London Art Week announces a new week of art & talks – plus an exciting symposium at the National Gallery which will explore in depth the process of collecting.

London Art Week to hold its third Winter edition this December (Sunday 1 – Friday 6). Exhibiting across Mayfair and St James’s, some 35 specialist galleries and auction houses will stage special exhibitions and talks. The fair announced an incredible symposium, which will gather a variety of collectors to discuss the past, present and future of the field (2 December, National Gallery).

In total, the exhibitions span 5,000 years of art, from antiquity to the twenty-first century, with a core focus on Old Masters and pre-contemporary art. The fair indeed covers a huge historical timeline, showcasing Iznik pottery tiles (Oliver Forge & Brendan Lynch Ltd) and Yves Klein’s ‘Anthropometries’.

Iznik pottery tile, Turkey, 1570-80, Oliver Forge & Brendan Lynch Ltd< Yves Klein, Untitled Shroud Anthropome?trie (Ant su 5), c1960, Olivier Malingue Ltd

Among the highlights is a lunchtime talk at The National Gallery on Monday 2 December. This is the second time LAW partners up with the museum’s public educational programme. Speakers confirmed are Dr Francesca Whitlum-Cooper (National Gallery, Associate Curator of Paintings 1600-1800), Emanuela Tarizzo (Gallery Director of Tomasso Brothers Fine Art, who has recently joined the LAW board), and Andrew Fletcher (Sotheby’s, Senior Director, Head of Old Master and British Paintings). The talk will be chaired by the NG’s Dr Susanna Avery Quash, Senior Research Curator (History of Collecting) and will look behind the scenes at the day-to-day life of gallerists, curators and auction house specialists.

Domus Grimani, Venice

A wide array of international museum directors, curators, collectors and journalists will explore in depth the history of collecting, both for individuals and museums, and its meaning in past and present time. The symposium will begin with a conversation around the importance of reuniting historical collection, relocating them in their original setting. This will see in conversation together Toto Bergamo Rossi (Director of Venetian Heritage Foundation, and curator of Domus Grimani), Silvia Davoli (Curator of Lost Treasures of Strawberry Hill and Paul Mellon Research Curator, Strawberry Hill House), Thierry Morel (Curator at Houghton Revisited; Director and Curator at Large at Hermitage Museum Foundation USA and Trustee of the Sir John Soane’s Museum, London). Together, they will revisit their personal experiences in researching, and restoring back to their original unity the collections of Casa Grimani, and Horatio Walpole respectively.

The panel  will then move to contemporary collectors, hearing the stories of Katrin Bellinger (Collector and Founder of Tavolozza Foundation), Keir McGuinness (a collector which started with a passion for contemporary art and then ended up moving to Old Masters—I am thrilled to discover more about this), and Claudio Gulli (Curator of the Valsecchi collection at Palazzo Butera, Palermo — The Valsecchi are known for refurbishing this enormous palazzo from the XVIII century to create an immense hub for the arts, linked to the city itself)

Finally, the symposium will look at the role of museums in 2020, and how they can better engage with the public. This panel will see an exchange of ideas between Ketty Gottardo (Martin Halusa Curator of Drawings, The Courtauld Gallery), Luke Syson (Director and Marlay Curator, Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge), and Nicholas Thomas (Director and Curator, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge).

More from LAW:

Major exhibitions include:

Ben Elwes Fine Art will present an incredibly actual set of concerns. In An Artistic Relationship: Anglo-American Paintings, the gallery will explore the relations between UK and US, opening up a possible dialogue into the critical concerns of contemporary politics. Not to be missed is John Singleton Copley’s Mrs Mary Robinson Dressed as a Nun, another interesting work touching on religious and social concerns that feel increasingly pressing.

John Singleton Copley (1738-1815), Mrs Mary Robinson (?) Dressed as a Nun, c. 1778-80, Oil on canvas

The Weiss Gallery will present a spectacular array of portraits in Van Dyck in England: The King’s Principal Painter & his Caroline Legacy. This includes a gorgeous three-quarter length from Van Dyck’s late English period, and a full-length pair from his studio, depicting Charles I and Henrietta Maria. Other artists included are Adriaen Hanneman, John Michael Wright and Sir Peter Lely, who all, in their own distinct ways, followed faithfully in Van Dyck’s footsteps.

