Sotheby’s recently announced that it will be selling a re-discoved Constable painting in early December:
John Constable (1776-1837) is one of Britain’s best-loved and most significant landscape painters. A key figure in the British Romantic movement of the early 19th century, Constable, together with J.M.W. Turner, changed the course of European landscape painting forever. This winter, Sotheby’s London will present a recently rediscovered landscape by the British artist which is one of the most exciting and important additions to Constable’s oeuvre to have emerged in the last fifty years. Painted between 1814 and 1817, Dedham Vale with the River Stour in Flood belongs to a small group of Constable’s early Suffolk paintings remaining in private hands. The work will be offered in Sotheby’s Old Masters Evening sale on 6 December, with an estimate of £2-3 million.
Julian Gascoigne, Senior Specialist, British Paintings at Sotheby’s said: “Constable’s views of Dedham Vale and the Stour valley have become icons of British art and define for many everything that is quintessential about the English countryside. Dedham Vale with the River Stour in Flood was long mistakenly thought to be by Ramsay Richard Reinagle (1775-1862), a friend and contemporary of Constable’s, but recent scientific analysis and up-to-date connoisseurship has unanimously returned the work to its rightful place among the canon of the great master’s work and established beyond doubt its true authorship. It is without question one of the most exciting and important additions to Constable’s oeuvre to have emerged in the last fifty years”.
The painting is thought to have been commissioned by Thomas Fitzhugh as a wedding present for his future wife, Philadelphia Godfrey, whose parents were neighbours and friends of Constable’s family. It is the view from the back garden of Philadelphia’s childhood home, and must have served as a perfect memento once settled into married life in London.
Coverage of the Old Master sales in London earlier this month fixated on the sales from a collector who had worked with Jean Luc Baroni to assemble his collection. At the time, insiders like Bendor Grosvenor were quick to point out that although the collector was unloading some works at a slight loss, his gains on works like the surprise sale of Govaert Flinck’s Old Man at a Casement more than made up for the losses. Besides, the flat sales were more an indication of an insufficient holding period than weakness in the Old Master market.
Now the Art Newspaper reveals the seller of a group of drawings and a Watteau painting to the Getty museum. Turns out, it is the same collector reporters were fixated upon. Getty sale, which Grosvenor points out, belies “the old cliché that museum quality Old Masters never come onto the market anymore is just not true.” Meanwhile, the New York Times speculates the Getty paid a substantial price further putting the recent off-loading at auction in better context.
Here’s The Art Newspaper on who pulled off this feat:Continue Reading
Christie’s has it’s own blockbuster for the July Old Master sales in London, a Guardi view of Venice that has only ever been sold once. That was 125 years ago. Here’s Christie’s announcement:Continue Reading
A Dutch news outlet confronts the change of play in the Old Masters market since the discovery of several exceptionally good forgeries that are roiling the private market. The unexpected twist is that Sotheby’s has stolen a march on the market and now threatens to overshadow the trust in dealers:
“Collectors are being given the impression that it’s safer to buy art at an auction house than at a fair: at least an auction house will pay compensation if it’s a forgery,” says one insider.
Today’s opening of TEFAF in Maastricht, the world’s leading Old Master fair, puts this in sharp relief. It also raises the issue of TEFAF’s vetting and whether the fair’s vetting protects buyers:Continue Reading
Last week, the Louvre opened a show of Vermeer putting him in context of his peers and showing the ways in which Dutch Golden Age genre painters influenced and competed with each other. From the opening day, the crowds have surprised and overwhelmed the Louvre to the point that demand shut down online ticketing.
Think about that. The world’s most-visited museum couldn’t handle the traffic and visitor interest. Here’s L’Express explaining:Continue Reading
Even by the standards of an Old Masters sale, the sell-through at Sotheby’s evening sale yesterday was a weak 62%. Nonetheless, the sale posted a strong $27.2m total with very good showings for particular works.
The biggest runner was this Willem Drost painting, Flora, which was estimated at $400-600k and sold for $4.625m. A re-discovered Rubens and Adam de Coster’s A Young Woman Holding a Distaff Before a Lit Candle (which was marketed with a bizarre video showing tableau vivant recreation of the painting) also sold for multiples of the estimate range at or about $5m.Continue Reading
Sotheby’s has discovered another fake from the same source as the Frans Hals. This is one is a painting of St. Jerome attributed to ‘Circle of Parmigianino’ and was sold in January of 2012 but now has been deemed a fake due to the presence of a modern pigment throughout the work.
Bendor Grosvenor has Sotheby’s statement:Continue Reading
Johnny Van Haeften is closing up shop and becoming a consultant and private dealer. The move has been caused by the sale of the building that houses his gallery to a younger gallerist but Van Haeften sees it as time to cede the field to a new generation of buyers and sellers:Continue Reading
When it was first announced in The New York Times with an impressive level of public relations skill by French auction house Tajan, that a country doctor had walked in with some Old Master drawings that happened to contain a sketch of St. Sebastian by Leonardo da Vinci that convinced some prominent experts, it seemed only a matter of time until the French government stepped in to bigfoot the artefact. Indeed, the big splash may have been targeted toward provoking the French state to act.
Now, according to The Art Newspaper, a temporary export ban has been placed on the work which gives the government some time to figure out its next move. Something similar happened recently with a pair of Rembrandt portraits sold by the Rothschild family:Continue Reading