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.


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:


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.


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.”


At Auction | Ewa Juszkiewicz’s Portrait of a Lady (After Boilly)

Posted in Art Market, today in light of the 18th century by Editor on May 9, 2022

From the press release (via Art Daily) . . .

21st Century Evening Sale, #20975
Christie’s, New York, 10 May 2022

Lot 9B: Ewa Juszkiewicz, Portrait of a Lady (After Louis Leopold Boilly), 2019, oil on canvas, 200 × 160 cm. Estimate: $200,000–300,000.

On Tuesday, May 10th, Portrait of a Lady (After Louis Leopold Boilly) by widely recognized Polish artist Ewa Juszkiewicz will be offered in one of the most prestigious art sales in the United States at Christie’s New York, sold to benefit the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. Viewings take place at Christie’s Rockefeller Center galleries. The artwork has been brought to auction thanks to a generous gift of one of the POLIN Museum donors, American Friends of POLIN Museum, together with the support of the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland, and Weil Gotshal & Manges. The sale launches the beginning of a series of partnered sales of works of art at Christie’s in order to benefit POLIN Museum. POLIN is the only museum in the world dedicated to commemorating the history of Polish Jews, based in Warsaw, Poland.

The auction explores groundbreaking masterpieces by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Christopher Wool, Yoshitomo Nara, and other defining artists of the 21st century—Jeff Koons, Banksy, and Helmut Newton among others. It also introduces fresh-to-market works by contemporary pioneers like Jonas Wood, Matthew Wong, and Shara Hughes. Engage with this wide spectrum of influential works that reframe the current dialogue and develop new directions for the next generation of artists.

The Polish artist Ewa Juszkiewicz (b. 1984) is known for her adept appropriations of historical portrait paintings. This work—Portrait of a Lady (After Louis Leopold Boilly)—is an exquisite example of the artist’s masterful brushwork and keen questioning of gender and class representations within the realm of 18th- and 19th-century European painting.

Louis-Léopold Boilly, Madame Saint-Ange Chevrier, 1807, oil on canvas, 74 × 60 cm (Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, 7298).

Ana Maria Celis, Christie’s Head of the 21st Century Evening Sale, remarks, “Portrait of a Lady (After Louis Leopold Boilly) [Lot 9b] thoughtfully examines the historical erasure of women through Juszkiewicz’s singular and subversive technique. We are honored to offer it in our 21st Century Evening Sale this season to benefit POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. The juxtaposition of the classical stylization with the evocative subject matter of a female sitter’s whose head is fully wrapped, sparks new narratives around portrayals of femininity and deconstructs the past to create new dialogues.”

The POLIN Museum is a modern institution of culture—a historical museum that presents 1000 years of Jewish life in the Polish lands. It is also a place of meeting and dialogue among those who wish to explore the past and present Jewish culture, those eager to draw conclusions for the future from Polish-Jewish history, and finally those who are ready to face stereotypes and oppose xenophobia and nationalistic prejudices that threaten today’s societies. By promoting ideas of openness, tolerance, and truth, POLIN Museum contributes to the mutual understanding and respect among Poles and Jews, and other nations at the same time. Despite the global pandemic, after months of closure and economical struggle, it continues its mission, welcomes guests from all around the world at its core exhibition and organizes temporary exhibitions, historical, artistic, and educational events for Polish and international audience.

POLIN Museum understands its mission as a social responsibility, and is also responding to different current situations. To this end, alongside the efforts of many others, the Museum has responded to the current war in Ukraine, having just opened a new temporary exhibition, What’s Cooking? Jewish Culinary Culture, at a time when Warsaw is receiving a steady flow of Ukrainian refugees in great need of shelter and food. Within the Cooking for Ukraine project, POLIN Museum’s restaurant is preparing free hot meals featuring Jewish specialities and is delivering them directly to those in greatest need. “We must not remain indifferent,” Zygmunt Stępiński, Director of POLIN Museum, remarks.

Many of POLIN Museum’s activities, including Cooking for Ukraine, are supported by donors and friends from Poland and abroad, with a special support from American Friends of POLIN Museum. In the words of Stepinski, “We are grateful for the support of American Friends of POLIN Museum and Christie’s who believe in our mission and work with us to write the next chapter in the history of Polish Jews and Jewish life in Poland.”

A representative of Christie’s states: “Christie’s is proud to support philanthropic initiatives through our networks, whether by facilitating the sale of artwork to benefit important causes; offering, when we can, our salerooms as a venue for fundraising events; or providing expert charity auctioneers.”