Spanish Paintings from the 14th to 16th Centuries is the special exhibition on Retablos at Sam Fogg, in collaboration with Galeria Caylus from Madrid. The galleries are pooling their in-depth knowledge of Spanish paintings from the medieval and Renaissance eras in their first collaboration. The result is a major new survey exhibition on Spanish late-medieval painting, curated by Dr. Alberto Velasco Gonza?lez of the Universitat de Lleida.

Martin del Cano (doc. 1411-21), St Peter Enthroned, Spain, Daroca, c1420, oil, tempera and gilding on softwood panel

Oliver Forge & Brendan Lynch Ltd present Ottoman Patronage and European Merchandise: Works of Art from Turkey and France, 1530-1820, featuring two important watercolour views of Constantinople by A.-I. Melling circa 1800; a group of European and Ottoman works of art; and a private collection of Iznik tiles.

Magick Land – An Italian Journey at Karen Taylor Fine Art (exhibiting at Charles Beddington Ltd, specialist in Venetian paintings) shows the work of watercolourists inspired by Italy. Centrepiece of the show is an important drawing by the Welsh artist Thomas Jones (1742-1803). The reputation of his strikingly original Italian work has soared in recent years after several exhibitions reinstated his standing as one of the most idiosyncratic and innovative eighteenth-century British artists. In his lively and informative memoirs Italian Journal, Jones expressed his joy at travelling through Italy, recording the “new and uncommon Sensations I was filled [with] on my first traversing this beautiful and picturesque Country … It appeared Magick Land”.

Thomas Jones (1742-1803), Santa Maria de’ Monte, near Naples, 1781, Pencil and grey wash on laid paper

John Mitchell Fine Paintings investigates a similar period, but closer to home. ‘Romantick Situations’ – Castles and the Picturesque in eighteenth-century Britain stems from Julius Caesar Ibbetson’s description of Morlais Castle in south Wales, which he was taken to see by his patrons, the Bute family, in 1789. As Britain prospered at home and prevailed overseas, Georgians increasingly felt a sense of uninterrupted connection with their country’s ancient and mostly mysterious past. To them the huge castles in strategic and often dramatic settings stood for the turbulence, drama and territorial upheavals of the Middle Ages. For landscape painters already awakening to the stirring scenery to be found across the British Isles, its majestic castles, abbeys and ruins had an irresistible allure and contributed to the rise of the Romantic Movement. The exhibition includes paintings and watercolours by Richard Wilson, Paul Sandby, Ibbetson, Edward Dayes, William Hodges, Alexander Nasmyth and others, with prices ranging from £2,500 to £75,000.

Two major exhibitions focus on women:

Peggy Guggenheim is the subject at Ordovas which marks 80 years since her little known London gallery, Guggenheim Jeune, closed prior to the outbreak of World War II. The exhibition Peggy Guggenheim and London reveals new insights into her early experience as an art dealer and her original plan to establish a modern art museum in the capital. Whilst she needs no introduction for her contribution to modern art, her formative years as a gallerist have been relatively overlooked. Guggenheim Jeune, situated in a former pawnbroker’s at 30 Cork Street, operated for just eighteen months between January 1938 and June 1939. While its lifespan may have been brief, its influence was considerable, both on the art world at the time and on Peggy herself; by the time the gallery closed, she was a self-confessed “art addict”. This exhibition will showcase Guggenheim’s parallel collecting interests in Abstraction and Surrealism through a display of works by Jean (Hans) Arp and Yves Tanguy, artists that she collected and championed. It also sheds new light on her earliest experiences in the art world, including unpublished floor plans of the gallery and details of the artists, advisors and lovers who assisted her original ambition, thwarted by the war, to open a museum of modern art in London.

Jean (Hans) Arp (1886-1966), Trois objets désagréables sur une figure (Head with Annoying Objects), 1930- cast 1972 Bronze (ed. 4/5)

Laocoon Gallery will exhibit one hundred works representing the female figure – wives or lovers, virgins or prostitutes, holy mothers like the Madonna or man-eating she-devils. Ranging from paintings, drawings and pastels to bronzes, ceramics and terracotta, the works are by Italian artists of the 20th Century, both male and females. XX: The Female Gender in Twentieth Century Italian Art, curated by Monica Cardarelli of the Galleria del Laocoonte (Rome) will show how women were seen in the art of the 1900s. XX not only represents the gene that determines a woman’s sex, but also the 20th Century, which saw more changes than any other in the role, status, appearance and condition of women, both in life and in the imagination, as art has recorded it.

