Feigen Bonington Soars

October 19 2021

Image of Feigen Bonington Soars

Picture: Sotheby's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The aforementioned Richard Parkes Bonington of The Palazzi Manolesso-Ferro, Contarini-Fasan and Venier-Contarini on the Grand Canal, Venice soared past its estimate at Sotheby's New York yesterday. The painting achieved $7,387,300 (inc. commission) against its $2m - $3m estimate. Judging by how many pictures of it were being posted on social media, it seemed obvious that the picture was going to do well.

Overall, the Feigen sale achieved an impressive $16,145,610 with 78.19% of lots sold. Having said that, it could have been more considering that 6 out of their 15 top estimated works failed to find buyers.

Anne Seymour Damer display at Strawberry Hill House

October 19 2021

Image of Anne Seymour Damer display at Strawberry Hill House

Picture: Stawberry Hill House

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Strawberry Hill House, the former home of Horace Walpole, has installed a new display dedicated to the artist Anne Seymour Damer (1748-1828). The display will include a recently rediscovered bust of a Niobid and John Downman's portrait of Damer loaned from a private collection (pictured).

According to their website:

The central object in the new display is Damer’s marble bust of her mother, Caroline Campbell, Lady Ailesbury, probably made in the late 1780s. The bust – today owned by a private collector, was until recently on display in New York’s Metropolitan Museum. Campbell’s serene and composed expression evoke the ideals of ancient sculpture, a connection further echoed by Damer’s dual signatures in Latin and Greek. On the reverse, is a personal dedication of the work to her ‘friend and mother’. Damer kept this bust throughout her life and carved another version in Portland stone for her mother’s tomb in Saint Mary’s Church, Sundridge, Kent, where Damer herself is buried. 

A second marble bust, a Niobid, which was until recently thought to be lost, can be seen at Strawberry Hill for the very first time. In Greek mythology, Niobid was one of Niobe’s daughters, who were slain by Apollo and Artemis after Niobe boasted of having more children than their mother, the goddess Leto. In his Book of Visitors, Walpole reported this was the first marble bust ever sculpted by Damer: “Bust of Niobe in marble. Her first attempt”, which is confirmed by the inscription on the back of the bust, ‘Opus Primum’, first work. 


As part of the In Focus display, there is a chance to see a rare portrait of Anne as a sculptress, by John Downman (1750-1824). In his drawing, on loan from a private collection, we see her working on a bust of the Polish Prince Lubomirski, as the young Bacchus (the bust is today held at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford). Downman’s portrait, dated 1793, represents Anne at the age of 43 and is the most detailed representation of her while at work.

The display will last until 3rd January 2022.

Update - A reader has been in touch with the following information about the origins of the Niobid:

Sorry to be a pedantic pain but Niobid is not the name of a daughter of Niobe. A niobid is a common noun referring to any and all of the children of Niobe. According to the Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology, pp. 131-2 she had six sons as well as six daughters and all twelve were killed by Artemis/Diana and Apollo her brother in revenge for Niobe’s hubris in taunting their mother Leto for having had fewer children than herself.  The subject gets quite complicated. The Wikipedia page on the Niobids lists their names and all the variations.

Christie's Results

October 15 2021

Image of Christie's Results

Picture: Christie's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Christie's NY Old Master Paintings and Sculpture sale achieved $19,535,125 yesterday with an estimated 74.82% of lots sold.*

Amongst the lots that soared past their estimates included the two Jordaens head studies which achieved $237,500 (all figures include commission) and $100,000 over their $60k-$100k estimates; the Pieter Brueghel the Younger roundel achieved $212,500 over its $100k-$120k estimate; a head study by Van Dyck achieved $100,000 over its $40k-$60k estimate; a portrait of a boy by Jacob Backer achieved $112,500 over its $40k-$60k estimate; a pair of mythologies by Angelica Kauffman achieved $550,000 over their $80k-$120k estimates and a Pietro da Cortona religious picture achieved $106,250 over its $40-$60k estimate.

Have we also just witnessed the bursting of the Mona Lisa copy bubble? This rather meagre 'Follower of Leonardo' made a mere $32,500 over its $30k-$50k estimate.

* - Worked out with missing lot numbers from Christie's website.

Jordaens at Home

October 15 2021

Video: Frans Hals Museum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem have opened a fantastic exhibition today entitled At Home with Jordaens. Amongst the triumphs of the exhibition is the recreation of a room in Jordaens's house with a set of surviving ceiling paintings, a project that looks very exciting indeed.

According to the museum's blurb:

Where the Northern Netherlands had Frans Hals, Rembrandt and Vermeer, in the Southern Netherlands they had their own Great Three: Jordaens, Rubens and Van Dijk.

