has been made providing a brief tour of the highlights.

All eyes on what the Botticelli will make...

Cabinet des Clouet Refreshed at the Château de Chantilly

January 25 2022

Image of Cabinet des Clouet Refreshed at the Château de Chantilly


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Château de Chantilly in France reopened to visitors last week. The conservators and curators took to opportunity during the winter break to refresh the famous Cabinet des Clouet. This included hanging new silks made to the original designs found in the room. The pictures will all be conserved in due course too. This recent campaign of work has been supported by the La Marck Foundation.

Galleria dell'Accademia Reopens Renovated Galleries

January 25 2022

Image of Galleria dell'Accademia Reopens Renovated Galleries


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence have reopened a set of newly refurbished galleries. These rooms house the museum's collections of thirteenth and fourteenth century paintings, including works by the Master of the Magdalene, the Master of Santa Cecilia, Taddeo Gaddi, Bernardo Daddi, Andrea di Cione known as Orcagna and Pacino di Buonaguida. These fragile works will now enjoy new lighting as well as a new air conditioning system.

Sleeper Alert!

January 25 2022

Image of Sleeper Alert!

Picture: Cambi

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Apologies for being a little late to this story. Twitter was awash with excitement last week about this auction result from Italy (from December 2021). The painting of Saint Jerome in the Desert, catalogued as 'Attributed to Salvator Rosa', realised €126,000 (hammer price) over its €10k - €15k estimate.

MFA Boston Restitutes Salomon van Ruysdael

January 25 2022

Image of MFA Boston Restitutes Salomon van Ruysdael

Picture: MFA Boston

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Museum of Fine Arts Boston have restituted Salomon van Ruysdael's View of Beverwijk (1646) to the heirs of the Jewish collector Ferenc Chorin (d.1964). The work was purchased by the museum from a London dealer in 1982 when little was known about the picture's provenance.

According to the article linked above:

Chorin grew wealthy as an industrialist and a banker in Hungary, and had used his fortune to acquire works by François Millet, Mihály Munkácsy, and Alfred Sisley, as well as items of Renaissance furniture, Ushak carpets, and more. The museum said it believed that Chorin had bought the painting from a collector named Frigyes Glück in 1931. It was this piece of the painting’s provenance, provided to the museum by art historian Sándor Juhász in 2019 and later posted to the MFA’s site, that ultimately led the Chorin heirs to the work in 2021, after years of searching for it.

The work will be sold at Christie's later this year.

Research Seminar: Rethinking Joseph Wright of Derby

January 25 2022

Image of Research Seminar: Rethinking Joseph Wright of Derby

Picture: Paul Mellon Centre

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Devotees of eighteenth-century British paintings might be interested in the following event being held by the Paul Mellon Centre (PMC) next month. On 16th February 2022 the PMC will be hosting a research seminar on the subject of In Darkness and in Light: Rethinking Joseph Wright of Derby. The discussion will mainly focus on the new book by Matthew Craske and will feature the author in conversation with esteemed scholars Martin Postle and chaired by Mark Hallett.

The talk is absolutely free to attend in person or to watch live-streamed from the centre (registration is required).

Louvre partners with Sotheby's for Wartime Provenance Research

January 25 2022

Image of Louvre partners with Sotheby's for Wartime Provenance Research

Picture: @MuseeLouvre

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Louvre in Paris has announced an interesting partnership with the auction house Sotheby's with the aim to assist with wartime provenance research. In particular, the museum will be examining works that were acquired between the years 1933 and 1945. Their press release explains that the three-year project may result in restitutions, seminars, study days, publications and other various pieces of media.

Paleis Het Loo set to Reopen in April 2022

January 24 2022

Video: Paleis Het Loo

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The magnificent Paleis Het Loo in the Netherlands is set to reopen on 15th April 2022 after a long conservation and refurbishment project. The project, which began in 2018, has seen a major expansion of exhibition spaces alongside public facilities for visitors. The whole rennovation is estimated to have cost around €123,200,000 in total (!)

