Sublime Gardens

 

Painting Paradise: The Art of the Garden, The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, London SW1, until11th October 2015

Marco Ricci, A View of the Cascade, Bushy Park Water Gardens, c.1715. Royal Collection Trust / copyright Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

Marco Ricci, A View of the Cascade, Bushy Park Water Gardens, c.1715.
Royal Collection Trust / copyright Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

This is a great exhibition which celebrates the idea of the garden through paintings, drawings, books and the decorative arts from the 16th to the early 20th century.

Mir 'Ali Sir Nava'l, Seven Couples in a Garden, c. 1510. Royal Collection Trust / copyright Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

Mir ‘Ali Sir Nava’l, Seven Couples in a Garden, c. 1510.
Royal Collection Trust / copyright Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

We see a Persian garden depicted in an Islamic manuscript, the gardens of Versailles and Hampton Court, Kew, Windsor and Osborne House. Works by Rembrandt, Leonardo da Vinci, Jan Brueghel the Elder as well as late 19th and early 20th century watercolours and a Fantin-Latour painting.

Jan Brueghel the Elder, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, 1615. Royal Collection Trust / copyright Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

Jan Brueghel the Elder, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, 1615.
Royal Collection Trust / copyright Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

There is a wonderful selection of floral decoration on Bow, Chelsea, Meissen and Sèvres porcelains, textiles, furniture, silver, fans and jewellery, including pieces commissioned by Prince Albert for Queen Victoria and of course works by Carl Fabergé.

Workshop of Carl Faberge, Bleeding Heart, c.1900. Royal Collection Trust / copyright Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

Workshop of Carl Faberge, Bleeding Heart, c.1900.
Royal Collection Trust / copyright Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

This engaging exhibition appeals to most tastes as it reveals the garden as a place of beauty, a place for research and science, a place to relax and enjoy and a place to wonder at the glories of nature.

Thomas Tompion, one of a pair of sundials, 17th century. Royal Collection Trust / copyright Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

Thomas Tompion, one of a pair of sundials, 17th century.
Royal Collection Trust / copyright Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

http://www.royalcollection.org.uk

 

The RA’s Summer Exhibition 2015

Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy of Art, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1, until 16th August 2015

View of the Central Hall Photography: John Bodkin, DawkinsColour (c) Royal Academy of Arts

View of the Central Hall
Photography: John Bodkin, DawkinsColour
(c) Royal Academy of Arts

From the moment you enter the courtyard and experience Conrad Shawcross’s The Dappled Light of the Sun, 2015 you realise that this year’s Summer Exhibition is going to be different in a good way.  Upon entering the building this is confirmed by the main staircase which has become ZOBOP a highly colourful installation by Jim Lambie, which is made up from pieces of vinyl tape.  When you enter the exhibition you are greeted by the vivid green walls of the Wohl Central Hall with to the right the bright blue of the Lecture Room and to the left Gallery III is a wonderful deep pink colour.  The hang and display of the works is different too as there is a sense of balance and a less cluttered feel. This is helped by the fact that the Architecture Gallery is in the Large Weston Room and that two galleries are devoted to Prints.

Michael Craig-Martin CBE RA unveiling a new site-specific artwork by Jim Lambie for the Summer Exhibition 2015 © David Parry, Royal Academy of Arts

Michael Craig-Martin CBE RA unveiling a new site-specific artwork by Jim Lambie for the Summer Exhibition 2015
© David Parry, Royal Academy of Arts

All these positive changes are down to this year’s co-ordinator Michael Craig-Martin CBE RA and the hanging committee which includes Royal Academicians Norman Ackroyd, Olwyn Bowey, Gus Cummins, Jock McFadyen, David Remfry, Mick Rooney, Alison Wilding, Bill Woodrow and Ian Ritchie.  They have set a high bar for their successors next year.

Gallery III of the Summer Exhibition 2015 (c) David Parry, Royal Academy of Arts

Gallery III of the Summer Exhibition 2015
(c) David Parry, Royal Academy of Arts

The whole raison d’être of the Summer Exhibition is aptly summed up by Bob and Roberta Smith RA: The Summer Exhibition is about artists’ generosity and democracy. No other gallery in the world tries to do what the RA does – open its doors to everyone who thinks of themselves as an artist, to have their work judged by their peers.

