Thursday, November 30, 2017

Marks of Genius: 100 Extraordinary Drawings from the Minneapolis Institute of Art

Joslyn Art Museum Omaha, Nebraska
October 7 through January 7, 2018
Whether quick sketches or highly finished works, drawings reveal artists' creative impulses and their artistic process, providing viewers a window into the way ideas are transformed into images, and how artists navigate composition and design. Marks of Genius: 100 Extraordinary Drawings from the Minneapolis Institute of Art presents a selection of exceptional and rarely seen works from the museum’s superb collection of over 2,600 drawings. 

Ranging from the fifteenth century to the present day, the exhibition features pen and ink studies, chalk drawings, watercolors, and pastels that explore a wide range of subject matter, including depictions from nature, portraits, mythological scenes, and landscapes. The exhibition also features a selection of works from Joslyn’s permanent collection. Marks of Genius opened to the public at Joslyn Art Museum on Saturday, October 7, and continues through January 7, 2018. 

In Marks of Genius,masterworks by such artists as Annibale Carracci, Guercino, Eugène Delacroix, Edgar Degas, Gustav Klimt, Henri Matisse, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, and Andy Warhol illustrate the manifold role of drawings as a means of study, observation, and personal expression, bringing to life the intimacy and immediacy of the artist’s hand. 

Marks of Genius is organized around several themes that embody key aspects of drawing, including the three highlighted here: 

Artist as Observer features studies from nature, including people, flora, and fauna.

Pierre-Joseph Redouté (Flemish, active France, 1759–1840), Amaryllis lutea, c. 1800–1806, watercolor and graphite onvellum, 18 1/2 x 13 1/4 in., Minneapolis Institute of Art; 

Showcasing Pierre-Joseph Redouté’s extraordinary observational and technical skills to depict scientifically accurate botanical forms, this drawing illustrates the flowers, leaves, stem, bulb and roots of the amaryllis lutea as well asthe plant’s reproductive system. It was later engraved for Redouté’s eight-volume publication of lilies called Les Liliacées (1802–16). 

Abstraction explores how artists approach both representational and non-representational forms through drawing.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (German, 1880–1938), Seated Woman in the Studio, 1909, pastel, brush, and black ink, 35 3/8 x 26 5/8 in., Minneapolis Institute of Art;

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s portrayal of a woman features bold and animated strokes of pastel and black ink to distinguish form. A member of the German progressive art group called Die Brücke (The Bridge), Kirchner found artistic inspiration in the works of Vincent van Gogh, Edvard Munch, and Henri Matisse.   

Storytelling presents drawings that have a narrative theme. 

<p><em>Little Red Riding Hood</em></p> 

Arthur Rackham (British, 1867–1939),Little Red Riding Hood, 1909, pen and ink with watercolor, on illustration board, 11 1/8 x 7 5/8 in., Minneapolis Institute of Art

Arthur Rackham’s intricately detailed drawing of Little Red Riding Hood’s encounter with the wolf was created for the 1909 edition of The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm. Creating a sense of isolation and danger, Rackham contrasted the small, innocent girl with the towering, eerie woods. 

 More images:

<p><em>Standing Girl</em></p>

Egon Schiele, Standing Girl, circa 1908–09, charcoal and tempera, 52 ⅜ x 20 ⅝ in., Minneapolis Institute of Art

Winslow Homer (American, 1836–1910), The Conch Divers,1885, watercolor, blotting, lifting, and scraping, over graphite, 13-13/16 x 20 in., Minneapolis Institute of Art; 
Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri), Hercules, 1641–42, pen and brown ink, 7 ¼ x 6 ¾ in., Minneapolis Institute of Art

<p><em>Judith Beheading Holofernes</em></p>
Ludovico Carracci, Judith Beheading Holofernes, circa 1583–85, pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash, squared in black chalk; laid down, 9 ¼ x 15 ⅜ in., Minneapolis Institute of Art  

Rachel McGarry and Thomas Rassieur, Master Drawings from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (Minneapolis: Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2014), 300 pages, ISBN: 978-0989371841

This lavishly illustrated book presents one hundred significant drawings from the 15th to the 21st century, including new discoveries and works by both celebrated masters and others who deserve to be better known. Among the artists represented are Annibale and Ludovico Carracci, Guido Reni, Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, Antoine Watteau, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Pierre-Paul Prud hon, Thomas Gainsborough, George Romney, Edgar Degas, Henri Matisse, Lovis Corinth, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Käthe Kollwitz, Otto Mueller, Emil Nolde, Egon Schiele, Edward Hopper, John Marin, Grant Wood, Roy Lichtenstein, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, and Edward Ruscha.

