18th Century

The Hood Museum's Portrait of Madame Aignan de Sanlot

July 12 2024

Image of The Hood Museum's Portrait of Madame Aignan de Sanlot

Picture: Sotheby's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

One story that seemed to escape the art press in 2022 (as far as I can tell) was The Hood Museum of Art's acquisition of Elisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun's Portrait of Madame Aignan de Sanlot. The work was sold at Sotheby's Paris in 2022 where it made €85,650 over its €25k - €35k estimate. Curator Elizabeth Rice Mattison has had an article published on the pastel in the most recent issue of Notes in the History of Art in case you'd like to read more.

Bologne au siècle des Lumières at the Musée Fesch

July 10 2024

Image of Bologne au siècle des Lumières at the Musée Fesch

Picture: musee-fesch.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A new exhibition will be opening at the Musée Fesch in Corsica in three days' time. Bologne au siècle des Lumières. Art et science, entre réalité et théâtre, organised in collaboration with the Pinacoteca Nazionale, the Musei Civici the fondation de la Cassa di Risparmio de Bologne (CARISBO), promises to explore the lesser known paintings and artists of eighteenth-century Bologna.

The show will run from 13th July until 30th September 2024.

Oudrymania at Château de Chantilly

July 9 2024

Image of Oudrymania at Château de Chantilly

Picture: Château de Chantilly

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Château de Chantilly opened a new exhibition last month dedicated to the animal painter Jean-Baptiste Oudry.

According to the exhibition's website:

Depicted in hunting, portraiture or combat, animals feature among the most striking images produced by Jean-Baptiste Oudry. A gifted artist with an unrivalled mastery of his technique, he brings us face-to-face with the animal repertoire as it existed in the 18th century, including in a series of three hunting scenes he painted for the Château de Chantilly, scattered to the four winds after the French Revolution but exceptionally brought together for this show.

Animal scenes were extremely popular with the leading collectors in the 18th century, including the princes of Condé, who commissioned them from the artist. A set of exquisite drawings by Oudry loaned from a private collection will feature in this exhibition alongside works from Chantilly’s collections, allowing visitors to see pieces never displayed in public before. These include a large number of illustrations for La Fontaine’s fables, showing how the fabulist and the artist use the animal kingdom to help us laugh at and reflect on human nature. These illustrations were so effective they were copied by the arts and crafts industry and included in their decorative production, examples of which can also be admired in the exhibition. Through paintings, drawings, objets d’art and rare books, this show shines a light into every corner of the OUDRYMANIA that has gripped art lovers for centuries.

You only have until the 6th October 2024 to catch Oudrymania for yourself.

Versailles pre-empt Portrait of Sculptor Antoine-Denis Chaudet

July 8 2024

Image of Versailles pre-empt Portrait of Sculptor Antoine-Denis Chaudet

Picture: Sotheby's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

La Gazette Drouot have published news that the Palace of Versailles has pre-empted Jean-Baptiste Frédéric Desmarais's Portrait of the Sculptor Antoine-Denis Chaudet. The painting had sold at Sotheby's Paris earlier in June where it realised €156,000 over its €80k - €120k estimate.

Mrs Gainsborough sent to Bologna

July 3 2024

Image of Mrs Gainsborough sent to Bologna


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News from Italy that the Museo Davia Bargellini in Bologna has been lent Thomas Gainsborough's Portrait of the Artist's Wife from the Collection Rau for UNICEF. Completed in 1777, this marvellous portrait, full of painterly bravura, will be on display in the museum until 6th October 2024.

Kimbell Art Museum acquire Viscount Bolingbroke's Stubbs

July 3 2024

Image of Kimbell Art Museum acquire Viscount Bolingbroke's Stubbs

Picture: Kimbell Art Museum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News from the USA that the Kimbell Art Museum have acquired George Stubbs' Mares and Foals Belonging to the Second Viscount Bolingbroke. The picture, a purchase made through the London dealers Simon C. Dickinson Ltd., was acquired in memory of Ben J. Fortson, who served on the Foundation’s Board of Directors from 1964 to his passing earlier in May.

