Exhibition “Courtauld Collection. A look at impressionism “opened in the Louis Vuitton Foundation


For the first time in 60 years, masterpieces of French impressionists and post-impressionists, including works by Manet, van Gogh and Cezanne, returned from Great Britain to France

 Vincent van Gogh. “Self-portrait with a bandaged ear.” 1889. Photo: Courtauld Institute of Art, London

The Louis Vuitton Foundation presents a series of exhibitions that showcase the masterpieces of impressionists and post-impressionists created in France, which were deposited in foreign collections many decades ago. At the exhibition “Courtauld Collection. A look at impressionism is shown by about 100 paintings and graphic works from the collection of British textile industrialist Samuel Curto (1876–1947). Among them are the Bar at Folies Bergere by Edward Manet, Paul Cézanne’s Card Players and Vincent van Gogh’s Self-Portrait with a Bandaged Ear.

Courtauld, a descendant of the French Huguenots who settled in London in the 17th century, was ahead of his time, starting to collect works by artists such as van Gogh, Gauguin, Manet, Renoir and Cezanne. Already in the 1920s, Courtauld, who had grown rich in the production of viscose, could afford, as the director of the Gallery Courtauld Ernst Vegelin says, was the best and was a regular customer of Parisian dealers.
 Pierre Auguste Renoir. “Boat skiff.” 1875. Photo: National Gallery, London

In addition, Courtauld established a special fund for the acquisition of the art of impressionism and post-impressionism in the UK state collections. The London National Gallery presented a number of such works to the exhibition at the Louis Vuitton Foundation, including a canvas “Wheatfield with Cypress” (1889) by van Gogh, which in its time was the first painting of the artist to be included in the collection of the British Museum.

In 1923, Courtauld founded the country’s first center for the study of the history of art – the Courtauld  Institute of Art and donated his collection and mansion to him in Portman Square, London. Since 1989, the Institute and the Courtauld Gallery have been located in the Somerset House mansion, which has now been put up for renovation worth £ 30 million.

 Edouard Manet Bar in Foley Bergère, 1882. Photo: The Courtauld Gallery

Fantasies Lekeu finally found their art lovers


The first exhibition, entirely devoted to Jean-Jacques Leke and his fantasy architecture on paper, takes place in Paris Petit Palais

 Jean-Jacques Lekeu. “He’s free”. 1798. Photo: Bibliothèque Nationale de France

Little is known about Jean-Jacques Lekeu (1757–1826). Born in Rouen, in the family of the joiner. He worked with a local architect, studied drawing and was very good at it. He visited Rome and received two awards and then a scholarship of the local Academy of Arts, in 1778 he left to conquer Paris, where he was presented to everyone as “the architect of the Academy of Sciences, Literature and Arts of Rouen”. But in the capital, an ambitious provincial as a practicing architect did not materialize. And the little that he managed to build in the vicinity of his native Rouen, has not survived.

For life, Leke had to earn something as an employee in the cadastral chamber, then a construction officer, then a surveyor and cartographer. And all his free time he tirelessly painted, creating fantasy architecture that had become fashionable then on paper. He probably did it, hoping to achieve success here after the masters Claude Nicola Ledoux and Etienne Louis Bulle, the main trendsetters in this genre, who were also called “speaking architecture”, since the design of the project had to match its purpose.

 Jean-Jacques Lekeu. “The temple dedicated to equality.” Photo: Bibliothèque Nationale de France

But here too Leko suffered a failure. Even for connoisseurs of the genre, his architectural fantasies, like a monument to Priapus, resembling a phallus, a farm in the form of a giant cow, mixing different styles and disregard of proportions, seemed extravagant and tasteless.

Lekeu died in poverty and obscurity, bequeathing before his death all his works to the Paris National Library. Only modernists remembered him in the first half of the 20th century. Especially he liked the surrealists and Marcel Duchamp, who was a big fan of Leke. The current exhibition is the first, entirely dedicated to Jean-Jacques Leke. Gathered several hundred drawings and engravings of the architect-visionary, she sets as her goal to completely rehabilitate him, even after almost two centuries after his death, putting him on the same line with Ledoux and Bulle.

Petit Pale
Jean-Jacques Lekeux
Until March 31

The art collection of George Michael goes under the hammer.


