Enfilade

Exhibition | Beyond Boundaries

Posted in Art Market, exhibitions by Editor on December 2, 2022

From the introduction of the catalogue, available online, for the show now on view at Robert Simon Fine Art:

Beyond Boundaries: Historical Art by and of People of Color
Robert Simon Fine Art, New York, 27 October — 16 December 2022

Diversity is a crucial issue in the contemporary art world today. But what of the art of the past? Beyond Boundaries brings to light an array of paintings, sculpture, and other works of art from the 17th to 19th centuries, from Europe and the Americas, that explore subjects and makers often overlooked in traditional art history. But unlike many thematic exhibitions, there is no underlying social or political philosophy. Rather we have attempted to explore diversity simply by exhibiting diverse works of art—each chosen as it in some ways illustrates an aspect of the historical past, some surprising and empowering, others uncomfortable or disturbing.

Agostino Brunias, one of six paintings in a series here identified as Free Men and Women of Dominica and an Indigienous Family of St Vincent, oil on canvas, 12 × 9 inches.

At Bonhams | Fine Clocks

Posted in Art Market by Editor on November 12, 2022

The Old Rectory, in the village of Chilton Foliat, a Queen Anne style home, most of which dates to the mid eighteenth century. It’s located at the West Berkshire/Wiltshire border, two miles north of Hungerford. In May it was, as noted by Country Life, listed for £5.95 million.

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Press release from Bonhams:

Fine Clocks Sale
Bonhams, London, 30 November 2022

The Old Rectory, Chilton Foliat Sale
Bonhams, London, 6 December 2022

Two exquisite timepieces by the father of English clockmaking, Thomas Tompion (1639–1713) from the Elliot Collection of fine English clocks feature in Bonhams Fine Clocks Sale in London on Wednesday, 30 November 2022. The collection also includes an important late 17th-century ebony veneered longcase clock of three-month duration by another great clockmaker of the golden age, Joseph Knibb (1640–1711). In addition to these masterpieces of timekeeping, Old Master pictures, 19th-century paintings, and classic English decorative arts from Alan and Tara Elliot’s historic country home are to be offered in a separate sale—The Old Rectory, Chilton Foliat—at Bonhams on Tuesday, 6 December.

Thomas Tompion and Edward Banger, Type 3 Burr Walnut Longcase Clock, London, no. 463, ca. 1707

Tompion’s ebony table clock numbered 198, was made in around 1692, and embodies all that Tompion owners cherish (estimate: £200,000–300,000). The tall rectangular dial with its twin subsidiaries allows the crucial functions (time, winding, date, strike or silent) to be controlled from the front of the clock—an example of perfect industrial design. The exquisitely engraved backplate was created by the craftsman known today only as ‘Engraver 155’. 155’s confident and free engraving is of the highest order. He was responsible for the backplate of the year-going ‘Mostyn Tompion’ in the British Museum and decorated the miniature clock supplied to Queen Mary in 1693, which sold at Bonhams in 2019 for a record price of £1.6 million.

Knibb’s ebony veneered longcase clock of three-month duration with Roman-striking and one-and-a-quarter second pendulum is perhaps the most beguiling clock in the collection (estimate: £120,000–180,000). Knibb had an irrepressibly inquisitive brain and was obsessed by saving power in his clocks’ movements. An ordinary longcase clock hammer strikes its bell 156 times a day; Knibb realised that this was a massive drain on the power of the mechanism and sought different ways to sound the hours. His pièce de résistance was the development of the Roman striking system—as exemplified by this clock—whereby a deep bell represents the numeral 5, while a higher pitched bell represents 1. While one o’clock is marked by a single high hammer blow, five o’clock is a single low blow. Six o’clock, therefore, is one low blow followed by one high blow. This ingenious system saves 96 hammer strikes a day. Over the three months that the Elliot clock runs, 9,216 hammer blows are saved. Although inspired, the system never met with popularity, and it is rare to find a Roman striking clock today. They can always be spotted from a distance however, as the numeral 4 is denoted as IV instead of IIII.

The sale also includes an early 20th-century mahogany two-day marine chronometer by Victor Kullberg used by Ernest Shackleton in 1921, likely as part of the Quest expedition to Antarctica in 1921–22 (estimate: £1,500–2,500). Originally conceived as an Arctic voyage to travel north of Alaska, a last-minute loss of funding meant that the expedition could not go ahead. The entire cost of a replacement voyage was offered by John Quiller Rowett, who had agreed to partially fund the Arctic voyage, on condition that it be south bound to the Antarctic. The chronometer was collected by Shackleton from Greenwich on 21 July 1921, and the voyage began on 17 September of that year. Shackleton was unwell on board the Quest, and unfortunately, by the time the ship reached South Georgia, he was quite ill. He died of a heart attack shortly after arriving on 5 January 1922.

James Stratton, Bonhams Director of Clocks, said: “To own a clock by Thomas Tompion is every clock collector’s dream. Alan Elliot, who put together the wonderful collection we are offering in this sale, was fortunate enough to have two in his stewardship, as well as an important longcase clock by Joseph Knibb. Other Elliot clocks include a lantern clock from 1685 and a table clock by Langley Bradley, the man who made the first clock for St Paul’s Cathedral. Elsewhere in the sale, the marine chronometer taken by Sir Ernest Shackleton to the Antarctic on the Quest expedition is a timely reminder of a true British hero, the centenary of whose death we are marking this year.”