According to the press release:

The acquisition, along with that of Thomas Gainsborough’s painting Going to Market, Early Morning (c. 1773), purchased by the Kimbell in 2023, significantly elevates the Kimbell’s holdings of eighteenth-century British paintings, which Velma and Kay Kimbell favored when initially building their collection. The painting will be on view in the Kimbell’s Louis I. Kahn Building beginning June 28, 2024.

“With a mandate to collect only works of major historical and aesthetic importance, the Kimbell is the natural home for this masterpiece,” said Eric Lee, director of the Kimbell Art Museum. “I am sure that it will become an audience favorite. Visitors to the museum will relish the multidimensional depiction of mares and foals—alive with subtle drama, imbued with tenderness, and fascinating in its expression of the individual personalities of each horse.

Recent Release: The Radical Print

June 26 2024

Image of Recent Release: The Radical Print

Picture: Yale Books

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Paul Mellon Centre has released a new book today. The Radical Print is the latest title from the Courtauld scholar Esther Chadwick. 

According to the blurb:

The Radical Print argues for printmaking in Britain as the most exciting, innovative, and critically engaged field of artistic production in the late eighteenth century. Moving the print from the margins to the centre of the study of art history, this new critical study demonstrates how print responded to the acceleration of historical events, the polarisation of public discourse, and the sense of a world turned upside down in ways that traditional artistic media could not.

Across five chapters, this book brings printmakers James Barry, John Hamilton Mortimer, James Gillray, Thomas Bewick, and William Blake together as artists of the “Paper Age” for the first time. From Barry’s experiments in aquatint at the time of the American Revolution to Blake’s visionary engravings of the post-Napoleonic period, Chadwick shows how the print medium provided artists with special purchase on the major political issues of their age.

Conserving Kauffman's Frame

June 25 2024

Image of Conserving Kauffman's Frame

Picture: icon.org.uk

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

ICON (The Institute of Conservation) have published a short article on the recent restoration of the original frame belonging to Angelica Kauffman's Diomedes and Cressida. The work was undertaken by Sophie Reddington and Jonida Mecani and features within the recently opened display at Petworth which delves into the complete restoration of Kauffman's painting.

Sell the Bouchardon Bust, says Council (ctd)

June 13 2024

Image of Sell the Bouchardon Bust, says Council (ctd)

Picture: ross-shirejournal.co.uk

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Bendor has been quoted in several Scottish newspapers in the past few days, questioning plans by the Highland council to sell off Bouchardon's bust of Sir John Gordon. The council are currently claiming that the high value of the bust prevents it from being displayed, and so it would be better to have the cash instead.

According to the article linked above:

But that claim has now been called into question by Mr Grosvenor, who told The Times: “Councils and museums across the country manage to put such items on public display without issue, I’m not sure why Highland Council are insisting it hasn’t been possible.

“The suspicion must be that they have been determined to sell this important artwork from the outset.”

Mr Grosvenor also argued that the public consultation into what should become of the sculpture was “founded on a false pretence”, as the council had strongly argued that insuring and displaying the original wasn’t possible and that this could have influenced the results.

And he asked why the council had not made use of the UK government’s indemnity scheme, which enables particularly valuable works to be put on display in museums and galleries and which can act as an alternative to the commercial insurance that Highland Council had cited as a problem.

Click on the link above to read more.

Ramsay & Edinburgh Fashion

June 13 2024

Image of Ramsay & Edinburgh Fashion

Picture: The National Trust for Scotland

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The National Trust for Scotland have recently opened an exhibition dedicated to the fashion found in Allan Ramsay's female portraits. Entitled Ramsay & Edinburgh Fashion, the show brings together a significant group of portraits in the Trust's care which have only recently be conserved and redisplayed.

According to the website:

The display explores how vital it was for a painter in the 1700s to be familiar with dress styles, materials and accessories because fashion was a key signifier of good taste. New research lays out the trades involved in fashion – from the milliners to the mantua-makers – along Edinburgh’s High Street, and sets this against the fashion for portraiture in the mid-18th century.