Catalogue entries for each drawing include complete documentation, provenance, and bibliography. The text provides important new scholarship and attributions; examines a variety of themes, such as connoisseurship, patronage, materials and techniques, watermarks, and collectors’ stamps; and discusses how a work fits into the artist’s oeuvre or represents larger developments in artistic movements or trends in artistic production

Painting a Nation: Hudson River School Landscapes from the Higdon Collection

Huntsville Museum of Art
October 15, 2017 – January 7, 2018

Polk Museum of Art Lakeland, FL
Mar 10 2018 - May 20 2018

Natives of New York, Ann and Lee Higdon developed an interest in art during their teenage years. They often visited museums and found themselves drawn to paintings of the Hudson River School. After marrying and purchasing a nineteenth-century home overlooking the Hudson, they began to collect paintings of the Hudson River School in the 1980s. For nearly forty years, their interest in this artistic period has endured, resulting in the collection of works on view in this exhibition.

In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, American artists looked to Europe for both aesthetic themes and painterly methods of depicting the world around them. This began to change in the early decades of the nineteenth century as artists adapted European aesthetics to develop a distinctly American landscape narrative. 

The name Hudson River School, originally intended to be disparaging, was coined to identify a group of landscape artists living in New York City, several of whom built homes on the Hudson River. The term has evolved beyond regional expression and is now generally accepted to describe nineteenth-century American landscape painting.

Painting a Nation: Hudson River School Landscapes from the Higdon Collection features significant American artists from the Hudson River School, including Albert Bierstadt, William Bradford, Jasper Francis Cropsey, William Hart, William Trost Richards and many others.

Autumn Afternoon, Greenwood Lake, 1873, by Jasper Francis Cropsey

Autumn Afternoon, Greenwood Lake, 1873, by Jasper Francis Cropsey (American, 1823–1900); oil on canvas; 11 x 19 ½ inches; Courtesy of the Higdon Collection

Lake George, 1857, by John W. Casilear (American, 1811–1893); oil on canvas; 20 x 30 inches 

Autumn Mist, Lake George, NY, by Alfred T. Bricher

David Johnson, Shelving Rocks, Lake George from Hen and Chickens Island

The majority of the works depict scenes of New York State and include paintings of the Hudson River, Lake George and the Adirondack Mountains region. 

Cathedral Rocks, A View of Yosemite, ca. 1872, by Albert Bierstadt

Cathedral Rocks, A View of Yosemite, ca. 1872, by Albert Bierstadt (American, 1830–1902); oil on paper mounted on canvas; 19 x 13 ¾ inches; Courtesy of the Higdon Collection

Often these artists were inspired by stories of exploration, and Sunrise at Grand Manan by William Hart illustrates the dramatic beauty of New Brunswick, Canada’s coastline. The crashing sea is framed by a rocky shoreline as the sun rises over the ocean with its golden hues drawing the viewer’s eye deep into the setting. The viewer is alone and enveloped by the beauty of nature.

Nantucket Shore, 1865, by William Trost Richards

Together, these paintings celebrate the picturesque beauty of our nation and reflect the collective desire of the Hudson River painters to develop a uniquely American visual language, independent of European schools of painting.

Assembled with a discerning eye for quality, the Higdon Collection includes superb examples of Hudson River School paintings, the first native school of painting in the United States.

