Exceptional Minds

THE ART OF RICHARD DADD

As a promising artist, Richard Dadd committed the ultimate crime of murder in the summer of 1843. He was never sentenced in the true sense of the word, instead he was committed as a “criminal lunatic” who then went on to continue to paint during his confinement in an asylum. Today he is remembered as one of the Victorian era’s most accomplished artists. So much so, that The Art of Bedlam: Richard Dadd can be seen at the Bethlem Museum of the Mind in Beckenham, South London, until the 6th February 2016.

Dadd’s work offers a melancholy perspective on art, mental illness, and our seemingly obsessive view that they might be somehow related. In Iceland, recent studies have shown a link behind creativity and mental illness. At the age of 20, he had been shown at the Royal Academy.

Had Richard Dadd had not been famous as a “mad” artist, he would have been famous as a Victorian Orientalist painter. In 1842 he travelled as a gentleman’s travelling companion, visiting Egypt, Turkey, and Syria. It was Egypt that stayed with him throughout the remainder of his life, and his interest went beyond art. He believed he was in contact with Egyptian Gods, and he also thought that the Pope was out to get him.

In August 1843, Dadd stabbed his father to death. He escaped to France, was extradited and spent the remainder of his life in Victorian asylums. First in London’s Bethlem Hospital, or better known as Bedlam, then housed in what is today the Imperial War Museum, and eventually died in Broadmoor, in 1886.

Contrary to preconceived ideas of a Victorian asylum, Dadd was allowed to paint, was given painting materials and a space to work on his art. What he then went on to paint presents an often eerie archive of a troubled mind.

His 1853 work, “Portrait of a Young Man” was painted during his stay in Bedlam. It has a dreamlike, fantastical nature to it, and his portrait of the “Alienist” doctor, Sir Alexander Morison has similar surreal qualities and composition.

But his works prior to his incarceration were no less remarkable. In fact his works prior to and during his stays in asylums show no marked differences in style. His world had become much more limited, but it seems that this did not impede Dadd’s creative style at all.

But it was not just Dadd who was tortured by mental health issues, countless painters, composers, writers and musicians have suffered at the hands of some form of mental illness. Be that a bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia, or depression, some of the greatest works of all time have been penned, painted, and created in the artists darkest moments.

Ludwig Van Beethoven, some have speculated suffered from bipolar disorder, and his eventual death from liver damage indicated that alcoholism may have played a part in the great composers end.

Edvard Munch was another troubled soul, his most famous work, “The Scream” has been said to have suffered with depression, agoraphobia, suffered a nervous breakdown, and frequently had hallucinations. The latter giving him inspiration to create his most famous work.

The Norwegian artist said of the relationship between his mental illness and his work, "My fear of life is necessary to me, as is my illness. Without anxiety and illness, I am a ship without a rudder ... my sufferings are part of myself and my art. They are indistinguishable from me, and their destruction would destroy my art." He wrote in one of his journals, "Illness, insanity and death were the black angels that kept watch over my cradle and accompanied me all my life."

Of Van Gogh's mental illness, the painter has been said to have suffered from depression perhaps even manic depression, bipolar disorder, hallucinations and episodes of derangement as well as epilepsy. He ultimately committed suicide in 1890 at the age of 37.

But it is not just artists and composers who have suffered mental illnesses, Sylvia Plath, famously known as one of the early confessional poets, detailed her story on the pages that she wrote. “The Bell Jar” was written in the form of a novel, and her poems often reflected her life.

At just 20-years-old, she stole her mother’s sleeping pills, crawling under the porch of her home to die. However, she vomited up the pills and was found, bringing to an end the 40-hour police search to find her.

After she had attempted to take her life, she was admitted to McLean Hospital for some six months, and she received one of the traditional therapies of the time, the electric shock treatment. Ten-years later she did succeed in taking her own life, after making her children’s breakfast, she wrote a note for the housekeeper and put her head in the oven.

