Elizabethan 'Cuckold' Portrait Realises £400,000

October 4 2023

Image of Elizabethan 'Cuckold' Portrait Realises £400,000

Picture: Drewaetts

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News from the auction house Drewaetts this morning that the following Elizabethan portrait realised a substantial £400,000 hammer over its £10,000 - 15,000 estimate in the Robert Kime (Day 1) sale. Although this is a particularly beautiful and evocative image, which has been interpreted as depicting the son of or a of a cuckhold (read the catalogue note for more), this is quite an impressive price for a portrait of its kind, not to mention of an unknown sitter by an unknown artist.*

* Maybe there are plans afoot to identify both in due course!

Delacroix's 'The Death of Sardanapalus' Restored

October 4 2023

Image of Delacroix's 'The Death of Sardanapalus' Restored

Picture: Louvre, Paris

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The European press, and many devotees to art and beauty on social media, have been sharing the news and details of the Louvre's freshly restored The Death of Sardanapalus by Delacroix. It seems that the transformation of this has been particularly striking (click here to compare the image above to its previous state), with many beautifully preserved painterly details found throughout.

Of particular excitement is news that the artist's iconic Liberty Leading the People will be the next large scale work to undergo conservation, a process which is excepted to be completed in Spring 2024.

Frans Hals at the National Gallery

October 4 2023

Video: The National Gallery, London

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The National Gallery's latest Frans Hals exhibition opened last week. The Guardian's less than favourable review has subsequently been counteracted by others in The Observer and The New York Times respectively. I haven't been to see it yet, however, I have been handed a copy of the exhibition catalogue which looks very promising indeed. Not only is it organised in comprehensive and beautiful way, the publication suggests that the curators have taken a bold approach to attribution (a problem which follows Hals scholarship to the present day). One such example is the inclusion of a portrait which was sold as 'School of Haarlem, circa 1615' at Sotheby's New York in 2021, doubted by both Seymour Slive and Claus Grimm (see Literature in the link), which has now been given to Frans Hals in full.

However, one of the most fascinating pieces of original research is the discovery of 'a hidden monster and skull' in the famous Chatsworth portrait, which appears to have been covered by 'later overpaint'. The gallery have produced the following video which explains the whole story.

Free Online Talk: The Van de Veldes at the Queen’s House, Greenwich

October 4 2023

Image of Free Online Talk: The Van de Veldes at the Queen’s House, Greenwich

Picture: warburg.sas.ac.uk

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Warburg Institute in London and the Association for Art History are hosting a free online talk later this month. Curatorial Conversation - The Van de Veldes at the Queen’s House, Greenwich will feature a ronudtable disucssion with curators Allison Goudie and Imogen Tedbury in conversation with Bill Sherman (Warburg Institute Director) and Gregory Perry (CEO, Association for Art History). 

According to the blurb on the institute's website:

For almost 20 years in the late 17th century the Queen’s House at Greenwich was the studio address of the marine painters Willem van de Velde the Elder and his son, Willem the Younger. Although the building itself bears little trace of the Van de Veldes’ presence, in the 20th century the Queen’s House once again became a home for their work, as the dedicated art gallery of the National Maritime Museum, custodian of the world’s largest collection of works by the Van de Veldes. Spanning scores of oil and pen paintings, a tapestry and some 1,500 drawings, the collection is unique in what it can tell us about how a 17th-century artist’s studio functioned. The physical evidence provided by this collection proved invaluable for the evocation of the Van de Velde studio that forms a centrepiece of the current exhibition, The Van de Veldes: Greenwich, Art and the Sea, marking 350 years since the Van de Veldes moved to England from the Dutch Republic. Showcasing major conservation projects on important works in the Greenwich collection that have their origin point in the Queen’s House studio, and notwithstanding a select number very generous loans, the exhibition was also a pragmatic solution to some of the challenges facing museums as they emerged from Covid: how to make an event out of a permanent collection.