John Sainsbury (1927-2022)

January 24 2022

Image of John Sainsbury (1927-2022)

Picture: NPG

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Sad news to report that John Sainsbury, Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover, passed away on 14th January 2022 at the age of 94. Sainsbury, part-owner and long-time chairman of the Sainsbury's supermarket chain, was one of the most generous donors to British cultural institutions of the twentieth century. Amongst the many examples of his philanthropy include a sizeable donation for the £50m Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery (co-funded with his brother Simon Sainsbury (d.2006) and opened in 1991), significant donations to the Royal Opera House redevelopments during the 1990s and a donation of £25m to the British Museum in 2010.

Leiden Collection upload Frans van Mieris Catalogue Note

January 21 2022

Image of Leiden Collection upload Frans van Mieris Catalogue Note

Picture: The Leiden Collection

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Leiden Collection have announced that they have published a full scholarly catalogue note for Frans van Mieris's A Young Woman Writing a Letter. This recent acquisition was once in the collection of Catherine the Great of Russia and was eventually sold by the Soviet Union in 1929

A short snippet from the catalogue note:

The intimate character of A Young Woman Writing a Letter is closely related to its distinctive brushwork and muted palette of grays, browns, ochres, and purple. Van Mieris executed this painting with mostly fluid, thin brushstrokes, in some areas in only one or two layers, and left the brown ground layer exposed in certain places to enhance the effect of shadow, as in the darker areas along the side of the woman’s neck and beneath the folded corners of the letter in the foreground. This unusual technique has led Quentin Buvelot to raise the possibility that the painting was not finished, yet the careful and nuanced manner with which Van Mieris approached the composition—and the presence of the artist’s signature—indicates otherwise.

Victorian Frames: Online Lecture

January 21 2022

Image of Victorian Frames: Online Lecture

Picture: @PreRaphSoc

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Apologies, I'm rather late to this rather interesting online lecture that the Pre-Raphaelite Society are organising for tomorrow morning. Dr. Serena Trowbridge will be delivering a lecture tomorrow, 22nd January 2022 at 11am (GMT), on the subject of Victorian frames.

According to the blurb:

The 17th and 18th centuries saw the art of frame carving and gilding reach a crescendo of beauty and skill. The formation of The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848 saw a shift back to artist-designed frames. Their first frames were both robust and innovative and probably went some way to softening their brilliant-coloured painting. This lecture will explore how artists revived the tradition of frame design during the second half of the 19th century and how these were a more personal expression of the artists than at any other period in history.

Tickets are a mere £8 for non-members of the society.

UK Government place Export Ban on de Heem

January 21 2022

Image of UK Government place Export Ban on de Heem

Picture: Christie's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The UK Government have placed a temporary export ban on a Still Life by Jan Davidsz. de Heem. The work, which sold at Christie's in 2020, has been valued at £6,109,200.

According to Committee Member Christopher Baker:

De Heem’s splendid still life combines grandeur in terms of its scale with numerous exquisitely wrought details that encourage close looking. Man-made and natural wonders, such as Chinese porcelain and exotic fruits, tumble across the canvas, conveying great wealth and the pursuit of luxury, but also perhaps implicitly that the pleasures they signify are ephemeral. It is one of a group of works by the painter created in Antwerp in the early 1640s, which through their ambition and complexity marked not only a new phase in the development of his career but also a leap forward in the evolution of still life painting and its sumptuous possibilities. 

The artist’s magnificent pictures of this type appealed to distinguished collectors: an example in the Louvre had by the 1680s been acquired by Louis XIV. In this case the original patron is yet to be identified and the painting has only recently been re-discovered by art historians; it has however been in a private UK collection since the early nineteenth century and every effort should be made to retain it so it might delight and interest and benefit British gallery visitors.

