‘Madonnas and Miracles’

‘Madonnas and Miracles: The Holy Home in Renaissance Italy’, The Fitzwilliam Museum, Trumpington Street, Cambridge, until 4th June 2017

The Christ Child, Italy, Camerino, c.1484–90 – during installation.
The silk velvet is Velluto Venezia by Rubelli.
Courtesy of Helen Edwards PR

This is a fascinating exhibition which reveals through both the fine and decorative arts a glimpse of life in Renaissance Italy.  Combining treasures from the museum’s own collections with those loaned from Europe, the US and Israel we see how important religion and devotion were in a world that we may often think as secular.

 

The Christ Child, Italy, Camerino, c.1484–90.
Photo: Nuns of Santa Chiara, Camerino.

Some of the works were to come from the Marche area of Italy which was affected by earthquakes last October and while it is has not been possible for some objects to be brought over as a result of it I am delighted to share images of this 15th century polychrome decorated wooden doll of the Christ Child with you because to me its survival is a miracle of some sort. It has not only survived through the centuries but also last year’s earthquake which reduced the Franciscan nunnery where it is kept to rubble.

 

The Christ Child, Italy, Camerino, c.1484–90 – during installation.
Courtesy of Helen Edwards PR

Images of the Madonna were an important feature in Italian homes in the Renaissance and her role as a mother was copied by many women who owned such dolls.  One other exhibit that particularly struck me was the set of knives whose blades are decorated with the notes and words for a four-part grace and nearby is a recording of it by members of the Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge.

The Viadana family prays to St Nicholas to save them from an earthquake, Italy, Le Marche, 16th century.
Tolentino, Museo di San Nicola.

The three groups of ex-voto paintings were way of giving thanks at shrines for what was deemed to be a miracle by the people or family concerned and I thought this one depicting a family praying for protection from an earthquake especially appropriate.

It is in its own special way a great exhibition.

 

http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/

http://www.rubelli.com

Meet the Breugels!

Bruegel: Defining a Dynasty, The Holburne Museum, Great Pulteney Street, Bath BA2, until 4th June 2017

Pieter Brueghel the Younger, Wedding Dance in the Open Air, Oil on panel, 36.6 x 49cm, ©Holburne Museum. Photography by Dominic Brown

Pieter Brueghel the Younger, Wedding Dance in the Open Air,
Oil on panel, 36.6 x 49cm,
©Holburne Museum. Photography by Dominic Brown

This is a very special show for it reveals the Holburne’s Wedding Dance in the Open Air, following conservation and technical examination, to be by Pieter Brueghel the Younger and not as previously thought a work by a follower. Congratulations are due to their then Director Jennifer Scott (who is now Director of Dulwich Picture Gallery) who discovered it in the Museum’s store room and who co-curated this exhibition with Dr Amy Orrock.

Jan Brueghel the Elder, A Stoneware Vase of Flowers, c. 1607–1608, oil on panel, 56 × 89.5 cm, © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridg

Jan Brueghel the Elder, A Stoneware Vase of Flowers, c. 1607–1608,
oil on panel, 56 × 89.5 cm,
© The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Visitors when they enter the exhibition can see a Bruegel family tree and the exhibition reveals the work of the family across four generations through thirty-five pictures drawn from the National Gallery, the Royal Collection Trust, the National Trust, the Fitzwilliam Museum, the Ashmolean Museum and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.  The Holburne Museum with its three works by Pieter Brueghel the Younger holds the largest collection of his paintings in the UK.

Still Life with Cheese, circle of Jan Van Kessel II, c. 1650 Oil on copper, 16.5 x 20.3cm, © Holburne Museum

Still Life with Cheese, circle of Jan Van Kessel II, c. 1650
Oil on copper, 16.5 x 20.3cm,
© Holburne Museum

The exhibition starts with the Adoration of the Kings by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (note he did not spell his name with an h) which hangs alongside a similarly entitled work by his father-in-law Pieter Coecke van Aelst. It makes an interesting comparison. Bruegel’s sons Pieter and Jan and their descendants such as Jan van Kessel the Elder or David Teniers the Younger who married into the family are eloquently represented.

