Enfilade

London Art Week, Summer 2018 / Launch of Tomasso XXV

Posted in Art Market, books, museums by Editor on June 17, 2018

From London Art Week:

London Art Week, Summer 2018
28 June — 6 July 2018

London Art Week is a twice-yearly event, offering the best of pre-contemporary art in London’s traditional fine art district. From Ancient sculptures to Old Master drawings and post-Impressionist paintings, London Art Week offers visitors the chance to see, and buy, extraordinary works. For seasoned collectors as well as those simply curious to learn more about art, London Art Week dealers are always on hand and delighted to share their knowledge and expertise. Talks and events are scheduled throughout the week, delivered by some of the UK’s most distinguished art historians and curators. There is no tent: visitors have the luxury of discovering masterpieces within our beautiful gallery spaces, all situated within walking distance.

From the press release for Tomasso Brothers Fine Art:

Catalogue Launch of Tomasso XXV: A Celebration of Notable Sales
Tomasso Brothers, London, 28 June — 6 July 2018

For the summer edition of London Art Week 2018, Tomasso Brothers Fine Art is proud to present a new publication, Tomasso XXV, a celebratory catalogue marking the many notable sales made in 25 years of activity. London Art Week runs from 29 June to 6 July 2018, and copies will be available at Marquis House, 67 Jermyn Street, St. James’s, the London gallery of Tomasso Brothers.

The catalogue features more than 50 works ranging from bronze sculptures to oil paintings, and dating from antiquity to the late Neoclassical periods, demonstrating the breadth and quality of works sold by Tomasso Brothers to museums and private collectors the world over. Tomasso Brothers Fine Art is recognised internationally for specializing in important European sculpture, thus works in wood, terracotta, marble, and bronze feature prominently; however, Dino and Raffaello Tomasso are also passionate about fields such as Old Master paintings and objets d’art, represented here by fabulous examples.

The historic sales illustrated in the catalogue range from distinctive sketches, such as Joseph Nollekens’s (1737–1823) terracotta rendering of a pensiero of Eve Bewailing the Death of Abel, now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, to rare bronzes, such as the Pacing Bull from a ‘Rape of Europa’ group, executed in Padua around 1520–25, re-united with its original figure of Europa thanks to Tomasso Brothers, at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna; and from the powerful, such as the triumphant Julius Caesar carved in limewood by Giambologna (1529–1608), a statuette now known to be not only the earliest recorded work by the master but also the only surviving sculpture that he executed in wood (today in a private collection, Antwerp), to the intimate, such as Nymph Entering a Bath by Richard James Wyatt (1795–1850) one of the foremost British heirs of Canova, which sold last year from Tomasso Brothers’ Canova and his Legacy exhibition to the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven.

Other highlights in the catalogue are a pair of portraits by the master of miniatures Jean-Étienne Liotard (1702–1789) depicting Prince Charles Edward Stuart (1720–1788) and Prince Henry Benedict Stuart (1725–1807) which, subsequent to their presentation and sale (to a private collection, Germany) by Tomasso Brothers at TEFAF 2015, were shown in the Liotard exhibition at London’s Royal Academy, 2015/2016; a white marble Farnese type bust of Emperor Caracalla by Joseph Claus (1718–1788), a milestone in the development of early Neoclassicism in Rome and a signature work by one of the most accomplished German sculptors of the eighteenth century, now with the Saint Louis Art Museum; and a high-relief, boxwood panel by Grinling Gibbons (1648–1721), a magnificent demonstration of sculptural bravura on a reduced scale and one of the earliest known works by Gibbons, who is widely considered to be Britain’s greatest woodcarver. As attested by the presence of the coat of arms of the Barwick family from Yorkshire, which is visible on a harp in the foreground, the panel, likely carved in York (where Gibbons trained under John Etty after arriving from Rotterdam around 1667) now resides at Fairfax House Museum, York, United Kingdom.

The catalogue also illustrates some major rediscoveries by Tomasso Brothers Fine Art, including The Triumph of Autumn by Jacob Hoefnagel (1573–1632/35), an exquisite oil on copper, signed and dated 1605, painted in Rome for the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II (1552–1612), and The Death of Saint Peter Martyr by Giovanni Girolamo Savoldo (c.1480–c.1548), a protagonist of Venetian Renaissance painting, renowned for the hushed brilliance of his palette and uniquely atmospheric quality of his compositions, now in the Art Institute of Chicago.