This exhibition focuses on Jacob Jordaens, with his great flair, worldliness, individuality and typicalities.  Jordaens made portraits, historical scenes and genre paintings until well into his old age. His next of kin were often a source of inspiration to him. His home served as his showroom and the room where he received his – wealthy – clients was spectacularly decorated with his own work. 

Especially for this exhibition a reconstruction of that reception room will be made in the Frans Hals Museum, which enables visitors to feel as if they were ‘at Jordaens’ home’ for a moment, surrounded by many works that have never been shown together before.

The show will run until 30th January 2022.


The soundtrack to this video tops the list of the most confused I've ever heard. Does adding such cacophonous racket really attract a younger more vibrant audience, I wonder?

As it happens, I think Jordaens must have been a rather musical fellow. He painted himself playing or holding a lute at least three times, alongside depicting himself as a bagpipe player. I wonder if there is any more evidence to prove this theory.

Samsung Partners with the Louvre

October 15 2021

Video: Samsung

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A reader has sent across an intriguing article that the technology company Samsung has partnered with the Louvre. This partnership revolves around the rights to use 40 high-definition images of Louvre masterpieces for their new TVs called The Frame.

According to the marketing spiel:

With new artworks from the Louvre joining the collection, The Frame now boasts a catalog with over 1,600 works of art from 42 different countries that consumers can enjoy in 4K picture quality from museums and galleries around the world, including the Prado Museum in Madrid, the Albertina Museum in Vienna, the Tate Modern in London, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the Hermitage State Museum in Saint Petersburg and LUMAS.


The Frame boasts a unique and customizable design that sets it apart from the rest. Designed to be a TV when it’s on and art when it’s off, The Frame is an innovative digital canvas that reflects an individual’s personal style. The 2021 version of the lifestyle TV offers new custom options to complement every space and style, with two frame designs: modern (available in white, teak and brown) and beveled (available in white and brick red).


I'm not sure about you, but, one of the reasons I love looking at paintings, watercolours and drawings is the fact that they are not screens. Surely we have enough of these glowing pieces of glass in our lives? I'm certain that the modern world would disagree with me on this point...

Sure, we may not all be able to afford a masterpiece. But head down to your local auction house and or mid-range antique and art establishments and you're very likely to find some beautiful objects made by human hands at strikingly affordable prices.

The Spanish Gallery opens in County Durham

October 15 2021

Image of The Spanish Gallery opens in County Durham

Picture: chroniclelive.co.uk

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Bishop Auckland in County Durham is the site of the UK's first gallery dedicated to Spanish art. The Spanish Gallery is the vision of philanthropist Jonathan Ruffer who purchased Auckland Castle in 2012 in order to restore and conserve the building along with its collection of pictures by Zurbaran. The new Spanish gallery, which contains works by El Greco, Juan de Valdes Leal and Velázquez, opens to the public today.

Quoting Ruffer from the article linked above:

"When people say, 'What's going on in Bishop Auckland?' they'll find it's got a Spanish Gallery with three Velazquez paintings in it. 

There aren't many places in the world that can talk like that. 

So our thought is that if we can create something here that is utterly remarkable, like a Spanish Gallery, then we stake our claim on being a player in the international market."

Banksy's 'Love is in the Bin' Increases 18x in Price

October 15 2021

Video: Gloss

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Sotheby's sale of Banksy's Love is in the Bin made headlines last night after it achieved a record £18.5m (inc. commission) over its £4m - £6m estimate. The same painting had sold for £1,042,000 (inc. commission) a mere three years ago.

It seems that this is proof that gimmicks really can be sustained over a period of time, even if the original trick was one that was supposed to poke fun at the art market in the first place. A beautiful irony, I suppose.

A Rediscovered Reynolds (?) Unveiled at Art Fair

October 14 2021

Image of A Rediscovered Reynolds (?) Unveiled at Art Fair

Picture: The Telegraph

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Daily Telegraph have published news today of a rediscovered painting reputedly by Joshua Reynolds which has been unveiled at the Cotswold Antique Dealers Association Fair this week. The painting has been researched by the dealer Russell Strachan who purchased the picture at auction and has since had the picture conserved.

In terms of the authentication of the picture, the article reads:

Mr Strachan said that two Reynolds experts had looked at the painting, with one telling him "he found no reason to think it was not by Reynolds".

As it happens, I was contacted by the writer of the article late last night. My first question was, who exactly were the experts that were consulted? As the published article suggests, no details were supplied which does not bode particularly well. If one really wants to make a splash with a discovery, the credentials of experts need to be disclosed to give weight to such claims, in my opinion.