Interested parties will have until 20th April 2022 to find the funds to keep the painting in the country.

Harvard Art Museums are Hiring!

January 21 2022

Image of Harvard Art Museums are Hiring!

Picture: Jan Lievens via. Harvard Art Museum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

CODART (Network of Curators for Dutch and Flemish Art) have drawn attention to news that the Harvard Art Museums are looking to hire a Durwood Curatorial Fellow. The position will be working closely with the Curator for Drawings.

According to the job description:

Duties and Responsibilities

- The Durwood Curatorial Fellow, working closely with the Maida and George Abrams Curator of Drawings, conducts object-based research focused on the Museums’ Dutch art collections, with a preference for seventeenth century Dutch drawings. The Fellow will also have the opportunity to carry out research on Dutch works from the permanent collection in other media and on drawings from other cultures and periods. Investigations into global correlations of Dutch art and colonialism will be encouraged.

- The Curatorial Fellow assists with a broad range of other curatorial activities, including preparation of interpretive materials, cataloguing of the permanent collection in the Art Museums’ database, assistance with new acquisitions, donor cultivation.

- Foregrounding the museums’ teaching and research mission, the Curatorial Fellow helps provide content expertise and support for the Art Museums’ Art Study Center by supporting classes and individual appointments of approximately six hours a week, participates in a series of art handling workshops, and contributes to a rich offering of public and academic interpretive programs across various platforms.

The position comes with an annual salary of $50,000 and it seems that applications will be reviewed on 15th February 2022.

Good luck if you're applying!

Rubenshuis to close 2023 - 2027

January 21 2022

Image of Rubenshuis to close 2023 - 2027


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

It seems like something of a conspiracy that none of the major art museums in Antwerp are allowed to be open at the same time.

Just as the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp (KMSKA) is set to open on 25th September 2022, the Rubenshuis has announced that it will be closing for several years as part of a major refurbishment. The museum is set to close on 9th January 2023 and will reopen in 2027. I suppose we might admit that the Rubenshuis has done much of the 'heavy lifting' since the KMSKA closed in 2011 and deserves some treatment of its own.

According to the Rubenshuis's website:

The Rubens House has been discreetly building the future behind the scenes.  The planned reception building in Hopland by Robbrecht & Daem Architects constitutes a first, major step toward the 21st century. The contemporary facilities will resolve many of the problems or shortcomings that visitors, researchers and employees currently experience.  With the revamp of the artist’s home in Wapper, the Rubens House is also renovating his largest masterpiece. The restoration will create more space for visitors and international exhibitions. The museum will also be fitted with optimised climate control, that meets the highest standards.

We will combine passive measures and sustainable techniques to optimally manage the indoor climate of this historic dwelling. A comprehensive restoration of the museum’s interior will enhance the experience while the addition of a lift means the museum will become largely accessible for people with disabilities. All the interventions will take place within the existing walls with the greatest care.

Bonhams Acquires Bukowskis

January 21 2022

Image of Bonhams Acquires Bukowskis


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Apologies for missing this story last week. Bonhams have recently announced their acquisition of the Swedish auction house Bukowskis.

According to the article linked above:

Bukowskis will retain its own brand following the acquisition and Louise Arén will remain as the chief executive. The two auction houses will explore how to work together in the future. “Bukowskis has become an industry leader in digital transformation. With Bonhams’s global reach, we can further build upon our position as the leading auction house in the Nordic region,” Arén said in a statement.

GF Watts's Limnerslease Conserved and Reopened

January 20 2022

Image of GF Watts's Limnerslease Conserved and Reopened


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Last month saw the reopening of George Frederic Watts's Limnerslease in Compton, Surrey, after several months of conservation work after an electrical fire in September 2020. Although the building was thankfully not destroyed, thick smoke left a residue on the interiors and on many of the paintings. Conservation work has now been completed and visitors are once again able to see Watts's house and studios.

