Art Of The Day Weekly
#300 - from 25 April 2013 to 1 May 2013
Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), Vincent’s bedroom in Arles, 1888. Oil on canvas, 72 x 90 cm Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation).
IN THE AIR
Shush, Van Gogh at work
AMSTERDAM – The city with the canals is definitely ‘the place to be’ right now. Following the reopening of the Stedelijk Museum last November and then the much publicized inauguration ten days ago of the renovated Rijksmuseum, it is now the turn of the Van Gogh Museum to have a partial face lifting. On 1 May, this tourist sweetheart – 1.5 million visitors per year- will again be accessible following seven months of works. The latter were necessary to make the venue compatible with the new environmental demands. But the exhibition that is being shown has a much longer genesis since the curators and experts have been perfecting it for eight years now. The theme is very simple, Van Gogh at work. In depth X-ray and microscope analysis have succeeded in finding sand stuck on certain canvases. This proves the artist worked outdoors. They found pieces of newspaper, used to protect the painting. Research can now determine the pigments, the paintbrushes and the degree of the oil paint dilution. The artist’s notebooks, his letters, his tubes and his unique palette –on loan from the musée d’Orsay will also be exposed, thus giving this superstar of art his human dimension.
• Van Gogh at work at the Van Gogh Museum, from 1 May 2013 to 13 January 2014.
Osman Hamdy Bey, A Young Emir studying, oil on canvas, Istanbul, 1878, 45.5 cm x 90 cm. Courtesy Louvre Abu Dhabi.
A glimpse of Louvre Abu Dhabi
ABU DHABI - Under the title Birth of a museum, the Louvre Abu Dhabi inaugurated on 22 April an exhibition of 130 works from its incipient collection that intends to give an overview of things to come. In the presence of French Culture Minister Aurelie Filipetti, the new chairman of the Louvre, Jean-Luc Martinez, and local authorities, the extreme variety of the works exhibited has not given real clues on a question that Western observers stir with delight: the extent to which naked figures, central to European art, will be shown. Arabesque patterns from Ottoman Turkey or silk paintings from Japan’s 17th century go along with Children wrestling by Gauguin and paintings by artists as different as Giovanni Bellini and Magritte. There is however a very old photograph taken in Cairo in 1843 by Philibert Girault de Prangey. Ayoucha is the earliest known portrait of a veiled woman. Must we read it as a symbol?
• Birth of a museum at Louvre Abu Dhabi, from 22 April to 20 July 2013.
These exhibitions also open this week
Dali back home
MADRID – Will his performance at the Reina Sofía beat his record at the Centre Pompidou? Following the impressive figures in the Paris institution, with almost 800 000 visitors, Salvador Dali will try to reach the same success in the Spanish capital. From 27 April to 2 September 2013.
The Bouroullec, an assessment
PARIS – Brothers Ronan et Erwan Bouroullec are the day's heroes in French design. They are also the subject of a retrospective-installation over 1000 square meters at the Arts décoratifs museum. From 26 April to 1 September 2013.
Manet on the lagoon
VENICE – At the Palacio Ducale, Manet, ritorno a Venezia shows how Italian painting influenced the young Manet. The exhibition has managed to exceptionally bring together Olympia from the musée d’Orsay and the Venus of Urbino by Tiziano. From 24 April to 18 August 2013.
ARTIST OF THE WEEK
Eva Jospin, the essential forest
Her family name links her inevitably to the world of politics. Her given name leads her to research origins. In her artistic production, Eva Jospin clearly favors the second choice. She creates thick, impenetrable forests which we must get near to if we wish to discover their reality. They are not made in wood but rather in a modest cardboard that is corrugated, cut, hacked, slashed, glued, until she produces a surprising trompe-l’œil. Her art is in some ways political, even though the artist rejects that notion. It questions us on the forest, the real forest. Will we soon be forced to only see a mock version of it? This approach is a sort of a new version of Arte Povera, that puts the accent on the minor materials we produce and over-consume without any after thoughts, the symbol of a society of abundance that no doubt wil not be eternal.