The display at The Georgian House in Ediburgh will run until 24th November 2024.

Chardin's Melon makes €23m hammer!

June 12 2024

Video: B Smart

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Chardin's Le Melon entamé (est. €8m - €12m and without a third party guarantee it seems) will be coming up for sale at Christie's Paris in the next few hours. You should be able to watch live via the website.

Update - The painting sold for €23m hammer. That is €26.73m including fees. The price jumped at one point (via a bid from someone on the phone) straight from €18m to €20m, and then the same bidder later stepped it up from €21.5 to €23m - it doesn't get more exciting than that in our corner of the art world! This is several million more than the €24.4m (inc. fees) for the Louvre's recently acquired Strawberries.

A very good price for the Old Master market, congratulations to all those involved! Just shows that there is still lots of life in 18th century pictures.

Update 2 - Here are some of the records presented in the Christie's press release [ALL IN CAPITALS]:





New Release: Maurice Quentin de La Tour - L'Oeil absolu

June 6 2024

Image of New Release: Maurice Quentin de La Tour - L'Oeil absolu

Picture: cohen-cohen.fr

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A new book on Maurice Quentin de La Tour has been published today. The volume by Xavier Salmon, Director of works on paper at the Louvre, is the first monograph on the artist since 1928.* Comprising of 600 pages, featuring over 550 illustrations, the book has been published by the Parisian publishers Cohen&Cohen.

* - Although the last print catalogue raisonné was published in 1928, Neil Jeffares published a new online catalogue as part of his Pastellists website in 2022 which can be accessed for free here.

Miguel Cabrera in Madrid

June 5 2024

Image of Miguel Cabrera in Madrid

Picture: cultura.gob.es/museodeamerica

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Museo de America in Madrid have just opened a new exhibition dedicated to Miguel Cabrera (1695–1768), an artist who was born in Oaxaca and later moved to Mexico City. The show features 23 works by the artist, including many painting which appear to have been recently restored especially for the display.

The exhibition will run until 13th October 2024.

Flora Yukhnovich at the Wallace Collection

June 5 2024

Image of Flora Yukhnovich at the Wallace Collection

Picture: wallacecollection.org

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A new contemporary art installation opens at the Wallace Collection in London today. Following in the footsteps of Damian Hirst, Tom Ellis and shoes extraordinaire Manolo Blahník, the museum's latest contemporary artist collaboration is with Flora Yukhnovich, an artist who has made her fame with deconstructed Rococo canvases. A few snaps of the preview from last night posted on social media show that some of the gallery's large paintings by Boucher etc. have been replaced with Yukhnovich's, which will make for an interesting experiment indeed.

The free displays will run until 3rd November 2024.

François Lemoyne Frescos Being Restored

June 3 2024

Video: Coupe-File Art

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News from France of the ongoing restoration of François Lemoyne's frescos completed for the la chapelle de la Vierge in the l’église Saint-Sulpice, Paris. The vast project, which covers 373 m² of frescos, will be revealed to the public later in July.

Upcoming Release: Glorious Lessons John Trumbull, Painter of the American Revolution

May 31 2024

Image of Upcoming Release:  Glorious Lessons John Trumbull, Painter of the American Revolution

Picture: Yale University Press

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Yale University Press will be releasing a new book in July focusing on the paintings of John Trumbull, the artist who created many famous pictures during the American Wars of Independence. The publication has been written by Richard Brookhiser.

According to the publisher's website:

John Trumbull (1756–1843) experienced the American Revolution firsthand—he served as aid to George Washington and Horatio Gates, was shot at, and was jailed as a spy. He made it his mission to record the war, giving visual form to what most citizens of the new United States thought: that they had brought into the world a great and unprecedented political experiment. His purpose, he wrote, was “to preserve and diffuse the memory of the noblest series of actions which have ever presented themselves in the history of man.” Although Trumbull’s contemporaries viewed him as a painter, Trumbull thought of himself as a historian.

