London dealer John Mitchell launched his eponymous gallery specialising in traditional British and European paintings 90 years ago.
With a background in picture conservation, he took a hands-on-approach to art dealing and imparted to his clients a comprehensive understanding of the processes involved in the creation of the works he sold.
This emphasis on the physical condition of paintings continued with his children who took over the business, and then his grandsons James and William Mitchell, who run John Mitchell Fine Paintings today.
“We pride ourselves on the fact that not only do we research and write about our paintings, but that we are equally happy to hang and light them in clients’ homes as well as help with the cleaning, restoration and repairs: an academic grasp of paintings balanced by practical know-how”, says James.
To celebrate the milestone the Mayfair gallery holds a special summer exhibition showcasing a varied stock of traditional pictures, including paintings, pastels and drawings dating from the 17th to late 19th centuries. The show, at the gallery’s space in Brook Street until July 21, is accompanied by a fully illustrated edition of Gallery Notes, the publication it launched back in the 1950s.
A key work available for sale at £145,000 is L’Ours blanc or Le Repos du Modèle, depicting a reclining model on a polar bear skin by Belgian painter Alfred Stevens (1823-1906). Stevens enjoyed a glittering career in Paris at the time of the Impressionists and is best known for his pictures of elegant modern women.
Previously unrecorded, the canvas was described by James as “excessively dirty and yellowed” when it arrived at the gallery and says the cleaning had been “nothing short of miraculous”.
He adds: “It shows the painting – among other attributes – to be a virtuoso exercise in different shades of white, off-white, cream and grey, in the tradition of the greatest Old Masters.”
He adds the unusual landscape shape of the canvas is almost unknown in the artist’s oeuvre.
Other highlights include a hitherto unrecorded Italian kitchen scene still-life by Giuseppe Recco (1634-95) priced at £95,000 and an “immaculately preserved” Scandinavian-inspired landscape by 17th century Dutch painter Jacob van Ruisdael (c.1628-82), which is available to buy for £275,000.
Haynes family firm
With stock of up to 2500 paintings at any time, Haynes Fine Art is recognised as one of Britain’s largest provincial fine art dealers. The family-run business, which specialises in British and European paintings, sculptures and works of art from the 19th-21st century, turns 50 this year.
It was established in the Cotswolds in 1971 by Tony Haynes Senior and is run today by his son, Tony Haynes.
An exhibition to celebrate the anniversary takes place at Picton House, the gallery’s flagship space in the Cotswolds, from July 3- September 4, and its Belgravia gallery in London from July 8-September 4. Prices range from £800 to £650,000.
“We have pulled out all the stops to present a full catalogue of international 19th and 20th century art, and key contemporary names”, says Tony Jr.
Among them is an oil by Eugène Boudin (1824-98) depicting fisherwomen by the shore, available with an asking price of £95,000, and a large oil by Edouard Léon Cortès (1882-1969) of the artist’s signature Paris streetscape, Boulevard de la Madeleine.
Greek black-gaze focus
Also marking 50 years in the trade is London antiquities gallery Charles Ede. Dealer Charles Ede (1921-2002) opened the gallery in Brook Street in 1971 and his son James took over the daily running of it in 1986. Today, the gallery is run by directors Martin Clist and Charis Tyndall.
The pair are holding an official 50th celebration in October with an exhibition dedicated to Greek black-glaze pottery at the gallery’s current space in Three King’s Yard.
“This is a field which much appealed to Charles and Jamie Ede, as well as to both Martin and myself”, says Charis Tyndall. “I think it is an under-appreciated area but one which appeals to not only the more seasoned buyer of ancient art, but also the modern eye of the contemporary collector.”
A hardback book will also be produced to coincide with the exhibition and an opening party is planned for October 14 with the exhibition running for a fortnight until October 29.
For those unable to wait, the gallery has recently released its summer digital catalogue. Focused on the theme of ‘collecting the past’, it features ancient art arranged in various domestic settings throughout an imaginary day.
The catalogue includes a Greek black-figure eye amphora from Athens in the manner of the Antimenes Painter, which is listed for sale at £120,000.