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Note (added 24 May 2022) — Ewa Juszkiewicz’s Portrait of a Lady (After Louis Leopold Boilly) [Lot 9b] sold for $1.56million, more than five times its high estimate. It’s one of the paintings that Jason Farago addresses in his article for The New York Times: Jason Farago, “Catch a Rising Star at the Auction House,” The New York Times (23 May 2022). No longer does museum validation or scholarly attention determine a painting’s value. Now, the collectors’ hunger comes first, and institutions must follow.

At Auction | Chardin’s Basket of Wild Strawberries

Posted in Art Market, museums by Editor on May 7, 2022

Jean-Siméon Chardin, The Basket of Wild Strawberries, shown at the Salon of 1761, oil on canvas, 38 × 46cm. The painting sold for €24,381,400 on 23 March 2022 at Artcurial in Paris. More information is available here.

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From The New York Times and Art Daily:

Laura Zornosa, “Louvre Bids to Keep a Chardin Bought by U.S. Museum in France,” The New York Times (4 May 2022). The Kimbell Art Museum in Texas is revealed to be the buyer of “Basket of Wild Strawberries,” at auction. The Louvre has been working to name it a national treasure.

On a computer screen, the still life Basket of Wild Strawberries by the 18th-century French painter Jean Siméon Chardin is quiet and unassuming. His talent in capturing the reflection of light off the rim of a water glass is muted in that setting. In person, though, it casts a spell.

“It’s deceptively simple, and it’s absolutely captivating and it’s magical,” said Eric Lee, the director of the Kimbell Art Museum, which bought the work at auction in France in March for more than $22 million. “The painting completely mesmerized me, and it mesmerizes almost anyone who sees it.”

But now the Kimbell, whose successful bid for the work was first reported by the Art Newspaper of France, has to wait to see whether it can actually export the picture, which it purchased at the auction house Artcurial in Paris.

The Louvre has requested that the artwork be classified as “a national treasure” and is looking for sponsorship to purchase it. Under French law, the export can be frozen for 30 months, or 2 1/2 years.

“We are fully mobilized to bring it into the national collection,” Laurence des Cars, president and director of the Louvre, told Le Figaro in March. . . .

The full article is available here»




The British Museum Releases NFTs of Piranesi Drawings

Posted in Art Market, museums by Editor on April 29, 2022
Giovanni Battista Piranesi, A Classical Forum with Steps and a Column, ca.1748–52, pen and brown ink, grey-brown wash, and red chalk
(London: The British Museum, 1908,0616.10)

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From the press release, via Art Daily:

For its latest collaboration with The British Museum, LaCollection has announced a new NFT drop drawn from a selection of 20 pen and chalk drawings from The British Museum’s collection by the Venetian-born artist Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720–1778).

Piranesi is regarded as one of the greatest Italian printmakers of the 18th century, best known for his atmospheric representations of Roman antiquity, and in later years, his celebrated series of fictional prisons, La Carceri. His exceptional work as a draughtsman is less well known; yet, his drawings reveal the evolution of his practice and the relentless experimentation and innovation that underpinned his virtuoso ability with the etching needle.

Works included in this drop chart the evolution of the artist from early scenographic drawings to his more elaborate fantasy interiors. The selection includes some of the earliest drawings in The British Museum’s collection relating to his Prima Parte (1743) series of etchings of imaginary temples, palaces and the ruins of Rome.

A Monumental Staircase in a Vaulted Interior with Column (1750–55) is one of the most impressive Piranesi drawings in technique and scale found at The British Museum. Showcasing a mastery of craft, Piranesi deconstructed classical architecture language and reinvented it through dynamic compositions that animate and exaggerate the space; the use of red chalk combined with brown ink is unique in the Museum’s collection.

Piranesi’s drawings were investigative tools for experimentation that explore complex exercises in perspective and spatial representation as well as compelling fantasies. One such example is Architectural Fantasy with Monuments, Sculpture, and Ruins (1760–65), a fantasy scene bringing together a creative selection of different Roman monuments interspersed with figures drawn in miniature to accentuate the grandeur of the landscape.

The 20 artworks will be sold across three scarcity levels:
• Six will be Ultra Rare (two editions, one of which will be retained by The British Museum).
• Nine will be Super Rare (ten editions, one of which will be retained by The British Museum).
• Five will be Open Edition (a maximum of 50 editions will be sold with the final edition number set at the end of the primary sales window; one edition will be retained by The British Museum).

