A LAW unto it­self

This year, vis­i­tors to London Art Week learn to go slow and ap­pre­ci­ate the ar­ray of pe­ri­ods and gen­res on of­fer

Country Life Every Week - - Art Market -

The Slow Art Work­shops, about which I wrote here two weeks ago, will be com­ing into their own in many of the 50 gal­leries tak­ing part dur­ing London Art Week (LAW) from Fri­day to July 7. To re­it­er­ate, in the or­gan­is­ers’ words, the pur­pose ‘is to give peo­ple of any age cu­ri­ous about any kind of art, the op­por­tu­nity of look­ing at it and, more im­por­tantly, han­dling it, within a small group led by a spe­cial­ist dealer or cu­ra­tor. These work­shops are not talks, or mas­ter classes for afi­ciona­dos, but en­vi­ron­ments in which any­one can en­gage with ob­jects first hand, look, think and ask ques­tions. They are as much about pas­sion and plea­sure as knowl­edge; of­fer­ing a gen­tle re­minder that there is more out there than con­tem­po­rary art.’

As num­bers will in­evitably be lim­ited, it is best to ap­ply on www. lon­donartweek.co.uk and tick­ets will be on a first-come, first­served ba­sis.

The LAW evolved from spe­cial­ist draw­ings, Old Mas­ter paint­ings and sculp­ture weeks to re­in­state London as the mar­ket­place for the best older art and the sculp­ture com­po­nent is now more gen­er­ously de­fined, to in­clude sculp­tural ex­am­ples in other fields, such as ar­mour, shown by Peter Finer in Duke Street, St James’s W1. There will be an­tiq­ui­ties at Ru­pert Wace in Crown Pas­sage, off King Street.

Rather than a gen­er­al­ist, one might call Sam Fogg of Clif­ford Street a poly­math among deal­ers, as his spe­cial­ties in­clude me­dieval works of art and paint­ings, Is­lamic, In­dian Cau­casian and ethiopian art and per­haps a few more. here, he shows paint­ings, in­clud­ing a gold-ground St Michael van­quish­ing the Devil, of about 1470, by the Mae­stro de los Florida, an Aragonese pain­ter who may be iden­ti­fi­able as Juan de Bonilla, recorded be­tween 1442 and 1478.

The Weiss Gallery in Jermyn Street is noted for Bri­tish por­traits and, this time, it is con­cen­trat­ing on the el­iz­a­bethan and early-stu­art pe­riod, in­clud­ing the 45½in by 225⁄8in Jane, Lady Thor­nagh by Wil­liam Larkin (died 1619) (Fig 1).

Agnew cel­e­brates its bi­cen­te­nary with six cen­turies’ worth of mas­ter­works, most no­tably the 45¼in by 52in The Ser­e­nade, or The Am­bu­lant Mu­si­cians, by Ja­cob Jor­daens (1593–1678) (Fig 3). The tra­di­tional ti­tles for this paint­ing, which once be­longed to the em­press Joséphine, do not re­ally ex­plain it.

The mu­si­cians are not ser­e­nad­ing the girl at her win­dow; she and they are ser­e­nad­ing, or se­duc­ing, us. The bag­piper and one of the recorder play­ers are look­ing us in the eye—the other has bro­ken his reed—as is she. Fur­ther­more, she, like the boy, is singing. The on­look­ing madam seems to ap­prove her tac­tics. The re­ac­tions of the dogs are also in­struc­tive.

Moretti of Duke Street of­fers one of the two sur­viv­ing frag- ments of a Mar­riage of Bac­chus and Ari­adne by Guido Reni.

Stephen Ong­pin in Ma­son’s Yard has brought to­gether an im­pres­sive group of 22 draw­ings by Gio­vanni Bat­tista (Gi­ambat­tista, 1696–1770) and Gio­vanni Domenico Tiepolo (1727–1804), to­gether with nine more that he has re­cently sold. The fa­ther was one of the best 18th-cen­tury Vene­tian draughts­men, as well as pain­ter of ceil­ings (Fig 2), car­ry­ing his skills to Ger­many and Spain, and, although Domenico fol­lowed in his wake, he had his own rather more re­laxed man­ner. I love the com­ment of the late-19th-cen­tury art his­to­rian the Mar­quis de Chen­nevières, who called him ‘a chat­ter­box of draw­ing, the most se­duc­tive and tire­less of chat­ter­boxes, one might say’.