Charles E. Burchfield: The Ohio Years 1893-1921

Burchfield Penney Art Center at SUNY Buffalo State
 Friday, December 8, 2017–Saturday, March 24, 2018 

Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Winter Solstice, 1920-21; watercolor on paper, 21 1/2 x 35 1/2 inches; Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH, Gift off Ferdinand Howald, 1931
Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Winter Solstice, 1920-21; watercolor on paper, 21 1/2 x 35 1/2 inches; Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH, Gift off Ferdinand Howald, 1931

From the year of his birth in Ashtabula Harbor (now Ashtabula) until 1921, American watercolor painter Charles E. Burchfield lived mostly in his native state of Ohio. The majority of that time was spent in the city of Salem, living in a small house on East Fourth Street with his mother and five siblings. In a biographical note, written later in life, Burchfield recalled:
While I think of 1915 as the true beginning of my career as an artist, I suppose it was evident in earliest years that I was destined to be an artist… I was in fact using water-color before I went to the first grade.
By the time he entered high school, Burchfield’s artistic inclinations where already quite evident. Very early paintings exist from that time that suggest the direction he would go later in life. Untitled (Snow on Rooftops), 1907, shown here for the first time, was painted when he was 14 years old. The composition of overlapping buildings, accented by drifts of snow sagging off the rooftops, and warm light coming from the windows lays the foundation for later works like New Moon in January, 1918 or Church Bells Ringing, Rainy Winter Night, 1917. Another work Untitled (Orange Sky Over City Buildings), December 2, 1907 forshadows later industrial landscapes like Factories (Red Buildings), 1920.
In 1911 a bought of typhoid fever delayed his entry into college by one year. During that time he wrote that he “read John Burroughs and Thoreau and wrote in my journals in unconscious imitation of them.” This was around the same time that his interest in the natural world really began to blossom. In November of that year he found two books at the library in Salem, which fascinated him, and perhaps led to his naturalist inclinations. On November 13, 1911 he found[i] Wild Flowers Every Child Should Know[ii]and the next day[iii] the Field book of American Wildflowers.[iv] These books would inspire more than 500 botanical drawings, that listed the plants location and scientific name. Some, like Untitled [Arrowhead], 1912 where painted in watercolor. 

This fascination with plant life would remain strong throughout his career. Many of the wildflowers he recorded during those early years would appear again and again in paintings. Some would be included in the titles of works. Others like the spring beauty would not, but his fascination was just as strong. In another journal recollection from his early youth he wrote:

Once I raked away some leaves and found a spring beauty bulb with a shoot starting up; I carefully dug it up, took it home and put it in a can full of water, and while winter snows were still raging, one little star-like flower opened up in a hostile world.

In 1912, Burchfield left home to attend the Cleveland School of Art (now the Cleveland Institute of Art), graduating in 1916. He wrote later that his professor Henry Keller had once said that his “concentration on two dimensional design pattern, amounted almost to genius.” Paintings from that period like Illuminated letter “O”, ca. 1912 or Illuminated “M” Design, ca. 1912 are included in the exhibition. Henry Turner Bailey, head of the school would later suggest that he send this work to the M.H. Birge & Sons Wallpaper Company in Buffalo. On the strength of this work he was eventually hired. 

The following fall he went to New York City to study at the National Academy of Design. He dropped out after just one day. Drawings from his time there, like New York City Vista, 1916 illustrate the streets of Manhattan. His return to Salem would bring about some of the most important works of his career. He later wrote about the transition in a biographical note:
Forgotten were the frustrations and the longing for more freedom. The big city was not for me. I was back home in the town and countryside where I had grown up, which were now transformed by the magic of an awakened art outlook. 

The year 1917 would come to be known as his Golden Year, a time of feverish and visionary production that would later be the subject of the first one-man exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. After serving at Camp Jackson (now Fort Jackson), South Carolina, where he designed camouflage for the Army in 1918, he returned to Salem, and eventually married Bertha Kenreich. The couple would later mover to Buffalo, where Burchfield accepted a job at the M.H. Birge and Sons wallpaper company.

The exhibition Charles E. Burchfield: The Ohio Years, 1893-1921, presents painting, drawing and ephemera from Burchfield’s formative years, before he had the family, gallerist, and career that would define the rest of his life. This is the first exhibition in a series that will cover Burchfield’s entire career. Next December the Burchfield Penney will present an exhibition focusing on his middle period, with his late works being presented in December of the following year. 

