MASTER PAINTINGS WEEK RETURNS TO CENTRE STAGE THIS SUMMER
Following the success of London’s first Master Paintings Week in 2009, twenty-five of the
world’s leading dealers and the three major auction houses will once again demonstrate the
unparalleled expertise and quality of works of art available in the city. Emphasising the
importance of London, seven of the participating galleries originated elsewhere: Italy, Paris,
New York and Stockholm. From Saturday 3 to Friday 9 July 2010 the collaborating
galleries and auction houses will offer an extraordinary selection of predominantly European
paintings dating from the 15th to the 19th centuries alongside another dealer initiative, Master
Drawings London, 3 to 9 July, which together will make the city an essential destination for
private collectors, museum curators, art historians and art lovers from around the world.
Tiepolo, Rubens, Turner, Guercino, Brueghel, Murillo, Van Ruysdael, Van Dyck, Constable
and Benjamin West are just some of the most famous artists of the western world whose
works will be available together with those by lesser-known masters of the highest quality.
Amongst the earliest pieces are the moving Bohemian School Martyrdom of St Barbara,
c.1390 (Simon Dickinson), and a triptych centred on the Crucifixion by Jacopo di Cione
(Florence, documented 1365-1398) (Moretti Fine Art), while one of the more recent is a
noble Head of an African by Léon de Troy dating from around 1880 (Ben Elwes Fine Art).
Agnew’s will be showing Old Master Paintings at Tryon Galleries while their new Albemarle
Street gallery is being refurbished. Highlights include Benjamin West’s (1738-1820) Cupid
and Psyche, painted in London in 1808 but not seen in this country for over a century. Born
in Pennsylvania, West travelled to Italy in 1760 before moving to England in 1763 where he
became the favourite artist of King George III. A founder member of the Royal Academy, he
succeeded Reynolds as its second President in 1792, a position he held until his death in 1820
when he was buried in St Paul’s Cathedral. Italian paintings at Agnew’s will include a
superb Holy Family of c.1609 by the rare Parma artist Bartolomeo Schedoni (1578-1615), a
beautiful painting that was until 2008 only known to modern scholars from a photograph of
c.1972 in the Witt Library, by which time it was in the Herman Correa Borguez collection in
Among the fine works to be offered by Verner Åmell will be Portrait of a young woman
with a black scarf by Jean-Baptiste Greuze (1725-1805), which was in the celebrated
collection of Pierre-Louis Pau Randon de Boisset (1708-1776), who had one of the finest
Dutch and Flemish picture cabinets in Europe. Also of note is the Portrait of David Papillon
(1691-1762), standing full-length, holding a bow and quiver, a spaniel at his side by John
Closterman (1660-1713). Papillon was the grandson of David Papillon, the French Huguenot
and military engineer who built Papillon Hall in Leicestershire between 1622 and 1624.
Charles Beddington’s particular speciality is 18th century Italian views and he will be
showing Venice: the Giudecca Canal and the Zattere by Johan Richter (1665-1745) who was
unique among Italian 18th century view painters being of Scandinavian origin but spending
over half his life in Venice. This fine work was in the exceptional collection of Venetian
view paintings assembled before the Second World War by Dmitri Tziracopoulo. The gallery
also offers the moving Head study of a youth by Jacopo Vignali (1592-1664) which at one
time belonged to Sir Thomas Lawrence PRA, one of the greatest collectors of his day.
To commemorate their 250th anniversary, P & D Colnaghi will stage an exhibition Colnaghi:
250 years of dealing in art which focuses on the history of the gallery, particularly one of the
most important of its sales, Titian’s Europa bought by Isabella Stewart Gardner and now in
the Museum, Boston. Also on display will be selected material from the Colnaghi archive
such as a letter from John Constable. The gallery will also show such luscious works as A
basket of grapes, a bowl of cherries, a silver-gilt columbine cup and fruit in porcelain bowls,
on a draped table by François Habert (active France c.1650) and The Oyster Eater by Henri
Stresor (1613?-1679) depicting a boy guiltily putting an oyster into his mouth.
Ben Elwes Fine Art has gained a reputation for handling anti-slavery paintings, recently
selling such works to the Art Institute of Chicago and the Smithsonian. Continuing this
theme the gallery will show a major picture by British artist William Gale (1823-1909), The
Ranaway Slave, depicting a mulatto female slave being captured by an American bounty
hunter. Exhibited in 1856 it was part of the outraged response, both political and artistic, to
the notorious Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 under which escapees were obliged to be returned to
their owners. Another fine work of American interest is Portrait of Mary Louise McBride
(Mrs Homer Saint-Gaudens), 1929, by the Belgian painter Louis Buisseret (1888-1956). She
was the second wife of Homer Saint-Gaudens, son of the great American sculptor Augustus
Saint-Gaudens. Homer had a distinguished career as a critic, stage director and writer as well
as being Director of Fine Arts at the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, from 1922 to 1950, and
was widely decorated both for his military service during the war and his services to art.