Royal Academician Conrad Shawcross stands in front of The Dappled Light of the Sun, 2015 (c) Royal Academy of Arts, Benedict Johnson

Royal Academician Conrad Shawcross stands in front of The Dappled Light of the Sun, 2015
(c) Royal Academy of Arts, Benedict Johnson

 www.royalacademy.org.uk

View of the Lecture Room Photography: John Bodkin, DawkinsColour (c) Royal Academy of Arts

View of the Lecture Room
Photography: John Bodkin, DawkinsColour
(c) Royal Academy of Arts

Lucian Freud

Girl – Lucian Freud, Ordovas, 25 Savile Row, London W1, until 1st August 2015

Girl -­ Lucian Freud installation view,  photography by Mike Bruce  / The Lucian Freud Archive / Bridgeman Images

Girl -­ Lucian Freud installation view,
photography by Mike Bruce / The Lucian Freud Archive / Bridgeman Images

This is an exquisite exhibition of four small paintings and a selection of archival material and photographs. The subject is Lady Caroline Blackwood; the artist Lucian Freud; the connection is they married in 1953.

Lucian Freud,  Girl in Bed, 1952  © The Lucian Freud Archive / Bridgeman Images

Lucian Freud,
Girl in Bed, 1952
© The Lucian Freud Archive / Bridgeman Images

Caroline was 18 when they first met in 1949 at a ball and although Freud was separated from his first wife Kitty they were still married.   Caroline braved her mother’s (Maureen Dufferin and Ava) disapproval and moved in with Freud at his Paddington studio. He painted her between 1950 and 1956 and while these works are today thought to be tender depictions, at the time he was criticised for making her look older than her years.

Lucian Freud,  Girl by the Sea, 1956 © The Lucian Freud Archive / Bridgeman Images

Lucian Freud,
Girl by the Sea, 1956
© The Lucian Freud Archive / Bridgeman Images

In 1952 Caroline and Lucian eloped to Paris and lived there for a year and then in 1953 they married at the Chelsea Register Office on London’s Kings Road.  However the marriage was to be short-lived as Freud’s gambling and reckless behaviour led to its collapse. She moved to New York to study acting and became a well-known author but the bond between them lasted until her death in 1996.

Lucian Freud,  The Sisters, circa 1950 © The Lucian Freud Archive / Bridgeman Images

Lucian Freud,
The Sisters, circa 1950
© The Lucian Freud Archive / Bridgeman Images

Two of the paintings on show Girl in Bed and Girl Reading were both painted in 1952 while Girl by the Sea, 1956, was the last painting Freud did of Caroline and in fact he just finished it before their break-up.  Recently completed research has revealed that it was painted in Pedregalejo near Malaga, Spain. What added to Caroline’s beauty were her big blue-green eyes and the fourth painting (The Sisters, 1950) in the exhibition eloquently depicts one of them.

Lucian Freud,  Girl Reading, 1952 © The Lucian Freud Archive / Bridgeman Images

Lucian Freud,
Girl Reading, 1952
© The Lucian Freud Archive / Bridgeman Images

Try not to miss this!

 

Girl ­- Lucian Freud installation view,  photography by Mike Bruce / The Lucian Freud Archive / Bridgeman Images

Girl ­- Lucian Freud installation view,
photography by Mike Bruce / The Lucian Freud Archive / Bridgeman Images

http://www.ordovasart.com

An Icon Portrayed

Once again I have asked John Kirkwood to contribute to my blog:

 

Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon, National Portrait Gallery, London, until 18th October 2015

Audrey Hepburn by Antony Beauchamp, 1955 Copyright: Reserved

Audrey Hepburn by Antony Beauchamp, 1955
Copyright: Reserved

For admirers of Audrey Hepburn (and who isn’t?) this exhibition is a real treat featuring as it does many rarely seen images as well as classics we have all come to know.

Dance recital photograph by Manon van Suchtelen, 1942 Copyright: Reserved

Dance recital photograph by Manon van Suchtelen, 1942
Copyright: Reserved

It takes us from Audrey’s early years as a dancer at Ciro’s night club, which by strange coincidence was located on the very spot in Orange Street which now houses the Gallery’s Heinz Archive and Study Room, through her film career right up to her inspiring work for UNICEF.