Other highlights include:

• A fine and rare early 18th-century walnut longcase clock by Thomas Tompion and Edward Banger, London, no. 463. This second of Alan Elliot’s Tompion clocks is particularly interesting as it was made when Tompion was in a brief partnership with his niece’s husband, Edward Banger. Estimate: £100,000–200,000.

• An 18th-century walnut striking longcase clock of one month duration by George Graham, London no. 590. Estimate: £30,000–50,000.

• A late 17th-century ebony veneered quarter-repeating timepiece by Langley Bradley, London. It is likely that this clock was used in a bedroom as it doesn’t strike the hours every hour. Anyone waking up in the night and wanting to know the time could pull a cord on the side to sound the hour and the quarters past the hour. This would have been invaluable before the advent of electricity or matches to light a candle. Estimate: £5,000–8,000.

Art Market | Fine Arts Paris & La Biennale, November 2022

Posted in Art Market by Editor on November 10, 2022

Designed by Pierre-Antoine Mongin and produced by Joseph Dufour (1754–1827), Jardins de Bagatelle/Jardins Anglais, ca. 1802, imprimé à la planche en papiers raboutés, 51 × 380 cm. Offered by Carolle Thibaut-Pomerantz.

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From the July press release, via Art Daily:

Fine Arts Paris & La Biennale
Carrousel du Louvre, Paris, 9–13 November 2022

In February 2022, two leading French art fairs—the venerable Biennale, one of the world’s oldest art fairs (formerly known as La Biennale des Antiquaires) and the fast-growing Fine Arts Paris—announced that they had merged to create a new annual flagship event in Paris celebrating art from the Antiquity to present day. Now, Fine Arts Paris & La Biennale unveils details of its inaugural edition, which will take place at the prestigious Carrousel du Louvre, from 9 to 13 November, before moving to the Grand Palais Ephémère in November 2023 and then to the renovated Grand Palais in November 2024.

86 internationally renowned galleries and talented young dealers will participate in what promises to be a major event in the global art market calendar. A showcase of art, culture, savoir-faire, and heritage, Fine Arts Paris & La Biennale will present carefully selected artworks spanning no fewer than fourteen categories, including Antiquities, Old Masters, Antique Furniture, Modern and Contemporary Art, Tapestries, Ceramics, and Jewellery, as well as Tribal Art, Asian Art, Islamic Art, and Books and Manuscripts.

Louis de Bayser, President of Fine Arts Paris & La Biennale said: “Fine Arts Paris & La Biennale is Paris’s only fair dedicated to Fine Arts, tracing the entire history of art across time and continents. In the next three years, as we move from the Carrousel du Louvre to the Grand Palais Ephémère and ultimately the Grand Palais, our objective will be to expand the fair’s global reputation and growth, as well as to contribute to reinforce Paris’s status and importance on the international art market”.

18th-century pastel portrait of a man wearing a powdered wig and a blue coat, facing the viewer.

Rosalba Carriera, Portrait of a Gentleman in Blue Coat, 18th century, pastel, 55 × 40 cm. Offered by Galerie de Bayser.

Following on the footsteps of its illustrious predecessors, the new fair will bring together prominent Old Master galleries, led by a strong contingent of renowned French specialists (De Bayser, Didier Aaron, Baulme, Perrin, Giovanni Sarti, Coatalem, Mendes, Terrades, Leegenhoek, Talabardon & Gautier) and young art dealers (Edouard Ambroselli, Chaptal). They will be joined by London gallerist and pre-eminent scholar of 18th-century Venetian view painting Charles Beddington; Artur Ramon, one of Spain’s most important specialists in the field; Costermans, Brussels’ oldest art gallery, and the Geneva-based Dutch and Flemish painting specialist de Jonckheere who will present a 16th-century panoramic view by Hans Bol, among other masterpieces.

Antique Furniture and Decorative Arts

France’s long and glorious tradition of furniture-making and decorative arts will be reflected in the extraordinary selection showcased by Parisian galleries Steinitz, Léage and Oscar Graf. Belgium silver specialist Janssens van der Maelen will also participate alongside London dealer Brun who will unveil a terracotta bust of Napoleon.

Furthermore, the fair will welcome passionate gallerists with an unusual profile, including Portuguese neurologist turned collector and art dealer Mário Roque and 36-year-old Maxime Carron who, following a sporting education, created Royal Provenance, a gallery in Paris specialising in European heirlooms. Having recently sold a chair that once belonged to Queen Marie-Antoinette’s bedroom, he will unveil many more fascinating treasures, including a rare early 19th-century Morocco case containing the keys of Paris parks, possibly given by King Louis Philippe to his eldest son, Ferdinand-Philippe d’Orléans, Duke of Orléans (1810–1842) on the occasion of his coronation in 1830.

The fair will also welcome Carolle Thibaut-Pomerantz, one of very few specialists in historic wallpapers in the world. The New York/Paris-based gallerist, whose greatest finds are now part of the major museums including New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, will present a selection of wallpapers dating from the 18th century to the 1950s, including three large panels known as Jardins de Bagatelle / Jardins Anglais, designed by Pierre-Antoine Mongin and produced ca. 1800–04 by the French wallpaper and fabrics manufacture, Joseph Dufour in Macon.