One of my all-time favourite artists is Jackson Pollock. Jackson suffered with clinical depression and in 1938 he had a breakdown. He took to alcohol and abused certain substances in order to cope with his debilitating self-doubt, and a marriage that was in turmoil. Yet Pollock to me and many other people was an inspiration, he was also a visionary abstract artist.

So many of the great artists, composers, writers and poets have suffered in some way, yet mental health is still seen as a stigma, and the stigma is the only shameful thing about mental health. There is often a lack of understanding when it comes to these disorders, and it's that lack of understanding that can leave those who are battling these issues with feelings of isolation and hopelessness.

Mental Health
Mental Health is Important Health

 

But it's not just the mental health issues that people are battling, many are fighting against the associated stigma, something that is hard to remember in a world full of bias. Until we can educate one another about mental illness, and for us to show compassion towards those who suffer, ignorance will endure as will the stigma alongside it. It's an illness not always visible by the human eye, people have inner fights with their own demons.

It is also an illness that for generations has not stopped great works, great compositions, and great writing from being produced. But those artworks, poems, musings, and that wonderful music, should be celebrated given the inner demons carried by the works creators, not only battling those demons, but battling against stigma, bias, and misconception. In fact they are often as challenging as the illness itself.

Mental illness is a big issue. As a society we generally ignore it until we have to face it, or it happens to us or someone we know. It is also a huge issue for business, yet we still see examples of discrimination. We are starting to see a movement to tackling mental health issues in the workplace, but can and should businesses do more?

It can be something as simple as making sure that employees have a fair life/work balance, or maybe, as we find it necessary to have a trained first aider in a factory, an element of training could be given in how to recognise the signs of mental health to members of staff.

That doesn't need a trained counsellor, it needs someone who can recognise the signs of mental health problems, and how to intervene, assist, and support, in a helpful way, at least until such time as professional help can be found.

Appointing a mental health first-aid officer who can recognise or lead the response if someone shows signs of anxiety, depression, substance misuse, or if someone has a panic attack. All of those symptoms and signs are just as worthy as responding to someone who has an accident at work. Yet, we rarely consider it.

A mental health first-aid course needs to be considered with care. Teaching a person how to approach a person is critical. Approaching someone who is thinking or acting suicidally, is very different to approaching a heart-attack victim.

A course of this type should not aim to teach people how to be counsellors or mental health professionals, rather it should give people the skills to help to keep people safe in a crisis until professional help is found.

Setting up mental health first aid guidelines is essential in this day and age, recognizing symptoms, and dealing with them in private and in a non-confrontational way, listening in a non-judgmental way, and providing important initial support is, if handled correctly, vitally important to someone who is at risk.

Sometimes letting someone know that they are not alone makes a massive difference, if you can encourage the person to visit their GP, all the better.

If you know someone or are experiencing issues, it is important that you or they get some professional advice. So I have collected a few details on useful contacts from the internet for the United Kingdom and the United States.

UK:

Mind is a charity organisation who deal with mental health issues in the UK. Their website can be found at: http://www.mind.org.uk/

The NHS have a range of useful resources on their site too: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/mentalhealth/Pages/Mentalhealthhome.aspx

U.S.A:

In the U.S.A, there is a wealth of readily available information at: http://www.mentalhealth.gov/

And over at: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/ and finally: http://samaritansnyc.org/ is another useful source for the United States.

IN THE NEWS

Coca Cola
Coca Cola - Always tastes better in a glass bottle

A rich week in art and technology news, but one piece did really stand out amidst the wave of product announcements and upcoming art auctions, and that was that masterpiece of American vernacular design, the Coca-Cola bottle and logo, celebrated its 100-year old design.

Arguably one of the most recognized bottle and logo shapes in the world, originally designed by a glass company in Terre Haute, Indiana. The company filed a patent for a glass soda bottle that would go on to become a cultural favourite.

Although Coca-Cola has been around since the 1880’s, it has gone from strength to strength, brand recognition has been refined little over the years, and at Christmas time the TV adverts with the light-up Coca-Cola truck reinforce the brands image a little more.