Praised & Ridiculed French Painting 1820–1880



10 Nov. 2017–28 Jan. 2018

‘In’ one day, ‘out’ the next: even in the 19th century, fashion was fickle. Romanticism, Realism and Impressionism were competing currents within French painting that were hailed by a small group of enthusiasts but dismissed by most critics. 


The exhibition focuses on the years between 1820 and 1880. 1822 saw Delacroix’s first appearance at the Salon, the official exhibition platform for artists, at which he issued a challenge to Ingres and his fellow neoclassicists; 1880 marked the end of the Salon as a government-sponsored event. During this period Géricault, Corot, Daumier, Daubigny, Courbet, Manet, Pissarro and Monet also abandoned the approved academic and neoclassicist painting style of the era. Highly controversial in their lifetime, these artists are now celebrated worldwide as the ‘precursors of Modernism’.

Yet 19th-century French painting offers a profusion of other equally important artists who, at the time, enjoyed greater recognition and the plaudits of art critics and audiences alike. Although indebted to traditional painting techniques, artists such as Delaroche, Couture, Meissonier, Cabanel, Gérôme and Bouguereau were themselves highly innovative. In the canon of French painting from that period laid down in the German-speaking countries at the start of the 20th century, however, these outstanding figures came to be sidelined. Now the Kunsthaus sets out to rediscover them.

The exhibition catalogue ( 248 pp., 210 ill.), with contributions by Oskar Bätschmann, Sandra Gianfreda, Marianne Koos, Matthias Krüger, Monika Leonhardt and James H. Rubin, is published by Hirmer Verlag, Munich.
In addition to a detailed introduction and brief biographies of the artists, it contains essays on the art system of the time, history painting, the reception of Chardin in still-life painting, and landscape painting.



Ernest Meissonier

Campaign of France, 1814, 1864, Musée d’Orsay, Paris, bequest of Alfred Chauchard, 1909

Henri Fantin-Latour

White Roses and Peaches, 1873, Foundation E. G. Bührle Collection, Zurich

Camille Corot

Orpheus Leading Eurydice from the Underworld, 1861, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum purchase funded by the Agnes Cullen Arnold Endowment Fund, 87.190

Gustave Courbet

The Source, 1862, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, H. O. Havemeyer Collection, bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929

Edouard Manet

The Swallows, 1873, Foundation E. G. Bührle Collection, Zurich

Camille Pissarro

Banks of the Oise, Pontoise, 1877, Kunsthaus Zürich, Johanna and Walter L. Wolf Collection, 1984

More on Sotheby’s Old Masters Evening Sale on 6 December 2017

From Cranach and Titian to Van Dyck Sotheby’s London Old Masters Evening sale on 6 December 2017 covers 400 years of art history, from the visually arresting gold - grounds of the Early Italian Renaissance to one of the last and most important candlelight pictures by Joseph Wright of Derby left in private hands .

Highlights also include a luminous 18th - century view of Venice by Bellotto, two recently rediscovered landscapes by Constable, as well as a formidable gallery of portraits covering 300 years, from Cranach and Titian to Van Dyck.


Among the highlight s in the sale are two recently rediscovered landscapes by John Constable (1776 – 1837). The first, Dedham Vale with the River Stour in Flood is one of the most exciting and important additions to the artist’s oeuvre to have emerged in the last 50 years. Painted between 1814 and 1817, the work belongs to a small group of Constable’s early Suffolk paintings remaining in private hands and will be offered with an estimate of £2 - 3 million.


For more details :

The second work by Constable is the first sketch for one of the artist ’s most celebrated paintings,  


The Opening of Waterloo Bridge, today in the collection of Tate Britain. Previously thought lost, the work, dating from circa 1819 – 20, depicts a rare view of London by the artist and presages Monet’s famous series of views of Waterloo Bridge created almost a century later (est. £1 - 1.5 million).

Testament to the genius of Joseph Wright of Derby (1734 - 1797), An Academy by Lamplight is one of the artist’s most important candlelight pictures, and one of his last major works remaining in private h ands. Painted in 1769, the work is a supreme example of Wright’s dramatic rendering of light and shade and his association with the Enlightenment movement. It comes to the market with an estimate of £2.5 - 3.5 million, the highest estimate for a work by Joseph Wright of Derby ever at auction.


