Sweden Nationalmuseum Acquires Portrait of Marie-Gabrielle Capet

Posted in museums by Editor on December 13, 2022

From the press release:

Unknown French artist, Portrait of Marie-Gabrielle-Capet, 1780s, oil on canvas (Stockholm: Nationalmuseum, 7658).

Nationalmuseum has acquired a portrait of Marie-Gabrielle Capet, a French painter of pastels and miniatures. The portrait depicts the artist in the 1780s, when she was a close associate of Adélaïde Labille-Guiard, one of the most celebrated portrait painters of the day, and her future husband François-André Vincent. There is ample evidence to suggest that it was Vincent who painted this portrait of the young Capet.

Marie-Gabrielle Capet (1761–1818) was born in Lyon in humble circumstances. Thanks to well-connected acquaintances, in her twenties she became a pupil of the portrait painter Adélaïde Labille-Guiard, who was known for taking on female pupils only. Evidence of their close relationship can be seen in Labille-Guiard’s large self-portrait from 1785, now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Capet appears beside her teacher, along with another pupil, Marie Marguerite Carreaux de Rosemond. Labille-Guiard was one of the few female members of the French academy of fine arts, where she was a tireless advocate for women’s rights. In her personal life, she had a long-term relationship with her colleague François-André Vincent. In 1792 they bought a house together, where Capet also moved in.

The recently acquired portrait was likely painted a few years earlier. Labille-Guiard and Vincent both used their protégée Capet as a model, and there are several sketches of her as such, although none can be directly tied to the painting acquired by Nationalmuseum. The portrait shows her in a near-frontal pose, turning slightly to meet the onlooker with a piercing but gentle gaze, which betrays the close relationship between model and artist. The saturated colours and cohesive, symmetrical composition point to Vincent as the likely creator; these stylistic features had long made him Jacques-Louis David’s main rival in neoclassical painting.

In many respects, this portrait of Marie-Gabrielle Capet is a representation of a remarkable home, where artistic coworking and domestic roles were commingled. In an artistic sense, Capet seems to have been wholly dependent on her teacher Labille-Guiard. After the latter’s death in 1808, Capet continued looking after Vincent, whom she called ‘father’, until he died in 1816. Capet herself died only two years later, at the age of just 57, apparently from a broken heart and incapable of continuing her painting career.

“This portrait of Marie-Gabrielle Capet is notable for its unusually strong sense of presence. We really get the feeling of standing eye to eye with the model,” said Magnus Olausson, head of collections at Nationalmuseum. “With this acquisition, we can add another piece of the puzzle to the others in our collection spotlighting the great French female artists of the 18th century. So we are delighted that this significant work will shortly go on display at Nationalmuseum.”

The portrait of Marie-Gabrielle Capet will be on display in the 18th-century painting gallery from 1 February 2023.

Nationalmuseum receives no state funds with which to acquire design, applied art and artwork; instead the collections are enriched through donations and gifts from private foundations and trusts. This acquisition has been funded by a generous donation from the Sophia Giesecke bequest.


Exhibition | Women on Paper

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on December 13, 2022

From the press release for the exhibition:

Women on Paper
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 3 December 2022 — 5 June 2023

The Rijksmuseum presents Women on Paper, an exhibition about women who have made their mark on art history. Work by a selection of women artists from the Rijksmuseum collection has been brought together in five rooms in different parts of the museum. Included are drawings, prints, and photographs by Gesina ter Borch, Berthe Morisot, Käthe Kollwitz, and Julia Margaret Cameron, as well as recent acquisitions by Cornelia de Rijck and Thérèse Schwartze. Women on Paper is the result of a long-term study to take stock of work by women artists in the Rijksmuseum collection and create a more balanced representation in the collection and exhibition.

Cornelia de Rijck, Butterflies: A Small Tortoiseshell, a Dryas Lulia, a Heliconius Sara, a Large Tortoiseshell, a Heliconius Melpomene, a Comma, and Others, ca. 1700, watercolor and bodycolor, watermark posthorn within a shield surmounted by a crown, 28 × 20 cm (Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, purchased with the support of I.Q van Regteren Altena Fonds/Rijksmuseum Fonds). The work sold at Christie’s in New York on 28 January 2021 (online sale #19290, lot 71) for $30,000, ten times its high estimate.