Ultra Rare artworks will be sold by auction, with a starting price of €4,000. Super Rare and Open Edition artworks will be sold at fixed price, selling for €2,000 and €499 respectively. Three preview artworks will be available to purchase from 25 April with the main drop starting on 2 May. All public sale artworks will be dropped by 13 May and the primary sales window will close on 30 June; after this point, no further sales of these artworks will be made by The British Museum. There will be a preferential sales window, closing on 15 May, after which the price of each Super Rare artwork will increase to €3,000 and each Open Edition to €749. For all existing NFT collectors there will be a private drop on 28 April and a final one on 16 May; artworks available to purchase in these drops will not be available in the public sale.

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Anyone looking for an introduction to NFTs might start with Kevin Roose, “What are NFTs? The Latecomer’s Guide to Crypto,” The New York Times (18 March 2022). Among the questions critics raise are the environmental impacts; some estimates place the carbon footprint of an NFT as equal to a month’s worth of electrical consumption for a person living in the EU, as noted by Justine Calma, “The Climate Controversy Swirling around NFTs,” Verge (15 March 2021). Also, see Charlotte Kent, “Can You Be an NFT Artist and an Environmentalist?” Wired (17 February 2022). CH

At Christie’s | Old Masters

Posted in Art Market by Editor on April 28, 2022

From the press release (via Art Daily) for the sale at Christie’s:

Maîtres Anciens: Dessins, Peintures, Sculptures, Sale 21059
Christie’s, Paris, 18 May 2022

Jacques Joseph André Aved (1702–1766), La dessineuse, oil on canvas, €150,000–250,000.

Ahead of the Salon du Dessin, which will be held from the 18th until the 23rd of May, Christie’s will present its sale dedicated to the Old Masters, led by an unpublished drawing by Michelangelo, one of the few still in private hands. The Old Masters sale will highlight a set of drawings, paintings, and sculptures carefully selected by our specialists. Major artists such as Théodore Gericault, Elisabeth Louise Vigée le Brun (whose painting has not been seen on the market since 1847), Jean-Baptiste Oudry, and Nicolas de Largillierre will be showcased in dialogue with the masters of drawing, such as Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Charles Natoire, and Jean-Antoine Watteau. The medium of sculpture will be represented including a splendid pyxis, enamelers such as Pierre Veyrier II, Jean II Pénicaud, and Léonard Limosin. The works will be exhibited alongside new creations by interior designer Hugo Toro. The sale consists of 264 lots for a global estimate of €6–9 million.


The Old Master and 19th-Century Drawings Department will be highlighted with the drawing by Michelangelo, a nude man (after Masaccio), and two figures behind, along with a selection of about a hundred sheets under the common theme of rediscovery. They begin in the 17th century, with three unseen drawings by Martin Fréminet (1567–1619), an emblematic painter of the Fontainebleau School: Sketch for a Ceiling with an Allegorical Figure of Faith (€70,000–100,000), Study for a Biblical King (€20,000–30,000), and Medallion with Two Harpies and Garlands (€7,000–10,000). These studies, rendered in graphite and brown wash, are preparatory sketches for the painted decoration of the Trinity Chapel of the Château de Fontainebleau.

The French school will be well represented with such artists as Charles de La Fosse (1636–1716), Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732–1806), Charles Natoire, and Jean-Antoine Watteau (1732–1806)—including a red chalk representation of A Couple Walking in a Landscape (€100,000–150,000) and Jean-Baptiste Greuze (1725–1805) with another beautiful ink and wash sheet representing Silenus’s March (€30,000–50,000). The latter drawing comes from the collections of Vincent Donjeux (1793), the Baron Charles de Vèze (1855), and François Walferdin (1860).


The Old Master Paintings Department will present some beautiful rediscoveries, including a charming Portrait of a Child by Jacques Joseph André Aved (1702–1766), which illustrates perfectly the sometimes profoundly intimate art of 18th-century portraiture. The painting, called the La dessineuse, also testifies to the close artistic links between Aved and his friend Jean Siméon Chardin (1699–1779). Coming straight from the descendants of the artist, this painting will be sold for the first time since its inception. Estimated at €150,000–250,000, it will be presented with another important work from the same collection.

Another highlight from the painting section is a rare oil painting by Nicolas de Largillierre (1646–1756), whose religious subject makes it stands out within the artist’s corpus. This Saint Barthélemy (ca. 1710), with naturalistic features and bathed in divine light, was attributed to the artist only in 2003 by Dominique Brême, on the occasion of the exhibition at the musée Jacquemart-André. Brême recognized in the painting one of the apostles that decorated the painter’s elegant Parisian home on the rue Geoffroy-l’Angevin. It is estimated at €60,000–80,000.