For more details :

Important works by George Stubbs (1724 – 1806), the greatest animal painter of the 18 th century, rarely appear on the market.

Painted in 1789, Two bay hunters in a paddock was commissioned by the Irish peer, Arthur Annesley, 8th Viscount Valentia and is typical of Stubbs’ preferred setting for his portraits of horses in the latter part of his career, often depicting two horses communing face to face ( est. £1.5 - 2 million).


Highly sought after, Italian views feature strongly in the sale, with two 18th - century Landscapes depicting the Villa Aldobrandini at Frascati

and the Villa Farnese at Caprarola by Vanvitelli, the inventor of the Veduta  (est. £700,000 - 1 million) and

a luminous morning view of The Grand Canal, looking north from near the Rialto Bridge, recognised only recently as a work by Bernardo Bellotto . The work is likely to date to about 1738, early in the artist’s career when his works were often mistaken for those of his illustrious uncle Canaletto. In some respects this painting may be seen as an instance of Bellotto surpassing his celebrated master (est. £2 - 3 million).


The sale also include s a rich offering of European Renaissance painting s, mainly Italian, German and Flemish, covering three centuries. Following the records set for Italian gold - grounds last December, the sale presents a fine selection of early Renaissance paintings, including 14th and 15th - century Tuscan and Venetian works, as well as an exceptionally rare example of mid - 14th century Catalan painting.

Leading this group are a magnificent depiction the

“ Madonna of Mercy ” (Madonna della Misericordia ) by The Master of 1336 painted in Pistoia around 1340 - 1350 (est. £ 400,000 - 600,000)

The Master of the Saint Lambrecht Votive Altarpiece , Recto: The Nativity ; circa 1435 - 40, oil and gold on panel 82 x 66.7 cm , e st. £300,000 — 400,000

and a superb Nativity scene painted around 1435 – 40, almost certainly in Vienna, by The Master of The Saint Lambrecht Votive Altarpiece.  With its precious and visually arresting gold - ground, this panel is an outstanding example of the full flowering of the International Gothic style in Austria in the 15th century (est. £300,000 - 400,00.)


Among the fantastic selection of Flemish paintings is a fascinating work by David Teniers the Younger (1610 - 1690), one of the most prolific Flemish painters of the 17th century. Painted in 1651, In Rubens’ Garden shows an elegant company before a pavilion in an ornamental garden and contains a reference to almost all the greatest painters of the Golden Age of Flemish painting. It depicts a garden party in the parterre behind Rubens’ house (now the Rubenhuis), with the garden pavilion designed by Rubens himself as a backdrop. The work also features a self - portrait of Teniers and his wife Anna, daughter of Jan Brueghel the Elder, granddaughter of Pieter Bruegel the Elder and niece of Pieter Brueghel the Younger. The painting has had a distinguished history and a continuous provenance since 1731, 80 years after it was painted (est. £800,000 - 1,200,000)


The sale is also distinguished by a fascinating gallery of portraits featuring some of the most influential painters in the history of Western Art . Covering 300 years of portraiture, from the late 15th century to the 18 th century, the selection is highlighted by a remarkable group of female portraits and two likenesses of high - ranking commanders by two master portraitists who came to dominate the genre throughout Europe: the Venetian Renaissance master Titian and the flamboyant Baroque painter, Anthony van Dyck.

Portraits of High - ranking Commanders

Late portraits by Titian (1485/90(?) - 1576) are very rare and this impressive Portrait of a Venetian Admiral, possibly Francesco Duodo was executed during the Italian master’s final decade. Largely ignored in the literature due to its inaccessibility, this portrait can be traced back to the 1620s when Van Dyck recorded it in his Italian sketchbook (est. £1 - 1.5 million).

Sir Anthony Van Dyck himself is represented in the sale by a portrait of another high - ranking commander, George, Baron Goring (1608 – 1657), one of the most pr ominent and talented of Charles I's cavalry commanders (est. £150,000 - 200,000). 