David Teniers the Younger, Boy Blowing Bubbles, c.1640, Oil on panel, 22 x 22cm, © Holburne Museum

David Teniers the Younger, Boy Blowing Bubbles, c.1640,
Oil on panel, 22 x 22cm,
© Holburne Museum

It is interesting to see how Pieter and Jan produced copies of their father’s compositions and variations of them.  Jan could arguably be said to be the first to have depicted floral studies in a style which continues to this day. This is an exhibition that celebrates Flemish painting and this prolific family whose works have not lost their appeal over the centuries.

Pieter Brueghel the Younger, Visit to a Farmhouse, c.1620-30, Oil on panel, 36.5 x 49.4cm, © Holburne Museum. Photograph by Dan Brown

Pieter Brueghel the Younger, Visit to a Farmhouse, c.1620-30,
Oil on panel, 36.5 x 49.4cm,
© Holburne Museum. Photograph by Dan Brown

http://www.holburne.org

The Artist Depicted!

Portrait of the Artist, The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, London SW1, until 17th April 2017

Daniel Mytens, A Self-Portrait, c.1630 Royal Collection Trust /© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Daniel Mytens,
A Self-Portrait, c.1630
Royal Collection Trust /© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

This extensive exhibition encompasses portraits of artists from the reign of Charles I to the present day. A whole variety of disciplines have been used in creating these works of art, including Hockney’s 2013 self-portrait created on an iPad.  It was a gift to Her Majesty The Queen to mark his receiving the Order of Merit.

Giovanni Battista Cipriani, Bartolozzi Sleeping,c.1770 Royal Collection Trust /© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Giovanni Battista Cipriani,
Bartolozzi Sleeping,c.1770
Royal Collection Trust /© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Several portraits were in the collection of Charles I such as the Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting (La Pittura) (c.1638–9) by Artemisia Gentileschi.  The Rembrandt portrait was acquired by George IV. Dating from the 1950s are the reciprocal portraits of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and Edward Seago.

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, Seago Painting, 1956-57 © HRH The Duke of Edinburgh

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh,
Seago Painting, 1956-57
© HRH The Duke of Edinburgh

Displayed in their entirety for the first time are the 224 miniatures created by the Italian artist Giuseppe Macpherson for Lord Cowper in the 1760s who presented them to George III.  They depict the artists’ self-portraits hung in the Vasari Corridor of the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence and which are the most important such group in the world.

Attributed to Francesco Melzi, Leonardo da Vinci, c.1515-18 Royal Collection Trust /© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Attributed to Francesco Melzi,
Leonardo da Vinci, c.1515-18
Royal Collection Trust /© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

I can only give a taste of what awaits you in this exhibition but I feel sure you will want to visit more than once – so don’t forget your ticket allows you free re-admission for a year if you ask them to treat your ticket purchase as a donation.

Johann Michael Wittmer, Raphael's First Sketch of the 'Madonna della Sedia', 1853 Royal Collection Trust /© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Johann Michael Wittmer,
Raphael’s First Sketch of the ‘Madonna della Sedia’, 1853
Royal Collection Trust /© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

 

Lucian Freud, Self-Portrait: Reflection, 1996 Royal Collection Trust /© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Lucian Freud,
Self-Portrait: Reflection, 1996
Royal Collection Trust /© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

 

http://www.royalcollection.org.uk

‘Treasures’

 ‘Italian Treasures’, Brun Fine Art, 38 Old Bond Street, London W1, until 16th December 2016

Trapani (Sicily), Early 18th Century Nativity Ivory, Coral, Tortoise, Lapis, Bronze 35 x 30 cm

Trapani (Sicily), Early 18th Century
Nativity
Ivory, Coral, Tortoise, Lapis, Bronze
35 x 30 cm


I thought, given the time of year, I would use this Nativity image to draw your attention to this exhibition of fine coral objects created in Trapani in Sicily which are shown alongside 17th and 18th century Italian bronzes and old master paintings.