Sculpture

Sculpture will feature strongly, with some of the most discerning specialists in the discipline vying to present rare pieces. The Parisian gallery Sismann, which focuses on Old Master sculpture, will present a Virgin and Child in limestone, made in Toul (France), ca. 1330–1340. Trebosc + van Lelyveld, Chiale and Ratton-Ladrière will show an ensemble of works from the Renaissance to the early 20th century. Michel Poletti and Alain Richarme from Univers du Bronze will celebrate the Golden Age of French sculpture (1830s–1930s) with works by Antoine-Louis Barye, Emmanuel Fremiet, Henri Laurens, and a life-size bronze nude representing David Victorious over Goliath, ca. 1894–1910, which was once in the collection of Auguste Lumière, the inventor of the cinematograph. The bronze is one of only two known similar works by the artist, the other being in the collection of the Musée d’Orsay.

Renowned for his early 20th-century animal sculptures, Xavier Eeckhout will exhibit an exquisite bronze lion cub made in 1935 by Louis de Monard. Galerie Malaquais will celebrate French figurative sculpture with Assia, a 1936 monumental sculpture by Charles Despiau, dedicated to and from the collection of the eminent French art dealer, editor and historian Georges Wildenstein (1892–1963).

Modern and Contemporary Art

Modern and Contemporary Art will also take centre stage in this inaugural edition of the fair. In a nod to history, Marianne Rosenberg, the granddaughter of Paul Rosenberg, perhaps the most important Modern Art dealer of the first half of the 20th century (who, for a time, worked with Wildenstein) will be present at the fair. Her New York gallery, Rosenberg & Co will exhibit a very rare oil on board by Henry Rousseau, La Citadelle, ca. 1893. Specialising in drawings for four generations, the Galerie de Bayser will unveil a magnificent charcoal drawing of a woman wiping her neck by Edgar Degas and a pastel depiction of a monkey by Simon Bussy.

Other leading modern and contemporary art galleries will include Jill Newhouse (New York), Lancz, La Béraudière (Brussels), and reputed French dealers, such as Applicat-Prazan, Berès, Brame & Lorenceau, Laurentin, Seine 55, Ary Jan, La Présidence, and Opera Gallery, which will showcase a roll call of modern and contemporary artists, from Fernand Léger and Marc Chagall, to Pierre Soulages and Fernando Botero. They will be joined by two Paris-based contemporary art galleries, RX and Christophe Gaillard.

Antiquities and Non-Western Arts

Tracing a complete world art history, Fine Arts Paris & La Biennale will bring together specialists in Antiquities, Tribal Art, Asian Art, and Islamic Art. A Roman marble Head of Aphrodite from the 2nd century AD will be one of the highlights presented by Kevorkian, a third-generation Parisian dealer specialising in Islamic Art.

They will be joined by Kent Antiques, a prominent London gallery dealing in Islamic and Indian art, Orientalist paintings, and courtly objects which will present an important Iznik blue and white pottery tile decorated with Saz leaves and khatai blossoms made in the Ottoman Empire, ca. 1545–50.

Asian Art will be represented by two highly regarded gallerists: Tamio Ikeda whose Parisian gallery Tanakaya will feature original Japanese prints, Ukiyo-e and Shin-Hanga, paintings, bronzes, ceramics, and lacquers; and Christophe Hioco, who will showcase a bronze head of Buddha from Thailand, Sukhothai, made in the late 14th–early 15th century.

In addition, the fair will be distinguished by a roster of Tribal Art galleries, led by Belgian African art expert Didier Claes and Oceanic art specialist Anthony Meyer. Visitors will be able to admire a 19th-century Dogon mask from Mali in the booth of Barcelona dealer Montagut, while the Parisian galleries Monbrison, Flak, and Belgian art dealers Mestdagh will impress with a display of artifacts from Oceania, Indonesia, Africa, India, and Japan.

Rare Books and Prints

A great drawing or painting is not always found in a frame, as demonstrated by the selection of rare books, manuscripts, and prints in the fair. The fourth-generation Parisian print dealer Prouté will present a 16th-century woodcut by Albrecht Dürer depicting the Christ in Limbo. They will be joined by H. H. Rumbler, Frankfurt specialists in Old Master prints; London dealer Daniel Crouch, a world authority in the field of rare atlases and maps; and an outstanding group of book specialists whose expertise spans the 15th through the 20th centuries. These include young gallerist Camille Sourget, fourth-generation book specialist Stéphane Clavreuil, and Parisian expert Jean-Baptiste de Proyart.

Jewellery

Finally, breaking the boundaries between fine and decorative arts, the new fair will also celebrate jewellery as a form of art. Renowned dealers in antique jewellery (Bernard Bouisset, Orpheo Genève, Martin du Daffoy, Larengregor) will be joined by contemporary artist-jewellers Walid Akkad, Frédérique Mattei, and Chinese designer Feng J. One year after one of her creations entered the collections of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, Feng J will uncover spectacular new designs especially made for the fair. These include a masterpiece of jewellery craftmanship inspired by the artist’s passion for the Impressionist period: a diamond tiara whose various pastel tones are reminiscent of a Monet painting.

UK Export Ban Placed on The Cricketers by Benjamin West

Posted in Art Market by Editor on October 27, 2022
Benjamin West, The Cricketers, 1763, oil on canvas, 99 × 125 cm. The sitters are traditionally identified as the brothers Andrew and James Allen, of Pennsylvania; Ralph Wormeley, of Virginia; and Ralph Izard and Arthur Middleton, of South Carolina. Provenance: By descent in the family of Andrew Allen, acquired in 2021 by the current owner. Two versions of the painting exist, the first of which (this one) was the centerpiece of the 2018 exhibition Loyalties in Revolutionary Times at Freeman’s auction house in Philadelphia. A 25-page guide by Roland Arkell accompanied the show. The second version, dated 1764, is reproduced in Maurie Dee McInnis, ed., In Pursuit of Refinement: Charlestonians Abroad, 1740–1860 (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1999), pp. 100–103.

