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.

A shocking dog story in paint…

13 February 2004

Dead animals are usually regarded as a major commercial no-no in a painting, as is excessive size. It was therefore hardly a surprise that a recently restored and relined 5ft 10in by 8ft (1.78 x 2.44m) Richard Ansdell (1815-1885) canvas featuring a dead wolf and a dying dog did not exactly inspire a blizzard of bids when it came under the hammer at Maxwells of Wilmslow on January 23.

Grayson Perry's 2ft 2in (66cm) high glazed earthenware vase makes £30,000

13 February 2004

An unprecedented crowd of over 500 people turned up to watch, if not bid, at Sotheby’s near sell-out Part I auction of contemporary art on February 5. A stream of telephone bids created numerous eye-catching results, including new auction highs for Nicolas de Staël (£1.15m), Richard Hamilton (£100,000), R.B. Kitaj (£220,000), Paul Pfeiffer (£40,000) and last year’s Turner Prizewinner Grayson Perry (b.1960).

An unsigned Old Master is £13,000 star of new rooms

13 February 2004

Although it might have been small beer by the standards of the New York Old Master sales reported last week, the presence of a £13,000 Italian still-life painting gave a welcome financial boost to Brightwells’ (15% buyer’s premium) inaugural auction at their new purpose-built Easters Court saleroom on the eastern outskirts of Leominster on January 15.

Scot tops the international scene at Sussex sale

13 February 2004

Scottish, Greek and Australian subjects gave a welcome international feel to the main highlights among the pictures offered on the third day of Gorringes’ (15% buyer’s premium) January 27-29 sale in Lewes.

Fabergé collection sold by private treaty

09 February 2004

Sotheby’s announced last week that the Forbes Collection of Fabergé, which had been scheduled for sale at auction in New York in April, has been sold by private treaty to a prominent Russian industrialist.

Sure signs of recovery at flagship sales

09 February 2004

Contemporary art shines in London: The February round of Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary sales in London gave plenty of evidence that the top end of the art market has made a strong recovery from last year’s bout of Iraq War syndrome.

Prints expert Isaac moves out of O’Shea’s shadow

06 February 2004

ONE of London’s most concentrated areas for art dealing, St. James’s, SW1, has a new gallery specialising in fine antique prints – Isaac and Ede at 1 Duke of York Street (Tel: 020 7925 1177).

TEFAF two in battle over a costly courtesan

06 February 2004

IT was not just Sotheby’s and Christie’s who were generating some exceptional prices for Old Masters in New York in the third week of January. The East 87th Street auctioneers Doyle’s (19.5/12% buyer’s premium) generated keen interest from TEFAF Maastricht exhibitors in the room when they included a moody Gottfried Schalken (1643-1706) canvas in their January 21 sale.

Genius of the absurd

02 February 2004

The Art of William Heath Robinson by Geoffrey Beare, published by Paul Holberton for the Dulwich Picture Gallery. ISBN 1898519234 £24.99pb

Top two link up in medieval Manhattan

02 February 2004

FOR their third biennial exhibition, Blumka Gallery of New York and Kunsthandlung Julius Böhler of Munich join forces for a truly stunning collection of recent acquisitions at Blumka’s premises at 209 East 72nd Street.

Old Masters hold sway over Modern Art as prices remain unstable

02 February 2004

PARIS: A PLETHORA of picture sales in Paris in December yielded some unexpectedly high prices but an erratic overall response, with an average take-up (by lot) of around 60 per cent. Results were stronger for Old Masters than for Modern Art, while the presence of buyers from across Europe helped offset the absence of Americans, deterred by the weak dollar.

Sotheby’s bet on Forbes and Whitney as guaranteed winners

23 January 2004

Using the incentive of financial guarantees, Sotheby’s have secured two spectacular consignments for the New York spring auction calendar: the Forbes collection of Fabergé and pictures from the Whitney collection.

A yard start for US clipper

23 January 2004

After years of regular sales at all the major auction houses, marine painting is an area in which top quality works by the most desirable names are in increasingly short supply.

Wedgwood Ravilious Coronation mug

14 January 2004

Following the £620 sale of three Wedgwood Ravilious Coronation mugs in November, Tom Delaney of Mallams in Cheltenham recalled seeing a similar mug in a local house – this much rarer example transfer printed with a brick kiln together with a silhouette portrait of Stoke-on-Trent’s most famous son and the inscription Josiah Wedgwood Barlaston 1940 Etruria 1730.

Giacometti gets foundation at last

12 January 2004

A French Foundation devoted to Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti (1901-66) has finally been launched, ten years after his widow Annette called for its creation in her will. The French government gave the Fondation Alberto & Annette Giacometti the green light on December 9.

First case for France’s new auction watchdog as it acts over suspected fake paintings

05 January 2004

FRANCE’S new auction watchdog has flexed its muscles for the first time, banning two paintings – one attributed to Van Gogh, the other to Toulouse-Lautrec – from sale on suspicion of being fakes.

At £700,000, it’s nothing to sniff at…

16 December 2003

While Sotheby’s incorporated their best objects of vertu into their silver sale on November 20, Christie’s offered theirs in tandem with portrait miniatures in a 264-lot sale the following month on December 9. The vertu side of the sale performed particularly well, with hardly any failures, most of the 55 unsold lots coming from the miniatures.

The hole in the sale’s heart left by beautiful Mrs Baldwin...

11 December 2003

THE secret of great art is supposed to be not what’s put in, but what’s left out, but unfortunately the same doesn’t apply to art sales. The star lot of Christie’s (19.5/12% buyer’s premium) November 26 auction of Important British & Irish Art was meant to be this impressively decorative Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) portrait, right, of the celebrated exotic Georgian beauty, Mrs Baldwin.

Chalet girls clean up afterPooh sale

11 December 2003

A DRAWING by E.H. Shepard of Winnie the Pooh playing a balalaika raised bidding on a third edition of The House at Pooh Corner to £7000 in the Greenslade Taylor Hunt sale of November 13 – and although nothing else in the 825-lot Taunton catalogue came remotely close to that in financial terms, a few other lots deserve mention.

Russians turn up the heat in Lewes

05 December 2003

With Sotheby’s £6.7m Russian Pictures sale notching a hatful of records four days earlier, it was hardly a surprise to see some unfamiliar leather jacket-wearing, mobile phone-wielding characters turning up at Gorringes’ (15% buyer’s premium) November 21-23 sale at Lewes to view four paintings from the estate of a Knightsbridge-based lady who had once dealt in Russian objects.

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