This online event will take place on Zoom on 17th October 2024. Attendance is free, although registration is required.

£10m pair of Canalettos coming up at Christie's in December

October 3 2023

Image of £10m pair of Canalettos coming up at Christie's in December

Picture: artscouncil.org.uk

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Eagle eyed watchers of the Arts Council's Items for Sale page (a must for any follower of the big Old Master auctions) might have spotted this very beautiful pair of Canalettos which have been announced for sale at Christie's London in December 2023. The pair, which have been in a private collection since 1939, will carry an impressive estimate of £10,000,000.

More news regarding the other items on the Art Council's website in due course.

Burlington Magazine - October 2023

October 3 2023

Image of Burlington Magazine - October 2023

Picture: burlington.org.uk

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The front page of October's edition of The Burlington Magazine focuses on the rediscovery of a painting by Artemisia Gentileschi in the Royal Collection (mentioned in a post below), and contains a fine extended piece on the research behind this extraordinary reappearance.

Alongside the Artemisia text are the following articles in October's edition:

A new attribution to Giovanni Bellini: the ‘Virgin and Child’ in Pag - BY BEATRICE TANZI

Rediscovered drawings by Bartolomeo Spani for sculpture and goldsmithery - BY MARCELLO CALOGERO

Girodet’s ‘Coriolanus taking leave of his family’ rediscovered - BY AARON WILE

Paolo Portoghesi (1931–2023) - BY ANDREW HOPKINS

John Newman (1936–2023) - BY SIMON BRADLEY

The National Trust buy back a Kauffman in a No Reserve sale!

October 2 2023

Image of The National Trust buy back a Kauffman in a No Reserve sale!

Picture: bbc.co.uk

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Interesting news that The National Trust have acquired Angelica Kauffman's Penelope awakened by Euryclea with the news of Ulysses' Return in Christie's New York's May 'REMASTERED: OLD MASTERS FROM THE COLLECTION OF J.E. SAFRA - SELLING WITHOUT RESERVE.' The painting, which eventually sold for $214,200 over its estimate $150,000 – 250,000, has been bought back for Stourhead, the country house of the Hoare family who sold the artwork back in 1883.

The BBC linked article above quotes the National Trust cultural heritage curator Stephen Ponder:

He said it was "a rare opportunity to acquire the painting for public benefit and return it for display and interpretation".

"With so little time available, I hardly dared hope that we might be able to find the funding and make a successful bid to bring the painting back to Stourhead," he added.

Mr Ponder said seeing it for the first time was "a very exciting moment" and "one of the highlights of his career".

This seems to be a rare and good example of how UK cultural and heritage organisations can be nimble footed when it comes to raising money to purchase works at auction, rather than through dealers at a later date (with added premiums on top, quite often).

Discover the Rare and Unknown in 17th Century Dutch Art with Koetser Gallery

October 2 2023

Image of Discover the Rare and Unknown in 17th Century Dutch Art with Koetser Gallery

Picture: tefaf.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The European Fine Art Foundation (TEFAF) have published a short video with the Koester Gallery, Zurich, regarding a charming Adriaen Coorte still life the dealers had on their stand at Maastricht earlier this year. The video is a part of  TEFAF’s Meet the Experts series, which I'll continue to post as and when they are put online.

Free Lecture on Emma Sandys

October 2 2023

Image of Free Lecture on Emma Sandys

Picture: Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

For anyone passing Birmingham this weekend, the Pre-Raphaelite Society is hosting its Founder's Day Lecture on Saturday 7th October. This free lecture will be about the female artist Emma Sandys: The Drama of Womanhood and will be delivered by Dr. Serena Trowbridge.

