Beyond the Myth: Frida Kalho

Beyond the Myth: Frida Kalho

Original text by Eugenia Bertelè

The Mudec (Museum of Cultures) of Milan hosts until Wednesday June 6th 2018 a can’t-miss retrospective dedicated to the Mexican artist Frida Kalho (1907-1954). An exhibition going “beyond the myth”, that aims at beating all its many competitors born after this unstoppable Fridamania displaying unprecedented material from the archives

Frida Kahlo , Venado herido, The Wounded Deer Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo , Venado herido, The Wounded Deer Frida Kahlo

BIOGRAPHY VS ART

How could we possibly restore the artistic value of a worldwide brand, Frida Kahlo, having her image all over the place, including tampons and nail polishes? And how should we interpret the opening of a museum, by the Riviera Maya, having its whole exhibition path based on a multimedia recreation of Frida Kalho’s life that includes everything but the display of her original works? Frida Kalho has lived the life of a rock star, that’s a fact.
Frida Kahlo, Self Portrait in a Velvet Dress (1926)

Frida Kahlo, Self Portrait in a Velvet Dress (1926)

Looking for some examples? Woman, Latin-American, maverick, wife of the controversial wall painter Diego Rivera. Heroin surviving terrible accidents and exhausting diseases. Mother losing three fetuses. A strong personality, almost multiplying itself in the reproduction of her self-portrait – more than a third of Frida’s whole production (about 200 pieces).
Frida Kahlo, Henry Ford Hospital, © Foto Erik Meza / Xavier Otaola - © Archivo Museo Dolores Olmedo © Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida

Frida Kahlo, Henry Ford Hospital, © Foto Erik Meza / Xavier Otaola – © Archivo Museo Dolores Olmedo
© Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida

THE ARCHIVE, A VALUE

However, what is fundamental in this Milan exhibition is the scientific study conducted by the curator Diego Sileo on the documents found by Frida’s house in Mexico City, the Casa Azul, providing a completely new perspective on her career. The exhibition consists in four sections: Woman, earth, politics and pain, and gathers together more than 70 paintings, 40 drawings, 150 letters, pictures and objects loaned by the most relevant international collections (Museo Dolores Olmedo and Jaques and Natasha Gelman Collection).
Firda Kalho, Diego nella mia mente, © Gerardo Suter © Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, México, D.F. by SIAE 2018

Firda Kalho, Diego nella mia mente, © Gerardo Suter © Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, México, D.F. by SIAE 2018

Not mentioning a couple of slipups, the romantic Italian music juxtaposing a documentary showing scenes from the life of the couple, and the explosive merchandising at the end of the path, the value of Sileo’s research stands incredibly out, making it possible to better understand Frida Kalho’s works and to give her value as an artist, giving new keys to interpretation.
Firda Kalho, La colonna spezzata, © Foto Erik Meza / Xavier Otaola - © Archivo Museo Dolores Olmedo © Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, México, D.F. by SIAE 2018

Firda Kalho, La colonna spezzata, © Foto Erik Meza / Xavier Otaola – © Archivo Museo Dolores Olmedo © Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, México, D.F. by SIAE 2018

Moving away from all biographical simplifications, we can finally discover how she uses her body as a political and sacrificial manifesto; how she is osmotically bound to nature, how she sees the Earth as the place of both genesis and death; how she shows her femininity, how she constantly reaffirms her being Mexican through symbols like her over-stressed somatic features (eyebrows, light moustache, fuzz, thick black hair turning from pure ornament to a representation of pain), like the use of traditional clothes, through mentioning pre-Columbian characters – destroyed by her typical glance, so ironic, gritty and intriguing. A unique language, where the traditional naïf paint by Rousseau meets the influences of the surrealistic alphabet, creating Frida Kalho’s totally authentic style.
Firda Kalho, Bimba tehuacana, Lucha María (Sole e luna), © Rafael Doniz © Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, México, D.F. by SIAE 2018

Firda Kalho, Bimba tehuacana, Lucha María (Sole e luna), © Rafael Doniz © Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, México, D.F. by SIAE 2018

BLOCKCHAIN, THE DIGITAL ARCHIVE OF TOMORROW?

The archive is, therefore, one of the funding pillars of knowledge, the place treasuring history. How will archives look like in the future, I wonder? Will the new technologies – blockchain, for instance – be able to ensure data storage and simultaneously keep up with the constant upgrades of the scientific research and of the circulation of artworks?