In March, at Christie’s auction will be sold to a collection of works of art owned by George Michael. The initial cost of work varies from $ 600 to 2 million dollars.

As CNN reports, fans will suddenly have a British singer, George Michael, who died on Christmas 2016, a unique opportunity to purchase items from the magnificent collection of works of art that belonged to the singer.

George Michael was one of the main people who supported British artists, including Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst.

During his life, Michael, who became famous in the 1980s as a member of the group Wham!, Had amassed an impressive and valuable collection of works of art.

After his death at the age of 53, caused by natural causes, the British press revealed many stories about how George Michael helped numerous charitable organizations.

Auction house Christie’s confirmed that all funds from the sale of the collection will be directed to charity.

“We are pleased to organize such a large auction, which will allow it to continue its charitable activities. George Michael was a genius in the music industry, and viewing more than 200 works of art from his private collection will help understand the breadth of human tastes that have been admired throughout the world, ”shared a global director of the auction house Jussi Pilkanen.

Before the auction, the collection will first be shown in New York, then in Los Angeles, then it will go to Hong Kong and Shanghai, a week before the sale it will be exhibited in London. 75 pieces of art will be sold at live auction, and another 130 will be sold online. One of the highlights of the collection is the Inconvenient Truth of Damien Hirst. For her expect to gain up to $ 2 million


The collection of the British Museum was complemented by Benxi’s work.


This is the first time that one of Benxi’s works came into the collection of the great London museum. This work was a Di-faced Tenner print depicting a fake ten-pound banknote, in which the princess Diana Welsh is portrayed instead of the queen.

This work was created in 2004 for the action, during which thousands of such bills were scattered at the carnival in Notting Hill and the Reading Festival. In the movie “Out of Souvenir Store” (2010), Benxi said he had made these bills for a conditional £ 1 million and distributed some of them at the festival, but stopped the action after people began to try to pay them at the bar: “It looked like on the fact that we have forged one million pounds and, obviously, we can get into jail for 10 years, “the author said.

The work was transferred to the museum by an organization that is engaged in the authentication of the artist’s work – Pest Control.

“Master of Mystery” Fernand Knopf remembers in Petit-Pal


At the first retrospective of the famous Belgian Symbolist Fernand Knopp, in 40 years, about a hundred of his works were collected in various techniques and genres.

 Fernand Knopf. “Art, or the Tenderness of the Sphinx.” 1896. Photo: J. Geleyns Art Photography

Here, everything that Knopf became famous for is the mysterious desert views of his native Bruges, women’s and children’s portraits, nymphs, sphinxes and chimeras. Paris, by the way, played a decisive role in the formation of a young artist, a graduate of the Brussels Academy of Arts. On his first visit to Paris, Knopf discovered the paintings of Delacroix and Ingres, and when he returned to the World Exhibition in 1877, the Pre-Raphaelites had a great influence on his style. In 1900, Knopf, who lived a hermit, set up a workshop for himself, the design of which was inspired by the aesthetics of the Viennese Secession. The workshop has not been preserved, but at the exhibition, you can see its reconstruction and plunge into the atmosphere in which fascinating visions of the Belgian symbolist were born.

Petit Pale
Fernand Knopf. Master of Mystery
Until March 17

Women’s triumph at Sotheby’s


During a series of auctions of old masters and art of the XIX century, Sotheby’s in New York set seven price records for artists

 Angelika Kaufman. “Portrait of Three Children, Presumably Lady Spencer.” Sold for $ 915 thousand. Photo: Sotheby’s

The main theme of the auction of classic art at Sotheby’s in New York, which together brought the auction house $ 99.8 million, was a selection of works by artists. A small exhibition titled “The Triumph of a Woman” was deployed as part of a pre-auction exhibition in the halls of Sotheby’s New York headquarters. Collectors were presented with paintings, drawings and sculptures of artists of the XVI-XIX centuries, in particular, Elizabeth Vigee Lebrun, Fede Galicia, Elizabeth Gardner Bouguereau, Artemisia Gentileschi, Angelika Kaufman and others.

