Previous Posts: January 2024

Christie's Results

January 31 2024

Image of Christie's Results

Picture: Christie's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Christie's New York's Old Masters sale this afternoon realised $12,350,620 with 41 out of 78 lots sold (sell-through rate of 58.4% or 52.6% inc. withdrawn lots).*

The sale got off to a good start, however, stalled a little in the middle with a collection of Italian pictures all with fairly recent provenance. The painting which soared past its estimate was Artemisia Gentileschi's Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness (pictured) which realised $982,800 (inc. fees) past its estimate of $400k - $600k. The other picture to soar past its estimate was Sir Thomas Lawrence's Portrait of William Baker, which realised $604,800 (inc. fees) over its estimate of $200k - $300k.

The total wasn't helped by the withdrawal of several top lots, including a Pieter Brueghel II, Anne Vallayer-Coster, a pair of Michele Marieschis and a set of early Italian pictures showing the Passion of Christ.

All eyes on the Sotheby's New York sale tomorrow afternoon.

________________

* - 7 lots were withdrawn from sale.

Rembrandt and His Peers in Toronto

January 31 2024

Image of Rembrandt and His Peers in Toronto

Picture: ago.ca

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto will be hosting a Rembrandt exhibition next month, supplemented by paintings on loan the Bader Collection at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre in Kingston. Painted Presence: Rembrandt and His Peers will see the gallery's own Rembrandtian works hung alongside masterpieces from the Bader collection, which includes Rembrandt's Portrait of a man with arms akimbo, a painting which made £20.2m at Christie's in 2009. I wonder how much it would make now?

To quote the museum's website:

From the Bader Collection at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, the AGO welcomes a remarkable selection of seventeenth century Dutch paintings. Shown in dialogue with paintings from the AGO’s European Collection of Art, at the centre of this focused installation are seven artworks attributed to Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669), shown together for the first time. Featuring intensely observed still life paintings, detailed interiors and mesmerizing portraits, these striking artworks offer a rare glimpse of Dutch artistry at work. This exhibition is co-curated by Adam Harris Levine, AGO Associate Curator European Art and Suzanne van de Meerendonk, Bader Curator of European Art, Agnes Etherington Art Centre.

The show will open on 17th February 2024.

The Fondation Bemberg Reopening in February

January 31 2024

Image of The Fondation Bemberg Reopening in February

Picture: claudinecolin.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News from France (spotted via. @LaforeAlexandre) that the The Fondation Bemberg will be reopening its museum located in the Hôtel d'Assézat in Toulouse on 2nd February 2024. The foundation, which preserves the art collections and legacy of Georges Bemberg (1915-2011), has spent the last three years renovating the building and exhibition spaces. For the full press release, which gives an idea of the extent of the works and many of the highlights within the collection, click here.

Unicorn at Perth Museum

January 31 2024

Image of Unicorn at Perth Museum

Picture: artnews.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Perth Museum in Scotland will be opening a new exhibition dedicated to the iconographic and cultural history of the Unicorn in March. Here's an article published by artnet which explains a little more about the prize exhibits on display, which includes a treasure trove of historic artworks.

According to the museum's website:

Unicorn is the first major UK exhibition to explore the cultural history of Scotland’s national animal from antiquity to the present day. Through the material culture of this mythical beast the exhibition will explore themes such as Scottish Royalty and national symbolism that also relate to the objects and stories on display in the new permanent galleries, including the Stone of Destiny.

The exhibition will open on 30th March 2024.

Oligarch buys expensive art (ctd.)

January 31 2024

Image of Oligarch buys expensive art (ctd.)

Picture: CNBC

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Dmitry Rybolovlev has lost his recent court case in the ongoing series of legal action regarding the building of his art collection in decades past. A US Federal Court ruled in favour of Sotheby's, against recent allegations that the auction house helped to defraud the collector out of millions by conspiring with the art dealer Yves Bouvier.

Guercino Enters Rothschild Collection

January 30 2024

Video: Moretti Fine Art

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Art Newspaper has shared news that the Rothschild Foundation have acquired Guercino's Moses. The painting had been a sleeper in a minor Parisian sale in 2022, where is achieved €590,000 over an estimate of €5,000 - €6,000 and was acquired by the dealers Moretti Fine Art. It is reported that the asking price of the painting was around €2m.

The work will be unveiled at the upcoming Waddesdon Manor exhibition entitled Guercino at Waddesdon: King David and the Wise Women, which will run from 20th March 2024 until 27th October 2024.

Here's Moretti's video of the painting, which includes some rather dramatic music and lots of 'zoom in' shots.