The drink was originally invented by a pharmacist from Atlanta, Dr. John Pemberton. It was originally sold in a glass at pharmacies and soda-fountains, and eventually it was bottled.

It was at this point Coca-Cola asked for a bottle that could be recognized when broken on the ground, or by touch in the dark. With those guidelines to hand, the Root Glass Company in Terre Haute, Indiana, made history. What we have today is not too far from the original design submitted.

Yet by ensuring that their bottles were not only uniform but also looked and felt different from everyone else’s Coca-Cola quickly spread across the country and the world. The original patent can be seen on display in the National Archives, Washington DC, until 2nd December. If you’re a fan of the fizz, then it is worth going to see before the display ends if you are in the area.

CHRISTIE’S

Masterstrokes of a 20th Century Legend

Hong Kong – From 30 November to 1 December 2015, a group of masterworks by Zhang Daqian, one of the most prodigious Chinese 20th century artists, will be offered at auction at Christie’s Hong Kong.

Consigned from several distinguished collections, the rich selection of works beautifully represents a cross section of the artist’s highly revered body of work with a special highlight on his splashed ink series.

Zhang Daqian's splashed ink works are a culmination of his life-long dedication and represent the pinnacle of his career, rich with the accumulated skill and experience from his travels around the globe and shaped heavily by his continuous striving for re-invention and greatness. Abstract in nature (these works are clearly influenced by the West), harkening back to his cultural roots and Chinese heritage. This harmony is beautifully represented in the amalgamation of the uncontrollable and controllable – the former being the (eventual) distribution and absorption of ink (intensity and spread), and the latter being the artist’s ability to transform them into tangible mountains, hills, waterfalls.

Ben Kong, International Specialist, and Head of Chinese of Paintings, commented: ‘Without a doubt Zhang Daqian was a leading figure in Modern Chinese painting. His astonishing oeuvre is a distillation through the history of Chinese painting, achieved from unbaiting and obsessive rigour.

In modern art he stands out for his innovations with his splashed ink technique, displaying magnificent landscapes of placid refinement and natural grace, while in traditional painting he is immortalised as both a major collector and a supremely skilled practitioner.’

Related Sale 3463

Fine Chinese Modern Paintings

Tuesday, 1 Dec

Hong Kong

ALSO AT CHRISTIE’S

CHRISTIE’S 3RD INDIA SALE TO OFFER INDIAN ART FROM 10TH TO 21ST CENTURY

PUBLIC PREVIEW EXHIBITION TO OPEN IN NEW DELHI ON 28 NOV -SYED HAIDER RAZA’S BINDU IS ONE OF AUCTION’S HIGHLIGHTS

SYED HAIDER RAZA (B. 1922), Bindu, painted in 1983. Estimate: INR10, 00,00,000 -15,00,00,000 - US$1,500,000-2,300,000

Mumbai – Following the announcement that Christie’s third auction to be held in Mumbai on 15 December at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel will include a section dedicated to Classical Indian Art, the leading auction house is pleased to announce that a monumental painting by Syed Haider Raza (b. 1922) titled Bindu from 1983, will be one of the highlights of its Modern and Contemporary Indian Art section.

A total of 100 works will be offered throughout the evening sale, and a selection of highlights will be travelling to New Delhi to be on public display from Saturday 28 to Monday 30 November at the Taj Mahal Hotel. Following Christie’s New York auction of Modern + Contemporary South Asian Art this September, where the world auction record for any modern Indian work of art sold at auction was set when Francis Newton Souza’s Birth sold for US$4,085,000, Christie’s third India Sale will include works sourced from important private and corporate collections.

