New UK arts minister

January 9 2018

Here in the UK, the Prime Minister has been re-shuffling the Cabinet, or at least attempting to; the main person she wanted to move, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, refused to budge. Further down the ministerial ladder, the Arts Minister, John Glen, has been moved to the Treasury. Which was not entirely convenient for me, as I was due to meet him tomorrow, to discuss museum image fees. 

The new Arts Minister is now Michael Ellis. As the former minister Ed Vaizey says (on Twitter):

Congratulations Michael. Great guy. Though third arts Minister in less than 18 months not so good...

There is also a new Secretary of State for Culture, Matt Hancock.

Zurburan in the US

January 8 2018

Video: Meadows Museum

The Auckland Castle Zurburans are on tour in the US. Their next stop will be at the Frick in New York (which doesn't allow children in) from 31st Jan to 22nd April. More here.

Until recently they've been at the Meadows Museum in Dallas, which made the above, excellent video (which I've only just seen - sorry).

Study this, win £10k!

January 8 2018

Image of Study this, win £10k!

Picture: Royal Collection

The Burlington Magazine have launched a new £10,000 prize for the study of French 18th Century fine and decorative art. From the January editorial:

Initiated and funded by Richard Mansell-Jones,  a trustee of The Burlington Magazine Foundation, the scholarship  offers £10,000 to a student based anywhere in the world  who has embarked or is about to embark on an M.A. or Ph.D. or is undertaking research in a post-doctoral or independent  capacity. The deadline for applications is 1st March 2018, and the successful candidate will be chosen in April by a selection panel chaired by Christoph Vogtherr, Director of the Hamburger Kunsthalle and former Director of the Wallace Collection, London.

Nudity! Call the cops!

January 8 2018

Image of Nudity! Call the cops!

Picture: via Art Net News

In Utah, an art teacher was sacked, and the police called, after a class of sixth graders (11 to 12 year olds) were shown images of artworks which featured nudity. Sarah Cascone of ArtNet News has the story:

The four nude works, by artists Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Amedeo Modigliani, Francois Boucher, and Agnolo Bronzino, were part of a set of postcards that depicted 100 art-historical works, reproduced by Phaidon and called the Art Box. It had been purchased as a teaching tool by the school some years ago, before Rueda was hired [...]

some parents complained of “classroom pornography” and, within days, Rueda was suspended and then asked to resign. He refused, and was promptly fired.

But not to worry, Utah parents - the offending images have been shredded:

An anonymous complaint from a parent also brought the Cache County Sheriff’s Office to the scene. At the school, principal Jeni Buist was found destroying the pictures of nude works from the Art Box and other publications in the school library.

“She said she was putting the postcards and paintings in the shredder at the request of the school district so they wouldn’t be distributed again,” sheriff Chad Jensen told the Journal. “We got some of the pictures and showed them to the County Attorney’s Office, and they said these wouldn’t meet the definition of pornography. They declined to file charges.”

The Counter-Reformation had nothing on this.

Christie's New York Old Master drawings

January 8 2018

Video: Christie's

Here's drawing specialist Furio Rinaldi on some highlights from Christie's 30th January sale of Old Master drawings. Catalogue here

Sotheby's New York Old Master sales

January 8 2018

Video: Sotheby's

Sotheby's New York Old Master catalogues are online; with many wonderful things available to see. I'll write more about what's on offer soon. But here is the Evening sale, here is the Day sale, and here is the special catalogue for the collection of Otto Naumann, the Obi-Wan of the Old Master dealers, who is retiring from the business. 

UK export bar on £26.2m Guardi

January 8 2018

Image of UK export bar on £26.2m Guardi

Picture: Christie's

The UK government has placed a temporary export bar on the Guardi painting of the Rialto Bridge sold at Christie's last July for £26.2m. I suspect it's unlikely that any UK institution will want to raise the funds to keep it here, but you never know.

More here

Museum image fees (ctd.)

