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Event Preview – “The Bruegel Success Story,” 12-14 September 2018

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We were fortunate enough to obtain an exclusive preview of the upcoming event, “The Bruegel Success Story,” to be held 12-14 September 2018 in Brussels, Belgium.  (http://conf.kikirpa.be/bruegel2018/) This can’t-miss conference kicks off a number of activities celebrating the life and work of Pieter Bruegel the Elder, who died 450 years ago.  We corresponded with one of the conference organizers, Dr. Christina Currie, Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK-IRPA), who gave us this exciting preview of the conference:

1) What led to focusing on Bruegel and his family for this conference?

The year 2019 is the 450th anniversary of Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s death. In Belgium and in Vienna, this is being marked by a series of events that will celebrate his career and his influence on later generations. The Bruegel Success Story conference, organised by the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK-IRPA) in collaboration with the Royal Museums of Fine Arts in Belgium, will kick off this season of activities and will give a riveting context for all the subsequent Bruegel themed happenings.

2) What will attendees of the conference learn?

Attendees will be exposed to the very latest in Bruegel research through the eyes of experts from all around the world. Eminent keynote speakers Leen Huet (Belgium), Elizabeth Honig (USA) and Matt Kavaler (Canada) will introduce each of the three days. Over the course of the conference, presentations will cover the life and work of Pieter Bruegel the Elder as well as that of his artistic progeny, including the astonishingly exact replicas of his paintings produced by his elder son Pieter Brueghel the Younger and the exquisite paintings of his younger son Jan Brueghel the Elder. Fascinating new findings on the creative process of Bruegel the Elder as well as that of his dynasty will be presented for the first time, thanks to new high resolution scientific imagery. But the conference does not neglect the essential meaning behind these beautiful works of art. Several speakers will concentrate specifically on the interpretation of Bruegel’s paintings and drawings, which can be quite subversive when seen in an historical context. Interesting new facts about the life, family and homes of the Bruegel family will also be revealed.

3) Who should attend this conference?

The Bruegel Success Story is intended for all art lovers with an interest in Flemish painting and particularly those attracted to Bruegelian themes such as peasant dances, landscapes, proverbs and maniacal scenes. Students of art history, art historians, restorers and collectors should not pass up this opportunity.

3) There are a number of papers focusing on Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s painting “Dulle Griet.” Why is that painting receiving attention now?

The Dulle Griet, in the collection of the Mayer van den Bergh Museum in Antwerp, has just undergone the most thorough conservation treatment in its recent history. This has brought to light many original features that were previously hidden behind a murky brown varnish and overpaint. The restoration, carried out at the Royal Institute for Cultural Institute in Brussels, was accompanied by in-depth technical examination that resulted in fascinating discoveries about Bruegel the Elder’s creative process. The conference attendees will hear how this great artist conceived, developed and painted this bizarre macabre composition. Leen Huet, one of the keynote speakers and author of a sensational recent biography on Bruegel the Elder, will delve into the hidden meaning behind the Dulle Griet.

4) One of the biggest bombshells in recent years was the revelation in your book (“The Brueg(h)el Phenomenon”) that Bruegel the Elder’s two versions of “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus” were not painted by Bruegel the Elder. Will there be similar surprises unveiled at the conference?

I can say that attributions will be debated during the conference. This is always the case when a group of experts on a particular artist or dynasty get together. And it can lead to sparks flying as opinions naturally diverge!

5) There has also been a good deal of investigation into Bruegel’s extended family lately.  What will attendees learn about Bruegel’s family at the conference?

Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s paintings were so loved that his son and heir Pieter Brueghel the Younger made his entire career out of producing replicas for an insatiable art market in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century. Jan Brueghel, his younger brother, updated the family tradition, branching out into flower paintings, allegories and mythological themes. The next generation produced several renowned painters too, including Abraham Brueghel, who traded on the family name. The paintings of the Bruegel dynasty, as well as those of lesser-known artists working in the Bruegel tradition in the Low Countries and abroad, will feature amongst the exciting new material presented during the conference.

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The Bruegel Success Story symposium – September 12 – 14, 2018, Brussels

A blockbuster conference containing the latest research on the Bruegel / Brueghel family of painters is being held this fall in Brussels.  Many of the leading Bruegel scholars are presenting new findings related to the Bruegel dynasty.

Discoveries related to the Bruegel clan – including patriarch Pieter the Elder, sons Pieter Brueghel the Younger and Jan Brueghel the Elder and other members of the family – will be presented at the symposium.  One of the highlights will be presentations related to Pieter Bruegel’s “Dulle Griet,” a painting in Antwerp which has recently undergone extensive investigation, research and cleaning.

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The Bruegel / Brueghel clan continues to be top draws at museums and set records at auction (including toping high estimates at this week’s Old Master’s auctions in London).

Registration is open now for this impressive symposium.

