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.

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.

Contemporary art in da house

30 May 2003

SHOWHOUSES in new housing developments are often a depressing, formulaic affair but this is not the case at the best designed showhouse in town at 20 Aubrey Square, a new residential development of 20 town houses at Campden Hill, Kensington, London W8.

£500,000 daguerreotype sets new record for photograph

29 May 2003

London’s main photograph auctions took place last week. The high point of the series came at Christie’s on May 20 in a single-owner evening auction of daguerreotypes by the French photographer Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey, when this image of the Temple of Olympian Zeus on the Acropolis sold for £500,000, reckoned by the auctioneers to be a new auction high for a photograph.

Orpen and Turner draw specialists to Essex

14 May 2003

ON the same day as Whyte’s Dublin sale, the Irish theme continued this side of the water at Essex when Sworders (15 per cent buyer’s premium) offered a drawing by Sir William Orpen (1878-1931) at their Stansted Mountfichet rooms on April 29 – a 16 by 14in (40 x 35cm) signed pencil and coloured washes piece entitled The Furniture Painter.

Some French things are still popular in New York

13 May 2003

THERE was a collective sigh of relief in the New York salerooms last week when, after a long period of uncertainty following the war in Iraq and turmoil in the stockmarkets, both Sotheby’s and Christie’s held impressive Part I Impressionist and Modern sales. Any fears that anti-French feeling would spill over in the salerooms proved unfounded after French artists took the top honours at both houses.

Compensation for those who have been grounded

13 May 2003

MAGRITTE'S Oiseau du Ciel, pictured right, commissioned by Belgium’s Sabena airline in 1965, was sold at auction in Brussels on May 5 for a triple-estimate €3.4m (£2.3m).

Bidders frustrated as Spanish State pre-empts Goyas

13 May 2003

THERE were suppressed cries of irritation from the public at the May 8 sale held in Madrid by Alcalá Subastas as the Spanish State pre-empted all the important lots of the evening, including two newly-discovered paintings by Goya.

Blazing stars…

09 May 2003

Illustrated right is one of 15 chromolitho plates after pastel originals by Étienne Léopold Trouvelot that make up a scarce, complete set of The Trouvelot Astronomical Drawings, the work of a keen observer and talented artist who spent the years 1872-74 using the 15in refractor at Harvard Observatory.

Barcelona trip is an extra draw for Miró admirers

08 May 2003

FAMOUS since the 16th century for its boys’ school, the small Rutland market town of Uppingham can also brag about being the home of the Goldmark Gallery. With a secondhand book department, this very amiable and innovative gallery always has much to delight, particularly in the field of 20th century prints.

Hoskins sells at £17,500

08 May 2003

Not such a pretty face, perhaps, but the artist was certainly worth a thousand dollars or more.