 Virginie Demon-Breton. “The wife of a fisherman who has just bathed her children.” 1881. Sold for $ 543 thousand. Photo: Sotheby’s

In recent years, there has been a constant interest of researchers in the topic of artists, who gradually emerge from the shadow thanks to the achievements of feminism and the general popularity of gender studies in all fields of knowledge. Academic interest is almost always sooner or later reflected in the art market – obviously, this is what Sotheby’s relied on, and did not lose. During the evening and day auctions of old masters, as well as the auction of nineteenth-century art, held from January 30 to February 1, seven price records were set for women.

 Fede Galicia. “Glass vase with peaches, jasmine flowers, quince and grasshopper.” Sold for $ 2.4 million. Photo: Sotheby’s

The most expensive was the “Portrait of Mohammed Dervish Khan”, written in 1788 by the French woman Elizabeth Vigee Lebrun. The work of the famous secular portrait painter and favorite artist Queen Marie-Antoinette was sold for $ 7.2 million. The price of a rare still life with fruit by an Italian artist of the beginning of the XVII century Feda Galicia turned out to be impressive too. Lively auction for a children’s portrait (supposedly depicting three offspring of the aristocratic Spencer family) brushes by German artist Angelika Kaufman stopped shortly before the $ 1 million marks, the final price was $ 915 thousand. Other records were set for works of nineteenth-century artists American women Elizabeth Gardner-Bouguereau ($ 591,000) and representatives of French realism Virginie Demon-Breton ($ 543,000), as well as Italian painter of the 18th century Julia Lama ($ 495,000) and Swiss genres of the early 19th century Amil-Ursula Gilbo ($ 16, 3 thousand).

 Elizabeth Vige-Lebrun. “Portrait of Mohammed Dervish Khan.” 1788. Sold for $ 7.18 million. Photo: Sotheby’s

The marketing campaign for the Sotheby’s trading series not only drew attention to the phenomenon of female art, but also brought back to the attention of collectors and dealers a few forgotten names, such as Gilbo or Gardner Bouguereau. Other names from this collection, by contrast, were well known before. Thus, the still lifes of Fede Galicia were successfully sold at auctions before and easily went for millions of dollars. Here you can recall another artist from the Pleiad of old masters – Artemisia Gentileschi, incredibly in demand in the market, the famous “Judith” from the Neapolitan Museum of Capodimonte. Sotheby’s this time put up for auction in New York her canvas “Saint Sebastian and Saint Irina”, which went for $ 615 thousand, modest for Gentileschi, while the current price record for the artist is € 2.4 million.

As for women in modern art, their works, fortunately, go for millions even during the lifetime of the authors.

Advertising Albrecht Durer.


The curator of Albertina suggested that Durer wrote Hands of a Praying Man to attract customers. It was always believed that the famous drawing was a preliminary sketch to the figure of the apostle in the altar Heller.

 Albrecht Dürer. “Hands praying.” Around 1508. Photo: Courtesy of the Albertina, Vienna / Google Art Project

The famous “Praying Hands” by Albrecht Dürer is not at all a sketch for the central part of the altar of Heller, as it was considered to be for several centuries, but an independent work, a kind of advertisement of the master. This revolutionary hypothesis put forward by Christoph Metzger, the main curator of the Vienna Albertina, will be the subject of a major retrospective of the artist, which will open in the museum at the end of the year (Albrecht Dürer, September 20, 2019 – January 6, 2020).

Metzger argues that the drawing, made with a brush in a gray tone and whitewash on blue primed paper, depicts the hands of the artist himself. If this is true, then a number of interesting questions arise related to the structure and distinctive features of the hands and fingers of the greatest painter of the Northern Renaissance.

“Hands of the Praying One” is one of the most famous drawings in the world, belonging to Dürer’s most reproducible works. According to Metzger, the competition in popularity he can make only the “Vitruvian Man” Leonardo da Vinci. For more than five centuries, reproductions of the Hands of the Praying One, like icons, hang in the homes of millions of people; translated into sculpture, they are sold in church shops.

Since the XIX century, it was believed that this work was a study for the portrait of the apostle in the lower right corner of the central panel of the altar of Heller, completed in 1509. The name of the altar was named after his customer, the Frankfurt merchant. The original died in a fire in 1729, but thanks to the excellent copy made by Jobst Harrich, which is stored in the Städel Museum in Frankfurt, one can imagine how it looked.