Installation view

Installation view

http://www.brunfineart.com

A Surreal Legacy

Sale 13765

A Surreal Legacy – Selected works of art from The Edward James Foundation, Christie’s London, King Street, London SW1, 15 December 2016,

 Lot 10 Salvador Dalí (1904-1989) and Edward James (1907-1984) Lobster Telephone (white aphrodisiac) white Bakelite telephone and white plaster lobster Length: 12 ½ in. (31.7 cm.) Conceived by Salvador Dalí in 1936; commissioned by Edward James from Green & Abbott in 1938 in an edition of eleven, four red and seven white. Estimate GBP 150,000 - GBP 250,000 (USD 186,450 - USD 310,750) © Christie’s Images Limited 2016

Lot 10
Salvador Dalí (1904-1989) and Edward James (1907-1984)
Lobster Telephone (white aphrodisiac)
white Bakelite telephone and white plaster lobster
Length: 12 ½ in. (31.7 cm.)
Conceived by Salvador Dalí in 1936; commissioned by Edward James from Green & Abbott in 1938 in an edition of eleven, four red and seven white.
Estimate GBP 150,000 – GBP 250,000 (USD 186,450 – USD 310,750)
© Christie’s Images Limited 2016

Edward James (1907-1984) was a notable patron and art collector and one who particularly embraced Surrealism and indeed transformed Monkton House on the West Dean estate into a Surrealist-inspired home.  It was an interest that first started when he lived in Paris as a young man and he became a patron and close friend of artists and writers such as Paul Éluard, André Breton René Magritte and Salvador Dalí. The latter said of him “Edward is as insanely relentless as myself”.  He was also a patron of the Russian Neo-Romanticist Pavel Tchelitchew and James built up a large collection of his works and some of these are in this sale.

Edward James, circa late 1920s © Christie’s Images Limited 2016

Edward James, circa late 1920s
© Christie’s Images Limited 2016

As well as the Surrealist works there is a mixture of pieces from West Dean House that reflects the taste and lifestyle of its various owners, including James’s father.  They are being sold to continue the work of the Edward James Foundation which is based at West Dean.

Lot 20 Pavel Tchelitchew (1898-1957) The Concert signed and dated 'P Tchelitchew 33' (lower left) oil on canvas 35 x 45¾ in. (89.5 x 116. 3 cm.) Painted in 1933 Estimate GBP 250,000 - GBP 350,000 (USD 310,750 - USD 435,050) © Christie’s Images Limited 2016

Lot 20
Pavel Tchelitchew (1898-1957)
The Concert
signed and dated ‘P Tchelitchew 33’ (lower left)
oil on canvas
35 x 45¾ in. (89.5 x 116. 3 cm.)
Painted in 1933
Estimate GBP 250,000 – GBP 350,000 (USD 310,750 – USD 435,050)
© Christie’s Images Limited 2016

Christie’s UK Chairman, Orlando Rock says: “Edward James was touched by genius – and the inspirational Surrealist fantasies that he created at Monkton and elsewhere are testimony to his visionary patronage. This eclectic auction embraces the contrasting and pioneering tastes of several generations of this Anglo-American family and will raise funds to safeguard the future of the educational Foundation at West Dean, through which Edward James sought to secure future generations of artistic creativity.”