At Sotheby’s | Imperial Vase Sells for €16.2million

Posted in Art Market by Editor on June 14, 2018

Jingdezhen Imperial Workshops, Yangcai Famille Rose Vase Depicting Five Cranes and Nine Deer, Qing Dynasty, eighteenth century, reign of the Qianlong emperor. Details are available here.

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Press release (12 June 2018) from Sotheby’s:

Arts d’Asie: PF1837, PF1807
Sotheby’s, Paris, 12 June 2018

The summer Sotheby’s sale dedicated to Asian Arts ended with a total of nearly €30 million ($35.4m), triple the June 2017 results and the highest total ever for an Asian art sale in France. The sale got off to an explosive start with the auction record achieved in France by the extraordinary recently-discovered treasure of Imperial China: a unique Imperial 18th-century yangcai famille rose porcelain vase, bearing a mark from the reign of the Qianlong Emperor (r. 1736–1795). After a 20-minute bidding battle, the vase sold for €16.2 million ($19m) against an estimate of €500,000–700,000.

Olivier Valmier, specialist in Asian Art, said: “The discovery of an imperial treasure like this, found in a French attic for nearly a century, was an extraordinary adventure culminating in the record price achieved today. France is full of lost treasures just waiting to be discovered. As specialists, our work is to reveal them to collectors the world over.”

Sotheby’s had unveiled this extraordinary rediscovered treasure of imperial China during a press conference in Paris. Discovered by chance in the attic of a French family home, this magnificent vase was brought into Sotheby’s Paris by its unsuspecting owners in a shoe box. When Sotheby’s specialist Olivier Valmier, opened the box to examine the vase, he was immediately struck by its quality. Further research revealed the vase to be a unique example produced by the finest craftsmen for the Qianlong Emperor.

The vase is of exceptional rarity; the only known example of its kind, it was produced by the Jingdezhen workshops for the magnificent courts of the Qianlong Emperor. Famille rose porcelains of the period (or yangcai porcelains) are extremely rare on the market, with most examples currently housed in the National Palace Museum in Taipei and other museums around the world.

The second session (sale PF1807) continued with the sale of a group of twenty-eight Chinese paintings, calligraphies, and rubbings. Originally part of a large and important collection of Chinese art formed in China in the early 20th century, these works were only recently rediscovered. They had been passed down in the family and were originally collected by their great uncle, a prosperous German businessman and prominent member of the international foreign community in Beijing and Tianjin in the early decades of the 20th century and probably in the circle of Duan Fang (1861–1911). The collection totals €10.6 million ($12.5m), an auction record for a collection of Chinese paintings in France. During this session, two lots fetched prices of over one million euro. The most sought-after consisted of ‘regulated’ poems by Empress Yang, assembled by Qian Fu, with thirty-four collectors’ stamps (lot 34). Estimated at between €10,000 and €15,000, they inspired a battle all the way up to €2,465,450 ($2,901,761).

From the time of the First Emperor, an item bearing witness to the unification of Chinese writing, one of the most important pieces in this collection with a Duan Fang provenance is a very rare rubbing of an inscription taken from the Taishan Twenty-Nine Character Stele, mounted as a scroll and with a frontispiece by Duan Fang (lot 18). Bidders chased it all the way up to €1,929,000 ($2,270,375). It is extremely rare to find a rubbing of the Taishan stele with twenty-nine characters. Only a few have come down to us, including the example on sale today.

The day ended with a sale dedicated to Asian art works belonging to various amateurs and European collections. Bids were competitive for a carved Zitan ‘dragon’ cabinet, Qing dynasty, a masterpiece of cabinetmaking illustrating the splendour of Qianlong imperial furniture (lot 144). Rediscovered in the collection of film producer Serge Sandberg, it was sold for €393,000 ($462,549). An important polychrome stucco figure of Guanyin, Ming dynasty, 15th century (lot 184), fetched €237,000 ($278,942). Last, an impressively large blue and white bajixiang moonflask, Qianlong seal mark and period (lot 155), provided further proof of imperial artists’ talent. Its decoration of bajixiang, the Eight Auspicious Symbols of Buddhism, framed by lotus petals, clearly appealed to collectors, who took the bidding up to €237,000 ($278,942).

Symposium | The Architecture of James Gibbs

Posted in Art Market by Editor on June 7, 2018

From The Georgian Group:

The Architecture of James Gibbs
Society of Antiquaries of London, 29 September 2018

Andrea Soldi, Portrait of James Gibbs, ca. 1750 (Edinbrugh: National Galleries of Scotland, Scottish National Portrait Gallery).