Audrey Hepburn on location in Africa for The Nuns Story by Leo Fuchs, 1958 Copyright: Leo Fuchs

Audrey Hepburn on location in Africa for The Nuns Story by Leo Fuchs, 1958
Copyright: Leo Fuchs

I am sure that she would have been amazed and indeed puzzled by becoming a modern icon and wonder what all the fuss was about as she was one of the very  few film stars about whom you could say ‘what you see is what you get’.

Costume test for Sabrina, Paramount Pictures, 1953 Copyright: Reserved

Costume test for Sabrina, Paramount Pictures, 1953
Copyright: Reserved

Not long before her death she appeared at the Barbican reading from the diary of Anne Frank to music composed by Michael Tilson Thomas. A truly magical night but afterwards she was telling everyone how she had been shaking with nerves.  This from one of the biggest stars in the world!

Audrey Hepburn dressed in Givenchy with sunglasses by Oliver Goldsmith by Douglas Kirkland, 1966 Copyright: Iconic Images/Douglas Kirkland

Audrey Hepburn dressed in Givenchy with sunglasses by Oliver Goldsmith by Douglas Kirkland, 1966
Copyright: Iconic Images/Douglas Kirkland

Film star, fashion icon, humanitarian and loving mother, all aspects are covered in this truly wonderful exhibition devoted to one of the best-loved actresses of all time.

 

 

npg.org.uk/hepburn

A Mistress’s Taste

I thought that I would share these wonderful fusions of eastern and western decorative arts that almost certainly belonged to Madame de Pompadour who was Louis XV’s mistress and which will be auctioned next week

 

Treasures Sale Sotheby’s London, 8 July 2015  A pair of gilt-bronze-mounted Chinese export porcelain cockerel candelabra, the porcelain Qianlong (1736-1795), the mounts Louis XV, with the crown c poinçon, circa 1745-49, attributed to Jacques Caffiéri  (1678-1755), almost certainly acquired by Madame de Pompadour from Lazare–Duvaux on 4th August 1755 for l’Hôtel d’Évreux in Paris each 63cm. high; 2ft. 1in Estimate: £500,000 — 1,000,000

Treasures Sale
Sotheby’s London, 8 July 2015
A pair of gilt-bronze-mounted Chinese export porcelain cockerel candelabra, the porcelain Qianlong (1736-1795), the mounts Louis XV, with the crown c poinçon, circa 1745-49, attributed to Jacques Caffiéri (1678-1755), almost certainly acquired by Madame de Pompadour from Lazare–Duvaux on 4th August 1755 for l’Hôtel d’Évreux in Paris
each 63cm. high; 2ft. 1in
Estimate: £500,000 — 1,000,000

 

The Exceptional Sale - 2015  Christie's London, King Street, Jul 09, 2015 Lot Number 0129  PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED EUROPEAN PRIVATE COLLECTION (lots 118-131) A PAIR OF LOUIS XV ORMOLU AND GILT-COPPER-MOUNTED CHINESE BLANC DE CHINE THREE-BRANCH CANDELABRA CIRCA 1750, THE PORCELAIN EARLY 18TH CENTURY Each with a figure of a stork wearing a stylised necklace, standing before a tree trunk on a naturalistic base, mounted with twisting grape vine branches entwined around the trunk and terminating in foliate drip pans and nozzles, on a rocaille and foliate decorated base, restorations to the storks legs and the tree stumps 17 ¼ in. (44 cm.) high Estimate 300,000 - 500,000 British pounds  Provenance Possibly supplied by the marchand-mercier, Lazare Duvaux, on 14 February 1752 to Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour (1764) and possibly the pair listed in the 1764 inventory following her death as no. 2312. Possibly, M. l’Abbe Le Blanc, Historiographe des Batiments du Roi, sold, 14 February 1781, lot 128 and acquired by Jean-Baptiste-Pierre Lebrun, or sold anonymously (actually the properties of La Reynière, Donjeu, the marquis de Chevigné), 10 February 1773, lot 66. In the collection of Madame and Colonel Balsan in 1936, photographed in the ‘salle à manger’ of their Parisian hôtel overlooking the Champ-de-Mars. Thence by descent to the end of the 1950's. Sold, Sotheby's, Monaco, 11 December 1999, lot 88, where acquired by the present owner. © Christie’s Images Limited 2015

