Highlights of London Art Week

London Art Week

Agnew’s – Portraiture through the Ages – Comprising a selection of rarely-seen portraits, and featuring a painting by John Singer Sargent of Don Balthasar Carlos on Horseback, after Velázquez (in the Prado Museum, Madrid). Charles Beddington Ltd.Venice: Paintings and Drawings of Three Centuries – Hosted at The Fine Art Society, the show will display approximately 30 paintings and drawings by the foremost artists of the city, including Canaletto, Marieschi, Guardi and Carlevarijs. A highlight is Michele Marieschi’s Santa Maria Della Salute, a magnificent view painting which will be on public display for the first time. Katrin Bellinger at ColnaghiFrench Drawings from the 17th to 19th Century – An exhibition of approximately fourteen French drawings, including works by Gillot, Millet and Fragonard. Colnaghi – An exhibition revealing one of the most important rediscoveries in the field of classical British art for decades. The Sayer Family of Richmond, 1781, is an exceptional conversation piece by Johan Zoffany R.A. (1733-1810), the master of the genre, early member of the Royal Academy, and a favoured painter of King George III. Sam FoggReclaiming Antiquity; creation and revival between the Fall of Rome and the Renaissance – An exhibition taking as its focus high quality examples of Cosmati-work and Opus Sectile decorative stonework, made between the 11th and 13th centuries reusing ancient Roman, Egyptian, and Greek marbles, porphyries, and other luxurious stones. Oliver Forge and Brendan LynchFragments: From the Tiber to the Ganges – Including an Egyptian fragment from a relief carved with a priest and three hieroglyphic symbols dating from the Middle Kingdom, 11th Dynasty, 2125-1985 B.C. Richard Green Fine PaintingsPaintings from Georgian Britain; A Golden Age – Presenting portraiture, landscapes and marine painting, including Nathaniel Dance’s stylish Neoclassical portrait of Mary Brummell, mother of sartorial trend-setter Beau Brummell. Martyn Gregory – An exhibition of 18th and 19th century British watercolours and drawings, including works by Peter De Wint, Thomas Gainsborough, Thomas Rowlandson, John Varley, and James Ward. Johnny van Haeften GalleryOn Copper – An exhibition of approximately a dozen paintings from the 17th and early 18th century, all painted on copper panels. Including works by Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder, Jan Breughel the Elder, Jan van Kessel and Paul Bril. Martin Hirschboeck – Exhibition includes a drawing by Cesare Magni (active in Milan 1511 – 1534), pupil and successor of Leonardo da Vinci, which has recently been confirmed as the only known drawing to be firmly attributed to the artist. An exciting discovery, it is a preparatory drawing for the artist’s Madonna and Child with Two Saints in the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana. Galería José de la Mano – Ignacio Pinazo (1849-1916). A Valencian Master of Light – An exhibition of 25 exceptional drawings by the celebrated Spanish artist, shown alongside an important selection of Spanish works on paper of the 16th to 18th centuries. Daniel Katz GalleryFrom the Salon – Featuring a selection of outstanding works that have been exhibited at national Salon exhibitions including the Salon in Paris, the Royal Academy in London and the Venice Biennale. Including the rediscovered Portrait of Armand Gérôme, brother of the artist (1848) by Jean-Léon Gérôme. Lampronti GalleryLights and Shadows: Caravaggism in Europe – Bringing together a carefully selected group of Caravaggesque paintings, spanning the entire development of this vibrant artistic movement that dominated Europe throughout the 17th century. Maison d’ArtSplendours of the Venetian Cinquecento – An exhibition documenting Venice’s Golden Age and the paths taken by Venetian painting from the Classicism of Bellini to the chiaroscuro nocturnes of Bassano, which stand as a prelude to the world of Caravaggio. Philip Mould & Co – Exhibiting at their new gallery at 18-19 Pall Mall, a display of historical portraits as well as fine portrait miniatures in a new portrait miniatures cabinet room, and a group of works in a gallery devoted to Modern British art. Maurizio Nobile – A show of paintings and drawings, including the recently rediscovered Madonna and Child by Simon Vouet (1590-1649), otherwise known as The Madonna Molé. Stephen Ongpin Fine Art – An exhibition of Italian drawings spanning the Early Renaissance to Futurim, from 1500 to 1920, beginning with a drawing by Ridolfo Ghirlandaio (1483-1561) and ending with a pastel by Giacomo Balla (1871-1958). Crispian Riley-Smith Fine Arts Ltd – Showing a group of six drawings by Remigio Cantagallina (c.1582/3 – c.1656), a celebrated Italian draughtsman of the Baroque period. The group comes from a private American collection and shows the varied subject matter that is characteristic of Cantagallina’s oeuvre. Robilant+Voena and Stair Sainty GalleriesNapoleon: Antiquity to Empire – Including approximately fifty paintings, sculptures, furniture, works of art and objects that reference classical models and produce a highly personal imperial iconography inspired by the military and diplomatic achievements of Alexander the Great, Julius Cesar and Justinian. Galerie Sismann – Exhibiting a beautiful, rediscovered marble sculpture of the tragic figure of Lucretia attributed to Philippe Bertrand, artist at the court of Louis XIV. Believed to have been displayed at the Salon de Louvre exhibition in 1704, it has been since been unseen in public. Fondantico Tiziano Sassoli – Bolognese Old Masters – A collection of paintings and drawings including a remarkable discovery; Christ among the doctors, by Giovanni Antonio Burrini (Bologna, 1656 – 1727), an oil painting on copper which was once in the collection of Prince Carl von Bayern. Trinity Fine Art in association with Carlo Orsi and Walter Padovani – A strong selection of sculpture, paintings and drawings, including an extremely rare Doccia Manufactory Putto, unusual for both its larger size and for the fact that it is coloured rather than white, which dates from an early period in the Ginori Factory’s output (circa 1754-55); and A Regatta on the Grand Canal by Michele Marieschi (1710-1744), the only known depiction of a feast or regatta painted by the celebrated Italian artist. Rafael Valls Ltd. and Tomasso Brothers Fine ArtThe Painter’s Menagerie and The Sculptor’s Menagerie – A collaborative exhibition with a range of works hailing from all corners of the globe, and from classical antiquity to the 19th century, from an exotic rhinoceros carved in coloured marble to an early study of a mouse by Jan Brueghel the Younger. Rupert Wace Ancient ArtShapely Forms: Vessels in Antiquity – Consisting of a range of works of art, all with a practical function, the objects in this exhibition represent cultures spanning five millennia and three continents including ancient Egypt, the Near East and classical Greece and Rome. The Weiss Gallery From Merchants to Monarchs: Frans Pourbus the Younger – An exhibition of works by the renowned 17th century court portraitist, and the first time that so many works by the artist been privately assembled and exhibited together in London – only the Medici collection in the Uffizi and Pitti Palaces, with ten, has more. Bonhams – Highlights from the Old Master Paintings Sale (8 July) at their state-of-the-art new saleroom at 101 New Bond Street include two important floral still life pictures by Jan van Kessel the Elder, and a rare drawing by the father of British landscape gardening, Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, which was commissioned by the 4th Duke of Marlborough. Christie’s – Auctions of paintings, drawings and sculpture will take place on 7, 9 and 10 July (see sales calendar here). Highlights include a small group of carefully selected Old Master paintings from The Alfred Beit Foundation which will be sold at auction on 9 July. The group is led by two magnificent works on panel by Sir Peter Paul Rubens; Head of a bearded man and Venus and Jupiter. Sotheby’s – Auctions of paintings, drawings and sculpture will take place on 8 and 9 July (see sales calendar here). Highlights include nine works from the collections of Castle Howard, one of Britain’s greatest and most beautiful country houses. The works span Roman antiquities to Old Master paintings and 17th century Italian furniture.