Following successful conferences sponsored by the Group in previous years on John Nash and the Adam Brothers, the Georgian Group is organising a day-long symposium on the work of James Gibbs (1682–1754). Born in Scotland and trained in Rome, Gibbs was one of the most important British architects of the eighteenth century, responsible for such well-known buildings such as the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields in London and the Radcliffe Camera in Oxford, and for many other commissions, both public and private, throughout the British Isles. He also published one of the most influential of all eighteenth-century architectural pattern books, as a result of which his influence spread throughout the worldwide British diaspora. Drawing upon recent research, the symposium will reassess, and throw new light upon, his achievement and its significance for the understanding of Georgian architecture.

The symposium will be held from 10am to 5.15pm and will be led by Dr Geoffrey Tyack, editor of The Georgian Group Journal. Speakers will include leading authorities on eighteenth-century British architecture and decorative art—among them Andrew Martindale, Peter Guillery, Richard Hewlings, Charles Hind, Hugh Petter, and Alec Cobbe—and younger scholars. There will be papers on Gibbs’s Scottish background and his training in Rome; his work in London; his university buildings in Oxford and Cambridge; his country houses in both Britain and Ireland; his contribution to interior design, with special reference to plasterwork; his transatlantic influence; his portrait busts; and his relevance to the classical architecture of our own day.

Following the symposium there will be a reception at the church of St Peter, Vere Street (just north of Oxford Street), built to Gibbs’s designs in 1721–24, with superb plasterwork by the Swiss-Italian plasterers Artari and Bagutti.

Student tickets: A number of tickets at reduced rates are available for students registered on a degree-level course (both full-time and part-time).

P R O G R A M M E

9.30  Registration

10.00  Opening address

Session 1
• Andrew Martindale, ‘Mr Gibbs, the Scottish Architect’
• William Aslet, Gibbs: Knowledge and the Fashioning of a Professional Reputation in London
• Alex Echlin, James Gibbs and the historiography of Early Eighteenth-Century English Architecture

Break

Session 2
• Peter Guillery, James Gibbs and the Cavendish-Harley Estate in Marylebone
• Geoffrey Tyack, Gibbs in Cambridge and Oxford
• Ann-Marie Akehurst, Inferior to None: James Gibbs, the Royal Naval Hospital at Stonehouse, and l’affaire de l’Hotel-Dieu

Session 3
• Richard Hewlings, Gibbs’s Scale Bars
• Jenny Saunt, Ornament and the Architect: James Gibbs’s Interactions with Decorative Plasterwork and Furniture

Lunch

Session 4
• Ricky Pound, James Gibbs and the Octagon Room at James Johnston’s Villa at Twickenham
• Pete Smith, Gibbs at Kiveton Park, Yorkshire
• Alec Cobbe, The Path of a James Gibbs Discovery: Newbridge House, Ireland

Break

Session 5
• Michael Bevington, James Gibbs and His Garden Buildings at Stowe: Inventor and Mentor
• Charles Hind, Transatlantic Influence: A Book of Architecture and the American Colonies
• Dana Josephson, Portrait Busts of Gibbs: New Discoveries
• Hugh Petter, James Gibbs and the Enduring Legacy of Popular Classical Architecture

5.45 Reception at St Peter, Vere Street

Tomasso Brothers Fine Art at TEFAF 2018

Posted in Art Market by Editor on March 10, 2018

Giovanni Battista Cipriani, Castor and Pollux, 1783, oil on canvas, 275 × 316cm.

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Tomasso Brothers Fine Art at TEFAF
Maastricht, 8–18 March 2018

Tomasso Brothers Fine Art is pleased to report a number of significant sales at the TEFAF early access day, 8 March 2018, including a large oil on canvas by Giovanni Battista Cipriani (1727–1785) depicting Castor and Pollux that sold to a private collector within moments of the Fair’s opening. The asking price was in the region of 425,000€. This impressive neoclassical work was commissioned in 1783 by George Walpole, 3rd Earl of Orford for the Saloon at Houghton Hall along with two further mythological scenes. It remained in situ at Houghton until well in to the 20th century when it was purchased by The Rt. Hon. John Armar Lowry-Corry, 8th Earl Belmore of Castle Coole, Enniskillen and placed on public display.

The gallery also made an important sale to a new buyer, a private European collector, of a pair of monumental marble lion groups attributed to Giovanni Battista Foggini (1652–1725) and his workshop. Depicting a lion attacking a horse and a lion attacking a bull, the pair was offered for a price in the region of 1.75 million€.