According to the blurb on the society's website:

Emma, sister of the more famous Frederick, is rarely the focus of study, but her portraits of women from literature, myth and history offer a way into considering her approach to Pre-Raphaelite painting. The women Sandys depicted seen to resist a conventional interpretation, their eyes evading the viewer not through modesty but disinterest or preoccupation, their expressions often enigmatic or even challenging. In many of her painting, Sandys offers covert clues to her women's identity (an issue often further confused by the different titles used for the works), using symbolism, setting and facial expression. This illustrated lecture offers new readings of some of her paintings, and a look at some rarely-seen works by Sandys.

Dr. Serena Trowbridge is Chair of the Pre-Raphaelite Society, Senior Vice-President of the Birmingham and Midland Institute, and Reader in Victorian Literature at Birmingham City University. She has published widely on Pre-Raphaelite art and literature, and is currently working on 'Forgotten Women Pre-Raphaelites' (university of Delaware Press, 2024) and 'Pre-Raphaelite Women's Writing' (Routledge, 2025).

Although the lecture is free to attend, booking is essential.

Turning Heads at KMSKA

October 2 2023

Image of Turning Heads at KMSKA

Picture: kmska.be

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp (KMSKA) will soon be opening their first major exhibition since the museum's reopening. TURNING HEADS BRUEGEL, RUBENS AND REMBRANDT will be a celebration of head studies and has been organised in collaboration with the National Gallery of Ireland.

According to the museum's website:

Interest in the tronie, the old Dutch word for ‘face’ surged in the 17th century, when artists like Rubens, Rembrandt and Vermeer poured their talent into painting the human face. The results are often small, but stunningly painted, drawn or engraved: intimate works that bring us closer to the artist than ever. Never before has the genre been covered so comprehensively. Turning Heads at the KMSKA brings together no fewer than 76 of the most eloquent masterpieces from Belgian and international collections.

The show will open on 20 October 2023 and close on 21 January 2024.

Lecture: Painting Conservation at Knole

September 29 2023

Image of Lecture: Painting Conservation at Knole

Picture: The National Trust

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Some readers might be able to make this fascinating lecture next week. Conservator Melanie Caldwell will be giving a talk next Tuesday 3rd October entitled Framing Knole, which focuses on recent campaigns to conserve and restore paintings at this important property.

According to the Trust's website:

Paintings Conservator Melanie Caldwell will talk about projects undertaken on paintings at Knole, including the Grotesque scheme in the Cartoon Gallery, the early Portrait of Sir Ralph Bosville from around 1600 and Sir Joshua Reynold’s Portrait of Huang Ya Dong.

Tickets cost a mere £7.

Raphael drawing at the Dorotheum

September 29 2023

Image of Raphael drawing at the Dorotheum

Picture: dorotheum.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Art Newspaper have shared the news that the Dorotheum in Vienna will be offering a rediscovered drawing by Raphael on 25th October. The drawing relates to the Battle of the Milvian Bridge fresco which is in the Vatican’s papal apartments. 

According to the article:

On the back of the sheet are drawings by Raphael’s assistant, Polidoro da Caravaggio, which were probably executed later. Dorotheum says that Paul Joannides, an emeritus professor of history of art at Cambridge University, has endorsed the attributions for both Raphael and Polidoro da Caravaggio.

The drawing will be offered with an estimate of €400,000 to €600,000.

Master Discoveries at Sotheby's New York

September 29 2023

Image of Master Discoveries at Sotheby's New York

Picture: Sotheby's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Sotheby's New York have rebranded their mid-season online sales this year as 'Discoveries'. There are Discovery sales across all categories, including Contemporary Discoveries, Modern Discoveries and Master Discoveries. The latter, which contains the Old Masters and a large bulk of nineteenth century pictures, is as wide ranging as ever, and continues the path of re-thinking the traditional lot order arrangement (see this post for more on that).

Bidding for Master Discoveries closes on 6th October 2023.

