Previous Posts: April 2011

Largest known Mughal portrait sells for £1.42m

April 5 2011

Image of Largest known Mughal portrait sells for £1.42m

Picture: Bonhams

More evidence that the art market is looking East - the largest known Mughal portrait (197x128.5 cm), of Emperor Jahangir, sold today at Bonhams for £1.42m (inc. premium). 

The estimate was £40-60,000.

Ai Weiwei arrest

April 5 2011

Jonathan Jones, in the Guardian, makes the comparison with Michelangelo, and others:

Will Ai Weiwei be a Courbet or a Michelangelo? While the Communard painter was ruined by his political enemies, Michelangelo was spared and allowed to carry on working and enjoying his success after the defeat of the Florentine rebellion – he really was too big to hurt. We have to hope that, once it feels it has made its ugly, bullying point, the state will release Ai Weiwei and his fame will continue to protect him. Whatever happens, he is that rare thing: the artist as moral and political hero.

Iran v. The Louvre

April 4 2011

Image of Iran v. The Louvre

Picture: British Museum

Iran has announced it is severing links with the Louvre over the museum's refusal to lend Persian artefacts to the country.

I wonder if the Louvre's hesitancy has anything to do with the spat between Iran and the British Museum in February 2010 over the loan of the Cyrus Cylinder (above). Then, Iran broke off relations after the BM hesitated on the deal. The loan did go ahead, but when the Cylinder arrived in Iran, a prominent newspaper suggested it should not be returned. Subsequently the Iranians asked for the loan to be extended for another three months, which was agreed.

The Cylinder is now due to stay in Tehran till April 15th. One to watch...

Re-joining Monet's Water Lilies

April 4 2011

Image of Re-joining Monet's Water Lilies

Picture: Kansas City Star

One of Monet's Water Lily triptychs has been reunited for the first time in thirty years at the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas. The three individual panels belong to the St. Louis Art Museum, the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Nelson-Atkins. More here

Better glaze that Gauguin...

April 4 2011

Image of Better glaze that Gauguin...

Picture: BBC

A picture by Gauguin on loan to the National Gallery of Art in Washington has been attacked during an exhibition.

Susan Burns pounded Two Tahitian Women and tried to rip it from a gallery wall on Friday, officials said. The 1899 painting, which depicts two women's bare breasts, was behind a plastic cover and was unharmed. She was charged with attempted theft and destruction of property and is being held pending a mental evaluation.

Restoring Gainsborough's Grave

April 4 2011

Image of Restoring Gainsborough's Grave

Graves aren't really my thing, but here's a deserving cause: Gainsborough's grave in St Anne's, Kew is seriously in need of restoration. The sum needed is £15,000. Here's a rather wobbly but charming video on the project.

A number of you kindly responded to my plug for the Anne Boleyn restoration fund - and if anyone wants to spread the word about this, the friends of St Anne's would be most grateful.

If you're so minded, cheques should be sent to:

'The Friends of St. Anne’s Church, Kew', The Treasurer, The Friends’, C/O The Parish Office, St. Anne’s Church, Kew Green, Richmond, Surrey TW9 3AA

Eisenhower speech on saving art in WW2 found

April 1 2011

Image of Eisenhower speech on saving art in WW2 found

Picture: AP

'Ike' was no orator, but this newly discovered speech is well worth a listen. It relates Eisenhower's rationale behind his decision to help save the thousands of works of art looted by the Nazis. 

We've been researching the work of Ike's 'Monuments Men' (those who helped find the stolen art) for our new BBC1 series, Fake or Fortune. We all have a lot to thank them, and Eisenhower, for.

Art history relief?

April 1 2011

From the Art Newspaper:

The visual arts survived the Arts Council England (ACE) cuts better than most sectors, including theatre, music and dance. Visual arts organisations funded by ACE will overall actually receive a 2% increase in their grants from 2010/11 to 2014/15, although once inflation is taken into account this represents a 7% fall in real terms.

Looking for Eworth

April 1 2011

Image of Looking for Eworth

Here's an interesting article by Hope Walker on what is thought to be Hans Eworth's only known drawing. Trouble is, nobody knows where it is. If you do, pray tell...

This one is Not an April Fool

April 1 2011

Image of This one is Not an April Fool

If you're in Pennsylvania this weekend, you can go to the Tattoo and Arts gathering at 'Inkin the Valley', and get your favourite painting tattooed somewhere special. Nice.

Turning Deaccessioning into Art

April 1 2011

Image of Turning Deaccessioning into Art

Next month, I shall be taking part in a conference at the National Gallery on whether major galleries should begin deaccessioning. However, one gallery has jumped the gun: Tate has announced a collaboration with a Turner Prize contender to create an interactive deaccessioning exhibit.

Store/Sell/Destroy No.4 promises to take Michael Landy’s Art Bin concept to a whole new level. A number of low-value, damaged, and less popular paintings will be deaccessioned and shredded, and rewoven into a giant quilt. The stuffing will be made of pulped frames. 

The artist, Korean performance interpretive specialist Ei Pri Fuh, will then sleep under the quilt for the duration of the exhibition. In order to make the installation participative, both Fuh and Tate are hoping that the quilt will be large enough to allow visitors to sleep under it too, subject to a health and safety assessment.

Fuh’s agent said;

Store/Sell/Destroy No.4 will be a commentary on accessioning, deaccessioning and reaccessioning through the creation of a temporal cacophony of orchestrated multi-linear collisions between spatially and historically remote works, set within a rich inheritance of reductive aesthetics. 

Fuh said:

I hope it will be warm.

At the end of the exhibition, the quilt will be sold to benefit Tate’s acquisition fund. 

Update 2.4.11: This was a joke.

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