Fine Art

Fine art is a staple of the dealing and auctioneering industry, featuring works ranging from Medieval art to traditional Old Masters, and right through to cutting-edge Contemporary art.

While oil paintings represent a large part of the sector, other mediums adopted by artists across the ages include drawings, watercolours, prints and photographs.

US dealer awakes a Suffolk sleeper

28 January 2003

Sleepers are something of an endangered species at UK picture sales, but this small 6 by 5in (15.5 x 12.5cm) oil on board still life, right, by the Danish/American painter Emil Carlsen (1853-1932) certainly made the room sit up when it sold to a US dealer on the telephone at £17,500 against an estimate of just £1000-1500 at the Atheneum Sale in Bury St. Edmunds held by Bonhams’ (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) on December 17.

Colouring in the Waters, or Shades of Urine…

16 January 2003

Fully coloured as intended, and presumably under the direction of the author/publisher, the uroscopic woodcut reproduced right is found in an internally fine copy of Ulrich Pinder’s Epiphanie medicorum… printed in Nuremburg in 1506 and is intended to show different shades of urine.

Carving a colourful tale

14 January 2003

Netherlandish Sculpture 1450-1550 by Paul Williamson, published by V&A Publications. ISBN ISBN 1851773738 £25hb

Lost Renoir sketch discovered in vault

14 January 2003

A watercolour drawing by Renoir and inscribed by Emile Zola has been discovered by Bonhams in the vault of London diamond merchants I. Hennig & Co. The c.1877 drawing had been lost for almost 20 years and is thought to be one of the few recorded works by Renoir intended for book illustration.

The magic of Monet

14 January 2003

Monet at Vétheuil 1878-1883 by David Joel, published by the Antique Collectors Club. ISBN 1851494235 £25hb

El Greco studies – small is not so beautiful

09 January 2003

In an Old Master week when major-name masterworks were in short supply, the appearance of two of only four known drawings by El Greco (1541-1614) at Bonhams’ (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) December 9 Old Master Drawings sale understandably attracted plenty of attention.

Picasso helps Balzac to a record price

08 January 2003

Sotheby’s claimed a world record price for a printed French book on December 5 when a 1931 edition of Balzac’s Le Chef d’Oeuvre Inconnu, illustrated by Picasso, sold just short of estimate for €550,000 (£353,000).

Gart der Gesundheit

08 January 2003

The Gart der Gesundheit is one of the giants in the field. The most important herbal of the 15th century, it contained the finest illustrations of the incunable period and was unsurpassed until the appearance of the first edition of the Brunfels herbal in 1530.

Terracotta bust of the Virgin and Child makes £3m

08 January 2003

European Works of Art: There was no real surprise about the star lot in Sotheby’s December 10 works of art sale. The piece that attracted plenty of attention at the pre-sale viewing and made far and away the highest price in the 177-lot gathering was this c.1520-25 terracotta bust of the Virgin and Child by Il Riccio, which, at £3m, singlehandedly accounted for two thirds of the auction’s entire £4.47m total.

Reynolds portrait of Omai faces export ban

06 January 2003

THE Tate Gallery has launched a campaign to raise £12.5m to acquire Sir Joshua Reynolds’ celebrated portrait of Omai, the South Sea Islander who took London Society by storm in the 18th century.

Germany wants war-looted portrait back from Wales

18 December 2002

Understandably, the Russians left this one behind when they liberated the Reichstag in 1945, but a Tommy NCO with a sense of humour decided to rescue this beleaguered portrait of the First World War German Field Marshall and Weimar president Paul von Hindenburg, right, from the ruins and take him back to the West Country.

Golf lightens Scottish gloom

18 December 2002

WHILE the Irish picture market continues to boom, the Scottish market showed serious jitters at Bonhams Edinburgh (17.5% buyer’s premium) on the evening of December 5.

Sales stay low key as collectors hold on to their Old Masters

18 December 2002

A combination of vendors reluctant to consign the best quality goods and cautious bidding from the trade created a fairly low-key atmosphere at London’s traditional pre-Christmas round of Old Master picture sales.

Court hands lost work back to owner despite compensation deal

17 December 2002

It must be the dream insurance policy: compensation for loss and the return of the goods stolen. But for security giant Chubb, it was a claim too far when wealthy art lover Michael Clarke-Jervoise demanded he be handed back a 17th century Dutch masterpiece for which they had earlier paid him £125,000 in compensation.

£1.35m Munnings is clear winner

13 December 2002

Thanks to the combination of sporting subject matter and extremely slick technique, Sir Alfred Munnings (1878-1959) continues to be one of the few early 20th century British painters to command a truly international following among the world’s richest private collectors.

Thomas Gainsborough: A Country Life

11 December 2002

Thomas Gainsborough: A Country Life, by Hugh Belsey, published by Prestel. ISBN 379132784 £14.95hb

Bringing in a guaranteed harvest in Home Counties stockbroker belt

06 December 2002

Over the last year or so there have been some worryingly disappointing results at London and New York auctions of 19th century British and Continental pictures. Bidding in London at Bonhams’ (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) November 19 sale of 19th Century Paintings, however, exhibited some much-welcomed signs of renewed solidity, with 64 per cent of the 182 lots finding buyers.

Rubens will go on public display

06 December 2002

Rubens’ Massacre of the Innocents is to go on public display at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. Lord Thomson of Fleet, who set a record for an Old Master painting at auction when he paid £45m for the work at Sotheby’s in London in July, announced that the painting would join nearly 2000 other works in his collection at the gallery after it completes a $315m renovation and expansion.

Russian buyers follow the trend when it comes to selectivity

06 December 2002

Russian Works of Art: ALTHOUGH like the silver sale that preceded it, the buying mood was selective for the 343 lots of Russian works of art offered by Sotheby’s Olympia on November 21, it still totalled a respectable £684,000 for the 215 lots that changed hands.

Dining on a grand scale appeals at £20,000

06 December 2002

Five days after Sotheby’s auction, a smaller, 152-lot Russian sale comprising works of art and pictures went under the hammer at Christie’s South Kensington’s rooms on November 26 and here too buyers picked over the contents with 60 per cent changing hands.

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