In addition to modern masterpieces by Syed Haider Raza, Vasudeo S. Gaitonde, Tyeb Mehta, Maqbool Fida Husain and Ram Kumar, the auction also includes important works by artists Jehangir Sabavala, Jagdish Swaminathan, Jogen Chowdhury, Manjit Bawa, Meera Mukherjee, Nasreen Mohamedi, Bhupen Khakhar, Gulam Mohammed Sheikh and Bharti Kher. The catalogue also features works by Nandalal Bose, Abanindranath Tagore and Gaganendranath Tagore, who are designated ’National Treasure’ artists, which means their works cannot be exported from India, besides the Classical Indian Art section of the sale.

“Christie’s commitment to India has grown over the past three years and the offering of Classical Indian Art for the first time in India is part of this development plan. It will allow us to engage and advise and bring our experience and professionalism to this additional segment of the art market in India. We also are delighted to see Credit Suisse’s continued support for Indian art, and together, we are looking forward to welcome existing and new clients as well as art lovers to our two preview exhibitions in New Delhi and Mumbai”, stated William Robinson, International Head of World Art.

Mihir Doshi, Managing Director and CEO of Credit Suisse, India said: “Credit Suisse is delighted to be partnering with Christies in India. This is our third consecutive year of collaborating with Christies to bring the best of Indian art to clients, investors and collectors. It underlines our commitment to the Indian market and our support of the arts within the communities in which we are present.”

Syed Haider Raza, now aged 93, is known as a master colourist and a founder member of the post-Independence Bombay based Progressive Artists’ Group, created in 1947. Bindu was painted in 1983, a key moment in Raza’s 40-year-long association with the Indian aesthetics and geometric abstraction. The work is estimated at INR 10,00,00,000-15,00,00,000 or $1.5-2.3 million and was acquired directly from the artist by the present owner and this is the first time it is being offered at auction.

Bindu demonstrates the shift in Raza’s style from expressionist to geometric abstraction, and the Bindu itself represents the primordial seed of nothingness from which all creation is believed to be born. Although it is the principal around which the artist structures his canvas, this circle or Bindu is less a graphical component and more the central point representing concentrated potential energy.

Manjit Bawa’s (1941-2008) Untitled (Krishna) oil on canvas was painted in the 1990s and will be offered with an estimate of INR 2,50,00,000-3,00,00,000. Bawa's paintings demonstrate a preference for economy of line and form over narrative, where extraneous detail is eliminated in favour of bold contour and monochromatic brilliant backdrops of pure horizon-less space.

The influence of classical Indian artistic tradition is evident both in Bawa's poise and palette. With an almost sardonic simplicity, Bawa conjures a window into another world, revealing a realm of imagination, myth, mysticism and magic. The motif of the violet musical virtuoso suggests the god Krishna, traditionally depicted playing his melodious flute as his cows graze nearby. With only his torso visible, his eyes glance upward unerringly to the heavens. Bawa's painting creates a seductive reality where gods, men and beasts live in perennial peace in this enchanted empire.

Hovering above his sacred bovine companion, the two fractured figures are unified through shimmering shades of pink found atop the beast's brow, as if reflecting in the light of his divine master.

The Casuarina Line II by Jehangir Sabavala (1922-2011), painted in 2002 is estimated at INR 1,20,00,000-1,80,00,000 and has been acquired by the present owner directly from the artist.

Another work that has been sourced privately and offered for the first time at auction. This painting was exhibited as part of a major retrospective of the artist’s work at the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi and Mumbai in 2005-06. The Casuarina Line II is part of a series of three works that explores the effects of changing light on the land and sea at various points in the diurnal cycle.

This particular canvas offers a dazzling sunset view of the uninhabited sandbar at the horizon that features in each of the works. Sandwiched between the sky and the ocean, both lit up in brilliant shades of orange and vermillion by the setting sun, this small peninsula is populated only by a group of casuarina or ironwood trees, which merge into a single entity in front of the golden orb. Evolving from detailed studies in the artist’s sketch books, his landscapes are complex constructions based on meticulous linear schema.

Their horizontals and verticals, points of focus and perspective, divide and define the picture plane, bestowing the image with a sense of structure. This ‘map’ is then brought to life by the artist’s nuanced palette, which effortlessly negotiates entire families of tones and micro-tones to give rise to vistas that are at once restrained and emotionally charged.

