Art Market Magazine
It's the kind of story everyone loves, bursting with mystery and action… On 12 April, after several months working in the utmost secrecy, Paris expert Eric Turquin made public "Judith beheading Holofernes": a painting of a power and violence that could only have come from the hand of the great Caravaggio. The work, discovered in a house in Toulouse by the auctioneer Marc Labarbe, has now been classified a National Treasure. Like most of the pictures attributed to the Italian master (whose corpus contains only 60-odd works, as we know) this one has caused much controversy between sceptics and optimists. And the affair, hitherto absorbed by questions of attribution, is now further complicated by doubts on its provenance. Carole Blumenfeld, in the Quotidien de l'art, now tells us that the "Spanish lead" announced from the outset "is based more on fiction than fact", while the regional newspaper La Dépêche du Midi, citing the academic Mickaël Szanto, has suggested that from the early 17th century onwards, works by Caravaggio were present in Toulouse, the rose-red city, and were sold at famous tombolas organised by art dealers like Pierre de Bruyn. Decidedly, this story with its mix of light and dark has all the ingredients of a detective novel. But as we know, the man who revolutionised painting was nothing if not a storybook hero.
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Initiated in September 2015 to celebrate the 130th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations, France-Korea Year has involved events all over France: nearly 200, in fact, highlighting Korean culture in all its diversity. France Year began in Korea in March, and lasts until December 2016. Henri Loyrette, chairman of the organising committee, and Agnès Benayer, general director, agreed to talk to the Gazette Drouot about this rich and varied programme. Loyrette, the former director of the Orsay and Louvre museums assumes this chairmanship with undisguised pleasure. Why is Korea so fascinating, do you think?
Henri Loyrette. We are still in the process of discovering Korea. In terms of creation, it's a country that has emerged more recently than China and Japan.
As we know, after the Korean War, and for years after that, it was one of the world's poorest countries. Its recovery – not only economic but also intellectual and artistic – commands our respect.
For once, the Journal Officiel of 31 March set the art world on fire. Spotted by the eagle-eyed Didier Rykner of La Tribune de l’Art, an order of 25 March 2016 refused an export certificate to a mysterious painting "possibly attributed to Michelangelo Merisi, aka Caravaggio". Well, that set the cat among the pigeons… The picture was discovered in an attic in the Toulouse region, and has been studied by Éric Turquin and two of his staff, Stéphane Pinta and Julie Ducher, since late April 2014…
Monumental despite its modest size, and concealing mechanical marvels behind its apparent sobriety, this dressing table being sold at Drouot by J.J. Mathias, Baron Ribeyre & Associés, E. Farrando, evokes the work of David Roentgen, to whom it is attributed. His architectural furniture with hidden mechanisms brought the cabinetmaker instant fame, and
Louis XVI himself fell for a highly novel roll-top desk, which has not survived but was described in 1799…
This spring in Paris had a distinct touch of autumn, given the shower of beautiful "leaves" on offer during the Semaine du Dessin. While the 25th edition of the drawing fair drew the world's top collectors and curators to the Palais Brongniart as usual, there were several surprises in the salerooms, which posted various world records and purchases by institutions. For example, the Musée Rodin acquired two drawings during the Leclere auction house's sale at Drouot…
For the last few months, France has been discovering all the richness of Korean painting with a certain wonder. Several exhibitions staged throughout the country as events in Korea Year have enabled people to appreciate all its beauty, like "Paper Tigers" at the Musée Guimet, "Seoul Paris Seoul" at the Cernuschi, and "Dansaekhwa. L’aventure du monochrome" at the Domaine de Kerguéhennec…
This jewel of Italian design undoubtedly suffers from a low profile in France. But there's a reason for this: since its creation in 1947, Arflex has never had a real distributor in this country. An oversight now made good through the partnership established between Fausto Colombo, the company's CEO, and Siltec, the contemporary furniture firm founded by Bernard Tordjman in 1976…
The time is long gone when André Breton said of Gustave Moreau that his museum was "huge and empty, with frames that were too gilded and too dated" and accused the institution of "prolonging beyond his death the exile he wanted to retreat to."
In 2015, the museum received 58,239 visitors – many more than in 2013 (only 22,000). Mere curiosity (the museum reopened in January 2015 after a year of refurbishment work) or a sign of growing interest in Symbolism through one of its finest exponents?
May 2016 Edition
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