POPULARITY VS MARKET

The amazing marketing now surrounding Frida Kalho doesn’t seem to depend from the quotations of her original paintings. In fact, if we look at how these quotations have changed from the ‘70s until now, it almost seems that such marketing speculations have not played in her favor.
Frida Kahlo, Dos Desnudos en el Bosque (La Tierra Misma), 1939

Frida Kahlo, Dos Desnudos en el Bosque (La Tierra Misma), 1939

The best result one of her works has ever achieved at an auction house was in fact recorded in 2016 at Christie’s, when Dos Desnudos en el Bosque (La Tierra Misma), 1939, was sold for 8 million dollars. During that same week a 1982 painting with a skull by Jean Michel Basquiat was sold for 57 million dollars. That painting wasn’t one of the most representatives of Frida Kalho’s vision if compared, for instance, to the self-portrait (Retrato con mono y perico, 1942) bought in 1995 by the Argentinian Edoardo Constantini for 3.192.500 dollars at Sotheby’s, New York. Such result looks very much like the cost of an opportunity within a market having a really scarce offer.
Firda Kalho, Diego y yo

Firda Kalho, Diego y yo

In 1990, in fact, Frida had become the most paid Latin-American artist ever, selling the portrait Diego y yo, 1949, for 1.430.000 dollars at Sotheby’s, New York. Today, 20 years later, the prices have not increased significantly.
Frida Kahlo, Natura morta (Sole di Samuel Fastlicht), © Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, México, D.F. by SIAE 2018

Frida Kahlo, Natura morta (Sole di Samuel Fastlicht), © Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, México, D.F. by SIAE 2018

The ages will tell how will the market react to this scientific reimagining of Frida Kalho, one of the most cutting-edge artists of the past century.

MUDEC, Museo delle Culture, Via Tortona 56, Milan, Italy – From Thursday February 1st to Wednesday June 6th 2018 – www.mudec.it
It’s already joyous Spring time for the international art market!

It’s already joyous Spring time for the international art market!

By Enrico Cavaliere

It’s already joyous Spring time for the international art market! Stunning results for the Modern & Impressionist and Contemporary Art auctions in London, February/March 2018

If you were of the impression that heavy snow and Siberian weather conditions or financial turmoil can stop the appetite of big collectors, well think twice… Last week the Impressionist & Modern Art evening sales put on display by the big auction houses in London managed to amass an overall £285m (with fees). No records were broken (even though stunning results were not missed) and the absolute dominator of the whole week was – surprise, surprise! – Pablo Picasso. The Spanish superstar was featured extensively at both Christie’s and Sotheby’s (the former having 9 works by the Master in the catalogue, the latter 4) and all the pieces sold rather well. London-based art advisory firm Gurr Johns was particularly active on behalf of their high-profile clients in this sense, purchasing 11 of them out of the total 13 and splashing a grand total of £100m (including buyer’s premium). No wonder if we therefore decided to focus on Picasso’s two top lots, democratically split between Christie’s and Sotheby’s. The week’s first prize lot to test the market’s robustness was Mousquetaire et nu assis. Completed on April, 11th 1967 at his home/studio in Mougins, Southern France, at the end of a period in which he was recovering from surgery and saw the painter immersing himself in extensive readings. Literary sources definitely had an impact on the appearance of the musketeer’s figure in Picasso’s production from late 1996 onwards, as confirmed by the artist as well (see novels by Dumas or Shakespeare). However, the world of the Old Masters had a clear influence too. Frans Hals, Goya, Velázquez, El Greco but especially Rembrandt, for whom Picasso had a deep, authentic respect (and almost identified with) since he was seeing the Dutch very much like a predecessor of himself, with the same stigmata of greatness that only the gifted ones receive. In this specific case, two paintings by Rembrandt must have inspired the Spanish painter: The Nightwatch (1642, currently at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam) with the figures of the guards resembling of musketeers and more importantly Portrait with Saskia (circa 1636, now at the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen in Dresden), representing the artist with his younger wife Saskia. In this second case, the link is even more direct being the sensual, seated nude in the foreground of Picasso’s canvas his final great love, muse and wife Jacqueline Roque who played a major role in the master’s impressive late productivity. Characterised by lavish, loose, tactile brushstrokes and marked by a distinct eroticism, the present work perfectly epitomises Picasso’s last phase of his magnificent career where desire and lust for life balance each other in a remarkable way. Offered to the public with an estimate between £12 and 18m, it sold for almost £14m (including fees).
Pablo Picasso, Femme au béret et à la robe quadrille - Marie Thérèse Walter (image Sotheby's)

Pablo Picasso, Femme au béret et à la robe quadrille – Marie Thérèse Walter (image Sotheby’s)

