“Long winter for Old Masters” headlined the Financial Times’ Collecting section this past weekend, referring to the bad performances of London Old Master auctions the previous week. Although Georgina Adam is right in making this statement, what isn’t mentioned is the serious lack of good quality paintings on offer, the ridiculously high estimates given by auction house experts, and a headline lot failing to sell because of authenticity concerns.
It is quite something to be able to celebrate five decades of work by a living artist, but that is exactly what the Lisson Gallery will be doing at Frieze Masters with a solo booth showcasing brightly colored, minimalist paintings of Carmen Herrera who is 100 years old this year.
After a calm August, the art world frenzy is starting to pick up and this week's auction at Nye & Co in New Jersey caused great excitement among the Old Master dealers. This small work on board catalogued as Continental School, 19th century with an estimate of $500-800 sold for $870,000 believed to be a lost-panel by a teenage Rembrandt.
London has two great Old Master exhibitions closing this week, the Moroni exhibition at the Royal Academy and the Rembrandt late works at the National Gallery. With Moroni we have the great portraitist of the Renaissance anticipating the realistic style of Caravaggio and later Manet; and Rembrandt, the undisputed star of the 17th century Dutch art scene.
Look at this pair of Casta paintings (see below for info on Castas) that fetched $641,000 at Sotheby's Latin Art Modern & Contemporary Sale! They were estimated at $80,000-120,000, which was very modest but to reach this level is really remarkable.
This portrait of a man by Jean-Baptiste Greuze fetched 620,000 Euro at auction this week - what an incredible price for a work by this French romantic painter of the 18th century. The auction house Rieunier & Associes in Paris put an estimate of 120,000 - 150,000 Euro.
While in Maastricht for TEFAF, we took a day trip to the historical Belgian town of Leuven and blown away by the architecture we saw there. The university library, which was destroyed in August 1914 and restored in Flemish Renaissance style by the Americans as a gift to the city, the town hall and the St.Peter's Church are all amazingly impressive.