Lot 30 Salvador Dalí (1904-1989) and Edward James (1907-1984) Mae West Lips Sofa wood carcass upholstered in red and green Melton wool fabric with green appliqué and black wool fringing Length: 81 in. (205.7 cm.) Height: 30 ¼ in. (77 cm.) Depth: 37 ¾ in. (96 cm.) Conceived by Salvador Dalí and Edward James in 1936, and executed by Green & Abbott in 1938 as one of a pair for the dining room at Monkton House. Estimate GBP 250,000 - GBP 400,000 (USD 310,750 - USD 497,200) © Christie’s Images Limited 2016

Lot 30
Salvador Dalí (1904-1989) and Edward James (1907-1984)
Mae West Lips Sofa
wood carcass upholstered in red and green Melton wool fabric with green appliqué and black wool fringing
Length: 81 in. (205.7 cm.)
Height: 30 ¼ in. (77 cm.)
Depth: 37 ¾ in. (96 cm.)
Conceived by Salvador Dalí and Edward James in 1936, and executed by Green & Abbott in 1938 as one of a pair for the dining room at Monkton House.
Estimate GBP 250,000 – GBP 400,000 (USD 310,750 – USD 497,200)
© Christie’s Images Limited 2016

www.christies.com

Bowie – Tintoretto – Rubens

David Bowie loved museums throughout his life and would lend works from his own collection to them so it is quite appropriate that the European collector who purchased this Tintoretto announced that he was going to place it on a long-term loan to a Belgian museum.

Jacopo Robusti, called Jacopo Tintoretto and Studio Venice 1518 - 1594 The Angel foretelling Saint Catherine of Alexandria of her martyrdom oil on canvas with an arched top, relined as a rectangle 177.1 by 99.3cm.; 69¾ by 39¼in. (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Tim Whitby/ Getty Images for Sotheby's)

Jacopo Robusti, called Jacopo Tintoretto and Studio
Venice 1518 – 1594
The Angel foretelling Saint Catherine of Alexandria of her martyrdom
oil on canvas with an arched top, relined as a rectangle
177.1 by 99.3cm.; 69¾ by 39¼in.
(Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Tim Whitby/ Getty Images for Sotheby’s)

This striking work by Tintoretto and his Studio had belonged to Bowie for nearly thirty years and soon St Catherine of Alexandria being warned by an angel of her martyrdom will be on display in the Rubenshuis in Antwerp from Spring 2017. As many of you know Rubens was greatly influenced by Tintoretto and Venetian art and so the painting will have a good home.

http://www.sothebys.com

http://www.rubenshuis.be

Beyond Caravaggio

Beyond Caravaggio, Sainsbury Wing, The National Gallery, London, until 15th January 2017

As I was unable to attend I asked John Kirkwood to go on my behalf – here are his thoughts:

Mattia Preti, called II Calabrese Draughts Players, about 1635 Oil on canvas 107.9 × 142.2 cm © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

Mattia Preti, called II Calabrese
Draughts Players, about 1635
Oil on canvas
107.9 × 142.2 cm
© Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

This is a very powerful exhibition displaying as it does the amazing influence of the unveiling in Rome of Caravaggio’s first public commission in 1600.  Many artists were so taken with his naturalism and his treatment of light and shade that they went on to imitate him in a style that became known as Caravaggesque and here you will find many examples of this trend.  Some may find the effect of all the gloom of this Caravaggism a little repetitive but there is no denying the artistry on display.

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio Boy peeling fruit, about 1592-3 Oil on canvas 63 × 53 cm Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio
Boy peeling fruit, about 1592-3
Oil on canvas
63 × 53 cm
Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016

http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk

Cecco del Caravaggio A Musician, about 1615 Oil on canvas 125 × 100 cm The Wellington Collection, Apsely House, London © Historic England

Cecco del Caravaggio
A Musician, about 1615
Oil on canvas
125 × 100 cm
The Wellington Collection, Apsely House, London
© Historic England

 

Guido Reni Lot and his Daughters leaving Sodom About 1615-16 Oil on canvas 111.2 x 149.2 cm The National Gallery, London © The National Gallery, London

Guido Reni
Lot and his Daughters leaving Sodom
About 1615-16
Oil on canvas
111.2 x 149.2 cm
The National Gallery, London
© The National Gallery, London

 

Dirck van Baburen Cimon and Pero (Roman Charity), 1622-3 Oil on canvas 127 x 151 cm York Art Gallery, York Museums Trust © Image courtesy of York Museums Trust