Sotheby’s was quick to respond to the challenge the day after…and what a response! Femme au béret et à la robe quadrille (Marie-Thérèse Walter), dated 1937, was bearing an estimate on request and in the saleroom was fiercely contested by two different phone bidders. Post-sale, it was revealed that the winner had been Gurr Johns (and who else could it be?), submitting the decisive bid of £44m hammer (£49,8 if you consider the buyer’s premium). Boldly painted and with a rich, primary palette of colours, it was completed towards the end of a key decade for Picasso, for both personal and broader reasons. The 1930s were opened by the great influence that the artist’s favourite model and then lover Marie-Thérèse Walter had on his production. This explains why the portraits of this period are imbued with an increasing sensuality which started fading away in the second half of the 30s: the reason being the encounter with young talented photographer Dora Maar in late 1936, whose beauty was less voluptuous and more algid, definitely more intellectual. Picasso found therefore himself between the two of them and the present picture sees them both depicted, the red beret and the profile are a clear reference to Marie-Thérèse, whereas the angularity of the face and the long hair recall of Maar. In other words, we are here in front of a double-portrait of the two muses who were at the time competing for the painter’s attention (and love). Additionally, 1937 was also the year of Guernica, conceived by Picasso as his artistic manifesto against the escalating horrors caused by the Nazi/fascist regimes increasingly gaining sinister power in Europe. Behind the powerful faces of Guernica’s weeping women is Marie-Thérèse again – an additional evidence of the extreme importance the model was still having in the Master’s life.
Pablo Picasso Mousquetaire et nu assis (image Christie's)

Pablo Picasso Mousquetaire et nu assis (image Christie’s)

Following on the results of the Impressionist & Modern Art auction, March wrapped up a highly successful week for Contemporary Art as well. Results were even more impressive, showing how the international art market is in full recovery – at least for the above segments – after a string of depressing outcomes marking most of 2017, in London and elsewhere. Overall, £343m (with fees) were raised by Evening Sales at Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips respectively. From an auction perspective, the result achieved by Phillips’ London team was undoubtedly the most unexpected: presenting a mix of 20th Century art (therefore not strictly focussed on Contemporary Art), it gathered £97m, with buyer’s premium included, accompanied by stunning 92% sell through rate – the highest ever total for the auction house, in global terms and across all categories. No surprise we would hence like to start this post-sale review with a quick analysis of this specific auction. The star lot was again a work by Pablo Picasso, entitled La Dormeuse and dated 1932, half-painting and half-drawing, which managed to achieve nearly £42m after being fiercely disputed by five bidders. It was eventually won by a client who was active over the phone with a Phillips’ senior executive, Ms Marianne Hoet.
Pablo Picasso, La Dormeus (image Phillips)

Pablo Picasso, La Dormeus (image Phillips)

Strategically sold on the same day the Picasso’s show at Tate Modern had opened (the exhibition is still ongoing and will be on display until September 9th, apparently the seller turned down the institution’s offer to include it) and presented with a very competitive estimate (£12-18m), it had never appeared at auction before and had been in the same private collection since 1995, when privately acquired from the then existing NY-based Pace Wildenstein Gallery. Moving on to the big guns, the most successful sale of the whole week in terms of both revenues and average quality was Christie’s one, demonstrating once more the positive momentum which the Pinault guys are currently going through (they are winning top consignments in series, culminating with the Rockefeller Collection going on sale in NYC this May). The £137m threshold (considering fees) was hit, making this the highest ever dedicated auction taking place in London (92% was sold by lot and 96% by value). The top lot was Andy Warhol’s Six Self-Portraits, a rare masterpiece completed by the Pop Art guru only months before his death in 1987 and included in the first and only exhibition entirely centred on Andy’s portraits (at the Anthony d’Offay’s London gallery in 1986). It managed to gather in excess of £22m, with fees. Stuffed with great pieces by established names (it is also worth mentioning a unique and stylish piece by Lucio Fontana, Concetto Spaziale, Attese, executed in 1965 and representing a brilliant example of the artist’s ability to cross the borders between flat art and design – adjudicated for £8,6m including buyer’s premium), our attention was immediately directed towards an ambitious and monumental work: The Raft of Perseus by US-based young artist Kristin Baker.
Kristin Baker, The Raft of Perseus (image Christie's)

Kristin Baker, The Raft of Perseus (image Christie’s)

