At Sotheby’s | The Female Triumphant

Posted in Art Market by Editor on February 3, 2019

Press release (30 January 2019), from Sotheby’s:

The Master Paintings Evening Sale, N10007
Sotheby’s, New York, 30 January 2019

Elisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun, Portrait of Muhammad Dervish Khan, 1788. The painting of India’s ambassador to France sold for $7.2million, surpassing it’s high estimate of $6million.

Sale of Elisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun’s Portrait of Muhammad Dervish Khan establishes a new world auction record for any female artist of the pre-modern era.

Sotheby’s annual Masters Week sales series kicked off on Wednesday in New York, with 170 paintings and drawings sold across two auctions for an overall total of $67.8 million. The day began with Sir Peter Paul Rubens’s drawing of a Nude Study of Young Man with Raised Arms (Lot 15) selling for $8.2 million—a new world auction record for any drawing by the iconic artist. That result helped propel the Old Master Drawings Sale (N10006) to a $15.1 million total, which itself marks the highest total for this category in Sotheby’s history. The Master Paintings Evening Sale (N10007) included the work of groundbreaking female artists of the 16th–19th centuries and established multiple auction records, most notably for Elisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun, whose Portrait of Muhammad Dervish Khan (Lot 48) achieved an incredible $7.2 million—a new world auction record for any female artist of the pre-modern era.

Sotheby’s Masters Week series continued through Saturday, with online sales of Old Masters and 19th Century European Art open for bidding through 6 February. Below is a look at some of the highlights that drove the results of Wednesday’s auctions:

The Female Triumphant

To highlight this year’s Masters Week sales series, Sotheby’s assembled a group of works by female artists of the pre-Modern era, celebrating the lives and important work of these groundbreaking women. Titled The Female Triumphant, the group features major paintings, drawings and sculpture created by leading female artists from the 16th through the 19th centuries.

Angelika Kauffmann, Portrait of Three Children, Likely Lady Georgina Spencer (Later Duchess of Devonshire), Lady Henrietta Spencer, and George Viscount Althorp, ca. 1766–70, oil on canvas.

Calvine Harvey, Specialist in Sotheby’s Old Master Paintings Department in New York, commented: “The number of Old Master female artists who succeeded and are known to us today remains incredibly few: in 2018, Sotheby’s sold only 14 works by female Old Masters, compared to 1,100 male artists. It’s important to remember that the obstacles women artists of the pre-Modern era faced were substantial, and those that broke down those barriers were truly triumphant. It was therefore such a thrill to see strong prices throughout our initial offering of works from The Female Triumphant—none more so than the monumental portrait by Elisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun that achieved a new auction record for any work by a female artist of the pre-Modern era. With additional records established for the work Fede Galizia, Angelica Kauffmann, and Giulia Lama, the market clearly responded to the work of these groundbreaking women, including both new and established collectors.”

The initial offering of The Female Triumphant collection featured the top lot of tonight’s auction: Elisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun’s life-sized Portrait of Muhammad Dervish Khan, which achieved an astounding $7.2 million, a new world auction record for any female artist of the pre-modern era. Painted in the summer of 1788 and exhibited at the Salon of 1789, when political unrest had begun to boil in France, the work stands today as a symbolic testament to the relationship between Pre-Revolutionary France and India.

Fede Galizia, A Glass Compote with Peaches, Jasmine Flowers, Quinces, and a Grasshopper, oil on panel.

Works from The Female Triumphant established additional auction records for Fede Galizia, Angelika Kauffmann, and Giulia Lama. A pioneer of the still life genre, which she helped invent in the early 17th-century, Fede Galizia’s A Glass Compote with Peaches, Jasmine Flowers, Quinces, and a Grasshopper (Lot 42) achieved $2.4 million (estimate $2/3 million). Although she produced fewer than 20 refined, naturalistic still life compositions on panel, these works inspired followers in her lifetime and are now considered her most important paintings.

One of the wealthiest families in England, the young generation of Spencers likely depicted in Angelika Kauffmann’s Portrait of Three Children (Lot 52), sold for $915,000, surpassing its high estimate of $800,000. One of the most cultured and influential women of her generation, Angelika Kauffmann holds a place of particular importance in European art history as one of only two female founding members of the Royal Academy.

The full press release is available here

More information about Le Brun’s Portrait of Muhammad Dervish Khan is available here

Lecture | Susan Rather, “Constructing the American School”

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on February 3, 2019

Susan Rather, “Constructing the American School”
The Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C., 7 February 2019

The Smithsonian American Art Museum invites you to join Dr. Susan Rather, Professor of Art History at the University of Texas at Austin, for a lecture entitled “Constructing the American School” on Thursday, 7 February 2019, at 4:00pm EST at the museum.