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Press release (14 October 2022) from Gov.UK’s Department for Culture, Media & Sport:

Worth £1.2million, The Cricketers by Benjamin West—famed for The Death of Nelson—shows the evolution of cricket from a rustic to noble sport during the 18th century.

The Cricketers (Ralph Izard and Friends) by Benjamin West (1738–1820) is at risk of leaving the United Kingdom unless a buyer can be found. The Cricketers shows five wealthy American men playing cricket, possibly at Kew, while visiting the UK to study in the 1700s. The painting is regarded as one of the most important works depicting early cricket and shows that by the 1750s the sport had evolved from the rustic game played in the 1720s to one taken up by the aristocracy.

West is best known for his work The Death of Nelson (1806), which shows the great British naval hero Lord Nelson on the deck of his ship, Victory, at the Battle of Trafalgar.

Arts Minister Stuart Andrew said: “Cricket is enjoyed by millions of people across the world and this fascinating painting tells the story of the rise of the sport during the 18th century. It is a wonderful and rare depiction of the early development of one of our most loved games. I hope a buyer comes forward to save the work for the nation so we can give it another innings in the UK.”

The Minister’s decision follows the advice of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest. The Committee noted that the painting came at a crucial period of the development of cricket as an elite sport and that it was a rare depiction of an early game of cricket. The Committee also suggested that identifying the background to the painting, would be an interesting research avenue and would add to its historical importance.

Committee Member Professor Mark Hallett said: “Together with its interest as a sporting painting, West’s picture is notable for being a rare group portrait of young colonial Americans in England. This kind of work, known as a ‘conversation piece’, was more commonly commissioned by British aristocrats to mark their Grand Tour through Italy. Here, however, the format is repurposed to fit the needs of a group of wealthy American friends who were studying in Britain in the early 1760s.”

The Cricketers powerfully demonstrates the extent to which these men were happy to identify themselves with what was often described as the ‘mother country’; some twelve years later, however, their world and their allegiances were to be thrown into flux by the American Revolution. West’s picture, made in his mid-twenties and one of the very first he produced on arriving in London in 1763, also illustrates the developing talents of an artist who was to enjoy great fame later in his career, and who became the second President of the Royal Academy of Arts in 1792.

The Committee made its recommendation on the grounds that the painting is of outstanding significance to the study of Britain’s relationship to America in the 18th century.

The decision on the export licence application for the painting will be deferred for a period ending on 13th April 2023 inclusive. At the end of the first deferral period owners will have a consideration period of 15 business days to consider any offer(s) to purchase the painting at the recommended price of £1,215,000. The second deferral period will commence following the signing of an Option Agreement and will last for three months.

At Christie’s | Ann and Gordon Getty Collection

Posted in Art Market by Editor on October 19, 2022

Installation Views: the music room, the blue parlor, and the primary bedroom of Ann and Gordon Getty’s San Francisco residence
(Photograph by Visko Hatfield © 2022)

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From the press release for the upcoming sales (with six online sales having already begun and additional information available here):

The Ann and Gordon Getty Collection
Christie’s, New York, October 2022
Part 1 | Important Pictures and Decorative Arts, Evening Sale, 20 October 2022 #21604
Part 2 | Old Master, 19th- and 20th-Century Paintings, 21 October 2022, #21605
Part 3 | English and European Furniture, Porcelain, and Silver, 22 October 2022, #21606
Part 4 | Chinese Works of Art, English and European Furniture and Decorative Arts, 23 October 2022, #21607

The legendary Ann & Gordon Getty Collection will be sold at Christie’s through a series of landmark auctions beginning October 2022. A symphonic tour-de-force of masterpieces drawn meticulously from history’s most esteemed collections and from one of America’s most storied interiors, The Ann & Gordon Getty Collection stands alone in its quality, rarity and beauty. Nearly 1,500 superlative works of decorative and fine arts will be offered by Christie’s from the couple’s San Francisco residence. Continuing the Gettys’ lifelong commitment to philanthropic causes, proceeds from the sales this October, which are expected to achieve as much as $180 million, will benefit the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation for the Arts, devoted to the support of arts and science organizations. Designated beneficiaries will include leading California-based organizations with whom the Gettys have had a longstanding relationship, including the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Symphony, University of San Francisco, Berkeley Geochronology Center, and the Leakey Foundation.

Gordon Getty commented: “Though she left us far too soon, I know Ann would be proud that her exquisite eye and unmatched dedication to craftsmanship and scholarship are being shared with the world, and that the philanthropic planning around our art collection is being realized. These sales are a continuation of the longstanding philanthropic goals of the Getty family first established by my father, J. Paul Getty.”

Ann Getty’s intellect, curiosity and masterful feel for assemblage guided the Gettys in curating a world-renowned museum-quality collection across their Californian houses, including the very finest examples of English and European furniture, Asian works of art, European ceramics, Chinese export porcelain, silver, European and Asian textiles, and Impressionist and Old Master paintings. Vivid, daring, and steeped in history, the Collection evokes the golden age of England’s great houses; the fabled Grand Tour; the exotic tastes of the European courts; the feats of women adventurers, such as Isabella Bird in India and Gertrude Bell in the Middle East; and the vibrant intellectual circle of the Blue Stockings in the mid-18th century, such as Mary Delany and Queen Charlotte. Ann Getty masterfully styled each of their residences with distinctive details, themes, and layering. The Collection encapsulated the couple’s intellectual curiosity about the arts, music, science, and travel. Every object was hand-picked with a deep appreciation of its beauty and the artisanship that went into its creation.

