Category Archive 'Paintings'

08 Mar 2018

Vive L’Empereur!

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Edouard Detaille, 1891, Art Gallery of New South Wales.

The painting depicts the cavalry charge of the 4th Hussars during the Battle of Friedland, 14 June 1807.

05 Mar 2018



Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, The Dog-Cart, 1880, Musée Toulouse-Lautrec, Albi, France.

HT: Karen L. Myers.

19 Jan 2018

Lost Rembrandt Found in New Jersey Estate Sold for Over $1 Million

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Nobody expects to find a Rembrandt sitting under the ping-pong table in the basement. So the Landau brothers, natives of Teaneck, N.J., felt perfectly comfortable skipping their own estate auction. …

Their inheritance tale started typically: Back when Ned, Roger and Steven Landau’s grandparents died, their mother cleared out their house, keeping some items that might go well in her dining room – like his silver tea set and a couple of old paintings. Then mom died in 2010, and her three sons repeated the drill.

“We had a garage sale, but there were a few things like the china and silver that looked very nice and we thought, well, we don’t really want to just give them away,” Ned tells Colby in the program.

One item that again made the cut was a small painting that had always creeped out Ned.

“It was of a woman passed out in a chair, and two men trying to revive her. As a kid I thought, ‘why did we have a painting like that in our dining room?’” he says.

Mom’s nice stuff went straight into Roger’s basement. Though the boxes made it hard to play ping-pong, Roger procrastinated another four years before calling the estate sale guy up the parkway, John Nye. Nye valued the silver pieces at a couple of thousand dollars, and each of three paintings at a few hundred. Like Ned, Nye wasn’t impressed by the picture of the men reviving the woman with smelling salts: “It had varnish that had cracked and paint loss. Not a beautiful painting and the people in the picture were not beautiful people. It was remarkably unremarkable.”



A painting offered in an estate sale by John Nye in New Jersey was appraised for $500 to $800. It had been stored for five years before the family finally got around to selling items from their mother’s estate in 2015. It created an amazing sale when it sold for over $1 million. … The painting was left by a mother to her three sons in 2010. It had been left to her by her parents and she hung it in her dining room. The boys had always thought the picture of two men trying to revive a fainting woman was “creepy.” But it was actually a Rembrandt painting from the 1600s, part of a series of paintings of the Five Senses. This one was “The Unconscious Patient (An Allegory of the Sense of Smell).” The other four are in museums. The boys didn’t even go to the sale since there were so few of their item being sold. The auction went as expected until bidding for the picture went from $250 up to $800. Then came a surprising $5,000 from a bidder in France, and then a higher bid from Germany. The bidding war went from $80,000 to $450,000, then finally ended at $1.1 million (including buyer’s premium). The boys didn’t get the news for a few days because it was a Jewish holiday and they didn’t answer the phone.

13 Jun 2017


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Briton Rivière, Requiescat, 1889, sold Christie’s, London, February 19, 2003.

Auction Note:

The picture is a small version, dated 1889, of one that Riviere exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1888 (Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney). Another small version, also dated 1889, was sold at Sotheby’s Belgravia on 16 November 1976, lot 80 (illustrated in catalogue). The existence of these reduced replicas is no surprise since the original version was immensely popular and praised in almost every review of the RA exhibition. The success of the image was predictable, combining as it does two concepts that held an enormous appeal for the Victorians, canine devotion and medieval chivalry. Riviere had chosen the subject as the inheritor of the mantle of Sir Edwin Landseer, specialising in animal subjects with a strong element of anthropomorphism. In fact Landseer had already treated it in a different context in his famous painting The Old Shepherd’s Chief Mourner, exhibited at the RA in 1837 (Sheepshanks Collection, Victoria and Albert Museum). In both pictures the body of a departed master is mourned by a faithful dog almost visibly shedding tears of grief. As Robert Rosenblum puts it, ‘If only, the message reads, human beings, in this or any other age, could be counted on for such selfless and prayerful devotion!’. But a dramatic change has also occurred. The lonely and indigent crofter who lies in the coffin in Landseer’s picture is replaced by a fallen medieval hero in full armour, while the crofter’s working collie becomes a noble and all too soulful bloodhound. The result is not only to push the image a long way up the social scale but to substitute for the true pathos of the Landseer (analysed at length and warmly commended by Ruskin in Modern Painters ) a dose of heady but rather obvious romance. In fact, come to think of it, it is surprising that Landseer himself did not paint Riviere’s subject; he was quite capable of doing so, and it was perfectly tailored to his talents. We might say he missed a trick, leaving a gap which the younger artist had no hesitation in filling. The recumbent knight lies so stiffly on his catafalque that he resembles the carved effigy of a knight on a medieval tomb. It is almost as if the dog on which such figures often rest their feet has jumped down to become ‘the fallen hero’s chief mourner’

23 May 2017


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08 Mar 2017

Alexey Kondakov Uses Photoshop

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To insert characters from Renaissance paintings into contemporary photographs with amusing results. Twisted Sifter

03 Mar 2017

“The Goldfinch”

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Carel Fabritius, The Goldfinch, 1654, Mauritshuis

Explored in depth here.

01 Aug 2016

Pushkin’s Duel

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Adrian Markovich Volkov, Дуэль Пушкина с Дантесом [Duel between Alexander Pushkin and Georges d’Anthès], 1869, Pushkin Museum, St. Petersburg.

8 February 1837 — The 37-year-old poet fought a duel with Georges-Charles de Heeckeren d’Anthès, a French officer serving with the Chevalier Guard Regiment who had attempted to seduce the poet’s wife. Pushkin fell, wounded in the lower right abdomen, but was able to return fire from the ground, wounding Anthès in the arm. Pushkin died two days later.

26 Jul 2013

Great Comet of 1843

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Charles Piazzi Smyth, The Great Comet of 1843, 1843, National Maritime Museum, London

Hat tip to Madame Scherzo.

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