Equestrian Monument of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, marble, after the antique bronze now in the Musei Capitolini (Rome, 18th century).

The works featured by Tomasso Brothers Fine Art at this year’s TEFAF Maastricht are inspired by Rome and classical Italy, dating from the ancient to the neoclassical. Other highlights include:
• The Forbes of Pitsligo Vases in white marble with corresponding plinths, attributed to Lorenzo Bartolini (1777–1850) made in Florence, ca. 1815–1830.
• An imposing Equestrian Monument of Emperor Marcus Aurelius in statuary marble, after the antique bronze now in the Musei Capitolini (Rome, 18th century).
• An exquisite Carrara marble sculpture by Cav. Emanuele Caroni (1826–after 1895) L’Amour Vainqueur de la Force, The Triumph of Love over Strength (Florence, ca. 1867).

Tomasso Brothers’ stand features original wallpaper designed by the gallery in-house. The design was inspired by the roman painted walls discovered in the region of the Bay of Naples, but perhaps most specifically, by a particular wall originating from the Villa di Agrippa Postumus at Boscotrecase (ca. 1st century BC – 1st century AD), which was painted in the ‘Third’ or ‘Ornate’ style of ancient wall fresco design, that flourished during the reign of Augustus. The idea of placing old master paintings and sculptures within a beautiful decorative scheme inspired by discoveries made at Pompeii and Herculaneum is essentially neoclassical in spirit, following the tradition established by the great architects and interior designers of the eighteenth century such as James ‘Athenian’ Stuart (1713–1788) for Spencer House, London (1759); Robert Adam (1728–1792) perhaps most notably at London’s Kenwood House, Osterley Park and Syon House; Joseph Bonomi (1739–1808) for Packington Hall, Warwickshire; and Sir John Soane (1753–1837) for the ‘Council Chamber’ at London’s Guildhall (1777).

Galleria Antonacci Lapiccirella at TEFAF 2018

Posted in Art Market by Editor on March 6, 2018

Press release, via Art Daily (5 March 2018) . . .

Galleria Antonacci Lapiccirella Fine Art at TEFAF
Maastricht, 8–18 March 2018

Antonio Canova, ‘Self-Portrait’ of Giorgione, 1792, oil on wood, 72.5 × 64 cm.

The Galleria Antonacci Lapiccirella Fine Art will be showing once again this year at TEFAF Maastricht 2018, bringing an exceptionally interesting selection of works of art to its stand. Tireless research, matchless skill and competence, scrupulous documentation, the aspiration to total quality, an international vision and unflagging enthusiasm are the qualities for which Francesca Antonacci and Damiano Lapiccirella are known at the highest level in the art world. The selection of works they present this year is inspired by their gallery’s profound interest in painting from the neoclassical era to the early 20th century.

Among the works on show stands out an unpublished painting by Antonio Canova on public display for the very first time; it constitutes a major rediscovery and marks a significant addition to our knowledge of the great sculptor’s work as a painter. The painting in question is a ‘Self-Portrait’ of Giorgione, 1792, an oil painting on wood, 72.5 × 64 cm, still housed in its magnificent original carved and gilded frame made in Rome, which the gallery knows to have been commissioned by Roman Senator Prince Abbondio Rezzonico, the young sculptor’s great protector and patron who was the picture’s first owner.

The most authoritative sources for Canova’s life narrated this fascinating story: Canova himself had skillfully painted the portrait on a 16th-century panel painting of the Holy Family, the image of which has been traced through reflectography and infrared inspection, taking as his model a portrait of Giorgione. Prince Rezzonico was also an accomplice in the bizarre story of the trick that Canova played on the greatest artists then present in Rome, who were invited to dine at the Senator’s home and shown this painting, which was palmed off as an original self-portrait of Giorgione. They all adored it, thanks also to the mastery with which it had been painted, and acclaimed it to a man as an authentic work by the Venetian 16th-century painter. This exemplary story points up Canova’s love of the glorious tradition of Venetian painting, in which he also sought inspiration for his sculpture.

