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.

Wardle’s worldwide appeal

06 April 2004

A POPULAR breed, a popular artist, plenty of puppies, totally fresh to the market, a come-hither estimate... When it came to dog paintings, this signed Arthur Wardle (1864-1949) canvas of a long-haired Jack Russell terrier with her pups had pretty well everything going for it when it came under the hammer at Wintertons (15% buyer’s premium) of Lichfield on March, estimated at just £2000.

£26,000 for bazaar-buy Whistler

06 April 2004

BOUGHT for a few pounds at a Surrey church bazaar within the last five years, this James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) pen and ink drawing, right, made a tidy profit for its vendor when it fetched a surprise £26,000 at Rosebery’s (15% buyer’s premium) Quarterly Select Auction in West Norwood, South East London.

Bidding stays solid in the gossamer world of Annie French

01 April 2004

WITH a style, as one writer has put it, “sweetly intensified to a point where the world is reduced to a world of gossamer”, Annie French (1872-1965) was a Glasgow School artist who took the Art Nouveau idiom of Beardsley and Burne-Jones to new decorative extremes.

Traditional demand lifts bidding in provinces

01 April 2004

WITH a name like the Old Picture Palace, the former cinema in Matlock that is the newly acquired saleroom of the Derby auctioneers Bamfords (15% buyer’s premium) should be the sort of venue where the more traditional end of the art market should feel at home.

Another five-figure bid underlines Jane Vivian as a name to notice

23 March 2004

The well-worn cliché about everyone in the trade wanting to buy the same few pictures was certainly in evidence at the March 9 sale of British and Continental pictures at Bonhams (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) at Knightsbridge when this highly commercial oil-on-canvas view of the Piazzatta, Venice, indistinctly signed Viviani, came under the hammer with a highly tempting estimate of £2000-3000.

Architect donates 600-work collection to Pallant gallery

23 March 2004

THE architect of the newly built British Library is to donate 600 art works collected over 50 years to the nation. Professor Sir Colin St John Wilson will hand over the gift to Pallant House Gallery in Chichester via the National Art Collections Fund (Art Fund), the UK’s leading independent art charity.

Turmoil years are Fine Art choice for a comeback

23 March 2004

FOUNDED in 1876, The Fine Art Society at 148 New Bond Street is one of London’s oldest and most innovative galleries and it has chosen a fascinating theme for its next exhibition, which opens on March 23 when the gallery gets back to business after two months renovation.

Roses’ bloom has faded, but not blown over

23 March 2004

FIFTEEN or so years ago works by the likes of Helen Allingham (1848-1926) and the Stannards of Bedfordshire had the sweet smell of success all over them. However, in more recent times the general consensus is that watercolours of this genre, which I loosely describe as “roses round the cottage door”, have slipped from favour.

The problem of identifying bonafide Boningtons…

23 March 2004

Illustrated in colour on the catalogue cover of Clevedon Salerooms’ March 4 sale was a watercolour described as being by Richard Parkes Bonington (1801-1828).

The fall and rise of a tragic young man

23 March 2004

ALTHOUGH Derwent Lees (1885-1931) is recorded in reference books, such as the Handbook of Modern British Painting and Print-making 1900-1990, published by Ashgate, he is not that well known outside specialist trade circles.

Scottsboro Boys, Fancies and Abbey Fisher’s pickles

23 March 2004

A PORTRAIT of two of the ‘Scottsboro Boys’, illustrated right, topped this year’s sale of African-Americana at Swann’s when it was knocked down at $36,000 (£19,080). But there was also a bid of $20,000 (£10,600) on a group of 40 letters and telegrams addressed to Dickenson, Hill & Co. and S.R. Fondren, slave dealers of Richmond, Virginia, in the years 1836-62.

New York from the rooftops, with Skyboy adding to the Right Wonder

16 March 2004

TWO views of New York from what were, at the time, the city’s tallest buildings, are illustrated here. Both were part of the February 17 Swann’s sale of ‘100 Fine Photographs’, where ‘The Movement’, another of Frantisek Drtikol’s much admired pigment prints was scheduled to have become the sale’s best seller for the third time in a row, but in this instance failed to live up to expectations of $340,000-60,000.

Sisterly seamstress sentiments help to sell samplers

16 March 2004

IN addition to technical excellence, decorative appeal and early date, sentiment is an important player in the sampler market.

A bid of £10,000? Put in on the slate

16 March 2004

“Probably the best sale of this type in a very long time. Very strong across the board,” enthused specialist Roy Bolton after his February 27 auction of Old Master Pictures at Christie’s South Kensington (17.5/10% buyers premium).

When Newlyn is still a prize catch...

16 March 2004

WITH collectors’ taste in Modern British art shifting in recent years from pre-war to post-war, the once all-conquering Newlyn School has not generated as many headline-stealing results as it did in the late 1980s.

Bronzes steal the show at Horta

09 March 2004

NONE of the February auctions in Brussels were timed to coincide with the Foire des Antiquaires de Belgique (Belgian Antique Dealers’ Fair), staged from February 6-15, perhaps because this was the first year that the new-look fair had attracted such international attention.

Bonhams get middle market mix right

09 March 2004

WITH thousands of middle-class homes being turned into white boxes every week, how on earth can English auctioneers sustain the market for middle-of-the-road Victorian pictures?

Christie’s to hold sales again in Spain

01 March 2004

Christie’s are to hold their first auction in Spain since 1999 this autumn when they offer a sale devoted to Spanish paintings in Madrid on October 6. Although they have maintained an office in Madrid, Christie’s last Spanish auction was five years ago when they held the Bendinat House sale in Mallorca.

Bobbing up in Cork, the first view of the first yacht club

26 February 2004

There was high excitement at the Cork rooms of Joseph Woodward & Sons (15% buyer’s premium) on February 11 when what was thought to be the earliest surviving painted view of Cork harbour fetched what is known to be the highest auction price ever paid for a painting in the city.

Legendary clipper sets $270,000 record for a Dawson with a difference

26 February 2004

IF asked to nominate the subject of a commercial painting by Montague Dawson (1895-1973), most specialists and collectors would think of a clipper ship, preferably an American clipper in full sail on picturesquely choppy, but not too choppy, seas.

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