Vasudeo S. Gaitonde’s radiant painting from 1995, Untitled maintains a delicate balance of light, texture, colour and space, imbuing his work with a unique lyricism and luminosity. For the artist the physical act of painting his canvases was meticulous and precise, and it was the formulation of the concept, the incubation and propagation of the painting as an idea in his own consciousness that absorbed his attention and time. With its virtually imperceptible gradations of gold and ochre pigments with blue highlights, and its enigmatic hieroglyphic forms that seem to spontaneously emerge from and disappear under the glimmering surface, this canvas provokes new discoveries with each viewing.

This painting was one of the last completed in Gaitonde's small barsaati or terrace studio in Nizamuddin, before he moved to Gurgaon in 1996, and features prominently in the only film made on the artist, Art on Art, in 1995. It is offered with an estimate of INR 12,00,00,000-15,00,00,000.

Gaitonde was not a prolific painter, completing only five or six deeply considered canvases a year.

Since his early years as an artist, Tyeb Mehta has used the canvas to express images that illustrate the struggles of contemporary society, and to reflect his own disillusionment with the world around him. Executed in 1981, Untitled (Two Figures) maintains remnants of the diagonal line that marked Mehta’s paintings of the 1970s.

However, here the figures are allowed to exist in their entirety, without the transversal split that allowed them to adopt different forms on each side of the diagonal, giving Mehta the flexibility to explore different means of representation in a single painting. While the segmentation of the canvas is still evident in the background, it has become less obtrusive, demonstrating a maturing of the artist’s style. This important work in the artist’s oeuvre is offered with an estimate of INR 5,00,00,000-7,00,00,000.

At the heart of the miniature paintings selection within the Classical Art sale is a group that comes directly from the ancestral collections of the Maharajas of Bikaner. Very well preserved by the dry desert air, these are a reminder of how cosmopolitan Bikaner was in its heyday. Not only does the group include typical elegant depictions of Krishna and palace life, but also two paintings that clearly illustrate the direct influence of Golconda (present day Hyderabad) in the Deccan.

The group also contains two fanciful depictions of Europeans that relate closely to those painted on the ceilings of the Phool Mahal in the Fort of Bikaner (estimates range from INR 2,00,000-12,00,000). Due to their age, none of the works in this section of the sale may be exported from India.

Other paintings in this section include a charming Golconda-style painting of Two Courtly Ladies by Bihari and painted around 1700 (estimate: INR 5,00,000-7,00,000), there is also a double portrait of Sultan Muhammad ‘-Adil Shah of Bijapur with his Minister Ikhlas Khan, this time dated 1748/1691 AD (estimate: INR 6,00,000-8,00,000) and a fine equestrian portrait of Maharaja Kumar Sri Rai Singh as a young prince by the artist Abu Hamid, again from Bikaner and this time dated VS 1811/1754 AD and estimated at INR 4,00,000-6,00,000.

One of the most important works of art offered in the classical section of the sale is a buff sandstone figure of the dancing Ganesha, the lovable and mischievous elephant-headed deity. The theme of the dancing Ganesha captivated the sculptors of Central India, resulting in the production of some of the liveliest examples between the 8th and 11th centuries.

This Ganesha, from Madhya Pradesh in the 10th century, is carved with voluptuous form as well as a sense of joyful elegance and agility. This signature piece of the sale is amongst the finest of its type (estimate: INR 60,00,000-70,00,000).

The sculpture section also contains a magnificent life-size early Chola granite figure of dvarapala formerly in the collection of the award-winning bharata natyam dancer Yamini Krishnamuthi, who’s devotion to art, dance and philosophy are well-known (estimate: INR 1,20,00,000-1,20,00,000).

An elegant bronze figure of Parvati, a Chola-period statue made in Tamil Nadu in the 12th century, will also be among the key pieces with an estimate of INR 20,00,000-25,00,000.

