Deaccessioned (?) Tudor Portrait Interest

November 16 2021

Image of Deaccessioned (?) Tudor Portrait Interest

Picture: Butterscotch Auctions

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Twitter is awash with Tudor fans excited about the reappearance of a Portrait of a Lady catalogued as 'Anglo-Dutch School 17th Century - Mary Queen of Scots'. Auction watcher Francis Mouton has already pointed out that the portrait is not that of Mary, but, perhaps a member of the family of Lady Jane Grey. Furthermore, the painting may have been owned by John Pierpont Morgan and was later deaccessioned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 1954.

The painting will be sold at Butterscotch Auctions, NY, on 21st November 2021 carrying an estimate of $5,000 - $10,000. 

Macklowe Collection Realises $676m

November 16 2021

Image of Macklowe Collection Realises $676m

Picture: Sotheby's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

It seems that all's well at the top end of the art market.

Sotheby's New York's Macklowe Collection sale of Modern and Contemporary Art realised an eye watering $676m (inc. commission) yesterday evening. The sale was instigated by the divorce of collector Harry Macklowe and his museum trustee ex-wife Linda.

Press reports have heralded the sale as the greatest test for the high-end art market since the beginning of the pandemic. In fact, the sale passed the test with flying colours as each of the 35 lots in the evening sale were sold. The top lot was Rothko's No. 7 (1951) which realised $82.5m (inc. commission).

'Picasso - El Greco' in Basel

November 16 2021

Image of 'Picasso - El Greco' in Basel

Picture: Kunstmuseum Basel

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

I've spotted this rather interesting exhibition which is scheduled for next year. Picasso - El Greco will be the Kunstmuseum Basel's headline exhibition for 2022 and will open next June.

According to the exhibition's blurb:

In a large special exhibition, the Kunstmuseum illuminates the encounter of Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) with the old master El Greco (1541– 1614), born Doménikos Theotokópoulos in Crete. Masterworks by both artists are juxtaposed in some forty pairings, tracing the course of one of the most fascinating dialogues in the history of art. Prestigious loans from across the globe are assembled around a core of Picasso masterworks from the museum’s own collection.

El Greco’s unmistakable painting style won him considerable fame in his day. Soon after his death, however, his work was largely forgotten. It was only around 1900 that an El Greco revival was launched, with Picasso serving on the front lines. His engagement with the Greek-Spanish master not only went far deeper than has previously been assumed but also lasted much longer. El Greco’s influence is just as palpable in Picasso’s works from the 1930s and 1940s as it is in the earlier Cubist paintings. Even at the end of his life, Picasso continued to reference El Greco. Not only does the show open up new perspectives on two towering artists of their times. It also offers fresh insight into their importance as a constellation for the development of avant-garde art in the twentieth century.

Christie's December Evening Sale

November 15 2021

Image of Christie's December Evening Sale

Picture: Christie's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Christie's London have uploaded the online catalogue for their upcoming December Old Master Paintings Evening sale. The auction will take place on 7th December 2021.

Amongst the top lots are Constable's sketch of Salisbury Cathedral estimated at £2m - £3m; Valentin de Boulogne's The Dream of Saint Joseph estimated at £1.2m - £1.8m; El Greco's Portrait of a Man estimated at £800k - £1.2m; a Massacre of the Innocents by Pieter Brueghel the Younger estimated at £1m - £1.5m; a church interior by Emanuel de Witte estimated at £500k - £800k and a charming group portrait of the Nugent Family by Johann Zoffany estimated at £800k - £1.2m.

Amongst the more interesting resurfaced pictures is this portrait by Thomas Gainsborough possibly depicting the composer Antonín Kammel (1730–1784 or 1785). Regular readers might remember that the story of this painting was published in the press back in April having been purchased at a French auction for £2,500. The work will now be sold by Christie's carrying an estimate of £70k - £100k.