Portraits of Female Sitters

The selection of female portraits is led by a portrait by Van Dyck depicting Anne Sophia, Countess of Carnarvon, daughter of one of the painter’s most important early patrons, and painted circa 1636, at the height of the baroque painter’s career (est. £400,000 - 600,000).

Another highlight of this section is one of Lucas Cranach The Elder ’s finest versions of Lucretia - a favourite subject of the artist - painted circa 1525 (est. £400,000 - 600,000).

Stretching back to the turn of the 15th to the 16th century are a Portrait of a lady attributed to the German painter Bernhard Strigel, a work of exceptional quality and in remarkable condition (est. £150,000 - 200,000 ) and The Magdalene by The Master of the female half - lengths, who ran one of the most prolific workshops of the northern Renaissance (est. £80,000 - 120,000).

The sale also features two 17th - centruy Italian portraits:

a ravishing depiction of Arachne painted by Bernardo Strozzi circa 1628–33 (est. £200,000 - 300,000)

and a poetic representation of a three - quarter turned young shepherdess playing the flute attributed to the great Bolognese painter Giuseppe Maria Crespi (est. £60,000 - 80,000) .

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Christie’s Old Masters December 7, 2017 in London

The painting “Mercury Carries Psyche to Mount Olympus” by Bartholomäus Spranger was rediscovered in a private collection. Following a just and fair solution between the private collectors and the heirs of the former owner Prof. Dr. Curt Glaser, the artwork will be auctioned at Christie’s in London in December.

The painting “Mercury Carriers Psyche to Mount Olympus” by Bartholomäus Spranger (1546-1611), a court painter to the German Kaiser, which for a long time was believed lost, has been rediscovered in a private collection by the art historian and internationally renowned Spranger expert Sally Metzler. It is a landmark painting by the great mannerist artist, which has previously only been known to scholars by virtue of an old black and white photograph. Spranger painted it around 1576 during the hiatus between the arrival of Rudolf II in Vienna and the death of Emperor Maximilian. Spranger presented the painting to Rudolf II where it is recorded in the 1621 inventory of his famous Kunstkammer. It is one of the most significant paintings by the artist still remaining in private hands and certainly the most significant work by him to appear on the market in recent memory.

After the current owners and the heirs of the former owner Prof. Dr. Curt Glaser agreed on a fair and just solution following the principles of the 1998 Washington Conference, the artwork will be auctioned at the Christie’s auction house on December 7, 2017 in London. 
Professor Glaser, a medical doctor, famous art historian, art critic, author of many important texts and books on art and art history, as well as a notable art collector, worked for Berlin museums since 1909. He had achieved great distinction while working for the Kupferstichkabinett [Gallery of Prints] before he became director of the State Art Library in Berlin in 1924.

With the Nazis’ rise to power, he was persecuted because of his Jewish origin. Prior to his forced retirement in September 1933, the Nazis suspended Glaser as an unwanted and persecuted Jewish museum director from his position as director of the State Art Library already before the enactment of the ‘Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service’ [Nazi law forbidding Jews from holding German civil servant positions].

After the current owners learned of the Nazi-Era History of the painting they immediately contacted the representatives of the heirs of Prof. Dr. Curt Glaser. In a process guided by expertise, respect and fairness the parties amicably settled on a fair and just solution following the principles of the 1998 Washington Conference.

Pursuant to the 1999 “Joint Declaration of the German Federal Government, the Federal States and the National Association of Local Authorities on the tracing and the return of Naziconfiscated art, especially Jewish property”, these principles are only binding upon public authorities. However, the owners of the painting nevertheless decided to acknowledge the principles of the Washington Conference as private persons and to act in accordance with them.

The agreement follows other fair and just solutions which the heirs of Prof. Dr. Glaser have found with the Niedersächsisches Landesmuseum Hannover, the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation Berlin, the Bayerischen Staatsgemäldesammlungen (Bavarian State Painting Collections), the Germanische Nationalmuseum, the Museum Ludwig Cologne, the Kunsthalle Hamburg, and other private collectors.

