Category: Discoveries

Louvre Acquires Kitchen Cimabue?

October 24 2023

Image of Louvre Acquires Kitchen Cimabue?


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A French news outlet have published a piece speculating that the Louvre are about to announce their acquisition of the rare Cimabue which was discovered in a French kitchen back in 2019. The work was eventually sold at the Hotel des Ventes de Senlis for €24.18m, where it was reportedly purchased by the American collectors Alvaro Saieh and Ana Guzmán but immediately declared a national treasure by the French State.

More news if and when it appears...

Tate Discover their Devis was Chopped in Half!

October 18 2023

Image of Tate Discover their Devis was Chopped in Half!

Picture: Tate

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Tate have posted a very fun short video on their Instagram account regarding a fascinating conservation and research project on a painting by Arthur Devis. Conservator Rachel Scott's investigation and treatment of a portrait by Devis in the collection revealed that one of the margins had been added with an old piece of canvas cut from the bottom of the painting, which suggested to her that the work had been cut-down from a much larger composition. With the help of curator Alice Insley, a trip to the Courtauld photograph library managed to find the other missing half (left), which corresponds directly to the Tate's fragment. It appears that the double portrait might have been cut in half at some point during the past, perhaps in an effort to create two paintings to sell instead of one (a common practise centuries ago!).

Perhaps a reader of AHN might know where the other of the painting might be. If so, do get in touch!

Rosalba Carriera Pastel Rediscovered at Tatton Park

October 17 2023

Image of Rosalba Carriera Pastel Rediscovered at Tatton Park

Picture: The National Trust

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A pastel by Rosalba Carriera, formerly dismissed as a copy, has been unearthed at Tatton Park, a property and collection in the care of the National Trust. The reattribution was made by the Frick Collection's deputy director Xavier Salomon.

According to the article linked above:

“The more I started working on her, I realized there was a need for a new catalogue raisonné and biography,” Salomon said in a phone interview. “It’s going to take many years because she has hundreds of pastels all around the world, and I am just trying to see every single one of them.”

To date, the curator has looked at more than 200 Carriera pastels—but he’s also seen plenty, that while attributed to the artist, were actually copies by other artists. Tatton Park was just one of five homes in the U.K.’s National Trust Salomon had on his itinerary, one of which had a suite of five that turned out to be the work of British artists. But he was hopeful about Tatton Park, which, according to the National Trust’s inventory, had owned The Portrait of a Tyrolese Lady, identified as the work of Carriera, since the 18th century.

Florida Museum Rediscovers Katherine Read Portrait in its Collection

October 11 2023

Image of Florida Museum Rediscovers Katherine Read Portrait in its Collection


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A reader has been in touch with this news story regarding a portrait by Katherine Read rediscovered in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, Florida. The museum had formerly attributed the pastel to Francis Cotes until a recent cataloguing project for an exhibition. The correct attribution was pointed out by the pastels guru Neil Jeffares, who was consulted as part of the process.

Frans Hals at the National Gallery

October 4 2023

Video: The National Gallery, London

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The National Gallery's latest Frans Hals exhibition opened last week. The Guardian's less than favourable review has subsequently been counteracted by others in The Observer and The New York Times respectively. I haven't been to see it yet, however, I have been handed a copy of the exhibition catalogue which looks very promising indeed. Not only is it organised in comprehensive and beautiful way, the publication suggests that the curators have taken a bold approach to attribution (a problem which follows Hals scholarship to the present day). One such example is the inclusion of a portrait which was sold as 'School of Haarlem, circa 1615' at Sotheby's New York in 2021, doubted by both Seymour Slive and Claus Grimm (see Literature in the link), which has now been given to Frans Hals in full.

However, one of the most fascinating pieces of original research is the discovery of 'a hidden monster and skull' in the famous Chatsworth portrait, which appears to have been covered by 'later overpaint'. The gallery have produced the following video which explains the whole story.

Raphael drawing at the Dorotheum

September 29 2023

Image of Raphael drawing at the Dorotheum


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Art Newspaper have shared the news that the Dorotheum in Vienna will be offering a rediscovered drawing by Raphael on 25th October. The drawing relates to the Battle of the Milvian Bridge fresco which is in the Vatican’s papal apartments. 

