Colnaghi’s at New York’s Old Masters Week

Posted in Art Market by Editor on January 23, 2016


Luis Egidio Meléndez, Still Life with Oysters,
Plate of Eggs, Garlic and Receptacles
, 1772.

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As noted at Art Daily (20 January 2016). . .

Colnaghi’s Winter Exhibition of European Old Master Paintings and Sculpture will be held in the prestigious New York Galleries of Carlton Hobbs, from 21st to 30th January 2016, located at 60 East 93rd Street, together with Tomasso Brothers and Carlton Hobbs LLC. This joint exhibition will represent the first Colnaghi’s show in the United States after its merger with the Fine Art Dealers Coll & Cortés (London and Madrid). The exhibition will coincide with the New York annual Old Masters Week. The aim of this exhibition is to display the latest discoveries and examples of masterpieces that have never been presented before to the American public.

Still Life with Oysters, Plate of Eggs, Garlic and Receptacles is one of the most beautiful works by the highly regarded painter of still lifes, Luis Egidio Meléndez (Naples, 1716 – Madrid, 1780). The painting represents food and utensils typical of any eighteenth-century Spanish kitchen, but in Meléndez’s hands the arrangement results in an image of timeless and sublime beauty. This composition was so successful that Meléndez repeated it several times with small variations. One example that is particularly close to the one presented here, although slightly smaller is now in the collection of The Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid. The work is signed and dated in black on the table edge at the right : Ls. Eo. Mz. Do ANNO 1772.

Colnaghi will also be exhibiting a Magnificat Anima Mea (My soul doth magnify the Lord) by the Spanish Baroque painter, Francisco de Zurbarán. The painting is signed ‘FZ’, and it has been dated by the artists scholar Odile Delenda between 1628 and 1630. This beautiful image was discovered by D. Manuel Gómez Moreno in the south of Spain in the middle of the twentieth century. After being rediscovered by Colnaghi it will be shown for the first time in more than 80 years.

Unlike painting, the art of polychrome sculpture is remarkable for the fact that many of its greatest masterpieces are not in museums but in the churches, convents and cathedrals for which they were originally made. Rather than being considered primarily as art works, Spanish polychrome sculpture is still revered today primarily for its function, as religious objects that are worshiped by the devout and carried through the streets during the annual Holy Week. But this fact has recently changed and a testimony to this shift is that museums have begun to acquire masterpieces of Spanish Sculpture. The Metropolitan Museum of Art acquired Pedro de Mena’s Ecce Homo and Mater Dolorosa from Coll & Cortés in 2014. They are now on display at one of the museum’s galleries dedicated to the Spanish art of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (Gallery 611). Notable for its outstanding quality is an Infant Christ by Mena (Spanish, Granada 1628–1688 Málaga). Carved wood sculpture, enhanced by paint and other media, including glass eyes and hair. Equally impacting is Mena’s highly sensitive Saint John the Baptist, made by Polychrome wood, glass and silver. The eyebrows, almond-shaped eyes and the modelling of the head and locks of hair that are softly carved to appear like modelled clay.

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