• Eva Jospin is presented at the Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire and at the Galerie des Gobelins in Paris.
Let us now praise slush
PARIS – Kitsch is a type of beauty. This is generally admitted today, whether it pleases Adolf Loos advocates or not… Aficionados of bad taste do exist and they will surely find their dream-come-true in the auction dedicated to a typically French specialty, the ‘barbotine’, that is a technique of bossed ceramic using a paste that is easy to melt. The objects made in the workshops of Sarreguemines, whether Joans of Arc or Napoleons, with their unrefined traits, stand side by side with Russian princesses, Norwegian queens, English suffragettes or an Uncle Sam with mocking eyes. A great number of personalities, now forgotten by the general public, are proof that this art form that bloomed during the XIXth century and the beginning of the XXth was actually a remarkable ‘mirror of history’. Aside from the learned, who remembers Paul Kruger, the president of the Transvaal, or Bartolomé Mitre, the president of Argentina? True amateurs will detect the difference between the schools of Fives-Lille, Saint-Clément and Desvres. While the lots are presented at symbolic estimates -€50- the flower boxes in Vallauris or Longchamp could easily cost twenty times more.
• Barbotines at hôtel-Drouot (SVV Rieunier & Associés) on 29 April 2013.
Beltracchi, the love of forging
The history of art has an unlimited quantity of fascinating forgers, from Van Meegeren who brought Vermeer back to life, to Elmer de Hory, the hero of Orson Welles’ documentary F for Fake. One could think that the development of investigating techniques such as X-rays, the analysis of pigments and the increased access to catalogues raisonnés through internet had put an end to these adventurers. That is far from the truth, as we can see in the Beltracchi affair which this book dissects. You take incompetent or vulnerable experts, naïve or corruptible art dealers, an auction house without a memory, and you have the perfect ingredients for this mystery. Wolfgang Fischer, born in 1951, the son of a modest church painter, who became Wolfgang Beltracchi by taking the name of his wife and accomplice, was thus able to dupe the most famous persons in the art world. Art historian Werner Spies, art dealer Marc Blondeau, gallery owners Dickinson, Malingue, Aittouarès or Knoedler were all drawn into his games. By forging paintings, and especially by inventing false genealogies and imaginary collections, Beltracchi went from petty jobs waiting on tables in a trip-tease joint, or writing scenarios every now and then to an unbelievable ‘career’. For thirty years he put out on the art market dozens of false works by the infamous Campendonk –the name that helped reveal the scandal-, by Max Ernst or Derain… When the case was heard very quickly in Cologne in 2011, Beltracchi was condemned but the harm was done. Reputations had been tarnished and museums polluted. In a very sensitive dossier, an interesting appendix traces the itinerary of the main paintings concerned. An investigation worthy of the most famous police…
• L’Affaire Beltracchi by Stefan Koldehoff and Tobias Timm, publishing house Jacqueline Chambon, 2013, 256 p., €24.
CHAUMONT-SUR-LOIRE - The 22nd International Festival of Gardens is held from 24 April to 20 October 2013.
HYÈRES – The 28th Festival international de mode et de photographie will be held at Villa Noaille from 26 to 29 April 2013.
LONDON – The London Original Print Fair will be held at the Royal Academy of Arts, from 25 to 28 April 2013.
LOS ANGELES – The first edition of Paris Photo Los Angeles will be held from 26 to 28 April 2013 at the Paramount studios.
NEW YORK – The Foundation for Contemporary Arts, created by Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and Merce Cunningham, celebrated on 22 April 2013 its 50th anniversary. Since its creation it has distributed more than €10 million in donations, exclusively through the sale of artists' works.
PARIS - The Salon du Livre Ancien will be held from 25 to 28 April 2013, at the Grand Palais.
PARIS – The furniture auction of the hôtel Crillon, organized by Artcurial from 18 to 22 April 2013, brought in €6 million. The bar by César was sold for €324 800.