According to the Watts Gallery's blog:

Our De Lazlo Paintings Conservator, coordinated a team of four freelance paintings conservators working within four temporary studio spaces within the Clore Learning Studio in the building. Each of the 27 oil paintings by G F Watts were photographed, de-framed, examined and cleaned with full condition reports written; this included the full assessment and treatment of the four by three metre square painting, The Court of Death on loan from the Tate. 

The Court of Death and The Patient Life of Unrequited Toil were the only two artworks to remain in situ in the G F Watts Studio during the building works, both crated in the centre of the space, requiring invigilation throughout the project whilst cleaning and redecoration took place.

MET Gifted a Poussin

January 20 2022

Image of MET Gifted a Poussin

Picture: MET

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has been gifted Nicholas Poussin's Agony in the Garden (1626–27) as a gift from collectors Barbara and Jon Landau. This work will be the seventh Poussin owned by the museum.

According to the article linked above:

The Landaus have owned Agony in the Garden for the past 22 years, and it has held pride of place ever since in the “center hall gallery with four of our greatest masterpieces,” Jon said in an email. They most recently lent the work to the Louvre’s 2015 exhibition “Poussin and God.” He continued, “The Met already had the largest group of Poussins in North America, and our picture truly adds to and enhances its collection of the artist.” 

“This medium of oil on copper in 17th-century Europe was always understood as really a collector’s item, a luxury object—it upped the ante,” Pullins said. “It’s a glitzy object from the start, calling attention to itself. It would have been kind of thing that a collector would have kept like a smaller cabinet space that was really meant for close looking, and so naturally, it rewards that kind of close looking.” 

A somewhat rusted cooper surface with a Latin inscription reading 'SALVATORIS IN HORTO GETSEMA / NI A NICOLAO POVSSIN COLORIBVS / EXPRESSA' Nicolas Poussin, Agony in the Garden (verso), ca. 1626–27. THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART, GIFT OF JON AND BARBARA LANDAU IN HONOR OF KEITH CHRISTIANSEN On the verso of the painting is a Latin inscription, “SALVATORIS IN HORTO GETSEMA / NI A NICOLAO POVSSIN COLORIBVS / EXPRESSA,” that is consistent with how the work would have been inventoried upon entering the collection Carlo Antonio dal Pozzo, the brother of Cassiano dal Pozzo, who would eventually become Poussin’s greatest patron in Rome.

A Painting underneath a Painting underneath a Painting...

January 20 2022

Image of A Painting underneath a Painting underneath a Painting...

Picture: Sworders

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

I imagined that some readers might find this curious painting amusing. The following oil on canvas catalogued as 'English School, 18th Century - Still life of fruit in a landscape with two different portraits beneath' is coming up for sale at the auction house Sworders in February.

I wonder what the conservator was thinking when all of those different levels of paint began to emerge...

Nicholas Penny on the new Courtauld Gallery hang

January 20 2022

Image of Nicholas Penny on the new Courtauld Gallery hang

Picture: The Guardian

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The London Review of Books have published a free article by Nicholas Penny, former director of The National Gallery, on the picture arrangement in the newly refurbished Courtauld Gallery.

As Penny explains:

The art of hanging paintings is little acknowledged, even by art historians, but has consequences that can equal the most eloquent criticism. When to defer to – and when to deviate from – expectation involves fine judgment and sensitivity. 

The Dutch Government Agrees to pay €175m for Rembrandt

January 20 2022

Image of The Dutch Government Agrees to pay €175m for Rembrandt

Picture: BBC

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News has emerged that the Dutch Government have agreed to spend €175m on purchasing Rembrandt's The Standard Bearer from the Rothchild family. The Art Newspaper (linked above) have drawn particular attention to the fact some Dutch senators have raised concerns that the purchase will be made via a trust in the Cook Islands.

Culture minister Gunay Uslu, who had worked as an art historian and curator in the past, has said that the work is “inextricably linked to the history of the Netherlands”.

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