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Displaying items by tag: 17th century

A French man admitted to police that he stole Rembrandt’s “Child with a Soap Bubble” from the Municipal Museum in southeastern France. The work was recovered last week after French police caught the unidentified man and an accomplice attempting to sell the painting, which is estimated to be worth around $5.4 million. The painting has been missing since 1999.

The burglar, who said that he never earned any money from the painting, told police that he stole the canvas by breaking into the municipal library next door to the museum during a Bastille Day parade. Authorities returned the painting to curator Jeanine Bussieres on Thursday, March 20. Bussieres told the AP, “We are thrilled...this Rembrandt was one of our masterpieces. The child in the picture is smiling because he has a soap bubble. But yes, he could be smiling now because he’s been returned to us.”

The Municipal Museum acquired the 17th century painting in 1794, making it one of institution’s first acquisitions.  

Published in News
Wednesday, 29 January 2014 17:44

Christie’s Americana Sales Net Over $10 Million

Christie’s Americana Week auctions, which included the sales of Important American Silver on January 23, Important American Furniture, Folk Art and Prints on January 24, and Chinese Export Art on January 27, fetched a total of $10,189,025.

The Chinese Export Art sale realized $3,034,750 and the top lot was a rare set of four large Chinese export porcelain nodding head figures from the Qianlong Period, which sold for $173,000. The Important American Silver sale netted $1,737,875 and the top lot, a silver Brandywine bowl by Cornelius Vander Burch from the late 17th century, brought $317,000. The Important American Furniture, Folk Art & Decorative Arts sale was the biggest hit of the week and realized $5,416,400. The top lot was an 18th century Chippendale carved Mahogany scallop-top tea table from Philadelphia, which garnered $905,000. Andrew Holter, head of American Furniture and Decorative Arts at Christie’s, said, “Today’s solid results underscore collectors’ continued appetite for works of exceptional provenance and quality.”

Published in News
Thursday, 23 January 2014 15:44

France to Return Looted Artworks

On Tuesday, January 21, France’s Minister of Culture and Communication, Aurélie Filippetti, announced that the country would return three artworks that were looted during World War II to their rightful owners. The works include a 17th century landscape by the Flemish painter Joos de Momper, an 18th century portrait, and an oil on wood Madonna.

The works are among over 2,000 objects that have been held in temporary custody by French museums since the end of World War II. Some critics have spoken out against France, claiming that the country has not been proactive enough in terms of restitution efforts.

Since the end of World War II, France has returned around 80 looted artworks.

Published in News
Friday, 02 August 2013 19:10

Sony Acquires Vermeer Documentary

A documentary about the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675) has been acquired for distribution by Sony Pictures Classics. Tim’s Vermeer, which was directed by Teller of the illusionist duo Penn & Teller, features Tim Jenison, a Texas-based inventor who explores how Vermeer created his shockingly photo-realistic paintings a century before photography existed.

At one point during his ten-year investigation, Jenison traveled to Delft, Holland, where Vermeer worked, to meet with the British artist David Hockney, who had also questioned how Vermeer and his contemporaries created their breathtakingly realistic paintings. Using 17th century technology such as lenses and mirrors, Jenison eventually figured out the technique used by the Dutch master “supporting a theory as extraordinary as what he discovers,” Sony Pictures Classics said in a news release.

Sony Pictures Classics will release Tim’s Vermeer in 2014.

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A fire broke out at an historic 17th century mansion in Paris on Wednesday, July 10, 2013, destroying artworks dating back hundred of years. The mansion, known as Hotel Lambert, was acquired by the Qatari royal family in 2007 and was in the midst of controversial renovations when the blaze took place. The fire devastated murals, paintings and frescoes by French luminaries such as Charles Le Brun (1619-1690).

The architect Louis Vau designed Hotel Lambert, which overlooks the Seine, in the 1640s for the wealthy financier, Nicolas Lambert. The mansion is considered one of the finest examples of mid-17th-century French architecture, boasting frescoes by Le Brun and other masters of the day including Eustache Le Sueur (1617-1655). In addition to its impressive interior, the Hotel Lambert was home to many powerful figures over the centuries including the philosopher, Voltaire. When the Qatari royal family purchased the mansion, critics feared that one of France’s historic gems would be destroyed, especially after the family revealed plans to renovate the estate.

Dozens of firefighters battled the blaze at the UNESCO-designated mansion for nearly six hours. The cause of the fire has not been determined and is still under investigation by police.

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The Rijksmuseum in the Netherlands purchased a rare antique Japanese chest once used as a television stand for $9.5 million. London’s Victoria and Albert Museum had been searching for the 17th century lacquer chest, one of only ten in the world, since 1941.

The saga of the chest began in 1640 when the head of the Dutch East India Company’s Japanese office commissioned the chest along with three others just like it. All four of the chests were later sold to a French diplomat who passed two of the works off to the British poet William Beckford. Beckford, whose daughter was married to the Duke of Hamilton, inherited the chests and they became part of the Hamilton Palace’s collection. During a sale in 1882 to raise funds for the palace’s upkeep, the Victoria and Albert Museum purchased one of the chests while the other eventually went missing. What the museum didn’t know was that an unassuming Shell Oil engineer had purchased the missing chest in 1970 for a mere $150. The elusive chest was used as everything from a television stand to a storage cabinet until auctioneer Philippe Rouillac and his brother, Aymeric, recognized it.  

