My Object of the Year 2016

Collector’s Cabinet by Theodor Commer (1773-1853) with 48 Wax Reliefs by Caspar Bernhard Hardy (1726-1819) for Canon Johann Wilhelm Neel (1744-1819) Cologne, ca 1795 Cherry wood, brass marquetery, wax reliefs Height 225 cm, width 145 cm, depth 62 cm Photo credit: Kunstkammer Georg Laue, Munich

Collector’s Cabinet by Theodor Commer (1773-1853)
with 48 Wax Reliefs by Caspar Bernhard Hardy (1726-1819)
for Canon Johann Wilhelm Neel (1744-1819)
Cologne, ca 1795
Cherry wood, brass marquetery, wax reliefs
Height 225 cm, width 145 cm, depth 62 cm
Photo credit: Kunstkammer Georg Laue, Munich

I am fortunate, if not a little spoilt, in that I get to see objects from all periods and in most media during the year and have the opportunity to share them with you through my blog.  I am sharing this with you and considering that I saw it at Frieze Masters in October you may well be right in thinking that perhaps this is something I would like to keep for myself.  But it is in my view far too good an item to be selfish about. Sadly, no I don’t own it.

Collector’s Cabinet by Theodor Commer (1773-1853) with 48 Wax Reliefs by Caspar Bernhard Hardy (1726-1819) for Canon Johann Wilhelm Neel (1744-1819) Cologne, ca 1795 Cherry wood, brass marquetery, wax reliefs Height 225 cm, width 145 cm, depth 62 cm Photo credit: Kunstkammer Georg Laue, Munich

Collector’s Cabinet by Theodor Commer (1773-1853)
with 48 Wax Reliefs by Caspar Bernhard Hardy (1726-1819)
for Canon Johann Wilhelm Neel (1744-1819)
Cologne, ca 1795
Cherry wood, brass marquetery, wax reliefs
Height 225 cm, width 145 cm, depth 62 cm
Photo credit: Kunstkammer Georg Laue, Munich

Many of you will recognise that this sécrétaire has the hallmarks of the Roentgen workshops at Neuwied and you would be correct as its maker Theodor Commer (1773-1853) trained there.  The sécrétaire was commissioned specially by Johann William Neel (1744-1819) – you can see his entwined inlaid initials on the roll-top front – to contain his collection of forty-eight wax reliefs by Caspar Bernhard Hardy (1726-1819).  Hardy was a cleric at Cologne Cathedral and so knew Neel.

Collector’s Cabinet by Theodor Commer (1773-1853) with 48 Wax Reliefs by Caspar Bernhard Hardy (1726-1819) for Canon Johann Wilhelm Neel (1744-1819) Cologne, ca 1795 Cherry wood, brass marquetery, wax reliefs Height 225 cm, width 145 cm, depth 62 cm Photo credit: Kunstkammer Georg Laue, Munich

Collector’s Cabinet by Theodor Commer (1773-1853)
with 48 Wax Reliefs by Caspar Bernhard Hardy (1726-1819)
for Canon Johann Wilhelm Neel (1744-1819)
Cologne, ca 1795
Cherry wood, brass marquetery, wax reliefs
Height 225 cm, width 145 cm, depth 62 cm
Photo credit: Kunstkammer Georg Laue, Munich

Hardy’s great forte was producing these framed allegorical wax portraits, often sourced from contemporary genre paintings and prints and also from porcelain figures. His works were extremely popular and sought after. Goethe collected them too and wrote of his collection “they deserve to be shown in a museum in Cologne for they clearly demonstrate that we are here in the city of Rubens, in the Lower Rhine, where colour has always dominated and exalted works of art”.

Collector’s Cabinet by Theodor Commer (1773-1853) with 48 Wax Reliefs by Caspar Bernhard Hardy (1726-1819) for Canon Johann Wilhelm Neel (1744-1819) Cologne, ca 1795 Cherry wood, brass marquetery, wax reliefs Height 225 cm, width 145 cm, depth 62 cm Photo credit: Kunstkammer Georg Laue, Munich

Collector’s Cabinet by Theodor Commer (1773-1853)
with 48 Wax Reliefs by Caspar Bernhard Hardy (1726-1819)
for Canon Johann Wilhelm Neel (1744-1819)
Cologne, ca 1795
Cherry wood, brass marquetery, wax reliefs
Height 225 cm, width 145 cm, depth 62 cm
Photo credit: Kunstkammer Georg Laue, Munich

To me this sécrétaire is a perfectly formed small museum and it is no surprise that it is being sold by the Munich based firm Kunstkammer Georg Laue who specialise in 16th – 18th century museum-quality objects that were collected for Kunst- and Wunderkammer.  This sécrétaire certainly fits that brief wonderfully well.

 

Kunstkammer Georg Laue, Schellingstraße 56, 80799 München

www.kunstkammer.com

Thanks at Christmastime 2016

I would like to warmly express my thanks to all of you who have read, liked and commented on my blogs in 2016. Many thanks too for all the endorsements on LinkedIn.
 
Have a peaceful Christmas and all the best for 2017!
 