The full press release is available here»

A video tour is available here»

At Bonhams | Exploration and Travel Literature with Americana

Posted in Art Market by Editor on October 18, 2022

From the press release for the upcoming auction:

Exploration and Travel Literature, Featuring Americana
Bonhams, New York, 25 October 2022

Manuscript map of the coast of California on cream paper.

Lot 12, Miguel de Costansó, Manuscript Map of California, Carta Reducida del Occeano Asiatico ó Mar del Sur…, produced in conjunction with the Portola and Serra expedition, 30 October 1770, 84 × 84 cm, on four conjoined sheets. Estimate: $600,000–800,000. More information is available here.

On October 25, Bonhams will present the most important 18th-century map of California as the highlight of its Exploration and Travel Literature, featuring Americana sale in New York. Estimated at $600,000–800,000, this original manuscript map of coastal California is signed by Miguel de Costansó (1741–1814), a Catalan cartographer, cosmographer, and engineer for the Portola Expedition. Dated Mexico, 30 October 1770, Costanso’s map is the first to depict San Francisco Bay and marks the beginning of the Spanish settlement in the region. The map exists in three versions: an early version in manuscript, not showing San Francisco Bay; this version in manuscript; and the 1771 printed map produced in Spain from this version.

A selection of Americana also features in the sale, including a subpoena for then President Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), the first to be issued to a sitting president, requiring evidence in the case of treason against Aaron Burr. The document provides one of the earliest and most prominent tests of the concept now known as executive privilege. Burr, the third Vice-President of the United States and a Founding Father, was arrested and accused of High Treason for his role in a wild conspiracy to raise an army to separate the Louisiana Territory and Western states from U.S. rule in 1807. The subpoena gave rise to a host of issues, including executive privilege, equal rights under the law, and the independence of the executive branch, as well as the idea of preservation of state secrets. It is estimated at $200,000–300,000.

Additional Americana sale highlights include
• A previously unknown 1847 letter written and signed by American abolitionist and former slave, Frederick Douglass (1817–1895), estimated at $50,000–70,000. Douglass had fled the United States in 1845 for fear of being taken up as a fugitive. Returning for the first time to America as a free man, Douglass here vividly describes his mistreatment during his return voyage aboard the Cambria, a pivotal experience in his life.
• An incredibly rare copy of the first federal copyright law signed in 1790 by Thomas Jefferson as the first United States Secretary of State, which laid the foundation of American copyright law, spurring 230 years of innovation and creating the framework for modern intellectual property law in the 21st century (est: $100,000–150,000).

The sale will also feature material related to exploration and travel literature including
• Thesaurus rei herbariae by Johann Wilhelm Weinmann (1683–1741), a German apothecary and botanist known his influential masterwork Phytanthoza iconographia (1737–45), which contained more than 1,000 hand-colored engravings of several thousand plants. Estimated at $40,000–60,000, this manuscript is a rare and valuable record of plants cultivated in the early 18th century, based on Weinmann’s own collection.
• Three rare photograph albums featuring the work of British photographer John Claude White (1853–1918), including the personal journal in photographs of his son-in-law Henry Hyslop during their expedition to the coronation of the King of Bhutan in 1907 (est: $30,000–40,000).

 

Newly Discovered Portrait of John Locke on View at London Art Week

Posted in Art Market by Editor on June 27, 2022

From the press release via Art Daily:

Miles Wynn Cato | British Art Rediscovered: Unseen Pictures, Untold Stories
London Art Week, 3–8 July 2022

Dr. Alexander Geekie, Portrait of John Locke, 1696, pastel on paper.

As part of London Art Week, British art dealer Miles Wynn Cato will present a remarkable selection of fourteen important discoveries, including a rare portrait of the English philosopher John Locke (1632–1704). Unrecorded since 1727, this fine pastel portrait was drawn from life by Dr Alexander Geekie (1655–1727), who was Locke’s doctor and friend, as well as a highly-accomplished amateur artist and art collector.

John Locke is widely acknowledged as one of the great thinkers of the Enlightenment and indeed, of all time. Locke’s ideas were also profoundly influential in the founding of the United States. Thomas Jefferson believed Locke to be one of “the three greatest men that have ever lived, without any exception.”

Archive letters between Locke and Dr Geekie reveal their close mutual regard, and in this superb personal portrayal, Geekie has managed to capture the essence of Locke’s character. The image is inscribed on the reverse, “Mr Lock by A Geekie, 1696,” and it is singled out for special mention in Geekie’s will. This discovery marks a significant addition to the iconography of John Locke. It is also very rare on the market, since almost all the other known portraits of John Locke are owned by public institutions.

This special selling exhibition British Art Rediscovered: Unseen Pictures, Untold Stories is held in conjunction with London Art Week. It will contain fourteen rediscovered paintings and drawings by some of Britain’s most important artists including Sir Thomas Lawrence, Thomas Jones, Angelica Kaufman, Joseph Wright of Derby, and Thomas Gainsborough (with Gainsborough remarkably represented by five rediscovered pictures).

