The galleries and auction houses of London Art Week throw open their doors for the third iteration of LAW Winter, from Sunday 1 to Friday 6 December 2019. Thirty-two special exhibitions and Old Master sales offer millennia of art at locations throughout Mayfair and St. James’s. Whilst the emphasis is on pre-contemporary works, art on display dates back as far as the days of
ancient Greece and Rome through to the present time.
Among important works for sale is:
• a newly-discovered early Pre-Raphaelite painting owned by Prime Minister William Gladstone at Bagshawe Fine Art
• portraits by Sir Anthony Van Dyck at The Weiss Gallery
• works from Peggy Guggenheim’s short-lived but ground-breaking modern art gallery in pre-war London at Ordovas
• an American ‘Wild West’ landscape from the collection of John Ruskin at Ben Elwes Fine Art
• an incredibly rare Roman bronze weight formed as the head of the Infant Bacchus at Daniel Katz Gallery Ltd
• a portrait of the young Queen Elizabeth I at Bonhams
• and three carved marble angels that once adorned the reredos of St. Paul’s Cathedral at Trinity Fine Art
London Art Week is a wonderful excuse for collectors, curators and art lovers to explore many of the capital’s most illustrious commercial art galleries and spaces, and enjoy events and talks. All the works displayed are for sale, with prices starting below £1,000, and the expert dealers are on hand to share their knowledge. Like visiting a series of mini museums, following the London Art Week Winter 2019 map (drawn by artist Adam Dant) reveals rarely-seen medieval art from Spain, ‘giant leaf’ renaissance tapestries inspired by exotic plants of the New World, ground-breaking female artists of the 20th century, art influenced by the orient, and works by famous ‘blue chip’ artists of the 17th to 20th centuries.
Women of Power, Men of Politics
An exquisite early Pre-Raphaelite painting, purchased by Prime Minister W.E. Gladstone from the Royal Academy exhibition in 1857, has been rediscovered by Bagshawe Fine Art. The Shakespearian scene depicting Slender’s Wooing of Ann Page from The Merry Wives of Windsor, is the work of the tragically short-lived and hence almost completely unknown Adolphus Madot (1833?– 1861). Madot, initially a Royal Academy student, had just begun to send a few works to the Academy for exhibition when he was struck with consumption and died while still in his twenties. Yet Slender’s Wooing of Ann Page, painted in 1856 and shown at the Academy the following year, demonstrates just how accomplished Madot had already become. Had he lived, he would surely have become an artist of considerable reputation. It is offered at £55,000.
Adriana Bisi Fabbri (1881-1918) was an artist with an irrepressible talent and level of activity: she was a painter, illustrator and caricaturist as well as a creator of fashion, costumes and stage sets. All accomplished in a life too short, dying at the age of just thirty-seven; completely self-taught, and from a family left abandoned and penniless by her father. Her Self-Portrait, 1913, an extraordinary work for the period, is a highlight at Laocoon Gallery, presenting XX: The Female Gender in Italian XXth Century Italian Art. Exhibition prices range from £5,000 to £90,000.
Bonhams has a portrait of a young Queen Elizabeth I, in the first years of her reign, by the Workshop of Steven van der Meulen (?Antwerp - c1564 London), bedecked with black pearls, white ermine and chains of gold. In contrast is a strikingly simple 1933 pencil portrait in profile at Colnaghi thought to depict the politician and author Patricia Frances, Lady Strauss.
The Landscape of the Sublime
In One Hundred Drawings & Watercolours, a joint exhibition for Guy Peppiatt Fine Art and Stephen Ongpin Fine Art, Peppiatt picks as a highlight the 1831 watercolour by George Petrie (1790-1866), Gougane Barra with the Hermitage of St. Finbarr, Co. Cork, Ireland as a very good example by a rare Irish artist: “the colours are amazing and I love the dramatic beam of light”. It is priced at £5,500.
Massimo Listri is an Italian photographer who captures the majesty of interior landscapes. At Tomasso Brothers Fine Art is an exhibition of his large-scale photographs of museums, in particular sculpture galleries, complemented by three-dimensional works from the collection of Tomasso Brothers. Listri’s symmetrical compositions lead the eye into the framed pictorial space; the works convey a sense of awe while celebrating the intricacy of grand architecture in some of the world’s most illustrious museums.
Ben Elwes Fine Art has assembled a group of works with an Anglo-American theme. Particularly appropriate, given that 2019 marks the bicentenary of the birth of the great 19th-century British artist and critic John Ruskin (1819-1900), is a c. 1879
watercolour on paper which he owned, having acquired it directly from the American artist, Thomas Moran (1837-1926).
Moran was renowned for his majestic landscapes of the American West and his work was much admired by Ruskin. Moran’s view of Utah depicts Mount Superior, as viewed from Alta, Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah, located in the Wasatch Mountain Range. Executed en plein air, rather than in the artist’s studio, the drawing was part of a commission from the Eastern Pacific Railroad, to promote tourism in the region.
Among the varied events programme is a discovery talk by Arthur K. Wheelock Jr. about Vermeer’s genre paintings at partner museum, the Wallace Collection (Saturday 30 November , 5.30pm); at the Tom Dixon shop in Coal Drop Yard, King’s Cross is a selection from Sotheby’s Old Master Paintings sale on view from the 27 November, and there is an evening of discussion at Laocoon Gallery on Wednesday 4 December, led by the exhibition’s curator Monica Cardarelli, on the Female Gender in Twentieth Century Italian Art.
Jewellery in the time of Charles I is at The Weiss Gallery on Tuesday 3 December, illustrated by their exhibition Van Dyck in
England: The King’s Principal Painter and his Caroline Legacy. Gallery Director Florence Evans will be in conversation with
pre-eminent fashion historian Professor Aileen Ribeiro, and Senior Curator of Medieval & Early Modern Collections at the
Museum of London, Hazel Forsyth.
Museum partner the National Gallery will be hosting a lunchtime talk with London Art Week panellists discussing careers in museums, galleries and auction houses on Monday 2 December, as part of their public educational programme. This will be followed by the inaugural LAW Winter symposium Conversations on Collecting (now waiting list only). At the end of the week, National Gallery expert Carlo Corsato discusses paintings acquired for the nation from various London Art Week galleries. There are two tours on Friday 6 December at 11am-12pm and 7pm-8pm. All event details can be found on the LAW website.
London Art Week Winter 2019 opens on Sunday 1 December and continues to Friday 6 December. The new Symposium takes place Monday 2 December from 2.30pm to 5.30pm at The National Gallery.