Women were commonly educated within the family, and as with other professions, the production and publishing of prints was often a family business. Printmakers Diana Mantuana and Barbara van den Broeck developed into independent and enterprising engravers, and the 15th- and 16th-century print cabinet is dedicated to their work. The display in the 17th-century cabinets centres on the work of Magdalena de Passe and Gesina ter Borch. De Passe, like her three brothers, was trained as an engraver, and her work was highly regarded. Ter Borch came from an artistic family and devoted her life to art. On display are watercolours characterised by originality, humour, and beauty, alongside highly personal poems, writing, and drawings by Ter Borch and her family. The display in the 18th-century print cabinet focuses on flora and fauna, with watercolours by artists including Dorothea Maria Graff and Alida Withoos, whose precise and colourful work was an important contribution to the developing natural sciences. Their travels took them to a wide range of destinations, as far afield as Suriname.

The final print room focuses on the 19th century, with work by artists including Thérèse Schwartze, Lizzy Ansingh, Julia Margaret Cameron, and Eva Watson-Schütze. In the early 19th century, an exhibition circuit arose for drawings and pastels, through which many women artists achieved recognition and commercial success. The advent of photography brought another art form that was embraced by women for its many artistic possibilities.

Women on Paper and the research project have been made possible in part by the Women of the Rijksmuseum Fund. The exhibition in the print cabinets is on display from 3 December 2022 to 5 June 2023.

At Bonhams | New Auction Record for Pair of Meissen Vases

Posted in Art Market by Editor on December 13, 2022

Lot 89: An extremely rare pair of Meissen red-ground bottle vases, from around 1735, sold at Bonhams for £831,900, more than four times their high estimate, and a new world record for a pair of Meissen vases. 

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Press release from Bonhams, announcing the results of the sale:

500 Years of European Ceramics
Bonhams, London, 7 December 2022

On Wednesday, 7 December 2022, at Bonhams 500 Years of European Ceramics sale in London an extremely rare pair of Meissen red-ground vases from around 1735 achieved £831,900, a new world record for a pair of Meissen vases. The vases more than quadrupled their pre-sale estimate of £120,000–180,000. The 219-lot sale made a total £1,625,280.

Nette Megens, Bonhams Director, Decorative Arts, U.K. and Europe, said: “This is an exceptional result for an important and hitherto unrecorded pair of vases. Bottle vases of this kind were made by the Meissen factory exclusively for the Dresden court, and these are the largest size and only known examples with this rare ground colour. These qualities, and the fact that these vases were fresh to the market, led to fierce competition in the saleroom. The price they achieved is also a testament to the taste of one of the greatest collectors of the 20th century, Catalina von Pannwitz (1876–1959), to whom they once belonged.”

Another top lot was the very rare pair of Nymphenburg large circular dishes from the ‘Hofservice’, ca. 1760–1735, which sold for £164,000, soaring past an estimate of £20,000–30,000.

Other sale highlights included:
• A pair of Meissen models of hares, ca. 1750, sold for £36,840 (estimate: £8,000–12,000).
• A rare Meissen footed stand from the Sulkowski service sold for £35,580 (estimate: £15,000–20,000).
• A Meissen basket centrepiece from Podewils service, ca. 1741–42, sold for £25,500 (estimate: £6,000–8,000).
• A large Vincennes/Sèvres oval green-ground dish (plat à groseilles) from the Frederick V of Denmark service, dated 1735–38, sold for £25,500 (estimate: £20,000–30,000).
• A Sèvres plate from the ‘service de dessert marly rouge’ for Emperor Napoleon I, dated 1809, sold for £20,400 (estimate: £8,000–12,000).
• A Meissen waste bowl from the Sulkowski service, ca. 1735–38, sold for £16,575 (estimate: £6,000–8,000).
• A rare Meissen large dish from the Sulkowski service, ca. 1735–38, sold for £14,025 (estimate: £12,000–18,000).


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