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My friend the artist Padraig Mac Miadhachain, who has died aged 88, lived most of his life at Swanage on the Isle of Purbeck, Dorset, and also had a long association with St Ives, Cornwall, where he was a member of the Penwith Society of Arts and maintained a studio for many years.Paddy travelled widely, throughout the US, South America, Europe, north Africa, the middle east and central Asia. These experiences contributed to a vast mental archive of visual images from which he drew the inspiration for paintings that distilled these memories into simplified and vital expressions of form and colour. Continue reading... [...]
Sun, Apr 23, 2017
Source: The Guardian
Auction house Im Kinsky accused of moral bankruptcy for sale of Bartholomeus van der Helst work despite ownership disputeA 17th-century Dutch old master painting stolen by the Nazis is to be auctioned in Vienna next week, provoking outrage from the heirs of the owners from whom it was looted who have accused the auction house of moral bankruptcy.Auctioneers at Im Kinsky have not shied away from describing the painting, Bartholomeus van der Helst's Portrait of a Man, as disputed stolen art in the sales catalogue. They state that its current owner bought it in good faith from a German art dealer in 2004 and under Austrian law she has the right to sell it. Continue reading... [...]
Sun, Apr 23, 2017
Source: The Guardian
I have never understood why, of all the great cosmopolitan cities, Brussels is the one that most routinely gets described as ‘boring'. Its critics describe it as ‘anonymous', and I suppose, to an extent, it is. There is no defining architectural style where, in the course of a single street, you can run the gamut from medieval ruin to Art Deco masterpiece to Brutalist anomaly – and probably pass several decent bars along the way. For my part, I've always been fascinated by this plurality, and if the city does have a character, it is one that doesn't pretend to be anyone else's idealised version of itself. Looking round this year's edition of Art Brussels – the 35th – you could well say that its identity remains true to that of its host city. The distribution of fair livery is kept to a minimum, and, as on the streets of Molenbeek or Saint-Gilles, you will encounter a baffling juxtaposition every few metres. * This, for the most part, is for the good – and nowhere more so than at the stand of venerable Salisbury gallery the New Art Centre. Set up in 1958 and still going strong, the NAC's stand brings together what should be a baffling range of exhibits by everyone from Anthony Caro and Barbara Hepworth to 2016 Turner Prize nominee Josephine Pryde. Pride of place goes to the late Angus Fairhurst's The Birth of Consistency, a bronze sculpture of a quizzical gorilla staring into a mirror and playing the part of Narcissus. I've never been a great fan, but as an art fair set piece, it can't help but draw you in. * A couple of stands down, I ran into another British dealer, Kim Savage of London's FOLD gallery, and ask what the appeal of Art Brussels is for him. [...]
Sun, Apr 23, 2017
Source: Apollo Magazine
Marian Goodman Gallery; Camden Arts Centre, LondonTwo veteran European artists conjure marvel and mischief from the everyday lives of womenThe English have landed. That is what Parisians of Annette Messager's generation used to say when their period came. And now the 73-year-old French artist has returned the favour, arriving in London with a flood of bleeding wombs, fallopian tubes and bare-breasted women all painted, aptly, in spreading red watercolour. You don't like the sound of it? Messager has you fixed in her sights.It is eight years since her big Hayward retrospective, and more since Messager won the Golden Lion at Venice. Certain things have changed, including a more obvious response to current affairs. Many of these watercolours simply transcribe press shots of Femen, the Ukrainian feminist group, whose slogan – “our weapons are bare breasts” – appears on their bodies during topless protests. Others are unexceptionable jabs at oppressive laws – no female drivers in Saudi Arabia, say. But there are still moments of typically mischievous affront.Wound about with wallpaper, Brătescu is a sad harlequin; draped in polythene, she turns into a ghost Continue reading... [...]
Sun, Apr 23, 2017
Source: The Guardian
Among the telling anecdotes about the place of Ovid in the imaginations of Renaissance artists is a story about Andrea Mantegna told by the poet Antonio Tebaldeo. While so ill that he and those around him believed he would die, Mantegna begged for a particularly beautiful statue he had heard of to be brought to him. On touching it, he was cured. Turning to those present he said: O wonderful hand of the maker, which not only gives thisstone life,but gives it the power togive life. Your stones must yield,Deucalion! They were given life, but these ones, given life, are life-giving too. The reference is to the first book of Ovid's Metamorphoses, where, in a world destroyed by the Flood, Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha create a new race of men. They walk, throwing stones over their shoulders and the stones ‘lose their hardness and stiffness, become soft, and once soft take on form'. In the middle of the process, they look like ‘statues just begun'. A miracle, by any measure. But for Mantegna, the sculptor whose statue he had touched went one stage further: animated by the maker's hand, it in turn reanimated Mantegna. Even if Mantegna's miraculous cure-by-statue seems too good to be true, it shows how prominent a place Ovid held in the artist's imagination. He was not alone in his fixation. From Mantegna himself, to Piero di Cosimo, Pollaiuolo, Botticelli, to Titian's Poesie – to name only a few – the Metamorphoses was the ultimate sourcebook for artists. In art from the 15th through to the 17th centuries, where there is myth, it is almost guaranteed to be Ovidian in some shape or form – even if, as Malcolm Bull pointed out in Mirror of the Gods, the countless mythographical handbooks, epitomes and emblem collections of the period meant that [...]