Rijksmuseum places Olaf Photograph next to Verspronck

September 29 2023

Image of Rijksmuseum places Olaf Photograph next to Verspronck

Picture: Rijksmuseum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam have hung a photograph by the late Erwin Olaf next to Johannes Verspronck's Portrait of a Girl in Blue in their main galleries this week. This gesture was made in honour of the photographer who died unexpectedly last week at the age of 64.

Rijksmuseum director Taco Dibbits was quoted in 2018 as saying:

"Erwin Olaf is one of the most important photographers of the last quarter of the 20th century. His work is strongly rooted in the visual tradition of Dutch art and history."

Christie's Celebrating 50 Years in Amsterdam

September 29 2023

Image of Christie's Celebrating 50 Years in Amsterdam

Christie's are celebrating 50 years of Christie's Amsterdam with a special auction entitled Made in Holland. This cross-category sale is full of works of art from different periods which are all interspersed.* Amongst the highlights of Old Masters featured within is the following Still Life by Jan Davidsz. de Heem (pictured), which happens to be one of the earliest recorded works by the artist and is estimated at 40,000 - 60,000 euros.


* As cross-category online sales are becoming ever more popular, this format has opened up the question as to whether specially curated lot orders matter anymore. Does it matter in an online sale to have Old Masters grouped together, or ordered by national school and period? Is it good to have nineteenth century and much later works be interspersed with everything? Does this approach help encourage buyers of different categories to have a go at bidding in different categories? Or is it all just a bit confusing?

All opinions are welcome, and published anonymously!

The Kimbell Art Museum acquires Gainsborough's 'Going to Market'

September 29 2023

Image of The Kimbell Art Museum acquires Gainsborough's 'Going to Market'

Picture: kimbellart.org

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Kimbell Art Museum has announced its acquisition of Thomas Gainsborough's Going to Market, Early Morning. Painted in c.1773, the work was heralded by the scholar John Hayes as ‘among the most exquisitely painted of all Gainsborough’s works’. Regular followers of auctions will remember that the painting was sold for £7.9m (inc. premium) at Sotheby's London in 2019. The picture was acquired by the museum through dealers Simon Dickinson Ltd.

According to the museum's website:

Going to Market, Early Morning represents a particularly poignant addition to the Kimbell’s collection as the museum’s year-long 50th Anniversary celebration draws to a close. The painting elevates the Kimbell’s holdings of eighteenth-century British painting, a fitting tribute to the British paintings that museum founders Kay and Velma Kimbell favored when originally building the Kimbell Art Foundation’s collection. Among them were two delightful and representative early paintings by Gainsborough, Portrait of a Woman, Possibly of the Lloyd Family (c. 1750) and Suffolk Landscape (mid-1750s), both acquired by the Kimbell Art Foundation in the 1940s. The larger scale and striking visual impression of the newly acquired painting complement the Kimbell’s full-scale portraits by Reynolds, Romney, and Raeburn.

Free Conference: John Michael Wright | New Perspectives and Directions

September 28 2023

Image of Free Conference: John Michael Wright | New Perspectives and Directions

Picture: nationalgalleries.org

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The National Galleries of Scotland are hosting a conference on the seventeenth-century artist John Michael Wright (1617–1694). This free conference will be held in Edinburgh on Thursday 26th October 2023. Booking through the website is essential to secure a place.

A list of the presentations and panels:

Panel 1 - Beginnings: Influences and Environments

David AHB Taylor (Independent): Pictor Scotus: John Michael Wright and Scotland

Molly Ingham (University of Edinburgh): Covert Catholicism: John Michael Wright and the British Catholic Experience

Maria Hayward (University of Southampton): ‘elegant and richly dressed’: Exploring Fashion and Fabrics in the Female portraiture of John Michael Wright

Panel 2 - Identity: Selfhood and Society

Kate Anderson (National Galleries of Scotland): ‘Nothing can repair my loss’: Death, Mourning and Memorialisation in the Portraits of John Michael Wright PAUL MELLON CENTRE for Studies in British Art

Karen Hearn (University College London): ‘I could not hinder my self from making it curious and full of variety…’: John Michael Wright’s Portraits of the Bagot Family, 1675-6

Matthew Augustine (University of St Andrews) and Steven Zwicker (Washington University in St Louis): Patrons, Portraits and the Fashioning of Identity: John Michael Wright beyond the Restoration Court

Panel 3 - Practice: Approaches and Associations

Helen Pearce (University of Aberdeen): John Michael Wright: Prints and Proof(s)?