The gallery’s passion for Italian painting is borne out in the first instance by a rare and precious oil painting by Giovanni Boldini depicting a Female Nude, dated to around 1890, which was shown for the first time in Forlì in 2015 at the most important monographic exhibition ever devoted to this Ferrara-born artist entitled Giovanni Boldini and the Spectacle of Modernity, testifying to the international renown that Boldini achieved in the 19th century in Paris, then the undisputed capital of modern art. The picture is remarkable for its rich, vibrant strength, for its freedom of expression and for the dynamic and impetuous brushwork, the characteristic hallmark with which Boldini succeeded in capturing the seductive sensuality of the female body. The young model reclines with nonchalance on an unmade bed, her hair loose, her eyes closed, emanating a strong erotic charge while maintaining an ineffable, sophisticated elegance.

The gallery will also highlight the enormous art historical interest of three very fine paintings by Giulio Aristide Sartorio, 1906. The panels in question constitute an important rediscovery of parts of a large decorative frieze entitled From the Fall of the Roman Empire to the Most Recent Achievements of Science, which Sartorio made for the Lazio Room at the Esposizione Internazionale del Sempione in Milan in 1906. The frieze, an oil on canvas painted en grisaille, consisted in a cycle of panels with which Sartorio set out to illustrate “Italy’s driving energy in history, ferrying the classical ideal into the modern world” and which critics hailed as one of his most successful decorative ventures to date. In the three panels on display, entitled From the Great Discoveries, through the Gloomy Ages, to the Living Revival of the Race; From the Myth of Brute Forces Tamed to the Most Recent Achievements of Science; and The Advent of Art and Culture respectively, Sartorio gives us a foretaste, in the development of his composition, in his sophisticated, elegant style and in the fluid and dynamic movement of his figures, of what was to be his greatest monumental work ever, the decoration of the parliamentary auditorium at the Palazzo di Montecitorio in Rome a few years later.

A large canvas entitled Spring dated 1925 by Cagnaccio di San Pietro, one of Italy’s greatest Hyperrealist artists, displays the artist’s delineated, compact and meticulous brushwork and unique, almost vitreous enamelled palette that were the manifesto of ‘Magical Realism’, an artistic trend which developed in Italy in the 1920s and which had a clear affinity with the Neue Sachlichkeit, or New Objectivity, and the Magischer Realismus of northern Europe. The painting, from a prestigious Italian private collection, has revealed a fascinating and hitherto unknown history: thanks to in-depth research and to an X-ray inspection performed during cleaning, it was discovered that the picture was first shown at Ca’ Pesaro in Venice in 1923 under the title Spring, while two years later the artist, who, in the meantime, had acquired a greater awareness of the philosophy underlying his work, felt the need in the prevailing climate of ‘Magical Realism’ to eliminate the excessively obvious naturalism from the work, thus de facto turning the painting into the manifesto of this new trend in art. On that occasion he signed it and dated it 1925, and showed it from that moment on under the title The Two Sisters or The Letter.

Established in 1988, TEFAF is widely regarded as the world’s pre-eminent organization of fine art, antiques, and design. TEFAF runs three Fairs internationally—TEFAF Maastricht, which covers 7,000 years of art history; TEFAF New York Spring, focused on modern and contemporary art and design; and TEFAF New York Fall, covering fine and decorative art from antiquity to 1920. TEFAF champions the finest quality art from across the ages by creating a community of the world’s top art dealers and experts to inspire lovers and buyers of art everywhere.

Jonny Yarker Joins Lowell Libson

Posted in Art Market by Editor on January 17, 2018

Press release (January 2017) from Lowell Libson & Jonny Yarker Ltd:

Lowell Libson Ltd is delighted to announce that from January 2018 it will be trading as Lowell Libson & Jonny Yarker Ltd. Lowell Libson is one of the great names in the world of London dealing: for the last seventeen years his gallery has been synonymous with British paintings, drawings, and sculpture of the highest quality. It is unusual for a gallery owner, with over forty years’ experience and his name above the door to embrace such a radical transformation, and it signals an important change for the future.

“Jonny joined the business five years ago and during that time we have worked very happily and successfully together. Jonny has made a huge impact on the gallery, and he has played an extremely significant role in developing the business with me; now is the right time to recognize this working partnership in a tangible way,” Lowell Libson commented. “I am very excited about the future, Jonny is a talented dealer, a leading scholar and a good friend and I look forward to our new venture together.”

Jonny Yarker had recently finished his PhD when Lowell approached him to come and work at the gallery. “I admired Lowell long before I met him. He had this amazing reputation for supporting scholarship and exhibitions of British art; I remember when I was a student seeing his name everywhere,” says Yarker, “Little did I think I would end up working with him.” Libson has a reputation for supporting innovative scholarship in British art and the gallery has sponsored major exhibitions at the Royal Academy, British Museum, Courtauld, Ashmolean, and Morgan Library and Museum in New York.

