img_29-3.jpg
James Butterwick.

You have 2 more free articles remaining

1 What is your area of expertise?

Primarily Russian modernist art from around 1890-1930. This is the most interesting period to me because it’s when Russian art became the equal of European art.

2 How did you get your start?

My family was always keen that I went into the art world. My grandfather was head of silver at Sotheby’s and my godfather was the president of Sotheby’s Parke Bernet in New York, so it seemed like a good career for me. I did Russian and history of art at university and got a grad place at Sotheby’s in 1987. But I can’t stand institutions and wanted to get into Russia, and I went into the dealing world in 1988.

3 How did you become a whistle-blower in the world of Russian art?

It started in 2011 when books were published on the artist Natalia Goncharova that included large

numbers of fakes. I was part of a seminal press conference held with the Russian News and Information Agency when we stated our despair that such books could have been produced.

4 What is exciting about the business at the moment?

Being asked to exhibit at TEFAF several years ago was a monster positive because there’s been this shadow over Russian art. People are aware of how much faking there is in this market, and I was the first gallery dealing in early 20th century Russian art to stand there. Another highlight was selling paintings by Alexander Bogomazov (1880-1930) to the Kröller-Müller Museum in the Netherlands. Now I’m coming to Masterpiece and will be staging an exhibition of Alexander Archipenko (1887-1964) pictures there.

5 What is the best exhibition you’ve seen recently?

Brueghel in Vienna, which I travelled specially to see. It was mind-blowing. Even though they were painted in the 16th century, these pictures are macabre and almost modern, many of them poking fun at superstition.

jamesbutterwick.com

If you would like to be featured in 5 Questions, please contact francesallitt@antiquestradegazette.com