London Art Week – on now until 10 July

London Art Week, Mayfair

London Art Week (3 to 10 July 2015) is the most important gallery-based celebration of traditional art, highlighting the unrivalled quality, riches and expertise available within the galleries of Mayfair and St. James’s. Bringing together over 40 leading art galleries and three auction houses, the event includes a series of dedicated exhibitions and presents a wealth of paintings, drawings, sculpture, and works of art from antiquity to the 20th century, many of which have been hidden from public view for decades.Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 17.50.58

Johnny van Haeften and Lowell Libson, Senior Committee members of London Art Week: “’London Art Week’ is a key moment of the year which celebrates the resounding importance of the art gallery. It also highlights the position of Mayfair and St. James’s as the global centre of the traditional art market, and the leading destination for expertise. We look forward to welcoming collectors, curators and enthusiasts to this year’s event which will offer the strongest and most diverse selection of art to date.”

A myriad of exciting rediscoveries have been unveiled at London Art Week 2015. Highlights include The Sayer Family of Richmond, 1781, by Johan Zoffany, R.A. (1733-1810), one of the most important rediscoveries in the field of classical British art for decades (Colnaghi); a marble sculpture of Lucretia by Philippe Bertrand (1663-1724), artist at the Court of Louis XIV, which has been unseen since it was exhibited at the Salon de Louvre in 1704 (Galerie Sismann); the only known drawing by Cesare Magni (1511-1534), pupil of Leonardo da Vinci, to be firmly attributed to the artist (Martin Hirschboeck); and Madonna and Child by Simon Vouet (1590-1649), otherwise known as The Madonna Molé, whose existence was known by scholars through an engraving, but whose whereabouts were unknown until now (Maurizio Nobile).