More information and registration at http://conf.kikirpa.be/bruegel2018/.

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Conference Venue: Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium, Place du Musée, B-1000 Brussels.

THE PROGRAM

12 September 2018, WEDNESDAY

9:00 – 9:45 Registration at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

9:45 – 10:00 Welcome by Hilde De Clercq, director of the KIK-IRPA and Michel Draguet, director of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

CHAIR Lieve Watteeuw

10:00 – 10:40 KEYNOTE LECTURE: Leen Huet, The Surprises of Dulle Griet

10:40 – 11:00 Larry Silver, Sibling Rivalry: Jan Brueghel’s Rediscovered Early Crucifixion

11:00 – 11:20 Véronique Bücken, The Adoration of the Kings in the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium: Overview and new perspectives

11:20 – 11:30 Discussion

COFFEE BREAK 11:30 – 12:00

CHAIR Dominique Allart

12:00 – 12:20 Yao-Fen You, Ellen Hanspach-Bernal, Christina Bisulca and Aaron Steele, The Afterlife of the Detroit Wedding Dance: Visual Reception, Alterations and Reinterpretation

12:20 – 12:40 Manfred Sellink, Marie Postec and Pascale Fraiture, Dancing with the bride – a little studied copy after Bruegel the Elder

12.40 – 13.00 Mirjam Neumeister and Eva Ortner, Examination of the Brueghel holdings in the Alte Pinakothek/Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Munich

13:00 – 13:10 Discussion

LUNCH BREAK 13:10 – 14:30

CHAIR Elizabeth Honig

14:30 – 14:50 Amy Orrock, Jan Brueghel the Elder’s Oil Sketches of Animals and Birds: Form, Function and Additions to the Oeuvre

14:50 – 15:10 René Lommez Gomes, Regarding the Character of Each Animal. An essay on form and colour in non-European fauna painted by Jan Brueghel the Elder

15:10 – 15:30 Uta Neidhardt, The Master of the Dresden “Landscape with the Continence of Scipio” – a journeyman in the studio of Jan Brueghel the Elder?

15:30 – 15:40 Discussion

COFFEE BREAK 15:40 – 16:10

CHAIR Bart Fransen

16.10 – 17.10 Christina Currie, Steven Saverwyns, Livia Depuydt, Pascale Fraiture, Jean-Albert Glatigny and Alexia Coudray, Lifting the veil: The Dulle Griet rediscovered through conservation, scientific imagery and analysis

Christina Currie, Steven Saverwyns, Sonja Brink, Dominique Allart, The coloured drawing of the Dulle Griet in the Kunstpalast, Dusseldorf: new findings on its status and dating

Dominique Allart and Christina Currie, Bruegel’s painting technique reappraised through the Dulle Griet

17:10 – 17:20 Discussion

18.00 Opening reception in Brussels Town Hall (Gothic and Marriage rooms)

13 September 2018, THURSDAY

9:00 Doors open

CHAIR Ethan Matt Kavaler

9:30 – 10:10 KEYNOTE LECTURE: Elizabeth Honig, Copia: Jan Brueghel and the Rhetoric and Practice of Abundance

10:10 – 10:30 Yoko Mori, Is Bruegel’s Sleeping Peasant an Image of Caricature?

10:30 – 10:50 Jamie Edwards, Erasmus’s De Copia and Bruegel the Elder’s ‘inverted’ Carrying of the Cross (1564): An ‘abundant style’ in Rhetoric, Literature and Art?

10:50 – 11:00 Discussion

COFFEE BREAK 11:00 – 11:30

CHAIR Leen Huet

11:30 – 11:50 Tine Meganck, Behind Bruegel: how “close viewing” may reveal original ownership

11:50 – 12:10 Annick Born, Behind the scenes in Pieter Bruegel’s success story: the network of the in-laws and their relatives

12:10 – 12:30 Petra Maclot, In Search of the Bruegel’s Homes and Workshops in Antwerp

12:30 – 12:40 Discussion

LUNCH BREAK 12:40 – 14:40

CHAIR Christina Currie

14:40 – 15:00 Lieve Watteeuw, Marina Van Bos, Joris Van Grieken and Maarten Bassens, ‘View on the Street of Messina’, circle of Pieter Bruegel the Elder: Drawing techniques and materials examined

15:00 – 15:20 Maarten Bassens, “Diet wel aenmerct, die siet groot wondere”. Retracing Pieter Bruegel’s printing press(es) by means of a typographical inquiry

15:20 – 15:40 Edward Wouk, Pieter Bruegel’s Subversive Drawings

15:40 – 15:50 Discussion

COFFEE BREAK 15:50 – 16:20

CHAIR Valentine Henderiks

16:20 – 16:40 Jürgen Muller, Pieter Bruegel’s “The Triumph of Death” revisited

16:40 – 17:00 Jan Muylle, A lost painting of Pieter Bruegel, The Hoy

17:00 – 17:20 Hilde Cuvelier, Max J. Friedländer’s perception of Bruegel: Rereading the connoisseur with historical perspective

