Previous Posts: October 2020

Downman's Portraits of Nelson and Emma Hamilton Re-emerge

October 31 2020

Image of Downman's Portraits of Nelson and Emma Hamilton Re-emerge

Picture: Charles Miller Ltd.

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A pair of recently rediscovered portraits of Lord Nelson and Lady Emma Hamilton are coming up for sale next month.

These two sketches were made by the artist John Downman (1750-1824) and are signed and dated with the year 1802. The drawings bear an inscription that indicates that their likenesses were captured at the couple's house in Merton. The catalogue note also suggests that the elaborate frames, which may have been carved by a sailor, were added when the drawings were in the collection of Admiral WH Symth (d.1865).

The pair are coming up for sale at Charles Miller Ltd. on 24th November 2020 and carry a tempting estimate of £8,000 - £12,000.

MET Acquires Clara Peeters Bouquet

October 31 2020

Image of MET Acquires Clara Peeters Bouquet

Picture: MET

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York have announced the recent acquisition of a Bouquet of Flowers by Clara Peeters (ca. 1587-1636). Roughly forty or so works by the artist have been recorded by scholars.

As a post on the museum's Instagram account explains:

At the time of this acquisition, the Museum had only one other work by an early modern Dutch or Flemish woman artist, also a flower painting (71.6). Painted more than a century after Peeters’s still life, this bouquet by Margareta Haverman, with its dewdrops, butterfly, and hints of decay, provides a fitting bookend to the tradition of which we now recognize Clara Peeters as a founding figure.

As ever, an outstanding high resolution image has been made available on their website via. the link above. It really is worth zooming in on some of the details, where you'll even be able to find her signature lurking in the shadows.

Book Release: The Woman Who Stole Vermeer

October 30 2020

Image of Book Release: The Woman Who Stole Vermeer

Picture: Simon & Schuster

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Here's a non-fiction book release that might interest some readers of AHN. Anthony M Amore's The Woman Who Stole Vermeer charts the life of the Irish Republican Rose Dugdale (b.1941). Dugdale was implicated in several terrorist acts including the theft of major art works from Russborough House in 1974.

As the publisher's blurb explains:

Dugdale ran head-first towards the action, spearheading the first aerial terrorist attack in British history and pulling off the biggest art theft of her time. In 1974, she led a gang into the opulent Russborough House in Ireland and made off with millions in prized paintings, including works by Goya, Gainsborough, and Rubens, as well as Lady Writing a Letter with her Maid by the mysterious master Johannes Vermeer. Dugdale thus became—to this day—the only woman to pull off a major art heist. And as Anthony Amore explores in The Woman Who Stole Vermeer, it’s likely that this was not her only such heist.

The book will be released next month by publishers Simon & Schuster.

Sleeper Alert!

October 30 2020

Image of Sleeper Alert!

Picture: Rennes Enchères

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News on Twitter (via. @MWeilc) that the above bronze catalogued as '18th century' realised €164,800 over its €500 estimate at Rennes Enchères auctions last week.

Hercules Bust VR Experience at TEFAF Online

October 30 2020

Image of Hercules Bust VR Experience at TEFAF Online

Picture: AncientArt

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

This must rank amongst some of the most sensational rediscoveries of classical art in Britain.

The above bust made headlines in February after it achieved £320,000 over its £600 - £1,000 estimate at Adam Partridge Auctioneers in Cheshire. The antique marble of Hercules, catalogued as 'French 18th-19th century', was in fact a piece of Hellenistic sculpture dating to the 1st century BC. It also transpires that it was once in the collections of the Dukes of Sutherland. By some bizarre twist of fate the ancient sculpture ended up in the garden of Sutton Place, Surrey, before being discovered by a gardener there in 1984.

The bust is now being offered by dealers Ancient Art at TEFAF (The European Fine Art Fair). As this year's New York edition of the fair will mostly be online, the art dealers have had the bust scanned in VR for all to access online at home (if you have a special headset). Whilst the original will be on display in New York, a gallery has been hired in London offering a full VR experience for any interested buyers.

$22,000 Sistine Chapel Book

October 29 2020

Image of $22,000 Sistine Chapel Book

Picture: Callaway Arts and Entertainment

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Art lovers are quite used to paying eyewatering sums of money for beautiful books. But this particular example is quite staggering indeed. A publisher has just released a special three volume book entitled The Sistine Chapel. New photography of Michelangelo's frescos has enabled the publishers to reproduce 1:1 scale images of the wall paintings. They also claim that the images are '99.4% accurate in terms of colour'.* The entire set will cost no less than $22,000.


I don't about you, but I'd rather spend that sort of money on a reasonable old master in a day sale auction.

* - Where did the other 0.6% of colour disappear to, I wonder?