With Jonny on board, the company’s outlook became more routed in research and their projects were able to become more ambitious. For example, in 2014 they mounted the largest selling exhibition of drawings by Gainsborough for a century. Lowell and Jonny have also recently made a number of notable discoveries including newly identified works by Samuel Palmer, John Constable, Johan Zoffany as well uncovering a previously unknown cache of drawings by Sir Peter Lely.

Each brings complimentary talents to the business (as Libson says, “It’s not particularly constructive working with a clone of oneself”). They see their great strength as a willingness to embrace change and think laterally. “We operate in an apparently narrow field, but Lowell has an amazing ability to reinvent what we do, at the same time preserving a continuity of taste,” Yarker observes.

In March, the gallery will be exhibiting at the Salon du dessin in Paris for the first time and in July they will mount a major exhibition of drawings made in Britain before 1730. Libson has been collecting for the exhibition for over a decade but observes: “Jonny has really made the project his own, he has brought an academic rigour and flair to my initial idea; it is going to be a truly groundbreaking exhibition, I can’t wait!”

This is the essence of what Libson and Yarker do: bring high levels of scholarship and their own personal taste to British art. It is a formula that has won them an international group of clients, both institutional and private.

UK Export Ban Placed on Guardi’s ‘Rialto Bridge’

Posted in Art Market by Editor on January 8, 2018

Francesco Guardi, The Rialto Bridge with the Palazzo dei Camerlenghi, late-1760s, oil on canvas, 120 × 204 cm. Probably commissioned in Venice in 1768 by Chaloner Arcedeckne, in whose family it remained for the next 123 years, when it was acquired by Sir Edward Cecil Guinness, later 1st Earl of Iveagh, then by descent and inheritance.

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Press release (5 January 2018) from Gov.UK’s Department for Culture, Media & Sport:

Arts Minister John Glen has placed a temporary export bar on The Rialto Bridge with the Palazzo dei Camerlenghi by Francesco Guardi to provide an opportunity to keep it in the country. The extraordinary painting is at risk of being exported from the UK unless a buyer can be found to match the asking price of £26,796,000 (including VAT of £591,000).

With its masterful colouring and dynamic composition in which a series of gondolas bisect the Grand Canal, The Rialto Bridge with the Palazzo dei Camerlenghi showcases Guardi’s atmospheric style and the elegant depiction of light that would come to dominate his later works. Arguably Guardi’s masterpiece, the painting is considered to be one of the ultimate expressions of Venetian vedute, or view painting. Alongside Canaletto and his nephew Bellotto, Guardi was one of the great Venetian view painters of the 18th century. He was much admired in the 19th century for his impressionistic depictions of Venice and the Lagoon, which inspired many generations of artists visiting the city, most significantly Turner. The painting is believed to have been commissioned in 1768 by the relatively unknown grand tourist, Chaloner Arcedeckne, making it of great importance to the study of the British relationship with Venice and Grand Tour commissions.

Arts Minister John Glen said: “This magnificent painting is a true masterpiece that encapsulates the vibrant atmosphere and light of 18th-century Venice. I very much hope that it can be kept in the UK, where it can be appreciated and admired by future generations for many years to come.”

The decision to defer the export licence follows a recommendation by the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest (RCEWA), administered by The Arts Council.

RCEWA member Aidan Weston-Lewis said: “At more than six feet across, this beautifully composed, bustling view of one of the classic stretches of the Grand Canal is one of the most spectacular and attractive Venetian view paintings in this country. Commissioned by a British visitor to Venice in the late 1760s, it has remained in the UK ever since and has frequently been on public display. Its departure from these shores would be a regrettable loss.”

The RCEWA made its recommendation on the grounds of the painting’s outstanding aesthetic importance and outstanding significance for the study of the development of Guardi, Venetian view painting, and the study of Grand Tour patronage and taste. The decision on the export licence application for the painting will be deferred until 4 July 2018. This may be extended until 4 January 2019 if a serious intention to raise funds to purchase it is made at the recommended price of £26,796,000 (including VAT of £591,000). Organisations or individuals interested in purchasing the painting should contact the RCEWA.

Terracottas from Tomasso Brothers on View in New York

Posted in Art Market by Editor on December 21, 2017

European Terracottas from Tomasso Brothers Fine Art
Carlton Hobbs LLC, New York, 25 January — 2 February 2018

Giovanni Bonazza, Allegory of Winter, ca. 1710, terracotta, 34 cm high.