17:20 – 17:30 Discussion

14 September 2018, FRIDAY

9.00 Doors open

CHAIR Manfred Sellink

9:30 – 10:10 KEYNOTE LECTURE: Ethan Matt Kavaler, Peasant Bruegel and his Aftermath

10:10 – 10:30 Christina Currie and Dominique Allart, The creative process in the Triumph of Death by Pieter Bruegel the Elder and creative solutions in two versions by his sons

10:30 – 10:50 Anne Haack Christensen, David Buti, Arie Pappot, Eva de la Fuente Pedersen and Jørgen Wadum, The father, the son, the followers: Six Brueg(h)els in Copenhagen examined

10:50 – 11:00 Discussion

COFFEE BREAK 11:00 – 11:30

CHAIR Dominique Vanwijnsberghe

11:30 – 11:50 Lorne Campbell, Bruegel and Beuckelaer: contacts and contrasts

11:50 – 12:10 Patrick Le Chanu, Pieter Bruegel the Elder and France

12:10 – 12:30 Daan van Heesch, Hercules et simia: the Peculiar Afterlife of Bruegel in Sixteenth-Century Segovia

12:30 – 12:50 Francesco Ruvolo, The Painter and the Prince. Abraham Brueghel and Don Antonio Ruffo. Artistic and cultural relations in Messina from the seventeenth century. With unpublished documents

12:50 – 13:00 Discussion

LUNCH BREAK 13:00 – 14:30

CHAIR Véronique Bücken

14.30 – 14.50 Lucinda Timmermans, Painted ‘teljoren’ by the Bruegel family

14:50 – 15:10 Pascale Fraiture and Ian Tyers, Dendrochronology and the Bruegel dynasty

15:10 – 15:30 Jørgen Wadum and Ingrid Moortgat, An enigmatic panel maker from Antwerp and his supply to the Brueghels

15:30 – 15:50 Ron Spronk, Elke Oberthaler, Sabine Pénot, and Manfred Sellink, with Alice Hoppe Harnoncourt, The Two Towers: Pieter Bruegel’s Tower of Babel panels in Vienna and Rotterdam

15:50 – 16.00 Discussion

16:00 – 16:10 Closing Remarks: Christina Currie and Dominque Allart

 

Exhibit Review – Bruegel: Defining A Dynasty

Several weeks ago I wrote about the catalog for the exhibit Bruegel Defining a Dynasty by Amy Orrock. Now, having seen the exhibit firsthand, I can confirm what I suspected after reading the catalog; that the exhibit, presented by outgoing museum director Jennifer Scott, is a marvelous exploration of the Bruegel family brought vividly to life.

Smartly, the exhibit begins with an overview of the Bruegel family tree, showing the relations of family members whose paintings will be viewed in the coming rooms.

A work from the genius at the top of the family tree, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, greets us as we enter the first room. The Adoration of the Kings, 1564, is Bruegel at his finest, a visual feast for the eyes along with not-subtle commentary that reflects how some on-lookers appeared to be more interested in the gifts brought for Christ than the child himself.

One of the exhibition’s aims was to show that Pieter the Elder’s two male children, Pieter the Younger and Jan the Elder, were not simply copyists, but added their own personalities to scenes that their father first painted. Comparing Jan the Elder’s version of The Adoration of the Kings, for example, is a wonderful example of how Jan adjusted and enhanced his father’s composition, by adding elements like a town in the background and details of the dilapidated stable where the scene is set.

The Bruegel exhibit also showcases works painted outside of the family, such as the version of Netherlandish Proverbs included here. This work is intriguing because it omits one fourth of the proverbs found in Bruegel the Elder’s painting. Further, it is much smaller than the copies made by Pieter the Younger and his studio, and does not contain the characteristic underdrawing found in Pieter the Younger’s works. Scientific analysis indicates that it was produced at approximately the same time as the works by Pieter the Younger’s studio in the early seventeenth century. However, this work contains aspects of the completed Bruegel the Elder painting that are not included in Pieter the Younger’s copies. This means that while Bruegel the Younger did not have access to his father’s completed painting, the painter of this work did have access. How non-family members could have accessed the painting is just one of the mysteries discussed in the exhibit.

Family members showed their expertise with other genres such as still lifes, which Jan the Elder and Jan the Younger were undisputed masters. Jan Brueghel the Elder’s grandson, Jan van Kessel, is represented in four small paintings that depict insects set against a light background. The pictures gleam through the copper substructure, with the insects painted in minute detail.

