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Cahiers d’Art, a famed French literary journal and publisher of visual arts, will re-release its definitive catalogue of works by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973). The long out-of-print work titled Zervos Picasso Catalogue after Cahiers d’Art’s founder, Christian Zervos, is comprised of 33 volumes and features over 16,000 paintings and drawings that were amassed during a long-lasting working relationship between Zervos and Picasso.

For the first time ever, the Zervos Picasso Catalogue will be available in English and it will include corrections to the original catalogue made in cooperation with the Picasso Administration, the organization responsible for managing the artist’s estate. Sotheby’s has been named the worldwide distributor of the catalogue, which will be available on December 15, 2013.

Founded in Paris in 1926, Cahiers d’Art was revered for its publications highlighting the most important artists of the early 20th century. Zervos Picasso Catalogue is arguably the publisher’s most important work. With the earliest volumes dating back to 1932, complete sets of the catalogue are extremely uncommon. Staffan Ahrenberg, the current owner of Cahiers d’Art, said, “Christian Zervos dedicated his life to Picasso, and it is our great honor to continue the Zervos/Picasso story and legacy. I think it is essential for Zervos to be back in print and available to collectors, scholars, and trade.”

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On Saturday, May 11, 2013, the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art In Bentonville, Arkansas launched two exhibitions dedicated to American genre painting. Genre painting, which became popular during the mid-19th century, involved the depiction ordinary scenes of everyday life. As religious artworks waned in prevalence, genre painting struck a chord with the public as they could easily relate to the narratives, which spanned various races, regions, and classes.

American Encounters: Genre Painting and Everyday Life presents five paintings by a handful of the most well known artists from the movement including George Caleb Bingham (1811-1879), Eastman Johnson (1824-1906), and Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait (1819-1905). Between Bingham, who painted scenes of life on the American frontier, Johnson, who captured the true spirits of the people of New England, the western frontier, the slavery-ridden south, and prominent Americans, and Tait, whose subject of choice was wildlife, the three artists come together to communicate a varied and comprehensive American experience.

The works in American Encounters are accompanied by two paintings from the Louvre – one is from the Dutch genre painting school and another from the English interpretation of the movement. American Encounters is also complemented b the exhibition Genre Scenes on Paper from Crystal Bridges’ Permanent Collection.

Genre Scenes on Paper provides a sampling of the museum’s 19th century watercolors and drawings, many of which have never been on public view. The exhibition explores themes of work and leisure in the city and country and features works by Winslow Homer (1836-1910), Thomas Waterman Wood (1823-1903), and John Lewis Krimmel (1786-1821). Just as the paintings in American Encounters, these works come together to show how a variety of artists interpreted daily life in a young country still coming into its own.

American Encounters and Genre Scenes on Paper will be on view at the Crystal Bridges Museum through August 12, 2013. American Encounters, which is the second exhibition in a four-year partnership between Crystal Bridges, the Louvre and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia, will then travel to the High where it will be on view from September 14, 2013 through January 14, 2014.

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Days after the British government placed an export ban on two important works by the English painter, George Stubbs (1724-1806), officials have announced that they will take similar measures to keep a landscape painting of a London park by American Hudson River School artist, Jasper Francis Cropsey (1823-1900), in the U.K.

The export ban placed on Cropsey’s Richmond Hill in the Summer of 1862 gives the British government time to raise money to keep the painting in the country rather than having it sold to a foreign buyer. The government will need to come up with about $7.83 million in order to keep the painting, which has been in British collections for 150 years, in the U.K. Richmond Hill is important to British culture because it draws connections between American and British landscape paintings of the 19th century. It is one of the only British landscapes by an American artist to remain in the U.K.

The export ban will keep the Cropsey painting in the U.K. until April 7, 2013 and may be extended to August 7, 2013 if a potential British buyer has been found. The British government placed a previous export ban on Richmond Hill in 2000.  

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Over fifty major works totaling about $64 million were offered as payment to the UK for nearly $40 million worth of inheritance tax that accumulated between 2010 and 2012. Those in control of the estates of authors, artists, and collectors have been allowed to use cultural and historical artifacts to pay the tax since 1910.

The UK has recently received a number of masterpieces including two oil portraits of aristocratic families by Sir Joshua Reynolds, a renowned 18th century English artist. One portrait will be placed in the Tate and the other will go to the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. Other works include two landscapes by JMW Turner; an oil sketch by Peter Paul Rubens titled The Triumph of Venus that will be placed in Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum; a work by Italian 17th century master Guernico that has been allocated to the National Gallery; and four sculptures and three works on paper by Barbara Hepworth.

The ability to donate significant works to pay off inheritance tax has introduced a number of remarkable pieces to the UK’s galleries and museums, bringing monumental works out from behind closed doors and into the public arena.

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Friday, 28 September 2012 14:14

A Younger Mona Lisa? Some Researchers Say Yes

Shortly before World War I English art collector, Hugh Blaker, found a portrait now dubbed the Isleworth Mona Lisa in Isleworth, London. For the past 35 years the Zurich-based Mona Lisa Foundation has been working to prove that the painting predates Leonardo da Vinci’s 16th century masterpiece by 11 to 12 years. The experts involved based this conclusion on a series of regression tests, mathematical comparisons, and historical and archival records.

While at least one da Vinci expert is doubtful, the researchers involved in the Mona Lisa Foundation’s project are confident in their claim. Mathematical tests have proven that both of the sitters are in exactly the same place. Such accuracy was typical of da Vinci. Sporting the same enigmatic smiles, the posture, hands, faces, and expressions bear a striking resemblance.

Dissidents, including Oxford art historian Martin Kemp, think that the Isleworth Mona Lisa lacks the subtle details of the original. While the Isleworth Mona Lisa does look like a younger version of the original, the veil, hair, and the translucent layer of the sitter’s dress are lacking in quality.

The Isleworth Mona Lisa turned up in the home of an English nobleman during the late 19th century and was shipped to the United States during the First World War. The painting was subject to analysis in Italy and was eventually taken to Switzerland where it remained in a bank vault for 40 years. The Isleworth Mona Lisa was unveiled by the Foundation on Thursday in Geneva and evidence of the painting’s authenticity was presented at the University of California.

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Tuesday, 25 September 2012 00:12

Three Turner Paintings Aren’t Fakes After All

Three paintings left to the National Museum Wales in 1951 by notable Welsh collectors, Gwendoline and Margaret Davies, have been reclassified as authentic after spending decades in storage. In 1956 it was decided that that the paintings, Off Margate, Margate Jetty, and The Beacon Light, were either fake or not fully by the English Romanticist J.M.W. Turner’s (1775–1851) hand.

Turner experts have examined the paintings intermittently during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s to similar ends. Thanks to today’s modern methods such as X-ray, infrared, and pigment analysis, the seascapes were finally vindicated. The process unfolded on the BBC program, “Fake or Fortune,” proving that the paintings’ materials were consistent with the materials notably used by Turner.  

Although the three paintings’ values have subsequently skyrocketed, they will remain in the National Museum’s collection. The Davies sisters who built one of the most important Impressionist and 20th century art collections in Britain, bequeathed seven Turner paintings to the Museum in the early 1950s. All of the paintings will go on display together starting September 25th.

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