Art historians have never doubted that the Hands of the Praying One is not an independent work, but a preparatory sketch for the altar. This opinion was not disputed at two major exhibitions by Durer in 2013: at the Shtedelev Art Institute and at the National Art Gallery in Washington, with Heinz Wiedauer, a colleague of Metzger, who also supervised Albertina wrote the preface to the exhibition catalog.

Metzger also believes that art critics are wrong. Why would Durer make an excellent design, only to then reduce it to the size of a tiny oil-painted altar? “The work is incredibly accurate, realistic, it’s too well done to be just a draft,” he says. “Dürer wrote this masterpiece to show the talent granted by God to his visitors to his workshop.”

According to Metzger, the Hands of the Praying One and several other related drawings were created “to advertise the genius of Dürer”. They were selected to convince potential customers of the highest level of skill, which distinguished the works of the artist. An indirect confirmation of the hypothesis can be well-known facts from the life of Dürer, who sought to emphasize his highly professional status. His signature is a recognizable monogram, similar to a trademark, it can be seen in many paintings and drawings. What was important in the fight against counterfeiters who forged his work.

The curator insists that (and in this he is not alone, many researchers have suggested this) that we have the hands of Dürer himself. “Graceful fingers and hands resemble those depicted in the 1500 artist’s self-portrait in Munich. The little finger of the distant, partly hidden from the viewer’s hand, seems to be slightly crooked, struck by arthritis – a characteristic detail that appears in the artist’s self-portraits, for example, it can be seen in the picture from 1493, which is stored in the New York Metropolitan Museum. ”

Dürer probably posed for himself, just slightly waving his hands, although it is possible (but less likely) that he wrote them in mirror image. If this is so, then it is impossible to say unequivocally on which hand the little finger was crooked – most likely, on the right. Since the sore finger is clearly distinguishable in the figure, made in 1493, when the artist was not more than 22 years old, it can be assumed that he probably suffered from this ailment from an early age.

In the absence of facts, we can only speculate, but if such a feature really distinguished one of the master’s fingers, this only adds to the honor of the greatest Northern Europe draftsman: he managed to work, despite the defect of his little finger. At first, Durer’s father wanted his son to follow in his footsteps, to become a jeweler, but this craft, as is known, requires developed fine motor skills, which the young man apparently did not have. But he could draw with a crooked finger.

Because of its fragility, the original Praying Hands rarely appears in public. The last time the work was published five years ago at an exhibition in Washington, and soon visitors to the forthcoming major exhibition of Dürer in Albertine will finally be able to see it.

Banksy painted a picture of the door in Paris: she was cut and kidnapped.


The picture painted by the British street artist Benxi on the door of the Bataclan concert hall in Paris was stolen, the BBC wrote.

The theft took place on the night of Friday, January 25th. According to the investigation, the criminals became a “group of people in hoods with angle grinder” who escaped the truck.

The work depicts a young woman with a sad expression in her face. It is written as a memory of victims of a terrorist attack in the city. Then, in November 2015, 90 people were killed when armed militants attacked the hall during a rock concert.

Source: https://ukraineartnews.com/news/news/benksi-namaljuvav-kartinu-na-dverjah-u-parizhi-jiji-virizali-i-vikrali

Old money and new tastes


The BRAFA fair opened in Brussels for the 64th time. She manages to stay the same European and be relevant.

