Top Art Stories, May 29th 2014. Chelsea galleries are moving uptown, Rijksmuseum pays tribute to Vermeer’s forger and other important news you need to know about the art world this week in Top Art Stories on galleryIntell!
A Rembrandt (possibly) rediscovered at the National Gallery London
The world’s leading expert on Rembrandt might have just rediscovered an important work by the master inside The National Gallery‘s storage. Old man in an Armchair could have been misattributed to a follower of Rembrandt decades ago and is now being reexamined by Professor Van de Wetering who has determined that the work does not only belong to the hand of Rembrandt himself, but is also a pivotal work for the artist. The subject of an old man in contemplation is a common theme in Rembrandt’s work, but according to Van de Wetering the work is not simply a portrait but is one of a number of Rembrandt’s “paintings about painting” where a sitter is posing to be studied. The work was acquired in 1957 as a work by Rembrandt, praised as a wonderful example of his work of the 1650s, but was later recognized by the gallery as the work by a contemporary follower. Source: The Guardian
Read about The Polish Rider by Rembrandt van Rijn
Old Masters fall far behind Contemporary art
Post-War and Contemporary auctions in New York brought a combined $1,6 billion for Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips – the highest total for any series of auctions in any category in history. Indeed, wealthy collectors are ready to spend phenomenal amounts of money on instantly recognizable art by contemporary “brand name” artists (you all know who they are), while sales in the Old Masters segment, which besides a thick valet also requires some degree of connoisseurship (and… sophistication?), keep diminishing. There is certainly a problem with supply, attribution and financial upside of Old Master works, which used to be the main source of income for Christie’s and Sotheby’s up until the 1980s. But the market for them is simply not hip at the moment and the prices for historic works are shockingly low in comparison to contemporary art. The upcoming auctions of Old Masters at Sotheby’s, London will feature two 15th-century tempera-on-linen drapery studies, originally attributed to young Leonardo da Vinci, with low estimates of $1.5 and $2.5 million each. Now compare it to the record $1.8 million paid at Phillips in May for a 2011 study of drapery by a young sought-after American artist Tauba Auerbach. Five hundred years vs. three years. Does history mean anything at all in the art market today? Source: The New York Times
Remaining art works donated by Paul Mellon arrive at the National Gallery
The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. announced last Thursday that it has received the remaining 62 works left by Paul Mellon, one of the gallery’s major benefactors and the son of its founder Andrew Mellon, after his death in 1999. According to his will, the paintings including works by Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, Winslow Homer, Georges Seurat had been left in care of his wife who passed away in March. It should be noted that American museums were built entirely with private patronage and donations from such donors as Mellon. But the system also allows for donors to set the rules regarding their donations that museums can’t bypass in any way. The donors’ wishes are a sacred writ and, for example, can oblige institutions to display art in a way that the original benefactor placed it, or forbid the loan of donated works to other institutions. Source: The Washington Post
Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam acquires the death mask of the 20th century most famous forger
Rijksmuseum has recently made an unexpected purchase – the death mask of Van Meegeren, the 20th century most famous forger who produced and successfully sold early works by the Dutch master Johannes Vermeer. Although Van Meegeren wasn’t quite able to duplicate Vermeer’s exceptional manner and mastered brushwork (not to mention that only 35 works are known by the master) Van Meegeren was able to convince the most prominent museums (including Rijksmuseum) and collectors that his works were the missing link in Vermeer’s oeuvre and made millions selling the fakes. The death mask will complement the museum’s collection of documents and other memorabilia related to the scandalous forgery case and, according to Wim Pijbes, the director of Rijksmuseum, will serve as a reminder that even the best museums can be fooled. Source: The Independent
Is Upper East Side going to be the new Chelsea?
With every generation contemporary art galleries in New York have been moving from one neighborhood to another. With 300 galleries and some of the most influential art dealers in the world, Chelsea is today’s epicenter of the New York’s contemporary art scene, but for how long? With blooming tourist-filled High Line park, which is certainly contributing to rising rent prices, Chelsea is becoming less and less affordable. Many of the Chelsea galleries already started relocating to the Lower East Side, occupied only by younger dealers, several years ago. But the Lower East Side is now getting expensive too, and many dealers representing edgy, emerging artists are now looking Uptown (one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the country, by the way), closer to the more conservative art galleries and well-heeled collectors. The dealers are also enticed by a lack of “white box” architecture and are being drawn to more quirky townhouses, as opposed to Chelsea’s warehouses and former factory buildings. Source: The Wall Street Journal
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