In less than four years since open­ing in London as well as Leeds, the To­masso Broth­ers have moved gal­leries twice. Their third south­ern base is the Jermyn Street space re­cently va­cated by har­ris Lind­say and they have turned it around in just a month to open for LAW with a typ­i­cally am­bi­tious sculp­ture show, ‘Canova and his Legacy’.

Canova (1757–1822), was the most il­lus­tri­ous sculp­tor of his age and typ­i­fies the height of neo-clas­si­cism. his works, cel­e­brated for their time­less beauty and grace, have in­spired gen­er­a­tions of artists and col­lec­tors. high­lights in­clude a pair of plas­ter busts by Canova, Paris and He­len, cast at his ate­lier in 1812; the grace­ful Bac­cante Cim­bal­ista (1837) by Cincin­nato Baruzzi (1796–1878), one of Can-

ova’s lead­ing pupils; and, by the Dan­ish mas­ter Ber­tel Thor­vald­sen (1770–1844), a Cu­pid with his Bow (Amorino) (Fig 4), which has re­mained in the same Scot­tish fam­ily since its pur­chase from Thor­vald­sen in 1828.

With that in mind, the broth­ers have no doubt crossed Jermyn Street to their new neigh­bour

Si­mon Dick­in­son, who has an 84½in by 65in Por­trait of Ant

onio Canova by Domenico Conti (1742–1817) (Fig 6). The mas­ter poses by his own ver­sion, the ‘La Touche’ Amorino.

Daniel Katz of Hill Street of­fers French sculp­ture from ‘The Ro­man­tics to Rodin’, in­clud­ing a bronze first ver­sion of Eter­nel

Prin­temps con­ceived by Rodin

in 1884.

Karen Tay­lor, a sur­vivor from the days when English wa­ter­colours were de­servedly pop­u­lar, has re­cently re­sumed ac­tiv­ity as a dealer and is based at the Il­lus­tra­tion Cup­board in Bury Street for the week. Her 20¾in by 16¾in por­trait of the dealer Thomas Em­mer­son read­ing a news­pa­per (Fig 7) in an in­te­rior by John Fred­er­ick Lewis (1804–76) was al­most cer­tainly painted in 1829 to cel­e­brate the sale to the Prince Re­gent of the paint­ing hang­ing be­hind him: Pi­eter de Hooch’s Court­yard of a House in Delft.

Low­ell Lib­son of Clif­ford Street has both draw­ings and oil paint­ings, in­clud­ing the 18in by 26in The City of God (Fig 5), a late work of about 1850 by John Martin (1789–1854). As the gallery points out, it is not only a pre­lim­i­nary work for the great se­ries of the world’s end, but a stand­alone cabi­net-size ex­plo­ration of Heaven as de­scribed in the Book of Rev­e­la­tion.

Ro­bi­lant + Voena of Dover Street is pre­sent­ing a se­lec­tion of five land­scapes, nine still-lifes and a wa­ter­colour painted by Gior­gio Mo­randi (1890–1964) be­tween the 1930s and 1960s. Mo­randi, one of the lat­est artists on of­fer dur­ing LAW, has long been pop­u­lar in Britain, per­haps be­cause of his se­duc­tive gen­tle­ness; his is a Modernism that does not bully or preach. He is the mas­ter of the ev­ery­day ob­ject. His 45 ∕8in by 4in Fiori of 1950 (Fig 8) typ­i­fies this.

Fig 2: G. B. Tiepolo frag­ment. With Stephen Ong­pin

Fig 1: Jane, Lady Thor­nagh. With The Weiss Gallery

Fig 3 left: Jor­daens’s The Ser­e­nade. With Agnew. Fig 4 above: Cu­pid with his Bow. With the To­masso Broth­ers

Fig 5: City of God by John Martin. With Low­ell Lib­son

Fig 7: The dealer Thomas Em­mer­son in an in­te­rior by J. F. Lewis. With Karen Tay­lor

Fig 8: Gior­gio Mo­randi’s Fiori of 1950. With Ro­bi­lant + Voena

Fig 6: Domenico Conti’s por­trait of Canova. With Si­mon Dick­in­son

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