Exhibitions presented for London Art Week 2015 include Portraiture through the Ages (Agnew’s), French Drawings from the 17th to 19th Century (Katrin Bellinger at Colnaghi), Reclaiming Antiquity; creation and revival between the Fall of Rome and the Renaissance (Sam Fogg), Fragments: From the Tiber to the Ganges (Oliver Forge and Brendan Lynch), Paintings from Georgian Britain; A Golden Age (Richard Green Fine Paintings), On Copper (Johnny van Haeften Ltd.), Ignacio Pinazo (1849-1916). A Valencian Master of Light (Galería José de la Mano), From the Salon (Daniel Katz Gallery), The Painter’s Menagerie and The Sculptor’s Menagerie (Rafael Valls Ltd. and Tomasso Brothers Fine Art), Shapely Forms: Vessels in Antiquity (Rupert Wace Ancient Art), and From Merchants to Monarchs: Frans Pourbus the Younger (The Weiss Gallery).

Full details of the event, including a map, are available at www.londonartweek.co.uk

PETER HARRINGTON: New Rare Books & Manuscripts Catalogue

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Peter Harrington, the UK’s largest rare book seller and one of the leading rare book sellers in the world, are well known for the range and quality of the first edition and rare books they sell. This new catalogue illustrates that range and as Pom Harrington says “This is a selection of our absolute finest books and manuscripts which will interest institutions, serious book collectors as well as those who enjoy collecting for their own enjoyment.”

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Highlights of this catalogue include:

  • An album of 29 original pre-publication drawings and a first edition copy of Bleak House by Charles Dickens (£95,000);
  • A presentation copy of The Posthumous Paper of the Pickwick Club by Charles Dickens which is inscribed by Dickens to the editor of the New York Evening Post and was given to him on Dickens’ arrival in America in 1842 (£75,000);​
  • Jane Austen’s signature which was originally attached to a fragment of a letter about dining at Chawton Great House along with a steel engraved portrait of her (£32,500);
  • A first edition, presentation copy of Tales of Space and Time which is inscribed “Henry James from HG. Wells” with another comic drawing this time of a club-wielding cave man (£27,500).
  • A first edition of Rumour at Nightfall by Graham Greene which is in its original dust jacket and as Pom Harrington says is “ one of the great rarities in the Greene canon” (£45,000);
  • An attractive, first edition copy of Robert Burns Poems inscribed “To William Wordsworth Esqre. With the sincere respect & affection of Elizabeth Hume” who was an admirer (£45,000).
    • A copy of the rare Third Folio of Comedies, Histories & Tragedies by William Shakespeare which is regarded as the rarest of the 17th century folio editions (£325,000);
    • A signed, limited edition copy of An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde printed on Dutch handmade paper (£15,000).

Brown’s London Art Weekend

BLAW, British, Modern

Small art galleries sometimes seem impossible to find. You get to the right street, but there’s no sign of any gallery and everything looks shut. British streets delight in having no obvious building numbers so there’s often no easy way to find the understated brass plaque or small bell label that you are looking for. In such situations an event such as Brown’s London Art Weekend is invaluable. Not only have many galleries put on special exhibitions, but they have all hung green balloons outside their premises. So even if they are on the fifth floor of a virtually unmarked building, you can easily find them! Three big cheers for #BLAW2015.

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Click the image for more photos

The Art Weekend takes place in Mayfair and St James’s. The Flaneur carefully examined the map of the participating galleries and planned a route around those that looked most interesting. That is not the way to do it. Some private art galleries take the Italian approach to opening hours. Just because they have signed up to an Art Weekend doesn’t seem to mean that they will actually be open all of that Art Weekend. Still we could peer through the windows, and anyway there were so many galleries taking part (the map shows 113) that even if a few were closed there was always a nearby alternative.

Brown’s Art Weekend also includes events and tours, such as a viewing of the Bonham’s building with the architect or talks on Henry Moore or contemporary art in Russia. The Flaneur attended an informative talk on Venetian painting at the Fine Art Society, given by Canaletto expert Charles Beddington and full of background information on Canaletto’s career and that of his competitors. We also heard some of Kate Bryan’s practical advice in her talk ‘How to buy Contemporary Art’ at BLAW central, Brown’s Hotel.

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Charles Beddington talking about Venetian painting.

The Burlington Gardens Festival was one of the big draws of the weekend, with the street behind the Royal Academy shut to cars and people lounging on beanbags on the tarmac, sipping Pimms and listening to live music. There was also a life drawing class (with a clothed model, this is England) and a screen-printing workshop, along with other art events throughout the Saturday. Some of the goings-on were artily nonsensical (a couple of women on stilts didn’t really ‘encourage a fresh look at the statutes…on the façade of the building’ as claimed in the brochure, but in the sun there was a fun atmosphere and art was brought to a new audience of passersby and tourists.