While the Victoria & Albert Museum would have liked to have been able to bid on the chest when it went to auction, they simply didn’t have the funds. Julia Hutt, curator of the V&A’s East Asian department, said, “I was delighted to hear the Rijksmuseum had won the auction – it is a very fitting home for the chest.”

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Larry Ellison, co-founder and CEO of the enterprise software company, Oracle, has loaned a portion of his inimitable collection of Japanese art to the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco for the exhibition In the Moment: Japanese Art from the Larry Ellison Collection. The show presents 64 objects that span over 1,000 years.

Highlights from the show include significant works by well-known artists of the Momoyama (1573-1615) and Edo (1615-1868) periods as well as important examples of religious art, lacquer, woodwork and metalwork. Ellison assembled a large portion of his collection with the help of the Asian Art Museum’s former director, Emily Sano. Serving as Ellison’s personal art curator and advisor, Sano helped the billionaire acquire hundreds of important Japanese art objects including 17th century folding screens by Kano Sansetsu and 18th century paintings by Maruyama Okyo.

In the Moment: Japanese Art from the Larry Ellison Collection will be on view at the Asian Art Museum through September 22, 2013.

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On June 5, 2013 at Sotheby’s New York the Corcoran Gallery of Art auctioned 25 rugs from its William A. Clark Collection. The rugs, which are from the 16th and 17th centuries, brought in $43.7 million, over four times the pre-sale high estimate of $9.6 million, making it the most successful carpet auction ever held. 100% of the lots sold and the auction achieved “White Glove” status, meaning every lot in the sale garnered more than it’s pre-sale high estimate.

The highlight of the auction was the Clark Sickle-Leaf Carpet. An important and iconic rug created by an unknown Persian artist during the first half of the 17th century, the rarely exhibited piece was expected to garner between $5 million and $7 million. The carpet ended up selling for $33.7 million, the highest price paid for any carpet at auction. Mary Jo Otsea, the senior consultant for rugs and carpets at Sotheby’s said, “Selling the Clark Sickle-Leaf Carpet for a record-breaking price of more than three times the previous auction record for a carpet has unquestionably been the highlight of my 30 year career. It is gratifying to see the strength of the market for carpets of this quality and rarity.”

The rugs were part of a bequest from William Clark (1839-1925), a Montana-based entrepreneur-turned-senator, to the Corcoran in 1925. The gift was comprised of 200 paintings and drawings and a number of other works, including the rugs. The Corcoran will use the proceeds from the sale to support future acquisitions that will better fit the institution’s focus on American and contemporary art. While the Corcoran has endured recent financial troubles, the money will not be used for operating expenses in keeping with its deaccession policy.

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On May 8, 2013, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston unveiled a number of transformed galleries including a new Dutch and Flemish gallery, which has opened to the public after almost a year of renovations. The Art of the Netherlands in the 17th Century Gallery features seven paintings by Rembrandt (1606-1669) and other works by Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641), and Jacob van Ruisdael (1628-1682). There are approximately thirty paintings in the gallery including landscapes, genre scenes, portraits, and religious works. The paintings are accompanied by a collection of Dutch furniture, decorative art objects, silver, and Delft pottery.

A companion gallery of 30 works, the Leo and Phyllis Beranek Gallery, also opened this week. Besides their respective collections, the Beranek and the Art of the Netherlands galleries highlight loans from important collections such as the Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo collection, a renowned grouping of Dutch and Flemish paintings.

Two 18th century rooms from Great Britain have been reinstalled at the MFA as part of the Alan and Simone Hartman Galleries. A gallery for British Art, 1560-1830 complements the Newland House Drawing Room, which has been on view at the MFA since the 1970s, and the Hamilton Palace Dining Room, which features the Hartman Collection’s silver holdings. The Hartman Galleries feature British paintings, furniture, silver, ceramics, and works on paper.    

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Back in January, a 17th century masterpiece was discovered at Paris’ legendary Ritz hotel, which is currently undergoing a major $267.5 million renovation. Olivier Lefeuvre, a specialist in the period at Christie’s France, first spotted the work, which is by the French painter and court artist of Louis XIV, Charles Le Brun (1619-1690). How the painting ended up in the Ritz remains a mystery, as the hotel archives lack any reference to the work.

The 400-year-old painting was sold by auction house Christie’s on Thursday, April 18, 2013 to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art for $1.88 million. The Met does not have any other works by Le Brun so the acquisition will be a welcomed addition to the museum’s collection of 17th century paintings. The masterpiece is expected to go on display at the Met at the end of May.

The painting, which depicts the killing of Trojan princess Polyxena after she was linked to the death of Achilles, had hung in one of the suites at the Ritz that designer Coco Chanel lived in for over 30 years. Proceeds from the sale will go to the foundation established by Ritz owner Mohamed Al Fayed in memory of his son Dodi, the late boyfriend of Princess Diana.

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