Finally, with a distinguished provenance (which includes Delacroix’s personal collection, as well as Prince Napoléon’s and the collection of the Elie de Rothschild), a portrait of a soldier titled Lancier from the 1er Régiment de Chevau-Léger-Lanciers de la Garde, called Polonais, by Théodore Gericault (1791–1824) will number among this sale’s exceptional works (€80,000–100,000). Here, we find a few of the themes that were so dear to the artist and which herald romanticism, such as horses, battle scenes, and soldiers—themes that celebrate the artist’s ideals of liberty, heroism, and wonder.


Alexandre Mordret-Isambert, new specialist in sculpture in Paris, presents a selection that includes a rare liturgical object executed in Limoges during the second half of the 13th century, A Virgin and Child forming a pyxis. No equivalent is known in museums or private collections. The sculpture, in a very good state of preservation, has remained hidden from view since being exhibited at the Universal Exhibition of 1900. The pyxis comes from prestigious collections: first the Frédéric Spitzer collection (1815–1890), then the Victor Martin Le Roy collection (1842–1918), then by descent to his daughter Jeanne, wife of Jean-Joseph Marquet de Vasselot (1871–1946), curator at the Louvre and then director of the Cluny museum, an important collector of medieval and Renaissance art objects. In November 2011, Christie’s sold 24 works from the Marquet-Vassselot collection, including a carved ivory group representing The Virgin and Child Enthroned for €6,337,000. The family still kept this treasure. Many objects from the collection are now in museums, including the Louvre and Cluny.

Art Market | Court, Epic, Spirit: Indian Art, 15th–19th Century

Posted in Art Market, exhibitions by Editor on February 21, 2022

Return of the Unfaithful Lover, Khandidta Nayika, ca. 1720, Nurpur, opaque pigment and gold on paper, 20 × 26 cm.

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From Luhring Augustine:

Court, Epic, Spirit: Indian Art, 15th–19th Century
Luhring Augustine Tribeca, New York, 26 January — 24 March 2022

Luhring Augustine, in association with Francesca Galloway, is pleased to present Court, Epic, Spirit: Indian Art, 15th–19th Century, a show of historical artworks from India opening on January 26. It marks the first time that Luhring Augustine has partnered with the London-based gallery Francesca Galloway, internationally renowned in the field of Indian art. Court, Epic, Spirit presents a variety of artworks including textiles, paintings, and courtly objects. The title of the exhibition refers to three key lenses through which to view the arts of India. With these organizing principles as a guide, these exceptional and iconic works of art can be more fully considered and understood.

A fine and grand 17th-century panel from a lavish royal tent is among the exhibition’s featured objects. The panel is part of an important group thought to have been produced in the Deccan, a region of central India. For both Rajput and Mughal rulers, tents were immensely important, especially to the latter given the nomadic lifestyle required to govern their vast empire.

Indian painting is above all a storytelling medium, created to illustrate epic texts. These narratives, and the paintings that accompanied them were an integral aspect of the region’s cultural traditions throughout this period. A work of particular importance in the exhibition is a recently discovered 16th-century painting from the early Imperial Mughal manuscript of the great epic, the Hamzanama (‘Story of Hamza’), one of the supreme achievements of Indian art. Commissioned by a young Emperor Akbar, it is the only known folio depicting this episode and represents a significant addition to the scholarship, not least because it was painted by Dasvant, a master artist in the Imperial atelier.

Also significant to the artistic output of the region were artworks focusing on worship—some depicting and enabling acts of revery, and some imbued with spiritual power. Hindu ragamala paintings depict verses that in turn evoke a mode of music. Through a very unusual group of 17th-century ragamala paintings, most likely from the northern Deccan, the connection between sound, image, and spirit can be explored. Their wild sense of color and proportion, coupled with stark architecture and sumptuous textiles, lend these paintings an assured and individual aesthetic. Another highlight of the show will be a masterpiece of painting on cloth illustrating Dana Lila, or Krishna playfully demanding a toll from the gopis. This type of Deccani pichhvai, a painted cotton temple cloth, is rare, with only a handful of examples in museum collections around the world.

An additional highlight of the exhibition is the facade of a magnificent late 18th- or early 19th-century Mughal-style pleasure pavilion, a large-scale architectural marvel. The pavilion, installed at our Bushwick location, is available to view by appointment. Court, Epic, Spirit: Indian Art, 15th–19th Century will be on view at the Tribeca location through 24 March 2022 and will be accompanied by an illustrated catalogue.

