A Love Affair with France: The Elizabeth Stafford Collection, Christie’s New York 1st November 2018

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Mimi Stafford in the Dining Room of her New York apartment. © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

I have known of this remarkable collection for nearly two decades and have caught fleeting glimpses of it from time to time in exhibition catalogues and elsewhere, I just wish I could have had the opportunity to meet Mrs Stafford. However, now we have the chance to encounter her and her discerning eye in this sale and some of the more important pictures will appear in specialist sales either just before the 1st November or later in that month.

Claude Lorrain

CLAUDE GELLÉE, CALLED LORRAIN (CHAMPAGNE 1600-1682 ROME landscape with Apollo guarding the herds of Admetus and Mercury stealing them oil on canvas 20 x 27.1/8 in. (50.8 x 68.8 cm.) $700,000 – $1,000,000 Old Masters, October 30 2018 © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

Elizabeth (Mimi) and her husband Frederick collected across a wide spectrum as the 1966-67 exhibition of their collection – “Odyssey of an art collector: unity in diversity -5,000 years of art” – at the Isaac Delgado Museum in New Orleans showed. Indeed in May this year Christie’s sold Brancusi’s La Jeune fille sophistiquée (Nancy Cunard) for US$ 71 million. It had been bought by them from the artist in 1955.

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Mimi Stafford’s Paris apartment. © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

Mimi’s abiding passion was the arts of 18th century France and it was this that formed the background to her daily life, first of all in a Maison Jansen designed apartment in Paris’s Avenue Foch and then later in a New York apartment that had been created for Mr and Mrs Robert R Young by Maison Jansen’s legendary Stéphane Boudin. Both apartments were the perfect backdrop for the paintings, porcelain, furniture and drawings she acquired with an unfailing eye. As her daughter E. Alexandra Stafford says in an interview with Christie’s that “the first questions new friends asked when they entered the apartment was how could she live in such a museum? As they hesitated before sitting down on the silk brocade-covered 18th-century gilded chaise à la Reine, she would answer: ‘No problem!’”

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Mimi Stafford’s Paris apartment. © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

That, of course, is how it should be as such things were made to be used and I am sure that Mimi Stafford would be excited and delighted that things she loved and cherished will be going on to new owners and enriching their lives.

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The niche in the Stéphane Boudin-designed New York apartment’s salon, or living room, displayed a selection of the Sèvres bleu céleste that forms the core of the porcelain collection — including an oval bottle cooler from the first service made for Louis XV. © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

 

Étienne Aubry

ÉTIENNE AUBRY (VERSAILLES 1745-1781 PARIS) ‘La Turque’, presumed portrait of Mademoiselle Duthé Oil on canvas 25 3/8 x 32 in. (64.3 x 81.3 cm.) $300,000 – 500,000 Old Masters, October 30 2018 © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

 

LOT 1229

Lot 1229 A LOUIS XV ENAMELLED GOLD CARNET DE BAL MARKED PARIS, 1773, WITH CHARGE MARK OF JULIEN ALATERRE, 1768-1775, AND DECHARGE MARK OF JEAN-BAPTISTE FOUACHE, 1775-1781 Rectangular with beaded borders, decorated with cornfower blue stripes, one side mounted with a miniature of a lady in white gown with gold embroidery, the other side with a locket of woven hair under a gold script monogram, the hinged cover mounted with gold words SOUVENIR D’AMITIE, interior ftted with gold pencil case 3 æ in. (95 mm.) high $4,000–6,000 © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

 

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Mimi Stafford’s Paris apartment © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

 

LOT 1212

1212 JEAN-AUGUSTE-DOMINIQUE INGRES (MONTAUBAN 1780-1867 PARIS) Portrait of Mrs. Jean-Pierre Granger, née Marie-Jeanne-Catherine Delaigle signed and dated in graphite ‘Ingres/ à Rome 1811’ (lower right) graphite 10 x 7æ in. (25.4 x 19 cm.) $200,000–300,000 © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

 

LOT 1963

Lot 1063 A PAIR OF FRENCH ORMOLU-MOUNTED CHINESE PORCELAIN TWO-LIGHT CANDELABRA THE PORCELAIN QIANLONG, THE MOUNTS PROBABLY BY ESCALIER DE CRYSTAL, 19TH CENTURY Each with a blue-glazed Chinese porcelain parrot on a rock work base fanked by coral-form ormolu branches. 9æ in. ( 25 cm.) high (2) $7,000–10,000 © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

 

Pissarro - Neige, soleil couchant, Eragny

CAMILLE PISSARRO (1830-1903) Neige, soleil couchant, Eragny signed and dated ‘C. Pissarro 94’ (lower left) oil on canvas 24 x 32 1/2 in. Painted in 1894 $2,000,000-3,000,000 Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale, November 2018 © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

 

Stafford Paris Apartment

Mimi Stafford’s Paris apartment © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

 