Raised to international recognition in the early 2000s when she started collecting high profile shows at Deitch Projects, Acme (LA), Gavin’s Brown, Centre Pompidou as well as Saatchi Gallery in London, with the present work Baker has decided to give her own personal interpretation of a key painting for 19th Century European painting, The Raft of the Medusa by Théodore Géricault (1791-1824). This is part of a wider project which sees the artist, initially influenced by the world of motorsports, now constantly looking back at previous art historical movements and figures. The Raft of Perseus is a colossal (254.4 x 405 cm) juxtaposition of planks, shards, sails as well as masts of colour creating vibrant and powerful masses of material and pigment. The glossy surface, an effect enhanced by Baker’s wise decision to work on PVC rather than on canvas, is permeated by an overall sense of vigorous energy and dynamism (a clear reference she owes to the Italian Futurism) that makes the viewer feel at the centre of the scene and a live witness of the imminent disaster. One of the ‘cheapest’ lots within the whole auction (estimate was £50-70,000), it sold for an overall £100,000. Sotheby’s Evening Sale also significantly contributed to the week’s very healthy performances, putting together a robust £109m figure, even though the auction proved to be less spectacular in general. In this case, it was Peter Doig who took the stage. His The Architect’s Home in the Ravine, a work from 1991 which has been at auction four times in the last 16 years, being the last only two years ago (also in London, but with Christie’s), was the star lot of the night and obtained £14,3m (with buyer’s premium taken into consideration), only slightly above the low estimate.
Peter Doig, The Architect’s Home in the Ravine (image-Sotheby's)

Peter Doig, The Architect’s Home in the Ravine (image-Sotheby’s)

As typically happens with Doig, it embodies both references to physical experiences and emotive recollections, helped by the use of photographic material. It is also a tour de force of thick paint lines which create an intricate layer in the foreground imitating the dense forest surrounding the big house in the background (that one of mathematician Eberhard Zeidler, in the wealthy suburb of Rosedale, Toronto). Additionally, the subject was also inspired by a visit to Le Corbusier’s building Untié d’Habitation in France, equally enclosed in a wood. Such a painterly style, meticulously developed after a careful study of selected art historical references (ranging from Post-Impressionism – see Munch – to Jackson Pollock) became recurrent with the artist in the early 1990s and contributed to the success of a seminal body of works produced at that time, which marked a key moment in his career and influenced its further development. Positioning itself on the edge between abstraction and representation, this canvas is a mesmeric work witnessing Doig’s ability to mix dreamlike, nostalgic memories with savvy painterly skills.
MiArt 2018

MiArt 2018

By Jessica El Hefyan

MIART the leading modern and contemporary art fair in Italy will run this year from April 13 to 15

MiArt 2018

MiArt 2018

“There won’t be many big news for this 23rd edition” announced the art director of the fair Alessandro Rabottini during the presentation at Palazzo Marino in Milan. Actually it appears that this year, all the attention is focused on cosolidating the identity of the event. Indeed, what we are going to notice the most will be the refinement of the details of what we’re used to receive in terms of beauty and services from the fair. First off, the quality of the participating galleries seems to be the real driving force of this edition, given the presence for the first time of some of the main galleries of the planet. “Gagosian” to name but one giant, but also Rodeo (London), Almine Dech (Paris) and Kalfayan Galleries (Athens).
The presentation at Palazzo Marino, Milan.

The presentation at Palazzo Marino, Milan.

186 galleries will be present from all over the world (+6% more than last year): 109 italians, 77 foreigns, 62 of which for the first time present. Unfortunately we have no way of knowing yet which works of art will be exposed this April. But looks like the best artists of the modern and contemporary art world won’t be missing from the scene neither this year. Relevant names in every stand seem to be promised. Expect important figures like Giorgio De Chirico, Lucio Fontana, Enrico Baj, and many others!
 Larry Gagosian.

Larry Gagosian.

In order not to fail the ad campaign, the promoting has been assigned to “Mousse Agency” who choose to collaborate with experts of art this time, just to make sure to give a proper light to the fair. Anlessadro Sciarroni, Masbedo and Alice Schillaci have been committed for months in a remarkable work that could now be called “Art that communicates art”. As main sponsor, one of the major bank of the country Intesa San Paolo which always showed a strong interest in the art world. To confirm its passion Michele Coppola the art and culture director of the bank, announced they will select a contemporary artist to whom commision an important art work to expose in rotation in many cities for one year.
MiArt 2018

MiArt 2018

To honour the fair, the Milan art week proposes in addition two other events. The Art Night no-profit on Saturday 14: a whole night where a tourist can enjoy the city between performances, openings and special events entirely arranged in no-profit locations like Videoart Project Space, Cabinet, Edicola Radetzky, Marsèlleria, Mega, Assab one and many more. On Sunday 15 besides, given the importance Milan gives to art, all the galleries will be exceptionally open during the day to allow the art lovers visiting their expositions. For all the details of the fair instead, stay tuned! We’ll keep you updated.
Portraits From The Long Hills

