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Too good to be true? The Caravaggio conundrum – News – Art – The Independent

To find one previously unknown work by one of art’s undisputed geniuses may be considered good fortune. To discover 100 in one go might appear too good to be true. It should be no surprise then that last week’s astonishing claims by Italian art sleuths to have found a cache of 96 paintings and sketches by the baroque giant Caravaggio in a workshop in Milan’s Sforzesco Castle are facing increasing scrutiny and, in many circles, disbelief.

Art critics have expressed doubts that such a huge amount of work – almost doubling overnight the number of pictures attributed to the celebrated old master – could have gone unnoticed for so long.

And in response, authorities in Milan, no doubt miffed that art academics from the rival regional city of Brescia are claiming the glory for the discovery, are not sitting on their hands. Yesterday they announced two inquiries of their own into the veracity of the researchers’ claimed methods and checks, and an independent assessment of the artworks’ provenance.

Already the discovery is being tainted by serious claims and counter claims regarding dubious ethics and mysterious sorties at odd hours that could have come straight from the pages of the iconic painter’s own colourful life.

The excitement began last Wednesday when a breathless Italian news agency reported the confident claims of art experts from the Brescia Museum Foundation that around 100 early works by Michelangelo Merisi, better known as Caravaggio, had been identified. An eye-watering price was soon put on them: €700m (£550m).

The cache was found, said the researchers, Maurizio Bernardelli Curuz Guerrieri and Adriana Conconi Fedrigolli, at the city’s landmark castle in the old workshop of Caravaggio’s master, the post-Renaissance painter Simone Peterzano. The researchers said their detailed comparison of the works with known pieces by the painter showed “the faces, bodies and scenes the young Caravaggio would use in later years”.

via Too good to be true? The Caravaggio conundrum – News – Art – The Independent.

Strange Random Painting Quote:

“Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things” – Edgar Degas (French Artist, 1834-1917)

A Golden Kiss for Klimt – WSJ.com

February 17, 2012 3 comments

A local celebrity during his lifetime, Viennese artist Gustav Klimt has become an international sensation in ours. His gilded 1907-08 painting “The Kiss” has turned into one of Vienna’s leading tourist attractions, and his portraits, some of which sell for tens of millions of euros, are among the most highly valued paintings in the history of art.

This year, Vienna celebrates the 150th anniversary of Klimt’s birth with 10 special exhibitions, many highlighting relatively unknown aspects of the artist’s life and work.

Over the past few decades, Klimt has re-emerged as Austria’s national painter, and his work is treated as a symbol of the flowering of arts and science that marked Vienna at the end of the Habsburg monarchy. Today, many of Vienna’s leading creative figures still regard him as a touchstone.

Klimt is “part of Austrian history,” says Erwin Wurm, a sculptor with an international following. Mr. Wurm, known for an absurdist conceptual approach inherently at odds with the Klimt legacy, nonetheless places the artist at the very center of Austria’s artistic tradition, viewing Klimt’s “theatricality” as both a successor to the Austrian Baroque and a precursor of Viennese Actionism, an influential avant-garde movement in the visual and performing arts that flourished in the 1960s.

Gustav Klimt 1862-1918 was born in a Viennese suburb that is now part of the city’s Penzing district. The son of a goldsmith, he was trained as an architectural painter at Vienna’s Kunstgewerbeschule, now the University of Applied Arts Vienna. This is “important to know,” says Christoph Thun-Hohenstein, director of MAK, Vienna’s museum of applied arts. Klimt is “not a normal painter,” he says.

via A Golden Kiss for Klimt – WSJ.com.

Strange Random Painting Quote:

“It has bothered me all my life that I do not paint like everybody else.” – Henri Matisse (Artist regarded as the most important French Painter and Artist of the 20th century, 1869-1954)

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Stranger than fiction … Magritte and Marc

June 22, 2011 3 comments
Marc Bolan

Image via Wikipedia

For 10,000 Monopoly dollars, can you tell us what the Surrealist painter Rene Magritte and Marc Bolan of T-Rex have in common? Tick, tock, tick, tock … Well, it could be that neither of them were French, they were both before their time or they were very fond of a pipe or two after dinner. But the main reason is soon to be put on show at the Tate Liverpool Gallery, namely Le 16 Septembre – Lune et L’Arbre (16th September – Moon and Tree). A new exhibition called The Pleasure Principle starts at the gallery this Friday (more information here) aiming, in the words of the organizers, to “reveal the inspiration behind the artist’s celebrated style, focusing on the less explored aspects of Magritte’s life and artistic practice.”

Which still doesn’t tell us why an army of British Glam Rock fans would make a special pilgrimage to see a Belgian Surrealist’s tree. Until, that is, you realise that the “cosmic coincidence” is that Bolan was killed in a car crash on 16th September 1977, two weeks before his 30th birthday, which he himself had predicted he would not see. Not only that, his car (driven by his girlfriend, because Bolan was, ironically, afraid of driving in case he suffered a crash), hit A TREE! Many people believe it to be suspiciously similar to the one Magritte had painted 21 years before…

So now you know. If you are going to be in Liverpool from this Friday, we’re sure the exhibition will be worth a look.

If you need any more convincing of the cosmic coincidences surrounding Bolan’s death, take a look at this (rather bad VHS) video of a Channel 4 programme from the late 80s (I think). Yes, it’s supposed to be tongue-in-cheek ;-)

Strange Random Surrealism Quote:

To be a surrealist… means barring from your mind all remembrance of what you have seen, and being always on the lookout for what has never been. – Rene Magritte

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Sites you didn’t know existed – International Colour Authority

January 24, 2011 Leave a comment
A Solid Matte Formula Guide from Pantone, 2005...
Image via Wikipedia

Colour is vital to organisations across the world. Whether involved in interior design, fashion, manufacturing or a host of other activities, colour is a pre-eminent factor in establishing whether a product will or will not sell. ICA colour forecasts, 24 months ahead of the retail selling season, are now available online with Pantone© and NCS notations to ensure colour accuracy when communicating on the Internet.

via What We Do | International Colour Authority.

No, really, this is what they do. This information is not cheap, either – a subscription for Autumn / Winter 2011 – 2012 will cost you 250 pounds (sterling) or you can get two seasons for 400 pounds.

Who said colour wasn’t important?

Strange Random Colour Quote:

There are no lines in nature, only areas of colour, one against another. – Edouard Manet

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Christie’s caught up as £30m forgeries send shock waves through the art world | Art and design | The Observer

October 17, 2010 Leave a comment
Raoul Dufy, Regatta at Cowes, (1934), Washingt...

Image via Wikipedia

Panic is spreading through the art world following the discovery of forgeries among major 20th-century paintings sold in recent years by leading auctioneers and dealers worldwide, including Christie’s in London.More than 30 paintings, thought to be by artists including Max Ernst, Raoul Dufy and Fernand Léger, have been unmasked as forgeries, the Observer has learned. The fakes have duped leading figures in the art world into parting with at least £30m.Four of the paintings have gone through Christie’s, including forgeries of Ernst’s La Horde, estimated at £3.5m and eventually sold to the Würth Collection, and André Derain‘s Bateaux à Collioure, sold for £2m. Six paintings were sold by the leading German auctioneer, Lempertz, one for £2.8m. The forger’s strategy appears to have been to create compositions that would relate to the titles of documented works whose whereabouts are not currently known.

via Christie’s caught up as £30m forgeries send shock waves through the art world | Art and design | The Observer.

Strange Random Forgery Quote:

“Imitation, if it is not forgery, is a fine thing. It stems from a generous impulse, and a realistic sense of what can and cannot be done.” -  James Fenton


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