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Monthly Archives

March 2019


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This year marks the 350th anniversary of Rembrandt’s birth, and there are numerous exhibitions in the Netherlands to celebrate this milestone.  The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam holds the world’s largest collection of works by the Dutch master and they are currently showing All the Rembrandts, offering a once in a lifetime opportunity to gain unparalleled perspective into his life.   On show are 22 paintings, 60 drawings and more than 300 examples of his prints, many of which are very fragile and rarely shown.  Don’t miss his Self-Portrait as the Apostle Paul (1661), Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem (1630) or The Three Crosses (1653).  On show until 10 June 2019.

If you find yourself ‘on the other side of the pond’, the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco is currently showing Monet: The Early Years, the first major U.S. exhibition devoted to the early phase of the artist’s career.  Nearly 60 paintings follow Monet’s development during the formative years of 1858-1872 when he developed his unique visual language and the techniques that went on to make him one of the most famous artists in the world.  On show until 29 May 2019.

Meanwhile at the Royal Academy in London, The Renaissance Nude explores the emergence of the nude as a prominent theme in Western art.  With works by artists including Titian, Bronzino, Leonardo, Cranach and Michelangelo, the exhibition traces the scope of the development of this genre and argues that important contributions to the establishment of the nude as a pivotal subject of European art can be found across the continent.  On show until 2 June 2019.

And for a final recommendation we suggest Sorolla: Spanish Master of Light at the National Gallery, the first UK exhibition of the Spanish Impressionist’s work in over a century.  Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida (1863-1923) is known for his sunny beach scenes, vivid seascapes, garden views all bursting with his signature ability for depicting the bright and warm light of his homeland.  On show until 7th July.


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For anyone in London this week, a quick reminder not to miss the George Michael Collection which is currently on exhibition at Christie’s before being offered in an evening auction on 14 March. And whether you’re in London or not, don’t forget to check out the online sale which is now open for bidding until 15 March (for more details please visit www.christies.com).

Gurr Johns is honoured to be acting as advisors to the Trustees of the estate of the highly successful and influential British singer, songwriter, and art collector. Michael developed close relationships with many YBA artists during his lifetime and his instinctive support of young, emerging talent is evident in the collection.  Proceeds from the auction will continue his philanthropic work.

TEFAF 2019

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This week sees the return of TEFAF Maastricht, one of the world’s oldest and most highly regarded art fairs (16 to 24 March 2019). With over 100,000 square feet of exhibition space, the 32nd edition of the fair will consist of nine sections, ranging from Old Master paintings to tribal art, and will welcome 38 new exhibitors.

The TEFAF Modern section will see the greatest growth with 13 new exhibitors, and a number of them will be presenting single-artist stands. Highlights include Parisian dealers Kamel Mennour who will focus on the work of Ugo Rondinone (b.1963) and the use of stone in contemporary art. Having taken part in TEFAF Showcase in 2018, Kallos Gallery will be exhibiting in the Ancient Art, section, becoming one of a number of Showcase dealers that have graduated to the main fair. An extraordinary, complete Greek bronze panoply of a cavalry man is a highlight of their stand; the suit of armour would have belonged to an Italiote warrior of the Classical period (c.4th century BCE) and is one of the most complete to appear on the market for several decades.

A highlight of the Paintings section will be Richard Green’s exhibition dedicated to the celebration of the father and son dynasty of Camille and Lucien Pissarro. Focusing on the family’s connections with France and Britain, as well as the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist movements, the exhibition reflects the immense influence of these two artists. Works include ‘Apples on a tablecloth against a lace-curtained window’ (1885) by Lucien Pissarro (1863 – 1944) and ‘Dans le pre en automne a Eragny’ (1901) by Camille Pissarro (1830 – 1903).


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The Post-War and Contemporary sales this week feature works by many of the biggest names of the 20th and 21st centuries, with paintings by British artists leading the line-up. 

On 5th March Sothebys are expecting much interest in ‘Head of a Boy’ (1956) by Lucian Freud (1922-2011), an exquisite portrait of Garech Browne.  With fine-brush precision and a delicate colour palette the artist beautifully captured the melancholy and contemplative soul of his subject and the work is estimated to sell for £4.5 to £6.5million.  Other highlights of the catalogue include Juncture (1994) by Jenny Saville (b.1970), an artist hailed as a ‘destroyer of false fetishes’ by Simon Schama.  The monumental work commands our full attention and celebrates the beauty of the fleshy female nude in all its glory.  Saville’s works are united by a strong feminist theme, and they are proving ever more popular with collectors.   This fine example almost bursts from the canvas; last sold in 2009 for £434,000, it’s estimated to sell for £5 million to 7million this time around.


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A newly discovered painting of Judith and Holofernes, believed to be a long-lost masterpiece by the Italian master Caravaggio (1571-1610), was put on show this week in London. Praised for its inventive originality, dramatic intensity and virtuosity of execution, the visceral depiction of Judith beheading Holofernes was previously only known to scholars through a copy by Louis Finson (1580-1617).

Documents supporting its provenance suggest that it was painted in 1607 soon after Caravaggio fled Rome, accused of murder, and as such it reflects the darker, more sombre style that he adopted towards the end of his life.  The artist is admired for the dramatic tension in his works, and the intensity of the colours in this painting and the clever use of chiaroscuro are unique to his style.