Art in Print

Turner's German masterpiece to be auctioned in London


One of the finest paintings by Turner still in private hands will be auctioned in London on 5 July.

Ehrenbreitstein, showing a magnificent ruined fortress, was considered a showstopper when first exhibited at the Royal Academy in London in 1835. Ehrenbreitstein, or The Bright Stone of Honour and the Tomb of Marceau, from Byron’s Childe Harold, was first shown alongside four others at the RA.

Today it is one of only six major Turner paintings owned privately and is, Sotheby’s said, considered the most important oil painting of a German subject that the artist ever painted.

For obvious reasons, major Turners are rare on the market. The last example was Rome, from Mount Aventine, which sold for a record £30.3m in 2014 – the highest price ever achieved for any British-born artist at auction. Ehrenbreitstein has an estimate of £15m-£25m.

The other paintings in the 1835 show are all now in public collections: Keelmen Heaving in Coals by Moonlight is at the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC; Venice, from the Porch of Madonna della Salute is in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art; Line Fishing off Hastings is in the V&A in London; and The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons is at the Cleveland Museum of Art in Ohio.

Ehrenbreitstein was considered the best of them all by the public and critics with the correspondent for the Spectator calling it “a splendid tribute of genius to one of the champions of freedom”.


Via: The Guardian



BBC to launch three arts ‘festivals’ a year

In a partnership with regional arts councils — the UK’s main arts funding bodies — the BBC will open up its commissioning process and digital resources to showcase new work from dancers, poets, artists and playwrights.

Using the Cultural Olympiad of 2012 and Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary as models, the first of its three annual themes will be poetry and opera in 2017, followed by the centenary of women’s suffrage in 2018. The corporation is creating an Artists’ Fund — with £4m in its first year — to commission artists to make new work for online and broadcast.

Announcing the Culture UK initiative in London, Tony Hall, BBC director-general, said this new collaboration with national funding bodies and arts organisations had been driven partly by “serious challenges” to the cultural sector in terms of money and access.


Via: The Financial Times



Officials seize Qing dynasty tea set made with ivory from Mayfair art gallery


A rare Chinese tea set from the Qing dynasty has been seized from a Mayfair art gallery because it was partly made from African elephant ivory. Customs officers confiscated the silver set when they discovered there was no valid import licence.

The manager of Mayfair Gallery, James Sinai, appealed for the set to be returned, adding that it is “an item of cultural and historical importance” which had been “seized on a technicality”. But a judge has now ruled that the tea set was lawfully seized and should not be returned to the gallery.

Arguing his case, Mr Sinai said the tea set was only one per cent ivory and “it would be a tragic loss to the art world and Chinese cultural heritage were it to be condemned.”

When the items arrived in a crate at Heathrow without a valid import permit required by the Convention on International Trade and Endangered Species (CITES), the gallery, in South Audley Street, Mayfair, blamed a shipping company for the error and said it had “done everything in its power” to comply with the law.

Judge Rupert Jones pointed out two other shipments belonging to the gallery had been seized by customs in the previous 12 months, including a pair of £145,000 Louis XIV console tables imported from Switzerland and inlaid with ebony and tortoiseshell. UK Border Force agreed to return those items to the gallery for a fee, asking the gallery owners to tighten up their importation procedures.


Via: The Evening Standard