• All of these artworks had been long lost, miscatalogued, or previously unrecorded.
• Each picture is also notable in the artist’s oeuvre for stylistic reasons or because the sitter or scene is exceptionally rare, such as the portrait of John Locke.
• The exhibition will include three paintings by early female artists, including a lost painting by Angelica Kauffman, RA.
• In two instances—Thomas Gainsborough and Thomas Lawrence—the image on view is one of the artist’s earliest known pictures to survive; so these significant new finds will shed fresh light on the early techniques of these outstanding artists.

This is a unique, limited opportunity to see these exciting new discoveries for the first time.

At Bonhams | Preview of Summer Auctions at After Hours Event

Posted in Art Market, lectures (to attend) by Editor on June 26, 2022

Detail of a tray from a Sèvres tea service (déjeuner ‘corbeille losange’) painted by Armand l’aîné, dated 1758 (Five Hundred Years of European Ceramics, Lot 164, estimate £100,000–£150,000).

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From Bonhams and Eventbrite:

After Hours at Bonhams: The Classics
Bonhams, London, New Bond Street, 4 July 2022, 6pm

This summer, explore The Classics, a series of auctions dedicated to the Classic Arts at Bonhams. This season of sales will offer rare and exceptional items across traditional collecting categories, including ceramics, fine glass, works of art, furniture, silver, sculpture, clocks, Old Master paintings, antiquities, books and manuscripts, and more.

Join us After Hours at Bonhams for an evening of art, drinks, food, music, workshops, and conversation set against the backdrop of our forthcoming auctions.

A fine and rare mid-18th-century quarter chiming table clock, chinoiserie decorated on a light yellow ochre ground; Eardley Norton, London, numbered 297 (Fine Clocks, 14 July 2022, Lot 73, estimate: £7,000–10,000).

Programme Highlights
• Join broadcaster and creative director at Glassette Laura Jackson in conversation with The Wallace Collection, celebrating the must-see exhibition Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts, with co-curators Helen Jacobsen and Wolf Burchard
• Live performances by multi-instrumental duo Momento Sounds
• Portraits by artist Michalis Christodoulou
• London Calligraphy pop-up booth

Also Featuring
• Ice-Cream Parlour by Ladurée
• Pay Drinks and Cocktail Bar

On View, The Summer Classics
Old Master Paintings, 6 July 2022
Antiquities, 7 July 2022
500 Years of European Ceramics, 7 July 2022
Decorative Arts through the Ages, 13 July 22
The Grand Tour Sale, 14 July 22
Fine Clocks, 14 July 22

Masterpiece London Programming | Serious Fun / Stones of Rome

Posted in Art Market, conferences (to attend) by Editor on June 12, 2022

In conjunction with this year’s Masterpiece London, which runs from 30 June to 6 July:

Serious Fun: The Masterpiece Museum Symposium
Royal Hospital Chelsea, London, Saturday, 2 July 2022

Unknown maker, candlestick, France, ca. 1745–49, gilt bronze and silvered bronze, 25 cm high (London: The Wallace Collection, F79).

Masterpiece London is delighted to host a morning of debate and discussion, co-organised by the Fair and the writer and critic Thomas Marks, to bring together preeminent museum curators and conservators with the leading figures in the art and antiques trade, with the aim of encouraging constructive discussion, networking and the exchange of knowledge and practical advice. Serious Fun is the seventh in a series of events that Masterpiece London launched in 2018—with recent online events focusing on conservation, artistic materials and the role of research in museums. This summer the Masterpiece Symposium returns to an in-person format at the Fair in London for the first time since 2019, with the focus turning to museums of places of pleasure, wonder, surprise—and even fun. The subject has been chosen to pay tribute to the late Philip Hewat-Jaboor, Chairman of Masterpiece London from 2012 to 2022, who consistently took delight in museum collections around the world and generously shared that joy with friends, colleagues, and the wider public.

It is a truism to describe museums as places of education but perhaps less common to celebrate how they ought to provide diversion too. Certainly, many great civic museums, and particularly those founded during the 19th century, once shared with the popular spectacles of the time the desire to entertain their audiences while pursuing their educational purposes (some Victorian museums had an ‘almost carnival atmosphere’, the late Giles Waterfield wrote). It is now sometimes assumed, however, that seriousness and levity cannot coexist in museums. But whyever not?

Over the course of a morning at Masterpiece London, experts will offer a range of perspectives on the role of leisure and pleasure in museums, exploring historical attempts to associate learning with enjoyment and considering what might be gained by doing so today. How have museums historically had fun? Could enjoyment be more central to how we discuss, design, and experience museums, and to what purpose? How can wonder or pleasure be fostered through collection displays, exhibitions, and other museum activities? As ever at the Masterpiece Symposium, attendees will be invited to participate in the discussion in Q&As with panellists and in break-out sessions during the course of the event—with the aim of sharing knowledge and ideas.

P R O G R A M M E

10.00  Registration and coffee

10.15. Panel Discussion: The Museum at Play
Moderated by Thomas Marks

• Dinah Casson | Museum and exhibition designer, and co-founder, Casson Mann
• Jane Munro | Keeper of Paintings, Prints, and Drawings, the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
• Ben Street | Art historian, lecturer, and writer (How to Enjoy Art; How to Be an Art Rebel)

This discussion will focus on the current situation in museums, exploring how they might enable and harness enjoyment among their audiences. The conversation will explore how museum architecture, exhibitions, and displays succeed in kindling imaginative wonder; surprise, wit, even comedy (or comic art) as modes of engagement; how artist interventions might provoke meaningful diversion; and the balance between encouraging delight and offering interpretation in the display of works of art.

