Thought-Pourri: Windy City Edition

I’ll be heading to Chicago this evening, and on Saturday, May 5th at 11:00 am, I’ll be speaking to the Catholic Art Guild at St. John Cantius parish, on the subject of how a rapidly secularizing culture is becoming increasingly illiterate, with regard to works of sacred art. More details can be found here. Although Catholic in orientation, the problem at hand has wider application for those who care about art, regardless of their particular faith or philosophy. I understand that there will be complimentary donuts and coffee at the event, which some may find a greater draw than yours truly, but I do hope that those of you who are in the Chicagoland area can drop in and say hello.

And now we will have just a quick roundup of some interesting news from the creative world this week.

French Fakery

Étienne Terrus (1857-1922) was a Post-Impressionist painter and friend of Matisse, who spent most of his career painting beautifully dappled landscapes and seascapes in Roussillon, a French province that was formerly part of Catalonia. The museum dedicated to his work in Elne, an ancient town in this region, recently discovered to its horror that nearly 60% of the paintings in their collection are fakes. It’s difficult to understand how so many of these went undetected for so long, given that, as described by the art historian who made the discovery, “[o]n one painting, the ink signature was wiped away when I passed my white glove over it.” Investigations into how and by whom this deception was carried out are ongoing.


Chagall: No Sale

Subscribers may recall my drawing your attention to an effort by the National Gallery of Canada to acquire a rare religious work by the French Neoclassical master Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825) for their permanent collection, by selling off another painting in their collection by the more popular Franco-Russian Modernist, Marc Chagall (1887-1985). The story gained a great deal of criticism in the art press, and social media campaigns were started against the move. Now that effort appears to be scrapped, as the government of Quebec has created a kind of poison pill proviso, mandating that whoever bought the painting would be required to keep it in Canada. The National Gallery still doesn’t have the funds to permanently acquire the work, but at least it won’t be disappearing anytime soon.


Mixed Masters

One of my favorite new resources in the art world is the Colnaghi Foundation, the non-profit educational arm of Colnaghi’s, the venerable Old Master art dealers who have been doing business in London and elsewhere since the mid-18th century. Like yours truly, albeit on a much grander and more beautifully executed scale, they hope to bring new audiences to old art, something which is not at all easy to do when most of the art world seems to be ignoring art created before circa 1900. If you happen to find yourself in New York between now and next Thursday, you can check out “Textura”, a new exhibition which they have launched in conjunction with London Modern and Contemporary Art dealer Ben Brown, juxtaposing works by Spanish Old Masters with Spanish Modern and Contemporary artists. Were my schedule accommodating enough I would go myself, but hopefully one of my readers will see the show and leave us some thoughts in the comments section?


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