Most interesting art of the day? Contemporary artists Jonathan Armistead and Felipe Castelblanco put together a popular absurd urban golf course in a rarely seen passage between Piccadilly and Burlington Gardens, but it was the Matthew Smith exhibition at Browse and Darby that won the day, showcasing a great British colourist whose work is still vibrant and affirming.

Verdict – a great success. Proves you don’t have to be in East London to have an exciting art scene.

More details

A Fine Art Perambulation through Mayfair

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To Mayfair for an Art Perambulation. Darkest February but not so cold that just going outside is an achievement – although we were wearing hats and gloves as we set off from Oxford Circus with the New Exhibitions brochure in hand. This is mostly very informative, but uses such big dots to mark the galleries that it is sometimes hard to tell which streets they are on. However they are nothing compared to the whoppers we’ve used on the map below.

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Being an indication of the route taken during the Art Perambulation

These refer – going north to south – to the following galleries – Whitfield, Ronchini, Vigo, New Criteria, Halcyon, Alan Cristea, Waddington Custot and Flowers. Although, just to confuse matters, that’s not the order in which we visited them.

Arriving at the south end of Dering Street we first entered Vigo Gallery where Biggs and Collings were showing Living Creature. These two collaborative artists are grounded in art history – the Collings side of things being Matthew Collings, art critic and TV presenter. Their images are large-scale, juxtapositions of small triangles of colour and texture and it is no surprise that Biggs is a mosaic artist. They have a formula and stick to it, their interest in colour, pattern and repetition filling the gallery with expressively rendered opArt. Within each image there is a symmetry but the hang deliberately works against this. One wall was big enough for two images, but only had one, lopsidedly towards one side of the wall. If Biggs and Collings’ reputation continues to grow I recommend investing in masking tape companies – it looks as though their technique uses a lot of it.

Onward to the Ronchini Gallery, just one shop further up Dering Street. Here the walls are heavy with the object-paintings of Italian artist Paolo Scheggi. Influenced by Fontana, Scheggi’s work have a monumentality and solidity, usually featuring several layers of canvas, each cut with geometric shapes to reveal those below. Monochromatic, one small piece is unusually displayed in the centre of the wall text about the artist and his short life.

Almost next door again are the first floor galleries of Whitfield Fine Art, specialists in Old Master paintings. Their current show was Italian Landscapes from Barocci to Poussin and was a small museum of works from – you may have guessed from the name – Barocci to Poussin. Barocci’s Christ expiring on the Cross was a highlight with its detailed recreation of the Urbino Palazzo Ducale in the background. Historically and geographically inaccurate of course, for even on the clearest of days you’d need very good eyesight to see from Golgotha to even Southern Italy, but Barocci has made it clear to the locals that Christ died for them, even if they were Ghibellines.

New Bond Street beckoned. I wanted to see the Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art exhibition, but on the way we stopped at Other Criteria, Damien Hirst’s boutique art shop. Amongst the butterfly paintings named after world cathedrals a Harland Miller silkscreen jumped out – a Penguin Plays edition claiming the title I am the one I’ve been waiting for. Are you really, Harland? Other Criteria gets full marks for having helpful assistants, but we spent too long looking at the work and were too late for the Sotheby’s show just down the road. Instead we visited the Halcyon gallery at No.29 where Andy Warhol’s print of shoes sparkling with diamond dust compared with Hirst’s diamond encrusted skull we’d seen images of earlier. There’s little new – it’s just laid on thicker. With Bob Dylan images and Warhol-and-lover illustrated doggerel it was a popular show with more people in the gallery than any of those we’d previously visited.

Alan Cristea on the corner of Cork Street was showing a selection of works from big names, including Sol Le Witts with strong diagonals that complemented the Biggs and Collings works at the Vigo. Julian Opie horses and Martin Craig-Martin light boxes demonstrated the fashion for harsh, linear images but it was the soft photogravures of Christine Baumgarten that stood out.

Photographer Michael Wolf’s show at Flowers was the highlight of the whole art perambulation. From his series Architecture of Density the large-scale images again reveal patterns and repetition – here in the horrendously high-rise, high-density buildings of Hong Kong. Patterns and repetition aren’t all that artists are interested in though, as was proved at the final stop of the day, Waddington Custot. Here was the familiar Robert Indiana LOVE sculpture, as seen in JFK Plaza, Philadelphia. It might be much parodied but the original is still worth seeing to experience its youthful enthusiasm.

And so to bed. Or rather, to Oxford Circus.