Sat, Apr 22, 2017
Source: Apollo Magazine
The painting Retrato de nia o Joven Inmaculada (Portrait of girl or Young Immaculate) is attracting the attention of experts at the Spanish auction house Abalarte in Madrid, where it has been billed as a potential early work work by Velzquez due to be auctioned on 25 April. The 57cm x 44cm oil on canvas was discovered by chance by Richard de Willermin, a specialist in 17th- and 18th-century Italian, Flemish and Spanish art who consults as an expert for Abalarte. Specialists at Madrids Prado museum have examined the painting but declined to comment publicly on whether it is an authentic work by Velzquez. The discovery has, however, made the auction house extra cautious, and it has not released an estimate ahead of the sale. The work is in good condition, having for some time belonged to a private owner based in Madrid and had been in the family for generations. It depicts a young girl, who might be Velzquezs sister, De Willermin says, although little is known about the artists family. It is evident that it is an authentic Velzquez, De Willermin says, suggesting that it might be one of the artists earliest works, painted when he was still an apprentice. He might have painted it in Seville around 1617, before the two canvases of the Immaculate Conception at the National Gallery in London (1618-19) and the Focus-Abengoa Foundation in Seville (1618-20), and The Adoration of the Magi (1619) in the Prado, De Willermin says. There is an unquestionable connection through the clothing and the technique. The girl stands with a crown of stars, as with the Immaculate Conception at the National Gallery. An x-ray of the portrait has revealed that a crown of stars is hidden by overpaint. [...]
Fri, Apr 21, 2017
Source: The Art Newspaper
Historic England seeks donations to restore Peter Laszlo Peri's postwar sculpture found dilapidated in south-east London gardenTwo dirty and dilapidated concrete figures of naked sunbathers which lay mouldering in the corner of a hotel garden have been identified as an important, presumed lost sculpture from the 1951 Festival of Britain.Peter Laszlo Peri's The Sunbathers was on the wall of an entrance to Waterloo station for the festival, an attempt by the Labour government bring cheer to the country after the second world war. Continue reading... [...]
Fri, Apr 21, 2017
Source: The Guardian
Introducing Rakewell, Apollo's wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories. The race for the French election is hotting up, but so far the candidates have had precious little to say on the matter of culture. A notable exception to this is Emmanuel Macron. At a rally in Lyon a few months ago, the En Marche! founder loudly declared that there was ‘no such thing as French culture', opining instead that all ‘national' cultures are in fact pluralist in character. ‘L'art français, je ne l'ai jamais vu', he declared on a visit to London in February. For the internationalists among us, the sentiment may seem noble. But Macron's choice of words could have been better. Critics were swift to respond, with many pointing out that ‘French art', as commonly interpreted, had produced such minor names as Fragonard, Cézanne and Duchamp. ‘I would advise [Macron] to visit the Louvre', philosopher Bérénice Levet told Le Figaro. Meanwhile, Front National leader Marine Le Pen jetted off to Moscow last month with the dual aims of meeting members of the country's parliament and visiting the Kremlin's current exhibition of French gothic art. But Le Pen ran into Vladimir Putin, it seems, on her way to the exhibition… Got a story for Rakewell? Get in touch at rakewell@apollomag.com or via @Rakewelltweets. [...]
Fri, Apr 21, 2017
Source: Apollo Magazine
Apollo's regular insight into art market trends and highlights. Visit Apollo Collector Services for expert advice on navigating the art market. So much modern and contemporary art is about process, with the methodology more important than the final product itself. It is a concept that would be incomprehensible to the maker of this exceptional and massive (45cm wide) cinnabar lacquer dish – a work of art manufactured using arguably the most laborious process of all. Lacquer is a rather miraculous, unsung material. Made from the sap of a species of tree native to southern China but also cultivated in Japan and Korea, this resin hardens when exposed to oxygen and transforms into a natural plastic that is light, resistant to water and can withstand heat, and even certain acids. It can also be coloured by the addition of minerals, the most popular being a red form of mercury sulphide known evocatively as cinnabar. Little wonder that this material was favoured for domestic items throughout Asia. No less importantly, lacquer also allows for the most precise and delicate of carving – although, for some reason, only the Chinese chose to do this. During the second half of the 14th century, this once humble artisanal craft was transformed by imperial patronage. For around 100 years, the imperial workshops produced lacquer wares of an unsurpassed scale and refinement, made for diplomatic exchange as well as court use. Unlike contemporaneous porcelain, however, this was not a process that allowed for large-scale series production. First, a turned wood structure would be produced, and then the surface would be built up by at least 30 – and up to 200 – thin layers of lacquer, each one of which would have to dry before being polished and the next coat applied. Only then could the carving begin. The process could [...]
Fri, Apr 21, 2017
Source: Apollo Magazine
The German artist Gregor Schneider, who is known for his unsettling installations, will transform a square in downtown Athens next month but the end result may, for now, be hard to decipher. Schneider plans to turn the site into a place of shelter according to a cryptic press statement. Omonia Square will become a neutral zone hidden from attackers and the watchful eye of Google maps alike as part of the Onassis Cultural Centre's Fast Forward Festival 4. The concept of camouflage will be key (though perhaps the main clue is in the title of the piece: Invisible City, 2-14 May). Schneider usually causes a stir; Haus u r the artist's childhood home in Rheydt, north-west Germany, which he has reconfigured since 1985is a work in progress. In 2008, he outlined plans to create a room in which a person could die (The Dying Room was eventually unveiled at the Kunstraum Innsbruck in 2011). [...]
Fri, Apr 21, 2017
Source: The Art Newspaper

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