Caravaggio / Longhi Exhibition in Poland

November 15 2021

Video: Zamek Królewski w Warszawie - Muzeum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Royal Castle in Warsaw have recently opened a new exhibition last week entitled The Time of Caravaggio in the Collection of Roberto Longhi

According to the exhibition's blurb:

We owe the rediscovery of Caravaggio's role and legacy to, among others, the eminent Italian art historian Roberto Longhi (1889-1970). His fascination with the Lombardy master and his followers was the staple of his research, beginning with his dissertation defended in 1911 at the University of Turin. Longhi immediately recognised the revolutionary influence of Caravaggio's painting and hailed the artist as the first painter of the modern era. In his Florentine home, the Villa Il Tasso, Roberto Longhi amassed a collection of works by masters of different eras, which were the subject of his studies. Caravaggionists' works gathered around Boy Bitten by a Lizard by Merisi are a major part of this collection. This particular painting dates from Caravaggio's early period in Rome (c. 1596-1597). Caravaggio's very naturalistic treatment of detail and astonishing handling of light convincingly capture the moment when, bitten by a lizard, the frightened youth suddenly withdraws his arm. In addition to Caravaggio's masterpiece, the exhibition includes over 40 paintings by Caravaggio's followers and artists who throughout the 17th century remained under the influence of his original style.

The show will run until 10th February 2022.

Apollo's Acquisitions of the Year

November 15 2021

Image of Apollo's Acquisitions of the Year

Picture: Apollo

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

It has come to the time of the year when critics start to gather their annual highlights. The Apollo Magazine have written up a list of their Museum Acquisitions of 2021, which includes a few historic art works.

As it so happens, further to my post last week, The Getty Museum have confirmed rumours that they had indeed purchased Gustave Caillebotte's Young Man at a Window from the Cox Collection sale at Christie's for $53m.

La Surprise at the Getty Museum

November 15 2021

Image of La Surprise at the Getty Museum

Picture: Getty

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Getty Museum in Los Angeles will be opening yet another interesting exhibition later this month. La Surprise: Watteau in Los Angeles will be celebrating the museum's 2017 acquisition of the said painting (pictured), and will bring together a selection of Watteau's works from private collections.

According to the website:

On view November 23, 2021, to February 20, 2022, La Surprise: Watteau in Los Angeles brings together a dozen paintings and drawings from public and private collections in celebration of a recent Getty painting acquisition, La Surprise. 

“Los Angeles is well known as a center for collections of contemporary art. Somewhat surprising, however, is the fact that the city is also home to an extraordinary group of works by Watteau,” explains Timothy Potts, Maria Hummer-Tuttle and Robert Tuttle Director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “The three-hundredth anniversary of his death affords us an opportunity to showcase some of the artist’s most distinguished drawings and paintings from local public and private collections, including our new acquisition of La Surprise. This will be the first exhibition on the West Coast to showcase this supremely innovative and enchanting artist, who was celebrated as the preeminent master of early 18th-century French painting.”

Courtauld Reframe Picture to Botticelli's Design

November 15 2021

Image of Courtauld Reframe Picture to Botticelli's Design

Picture: The Sunday Times

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Yesterday's The Sunday Times shared news that the Courtauld Gallery have reframed a painting using Botticelli's own designs found on the back of a painting. The designs were uncovered through infra-red scans of the gallery's The Holy Trinity with Saints Mary Magdalen and John the Baptist, which revealed notes Botticelli had seemingly left for the original framer. The reproduction of these designs was realised by Timothy Newbery, a craftsman and historian based in Castle Douglas, Dumfries and Galloway.

According to the article:

The painting, on a wood panel, is thought to have been produced between 1491 and 1494 for the Sant’ Elisabetta convent in Florence.  The sketches are thought to have been by Botticelli himself as a guide for a carver. They showed the design for the frame in which he wanted the painting to be displayed, above the altar in the convent’s chapel. The drawings show columns running up each side of the painting and the shape of the cross in the middle. 

Karen Serres, the gallery’s paintings curator, said the find was “super-interesting” and “it felt like we were participating in this dialogue that was happening in the studio”. 

She said: “You can just imagine that Botticelli is there with the person who’s made the panel, and they’re also working out what the frame should look like. It’s all kind of doodly.”