Portraits From The Long Hills

Original text by Nicola Mafessoni, Translation by Michael Venables

Before it finishes, before we lose sight of it. A whole morning in London to see the most complete exhibit ever put together, with definitely (?) authentic works. As we have certainly seen many forgeries on the market. Amedeo Modigliani at the Tate Modern

Amedeo Modigliani, Nude, 1917

Amedeo Modigliani, Nude, 1917

To understand who he was. In any case, we begin and end with self-portraits. As everyone knows, Modí left Livorno for the art capital of the time: Paris. The story is well-known—he lived as a bohemian between his alcohol and some indulgences. In difficult circumstances until his premature death, Modigliani was followed the next day in death by his pregnant companion and mother of their daughter, Jeanne. But in the astounding path of the already seen and known, some small crêuzä (narrow mule track) leads to the sea of innovation and questions. Did you now that in the portrait that he did of king Picasso the writing “savoir” appears? It’s like saying that you couldn’t not know of the renowned and prolific Pablo of Andalusia.
Why did he quit sculpting early, even as he had defined himself as a sculptor and painter? It was for health reasons, as he was already suffering from tuberculosis and the dust such that he couldn’t breathe? Were the materials too expensive? Or the confrontation with his friend Brancusi? Was his an idea that was too figurative and traditional compared to the direction in which the new sculpture was leaning? Maybe. As to the rest, at the time it was thought that three-dimensional art was shaped in sublimation to substance, as opposed to being worked into a form itself. But, we like to imagine that the double-dimension had lent itself better to experimentation. And so it continued, fortunately, in a productive way, supported by its patrons and merchants, the beneficiaries of assorted, magnificent portraits. Paul Guillaume and Léopold Zwborowski: both deserved. Also, thanks to you that these long hills have finally arrived here.
Amedeo Modigliani, Reclining Nude, 1919

Amedeo Modigliani, Reclining Nude, 1919

What to say of the nudes? The nudes that created a scandal, with models in movie star poses according to the style dictated by the era. One is even watching us, the spectators, outside the canvas, as another master observed, centuries before in Las Meninas. None of the women hides the body hair that, up until now, the history of art had subsumed. And that shows not only acknowledgement of the woman of the era, but also the ability of the master to create a poetry and atmosphere from everything that appears real. Then, the war pushed Modigliani to the south of France. And we find out that he painted various youths, some married women and also a landscape. But who knows what they would have composed then, with those sharp-angled lines that delineate pointed forms, melancholic but so-realized. Totally distinct and new, that at the time no one understood them. Only afterwards we figured it out. But, now, we get it. The Tate is packed and the research is understood. We observe, we study and we scrutinize every minute detail. And all of us, as we watch captivated, we ask ourselves questions, and crane our necks.
The Modigliani VR: The Ochre Atelier, a personal experience…