Hidden Faces at the MET

January 30 2024

Image of Hidden Faces at the MET

Picture: MET

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York will be opening their latest Old Master exhibition in April. Hidden Faces: Covered Portraits of the Renaissance will be examining why some portraits hide or conceal the faces of their sitters.

According to the blurb on the museum's website:

This exhibition is the first to examine an intriguing but largely unknown side—in the literal sense—of Renaissance painting: multisided portraits in which the sitter’s likeness was concealed by a hinged or sliding cover, within a box, or by a dual-faced format. The covers and reverses of these small, private portraits were adorned with puzzlelike emblems, epigrams, allegories, and mythologies that celebrated the sitter’s character, and they represent some of the most inventive and unique secular imagery of the Renaissance. The viewer had to decode the meaning of the symbolic portrait before lifting, sliding, or turning the image over to unmask the face below.

This widespread tradition in Italy and Northern Europe during the 15th and 16th centuries will be explored through approximately 60 double-sided and covered portraits from The Met collection and other American and European institutions, including the reunion of several portraits and their covers that had been split and made part of separate collections. Painted by artists such as Hans Memling, Lucas Cranach, Lorenzo Lotto, and Titian, the works range from portraits intended as portable propaganda to those designed to conceal a lover's identity. These varied three-dimensional, hand-held ensembles shed significant light upon the intimate and personal nature of portraits designed as interactive objects.

The show will run from 2nd April 2024 until 7th July 2024.

Removal Man Accused of Paintings Theft

January 30 2024

Image of Removal Man Accused of Paintings Theft

Picture: boston.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A reader has very kindly been in touch with this rather curious story that has been published by The Boston Globe. A 'Junk-Removal Contractor' has appeared in court accused of removing over 100 paintings from the collection of Sam (late) and Sheila Robbins. The family had over the decades amassed a serious collection of American works, 80 of which were gifted to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem in 2016. The reports explain that a friend began noticing that parts of their collection had been appearing at local auction houses without the family's knowledge. It transpired that the works had allegedly been taken by a Junk Removal contractor, who had been previously tasked with removing some damaged property from the house.

According to the report:

“He didn’t have intent to steal anything; he was disposing of damaged property,” said McMahon, who compared Campbell’s business to 1-800-GOT-JUNK. “The contract had a provision that allowed Mr. Campbell, without prior authorization, to remove any items that were water-damaged.”

The Robbinses dispute that claim.

“If you’re implying my mother authorized someone to take away 100 valuable artworks, I would ask you to seek medical help,” said Jonathan Robbins, who estimated they paid Campbell around $30,000 for the entire job. “It was basically a basement clean-out and an attic clean-out. It wasn’t supposed to be anything of value.”

Louvre Conserves Lubin Baugin

January 30 2024

Image of Louvre Conserves Lubin Baugin

Picture: @milovanovic_nicolas

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Louvre curator Nicolas Milovanovic (@milovanovic_nicolas) has shared a striking photo on Instagram of the ongoing restoration project of Lubin Baugin's Adam and Eve Mourning the Death of Abel. The painting, covered in a particularly dirty varnish, was pre-empted by the Louvre at an auction in Toulouse last March (see link above for more details).

Turner Watercolour Rediscovered

January 30 2024

Image of Turner Watercolour Rediscovered

Picture: BBC

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News from the West Midlands that a forgotten watercolour of Hampton Court, Herefordshire, by JMW Turner has been rediscovered in a private collection. The picture was discovered in a file with other prints and later works by an expert from an auction house during a valuation. The work will come up for sale at Minster Auctions in March carrying an estimate of £30,000 - £50,000.

Rubens vs. Van Dyck at Sotheby's New York

January 29 2024

Video: Sotheby's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Sotheby's New York have created the following video battling out Rubens and Van Dyck's Self Portraits. The battle is presented by International Head of Old Masters Division, Christopher Apostle, and Head of NY Old Masters Department, David Pollack.

Well, I know which out of the two paintings I would pick....

Waldemar on Mannerism

January 29 2024

Video: ZCZ Films

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Waldemar Januszczak's new series on Mannerism begins tomorrow at 8pm (GMT) on Sky Arts! (Freeview Channel 36) This new series will examine the weird and the wonderful during 'Art's Wildest Movement'.

Will AI Replace Art Historians?

January 29 2024

Image of Will AI Replace Art Historians?

Picture: hyperallergic

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The website Hyperallergic have published a short review of Amanda Wasielewski's 2023 book entitled Computational Formalism: Art History and Machine Learning published by MIT Press. The thrust of the book (as I understand it) is examining whether AI will one day become an important tool for Art Historians, and what methods might be developed to make progress in areas of authentication etc. (yes, that increasingly occurring new and often controversial 'tool' which press are enjoying putting into the news these days).