Queen's University Gifted 12 Paintings

November 15 2021

Image of Queen's University Gifted 12 Paintings

Picture: Queen's University

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Queen's University in Kingston, Canada, have been gifted 12 paintings by philanthropist Isabel Bader, wife of the late Dr. Alfred Bader. The paintings, which are the latest gift to the institution, will be housed in the university's Agnes Etherington Arts Centre.

The 12 works include the following (click here for a full set of images):

Pieter Claesz, Still Life with a Rummer and a Shrimp, 1646.

Carstian Luyckx, Still Life with Gilt Cup, Glass Holder, Silver Beaker, Nautilus Shell, Fruit and Oysters Arranged on a Draped Ledge, around 1650.

Constantijn Verhout, A Man Looking into a Jug, possibly Cornelis Abrahamsz. Graswinckel, 1662.

Jacobus Vrel, A Woman Darning a Stocking, around 1654.

Unknown Artist (after Rembrandt van Rijn), David Presenting the Head of Goliath to Saul, after 1639.

Unknown Artist, Mountain Landscape with a View of a Walled Town, around 1640.

Heyman Dullaert, Young Scholar in his Study, around 1655.

Jacob Foppens van Es, Still Life with Lobster on a Pewter Plate, after 1617.

Unknown Artist, Portrait of a Woman, around 1625.

Master IS, Two Scholars in a High Room, 1640. (pictured)

Jan van Noordt, Joseph Selling Grain in Egypt, around 1675.

Jan Peeters I, A Ship in a Stormy Sea, around 1645 – 1652.

New Catalogue: German Paintings in the Städel Museum

November 12 2021

Image of New Catalogue: German Paintings in the Städel Museum

Picture: Städel Museum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

CODART (International Network of Curators of Dutch and Flemish Art) have shared news that the Städel Museum have published a new two volume catalogue of their German Paintings. The catalogue covers the period of 1550-1725 and was edited by Almut Pollmer-Schmidt with Christiane Weber and Fabian Wolf.

According to the brief write-up:

 The two-volume catalogue includes new research on paintings by Adam Elsheimer, Georg Flegel, Johann Heinrich Roos and others who are closely related to their Dutch contemporaries. In addition, several paintings have been re-attributed to Dutch artists, including a self-portrait by Wallerant Vaillant (1623-1677). 

All the works have been examined in detail from the perspective of both art history and painting technology based on the most recent scientific methods. The incorporation of the respective cultural-historical background gives rise to new insights regarding the creation, attribution, identification, or interpretation of the individual paintings. The overview provides insights into the history of the collection, exhibitions, and research, and opens up a panorama of multi-layered art production in early modern Germany.

MHNA Acquire Portrait from Dorotheum

November 12 2021

Image of MHNA Acquire Portrait from Dorotheum

Picture: Dorotheum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Ruud Priem, curator of the Musée national d'histoire et d'art Luxembourg (MHNA), has shared news on Twitter that the museum have acquired a portrait from the Dorotheum's recent old master paintings sale. The portrait in question was catalogued as Dutch 17th century 'Portrait of a gentleman wearing a marriage medallion of the Elector Palatine Frederik V and Elisabeth Stuart' and realised €28,160. Ruud has also explained that a potential attribution to David Bailly (1584-1657) is also being investigated.

New Release: Rubens in Repeat

November 12 2021

Image of New Release: Rubens in Repeat

Picture: Getty Publications

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Getty Publication's latest November release is Aaron M. Hyman's book Rubens in Repeat: The Logic of the Copy in Colonial Latin America.