The Exceptional Sale – 2015
Christie’s London, King Street, Jul 09, 2015
Lot Number 0129
PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED EUROPEAN PRIVATE COLLECTION (lots 118-131)
A PAIR OF LOUIS XV ORMOLU AND GILT-COPPER-MOUNTED CHINESE BLANC DE CHINE THREE-BRANCH CANDELABRA
CIRCA 1750, THE PORCELAIN EARLY 18TH CENTURY
Each with a figure of a stork wearing a stylised necklace, standing before a tree trunk on a naturalistic base, mounted with twisting grape vine branches entwined around the trunk and terminating in foliate drip pans and nozzles, on a rocaille and foliate decorated base, restorations to the storks legs and the tree stumps
17 ¼ in. (44 cm.) high
Estimate 300,000 – 500,000 British pounds
Provenance Possibly supplied by the marchand-mercier, Lazare Duvaux, on 14 February 1752 to Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour (1764) and possibly the pair listed in the 1764 inventory following her death as no. 2312.
Possibly, M. l’Abbe Le Blanc, Historiographe des Batiments du Roi, sold, 14 February 1781, lot 128 and acquired by Jean-Baptiste-Pierre Lebrun, or sold anonymously (actually the properties of La Reynière, Donjeu, the marquis de Chevigné), 10 February 1773, lot 66.
In the collection of Madame and Colonel Balsan in 1936, photographed in the ‘salle à manger’ of their Parisian hôtel overlooking the Champ-de-Mars.
Thence by descent to the end of the 1950’s.
Sold, Sotheby’s, Monaco, 11 December 1999, lot 88, where acquired by the present owner.
© Christie’s Images Limited 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.sothebys.com

http://www.christies.com

Important French Furniture and Works of Art

Taste of the Royal Court: Important French Furniture and Works of Art from a Private Collection, Christie’s, 8 King Street, London SW1, 9th July 2015

A MASTERPIECE BY CHARLES CRESSENT Unseen on the market since the early 20th century, the top lot of the collection is a bureau plat which is a masterpiece by Charles Cressent, who ranks with Boulle, Riesener and Gouthière as among the most famous craftsmen of the 18th century. The precise form only occurs on one other known bureau plat by Cressent, in the Louvre Estimate: £1-1.5 million CREDIT: CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD. 2015

A MASTERPIECE BY CHARLES CRESSENT
Unseen on the market since the early 20th century, the top lot of the collection is a bureau plat which is a masterpiece by Charles Cressent, who ranks with Boulle, Riesener and Gouthière as among the most famous craftsmen of the 18th century. The precise form only occurs on one other known bureau plat by Cressent, in the Louvre
Estimate: £1-1.5 million
CREDIT: CHRISTIE’S IMAGES LTD. 2015

Christie’s hold a proud record for important sales of French decorative arts and this present sale, comprising twenty-two lots, is no exception.

A VASE MADE FOR LOUIS XV'S FINANCE MINISTER A spectacular Louis XV ormolu-mounted Chinese flambé-glazed porcelain vase, with sinuous rococo mounts attributed to Jean-Claude Chambellan Duplessis, circa 1755, was almost certainly made for the celebrated collector and financier Jean-Baptiste de Machault d'Arnouville (1701-1794) Estimate: £600,000-1 million CREDIT: CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD. 2015

A VASE MADE FOR LOUIS XV’S FINANCE MINISTER
A spectacular Louis XV ormolu-mounted Chinese flambé-glazed porcelain vase, with sinuous rococo mounts attributed to Jean-Claude Chambellan Duplessis, circa 1755, was almost certainly made for the celebrated collector and financier Jean-Baptiste de Machault d’Arnouville (1701-1794)
Estimate: £600,000-1 million
CREDIT: CHRISTIE’S IMAGES LTD. 2015

Many of the lots have not appeared at auction before and what a selection it is with pieces which have provenances from the 18th century as they were especially created for patrons such as Queen Marie Antoinette, Duke Albert de Saxe-Teschen, Jean Baptiste de Machault d’Arnouville, Chancelier de France and the Prince de Conti.