Dirck van Baburen
Cimon and Pero (Roman Charity), 1622-3
Oil on canvas
127 x 151 cm
York Art Gallery, York Museums Trust
© Image courtesy of York Museums Trust

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Artemisia Gentileschi Susannah and the Elders, 1622 Oil on canvas 161.5 × 123 cm © The Burghley House Collection

Artemisia Gentileschi
Susannah and the Elders, 1622
Oil on canvas
161.5 × 123 cm
© The Burghley House Collection

Two Galleries – Newly Moved

Skarstedt, 8 Bennet Street © Richard Davies

Skarstedt, 8 Bennet Street
© Richard Davies

The exhibition Cindy Sherman and David Salle: History Portraits and Tapestry Paintings (until 26th November 2016) perfectly shows off Skarstedt’s new gallery at 8 Bennet Street, St James’s. The large-scale works Sherman’s History Portraits (1988-90) and Salle’s Tapestry Paintings (1989-91) highlight why both artists were leading figures in New York’s ‘Pictures Generation’ art movement and their skilful addition of extra layers to existing images, whether painted or photographic, still engages the viewer.

 Cindy Sherman & David Salle: History Portraits & Tapestry Paintings Installation view, © Cindy Sherman. Art © David Salle/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY. Courtesy of the artist and Skarstedt.

Cindy Sherman & David Salle: History Portraits & Tapestry Paintings Installation view,
© Cindy Sherman. Art © David Salle/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY. Courtesy of the artist and Skarstedt.

 

A Vanitas bust Italian or French School, c. 1700 Terracotta, 85cm. Colnaghi

A Vanitas bust
Italian or French School, c. 1700
Terracotta, 85cm.
Colnaghi

Another gallery to make the transition across Piccadilly to St James’s is Colnaghi who have moved to 26 Bury Street, St James’s where their new premises provide a 21st century setting for their Master paintings and sculpture.  There is still time to see their opening show Vanitas (until 4th November 2016) and it is perhaps a particularly apt subject for the autumn. The thirty or so paintings and sculptures, dating from the 16th century onwards, are part of the genre which considers the idea of mortality and the impermanence of earthly pleasures.  It reminds me of the phrase ‘Sic transit gloria mundi’ (thus passes the glory of the world) used in Papal coronations. So not a bad thing to bring us down to earth!

 

Installation view, Colnaghi

Installation view, Colnaghi

 

http://www.skarstedt.com

http://www.colnaghi.com

BOOK REVIEW: Going Once

Going Once: 250 Years of Culture, Taste and Collecting at Christie’s

 going-once-jacket

ISBN: 978 0 7148 7202 5

Phaidon

£39.95

 

What better way to celebrate two hundred and fifty years as a leading art business than through the two hundred and fifty objects selected for this book.  It is a wonderful survey of these remarkable sales and the high prices achieved whether for a 3,000-year-old Assyrian frieze or Dorothy’s ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz. Paintings, furniture, gold and silver, sculpture, wine, even a London Routemaster bus are included.  One feature I like is that as well as giving the original sale price they also give today’s equivalent value.

 

This is a great book to dip into time and time again as there is much to learn and enjoy from it.

phaidon.com

FRIEZE MASTERS 2016

Frieze Masters, The Regent’s Park, London NW1 4HA, (the north-east corner of The Regent’s Park, near the London Zoo), 6th-9th October 2016

Prahlad Bubbar Ltd. Ladies celebrate Holi on a Pleasure Pavilion Leaf from an album made for Antoine Polier Attributed to Mihr Chand, with calligraphy by Hafiz Nur Ullah Lucknow, India, c. 1775-1780 Opaque watercolour and gold on paper Folio 45.5 x 62 cm; Painting 29 x 42.5 cm

Prahlad Bubbar Ltd.
Ladies celebrate Holi on a Pleasure Pavilion
Leaf from an album made for Antoine Polier
Attributed to Mihr Chand, with calligraphy by Hafiz Nur Ullah
Lucknow, India, c. 1775-1780
Opaque watercolour and gold on paper
Folio 45.5 x 62 cm; Painting 29 x 42.5 cm

 

The well-known architect Annabelle Selldorf has designed the structure for this the fifth edition of Frieze Masters and it will play host to one hundred and thirty-three leading historical and modern galleries from around the world.