The Modigliani VR: The Ochre Atelier, a personal experience…

By Tiziana Maggio

In Modigliani exhibition at Tate Modern, London. 23 November 2017 – 2 April 2018

I have to admit: I’m a bit of an exhibition nerd. When there is a new show in town, I do my research on the artist, on the works displayed, on the curator, on the curator’s statement, on the sponsors, etc… Yep, I want to be ready to absorb all the knowledge possible from the display and immerse myself in it. The Modigliani VR: The Ochre Atelier With Modigliani’s exhibition at Tate Modern, I stuck to my routine with all the more passion, given the Italian connection, and my soft spot for the elongated necks of his female portraits. Oh, and then there was also what recently happened with the Modigliani exhibition in Genoa, where police found that 20 of the 21 works displayed were forgeries (no comment). This last event made me think on how sometimes the urge or vanity to curate and organise a blockbuster exhibition can lead to failing results. The Modigliani VR: The Ochre Atelier So here I am, strolling happily through the beautiful rooms of the Tate, browsing from the sketched Caryatids to the Chinese Terracotta Army-like display of the head sculptures to the reclining nudes on cushions paintings, until I pass by a small room, seemingly empty, but with a long queue and a ‘minimum 30 minutes wait’ sign. It was the The Modigliani VR: The Ochre Atelier room. Considering my geeky old school approach to exhibitions, I thought ‘No way, I am not going to queue for something artificial and not related to Amedeo!’ However, when I visited the exhibition for the second time, armed with a little more patience and hi-tech curiosity, I queued for the room. After 10 minutes, I was buckled up on a VR headset and immersed in Modigliani’s small Ochre atelier in Paris – his last before passing. The Modigliani VR: The Ochre Atelier As soon as ‘I was in the studio’, sitting on a virtual chair, I felt the urge to stand up and virtually browse through the paintings I could see, to peek from the window and reach out for the rain. Saying that I was like a little girl in a fantastic gluten-free patisserie is an understatement. Created by games company Preloaded, the experience is mind-blowingly captivating: with just a look at the virtual indicated objects, the artist’s friends and Tate’s experts will start talking to you, giving immersive insights on his art and life, based on meticulous historical and technical research. The Modigliani VR: The Ochre Atelier What I have experienced is a full VR immersion into art and history, from humble insights into the artist’s daily life like wine bottles and cans of sardine on the floor to a long lasting testimony of his talent like two of his late works, Jeanne Hébuterne 1919 and Self-Portrait 1919, all in Modigliani’s small and modest space. When it came to the end, I felt like I had experienced something completely new and empowering, an epiphany almost. This VR experience made me think about the evolution in the exhibition business: from the paper guides, to the audio guide to the VR reality. Also, this technology is definitely answering to the millenials’ needs and lifestyle habits. It’s enriching the traditional exhibition experience moving towards a more holistic gallery offer, where is not just the art to talk about the artists but also his lifestyle and living and working spaces too.
TEFAF 2018, only masterpieces, thanks!

TEFAF 2018, only masterpieces, thanks!

By Enrico Cavaliere

A few days before closing, we tell you about the fair that more than any other animate the fine art market

Bubbly, vibrant and lively as usual, the 2018 edition of TEFAF (The European Fine Art Fair), started earlier this month in Maastricht (Holland), has not betrayed the expectations (to be honest with you, there were very little doubts about it!). Once more the fair managed to affirm its pre-eminence within the current global art market scenario, in all categories ranging from Antiquities to Modern & Contemporary Art. Dealers in general seemed to appreciate the decision of the fair’s management to provide them with a double preview, taken for the very first time. On March the 8th a restricted group of high level clients and art professionals (with museum curators/directors at the forefront) were in fact invited. This allowed galleries to solely focus on them, with a good reflection on sales. Subsequently, on March 9th there was a ‘broader’ preview taking place – still on invitation-only basis – and this undoubtedly helped connoisseurs as well as curious visitors admire the various art works on display in full relax on one side and seal the deals initiated the day before on the other one. In other words, the above was a much more efficient way of distributing interest and proved to be beneficial for a mega fair which has often suffered from overcrowding in recent years, particularly on preview day. In general the impression is that, despite the recent turmoil which has hit the international financial markets and the increasing competition coming from major auction houses, the élite of private galleries is still very much able to positively lead and influence the market, by retaining their seasoned clients and attracting new, younger generations of collectors alike. At the same time, the secondary market has shown clear robustness, especially for modern/contemporary art (surprise, surprise!) as also previously demonstrated by London auctions between end of February and beginning of March (with stunning results collected by Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips). The list of the fair highlights would be infinite and therefore selection was tough, even if we tried to make it as comprehensive and pleasing as possible. London-based Rossi & Rossi Gallery, a market leader for Tibetan, Himalayan and Chinese Art, presented an impressive work on paper decorated with ink and pigment and representing two emissaries from Central Asia accompanying a lioness being offered to the Chinese court, dating back to late XV Century. In pristine condition and near-life-size, it is of significant importance not just for its exceptional rarity but also because of its depiction of historical events (the offering of the lioness finds direct reference in XV Century Ming Dinasty literature). Additionally, the work is also testament to cultural exchanges occurring between Muslim reigns from Central Asia and Imperial China at the time.
Work on paper cinese, Rossi & Rossi Gallery

Work on paper chinese, Rossi & Rossi Gallery

An authentic beauty of craftsmanship and impeccable taste was the 17th Century remarkable Bulgari Clock, displayed in the booth of legendary Parisian antique dealers Galerie J. Kugel. Bearing royal provenance (commissioned during the Augsburg age, it was once in the collection of the Kings of Naples and Spain, then later with the Rothschild family, Bulgari and more recently owned by high-profile collector Mohamed Al-Tajir). It is a perfect example of a ‘total artwork’, typical of German Baroque, being the extraordinary result of a comprehensive collaboration between highly-skilled artisans: the ivory-carver, the clockmaker and a wide range of silversmiths.
Bulgari Clock, Galerie Kugel