Spanish and Italian Drawings at the National Library of Spain

October 14 2021

Image of Spanish and Italian Drawings at the National Library of Spain

Picture: bne.es

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The National Library of Spain in Madrid are opening a new exhibition tomorrow on Spanish and Italian Drawings of the Sixteenth Century. Drawing from their own collections consisting of more that 77 folios, many of the works on display have never been exhibited to the public. Spanish artists represented in the exhibition include the likes of Damián Forment, Pietro Morone, Luis de Vargas (Angelino de Medoro); Gaspar Becerra, Blas de Prado, Francisco Pacheco and El Greco. The Italian drawings are represented by works by Niccolò Circignani, Ludovico Cigoli, Jacopo da Empoli, Alessandro Casolani, Pietro Sorri and newly attributed works to Orazio Samacchini, Nosadella, Camillo Procaccini and Bartolomeo Passerotti, Agostino Carracci and Guido Reni.

The show will run until 16th January 2022.

Symposium on Italian Drawings at the Teylers Museum

October 14 2021

Image of Symposium on Italian Drawings at the Teylers Museum

Picture: Teylers Museum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Teylers Museum in Haarlem are hosting a free online symposium on The Italian Drawings of the 17th and 18th Centuries in the Teylers Museum on 27th October 2021. 

According to the event's blurb:

The Italian drawings in the collection of the Teyler Museum are world-famous. They belong to the most important acquisition in the museum's history: the purchase in 1790 of several albums of drawings from the collection of Queen Christina of Sweden (1626-1689) and Roman nobleman Livio Odescalchi (1658-1713). Overnight, the brand-new museum came into possession of over 1700 drawings. 

The seventeenth and eighteenth-century drawings, with sheets by Bernini, Carracci, Guido Reni, Gercino, Salvator Rosa and many others, are now described in a new catalogue by Carel van Tuyll van Serooskerken. Van Tuyll, former chief curator of Teylers Museum and head of the department of prints and drawings in the Louvre, spent over twenty years researching this part of the collection, which consists of 900 drawings. In this online symposium, he will present the most significant findings of his research, and three international experts will respond.

Attendance is free although registration is required.

Curator Talks on Vermeer

October 14 2021

Image of Curator Talks on Vermeer

Picture: Dresden Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

CODART (Network of Curators of Dutch and Flemish Art) have drawn attention to a series of online lectures (in various languages) presented by leading curators on various subjects relating to Vermeer. These lectures will be scheduled between October and December, coinciding with Dresden's current Vermeer exhibition.

Among the lecturers included will be the likes of Uta Neidhardt, Gregor Weber, Betsy Wieseman, Silke Gatenbröcke, Xavier Salomon, Friederike Schütt, Katja Kleinert, Bart Cornelis and Uta Neidhardt.

Attendance is free although registration is required.

Whistler: Art & Legacy - Limiting Collections

October 13 2021

Image of Whistler: Art & Legacy - Limiting Collections

Picture: The Hunterian

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Hunterian Museum in Glasgow's exhibition Whistler: Art & Legacy will be closing at the end of this month. However, the museum are putting on a fascinating panel discussion on 19th October 2021 on the topic of 'Historical limitations on the use of museum collections: the ethics of change'. The inspiration came from the bequest rules surrounding the Hunterian's vast collection of Whistler works, which limit their display to Glasgow only.

The panel will include Dr Xavier Bray, Director of the Wallace Collection, London, Duncan Dornan, Head of Museums and Collections at Glasgow Life, Dr Grishka Petri, Honorary Research Fellow (University of Glasgow, School of Culture & Creative Arts), Dr Elena Cooper, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, CREATe, University of Glasgow.

One can imagine the panel will represent a majority of those in favour of change, especially as the panel contains representatives of institutions who have successfully overturned rules of bequests in recent times.

Fondation Custodia Upload Rembrandt and Circle Drawings

October 13 2021

Image of Fondation Custodia Upload Rembrandt and Circle Drawings

Picture: Fondation Custodia

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News has arrived via. Twitter that the Fondation Custodia in Paris have uploaded 166 sheets by Rembrandt and his Circle onto their fantastic online collections database. Their collection contains no less that 21 examples by Rembrandt himself. 

I do recommend heading over to their site to browse for yourself, where you'll find beautiful examples like this Samuel van Hoogstraten in high definition. It will surely be an exciting day when the institutions full collection is uploaded online.

Experience Goya in Lille

October 13 2021


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Palais des Beaux-arts de Lille will be opening their latest exhibition later this week. Experience Goya will feature more than 80 original works, half by the artist, in what it describes as an 'immersive, aesthetic and sensory experience [with] (videos and soundscapes etc.)'. The exhibition will also include later piece that show a response to Goya's work, including examples from Delacroix, Manet, Dali and many other artists running up to the present day.

The show will run until 14th February 2022.


Speaking as someone who is rather sensitive to music, I do wonder if the soundtrack to the video above is enhancing or off putting...