BLAIN|SOUTHERN LONDON Lynn Chadwick, The Stranger, 1954, Courtesy The Estate of Lynn Chadwick and Blain|Southern, Photo: Matthew Hollow

BLAIN|SOUTHERN LONDON
Lynn Chadwick, The Stranger, 1954,
Courtesy The Estate of Lynn Chadwick and Blain|Southern,
Photo: Matthew Hollow

 

As Frieze’s Director Victoria Siddall commented: ‘The quality and breadth of work in Frieze Masters keeps it fresh and exciting each year. I am looking forward to seeing even more antiquities dealers in the fair, as well as Indian art, alongside the best Old Masters and 20th-century work. Curators play an important role in this fair as well as in our contemporary fairs, and this year we welcome Tim Marlow (Director of Artistic Programmes, Royal Academy, London) who is co-curating Frieze Masters Talks, and Toby Kamps of the Menil Collection in Houston who is presenting his first edition of Spotlight.

 Once again we will see galleries from different fields collaborate on ground-breaking presentations, as the fair continues to offer new models for looking at and collecting art.’

 

 

 

Daniel Crouch Rare Books Benjamin Read, View in the Colosseum Regents Park London, Summer Fashions for 1836. London, 1836. Image courtesy of Daniel Crouch Rare Books.

Daniel Crouch Rare Books
Benjamin Read,
View in the Colosseum Regents Park London, Summer Fashions for 1836. London, 1836.
Image courtesy of Daniel Crouch Rare Books.

 

Luxembourg & Dayan Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008), Untitled (mud painting), 1953-1992 Courtesy Luxembourg & Dayan

Luxembourg & Dayan
Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008),
Untitled (mud painting), 1953-1992
Courtesy Luxembourg & Dayan

 

Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books AG Beauchamp-Corbet Hours, manuscript on vellum, illuminated by the Milemete workshop, mainly by the De Bois Master. England, London, dated 1328 image courtesy of Dr. Jorn Gunther Rare Books

Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books AG
Beauchamp-Corbet Hours, manuscript on vellum, illuminated by the Milemete workshop, mainly by the De Bois Master. England, London, dated 1328
image courtesy of Dr. Jorn Gunther Rare Books

 

Mayor Gallery Ad Dekkers Relief met drie circkels 1967 Polyester, paint Ø 180 x 3 cm Ø 70 7/8 x 1 1/8 in

Mayor Gallery
Ad Dekkers
Relief met drie circkels 1967
Polyester, paint Ø 180 x 3 cm Ø 70 7/8 x 1 1/8 in

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Waddington Custot Manolo Millares, Ínsula, 1967, mixed media on burlap. Courtesy Waddington Custot

Waddington Custot
Manolo Millares, Ínsula, 1967,
mixed media on burlap.
Courtesy Waddington Custot

 

Kallos Gallery Archaic Cretan Bronze Helmet, circa 650-620 BC. Credit Steve Wakeham & Kallos Gallery

Kallos Gallery
Archaic Cretan Bronze Helmet, circa 650-620 BC.
Credit Steve Wakeham & Kallos Gallery

 

Bernard Jacobson Gallery Robert Motherwell (1915-1991) Untitled (New England Elegy No.5) 1967 Oil on canvas 296.6 x 355.6 cms (116 3/4 x 140 ins) RM12608

Bernard Jacobson Gallery
Robert Motherwell (1915-1991)
Untitled (New England Elegy No.5)
1967
Oil on canvas
296.6 x 355.6 cms (116 3/4 x 140 ins)
RM12608

 

 

frieze.com/fairs/frieze-masters