At Colnaghi | Naples

Posted in Art Market by Editor on December 9, 2021

Presepe, made in Naples, mid-18th century to early-nineteenth century, oil painted terracotta, carved wood, painted glass, shaped wire, tin, and cork, with stitched silks and linen, 113 × 173 × 108 inches (private collection).

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From the press release, via Art Daily, for the exhibition at Colnaghi, London:

Colnaghi, London, 3 December 2021 — 25 February 2022

Opening in conjunction with London Art Week (3–10 December), Colnaghi presents a special exhibition showcasing the enduring creative legacy of Old Master artists and artisans from Naples, marking the first exhibition in London devoted to the Italian city and its arts in over forty years. As the centrepiece of Naples, Colnaghi, together with Dario Porcini, present a magnificent 18th-century crèche, known in Italian as a presepe, a monumental nativity scene traditional to Baroque Naples. The exhibition also features a selection of religious, landscape, and still-life paintings by some of the greatest artists who worked in the city during the 17th and 18th centuries and served as inspiration for the craftsmen of the presepe, including Jusepe de Ribera, Luca Giordano, and Massimo Stanzione. Naples is on view at Colnaghi from 3 December 2021 through the festive season, until 25 February 2022.

“Our winter exhibition in London transports our visitors to Baroque Naples and will feature important paintings by masters of the period, as well as a monumental presepe,” says Chloe Stead, Senior Global Director of Colnaghi. “Boldly transgressing artistic hierarchies, presepi unite different media and techniques to realise extraordinarily elaborate and exuberant nativity scenes that provide incredible glimpses into life in Naples at the time. Our presepe, created during the golden age of these works, is one of the most important examples outside Italy and reflects all the vitality and craftsmanship for which the Italian city is still known.”

The recreation of nativity scenes with modelled figures and animals during Christmastime was widespread throughout Italy in the 13th and 14th centuries. By the 18th century, what originally had been a relatively simple temporary tableaux underwent a transformation in Naples into highly dramatic and theatrical creations, often monumental in scale. These crèches combined traditional sacred elements of nativity scenes—the Holy Family, wise men, angels, and shepherds—with aspects of contemporary Neapolitan life—rowdy tavern scenes, processing musicians, and bawdy market shopkeepers—in dazzling displays of artistic techniques.

The presepe at Colnaghi, dating from the 18th century, is one of the very few and finest of these masterpieces of the Italian Baroque outside Naples. Crafted from oil painted terracotta, carved wood, painted glass, shaped wire, tin, and cork, with stitched silks and linen to recreate the detailed fashions of the time, the presepe stages the sacred scene in a true-to-life Neapolitan setting and measures a remarkable 340 × 445 cm.

Carmine Romano, translated by Gordon Pole and Caroline Paganussi, The 18th-Century Neapolitan Crèche: A Masterpiece of Baroque Spectacle (Naples: Porcini, 2021), 175 pages, ISBN: 978-8894136470. Available as a PDF file here»

Other exhibition highlights include:

• Two paintings by Jusepe de Ribera, including an Ecce Homo, signed by the artist and dated to 1644 and considered a high point of Neapolitan Baroque art; and Saint John the Baptist, 1630s, which showcases the bold gesture and a melancholic landscape typical of this artist.

The Penitent Magdalene from the early 1640s by Massimo Stanzione, considered a great rival to Ribera. Signed with an elegant monogram, this well-preserved picture with its vivid, jewel-like sky is particularly unusual example of the artist’s work on copper.

• Two large-scale canvases by the celebrated artist of the later Baroque period, Luca Giordano, who was trained by Ribera. The Triumph of Galatea from the artist’s Roman period, ca. 1675–77, and Shepherds with their Herd (The Riches of the Earth), 1684, both reflect the artist’s ability to express the drama and pathos of religious and mythological subjects.

• Still lifes of fish, crustaceans and other seafood by Giuseppe Recco and his daughter Elena Recco from the 17th century, including two loans from the collection of Lord and Lady Rosse that have never before been presented outside of the dining room of Birr Castle.

• Landscape paintings by Antonio Joli, lent by Lord Montagu from Palace House, Beaulieu, presenting views of Naples-one depicting the Palazzo Reale and Castel Nuovo, and the other a view of the Largo di Palazzo at Carnival time. The works were commissioned by an ancestor of Lord Montagu during his Grand Tour.

Antonio Joli, Naples, A Festival with a Cuccagna at the Largo di Palazzo, ca. 1756–58, oil on canvas, 19 x 30 inches (Collection of Lord Montagu of Beaulieu). More information on the painting and the cuccagna tradition of ephemeral architecture is available here.
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