Julien Dupré Online Catalogue Raisonné

October 13 2021

Image of Julien Dupré Online Catalogue Raisonné

Picture: juliendupre.org

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Rehs Gallery in New York have published an online Catalogue Raisonné for the artist Julien Dupré (1851-1910). Dupré grew up in Paris and contributed many pictures to the Paris Salon from 1876 onwards.

Explaining more about the history of the project:

During the project's early years, Mr. Howard Rehs [The gallery's owner] received encouragement from Dr. Gabriel P. Weisberg and Yvonne Weisberg, who kindly shared their earlier research on the artist, and recommended several research assistants, including Fleur Levitz and Lynsi Spaulding in the U.S. and Stéphanie Peyrissac in France. Mr. Rehs also met Jérémie Jouan, a descendent of the artist who has generously shared his own research into Dupré's extended family history. As the catalogue raisonné began to take shape, the Weisbergs again played a crucial role in introducing Mr. Rehs to art historian Janet Whitmore, Ph.D., who joined the project full time in 2015.

As AHN welcomes the news of such research, no matter how well-known or obscure the artist, this will earn the Rehs Gallery a place in the highly coveted 'Heroes of Art History' section of this blog.

Salvator Mundi gets NFT Makeover

October 13 2021

Image of Salvator Mundi gets NFT Makeover

Picture: Artnet.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Well, I suppose it was only a matter of time before the world's most expensive painting would be taken hostage by so-called 'crypto-artists'.

Artnet.com have published a short article on the new work of Hansen Wang entitled 'The Greats', which sees Leonardo's work transformed into several styles inspired by famous artists.

Big institutions are also pilling on the NFT bandwagon, with the British Museum being the latest to announce it will be selling digital postcards of works by the likes of Hokusai.


Of course, if you want a 'digital work of art' for display at home, I recommend heading over to Google Images and using the right-click button of your mouse to download your very own JPEG. There we are!

'Les Animaux du Roi' at Versailles

October 12 2021

Video: Château de Versailles

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Palace of Versailles have opened their latest exhibition today entitled Les Animaux du Roi.

According to the website's blurb:

The exhibition aims to illustrate the bond between the Court of Versailles and animals, whether “companion animals” (dogs, cats and birds, mainly), exotic beasts or “wild” creatures. No study of the Palace during the reign of Louis XIV would be complete without considering the Royal Menagerie, which the Sun King had installed close to the Grand Canal. It was home to the rarest and most exotic animals – from coatis to quaggas, cassowaries to black-crowned cranes (nicknamed the “royal bird”) – constituting an extraordinary collection in which the king took ever greater pride.

The exhibition, which seems to feature a great deal of old master paintings, will run until 13th February 2022.

Lost Chopin Portrait Reappears in Poland (?)

October 12 2021

Image of Lost Chopin Portrait Reappears in Poland (?)

Picture: thefirstnews.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A reader has been in touch with this rather curious story from Poland. A rediscovered portrait of the composer Frederic Chopin has turned up after being purchased at an antique market near Lublin. Although the canvas was in awful condition (see left), traces of a signature have been found on it. The current owners are trying to prove the work was made during the composer's life time, rather than a later copy of this well known image.

According to the article:

The painting has now been taken out of its vault to be viewed by Bożena Schmid-Adamczyk, curator of the Fryderyk Chopin and George Sand Museum on Majorca, who is in Warsaw for the International Chopin Competition taking place in Warsaw this month.

'AI' Recreates Image Underneath Picasso

October 12 2021

Image of 'AI' Recreates Image Underneath Picasso

Picture: The Times

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Times reported at the weekend of news that scientists at University College London have managed to recreate a picture painted over by Picasso. The Blind Man's Meal, dating to 1903 and now kept at the MET in New York, had long been known to have been painted over an unfinished nude.

According to the article:

Bourached and Cann trained an algorithm to simulate how the original painting looked by analysing Picasso’s brush strokes in other paintings. 

“It’s very exciting to see a work that’s been locked up,” Cann told the Sunday Telegraph. “It’s quite eerie seeing the brushstrokes, colour and the way in which light reflects off the work. It’s a very beautiful piece. 

“I hope Picasso would be happy in knowing the treasure he’s hidden for future generations is finally being revealed, 48 years after his death and 118 years after the painting was concealed. I also hope the woman within the portrait would be happy in knowing that she hadn’t been erased from history and that her beauty was finally being revealed in the 21st century.”


Indeed, I wonder what Picasso would have made of this image...

Tiepolo Discovered in Weston Hall Attic

October 12 2021

Video: Dreweatts

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The UK Press has shared news of a rediscovered drawing by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo has been discovered in a safe at Weston Hall. The auctioneers Dreweatts discovered the drawing as part of cataloguing the contents of the house for general sale.

The drawing will be offered for sale in November carrying an estimate of £150,000 - £200,000.

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