According to the book's blurb:

This book examines the reception in Latin America of prints designed by the Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens, showing how colonial artists used such designs to create all manner of artworks and, in the process, forged new frameworks for artistic creativity. Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) never crossed the Atlantic himself, but his impact in colonial Latin America was profound. Prints made after the Flemish artist's designs were routinely sent from Europe to the Spanish Americas, where artists used them to make all manner of objects. Rubens in Repeat is the first comprehensive study of this transatlantic phenomenon, despite broad recognition that it was one of the most important forces to shape the artistic landscapes of the region. Copying, particularly in colonial contexts, has traditionally held negative implications that have discouraged its serious exploration. Yet analyzing the interpretation of printed sources and recontextualizing the resulting works within period discourse and their original spaces of display allow a new critical reassessment of this broad category of art produced in colonial Latin America-art that has all too easily been dismissed as derivative and thus unworthy of sustained interest and investigation. This book takes a new approach to the paradigms of artistic authorship that emerged alongside these complex creative responses, focusing on the viceroyalties of New Spain and Peru in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It argues that the use of European prints was an essential component of the very framework in which colonial artists forged ideas about what it meant to be a creator.

Donor Purchases Hudson for The National Trust

November 12 2021

Image of Donor Purchases Hudson for The National Trust

Picture: The Daily Telegraph

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Daily Telegraph have shared news that a mystery donor has stepped in to purchase an eighteenth-century portrait for Wimpole Hall, a property owned and run by The National Trust. The portrait of Lady Elizabeth Yorke, Lady Anson, by Thomas Hudson had been on loan to the Trust by descendants of the family.

However, the portrait had been set to be included within the 2021 July sale at Sotheby's, where a selection of other Yorke family portraits by the likes of George Romney and Francis Cotes were due to be sold. The painting had been offered to the Trust in 2014, however, the trust were then said to be unable to find the c.£30,000 to be able to purchase it. Fortunately, a mystery donor has stepped in to purchase the painting for Wimpole Hall in Cambridgeshire.


This is a rather beautiful Hudson, as one can see. Let's hope the Trust find money to have it cleaned. The transformation would surely be breath-taking!

Update - Here's an article from the National's Trust's website.

Cox Collection Achieves $332m

November 12 2021

Image of Cox Collection Achieves $332m

Picture: Christie's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Christie's New York's sale of The Cox Collection achieved a very impressive $332,031,500 last night.

Many of the impressionist and post impressionist masterpieces on offer soared past their estimates. The pictured Monet realised $6,270,000 (all prices inc. commission) over its $700k - $1m estimate; Van Gogh's Young Boy realised $46,732,500 over its $5m - $7m estimate; a Degas dancer realised $1,950,00 over its $500k - $800k estimate; and a Pissaro landscape of Rouen achieved $2,010,000 over its $600k - $900k estimate. Important and impressive landscapes met or exceeded their estimates, including those by the likes of Cezanne which achieved $55,320,00, and two by Van Gogh which realised $35,855,000 and $71,350,000 respectively. The most anticipated lot, Gustave Caillebotte's Young Man at a Window, achieved $53,030,000.

Update - There are rumours on Twitter (via. @artdetective) that The Getty Museum was the buyer of Caillebotte's Young Man.

Prado Downgrades Salvator Mundi

November 11 2021

Image of Prado Downgrades Salvator Mundi

Picture: Christie's

Posted by the Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Art Newspaper has published news that the Salvator Mundi has been downgraded in an upcoming exhibition catalogue published by the Prado Museum in Madrid. A new exhibition dedicated to Leonardo and the copy of the Mona Lisa will open at the museum in January 2022. The work has been catalogued as part of the section entitled 'attributed works, workshop or authorised and supervised by Leonardo.' More specifically, the catalogue essay by curator Ana Gonzáles Mozo states that there is 'no painted prototype' by Leonardo.

According to the article:

Mozo proposes that another copy of Salvator Mundi, the so-called Ganay version (1505-15), is the closest to Leonardo’s lost original. Acquired by the marquis de Ganay in 1939, it was sold at Sotheby’s in 1999 and is now in an anonymous private collection. Mozo argues that the skilled workshop artist who painted the Ganay Salvator Mundi was also responsible for the Prado’s early copy of the Mona Lisa (1507-16). Although the catalogue includes a full-page image of the Ganay Salvator Mundi, the Cook version [the Christie's version that sold in 2015] is not even illustrated.

La España romántica. Roberts, Villaamil

November 11 2021

Video: Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando have opened an exhibition last month dedicated to Spanish watercolours by David Roberts (1796-1864) and Genaro Pérez Villaamil (1807-1854). The exhibition will feature a great number of watercolours and artworks showing how both traveller-artists participated in the cultural rediscovery Spain, North Africa and the Middle East.