LOT 1041

Lot 1041 JEAN-BAPTISTE CHARPENTIER (PARIS 1728-1806) Portrait of a man, traditionally said to be M. Larchey, son-in-law of the painter Jean-Baptiste Greuze, bust-length oil on panel, oval 7æ x 6Ω in. (19.7 x 16.5 cm.) $8,000–12,000 © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

 

Boudin Panel from New York apartment c1959

A panel from a set of boiserie installed by Stephane Boudin, circa 1959, 900 Fifth Avenue, New York City. © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

 

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Chippendale at Wilton

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South East facade of Wilton House. Copyright (c) Wilton House

Wilton House, near Salisbury, is an absolute delight combining architecture, fine interiors, paintings, sculpture and furniture with elegant gardens and the earliest Palladian Bridge in England. It has been the home of the Herbert family (Earls of Pembroke) since 1544.  It is famous for its suite of State Rooms which were designed by Inigo Jones and Isaac de Caux in the 17th century – many of you will recognise the Double Cube Room which has been used as a location for many films and television programmes but nothing quite prepares you for the wow factor of entering it for the first time.

In celebration of the Chippendale tercentenary the Earl and Countess have commissioned a small booklet that highlights Chippendale pieces within the house, including those which can be firmly attributed to his workshop. You will see many of these as you go around the house.

Chippendale at Wilton

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The 10th Earl commissioned the architect Sir William Chambers to rebuild his London home, Pembroke House and also to provide designs for rooms. It is known from Chippendale’s Director that he provided furniture for these rooms.

Sadly the family papers no longer have any itemized accounts from Chippendale but a receipt for fifteen hundred pound eleven shillings certainly indicate the furniture maker had had a major commission. Other bills show that the firm was still patronised after Chippendale’s death when it was being run by his son Thomas Chippendale the Younger.

Among the items that are definitely ascribed to Chippendale’s workshop are the pair of bookcases in the Large Smoking Room which are en suite with the superb ‘Violin’ bookcase which can be seen in the view of the room. Elsewhere chairs, sofas, hall lanterns, tables, picture frames and pelmet boards remind us of Chippendale’s great design talent.

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The Large Smoking Room at Wilton House. Copyright (c) Will Pryce.

All in all I think the best word to sum up Wilton House is sublime!

 

http://www.wiltonhouse.co.uk/

The 2017 20/21 British Art Fair

The 20/21 British Art Fair, Mall Galleries, The Mall, London SW1, 13th– 17th September 2017

Rose Hilton – Self Portrait with Model,
Oil on Canvas, 72 x 92 cm.

After a year’s absence – its old venue was no longer available – this popular Fair returns to central London. Its new venue is the Mall Galleries so very central indeed.

Ken Smith – Free Fall,
Hopton Wood Stone, 25 x 10 x 10 cm

The thirty-three leading dealers taking part bring a fine selection of works, especially Modern and Post War pieces. I have taken this opportunity to show some works from Messum’s who were founded in 1963 and specialise in paintings and sculpture.

David Blackburn (1939 – 2016) Gasometer and Orange Sky,
Pastel, 37 x 41 cm

http://www.britishartfair.co.uk

 

The Encounter!

THE ENCOUNTER: DRAWINGS FROM LEONARDO TO REMBRANDT, National Portrait Gallery, London, until 22nd October 2017

I am grateful to John Kirkwood for visiting and writing about this exhibition:

Giulio Pedrizzano, The Lutenist Mascheroni by Annibale Carracci c.1593-4
Copyright: Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

This delightful exhibition features old master European portrait drawings by the likes of Leonardo da Vinci, Durer and Rembrandt, many rarely seen and some not displayed for decades.

Young Woman in a French Hood, possibly Mary Zouch by Hans Holbein the Younger c.1533
Copyright: Royal Collection Trust Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

It attempts to show that the artist and the sitter connected and is rather like going through a Renaissance copy of Vanity Fair featuring as it does eight portraits of people from the court of Henry VIII by Hans Holbein the Younger – the David Bailey of his day – but also people from the street as well.

Sir John Godsalve by Hans Holbein the Younger c.1532-4
Copyright: Royal Collection Trust Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

An exhibition which cheers the soul with these close encounters.

A sheet of figure studies, with male heads and three sketches of a woman with a child by Rembrandt van Rijn c.1636
Copyright: The Henry Barber Trust, the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham

 

http://www.npg.org.uk/

Sublime joy!

Raphael: The Drawings, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, until 3rd September 2017

Study for Adam in the Disputa, c. 1508–10
Chalk and/or charcoal with white heightening, 35.7 x 21.2 cm
© Gallerie degli Uffizi, Gabinetto dei Disegni e delle Stampe, Florence

Did you know that the Ashmolean’s fifty Raphael drawings are the most significant group in the world? They have been supplemented by a further twenty-five from Vienna’s Albertina Museum and the rest of the total group of one hundred and twenty drawings come from international collections. The result is an absolutely stunningly memorable exhibition which is a joy to visit.