Bulgari Clock, Galerie Kugel

Jack Kilgore & Co., from NYC, has built over the years a very solid reputation worldwide in the field of 19th Century painting, with several of the works handled by the gallery now within prestigious private as well as institutional collections. Looking at pieces on display in their TEFAF booth, one can easily understand their unquestioned relevance in such a market segment. The real gem this year was the marvellous oil on canvas entitled Il Pittore in erba (The Budding Painter) by Italian artist Cesare Tallone (1853 – 1919). One of the most talented artists in 19th Century Italy, Tallone depicts here his ten year old son, Enea, shown sitting at an easel, holding paint brushes and a palette, with a young, unidentified girl by his side and looking at the viewer. Framed in its original, luxury gilded frame, Tallone’s double portrait is a true tour de force marked by the sharp contrast between the finished, smooth texture of the faces of the two sitters and the almost rough, freely painted background. It is also evidence of the influence two other great painters of the time had on Tallone’s work, Antonio Mancini and John Singer Sargent.
Panting by Tallone, Kilgore & Co.

Panting by Tallone, Kilgore & Co.

Finally, we were stunned by the exquisite portrait of a faun by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), on view at Robilant & Voena Gallery’s space (Milan/London/St Moritz). Conceived in 1946 (it dates September 2nd precisely) and kept within the same overseas private collections for decades, Le Faune au Manteau Violet, oil on paper marouflè, sees the Master returning to the mythological themes characterising his earlier pictures. The faun is one of Picasso’s recurrent subjects, such as the minotaur. And as it often happened with the minotaur too, the faun regularly made the appearance in the painter’s production when it was necessary to evoke his infatuation with a new love. Furthermore, the palette adopted in the present work is typical of the period and the visual poetry Picasso built up by the mid-1940s, following the increasing influence that the proximity with various poets had on him and the discovery that visual and verbal modes of expression are identical for the creative imagination. Hence the adoption of the so-called ‘singing’ and ‘aromatic’ colours, such as with violet, pale green and earthy orange in this case.
Oil on paper by Picasso, Robilant + Voena

Oil on paper by Picasso, Robilant + Voena

With TEFAF still ongoing in Maastricht (the fair is closing on the 18th – make sure to pay a visit as you are still in time), the Look Lateral Team is already looking at the next big event: Art Basel Hong Kong…stay tuned!
TEFAF Maastricht

TEFAF Maastricht

Jessica El Hefyan

The 31st edition of the fair that hosts the most important art dealers, between ancient and contemporary, opens its doors. Stay tuned for more live updates!

Astounds like every year the 31st edition of The European Fine Art Fair. Tefaf, whose international reputation is proven by the wide range and quality of rare artworks offered for sale, is now officially started. Indeed, after the first two days “by invitation only” is finally open to the public until march 18. 270 of the world’s major merchants specializing in art, antiquity and design exhibit works covering over 7000 years of art history. In a nutshell: a certificate of excellence. The central sector is dedicated to antiques and Old Masters, while smaller sections are dedicated to haute joaillerie, contemporary and modern painting, works on paper and 20th century design. All in an atmosphere of luxury, pomp, floral decorations, muffled velvets and millionaire pieces. Definitely an unmissable fair. To make the idea of its preciousness, here are some proposals from the sections.
TEFAF

TEFAF

TEFAF ANTIQUES. J. Kugel offers one of the finest examples of 17th century decorative arts, the “Bulgari Clock” is a masterpiece of ivory carving from the German Baroque, and is a perfect example of the Gesamtkunstwerk or “total artwork”, being a collaboration between the ivory carver, clockmaker and various goldsmiths. TEFAF ANCIENT ART. The renowned Chenel Gallery offers an extraordinary carved 2nd century Roman marble work, Head of Serapis, which has been in the same family since 1905 and comes to market for the first time in over 120 years.
TEFAF TRIBAL. This is the latest section added to Tefaf and has chosen to sorprise its visitors exhibiting an Aripa hunting and warfare spirit figure, crafted from hard wood. It’s dated 17th to 19th century. You can find this masterpiece at Galerie Meyer stand 135. TEFAF PAPER. Obviously does not disappoint either Stephen Ongpin Fine Art with a sensationally fine example of Edouard Vuillard’s skill with pastels (1868-1940). “Model on a green sofa”, one of his unusually large pastel works. TEFAF MODERN. Unmissable the two “Natura Morta” of Giorgio Morandi (1890-1964) proposed even in two different galleries: Kartsen Greve Gallery and M&L Fine Art. TEFAF DESIGN. Jason Jacques Gallery explores the legacy of the Bauhaus movement through their presentation of a selection of paintings, most notably Young Eagle 1936, by Joseph Albers (1888-1976), who was also a teacher at the Weimer Bauhaus and one of the most visible figures of the movement.
TEFAF