11.15  Coffee Break

11.30  Break-out Sessions

Attendees will be invited to join small discussion groups (6–8 people) for conversation, drawing on their own ideas and experience, and prompted by the first panel discussion and wider theme of the symposium.

12.00  Panel Discussion: Historical Entertainments
Moderated by Thomas Marks

• Helen Dorey | Deputy Director and Inspectress, Sir John Soane’s Museum
• Ella Ravilious | Architecture and Design, Victoria & Albert Museum
• Mark Westgarth | Associate Professor in Art History and Museum Studies, University of Leeds

This discussion will explore how museums have historically sought to enlist types of enjoyment as a mode of fulfilling their wider mission. It will encompass the relationship between leisure and education in Victorian civic museums, including the South Kensington Museum; how surprise and wonder have historically played a role in museum architecture and display, such as at Sir John Soane’s Museum; early attempts to ‘activate’ collections; and the emergence of displays, tours and other activities aimed at children. How might we borrow from such institutional legacies to the benefit of the 21st-century museum?

Many Enfilade readers will also find this session on Friday, 1 July interesting:

Stones of Rome
Royal Hospital Chelsea, London, 1 July 2022, 12.30

Adriano Aymonino is Programme Director of the MA in the Art Market and the History of Collecting at the University of Buckingham. He has curated several exhibitions, including Drawn from the Antique: Artists and the Classical Ideal. His book Enlightened Eclecticism was published by Yale University Press in June 2021, and he is currently working on a revised edition of Francis Haskell and Nicholas Penny’s Taste and the Antique (2022). He is also associate editor of the Journal of the History of Collections.

Silvia Davoli specializes in the history of collections and patronage with particular focus on the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. She is a research associate at Oxford University and Curator at Strawberry Hill House (the Horace Walpole Collection). Silvia is also associate editor of the Journal of the History of Collections.

Fabio Barry studied architecture at the University of Cambridge (MA, Dip Arch), and briefly practiced before receiving his PhD in art history from Columbia University. He has taught at the University of St. Andrews and Stanford University, and is currently Samuel H. Kress Senior Fellow at The Centre for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. His research has often concentrated on art in Rome, particularly Baroque architecture, but recent publications have ranged farther afield and dwell on medieval and antique art, especially sculpture. An ongoing concern has been the imagery of marble in the visual arts and literature, especially the evocative qualities of the medium before the era of mass production distanced it from the realm of nature and myth. His book Painting in Stone Architecture and the Poetics of Marble from Antiquity to the Enlightenment was published by Yale University Press in 2020, awarded the 2021 PROSE Award in Architecture and Urban Studies by the Association of American Publishers, and is currently shortlisted for the Alice Davis Hitchcock Medallion of the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain.

At Christie’s | Hubert de Givenchy: Collectionneur

Posted in Art Market by Editor on June 2, 2022

From the press release for the sales:

Hubert de Givenchy: Collectionneur
Christie’s, Paris, live: 14–17 June 2022, and online: 8–23 June 2022

Christie’s has announced details of the full 1229 lots in the Hubert de Givenchy: Collectionneur sale, which will be offered in auctions taking place live in Paris (Sale 21549 and Sale 20825) and online (Sale 21420) between 8 and 23 of June 2022. A passionate aesthete, deeply rooted in the culture of his country, Hubert de Givenchy (1927–2018) embodied a constant and successful quest for an ideal, that of classical beauty. The extraordinary variety and richness of works in these sales perfectly represent the world-renowned couturier’s deep passion for objects and impeccable good taste. The overall estimate for the collection is in the region of €50million.

Hubert de Givenchy’s bedroom at Hôtel d’Orrouer © François Halard. Christie’s Images Limited.

Christie’s will present selected highlights from the auctions as follows:

Provenance

For Hubert de Givenchy, each object had a life of its own. For him, appreciation and engagement came not only from the beauty of the object, but also from its provenance, and the auctions are filled with such pieces of prestigious provenance. In the 1950s, the young couturier began his ‘second career’ as an art collector. From the collection of Coco Chanel, who invited him regularly for dinner, comes a superb Régence console (estimate €60,000–100,000), while from the collection of José-Maria and Misia Sert comes a rare Italian neoclassical console table, probably the work of Torinese craftsmen active at the court of Savoy (estimate €12,000–18,000). From the ‘Palais Murat’, the home of a very important collection visited by the royal families of the 19th century, comes a shaped porphyry potpourri vase, probably acquired by the King of Naples around 1780 (estimate €60,000–100,000). Of Imperial provenance are a pair of monumental girandoles attributed to Pierre-Philippe Thomire for Tsar Paul I of Russia (estimate €700,000–1,000,000). These sculptural pieces surrounded the access to the garden at his Paris home, the Hôtel d’Orrouer. In the same salon, any visitors’ eye was drawn to a set of Regency ormolu-mounted vases attributed to Vulliamy & Son delivered around 1807 to the 1st Earl of Harewood (estimate €100,000–150,000). Today, the name of Hubert de Givenchy is synonymous with a prestigious provenance, sought-after by the most discerning collectors.

Attributed to François Girardon, Bacchus, ca. 1700, estimate: €1.5–2.5million.