Study for the Massacre of the Innocents, c. 1509–10
Pen and brown ink over red chalk and geometrical indications in stylus, selectively pricked for transfer, 23.2 x
37.7 cm
© Trustees of the British Museum

Raphael (1483 – 1520) has long held the reputation of being the pre-eminent artist of the Renaissance and through these drawings which take us from the early days in Umbria to Florence and then on to Rome where he was at his very best we can see why.

Study for Charity, c. 1519
Black chalk with very few touches of white heightening, 31.3 x 15.2 cm
© Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

The exhibition also reminded me why I am always attracted to drawings since they allow glimpses into the mind and vision of the artist – ideas that both intrigue and excite – but which may not always be translated into the finished work.  Please, please make every effort to see this show.  The Museum’s director Dr Xa Sturgis says: ‘The generosity of lenders and supporters has enabled us to give people a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity – that of experiencing the visual and emotive power of Raphael’s hand, and of understanding Raphael’s genius.’

 

Studies of heads and hands, and sketches after Leonardo, c. 1505–7
Metalpoint with white heightening, partially oxidised, on white prepared paper, 21 x 27.4 cm
© Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

www.ashmolean.org

The heads and hands of two apostles, c. 1519–20
Black chalk with over-pounced underdrawing with some white heightening, 49.9 x 36.4 cm
© Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

The Collection of Raine, Countess Spencer

The Collection of Raine, Countess Spencer (1929-2016), Christie’s King Street, London SW1, Old Masters Evening Sale (6th July 2017) and The Collection of Raine, Countess Spencer (13thJuly 2017)

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From the property of Lady Spencer © Christie’s Images Limited 2017

I count myself fortunate in having encountered Raine, Countess Spencer several times over the years and she was always the epitome of elegance and charm. That sense of style is very much reflected in her home, the contents of which are to be found in these sales. While the paintings, furniture and objects contributed to the glamour of the rooms they were not mere ‘background’ objects but were bought because Lady Spencer liked them and wanted to live with and use them.

Interior
From the property of Lady Spencer © Christie’s Images Limited 2017

She was very much drawn to the arts of 18th century France and numbered works by Boucher, Fragonard and Greuze among the pictures she collected. On some purchases she was advised by Sir Francis Watson (former Director of the Wallace Collection) who also advised the Wrightsmans with their legendary collection. Regency furniture was another love and it blended well with her French pieces. Her last dining room recalled the Art Deco period and there was also a collection of French Art Nouveau lithographs.

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From the property of Lady Spencer © Christie’s Images Limited 2017

From her birth – she was the daughter of the novelist Dame Barbara Cartland – onwards Lady Spencer was the focus of media interest whether through her marriages or her work as a Westminster City Councillor and in the conservationist campaigns she supported. In later years she was a director of Harrods and had a hands-on approach. The thread of perfectionism that runs through her life is also reflected in her clothes, jewellery and other accessories in the 13th July auction. This is very much an opportunity to appreciate, enjoy or even acquire a piece of the elegant perfection that was Lady Spencer’s way of life.

Claude Joseph Vernet (Avignon 1714-1789 Paris)
A Mediterranean sea-port with fishermen unloading cargo
oil on canvas
Estimate: £300,000-500,000
© Christie’s Images Limited 2017

 

A LOUIS XVI COMMODE
CIRCA 1770-75, ATTRIBUTED TO ANTOINE-PIERRE FOULLET
Estimate: £60,000-90,000
© Christie’s Images Limited 2017

 

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From the property of Lady Spencer © Christie’s Images Limited 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AN 18 CARAT GOLD, RUBY AND DIAMOND PARURE, BY VAN CLEEF & ARPELS
Comprising a necklace, designed as a graduated series of ruby cabochon and brilliant-cut diamond clusters
Estimate: £100,000-150,000
© Christie’s Images Limited 2017

 

One of several ‘Lady Dior’ handbags, this one of black leather with studwork decoration.
Estimate: £1,000-1,500
© Christie’s Images Limited 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.christies.com

Masterpiece London 2017 – Introduction

Masterpiece London 2017, South Grounds, The Royal Hospital, Chelsea, London SW3, 29th June – 5th July 2017

MASTERPIECE PRESENTS
Iván Navarro
Impenetrable Room
2017
Courtesy Paul Kasmin Gallery

Since its inception this fair has grown into one of the most must-visit events of the art and antiques year. Some thirty-seven thousand visitors last year! It attracts museum directors and private collectors from all over the world to see the artworks shown by a hundred and fifty international dealers. The artworks range from antiquity to the present time. The Royal Bank of Canada is once again the principal sponsor

This year the new MASTERPIECE PRESENTS will reveal a large-scale dedicated exhibition space at the entrance which has been transformed by a special artwork – Impenetrable Room, 2017. Created by the Chilean artist Iván Navarro it has been commissioned by the New York-based Paul Kasmin Gallery who are new exhibitors.

Over the coming days I look forward to sharing blogs on some of the leading dealers taking part.

www.masterpiecefair.com