According to the article:

On the back of the sheet are drawings by Raphael’s assistant, Polidoro da Caravaggio, which were probably executed later. Dorotheum says that Paul Joannides, an emeritus professor of history of art at Cambridge University, has endorsed the attributions for both Raphael and Polidoro da Caravaggio.

The drawing will be offered with an estimate of €400,000 to €600,000.

The Royal Collection rediscovers a lost Artemisia

September 28 2023

Video: The Royal Collection Trust

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Royal Collection have been sweeping the internet recently with the exciting news that they have rediscovered an important work by Artemisia Gentileschi. The work, which was misattributed several centuries ago, was created during the 1630s when Artemisia was working alongside her father Orazio in London for King Charles I.

This recently conserved painting will be on view at Windsor Castle in a special display focusing on its rediscovery alongside other works by the artist and her father in the Royal Collection.

Mary Beale Sleeper! and less significant news...

September 28 2023

Image of Mary Beale Sleeper! and less significant news...


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News from Lisbon that the following Portrait of a Gentleman with a Hat realised an impressive 37,000 euros on Monday over its 1,500 estimate. Catalogued as ‘Flemish School, 17th century’, the bidders for this sleeper knew that this was in fact a beautiful head study by Mary Beale (1633-1699), one of England’s most accomplished female artists of the seventeenth-century. There is little doubt that it depicts Mary’s husband Charles, and relates to another fur-hat portrait which is in the McMaster Museum of Art in Ontario, Canada. Beale’s head studies of her family remain the most sensitive and highly regarded in her oeuvre, and this example looks right up there in terms of quality and beauty.

It just so happens that I spotted this painting in an old sales catalogue back in April, and had posted it on my Instagram account as one of those lost treasures I hoped would reappear one day. Curiously, the portrait was sold at Christie’s New York in 1989 as a portrait by Jacob van Oost in full, a period when very few in the art world were thinking about what a Mary Beale looked like. It seems that coincidences do happen, and browsing through old sales catalogues for misattributions is always a fruitful and educational experience. I’m sure the painting will reappear somewhere interesting in due course.

Of less notable news is that I am very happily returning to my post as co-editor of this fine blog. I’ve had the great honour the past year and a half of cataloguing paintings in the Old Master Department at Sotheby’s, but have recently decided to return to this varied life where I can devote more time to enthusing for our corner of the art world. I’ll be continuing as a consultant at the auction house, which will give me the freedom to write here (open and honestly) and pursue projects elsewhere. It seems that an awful lot has been happening over the past few months, so it’s about time I got going!

As ever, all comments and suggestions are most welcome!

Canova virtual tour

June 23 2022

Image of Canova virtual tour

Picture: Christie's

Christie's have made a virtual tour of one of their star lots in the forthcoming Old Master sales, a lost Recumbant Magdalene by Antonia Canova. You can zoom around it here. The statue will be auctioned on 7th July, estimated at £5m-£7m. It was discovered in 2002 in a garden statuary sale, for about £5,000. Literally, a sleeping sleeper!

Christina, Queen of Sweden's Titian Coming up for Sale

April 5 2022

Image of Christina, Queen of Sweden's Titian Coming up for Sale

Picture: Dorotheum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Dorotheum auction house in Vienna have announced that they will be offering a rediscovered Titian later in May. The painting of The Penitent Magdalen, of which many versions are known, was in the collection of Christina (1626-1689), Queen of Sweden during the seventeenth century. The provenance of the work is rather intriguing, as it later passed into the collections of Pierre Crozat and later Philippe II Duke of Orleans. It finally arrived in Britain during the 1790s. The attribution has been supported by Professor Paul Joannides and the exact provenance was researched and established by Dr Carlo Corsato.

The painting will be offered for sale on 11th May 2022 carrying an estimate of €1m - €1.5m.

Rembrandt, not Flinck

April 1 2022

Image of Rembrandt, not Flinck

Picture: Gemäldegalerie

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Gemäldegalerie in Berlin have announced that their Landscape with Arched Bridge is by Rembrandt after all. A reassessment of the picture, instigated by a David Hockney exhibition it seems, has concluded that the work is by Rembrandt's own hand. The picture had been given to Govaert Flinck for many years until recent technical analysis has proven otherwise.