This extended sale offering commemorates the 20th anniversary of Christie’s presence in India. By including classical art in Christie’s third India Sale, the company will lend its international standards to this burgeoning domestic market.

MODERN BRITISH AND IRISH ART

The 25th November is a key date for lovers of modern British and Irish Art. Hepworth, Moore, Lowry, and Spencer are some of the lots to be offered at Christie’s, King Street, London.

London, Christie’s Modern British and Irish Art Evening Sale will take place on 25 November, 2015. Featuring 32 lots, the auction presents stellar examples of 20th century British sculpture and painting including The Railway Platform by L.S. Lowry (estimate: £1.3-1.8 million), and Sir Stanley Spencer’s Hilda with Bluebells (estimate: £1-1.5 million).

There is a strong selection of sculpture, led by Henry Moore’s Reclining Figure: Umbilicus (estimate: £1.5 -2.5 million), as well as examples by Dame Barbara Hepworth, Dame Elisabeth Frink, William Turnbull, and Eric Gill’s Eve, at auction for the first time having been bought directly from the artist by ‘Monuments Man’, Lt. Col. John Dixon-Spain in 1930. This sale marks a wonderful opportunity for collectors to choose from an inspiring array of works with notable provenance; estimates ranging from £80,000 to £2.5 million. The sale is followed by the Day Sale on 26 November, which comprises 120 works, including Property from the Estate of L.S. Lowry.

André Zlattinger, Senior Director, Head of Modern British Art, Christie’s London and Rachel Hidderley, International Specialist and Director, Modern British Art: “We are pleased to present some important and monumental pieces of Modern British art, including a wide range of sculpture by revered artists Hepworth, Moore, Gill, Frink and Turnbull.

This sale, which spans over 100 years, is defined by offering masterpieces from leading collections that celebrate the harmony and revolutionary spirit of the art of the British Isles. This dynamic and inspiring category includes a superb group of works by Irish artists Lavery, Yeats, O’Conor and Henry, which were formed as an important private Irish collection in the late 1980s, gathering the best works available on the market at that time.”

The demand for British sculpture continues and the Evening Sale comprises six works by Henry Moore, led by Reclining Figure: Umbilicus (estimate: £1.5 -2.5 million). Moore’s prolific career saw the theme of the reclining figure develop into, what he noted to be, ‘an absolute obsession’, and served as the site of some of his greatest innovations. In the present work, Moore has transformed the human body into an arrangement of abstraction and figuration. Conceived in 1984, Reclining Figure: Umbilicus encapsulates Moore’s vision of sculpture: at once figurative and abstract, with its flowing lines, rolling curves and polished surface.

Further important and monumental pieces of modern British sculpture include Dame Barbara Hepworth’s Single Form (Antiphon) (estimate: £600,000-800,000), which exemplifies one of the most powerful forces that lie within Hepworth’s work - the duality between abstraction and naturalism. Standing at over two metres high, Single Form (Antiphon) combines the symbolic and abstract, the non-representational and naturalistic. Other highlights include Forms in Movement (Pavan) (estimate: £300,000-500,000) and Hand Sculpture (Turning Form) (estimate: £250,000-450,000).

In June 2015, Christie’s Modern British & Irish Art Evening Sale set a new world record price at auction for Eric Gill with St Joan of Arc realising £2,210,500. Following this success, Christie’s is pleased to present Eve (estimate: £200,000-300,000). Coming to the market for the first time, Eve was purchased directly from the artist in 1930 by Lt. Col. John Dixon-Spain, one of the first ‘Monument Men’ charged with recovering and restoring missing art works to their rightful owners across Europe. Since being loaned to the 1932 Venice Biennale, Eve has not been seen in public or exhibited until now.

A highlight of the sale is an important group of paintings by L.S. Lowry, including The Railway Platform, (estimate: £1.3-1.8). Lowry had a unique way of making the ordinary spectacular and this highly rare composition captures the platform full of patient travellers bustling with activity. Lowry’s fascination with the human interactions of urban life is further exemplified in this sale by Park and Steps (estimate £250,000-350,000), Tuesday Morning, Pendlebury (estimate: £150,000-250,000) and Two Men Talking (estimate: £120,000-180,000).