National Museum Wales Acquires Thomas Jones Sketches

October 29 2020

Image of National Museum Wales Acquires Thomas Jones Sketches

Picture: National Museum Wales

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The National Museum Wales have purchased two rare sketches by the painter Thomas Jones (1742-1803). Dating to the mid-1770s, these pictures depict a Welsh Landscape with Lead Mines and a View of the River Wye respectively. They were purchased from the Miles Wynn Cato Gallery with the help of a legacy gift made before the lockdown.

Stephanie Roberts, Senior Curator of Historic Art, is quoted saying:

These are wonderful paintings by an artist whose personal vision was ahead of his time. Many of his early oil sketches of Wales are lost to us, after they were stored in a damp cellar when he moved to Italy. These two new discoveries are an exciting new addition to our Welsh landscapes collection, by one of Wales' best-loved historic artists.

Baltimore Museum of Art Withdraws Works from Sale

October 29 2020

Image of Baltimore Museum of Art Withdraws Works from Sale

Picture: Sotheby's via.

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

In a shocking 11th hour move the Baltimore Museum of Arts withdrew several works of art from Sotheby's Contemporary Art sale in New York last night. The museum has also announced that it has paused the sale of Andy Warhol's The Last Supper. The museum had been hoping to raise $65m from the sales for what they had described as an 'endowment for the future'.

The museum seem to have been responding to the outcry of donors and a public petition from several members of the Association of Museum Directors. The association's president had two days ago written the following lines in a letter clarifying its stance to all members:

I recognize that many of our institutions have long-term needs—or ambitious goals—that could be supported, in part, by taking advantage of these resolutions to sell art... But however serious those long-term needs or meritorious those goals, the current position of AAMD is that the funds for those must not come from the sale of deaccessioned art.

The museum have also issued the following statements regarding the withdrawal:

Our vision and our goals have not changed. It will take us longer to achieve them, but we will do so through all means at our disposal. That is our mission and we stand behind it.

Here is the museum's statement in full.

Hermitage's 'School of Raphael' Frescos to be Conserved

October 29 2020

Image of Hermitage's 'School of Raphael' Frescos to be Conserved

Picture: Hermitage

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Art Newspaper has published news that the US Embassy in Moscow has donated $100,000 towards the conservation of a series of sixteenth century frescos kept in the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg. The gesture is being hailed as a major step forward in diplomatic relations between the countries. The three frescos, given to the School of Raphael, used to adorn the walls of a small villa in Rome before being acquired by the museum in 1861.

The work will be in anticipation of a exhibition at the Hermitage entitled After Raphael. 1520 - 2020 (due to open in December 2020).

Lecture: Anne Seymour Damer (1748-1828)

October 19 2020

Image of Lecture: Anne Seymour Damer (1748-1828)

Picture: MET

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

London Art Week are hosting a rather interesting lecture and panel discussion on the female sculptor Anne Seymour Damer (1748-1828). Damer exhibited at the Royal Academy and was admired by notable patrons. The above bust of the sculptor's mother, on loan to the MET, is remarkable.

The expert panel will include Silvia Davoli (Curator, Strawberry Hill House, and Research Associate, University of Oxford), Elyse Nelson (Assistant Curator, European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, The Metropolitan Museum of Art), and Emanuela Tarizzo (Gallery Director, Tomasso Brothers Fine Art).

The lecture will be broadcast on 20th October 2020 at 4.30pm (London Time).

Dorotheum Auction

October 19 2020

Image of Dorotheum Auction

Picture: Dorotheum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Vienna's Dorotheum auction house have published their two Old Master paintings catalogues online. There are many interesting pictures to look through as usual, including a Jan Steen and Jacob van Ruisdael as their top lots.

I thought the painting above by Bicci di Lorenzo (1368-1452) to be the most curious of all. This Scene from the Life of Saint Nicholas of the child restored to his parents, estimated at €150,000 - €200,000, is not the sort of story we often hear being told of the saint at Christmas.


October 19 2020

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

This week will be a little slow with posts I'm afraid, but I'll get round to it as soon as time allows. Full steam ahead by next week!

Rubens Projection at Brussels Airport

October 19 2020


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Here's a very fun projection show, illustrating a cupid from a Rubens painting causing havoc in Brussels airport. This project was created by Filip Sterckx and his organisation It must have been done long before covid-19 I imagine!

Frans Hals Portrait Exhibition at the Wallace Collection

October 15 2020

Image of Frans Hals Portrait Exhibition at the Wallace Collection

Picture: The Wallace Collection

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Wallace Collection in London has announced that it will be putting on an exhibition next year entitled Frans Hals: The Male Portrait.

As their website explains:

In the first ever show to focus solely on Hals’s portraits of men posing on their own, The Laughing Cavalier will be showcased alongside other great male portraits by Hals in order to explore his highly innovative approach to male portraiture in particular, from the beginning of his career in the 1610s until the end of his life in 1666.

