Exhibition | Faces of Terror: Violence and Fantasy

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on February 27, 2016

The exhibition closes in Paris this weekend:

Faces of Terror: Violence and Fantasy from David to Delacroix
Visages de l’effroi: Violence et Fantastique de David à Delacroix
Musée de la Vie Romantique, Paris, 3 November 2015 — 28 February 2016
Musée Municipal, La Roche-sur-Yon, 19 March — 19 June 2016

visages-de-l-effroiWith a collection of more than 100 paintings, drawings and sculptures by David, Girodet, Gericault, Ingres and Delacroix, Faces of Terror presents French forms of fantastical Romanticism. This darker part of 19th-century art reveals a certain strength of spirit and provides a fascinating perspective on imagination during the romantic period.

Romanticism, although often reduced to a feeling of discontentment among the people of the 18th century that was generated by the upheavals of the time, without a doubt expresses the feeling of disenchantment of a whole generation, built on the ruins of the Ancien Régime and the tumult of the French Revolution. In the overflow of extreme emotions these artists skilfully found subjects for a new kind of aesthetic, exploring the dark side of the human soul, at a time when dreams and the irrational were emerging from the latency of Reason and the spirit of the Enlightenment period.

From the end of the 18th century, the form of Neoclassicism adopted by the greatest artists depicted the death of heroes and portrayed the violence of tragedies from ancient history, simultaneously justified by both moral values and academic proprieties. Terror, political upheaval and Napoleonic war generated a much more blatant perspective of horror that was no longer the prerogative of historical paintings. During the period of the Restoration of the monarchy, the development of the mainstream press led to broadcasts of reports of bloody violence across the country, which became topical issues for artists.

The Romantic period focuses on the supernatural and sometimes morbid, and depicts—thanks to an abundant but often unknown production of works of art—a crude reality as well as the strange, dusky figures of spectres and devils from the literature and poetry of the time. This dialogue with the supernatural is notably depicted in representations of the myth of Ossian, or in the success of Dante’s work with the torment of the condemned.

Jérôme Farigoule and Hélène Jagot, eds., Visages de l’effroi: Violence et fantastique de David à Delacroix (Liénart, 2015), 288 pages, ISBN: 978-2359061475, 26€.

At Auction | Rare Books at Ketterer Kunst in Hamburg

Posted in Art Market by Editor on February 27, 2016

From Art Daily:

From John Hill, Vegetable System

From John Hill, Vegetable System

It is a masterpiece of utmost rarity: the complete series of John Hill’s The Vegetable System (1759–75). The remarkably well-preserved copy will be called up with an estimate of €60,000 in the auction of Rare Books at Ketterer Kunst on 23/24 May (#430). One of the 18th century’s most elaborate botanic publications is thus offered on the auction market. The comprehensive work with 1544 colored copper plates delivers an extensive account of 26,000 different plants. Even the great Carl von Linné, founding father of modern taxonomy, noted in awe: “I almost fainted in the face of the magnificence of Hill’s work…” (Henrey). John Hill dedicated his lifetime achievement, which lead him into bankruptcy despite financially strong sponsors, to the Prince of Wales and later King George III.

A likewise noble provenance is also true for a Book of Hours made in Paris in 1533, as it is inscribed with the autographed ownership entry of the Elector and archbishop of Mainz, Georg Friedrich von Greiffenclau zu Vollrad. He, as well as the other owners, must have cherished the entirely illuminated work very much, since it still is in excellent condition. The price estimate is €20,000.

The work Atlas de la navigation et de du commerce by Louis Renard, published in 1739, carries the same estimate. The splendid work is based on the sea maps by Frederik de Wit; however, each map was thoroughly revised. Additionally, it features an extra world map in two hemispheres. All maps are in excellent print with a fine coloring.

The series of 80 sheets Los Caprichos by Francisco de Goya will be called up with an estimate of €16,000 and promises some excitement in the salesroom. The famous cycle of etchings, in which Goya scorns the church’s errors with bitter mockery and decries the political and social miseries of his days, had already been sold successfully by Ketterer Kunst in 2013 – both in the very rare first edition that was released in Goya’s lifetime (calling price: €96,000, result: €195,000*) as well as in sixth edition (calling price: €9,600, result: €25,000*).

One of the most beautiful and most comprehensive herbal- and medical books from the 15th and early 16th century could perhaps be available for the estimate of €12,000. The Hortus sanitatis, endowed with numerous expressive illustrated woodcuts, covers the drugs extracted from plants, animals, stones and metals and explains their medicinal benefits under the caption ‘operationes’.

The range of offerings is rounded off by George Edward’s work in several volumes Histoire naturelle (estimate: €28,000), as well as the autographed manuscript “The Seals of Obezvelvolpal” by Alexei Michailowitsch Remisov (estimate: €8,500), the first edition of the magnificent publication Paléographie universelle by Joseph Balthazar Silvestre (estimate: €5,000), Georges Bataille’s Histoire de l’oeil (estimate: €3,000), and The American Woods by Romeyn Beck Hough (estimate: €5,000), with more than 940 samples of wood.

Alongside rare books, manuscripts, autographs and decorative prints, the auction also comprises works of maritime and Northern German art. While the latter features works by, among others, Fritz Overbeck (Bergkuppe im Engadin, estimate: €3,000) and Fritz Fleer (St. Christophoros (Entwurfsmodell für St. Christophoros Hamburg), estimate: €2,500), the section of maritime art offers works such as Johannes Holst’s Vollschiff ‘Grossherzogin Elisabeth’ auf bewegter See (estimate: €4,000) and Anton Melbye’s Segelschiff and Besegelter Dampfer auf See vor einer Küste (estimate: €2,500).

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