The book will be released on 23rd July 2024.

Conserving Kauffman at Petworth

May 31 2024

Image of Conserving Kauffman at Petworth

Picture: nationaltrust.org.uk

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A new display will be opening at Petworth House on 10th June dedicated to the recent conservation of Angelica Kauffman's Diomed and Cressida (1788).

According to The National Trust's website:

Conserving Kauffman will include a short film that documents the conservation of the painting and its frame, interwoven with fascinating historical details about Kauffman, the Shakespeare Gallery where the painting was originally exhibited, and the history of Petworth House itself.

“It’s so exciting to see this spectacular painting returning to Petworth. Previously hidden details have been painstakingly restored and vibrant colours have been revealed. We can’t wait to unveil it to visitors and shine a light on the fantastic work of our conservators in bringing it back to life”. - Dr Emily Knight, Property Curator.

The display will run until 24th November 2024 and access is included within the Petworth House entry ticket.

Baltimore Lent Fragonards

May 29 2024

Image of Baltimore Lent Fragonards

Picture: artbma.org

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

I missed news from the end of last year that the Baltimore Museum of Art have been lent two exquisite Fantasy Figures by Fragonard. The paintings have come from a private collection and are currently on display in the museum's European galleries.

According to the article linked above:

The two paintings were paired together in a private collection in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. First acquired by the celebrated Rothschild banking family in the 1880s, and now belonging to their descendants, the paintings were among the many works seized in 1938 following the Anschluss, or annexation of Austria to Nazi Germany, and returned after the end of World War II. The last time they were publicly exhibited together was at the National Gallery of Art in 2017. Now, this pair of fantasy figures faces each other across the doorway in the BMA’s Jacob Epstein gallery, reunited and in conversation with each other once again.

Kauffmann and Restored Reynolds on Display at Saltram House

May 21 2024

Image of Kauffmann and Restored Reynolds on Display at Saltram House

Picture: art9000.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Saltram House in Devon, a property run by The National Trust, have been lent Angelica Kauffmann's portrait of its previous owner Theresa Parker from a private collection. The painting is on display alongside the property's recently restored full-length portrait of Theresa by Sir Joshua Reynolds. According to the article linked above:

Kauffman’s portrait of Theresa Parker was commissioned by Parker herself as a gift for her friend Lady Pelham. The portrait is on loan from a private collection and is being shown in public for the first time in this country.  

The small full-length depiction of Theresa is intimate in scale and shows her in fashionable Turkish dress. The portrait representing Theresa’s love for her friend contrasts the portrait by Reynolds, which was commissioned for public display at the Royal Academy in 1773, and as a companion for another large historical family portrait in the Saloon.  [...]

The two portraits of Theresa Parker have added poignance as Theresa sadly died in 1775 at the age of only 35. Reynolds was the one to write her obituary, again, a testament to their friendship and his respect of her artistic knowledge and sensibility. 

The paintings will be on display in the house until the end of June.

Christie's Reveal £7m - £10m Stubbs

May 14 2024

Image of Christie's Reveal £7m - £10m Stubbs

Picture: Christie's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Christie's London have revealed that they will be offering a monumental canvas by George Stubbs in their upcoming July Old Masters Part I sale.

According to the press release:

Dated to circa 1769, this monumental canvas is the artist’s grandest statement on the theme of Mares and Foals, the series of paintings executed in the 1760s which arguably stand as Stubbs’ crowning achievement. The picture is believed to have been painted for the Prime Minister of Britain from 1768-1770, Augustus Fitzroy, 3rd Duke of Grafton (1735-1811), who was part of the closely-connected nexus of ‘Whig’ statesmen that provided Stubbs with his most important patronage during this career-defining period. Having only appeared at auction once before, almost 50 years ago, it will be on public view in New York from 18 to 22 May, and in the pre-sale London exhibition which runs from 28 June to the morning of 2 July.

The painting will be offered with an estimate of £7m - £10m on 2nd July 2024.

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