This exhibition will bring together a careful selection of the artist’s best male portraits from Europe and North America. In doing so, the show will aim to demonstrate how, through pose and virtuosic painterly technique, Hals completely revolutionised the male portrait into something entirely new and fresh, capturing and revealing his sitters’ characters like no one else before him. It will also showcase the evolution of Hals’s style, which is especially evident in his male portraits, from finely painted works to those demonstrating increasingly free and loose handling in his later years.

This exhibition is made possible due to the recent overturning of Lady Wallace's bequest which expressly stated that the collection " shall always be kept together unmixed with other objects of arts...". It is exciting to see what loans will be secured for the show, which one images have been negotiated with reciprocal arrangements. I wonder when The Laughing Cavalier will make his first trip abroad in 155 years? It's only a matter of time I suppose.

The planned dates for the ticketed exhibition are 23rd September 2021 - 30th January 2022.

Sorolla Recovered by Spanish Police

October 15 2020

Image of Sorolla Recovered by Spanish Police

Picture: @policia

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Spanish Police have recovered a large painting of a Bull Fight by Joaquín Sorolla in Brussels, Belgium. The owner of the picture, who is facing alleged crimes relating to insolvency, had attempted to illegally export the work of art out of Spain. It is claimed the painting could be worth €3m.

The BL Uploads 18,000 Maps and Views to Flickr

October 15 2020

Image of The BL Uploads 18,000 Maps and Views to Flickr

Picture: The British Library

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The British Library has announced that it has uploaded 18,000 digitised maps and views onto the photo sharing site Flickr. The quality of images is excellent and entirely free to download. Do go and have a scroll through when you can afford a precious free moment.

Former Trustees call for BMA to be Investigated over Sales

October 15 2020

Image of Former Trustees call for BMA to be Investigated over Sales


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Several former Trustees of the Baltimore Museum of Art have called on the State of Maryland to investigate the museum's plans to sell $65m worth of art from their collection.

They have attacked the plans on several grounds including 'procedural irregularities'. Their letter suggests that the $40m guarantee for Andy Warhol's Last Supper was too low and that they had not properly acknowledged the significance of the works offered for sale. Criticisms too have been levelled at proceeds being used to top up the salaries of staff, which they claim goes against rules laid down by the Association of Art Museum Directors.

Two curators from the museum recently gave the following defence for the BMA's deaccessioning plans in an article published by The Art Newspaper:

The BMA believes that the mission of the museum is civic, and that its dual responsibility is to create an internally equitable structure and an equitable and mutual relationship with the public, as expressed in the collection, exhibitions, programming and overall engagement.

Too many critics routinely enlist a white and privileged few tied to—dependent on—the status quo, but unsurprisingly fail to consider who isn’t speaking.

The full letter can be read on The Wall Street Journal's Kelly Crow's Twitter page.

Van Dyck Brasserie

October 15 2020

Image of Van Dyck Brasserie

Picture: @JVDPPP

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Justin Davies of the Jordaens and Van Dyck Panel Paintings Project has shared this amusing image on his social media account of a board advertising the Antoon Van Dyck Brasserie in Antwerp.

This advert is using an image of Self Portrait of the artist on loan to the Rubenshuis in Antwerp. It really looks as if the painter is jealously guarding his waffle there.

Proceeds from Göring's Cuyp to be Split

October 15 2020

Image of Proceeds from Göring's Cuyp to be Split

Picture: The Art Newspaper

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Art Newspaper has published an article relating to the above painting of a hunter by Aelbert Cuyp. The picture had belonged to the dealer Jacques Goudstikker who fled the Netherlands when the Nazis invaded in 1940. It then ended up in the collection of Hermann Göring.

Last year the painting resurfaced at auction and was identified by the Goudstikker Art Research Project. The present owner has agreed to share the proceeds of the painting with the heirs of the Goudstikker estate when it comes up for auction next month in Frankfurt. The article suggests the work is valued at €700,000.

Getty Museum Acquires 39 Dutch Drawings

October 14 2020

Image of Getty Museum Acquires 39 Dutch Drawings

Picture: Getty Museum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The J Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles has announced that it has acquired 39 Dutch drawings and works on paper from a private collection. The haul includes works by Rembrandt, Jacob van Ruisdael, Adriaen van de Velde, Ferdinand Bol and Piet Mondrian (pictured).

The museum's director Timothy Potts is quoted as saying:

Set in motion nearly two years ago and finalized in January 2020, this major acquisition dramatically enhances our Dutch drawings collection, increasing it by a third, and placing it among the most important museum holdings in the United States.

Several drawings represent artists who are almost never available on the market, including Cornelis Vroom, Hendrick Dubbels, Jacob Pynas, and Gerrit Pietersz, adding rarity and depth to the group, and enabling the Getty to showcase a more complete history of Dutch art.

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