Christie’s is also offering a selection of paintings and drawings directly from the Estate of L.S. Lowry in the Modern British & Irish Art Day Sale on 26 November. Comprising 22 lots, this is a unique opportunity for collectors. The selection represents outstanding works mostly from the 1960s and 1970s, which encompass Lowry’s favourite themes from these later decades in which he concentrated more fully on people rather than the landscape. The selection will provide a rich array of opportunities for new and established collectors at a wide range of price levels, with estimates ranging from £4,000 to £100,000. The leading lot is Man with bowler hat (estimate: £60,000-100,000).

Sir Stanley Spencer’s Hilda with Bluebells recalls in tender detail the earliest years of the artist’s relationship with his wife, Hilda Carline (estimate: £1-1.5 million). In 1950, Hilda tragically passed away from cancer. The artist had hoped to remarry Hilda following their divorce and in place of this now saddened desire, Spencer turned his attention to producing a series of paintings that celebrated events from their lives and also his imagined ideal of a perfect marriage. Painted in 1955, the present work celebrates a time when Spencer and Hilda were enjoying a period of domestic bliss.

Coming to auction for the first time is a masterpiece by David Bomberg entitled Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem (estimate £800,000-1.2 million). This work was favourite of Lucian Freud, who was especially impressed by Bomberg’s decision to paint the far distance in relatively sharp detail compared with the broad treatment of the foreground. Freud recognised that Bomberg had thereby been able to capture the brightness of the light in a unique and highly innovative way.

The sale presents a masterpiece by revered Irish artist Sir John Lavery, entitled The Maid was in the Garden Hanging out the Clothes (estimate: £300,000-500,000). Painted in the modern rural naturalistic manner which Lavery had gone to Paris to study at the end of 1881, this work indicates a young painter with a growing awareness of Impressionism. A further highlight by revered artist Jack Butler Yeats is The Boat Builder (estimate: £300,000-500,000). In 1913, Yeats was commissioned to paint twelve illustrations for Canon J.O. Hannah (alias George A. Birmingham’s) popular book, Irishmen All. Recording many of the representative professions in contemporary rural Ireland, The Boat Builder captures the theme of a local character standing beside a clinker-built fishing boat. This work was once in the collection of the British ornithologist, naval officer, and painter, Sir Peter Scott, C.B.E.

Scottish Colourist works include S.J. Peploe’s Still life with pewter Flagon (estimate: £150,000-250,000), and John Duncan Fergusson’s Déesse et Fruits which exemplifies the artist’s interest in sculpture and the influence of Picasso, Matisse and Vlaminck (estimate: £150,000-250,000).

PUBLIC EXHIBITION:

Saturday, 21 November: 12 noon - 5 pm

Sunday, 22 November: 12 noon - 5 pm

Monday, 23 November: 9 am - 4.30 pm

Tuesday, 24 November: 9 am - 8 pm

Wednesday, 25 November: 9 am - 3.30 pm

AUCTION:

Modern British & Irish Art Evening Sale - London, King Street on Wednesday, 25 November 2015 at 6.30 pm

LOWRY

Laurence Stephen Lowry was born in Manchester (UK) in 1887, and was to become renowned for his simplistic depictions of working-class life. A 1950 painting of a father and his two sons by Lowry has set a new record for one of his portraits, fetching £1.7m at auction in London. Estimates had previously suggested a price somewhere in the region of £1.5m and £2.5m.

Whilst this sets a record for one of his portraits, a previously sold landscape “The Football Match” fetched £5.6m back in 2011.

“Father and Two Sons” was previously owned by Monty Bloom who was a key patron of Lowry’s before being bought by collector Frank Cohen in the late 1990’s.