Architecture

From fashion to decoration, Givenchy approached his projects as an architect, as did his mentor Cristóbal Balenciaga. Architecture embodies Givenchy’s ideal of balance, harmony, and majesty and is therefore omnipresent in many of the pieces included in the collection, as is the case with a superb baroque bronze censer from Augsburg (estimate €30,000–50,000) and a pair of late Louis XV candlesticks attributed to Pierre Gouthière (estimate €60,000–100,000). Architecture is also present in paintings, such as Hubert Robert’s The Pool in the Terms (estimate €12,000–15,000) and the Landscape with Obelisk and Colonnade (estimate €250,000–350,000). In Givenchy’s bedroom at Hôtel d’Orrouer, the neoclassical lines of the monumental desk by Roentgen are perfectly matched by those of a mechanical box by the same artist (estimate €8,000–12,000) and a Louis XVI commode by Pierre Garnier (estimate €200,000–400,000).

Seat Furniture

For Givenchy, “every object is the result of an encounter, of love at first sight” (2). Chairs—which are represented by more than 400 examples—occupy a very special place in the collection. Not hesitating to declare himself “madly in love” (1) with a Louis XVI fauteuil, Givenchy was also seduced by a pair of bergères stamped by Georges Jacob from the same period (estimate €15,000–25,000). Equally, he appreciated the lines of a pair of Régence armchairs, formerly from the collection of Lady Baillie at Leeds Castle (estimate €100,000–200,000). Often Givenchy reupholstered furniture with modern textiles such as a Louis XVI bergère by Nicolas-Quinibert Foliot with a designed textile by Georges Braque (estimate €6,000–10,000), transcending periods and styles. The sale also includes a number of more modern seat models from the 20th century, including Decour bergères from the grand salon of the Manoir du Jonchet (estimate €800–1,200).

Wild Life

Givenchy also liked to be surrounded by representations of animals. They were omnipresent and gave life and majesty to the interiors he designed. For example, The Gazelle by Jean-Marc Winckler watched over the guests in the dining room of Hôtel d’Orrouer (estimate €1,000–1,500). Givenchy had three deer heads added to the façade of the Jonchet in honour of his patron saint, and in 2011 he generously donated the casts that allowed the restoration of the Cour des Cerfs to the Château de Versailles. Posthumously, the large stag by François Pompon, was donated to the Château de Chambord, having originally decorated the grand salon at Manoir Jonchet. In the park of the Manoir du Jonchet, lived a splendid pair of bronze deer, executed in 1964 by Janine Janet, gifted as a present by Cristóbal Balenciaga (estimate €80,000–120,000 each). And approaching the house, visitors were greeted by François-Xavier Lalanne’s Oiseaux de jardin (estimate €400,000–600,000 each), while a 1973 turtle by the same artist slumbered in Givenchy’s bedroom (estimate €20,000–30,000). Furthermore, the park held five sculptures by Diego Giacometti (estimate €20,000–30,000 each) immortalising Bucky, Lippo, Sandy, and Assouan, Givenchy’s canine companions. Animals were also to be found at the Hôtel d’Orrouer, where a pair of 19th-century gilded copper Tibetan deer were placed on the mantel piece of the main salon (estimate €20,000–30,000).

Fine Arts

Givenchy’s eye was equally drawn to Domenico Piola’s monumental 1695 painting Alexander and the Family of Darius (estimate €80,000–120,000), Max Ernst’s luminous, tiny 1961 Untitled (Soleil) (estimate €50,000–70,000), and the elegant minimalism in Robert Courtright’s 1972 painting Untitled (estimate €10,000–15,000). In the collection, representations of the human figure abound, whether a pair of busts of emperors in the Antique style (estimate €250,000–350,000) or the portrait Grande tête de Katia by Henri Matisse (estimate €7,000–10,000). Keeping with the collector’s concept of architecture and fashion, fabric and clothing were important, as in the portrait of an Indian dignitary, luxuriously dressed in 17th-century Persian fashion (estimate €60,000–80,000).

The ‘Empire’ living room at Hôtel d’Orrouer in Paris © François Halard. Christie’s Images Limited.

Decorative Arts

Givenchy had always loved imposing furniture and especially large armoires and bookcases. The auction offers two superb armoires, the first dating from the Louis XIV period, made in the Boulle technique, with ebony marquetry, and the second a replica made by Michel Jamet at de Givenchy’s request to form a pair (estimate €50,000–100,000, the pair). Furthermore, the collection includes a splendid commode, attributed to Joseph Poitou (estimate €250,000–400,000) as well as an important selection of pieces by Diego Giacometti, a close friend, including a Console oiseau et coupelle from 1976 (estimate €400,000–600,000). Collectors will also be able to acquire an imposing contemporary travertine and granite dining table (estimate €8,000–12,000), which comes from the Manoir du Jonchet.

Givenchy and the Colour Green

A leitmotif of the interiors created by Givenchy, the colour green is undoubtedly not foreign to the feeling of serenity and calm evoked by all visitors entering Hôtel d’Orrouer or the Manoir du Jonchet. Green is omnipresent in the collection, and the salon on the second floor of the Hôtel d’Orrouer is named in its honour. A natural sponge, painted in green by Charles Sevigny (estimate €2,000–3,000) is a nod to another great master of the art mixing modern and classical works, Charles Sevigny. He decorated Givenchy’s first apartment, in addition to those of the Empress of Iran and Bunny Mellon.

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Note (added 27 June 2022)— A press release (via Art Daily) reports on the results of the auctions. “Total: €118,116,172 / $123,694,746 / £101,932,654 – doubling the low pre-sale estimate.”

 

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