Tomasso Brothers Fine Art of Leeds and London is participating in Master Drawings New York (MDNY) for the first time this coming winter when they hold their annual catalogued exhibition at Carlton Hobbs LLC on the Upper East Side from 25 January to 2 February 2018. Tomasso Brothers has for a number of years held a highly-regarded exhibition in New York in January. The decision this year by MDNY to additionally encompass painting and sculpture at its next edition (Saturday 27 January to Saturday 3 February 2018, Preview Friday 26 January 2018) offered a golden opportunity for the gallery to take part in this preeminent event.

This year Tomasso Brothers will present a selection of important European terracotta sculptures from the neolithic to the neoclassical periods. The exhibition traces the history of ‘fired clay’ starting with the Vinca civilisation of South-Eastern Europe in the fifth millennium BC, which produced the fascinating Idol of a Mother and Child in the show and from there, via the ancient classical period and the Renaissance, to the high baroque, ending with the neoclassical era.

Among the works to be offered is a North Italian idealised Portrait Relief of a Lady from the late fifteenth century, and an attentively described Portrait Bust of a Man from Emilia in Northern Italy, ca. 1500. Both testify to the birth of terracotta as a medium for portraiture which continued well into the early modern era. Among further highlights is a Portrait Bust of a Gentleman by the rare Flemish sculptor Servatius Cardon (1608–1649) and a poignant Portrait of a Young Man attributed to the great French artist Philippe-Laurent Roland (1746–1816). The latter work is a beautiful representation of the birth of the modern portrait, where hierarchy and status give way to the expression of individuality and emotion.

Parallel to this, the exhibition also demonstrates how terracotta was essential to artistic practice as a means for sculptors to develop ideas and compositions, shown by a recently rediscovered terracotta model for an allegorical representation of Winter, by the Venetian baroque master Giovanni Bonazza (1654–1736), which offers a crucial insight into the work of the sculptor, presenting a highly accomplished model for a finished work to be carved in either stone or marble.

A similar case is illustrated by a Character Head executed by Antonio Canova (1757–1822) around 1780, when he was still a young sculptor on the cusp of greatness. Inspired by the famous Laocoön group in the Vatican, this terracotta exists as an invenzione in its own right, and so a testimony to the sculptor’s search for his own artistic vocabulary. Deeply and richly modelled, the Character Head betrays a preoccupation with the representation of emotions, framed within a wider exploration of antiquity that would be a central theme throughout Canova’s career.

Another remarkable discovery and a highlight of the exhibition to be presented by Tomasso Brothers Fine Art is a terracotta model for a figure of Saint Mark by Giuseppe Piamontini (1664–1742), a colossal marble statue carved for the new baroque church of Santi Michele e Gaetano in Piazza Antinori on the central Via Tornabuoni in Florence.

Important European Terracottas, presented by Tomasso Brothers Fine Art as part of Master Drawings New York 2018, will take place at Carlton Hobbs LLC at 60 East 93rd Street NY from 25 January through 2 February 2018. A fully illustrated catalogue will be available. Prices will range from around $15,000 to $500,000.

At Auction | Gold Laurel Leaf from Napoleon’s Crown

Posted in Art Market by Editor on October 13, 2017

Martin-Guillaume Biennais, gold laurel leaf from the crown made for the coronation of Napoleon, 1804.

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At Fontainebleau on November 19, Osenat plans to auction a gold laurel leaf from the crown made by Martin-Guillaume Biennais for Napoleon’s 1804 coronation, estimated to sell for 100,000 and 150,000 euros ($118,000 to $177,000). As reported by Agence France-Presse, via Art Daily (12 October 2017) . . .

The French leader crowned himself emperor at the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris in 1804, famously taking the Roman-style laurel wreath and putting it on his own head, instead of letting Pope Pius VII do the honours. But at a fitting for the crown in the days leading up to the spectacular event, the ‘little Corsican’ had complained that it was too heavy, the Osenat auction house said. So goldsmith Martin-Guillaume Biennais took six large leaves out of the crown, later giving one to each of his six daughters. . . .

The original wreath was melted down after Napoleon’s fall in the wake of the Battle of Waterloo. . . . [It] had 44 large gold laurel leaves and 12 smaller ones. It cost him 8,000 francs, a considerable fortune at the time, with the box it was stored in setting him back a further 1,300 francs. . .