El Greco’s Saint Francis and Brother Leo in Meditation will be offered from Property from the Collection of Stanford Z. Rothschild, Jr. Stanford Z (estimate: £5,000,000-7,000,000). Rothschild, Jr. was an investor, philanthropist and collector who helped champion civic leadership in his Maryland community. Enthralled with artists and the creative process, Stan assembled a striking collection of paintings, sculpture, and works on paper by artists whose work was both intellectually rigorous and historically provocative. He was especially drawn to El Greco, Claude Monet, Robert Delaunay, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Russian artists of the twentieth century. Certain works in the collection are being sold by the Rothschild Art Foundation, a charitable organization founded by Stanford Z. Rothschild, Jr.  Overall, the collection includes 51 works and is expected to exceed $30 million. 

El Greco’s Saint Francis and Brother Leo in Meditation is one of the artist’s greatest and most celebrated compositions, known in several versions and copies. With its dazzling and spontaneous brushwork and richly-worked paint surface, the present canvas is among the finest and best preserved examples of the subject, a mature work by this seminal Spanish painter of a sort rarely found in today’s market. To view Christie’s video with Art historian Jacky Klein discussing the devotional power of this 16th-century masterpiece by El Greco, please click here.

Further leading highlights offered in the sale include a portrait of Petronella Buys (1610-1670) by Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (Leiden 1606-1669 Amsterdam) from the Collection of The Late Commandant Paul Louis Weiller (estimate: £1.5-2.5 million). Dated 1635, this painting was executed at a time when Rembrandt was flourishing, having established himself as a remarkable portraitist, able to capture likeness with greater vigour and more psychological depth than his rivals. The pendant to this picture, a portrait of her husband Philips Lucasz, hangs in the National Gallery, London. The sale will be on view at Christie’s London from 2 to 7 December 2017.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

René Magritte: The Fifth Season

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art 
May 19–October 28, 2018

René Magritte, the consummate surrealist painter, faced a question of conviction at the age of forty-four, as Europe was overwhelmed by the horrors of World War II. Already in possession of his classic style of painting, honed over the previous two decades, Magritte suddenly began to make paintings that looked almost nothing like his previous work. In this era of instability and upheaval during the German occupation of Belgium, he questioned the role of art and looked for a new direction and new meanings.

René Magritte, The Happy Donor, 1966; oil on canvas; Musée d’Ixelles, Belgium; © Charly Herscovici, Brussels / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

René Magritte: The Fifth Season focuses on the latter half of Magritte’s career, from approximately 1943 to 1967, a period of remarkable artistic transformation and revitalization. Featuring more than 50 oil paintings and a dozen gouaches, the exhibition will reveal Magritte as an artist attuned to the paradoxes within reality, who subverted our expectations of the world around us. The subtitle “The Fifth Season”—taken from one of Magritte’s paintings made during the war years — evokes an alternative reality both within and outside the accepted conventions of time and space.

Through nine immersive galleries the exhibition explores how Magritte (Belgian, 1898–1967) balanced philosophy and fantasy, irony and conviction, to illuminate the gaps between what we see and what we know. Magritte’s work creates a world beyond rationality, liberated from the traditional understandings of how artworks convey meaning.

René Magritte: The Fifth Season will be presented exclusively at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) from May 19 through October 28, 2018. With rarely-seen treasures from museums and private collections around the world, the exhibition will delve into the provocative themes found in Magritte’s paintings from the 1940s through the 1960s, when the artist emerged as a champion of the role of mystery in art.

“Magritte’s paintings are unparalleled for their ability to illuminate blind spots in our perception. How do we understand and experience reality? How can painting help us contend with the ambiguities that surround us? Can art reflect these uncertain relationships in the world? Magritte’s work opened up these questions and many more that are still being examined by artists today,” said Caitlin Haskell, associate curator of painting and sculpture at SFMOMA and curator of René Magritte: The Fifth Season.

The exhibition begins in the 1940s, when Magritte’s work shifted in a completely surprising way. In 1943 Magritte rebelled against surrealist orthodoxy and started making work in a style inspired by the late paintings of Pierre-Auguste Renoir. This “sunlit” period, when Magritte worked in a pastiche of Impressionism, with hazy layers and saccharine tones, is exemplified by his painting,%20Rene/26837-Magritte,%20Rene.jpg

The Fifth Season (1943).