TEFAF

These are just some of the prestigious that TEFAF is proposing to our eyes, but the list is wonderfully long and worthy of a Stendhal Syndrome! Many gallery owners say they are already well satisfied, easy to belive seen the large number of private jets landed at the Aachen airport in the last two days. Our advice? Don’t miss it!
The Pastoral and the Political at Hauser & Wirth’s Somerset Gallery

The Pastoral and the Political at Hauser & Wirth’s Somerset Gallery

By Giulia Cennamo

The Pastoral and the Political at Hauser & Wirth’s Somerset Gallery – In this new show, more than 150 works call into question our relationship with the land – Dropping Lane, Bruton, England

The Pastoral and the Political at Hauser & Wirth’s Somerset Gallery

The land we live in – The land we left behind detail: Hauser & Wirth Somerset Gallery

In 2014, the art gallery Hauser & Wirth transformed a rundown 18th-century British farmhouse into its Somerset showroom, recasting the rural property’s future. This reimagining of pastoral life continues in the gallery’s forthcoming exhibition,“The Land We Live In—The Land We Left Behind”, until May 7th.
The Pastoral and the Political at Hauser & Wirth’s Somerset Gallery

Hauser & Wirth Somerset Gallery: The land we live in – The land we left behind detail, Dropping Lane Bruton England

From the activist artwork of Chicago’s Sweet Water Foundation collective, which combines art and agriculture in community-building projects, to Marcus Coates’ bronze-cast animal feces titled “British Mammal Shits”, more than 150 works interrogate our romanticized past and uncertain future with the land.
The Pastoral and the Political at Hauser & Wirth’s Somerset Gallery

British Mammal Shits Marcus Coates: The land we live in – The land we left behind detail

“The countryside is trivialized in many ways; understood to be beautiful and nothing else,” says curator Adam Sutherland. “What I’m trying to do through this exhibition is say the rural is this very complex, intense, rich culture that has an awful lot of influence in the world, and has awful lot to give.”
The Pastoral and the Political at Hauser & Wirth’s Somerset Gallery

Hauser & Wirth Somerset Gallery: The land we live in – The land we left behind detail

Art about rural life, Sutherland says, contains perspectives on history, on urbanization and the inescapable power of Mother Nature; the exhibition, then, “is about politics and alternative visions for life.”
Felix Gonzalez-Torres, in the eighth edition of Sonora 128

Felix Gonzalez-Torres, in the eighth edition of Sonora 128

By Jo March

“Untitled” (1995) by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, in the eighth edition of Sonora 128, Mexico City

Untitled (1995) by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, in the eighth edition of Sonora 128, Mexico City

Felix Gonzales Torres, Untitled 1995

Since March 2016, the kurimanzutto gallery, founded in 1999 by Monica Manzutto and Jose ‘Kuri in Mexico City, has created a space to present the work of different artists outside of its exhibition spaces: Sonora 128, on the corner between Sonora Avenue and Nuevo Leon in the district of Condesa, is an expression of experimental energy, always accompanied by satellite exhibitions, conversations and shows. In its eighth edition, is presented Untitled by Felix Gonzalez-Torres (Cuba, 1957-1996).
Untitled (1995) by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, in the eighth edition of Sonora 128, Mexico City

Sonora 128, a detail of the work of Felix Gonzales-Torres

Untitled is composed of six shows that has far exceeded the expectations of Sonora 128 and is extended in mexican capital different points: Contessa, San Miguel Chapultepec, Huipulco, Pino Suarez, Santa Maria Aztahuacan and Obrera Ejidal Urban Zone. In every place, you can enjoy the sight of a black and white photo of a bird in flight: the image is so dispersed in the urban environment and what could have been just a show in itself, becomes an integral part of the city, changing according to the eye of the beholder.
Untitled (1995) by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, in the eighth edition of Sonora 128, Mexico City

Felix Gonzales Torres, Untitled 1995

The expansive nature of this project touches a very varied population and, reaching different social contexts, suggests questions on the notions of urban landscape, on how and on who occupies public spaces. According to some scholars, Felix Gonzales-Torres – always linked to political and social issues – looks very much at Bertolt Brecht’s epic theater theory, in which creative expression transforms the spectator from an inert receiver to an active and reflective observer, thus motivating social action.
Untitled (1995) by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, in the eighth edition of Sonora 128, Mexico City

Untitled, Sonora 128, Felix Gonzales-Torres

Untitled will be exhibited until February 2018.