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Courtauld buys Gauguin’s pages

An illustrated manuscript by Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) has been acquired by The Courtauld Gallery through the acceptance in lieu scheme.

Titled Avant et après, the 213- page manuscript is part memoir, part manifesto, and contains details of Gauguin’s life and thoughts. Written in 1903, the year of his death, it has never been publicly exhibited before.

The acceptance of the manuscript settled more than £6.5m of tax.

Ernst Vegel in van Claerbergen, head of The Courtauld, said: “Having been lost from view for almost a century, the re-emergence of the original manuscript for Avant et après is a sensational event.”

The manuscript includes anecdotes about his friendships and opinions on the work of his contemporaries such as Degas, Pissarro, Signac and Cézanne. A section reflecting on the time he stayed in Arles references Van Gogh severing his ear, a passage that was long regarded as the primary source of information about the incident.

It will be displayed alongside the Courtauld’s collection of Gauguin paintings and sculptures when it reopens in 2021 following redevelopment.

Pinto Old Masters go to Fitzwilliam

Also via the acceptance in lieu scheme, the Fitzwilliam Museum has acquired three paintings from the estate of the late banker George Pinto (1929- 2018).

Pinto was a life member of the Cambridge museum’s Marlay Group, a patron of the National Gallery and a trustee of the Wallace Collection.

The pictures settled £384,803 of inheritance tax.


'Portrait of a Boy' by Adriaen Jansz van Ostade from the estate of George Pinto. Image copyright: The Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge.

The three paintings are two portraits of boys by the Dutch artist Adriaen van Ostade (1610-85) and a coastal view by Francesco Guardi (1712-93).

Christie’s assisted in the transaction.

Earlier this year the National Gallery acquired a trio of 18th century pictures from Pinto.

Covid accelerates TEFAF online

The European Fine Art Foundation (TEFAF) will launch a new online platform next month.

A digital marketplace was already in the works for the foundation, which usually holds two fairs per year in New York plus its annual flagship fair in Maastricht. However, the covid crisis, which has impacted all three TEFAF events this year, has accelerated the debut of the site.

The first iteration of TEFAF Online runs from November 1-4 with preview days taking place on October 30-31. It will showcase a single work each from 283 exhibitors.

TEFAF New York Fall, which was called off earlier this year over coronavirus concerns, was due to run at the Park Avenue Armory from October 31 to November 4.

Klabin takes senior role at Sotheby’s

Sotheby’s has agreed a deal that makes hedge fund manager Alexander Klabin executive chairman of Sotheby’s Financial Services.

Klabin, who previously attempted to buy Sotheby’s with a group of institutional investors, has acquired a minority stake in the auction house.

He will lead a group seeking to “modernise underwriting processes, improve access to capital markets, and develop innovative financing solutions”. Sotheby’s was bought by French billionaire Patrick Drahi last year.

A quartet of appointments

Bonhams has promoted Leslie Roskind to head of jewellery in Hong Kong. She was previously senior specialist for the jewellery department at Bonhams New York. The next Hong Kong Jewels and Jadeite sale is scheduled to take place in late November this year.

Asian art specialist auctioneer and valuer Richard Harrison has joined Dawsons in Berkshire. He has worked with a number of regional auctioneers, spending 15 years at Essex saleroom Sworders.

Kingham & Orme in Evesham, Worcestershire has hired decorative arts specialist Mark Oliver as a consultant. Previously at Bonhams where he had been head of decorative arts, he is charged with widening Kingham & Orme’s brand and curating high value auctions of Lalique glass, 19th and 20th century sculpture and studio pottery.

Bamfords Auctioneers in Derby has hired Sean Devitt to head up its toy and juvenalia department. He rejoins the firm where he worked between 2008-15.

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In Numbers


A portrait by Sandro Botticelli portrait will be offered at Sotheby’s New York in January with an estimate ‘in excess of’ $80m. It was acquired by the vendor for £810,000 in 1982.


‘Young Man Holding a Roundel’ by Sandro Botticelli – estimated in excess of $80m at Sotheby’s.