According to the article linked above:

X-rays showing changes and corrections that had been made to the work helped confirm Rembrandt as its creator. [Berlin curator Katja] Kleinert said experts were unanimous in their verdict. 

Comparisons were made with a very similar composition by Rembrandt, called Landscape with Stone Bridge at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, which the Gemäldegalerie’s director, Dagmar Hirschfeld – herself a Rembrandt expert – said shared hallmarks typical for him. 

“You quite often get pairs of paintings, where you have the impression he is trying to do the same again, but in another style of painting or to optimise what he has already achieved,” she said. Analysis of the painting in Berlin, which the gallery acquired in 1924, showed how Rembrandt had made radical changes to the work during its creation, including shifting the position of a storm cloud, reducing the size of a hill and making changes to a group of trees. These processes in turn made the painting more compact and dense.

The landscape will be featured in the gallery's latest exhibition David Hockney – Landscapes in Dialogue.

Rediscovered Gabriel Loppé Mountain Views up for Sale

March 9 2022

Video: Artcurial

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The French auction house Artcurial have made this video about a pair of monumental Mountain landscapes by Gabriel Loppé (1825-1913) in their upcoming sale. The canvases of The Matterhorn seen from the Gornergrat and The Mer de Glace and the Grands Charmoz, Chamonix both sent to London in 1874 where they were displayed in a gallery in Conduit Street. The paintings had been considered lost until they were rediscovered rolled up in cylindrical shipping boxes in 2014. The video features the independent expert William Mitchell who catalogued the pictures for auction.

They will be sold on 23rd March 2022 carrying estimates of €300k - €400k and €350k - €450k respectively.

Queen Victoria's Japanese Screens Rediscovered in the Royal Collection

March 8 2022

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Evening Standard have shared news that several Japanese painted screens have been rediscovered in The Royal Collection. These large screens, which were part of a diplomatic gift received in 1860, will be put on display for the first time later in April.

According to the article:

Eight pairs of screen paintings were sent by the Japanese shogun Tokugawa Iemochi shortly after Japan’s reopening to the West, following more than two centuries of deliberate isolation. 

The opulent gift to Victoria marked a landmark treaty that reopened seven Japanese ports and cities to British trade and allowed a British diplomat to reside in Japan for the first time.

But the screens were wrongly catalogued as Japanese works by an unidentified artist when they arrived,  and their links to Shogun Iemochi and their historical significance were lost.

It was also found that the pieces – featuring two to three layers of paper rather than the usual six to nine – were hastily produced, probably due to a huge fire in Edo Castle in Tokyo which would have destroyed the original versions before they could be sent to Victoria.

The RCT's exhibition Japan: Courts and Culture will open at the Queen's Gallery on 8th April 2022 and run until 12th March 2023.

Gwrych Castle acquires Portrait

March 3 2022

Image of Gwrych Castle acquires Portrait


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Rhyl Journal in Wales have published news that the Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust has acquired a portrait which was previously thought to be lost. The picture depicts Marianne Jones-Bateman (1799-1874), a figure who played an important part in the local history of neighbouring Abergele.

According to the article:

Mark Baker, chairperson of the trust, said: “She was a force of nature locally and her diaries, which are in the National Library of Wales, are a great source for learning about life in Abergele nearly 200 years ago.

“This portrait hung at Gwrych Castle from 1902 and disappeared from the records in 1928. 

“We believe it dates to about 1825 and the time of Marianne's marriage. 

“In the 1870s, the house was said to house 'many interesting works of art, including several family portraits by Richard Wilson, and one by Beechey of Barbara Lisle Bowles, the great-great-great niece of Sir Isaac Newton'. 

“We believe Marianne's portrait is by an artist called Henry William Pickersgill RA (1782-1875), who was a noted painter, and his sitters were all the notables of the day.

Introducing the 'Viennese Salvator Mundi'

March 2 2022

Image of Introducing the 'Viennese Salvator Mundi'

Picture: KHM

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Kunsthistoriches Museum (KHM) in Vienna have shared news that it has completed a research project which has reattributed a painting to Titian. The museum embarked on the campaign in 2021 to investigate whether the following Christ with a Globe or the Viennese Salvator Mundi (as some have been calling it) could be the work of Titian during the 1520s. As is so often the case, the oil on canvas bears some old damages and rather unsympathetic overpainting (visible in the hair, nose and right eye, it seems).