James Loxley (University of Edinburgh): The Literary Connections of John Michael Wright

Catriona Murray (University of Edinburgh): Childish Things: Children and Material Culture in the Work of John Michael Wright

Panel 4 - Endings: Reception and Relationships

Carol Richardson (University of Edinburgh): Courtier, Designer and Propagandist: John Michael Wright and the 1687 Embassy to Rome

Adam Morton (Newcastle University): Promoting Religion by Means of Arts? Anti-Catholicism, Catholic Culture and John Michael Wright

Jane Eade (National Trust): The Artist and his Nephew: New Evidence from Sale Inventories 

Making Her Mark: A History of Women Artists in Europe, 1400-1800 - in Baltimore

September 28 2023

Image of Making Her Mark: A History of Women Artists in Europe, 1400-1800 - in Baltimore

Picture: Baltimore Museum of Art

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Baltimore Museum of Art is set to open their latest exhibition on 1st October 2023 entitled Making Her Mark: A History of Women Artists in Europe, 1400-1800.

As the museum's blurb explains:

Making Her Mark: A History of Women Artists in Europe, 1400-1800, the BMA’s much anticipated major exhibition opening October 1, 2023, aims to correct these broadly held but mistaken beliefs through more than 200 works of diverse media and scale. From royal portraits and devotional sculptures to embroidered objects, tapestries, costumes, wax sculptures, metalwork, ceramics, graphic arts, furniture, and more, Making Her Mark will feature objects from the 15th to 18th centuries that reflect the multifaceted and often overlooked ways that women contributed to the visual arts of Europe.

The exhibition’s focus on displaying exclusively objects made by women or toward which women contributed their labor distinguishes this project by putting women makers of all social levels in conversation with each other through their works.

Examples by artistic heroines such as Sofonisba Anguissola, Artemisia Gentileschi, Judith Leyster, Luisa Roldán, Rosalba Carriera, Rachel Ruysch, and Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun will join exceptional products of female artisanal collectives and talented amateurs who operated outside of the male-dominated professional arena and often remained anonymous in the historical record. Further, sublime examples of ceramics, metalwork, and cabinetmaking from this era will reflect women’s involvement in major manufactories and workshops.

The show will run until 7th January 2024.

What will happen to Birmingham's treasures?

September 28 2023

Image of What will happen to Birmingham's treasures?

Picture: birminghammail.co.uk

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

There is much speculation in the press currently regarding whether Birmingham Council will safeguard its historic collection of art from asset stripping in wake of its bankruptcy and £87m deficit for the years 2023-24. Cultural organisations are rallying to encourage administrators to preserve and protect collections and historic assets kept in sites such as the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Aston Hall (pictured) and the Library of Birmingham. It is hoped that the actions of Croydon and Northampton Councils, who sold off publicly owned works of art in 2013 and 2014 respectively to find money for other projects, won't set a precedent for this particular case.

The Royal Collection rediscovers a lost Artemisia

September 28 2023

Video: The Royal Collection Trust

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Royal Collection have been sweeping the internet recently with the exciting news that they have rediscovered an important work by Artemisia Gentileschi. The work, which was misattributed several centuries ago, was created during the 1630s when Artemisia was working alongside her father Orazio in London for King Charles I.

This recently conserved painting will be on view at Windsor Castle in a special display focusing on its rediscovery alongside other works by the artist and her father in the Royal Collection.

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