The full article is available here»

Jacques-Louis David, The Coronation of Napoleon in the Cathedral of Notre Dame; oil on canvas, 1805–07 (Louvre, Paris).

At Sotheby’s | Joseph Wright’s ‘An Academy by Lamplight’

Posted in Art Market by Editor on September 20, 2017

Press release via Art Daily (18 September 2017) . . .

Old Masters Evening Sale
Sotheby’s, London, 6 December 2017

Joseph Wright, An Academy by Lamplight, 1769, 127 × 102 cm.

The genius of Joseph Wright of Derby A.R.A. (1734–1797) will come under the spotlight this winter, when one of the artist’s most important candlelit pictures, and one of his last major works remaining in private hands, appears at auction at Sotheby’s. Painted in 1769, An Academy by Lamplight (lot #11) is a supreme example of Wright’s dramatic rendering of light and shade and his association with the Enlightenment movement. Almost certainly the picture that Wright exhibited at the Society of Artists in 1769, this rare painting was first securely recorded in the collection of Sir Savile Crossley, 1st Baron Somerleyton (1857–1935), the scion of a great carpet manufacturing dynasty from Halifax, and has remained in the possession of his family ever since. One of the star lots of Sotheby’s London Old Masters evening sale on 6 December 2017, it will be offered with an estimate of £2.5–3.5 million, the highest estimate for a work by Joseph Wright of Derby ever at auction.

Julian Gascoigne, Senior Specialist, British Paintings at Sotheby’s said: “Joseph Wright of Derby is one of a small and select group of British 18th-century artists whose work transcends national boundaries and speaks to a wider global sensibility. Drama and passion are at the core of his oeuvre and this is particularly true of this exceptional painting. The artist’s masterful use of light brings to life the sensual antique statue and brilliantly captures the contemporary aesthetic infatuation with the art of the past. With its overt reference to the classical legend of Pygmalion, and the transformative power of art, this is one of the most important works by the artist to come to the market in recent years and we look forward to presenting it to collectors around the world.”

Joseph Wright of Derby is widely regarded as one of Britain’s most interesting and versatile painters and his greatest works, such as An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump (National Gallery, London), The Orrery (Derby Museums and Art Gallery), and A Grotto in the Kingdom of Naples with Banditti (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston) have become icons of British art the world over.

An Academy by Lamplight is one such masterpiece, and one of the artist’s most famous and celebrated works. This is the first of two versions of the subject painted by Wright and most likely the one he exhibited at the Society of Artists in 1769—a period when Wright was rapidly establishing himself as one of the most exciting and innovative young artists in Britain. Whilst it has rarely been seen in public in the 250 years since, the other version, painted in 1770, was acquired by Paul Mellon in 1964 and is now in the collection at the Yale Centre for British Art, New Haven.

Nymph with a Shell, first century CE, marble (Paris: Louvre, photo from Wikimedia Commons). Roman copy of a Hellenistic type.

In An Academy by Lamplight, Wright of Derby tackles a subject with a long and illustrious history dating back to the first academies of art established during the Renaissance in Italy. Wright may have been inspired by the profusion of such organisations in 18th-century Europe and especially in Britain, where the Royal Academy in London was founded just a year before the work was painted, in 1768. The picture depicts six young draughtsmen contemplating the cast of Nymph with a Shell, an antique Hellenistic statue much admired in the 18th century when it was housed in the Villa Borghese in Rome. Today it can be found in the Louvre.

Wright was closely associated with the key members of the Enlightenment and, in particular, with the group of scientists and industrialists who made up the intriguing Lunar Society. A peculiarly 18th-century fusion of science, the arts, philosophy and literature, the Society’s members challenged accepted beliefs and pushed the boundaries of scientific and intellectual exploration, counting among its members leading figures like Josiah Wedgewood, Matthew Boulton, Joseph Priestly, and Erasmus Darwin (grandfather of Charles). Though Wright himself was never officially a member of the Lunar Society, he was intimately bound up in that world of intellectual, scientific and, commercial enterprise and drew succour from its activities, which forms the spiritual core of his art.

Wright ‘candlelit’ pictures, with their dazzling use of chiaroscuro, are in many ways the artistic manifestation of the intellectual endeavours of these luminaries of the Enlightenment: the introduction of light into darkness acting as a metaphor for the transition from religious faith to scientific understanding and enlightened rationalism.

Note (added 7 December 2017) — Wright’s An Academy by Lamplight sold for £7,263,700 (hammer price with buyer’s premium).