X-rays have revealed that the present work was painted on top of a Virgin and Child:

The museum have started a crowdfunding campaign to have the work fully-restored in time for an exhibition in October 2022.

Rembrandthuis loaned a rediscovered Jan Lievens

March 2 2022

Image of Rembrandthuis loaned a rediscovered Jan Lievens

Picture: @rembrandthuis

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Museum Het Rembrandthuis in Amsterdam have announced the loan of a recently rediscovered portrait by Jan Lievens. The Portrait of a Man with a Gold Chain dates to 1637/8 and has been loaned by its owners David and Michelle Berrong-Bader. Unfortunately, the sitter is yet to be identified.

Mather Brown's rediscovered Death of Nelson up for sale

March 2 2022

Image of Mather Brown's rediscovered Death of Nelson up for sale


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A rediscovered painting showing the Death of Nelson by Mather Brown (1761-1831) is to be unveiled at the The Chelsea Antiques & Fine Art Fair in London later this month. The picture was rediscovered in a private collection by the Nelson specialist and former-Sotheby's director Martyn Downer.

To quote the article linked above:

Martyn Downer explains: “Mather Brown was one of a small group of artists – such as his fellow American Benjamin West, who were well known to Nelson in London. That familiarity is evident in Brown’s vivid and theatrical representation of Nelson receiving his fatal wound at the battle of Trafalgar which, amid the smoke of conflict, offers us one of the most compelling and well-informed late portraits of the admiral. The re-discovery of Brown’s bold attempt to win the 1805 competition for the best painting of the dramatic scene is an exciting moment for Nelson enthusiasts and for scholars of eighteenth-century art, especially for followers of this fascinating and complex artist.”  

The picture will be displayed at the Chelsea fair with an asking price of £350,000.

Farinelli's Paintings up for Sale (?)

February 17 2022

Image of Farinelli's Paintings up for Sale (?)


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Interesting news from France that the auction house Aguttes will be offering two recently rediscovered pictures by Francesco Battaglioli (1725-1796) in March. The pictures have been identified by the scholar Mickaël Bouffard as opera stage sets for productions of Nitteti. This opera, with a libretto by Metastasis set to music by Nicola Conforto, was performed in 1756 at the Theatre of the Buen Retiro Palace on the occasion of the birthday of King Ferdinand VI.

Researchers have gone as far to suggest that the paintings might have belonged to the famous castrato Farinelli. The works have been linked to two others kept in Library-Museum of the Paris Opera, which were said to have been brought back by the singer as gifts from the Spanish court.

The pair will be sold on the 25th March 2022.

Rediscovered Romney up for Sale

February 9 2022

Image of Rediscovered Romney up for Sale

Picture: Toovey's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Some interesting news that a rediscovered portrait of Lady Laetitia Beauchamp-Proctor by George Romney is coming up for sale at Toovey's later this month. The picture was spotted in a private collection by consultant Tim Williams where it had been considered to be 'attributed to' Angelika Kauffman for some time. Romney's hand in the picture was finally confirmed by Alexander Kidson, who had included the work within his 2015 catalogue raisonné as 'whereabouts unknown'.*

According to the press release:

George Romney recorded Lady Beauchamp-Proctor’s seven sittings between 20th July and 16th August 1780, and the 18 guinea fee was paid to the artist on 5th May 1781. It was sent to Thomas Allwood for framing and is recorded in his framing book as ‘an oval 3/4 at a price of £2 12s 6d for Lady Beauchamp Proctor’.

* - Editors of future 'discovery' pieces take note, it's very good when recognised authorities are consulted as part of any story that deal with such things!

Is it a Reynolds?

February 9 2022

Video: BBC

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

I'm sure that many loyal readers of AHN have already watched the last ever episode of Britain's Lost Masterpieces. However, if you have a UK TV License, and are curious to know whether Bendor and his team have uncovered a forgotten work by Sir Joshua Reynolds, then you'll be able to catch up here via. the BBC IPlayer.

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