Tim
 

Tim Forrest’s E & A

(Art & Antiques, etc – news from London and around)
Invitations to Balls celebrating the two marriages of Louis XV's son, Louis who died in 1765. Louis XVI was Louis XV's grandson.

Invitations to Balls celebrating the two marriages of Louis XV’s son, Louis who died in 1765. Louis XVI was Louis XV’s grandson.

Modernist Photography from the Sir Elton John Collection

The Radical Eye: Modernist Photography from the Sir Elton John Collection, Tate Modern, until 7th May 2017

Man Ray 1890-1976 Glass Tears (Les Larmes) 1932 Photograph, gelatin silver print on paper 229 x 298 mm Collection Elton John© Man Ray Trust/ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2016

Man Ray 1890-1976
Glass Tears (Les Larmes) 1932
Photograph, gelatin silver print on paper 229 x 298 mm
Collection Elton John© Man Ray Trust/ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2016

Held in the Switch House building the wonderful new extension to Tate Modern this is a world-class exhibition featuring iconic images from the 1920s to the 50s.  It is the first such show of Modernist photography in the UK.

Arranged thematically it features still life, social commentary, portraiture and looks at the experimental techniques that helped change the approach to photography from copying other art forms to its own highly unique path. André Breton, Pablo Picasso, Dora Maar, Henri Matisse, Man Ray, Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans and André Kertész are among the greats whose work you will encounter and no doubt linger over.

Sir Elton John summed it up saying: ‘Collecting photography over the last 25 years has opened my eyes – it’s one of the most important and progressive art forms of the 20th century. I want everyone to go away thinking about the artists behind these images and marvel at how they experimented and changed the way we see things forever. They were going where no other photographer had gone before. I consider them true adventurers and what they did was extraordinary. Many people may not even realise I have this collection. But art should be seen. That’s why I’m so happy that Tate Modern is sharing these iconic works with the public. These photographs have given me so much pleasure for a long time and I hope visitors will experience as much joy in seeing the works as I have had in finding them.’

 

I rather think you will do just that!

The new Tate Modern Switch House Photo copyright Iwan Baan

The new Tate Modern
Switch House
Photo copyright Iwan Baan

www.tate.org

AT HOME: ‘Flaming June’

‘Flaming June: The Making of an Icon’, Leighton House Museum, 12 Holland Park Rd, London, W14, until 2nd April 2017

Flaming June: The Making of an Icon, installation shot at Leighton House Museum. Photo: Kevin Moran. Courtesy: Leighton House Museum

Flaming June: The Making of an Icon, installation shot at Leighton House Museum.
Photo: Kevin Moran. Courtesy: Leighton House Museum

What an exciting exhibition this is! Leighton’s iconic painting Flaming June has come back to the house where it was painted and not only that it is reunited with the other works that Leighton included in what was to be his last showing of work at the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition because he died in January 1896.

The original installation in Frederic Leighton's Studio, by Bedford Lemere, 1 April 1895. ©Historic England Archive. Image Courtesy of Leighton House Museum

The original installation in Frederic Leighton’s Studio, by Bedford Lemere, 1 April 1895.
©Historic England Archive. Image Courtesy of Leighton House Museum

If that were not enough on its own we are even more spoilt because it is being shown alongside other works (thanks to loans from private collections and the Metropolitan Museum of Art) that he showed at that year’s Summer Exhibition.

Frederic, Lord Leighton (1830-96), was one of the leading artists of his day and between 1878 and his death was President of the Royal Academy. Although not particularly well received at the exhibition Flaming June has become justly famous – its history is fascinating as this exhibition reveals – and is on loan from the Ponce Museum of Art in Puerto Rico.

Flaming June: The Making of an Icon, installation shot at Leighton House Museum. Photo: Kevin Moran. Courtesy: Leighton House Museum

Flaming June: The Making of an Icon, installation shot at Leighton House Museum.
Photo: Kevin Moran. Courtesy: Leighton House Museum

Thanks to the April 1895 photograph showing Flaming June and it’s fellow works before they were submitted to the Royal Academy it has been possible to give now an idea of what visitors on a studio open day would have seen.

Leighton House’s senior curator, Daniel Robbins, sums it up saying: “I am delighted that over 125 years on we can reunite these five paintings created by Leighton in the home and studio he cherished. This exhibition will be a chance for visitors to look more closely into this final body of work with Flaming June as its centrepiece and consider afresh Leighton’s achievements as an artist. I am extremely grateful to those who have loaned the works to us for the exhibition and to those who helped us track down the paintings held in private collections.”

Flaming June: The Making of an Icon, installation shot at Leighton House Museum. Photo: Kevin Moran. Courtesy: Leighton House Museum

Flaming June: The Making of an Icon, installation shot at Leighton House Museum.
Photo: Kevin Moran. Courtesy: Leighton House Museum

 

Open daily except Tuesdays, 10am – 5.30pm but check for opening times over the holiday period.

http://www.rbkc.gov.uk/FlamingJune

BOOK REVIEW: On the Fringe

On the Fringe

A Life in Decorating

By Imogen Taylor

Pimpernel Press
9781910258774
£50.00

 on-the-fringe

This is a page-turner combination of autobiography and the author’s long and distinguished career at Colefax and Fowler. She was a fitting heir to both Nancy Lancaster and John Fowler’s decorating vision.  She started at the firm in 1949 and when John Fowler retired in 1971 he handed his clients, including HM The Queen, over to her. She was until her retirement (1999) the firm’s principal decorator alongside Tom Parr.