The BRAFA Art Fair presents this year 133 galleries from 16 countries. The fair is held for the 64th time. Being so old is a heavy burden. It is difficult to imagine how many crises, political changes, closures of antique galleries and the death of collector dynasties she experienced. Now it is a large and high-quality fair of mostly old art and antiques. BRAFA President Harold T’Kint de Rodenbeck calls the concept of the event a “verified combination of tradition and innovation” – and it still seems that BRAFA entered the five heavyweights of the old art market as if by accident, effortlessly. Here, no one is fighting for the participation of large jewelry brands, which, as they say, for example, in Paris, should attract additional buyers to the art fair, in particular from Asia.
Comparisons with Paris can not be avoided: La Biennale Paris (Paris Biennale, the former Biennale of Antiquaries), which now takes place annually in September, is the main competitor of the Belgian BRAFA. But the Brussels Fair found its own way, turning all possible disadvantages into advantages. It remained internal, European (as British blood galleries and buyers are waiting for as fresh blood) – now it promises a feeling of comfort and reasonable prices. Items of African art, the center of commerce of which has been located in Brussels for at least a century, are presented here as jewels and with reverence – but without the drama that surrounds them in France, the president of which has already promised to return all African art to its homeland. There is no noticeable pursuit of artistic fashion (when works from high-profile exhibitions are sent straight for sale). In Belgium now are the years of the old Flemish masters, the center of attention (like the last four centuries) are the artists of the Bruegel family, and at the fair, the works of masters from this dynasty cost more than a million euros. But not because the terms open exhibitions in honor of the great Flemish, but because these artists are considered a national treasure. As the work of the surrealists (“Balcony” by Paul Delvaux in the gallery Stern Pissarro is estimated at no less than € 3 million). Or comics – and not only Erzhe, the “father” of Tintin, but also the artists of the next generation. For example, Philip Gelyuk, whose character the Cat is no stranger to art. In the Huberty & Breyne gallery, a parked object of Banksy with a cut picture is sold: a picture with the Cat and the words “Is art becoming too commercial?” After pressing the button slides down, splits into ribbons, and then returns unscathed. The work is sold for € 60 thousand (together with remote control and a technical guarantee), there is a less expensive version – 40 copies of € 2.9 thousand each.
Among the most expensive items at the fair is Frida Kahlo’s plaster corset with a sickle, a hammer and an unborn baby (€ 2 million, Gallery Sofie Van de Velde); its owner, an American Belgian, is still going to show off, choosing a worthy successor.

Interestingly, the BRAFA galleries of different specializations are intermingled with each other, and not divided into blocks of “old masters”, “modernism”, “furniture and design” and so on, as for example at the Netherlands TEFAF. At the same time, most of the galleries and on their stand show a mixture of old and modern art (although there are, of course, exceptions). A lot of objects and sculptures: Diego Giacometti’s table with frogs costs € 490 thousand (Mathivet gallery), Damien Hirst’s small canvas, which only two colored circles climbed on, € 165 thousand (von Vertes gallery), ancient Egyptian scarabs and antique vessels from Phoenix – from € 10 thousand to € 25 thousand. Obviously popular is the direction of armchair rarities, allowing you to combine everything with everything and collect not large and not particularly expensive, but unique items.
An important component of the Belgian art market has always been African art. For example, the figures of the voodoo altar (Benin, the first half of the twentieth century, gallery Serge Schoffel) look really very scary, as are the masks designed for rituals. But offered and household items. Thus, a whole collection of wooden combs for hair, decorated with fine carvings, exhibited at Didier Claes (Didier Claes gallery), they are estimated at € 5-30 thousand. Red buying points appeared near some of them in the first minutes of the opening day for collectors.
The main decoration of this exhibition, which traditionally flows into dinner right among the fair stands, was a duet of British artists Gilbert and George, special guests of BRAFA. The alleys between the stands are decorated with huge works of artists from the fresh series “The Bearded Pictures”, while Gilbert and George themselves, famous for their performances, defiled around the fair, dressed in true English costumes. In the Bernier / Eliades gallery, the work of the famous couple can be bought – large photo collages of 2013 cost € 137,000.
The fair is open to the public from January 26 to February 3.

Painting by Georgian artist Niko Pirosmani set a price record at an auction in London


At the Sotheby’s auction in London, the picture of Georgian artist Niko Pirosmani, one of the brightest representatives of the naive art of Eastern Europe, set a price record by withdrawing from the trades to the new owner for 2.2 million euros ($ 2.84 million), exceeding the estimate in three times.

The painting is called “Georgian in the cure”, (Lechak – a detail of a Georgian female headgear: triangular white veil), was acquired in 1928 by an Austrian writer Stefan Zweig. The work decorated his house in Salzburg until emigration to Brazil in 1934. In 1981, the work was presented to the Reed Library in New York, where it was decorated with the Zwinger Hall until it was sent to the auction.

The previous record on the Pirosmani picture was set at the MacDougall’s auction in June 2010 – “Arsenal Mountain at Night” was sold for £ 1,775,369.

Source: https://ukraineartnews.com/news/auction/kartina-gruzinskogo-hudozhnika-niko-pirosmani-vstanovila-tsinovij-rekord-na-auktsioni-v-londoni