Portrait of a Young Artist attributed to Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson (1767-1824)
is a charming painting of a boy of about 14 with his long hair brushed forward in the height
of style in Napoleonic Paris.
Deborah Gage, joining Master Paintings Week for the first time, will stage an exhibition
entitled The Real and the Idealised: A Selection of European Religious and Mythological
Paintings from the 16th to the 19th centuries. One of the highlights is The Holy Family in the
Carpenter’s Shop by Bartolomé Estaban Murillo (1618-1682), a monumental and emotive
early work with an illustrious provenance having been in the collection of the Infante of
Spain, the Archbishop of Toledo and finally in the collection of the King William I of the
Netherlands and by descent to Princess Juliana of the Netherlands. Other fine works will
include John the Baptist preaching by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696-1770), and the recent
emergence of an extraordinarily powerful depiction of Christ carrying the Cross is an
exciting new addition to a small group of paintings ascribed to Giovanni Bellini (c/1430-
1516) and his immediate circle.
Richard Green, who has been dealing in Old Master paintings for 55 years, will feature,
among other schools, a number of fine Dutch and Flemish works including A river view with
the town of Weesp by Salomon van Ruysdael (1600/03-1670), one of the originators of
naturalistic landscape painting and stately river views celebrating the special beauty of
Holland’s inland waterways, of which this is a prime example.
It has a distinguished
provenance having belonged to the Marquis of Biencourt who in 1791 bought the famous
Château d’Azay-le-Rideau on the Loire, later acquired by Gustave Rothan, a diplomat and
author whose collection was famous in Paris in 1874, followed by Adolphe Schloss much of
whose collection of 355 paintings was looted from France for Hitler and Göring but
recovered after the war. The gallery will also feature the delightful Portrait of an eight-year-
old boy, possibly of the Blauhulck family, holding a horse from the Circle of Jan Claesz.
(1570-after 1618), which recently came to light in a French private collection. Such portraits
are extremely rare and were only painted in West Friesland, the most northerly part of
Holland, especially the town of Enkhuizen where Claesz. was born.
Johnny Van Haeften, who specialises in 16th and 17th century Dutch and Flemish artists, has
an extraordinary painting on copper by Pieter Brueghel the Younger (1564/5-1637/8)
illustrating Flemish proverbs. At first sight this work depicts a Flemish walled town
populated with people busily engaged in a variety of seemingly absurd activities. In fact the
entire picture is dotted with engaging little scenes each representing a popular saying or
proverb. Remarkably, more than one hundred scenes are woven into the composition which
measures only 49 x 66.2 cm.
In contrast to this humorous depiction of peasant life, the
exhibition will include The card players by Gerard Terborch (1617-1681), an exquisitely
refined painting depicting three elegantly dressed figures in a sophisticated interior, as well as
a beautiful rendition of a vase of flowers painted on copper by Jan Van Thielen (1618-1667).
Fergus Hall will mount an exhibition 17th century Dutch and Flemish Paintings and British
Old Masters which will include a beautiful panoramic river valley landscape by Herman
Saftleven (1609-1685), and a sporting picture of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel by the
Cumberland-born English animal painter Sawrey Gilpin (1733-1807). Derek Johns will
offer fine paintings including Le Lever de l’Aurore by Louis Jean François Lagrenée (1724-
1805), part of a set of four depicting The Hours, and Sylvia freed by Amyntas, a beguiling
work by Willem van Mieris (1662-1747), which was auctioned in the artist’s lifetime for fl. 220.
John Mitchell Fine Paintings specialises in European flower paintings and will show a
prime example by one of the leading painters of the genre, Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder
(1573-1621), Roses, tulips, anemome, cyclamen and other flowers in a porcelain vase with a
red admiral butterfly. The rediscovery of Saint George and the Dragon by Johann König
(1586-1642), a jewel-like painting on copper, is an important addition to the oeuvre of the
artist, the son of a Nuremberg goldsmith. A saucy painting of two young lovers, Le voleur
adroit ou la cage dérobée by Parisian artist Nöel Hallé (1711-1781) will also raise a smile.
Moatti Fine Arts will stage their first show dedicated to Old Master paintings which will
include Arab rider and his horse resting by a stream by the French Orientalist painter
Théodore Chassériau (1819-1856) who in 1846 travelled to North Africa and made detailed
drawings of the local people. This romantic work originally belonged to the artist’s second
cousin Baron Arthur Chassériau who was an avid collector and gave more than 77 paintings
and 2,200 drawings by Chassériau to the Musée du Louvre and other museums. Portrait of
Doña Mariana de Silva y Sarmiento, Duquesa de Huescar, later Arcos (1740-1784) is by the
German-born artist Anton Raphael Mengs (1728-1779), who became Primer Pintor to the
Spanish court. It was painted on the day of the sitter’s second marriage and left unfinished
due to a crack in the panel support of the picture so the artist painted a second version that
entered the collections of the Dukes of Alba.