To quote the final paragraph of the review:

In more straightforward cases of known attribution and singular styles, AI can sort images efficiently. But can it interpret art? The answer is a fairly straightforward “no.” AI lacks human researchers’ ability to engage in primary study of techniques, and the capacity to contextualize an artwork within history. Quite simply: AI cannot reason why artworks look the way they do. Her thesis that AI is not suited for a humanistic pursuit of art history comes through strongly, but it could have been supplemented by further information in the form of more case studies.

Ok... we might be safe for now.

Parmigianino at the NG in December

January 29 2024

Image of Parmigianino at the NG in December

Picture: nationalgallery.org.uk

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

I've been a little slow to the news that the National Gallery in London will be hosting a free exhibition later in DecemberParmigianino: The Vision of Saint Jerome will be celebrating the completion of a ten year restoration project on one of the gallery's most famous works by the artist. I remember seeing conservators working on the painting a few years ago during a private tour, it was quite something to see the work in its 'stripped back' state. I'm sure the retouching will have proven miraculous!

The show will run from 5th December 2024 until 9th March 2025.

Update - A reader has been in touch with the following comment:

I note that the Parmigianino program at the NG in December is being sponsored by the Capricorn Foundation which is the charitable body set up when property Harry Hyams died some years ago.  I remember at the time of his death there was a huge amount of speculation about the quality of the Foundation’s rich collections but it seems to have taken a long time to get the venture off the ground and to my knowledge there is no inventory of what it includes. [...]

I suppose the reason for writing is to just lodge in the memory the fact that there is this extraordinary collection which the public will benefit from which is still very much under the radar.  Harry Hyams appears to be one of the most important philanthropists of recent times in the UK and perhaps his story as inspiration to others could be better platformed.

Stolen Opie Returned to New Jersey Family

January 29 2024

Video: WGN News

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News from America that a John Opie stolen in 1969 has been recovered by an FBI special agent. The painting had allegedly been stolen from a New Jersey family by mobsters decades ago, and had only resurfaced after its recent owner died.

Art lovers will know that this is another version (with minor differences) of Opie's The School Mistress, the prime version of which is now in Tate Britain. Notably, Tate's Opie was acquired as part of the Acceptance in Lieu Scheme (AIL) for £341,000 in 2020.

Soup Thrown at Mona Lisa

January 29 2024

Video: The Times

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa was the target of eco-activism yesterday, having been pelted with soup in an effort to raise awareness for "healthy and sustainable food". Fortunately, the security glass did its job and the painting was unhurt. I'm sure the ever-present queues of tourists had to find something else to take a selfie in front of while the cleanup was taking place!

MET New Galleries Tour

January 26 2024

Video: MET

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art have released the following 30 minute video providing a curatorial tour of the newly revamped European Galleries. The middle of the video also includes a brief discussion regarding the recent conservation of Rembrandt's Aristotle with a Bust of Homer.

Master Drawings New York 2024

January 26 2024

Image of Master Drawings New York 2024

Picture: Master Drawings New York

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Master Drawings New York 2024 opens tomorrow. With over two dozen exhibitors, the fair is scheduled to coincide with the New York Masters Week with views opening at the big auction houses today. Click here to see the exhibitors brochure.

Velázquez Deer Head Lent to Tenerife Museum

January 26 2024

Image of Velázquez Deer Head Lent to Tenerife Museum

Picture: Prado

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News from the Canary Islands that the Museum of Fine Arts of Santa Cruz de Tenerife will be borrwing Diego Velázquez's famous Head of a  Deer. The painting, on loan from the Prado Museum, will be the subject of a special display within the museum until 9th June 2024.

€30 - €50m Rediscovered Klimt at Kinsky

January 26 2024

Image of €30 - €50m Rediscovered Klimt at Kinsky

Picture: Kinsky

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Exciting news from Vienna that a rediscovered portrait by Gustav Klimt will be offered for sale in April. The Portrait of Fräulein Lieser was photographed as part of a Viennese exhibition in 1925, and its history afterwards remains largely unknown. It is thought the painting had been in the possession of sitter's parents, Adolf and Henriette Lieser, the latter of whom died in a concentration camp in 1942. The painting was acquired six decades ago by an Austrian citizen, and will be sold by its current owners alongside the legal successors of Adolf and Henriette. It will be offered in at Vienna's Kinsky auction house with an estimate of €30m - €50m.

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