Magritte’s vache paintings marked a second, shorter-lived period of experimentation, with bright colors and loose brushwork that parody Fauvism and Expressionism, as in his work

Seasickness (1948).

The 1950s found Magritte abandoning these stylistic tropes and returning to his exacting signature style of painting. Magritte’s work in this decade is characterized by “hypertrophy,” a jarring alteration of scale among familiar objects to create an unnerving effect.

Personal Values (1952) depicts a bedroom framed by cloud-filled walls, with an oversized comb and shaving brush dwarfing the furniture on which they rest. This wonderful and perplexing painting, acquired through a gift of Phyllis C. Wattis, is one of the cornerstones of SFMOMA’s collection of modern art, and 2018 is the 20th anniversary of its acquisition.

Personal Values will be joined in the exhibition by four astonishing paintings from this series, making it the most complete presentation of the hypertrophy works to date.

Among the highlights are The Listening Room (1952)

and The Tomb of the Wrestlers (1960);

in each work a small, everyday object has been enlarged to a grotesque size, filling an entire room from floor to ceiling.

This gallery will also feature examples of Magritte’s painted bottles, including The Curvature of the Universe (1950), a glass vessel that has been meticulously painted to resemble a self-contained, cylindrical sky.

Among Magritte’s best known paintings are the bowler hat figures, a recurring motif in his work in the 1950s. Over the next fifteen years, the motif became so closely associated with the artist to be understood as an alter ego. Ultimately, Magritte used the easily recognizable man as a compositional element and a framing device that allowed him to play with the relationships between humans and their surroundings.

In The Happy Donor (1966), the silhouette of a bowler-hatted man is filled with a twilit landscape and starry sky. The figure may be perceived as a window into an idealized version of the natural world, or, conversely, one may see it as nature obscuring the man.

Le Domaine Enchanté (I) 1953

Le Domaine Enchanté II, 1953

Le Domaine Enchanté (III) 1953

Le Domaine Enchanté IV, 1953

Le Domaine Enchanté V, 1953

Le Domaine Enchanté VI, 1953

Le Domaine Enchanté VII, 1953

Le Domaine Enchanté VIII, 1953

Another highlight of the SFMOMA exhibition will be rarely-seen canvases from The Enchanted Domain (1953), Magritte’s monumental 360-degree panorama and his largest work. This mural, 236 feet in circumference, was commissioned for a circular room in the Grand Casino in Knokke, Belgium. Magritte created eight oil paintings that established the design of the frieze on a 1:6 scale.

 René Magritte, "The Empire of Light" series (L'Empire des lumières)

The exhibition concludes with Magritte’s embrace of contradictory qualities in paintings of paradoxes. The Dominion of Light is a series of landscapes with contrasting skyscapes, showing day and night existing simultaneously in a single street scene. Magritte painted this subject more than a dozen times from 1949 to 1965, and this exhibition marks the first time that more than three of these luminous scenes will be shown together.

In the final gallery, gravity and lightness, solidity and transparency, lose their meanings in paintings of gigantic floating boulders and flying birds that frame the sky. The juxtapositions in these mysterious and meditative works invite a reexamination of our basic assumptions of existence, space and time. Magritte’s powerful paintings—sometimes unsettling and often humorous — draw us into a parallel reality that seems to exist simultaneously with the recognizable world, and challenge the viewer to reconsider what is real.

René Magritte: The Fifth Season, which follows the 50th anniversary of Magritte’s death in 2017, builds on SFMOMA’s longstanding relationship with the Magritte Museum in Brussels, Belgium, and was developed in partnership with the Magritte Foundation.


René Magritte: The Fifth Season is accompanied by a 148-page catalogue featuring approximately 100 illustrations and essays by Michel Draguet, Clare Elliott, Caitlin Haskell, Katrina Rush, Abigail Solomon-Godeau, and Sandra Zalman. The catalogue is edited by Caitlin Haskell and published by SFMOMA in association with D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers, Inc., New York.

Great comprehensive Magritte website