January 8 2018

Image of Museum image fees (ctd.)

Picture: British Museum

I'm looking forward to meeting John Glen MP, the arts minister, later this week to discuss museum image fees. One of the things we'll be focusing on is the way so many UK museums define 'academic' so tightly that nothing academic can in fact qualify for a free or discounted image. For example, here is the British Museum explicitly defining academic publications as 'commercial'.

The sad thing is, the British Museum used to be one of the most generous at giving free images to scholars.

Michelangelo's Royal Collection drawings

January 8 2018

Video: BBC

Here's a 'web exclusive' from Andrew Graham-Dixon's new Royal Collection series, looking at three presentation drawings by Michelangelo.

Update - the BBC's embed link doesn't seem to be working. You can see the clip here.

Royal Collection season on the BBC

January 8 2018

Video: BBC

Much to look forward to as the BBC explores the Royal Collection this year. More here

New entry fees at the Met

January 8 2018

Image of New entry fees at the Met

Picture: Met

Robin Pegrobin at the New York Times reports:

For the first time in half a century, visitors to the world’s largest cultural institution, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, will have to pay a mandatory admission fee of $25 if they do not live in New York State under a new policy that begins March 1, the museum announced on Thursday.

The Met says this is after a 'sharp decline' in the number of people willing to pay the 'suggested' donation of $25. But (given how difficult it is to actually get through the various barriers and guards without actually paying something) I suspect it may be more to do with the questionable financial management of the last few years. 

Guffwatch - Italian edition

January 4 2018

Image of Guffwatch - Italian edition

Picture: Gallery Luca Tommasi

A reader has sent in the below label from an exhibition in Milan of the work of American artist Peter Schuyff. It may be that something has been lost - or rather, gained - from the Italian translation. But I think you'll agree it's a prime example of art guff. 

By way of a contrast, I found a good quote from Schuyff himself, describing his paintings:

A woman telephoned me and asked me, “What are your paintings about?” And I said, “Don’t worry about that now. Just be thankful they are there.” I thought about that afterwards, and that really describes to me how my paintings are about nothing. How they deal with the problem of nothing.

This reminds me of my favourite art historical quote, by Turner on Ruskin:

He sees more in my pictures than I ever intended.

This should be carved in stone over the doorways of art history departments.

Stolen de Kooning returns to US museum (ctd).

January 4 2018

Image of Stolen de Kooning returns to US museum (ctd).

Picture: Silver City Sun News

It looks like the stolen $160m de Kooning abstract that was recently returned to the University of Arizona was stolen by a retired schoolteacher and his wife, who were simply de Kooning fans. Woman Ochre was stolen in 1985 by a couple who distracted a security guard on Thanksgiving Day - and was never seen until it was taken to an antiques store in 2017. The house in which the picture was found belonged to Rita and Jerome Alters, and there is much evidence to connect them to the theft. It turns out - according to the Silver City Sun News - that the painting used to hang behind the bedroom door (above), and seems to have been there since 1985:

Circumstantial evidence continues to pop up as this case proceeds with time. A search of the home quickly showed that the Alters like de Kooning, as several replica pieces were hanging throughout the home. 

The master bedroom window were the painting was found was blacked out. The de Kooning hung behind the bedroom door, concealed unless the door was closed. There was also a huge screw on the bottom of the wall where the painting was mounted so the door couldn't accidentally hit the painting when it was opened. 

A local Cliff artist said she had done a painting for the Alters and it was them on top of some horses in the Himalayas. When she went to the home to take a photo of it, she went into the bedroom where the painting was hanging. On her way out, she noticed the de Kooning on the wall and asked about it. She said the Alters didn't want to talk about the painting. 

Who's not on ArtUK?

January 4 2018

Video: ArtUK

On his always interesting blog, the RA boss Charles Saumarez Smith notes that King's College Cambridge has refused to participate in the ArtUK project. It's one of only three institutions in the whole of the UK that are not on ArtUK. One of the others is the Royal Collection, which makes up for it by having its own excellent website. Anyone know, who is the third?

