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.

Lenkiewicz’s public love affair burns on

30 September 2003

The Establishment remains unconvinced but eccentric’s studio sale is a sell-out: HAVING claimed to have slept with 3000 women, and certainly having fathered at least 15 children and kept open studio for the entire community of local vagrants, one of whom he kept embalmed in a drawer for 15 years, the Plymouth painter Robert Lenkiewicz (1941-2002) was undoubtedly one of the great larger-than-life characters of British post-War art.

Did an earl help the £16,500 boat come in?

18 September 2003

The artist might have been unknown, the subject unconfirmed, but this unsigned 133/4 x 173/4in (35 x 45cm) Victorian oil, right, of figures on the deck of a yacht was nonetheless the most hotly contested lot at Stride & Son’s (15% buyer’s premium) August 29 sale in Chichester.

The artist now arriving...

16 September 2003

Fred T. Jane is a turn-of-the-century artist who doesn’t make much of an impact in the sort of standard reference works that line the office walls of serious auctioneers and dealers.

Coming up... Eric Ravilious (1903-1942) watercolour, Hull’s Mill

16 September 2003

If the forthcoming 20/21 British Art Fair at the Commonwealth Institute proves as successful as many dealers are hoping, there will be no shortage of competition for this signed and inscribed Eric Ravilious (1903-1942) watercolour, right, Hull’s Mill, coming up for sale at the Stansted Mountfichet rooms of Sworders (15% buyer’s premium) on October 21.

£4200 picture of contentment

26 August 2003

The strong collecting base for miniatures has cushioned this market from the wider economic vagaries that have affected other more trade-dependent fields such as furniture and silver. Bonhams Bond Street (19.5/10% buyer’s premium) specialist Emma Rutherford reckoned around 80 per cent of entries sold privately in their 193-lot routine miniature and silhouettes sale back on July 1. “Our buyers tend to be retired and tend to have their money readily accessible,” she said.

Fabergé name retains all the old magic, as table clock price shows

26 August 2003

Twice a year Russian silver and icons are included in Christie’s South Kensington’s (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) routine miniature and vertu sales and it was the 44-lot Russian silver section that saw some of the most consistent bidding in this 587-lot July 15 outing.

Support for a second Cellini satyr proves well-founded

19 August 2003

THE Burlington Magazine have extra reason to celebrate their centenary this month as they unveil the rediscovery of a lost work by Benvenuto Cellini. The 19in (48cm) bronze statuette of a satyr has been identified during the preparation of a catalogue raisonné of sculpture in the Royal Collection.

Bonhams’ dark horse comes in at £1.75m

24 July 2003

In terms of ‘Old Masters’ in their strictest sense, the July 9 sale sale at Bonhams (19.5/10% buyer’s premium) Knightsbridge might have been conspicuously short of quality, but the presence of this fine George Stubbs (1724-1806) canvas of a dark bay in a landscape. right, gave proceedings a lift when it sold at £1.75m to an American collector represented by London dealer Ray Waterhouse in the room.

Foreign buyers take prizes as pre-Renaissance paintings suffer in swing to high unsold rates

24 July 2003

ON June 17, Finarte-Semenzato held a further sale of furniture and Old Master paintings in Milan, offering almost 540 lots of which less than half sold.

Rex Whistler leaves home as John Parnaby sells up

15 July 2003

Most celebrated for his murals in the café at Tate Britain, Rex Whistler (1905-1944) was also a fine draughtsman and illustrator as is shown in this pen, ink and watercolour drawing, Netherhampton House in the County of Wiltshire, right

Back among provincial beauties...

09 July 2003

Victorian painter Sophie Anderson (1823-1903), who specialised in heart-warming female figure studies, appears rather infrequently on the market, but a Hampshire religious institution furnished the Lewes branch of Gorringe’s (15% buyer’s premium) with two good quality, signed half-length female subjects in untouched condition for their June 12 picture sale.

A serious view of fantasy photographs

30 June 2003

JUDGING by the sales of photographic images at the recent artLONDON, the public appears to be warming to the genre as a serious art form. A further test of its acceptability may be gleaned until July 26 at Cork Street’s Hirschl Contemporary Art, with the showing of 10 or so photographs (£1000-1800) by Sian Bonnell, whose work is represented in the V&A and Houston’s Museum of Fine Art.

Pooh, Piglet and Toad the washerwoman

30 June 2003

A watercolour and drawings sale held by Bonhams on June 10 included a small group of E.H. Shepard illustrations from the estate of the late Jean Ames, who as Jean Gourlay had befriended the artist during the late 1930s and early 1940s, prior to his second marriage, and though the saleroom was non-committal on the matter, it is possible that these versions were specially made by Shepard for Miss Ames.

Campbell’s art coming again

30 June 2003

TUCKED away through an archway next to wine merchants Berry Bros & Rudd in St James’s Street is Pickering Place, home of Nevil Keating Tollemache – formerly Nevill Keating. Pictures until director Angela Nevill formed a new company with Michael Tollemache, a past chairman of the Society of London Art Dealers and a specialist in Old Master and 19th century paintings.

Master of Disguise

24 June 2003

Coming up in London: Hidden for over 300 years behind the work of a pupil, this image of one of the world’s most celebrated painters at the age of 28 has only recently emerged from beneath layers of overpaint. This newly discovered Rembrandt self-portrait promises to be the highlight of this summer’s auction season in London and will be offered for sale at Sotheby’s on July 10.

Gardner’s growing fan base

17 June 2003

Russian Works of Art: Alongside the sale of Russian paintings in their Bond Street rooms on May 21, Sotheby’s also followed on the next day with a sale of Russian works of art at their Olympia rooms.

Fränzi frenzy hits €130,000

11 June 2003

Highest bid among the 158 lots of Impressionist & Expressionist works on paper in the Tremmel collection auctioned by Ketterer Kunst on May 5-6 was the €130,000 (£89,700), just over top-estimate, paid in the room by a Rhineland dealer against six telephone bidders for Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s Fränzi am Wasser Liegend (Fränzi Reclining at the Waterside, c.1910) in gouache, watercolour and chalk, 13 x 17in (33 x 43.5cm).

Constant bidding for record Belgian Expressionist

11 June 2003

Miety Heiden, Sotheby’s Amsterdam (22% buyer’s premium) picture specialist had a sneaking suspicion that Schelde Roeier, an oil on canvas by Belgian Expressionist Constant Permeke (1886-1952), would do well when it was offered in the 170-lot May 27 sale of Modern and Contemporary Art in the Dutch capital. But no-one was prepared for the record breaking sum.

The history of aviation in photographs

11 June 2003

THOUGH the May 21 sale held by Dominic Winter was a collectors’ sale that also included motoring, maritime and railway models, photographs, prints, etc., it was the aviation material that had star billing. There was yet another selection from the Amédée Gauthier collection of photographs, arranged as before in thematic lots.

Appeal Court ruling protects auctioneer in good faith claim

02 June 2003

A man who had a 17th century Dutch panel painting stolen from his home more than 20 years ago has failed in an Appeal Court to win compensation from Christie’s, who offered the picture for sale in 1997. Key to the test case was Christie’s ability to show they had acted in good faith, adding further legal weight to the importance of due diligence.