The exhibition will run until 16th January 2022.

Plautilla Bricci (1616-1690) Exhibition

November 11 2021

Image of Plautilla Bricci (1616-1690) Exhibition

Picture: Galleria Corsini

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Galleria Corsini in Rome have recently opened a new exhibition dedicated to the female architect Plautilla Bricci (1616-1690), who was supposedly was 'the first female architect in pre-industrial Europe'. The exhibition is the first time pictorial, graphic and documentary evidence has been brought together to celebrate Bricci's life and career. It also includes this rather interest painting which is said to represent Bricci as an Allegory of Architecture (pictured).

The exhibition will run until 19th April 2021.

Jacob Backer's Euterpe Identified

November 10 2021

Image of Jacob Backer's Euterpe Identified


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News from the Netherlands that a music historian has identified the sitter in a painting by Jacob Backer (1608-1651). Long described as being a representation of the Muse Euterpe, scholar Thiemo Wind has managed to identify the sitter as Adriana van den Bergh. Adriana, a flute player, had a booklet of music dedicated to her as a young girl. Wind's explorations into the seventeenth century archives managed to find a specific reference to Backer's painting of the girl found in a document relating to the estate of her brothers. She eventually married a merchant Jan Verstegen, bore him nine children, and ended up bankrupt.

The painting survives in an unknown private collection having been sold from the Albert Vandervelden Foundation in the past.

€600, €13,500 and finally €130,000

November 10 2021

Image of €600, €13,500 and finally €130,000

Picture: artcurial

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

@AuctionRadar on Twitter has posted a rather interesting observation regarding a previous 'Sleeper' he has been following over the past year. The following portrait, then unidentified and described as 'Dutch School 18th Century', realised €13,500 over its €600 estimate in a regional auction house earlier in March. The same painting, now given to Jan de Bray (1626-1698) in full, realised a total of €169,000 (inc. commission) at Artcurial in Paris yesterday. A good example what a difference the right attribution can make!

Equally, the aforementioned Mona Lisa copy made a respectful €210,000 (hammer price) over its €150k - €200k estimate in the very same sale. Have we finally seen the end of bonkers prices for these Leonardo copies?! 

Update - I've been informed that the painting had in fact been sold as a Jan de Bray as recently as 1922. Here's a Twitter thread which explains more.

The National Gallery Probes Slavery Links

November 10 2021

Image of The National Gallery Probes Slavery Links

Picture: The National Gallery, London

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The National Gallery in London have made news headlines over the past few days for a report they have published investigating the links of paintings and individuals with slavery. This includes an examination of John Julius Angerstein (pictured), a key figure in the gallery's history who owned shares in a company that had in part profited from slave ships.

According to an article published in the The Art Newspaper:

The initial data, mainly covering the period between 1824 and 1880, records no fewer than 67 people with some connection. The links are either direct or through a professional encounter (such as the portrayal of a sitter involved in slavery) or someone owning a painting formerly belonging to a collector involved in the slave trade. 

A further 27 named people had links to the abolitionist movement; another 27 had links to both slavery and abolition, an indication of the complexity of the issues.

The National Gallery’s website states that “our project has started to find out about what links to slave-ownership can be traced within the gallery, and to what extent the profits from plantation slavery impacted our early history”. It stresses, however, that “inclusion on this list should not be understood to imply a direct connection with slavery”—many of the links are indirect.

The article has also pointed out the many and various references to slavery included within the Tate's current Hogarth exhibition. A particular mention is made of the printed caption for Hogarth's Self-portrait painting the Comic Muse (NPG):

Tate’s caption points out that “the chair is made from timbers shipped from the colonies, via routes which also shipped enslaved people”, arguably a rather tenuous link between Hogarth and slavery.


There are of course many various ways at looking at art. Although the prevailing fashion is to see absolutely everything through the often narrow lens of contemporary politics and morals, there surely must be room to argue the aesthetic case too?

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