Rare Rembrandt Portraits Sell for $14.3 M., Gainsborough Painting Identified in Museum Storage, and More: Morning Links for July 10, 2023

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The Headlines

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HISTORY’S MYSTERIES, PART I. The Royal Museums Greenwich in London has decided that a painting that it has kept in storage storage for decades, as the work of an unknown artist, is actually by the great Thomas Gainsborough, the Guardian reports. The collector Edward Peter Jones donated the portrait to the institution in 1960 with that attribution, but its then-curator believed it was “too coarse to be his work,” its present curator, Katherine Gazzard, told the paper. The art historian Hugh Belsey recently asked to take a look at the oil on canvas, and freshly examined, it did, indeed, appear to be a Gainsborough. The RMG is aiming to raise £60,000 (some $76,900) to do conservation work on the circa 1762 piece, which depicts the naval officer Frederick Cornewall. The change in authorship is “a reminder to take care over our judgments, to be rigorous,” Gazzard said. “But we’re excited rather than embarrassed.”

HISTORY’S MYSTERIES, PART II. Speaking of exciting portrait discoveries: Those two Rembrandts portraits that were found in a private collection, unknown to scholars, sold for £11.2 million ($14.3 million) at Christie’s London on Thursday, CNN reports. That result soundly surpassed the £8 million ($10.2 million) high estimate that the auction house had given the works, which each measure about eight inches high and date to 1635. “I think they are the smallest portraits that he painted that we know of,” Henry Pettifer, international deputy chair of Old Master paintings at Christie’s, said.

The Digest

The Art Market Hamptons fair, which has long appeared in that wealthy New York enclave each summer, said that it is canceling its 2023 edition because of “unforeseen logistical issues,” and that it plans to return in 2024. Last year’s outing featured some 90 exhibitors. [The Art Newspaper]

The Newport Art Museum in Rhode Island hired Danielle Ogden as its executive director. Ogden has been serving as its interim exec since early this year, and has previously held positions at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum and the National Gallery of Singapore[Newport Buzz]

In September, Christie’s will auction some of the rare books collected by the late Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, including rare and first editions by James JoyceF. Scott FitzgeraldP. G. Wodehouse, and more. [BBC News]

Architect Norman Foster has a book out, Norman Foster: Complete Works 1965–Today, which includes drawings of “75 different flying machines” he has piloted, critic Rowan Moore notes. What has he not flown? The “ultimate high-performance machines, which are of course fighters,” Foster said. [The Guardian]

The Kicker

THE NEXT BIG THING. The Royal Academy of Arts in London opens a show about architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron this week, and the former sat down for a conversation in Venice with critic Christopher Hawthorne for the New York Times. It’s a good one, and touches on, among other things, why hospital design is so bad. It’s “because it’s been neglected by architects,” Herzog said. “Hospitals are even worse than prisons. And as soon as people look at it, it has a chance to be better. I’m sure that hospital architecture will be a big thing in the next 10, 20 years.” Here’s hoping. [NYT]

Source: artnews.com

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