Meanwhile, ArtUK is producing a series of videos for teachers, showing how the site can be used as a teaching aid. Above is one for English teachers. 

The art market in 2018

January 3 2018

Image of The art market in 2018

Picture: TAN

In The Art Newspaper, Georgina Adam makes her predictions for what lies ahead this year for the art market. She sees the sale of the Salvator Mundi having a significant effect, both in Old Masters and the use of guarantees.

New York's giant penis mural

January 3 2018

Video: CBS

Happy New Year to you all - I hope you had a good holiday, wherever you were. I've done a search for any art or art history related stories over Christmas, and it seems the only thing we've missed is a hoo-ha over a giant painting of a penis on a New York apartment block, which appeared on Christmas eve. It has now been painted over, and the artist has had their 15 minutes of fame. CBS's reporting of what it calls a 'massive pink and red male genitalia' is heavily censored, above. If you want to see the painting in all its glory, click here

Happy Christmas!

December 25 2017

Image of Happy Christmas!

Picture: BG

Season's greetings and Merry Christmas to all AHNers! The Deputy Editor and I thank you for all your interest in AHN over the last year, and particularly for your emails, Tweets and hellos; hearing from you is why we do it. We hope you have a restful and joyous holiday, wherever you are, and that your stockings bulge with gifts. The Deputy Editor is looking forward to seeing what Santa brings in the morning, and has decided that contrary to tradition, what he really likes to drink is chocolate milk.  

May all your art historical wishes come true in the New Year; see you in 2018!

New Jordaens discovery by JVDPPP

December 24 2017

Image of New Jordaens discovery by JVDPPP

Picture: JVDPPP/Museo Civici de Venezia

Excellent festive news from the Jordaens Van Dyck Panel Paintings Project; the team there have found a previously ignored version of Jordaens' Adoration of the Shepherds in the Museo Civici in Venice. The painting had been considered a copy of a painting by Jordaens in the Mayer Van Den Bergh Museum in Antwerp, but new analysis by the Project has found not only numerous pentimenti in the picture but also the panel makers' mark of Guilliam Aertsen of Antwerp on the back. Dendrochronology has revealed that the panel was made from a tree felled between 1612 and 1625, and intriguingly that the data was a close match to panels used by Van Dyck in some of his early Apostles series; the trees probably grew together in the same Baltic forest before being cut down and shipped to Antwerp. The Project believes the Venice Adoration to have been painted in about 1618. Incidentally, the shepherd bottom left is a model we frequently see in Rubens' paintings of the period. I would love to know who he was, this original hipster.

Not 'the last Leonardo'

December 24 2017

Image of Not 'the last Leonardo'

Picture: via Bloomberg

All you AHNers knew that the Salvator Mundi wasn't really 'the last Leonardo', (as Christie's billed it). But this article in Bloomberg has some interesting comments from Prof. Martin Kemp on both the Buccleuch and Lansdowne Madonnas of the Yarnwinder, which in theory could yet come back onto the market. The Buccleuch picture (above) I am lucky enough to see regularly, since it is loaned to the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh. It's quite easy to see where Leonardo stops and the later overpainted background begins. But I would love to see the Lansdowne version (below), which appears to be all of a piece. It is in an unknown private collection, having last been sold in 1999 by Wildenstein & Co in New York, and could one presumes reappear for sale at any moment (the Buccleuch picture, though privately owned, will likely never be sold).

'What's it worf?' Well, so much depends on condition and critical reception; but who's to say it wouldn't be at a similar level to the Salvator Mundi? Remember, there were six bidders on the Salvator Mundi, which means there are at least five disappointed Leonardo buyers out there. 

TAN's round up of the year

December 24 2017

Sound: The Art Newspaper

Here's a new Art Newspaper podcast, rounding up the year's art news.  

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