Meanwhile over at Sotheby’s this week, a 1942 drawing by Dame Barbara Hepworth, “Forms in Movement (Circle)” sold for £257,000.

GOOGLE+

Google plus
Google+ How do you like the new mobile first format?

 

I just updated Google+ on my iPad. I opened it up and was asked to sign in, but then it all looked a little bit different, and first impressions are that it is going to take some getting used too. But this is good news for the platform, or it could be if it manages to do what Google hopes it can.

Often Google+ is seen as an empty void of the social media world, except it’s not. There are lots of people on there, and in the last twelve-months or so that I have been an occasional user of the platform, all I have seen is reasonably educated opinion, some great art, and a much more seemingly mature audience than either Facebook or Twitter.

The new format for Google+ is to focus on “collections” and “communities” which it is hoped will make it more of an interest-network, rather than the supposedly personal network that it has been since its inception back in 2011.

Google has written in a recent blog that “Today we’re starting to introduce a fully redesigned Google+ that puts Communities and Collections front and center. Now focused around interests; the new Google+ is now simpler” Google went on to say, “And it’s more mobile friendly – we’ve rebuilt it across web, Android and iOS so that you’ll have a fast and consistent experience whether you are on a big screen or a small one”

It is an almost surprising move for Google+, many had expected the platform to be quietly disassembled, perhaps moving the good bits of Google+ into new apps, just as they did with Hangouts video chat.

The integration with YouTube had been previously dropped, although that was no bad thing, but this seems like a last-ditch attempt at reviving the platform. Making it clearer for the user to use is core to the new experience. Whether or not anyone really cares will be another matter.

ALSO FROM GOOGLE

In this day and age competition for your time is increasing. Life is like that, but that doesn’t mean that you should miss out on some of the treats in store at The British Museum.

The British Museum has recently announced that it has partnered with the Google Cultural Institute to bring more than 4,500 objects and artworks online. The public are now able to wander through the museum’s permanent galleries, and visit 85 rooms using Google’s Street View technology.

Of all of the virtual exhibits available, taking in a glimpse if Celtic life in Iron-Age Britain is one of the best virtual experiences that the service offers. But viewers are also able to take in the main themes of Egypt: Faith after the Pharaohs, showing the interplay between Christian, Islamic, and Jewish communities after the demise of the pharaonic age.

Although this is not the first online display of its type, it is one of the largest, and I have a feeling that this is exactly what the world of Virtual Reality is looking towards in the near future.

FRANCE

Grenoble
Culture comes to Grenoble via vending machine

Despite the tragedy of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris there is no doubt that the French are as Le Monde described in a recent article, “thumbing their noses at Islamic State”, and refusing to be afraid. France is a wonderful country of culture.

Culture is something the French do very well, and the latest news from Grenoble in France is sure to put a smile on your face, and get you wondering why on earth no one else thought of this before.

Usually we seek out a vending machine to snack on food and soda, but soon travelers in Grenoble, a city in South-Eastern France, at the foot of the French Alps, will be able to snack on something far more cultural than a bottle of Coca-Cola, the city plans to install vending machines that dispense short stories in its public plazas.

The idea comes from a French publisher named Short Édition, after employees had gathered around a vending machine. They then had the idea to vend short stories that take one, three, or five minutes to read.

The city of Grenoble are planning to install the machines across the city as an alternative to smartphones, allowing people to switch off and move away from a digital life for a few minutes. Currently there is no news to suggest that the scheme will become available in other parts, but maybe one day we will see vending machines offering literature instead of just the usual sugary snacks.

 

Perhaps the next move should be to offer up a vending machine that dispenses small limited edition works of art, and I cannot help thinking that having the top-20 books available from a vending machine at smaller train stations would be a brilliant idea. In fact, if anyone is now thinking the same, that idea is mine!

So that’s all for today, I am looking forward to spending some quality time working on some new pieces of art, and I am also going to start writing my feature on print on demand artists. If you are a print on demand artist and would like to be featured in an upcoming blog, please do get in touch.

 

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