MARIE ANTOINETTE’S EXQUISITE ARMCHAIR FROM THE PAVILLON BELVEDERE, The Only Surviving Armchair from the Most Expensive Suite Made for the French Queen A royal Louis XVI giltwood fauteuil en bergère which was made for Marie Antoinette by François II Foliot, after a design by Jacques Gondoin in 1780, with sculpture by Pierre-Edme Babel or Toussaint Foliot Estimate: £300,000-500,000 CREDIT: CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD. 2015

MARIE ANTOINETTE’S EXQUISITE ARMCHAIR FROM THE PAVILLON BELVEDERE, The Only Surviving Armchair from the Most Expensive Suite Made for the French Queen
A royal Louis XVI giltwood fauteuil en bergère which was made for Marie Antoinette by François II Foliot, after a design by Jacques Gondoin in 1780, with sculpture by Pierre-Edme Babel or Toussaint Foliot
Estimate: £300,000-500,000
CREDIT: CHRISTIE’S IMAGES LTD. 2015

If that were not enough in itself some have then been part of celebrated collections including those of the Dukes of Hamilton, the Marquesses of Bath at Longleat and the Comtes de Vogüé at Vaux-le-Vicomte. This really is, as the photographs show, a great sale with outstanding pieces. It is though it will achieve in excess of six million pounds.

THE PRINCE DE CONTI’S PLANETARY CLOCK A remarkable Louis XVI Ormolu Planetary Clock (‘Sphère Mouvante’), the movement by Jean-Michel Mabille and the sphere by Martin Baffert, circa 1770, is a tour de force of horological complexity Estimate: £600,000-1 million CREDIT: CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD. 2015

THE PRINCE DE CONTI’S PLANETARY CLOCK
A remarkable Louis XVI Ormolu Planetary Clock (‘Sphère Mouvante’), the movement by Jean-Michel Mabille and the sphere by Martin Baffert, circa 1770, is a tour de force of horological complexity
Estimate: £600,000-1 million
CREDIT: CHRISTIE’S IMAGES LTD. 2015

 

THE HAMILTON PALACE AGATE EWER A rare and precious objet d’art from the late 1790s, combining a richly veined 17th century agate ewer and basin with fashionably neo-classical gilt-bronze mounts possibly by Pierre-Philippe Thomire, the design attributed to Jean Guillaume Moitte, has a remarkable history Estimate: £500,000-800,000 CREDIT: CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD. 2015

THE HAMILTON PALACE AGATE EWER
A rare and precious objet d’art from the late 1790s, combining a richly veined 17th century agate ewer and basin with fashionably neo-classical gilt-bronze mounts possibly by Pierre-Philippe Thomire, the design attributed to Jean Guillaume Moitte, has a remarkable history
Estimate: £500,000-800,000
CREDIT: CHRISTIE’S IMAGES LTD. 2015

 

A PAIR OF JEWEL-LIKE LOUIS XVI WALL LIGHTS - A ROYAL MODEL BY FELOIX Estimate £200,000-300,000 CREDIT: CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD. 2015

A PAIR OF JEWEL-LIKE LOUIS XVI WALL LIGHTS – A ROYAL MODEL BY FELOIX
Estimate £200,000-300,000
CREDIT: CHRISTIE’S IMAGES LTD. 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.christies.com

The Colours of the Human Soul

Marco Lusini: The Colours of the Human Soul, Fiumano Fine Art, 27 Connaught Street, London W2, 4th – 7th July 2015
Marco Lusini  Untitled – from Oneiric Landscapes | Acrylic | 80 x 90 cm | 1982 | Private Collection

Marco Lusini
Untitled – from Oneiric Landscapes | Acrylic | 80 x 90 cm | 1982 | Private Collection

Marco Lusini (1936-1989) did not initially set out to be a painter but arrived there through a process that involved working in various artistic media.  He found inspiration for his paintings in the works of the French poet Rimbaud, the plays of  Bertolt Brecht  and in the Sicilian landscape at Pantalica.  The pictures have strong colours which are a perfect foil for his exploration of the concepts of loneliness, asexuality, melancholy and nature.
Marco Lusini  Untitled – (late 1970s) – Lithograph – 50x70cm – Private Collection

Marco Lusini
Untitled – (late 1970s) – Lithograph – 50x70cm – Private Collection

It is no surprise that he has been an inspiration to younger generations.  Lusini said of his works “I want to leave the viewer free to explore my artwork, listen to his own emotions, embrace them and find his own answers”.  An invitation that is still readily taken up today.
There is a small exhibition of his works running concurrently at the American West Valley Art Museum of Arizona in the United States.
Marco Lusini  Untitled – from Oneiric Landscapes | Acrylic | 80 x 80 cm | 1982 | Private Collection

Marco Lusini
Untitled – from Oneiric Landscapes | Acrylic | 80 x 80 cm | 1982 | Private Collection