Professor Rather is the author of The American School: Artists and Status in the Late Colonial and Early National Era (New Haven and London: Yale University Press for the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 2016), which was awarded the 2018 Charles C. Eldredge Prize for Distinguished Scholarship in American Art from the Smithsonian American Art Museum–in addition to winning the New England Society Book Award for Art and being short-listed for the William MB Berger Prize for British Art History.

What did it mean to be an artist in the 18th- and early-19th-century Anglophone world, and how did artists come to be regarded as professionals distinct from artisan makers? Professor Rather addresses how she came to this project and how it developed, as well as the benefits of mining even the most familiar or the slightest textual evidence. Following brief consideration of well-known painters (Copley, West, and Stuart) who successfully engineered their own legacy, the lecture focuses on the necessity, challenges, and rewards of restoring non-elite painters to the narrative of American art at its beginnings.

Those unable to attend the lecture can watch a live webcast here»

New Book | Kunstmarkt und Kunstbetrieb in Rom, 1750–1850

Posted in books by Editor on February 3, 2019

From De Gruyter:

Hannelore Putz and Andrea Fronhöfer, eds., Kunstmarkt und Kunstbetrieb in Rom, 1750–1850: Akteure und Handlungsorte (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2019), 304 pages, ISBN 978-3110621884, €100 / $115. Series: Bibliothek des Deutschen Historischen Instituts in Rom 137.

Rom erlebte in der zweiten Hälfte des 18. Jahrhunderts und in den ersten Jahrzehnten des 19. Jahrhunderts tiefgreifende politische Umbrüche und ökonomische Krisen. Gleichzeitig prägte es als Kunstmetropole wie kein anderer Ort die europäischen Künstler und Kunstszene sowie den Kunstmarkt zwischen Klassizismus und Romantik. Hier studierten die jungen Maler, Bildhauer und Architekten antike und nachantike Kunstobjekte. Sie bildeten sich bei den zeitgenössischen Künstlern fort und nahmen im gegenseitigen Austausch kreativ Impulse auf. Auf dem in Europa rasch an Bedeutung gewinnenden freien Kunstmarkt trieb gerade der schier unerschöpfliche römische Sekundärmarkt (Handel mit Kunstobjekten, die sich auf dem Markt befinden), zu dem auch der Handel mit Antiken gehörte, auch den Primärmarkt (Handel mit „atelierfrischen“ Objekten) an. Der Tagungsband nimmt dieses lebendige und pulsierende Kunstgeschehen in den Blick. Er untersucht Produzenten, Agenten, Verkäufer und Käufer, widmet sich Verhandlungen um Preis und Wert und stellt auch die Frage nach dem Einfluss von Künstlern und Käufern auf die Produktion und Rezeption von Werken Bildender Kunst.

Hannelore Putz, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München; Andrea Fronhöfer, Oberhausmuseum Passau.


Hannelore Putz, Andrea Fronhöfer, Vorwort

• Hannelore Putz, Kunstmarkt und Kunstbetrieb in Rom in der ersten Hälfte des 19. Jahrhunderts: Eine Hinführung
• Paolo Coen, Fra tutela e mercato: Johann Joachim Winckelmann Commissario alle Antichità e Belle Arti
• Clare Hornsby, ‘Rome … to say the Truth Seems to be in a most Tottering State’: The Contrasting Fortunes of Some British Artist-Dealers, 1797–1805
• Gabriele B. Clemens, Die Kunstverkäufe des römischen Adels: Eine Basis neuer europäischer Sammlungen
• Valeria Rotili, L’atelier di Carlo Albacini tra collezionismo e mercato
• Marina Unger, Durand’sche Preise: Archäologie zwischen Wissenschaft und Kunstmarkt im Rom der 1830er Jahre
• Johannes Erichsen, Mehr als ein Sammler: König Ludwig I. von Bayern und die Korona der Kunst
• Mathias René Hofter, Winckelmann und die Kunstkäufe Ludwigs I. von Bayern
• Stefan Morét, Martin von Wagner (1777–1858): Ein Bildhauer und Maler im Dienst König Ludwigs I. von Bayern als Kenner und Käufer von Gemälden
• Johanna Selch, Der Kunstagent und sein Netzwerk. Johann Martin von Wagner in Rom
• Anne Viola Siebert, ‘… so bringen wir noch in Hannover so viel zusammen, um den Geschmack zu wecken’: August Kestner als Kunstkenner und Sammler in Rom, 1817–1853
• Susanne Adina Meyer, ‘Prima di partire’: Orte, Akteure und Strategien des römischen Ausstellungswesens, 1750–1840
• Andreas Stolzenburg, Franz Ludwig Catels Engagement für die deutsche Künstlerschaft in Rom und die Gründung des Pio Istituto Catel

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