Afro Basaldella, Portrait of Adriana Pincherle, 1946, Oil on Canvas

Olivier Malingue Ltd presents L’Empreinte, a group exhibition including works by Jean Dubuffet, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Yves Klein, Man Ray and Ed Ruscha. Imprint can be an embossed relief, as in Ed Ruscha’s Ghost Station (2011). Or it can be the impression obtained by rubbing a textured surface, as in the frottage works by Ernst, Penrose and Oppenheim, a technique Ernst adopted in 1925. The exhibition includes several contemporary interpretations, such as a mural by the Paris-based artist Thu-Van Tran.

As is now tradition, Stephen Ongpin & Guy Peppiatt join forces for their annual Winter exhibition of One Hundred Drawings and Watercolours, featuring works dating from the 16th to the 20th century and priced between £500 and £12,000. As usual the gallery will be hung Salon style, with drawings and watercolours from floor to ceiling. A fully-illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition.

Further Exhibitions include: at Brun Fine Art, Pietre Dure – Headstones, Marbles, Mosaics; at S.Franses, Giant Leaf Tapestries of the Renaissance; and at Tomasso Brothers Fine Art, Listri: Gliptoteca, which presents photographs by Massimo Listri of some of the most important sculpture galleries in museums across the world, with a selection of European sculpture from the collection of Tomasso Brothers Fine Art.

Highlight works for sale include:

Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s brown ink and paper drawing of Elizabeth Siddal Having Her Hair Combed, recently acquired by Lowell Libson & Jonny Yarker Ltd. It also has an inscription on the reverse by William Michael Rossetti, reciting: ‘By Gabriel – I think a watercolour was made of this c. 1855’.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882), Elizabeth Siddal Having Her Hair Combed, Brown ink on paper

Ariadne Galleries will offer Face of Serapis, a finely wrought marble depicting a cult God from Hellenistic Egypt (circa 1st century BC). Bagshawe Fine Art is going to present Wild Turkey, an oil on canvas by Wenzel Peter (1745-1829). Born in Bohemia (current Czech Republic), Peter moved at the age of 22 to Rome, where he built a sound reputation. His area of expertise was that of animal painting and he soon came to the attention of some of the most significant art patrons in Rome. One of his earliest successes was, indeed, his 1779 fresco of animal paintings on the walls of the Casino di Villa Borghese for Prince Marcantonio Borghese III. By the early 19th century he had become the foremost animal painter in Italy, with his pictures entering many important private collections. His monumental canvas Adam and Eve in Paradise (now in the Vatican Museum) shows some 240 species of animal from different parts of the globe. The Turkey in the present picture is clearly worked from the one that appears prominently in the centre foreground of Adam and Eve in Paradise.

Face of Serapis, Hellenistic Egypt circa first century BC, Marble

Returning to London Art Week is M & L Fine Art. The Mayfair gallery joins this Winter’s participants which include: Didier Aaron, Ariadne Galleries, Bagshawe Fine Art, Charles Beddington Ltd, Benappi Fine Art, Brun Fine Art, Callisto Fine Arts, Colnaghi, Ben Elwes Fine Art, Sam Fogg, Oliver Forge & Brendan Lynch Ltd, Daniel Katz Gallery, Gallery Laocoon & Galleria del Laocoonte, Rome, Lowell Libson & Jonny Yarker Ltd, Olivier Malingue Ltd, Mullany Haute Epoque Fine Art, John Mitchell Fine Paintings, Stephen Ongpin Fine Art, Ordovas, Guy Peppiatt Fine Art, Raccanello Leprince, Karen Taylor Fine Art, Tomasso Brothers Fine Art, Trinity Fine Art, Galleria Carlo Virgilio & C., Rome and The Weiss Gallery; Bonhams, Christie’s and Sotheby’s.

LONDON ART WEEK, WINTER 2019, 1 – 6 DECEMBER
Symposium ‘Conversations on Collecting’ Monday 2nd December 2019, 2.30pm-5.30pm Sainsbury Wing Theatre, The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London

About Irene Machetti

Whenever there is an exhibition opening, expect to find me there, with a glass of wine in one hand, and my phone on the other, to take pictures and record my emotions. The rest of my life is spent studying art history at the Courtauld Institute of Art, and, especially, baking cakes and lasagne for my loved ones.