With clients in the Middle East, America and the United Kingdom we see through her work how the Colefax & Fowler country house style evolved to reflect the current day but throughout it all she never lost her ‘perfect taste’.

One meets famous clients such as the Windsors, Dolly Rothschild, Harry Hyams and John Aspinall as well as fellow colleagues, including a young Duchess of Cornwall.  We also learn about the techniques used in creating these highly liveable-in interiors including the legendary ‘twelve different whites’.

I was interested to read that the late celebrated violinist Iona Brown was a friend as I too had known her when I was briefly at the Academy of St Martin-in-the Fields. I was fortunate enough to meet Imogen Taylor recently at the Hatchards’ Christmas Evening and congratulated her on this delightful book that greatly adds to the history of Colefax and Fowler and the continuing story of interior decoration in this country.

http://www.pimpernelpress.com

Inspiring Artists

PAINTERS’ PAINTERS: Artists of today who inspire artists of tomorrow, Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Road, London SW3, until 28th February 2017

Installation view, Raffi Kalenderian © Stephen White, 2016 Image courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery, London

Installation view, Raffi Kalenderian
© Stephen White, 2016
Image courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery, London

The theme of this show is to celebrate painting at a time when painting is just a strand among the diverse array of contemporary art in other media and formats on show in museums and galleries.

Installation view, David Brian Smith © Stephen White, 2016 Image courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery, London

Installation view, David Brian Smith
© Stephen White, 2016
Image courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery, London

The nine artists featured are either UK or USA based and their age range is between 30s and 60s.  Although they are not part of a school or group their very individualistic approach to painting is proving a source of inspiration to a younger generation of artists in leading art schools around the world.

Installation view, Bjarne Melgaard and Ryan Mosley © Stephen White, 2016 Image courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery, London

Installation view, Bjarne Melgaard and Ryan Mosley
© Stephen White, 2016
Image courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery, London

These inspirational artists are Richard Aldrich, David Brian Smith, Dexter Dalwood, Raffi Kalenderian, Ansel Krut, Martin Maloney, Bjarne Melgaard, Ryan Mosley and David Salle. Please do go and take a look.

 

http://www.saatchigallery.com

BOOK REVIEW: Empire Style

Empire Style: The Hôtel de Beauharnais in Paris

Written by Jörg Ebeling and Ulrich Leben, Photographed by Francis Hammond

 Flammarion
ISBN: 978-2-08-020272-7
£95

empire-style_cover

It does not come as a surprise to me that over ten years research has been undertaken to bring about this splendid monograph on the Hôtel de Beauharnais.

Built in 1713-15 by the architect Germain Boffrand it was when Josephine Bonaparte bought it for her son Eugène de Beauharnais that the real story of this “hotel particulier” begins. He had the building decorated and renovated at great cost and the results preserved to this day are the remarkable Consulate and Empire interiors which make it such a jewel among Parisian interiors. The costs were so high that his step-father the Emperor Napoleon was angry and took over the use of the building as a place for important visitors.

The wall facing the windows in the Four Seasons Drawing Room boasts unique furnishings of draped mirrors above a sofa flanked by chairs and armchairs. © Francis Hammond, from Empire Style: The Hôtel de Beauharnais in Paris (Flammarion, 2016).

The wall facing the windows in the Four Seasons Drawing Room boasts unique furnishings of draped mirrors above a sofa flanked by chairs and armchairs.
© Francis Hammond, from Empire Style: The Hôtel de Beauharnais in Paris (Flammarion, 2016).

Following Napoleon’s fall the building was bought by the King of Prussia and the building became the Prussian Legation and eventually the German embassy and today it serves as the Ambassador’s residence.

While the history of this building is of great interest and expertly recalled it is the interiors and furnishings that make this such a special book.  As well as a detailed tour of the main rooms there are special essays looking at the decorative paintings, Empire furniture, fabrics and trimmings and at the ideals behind the Empire Style.

The ceremonial bed in the Hôtel de Beauharnais, dated 1804–05, is probably the only one of its kind still in situ. According to legend, the hole in the mirror in the back was made by a stray bullet fired during the uprising of the Commune in 1871. © Francis Hammond, from Empire Style: The Hôtel de Beauharnais in Paris (Flammarion, 2016).

The ceremonial bed in the Hôtel de Beauharnais, dated 1804–05, is probably the only one of its kind still in situ. According to legend, the hole in the mirror in the back was made by a stray bullet fired during the uprising of the Commune in 1871.
© Francis Hammond, from Empire Style: The Hôtel de Beauharnais in Paris (Flammarion, 2016).

This beautifully illustrated book is a great celebration of a historic building and its spectacular interiors. A must for all interested in history and interior decoration.

 

http://editions.flammarion.com/