There are many mysteries still to be solved within the family, such as what was Pieter Bruegel III’s role in his father Pieter Brueghel the Younger’s workshop. Exhibits like this one allow us to revel in the depth and breadth of the family’s output, and consider the many mysteries still be examined.

(Bruegel: Defining a Dynasty at the Holburne Museum, Bath, England, February 11 – June 4, 2017 £10 Full Price | £9 concessions | £5 Art Fund, Full Time Student | FREE Entry to under 16s and All Museum Members)

Bosch and Bruegel: From Enemy Painting to Everyday Life

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Bosch and Bruegel: From Enemy Painting to Everyday Life
By Joseph Leo Koerner
Princeton University Press, 2016

Koerner’s beautifully illustrated book focuses on the rise of secular European art after centuries’ of religious-themed works.  He chronicles the growth of secular painting, which later became known as “genre painting,” or works which portray everyday European life.  Koerner’s thesis is that the transition to secular painting had its roots in Bosch’s depictions of demons and phantasmagoric creatures, which were representations of human weakness and sin (referred to as “enemy painting”).  Bruegel’s paintings, 50 years after Bosch, also contained “undesirable” images, but instead of fantastic creatures, Bruegel focused on human foolishness in his depictions of peasants dancing and other imprudent antics.

Koerner constructs a compelling argument for this thesis, which is greatly enhanced by the book’s abundant images from both Bosch and Bruegel’s paintings.  Koerner demonstrates that surviving paintings by both artists show a commonality of subjects; demons, fools, and knaves (“gluttons, lazybones, drunkards, dupes, thieves, bullies, charlatans and quacks”).  Lost paintings by Bosch also included subjects that are now closely associated with Bruegel, including “peasant dances and peasant weddings, a huge Battle between Carnival and Lent, a Tower of Babylon, a feast of Saint Martin and works on linen of beggars, merrymakers” and others.  As Koerner notes, Bosch appears to have painted nearly all of the subjects now typically associated with European genre painting.

Not only was Bosch and Bruegel’s subject matter similar, but the gestalt of the paintings were also parallel.  A bird’s-eye point of view is common to both artist’s compositions.  In addition, Bosch and Bruegel filled their works with richly detailed, intricate figures.  Their paintings overload our senses with characters and figures that seem to stretch far beyond the limits of the physical works.  Further to the similarity of the two artist’s paintings, Koerner points out that until fairly recently, major works by Bruegel were attributed to Bosch, including “The Triumph of Death” in the Prado and “The Fall of The Rebel Angels” in Brussels.

Bosch and Bruegel’s painterly styles were similar too, in that both artists allowed the ground paint layer to penetrate the upper paint layer in certain sections, contributing to the final look of the pictures.

Koerner connects the two artists via their patrons as well.  Both were sought out by the elite of their day, including high-ranking politicians and famous humanists.  Bosch and Bruegel frequently signed their works, which was not typical of artists of this time period (with the exception of Jan van Eyck).

Koerner spends equal time discussing the artist’s differences as well, stating that “no one makes Bosch seem more historically remote than does Bruegel.”  With Bosch, the enemy is the Devil and sin, while Bruegel demonstrated that “genuine evil flourishes in the activity of ordinary people.”

The second two-thirds of the book are comprised of detailed sections relating the life and artistic output of first Bosch, then Bruegel.  Koerner reviews key works from both artists and how these works fit into the themes of the book.  For Bosch, Koerner zeros in on The Garden of Earthly Delights, which to this day continues to baffle viewers trying to “crack the code” of this enigmatic work. In a later chapter Koerner focuses on Bruegel’s The Magpie on the Gallows, tying this work back to Bosch’s heaven and hell imagery, with peasants dancing beneath the gallows.

Koerner convincingly links Bosch and Bruegel together as the originators of “genre scenes” and brings a fresh perspective to both artist’s works, tying them to the larger context of subsequent European paintings.  This book is an excellent addition to both Bosch and Bruegel scholarship, leaving the reader with an even greater admiration of these two towering artist’s talents.

Bruegel’s Children’s Games – A Curious (Old) Copy Has Just Surfaced

Recently we’ve been given the opportunity to examine first hand a very interesting copy of Bruegel’s Children’s Games.  The painting is large – 28″ X 39″, seemingly painted on a single panel (or two panels), potentially painted on larch (birch).

Below is the original version from 1560

children-s-games-1560

Below is the copy from ?

Children's Games Copy

What makes this copy so interesting is how it diverges from Bruegel’s original.  There are many Children’s games that are missing from the copy, as seen in the illustrations below.

Figures that appear in both versions are in yellow.  Those not highlighted are missing from the curious copy:

Children's Games differences highlighted

This blog will document the research done on this painting to ascertain when it was painted, and potentially who painted it.

We love a detective hunt!

The Value of Attribution – A Brueghel Case study and a Potential $350K Payday

It comes to no surprise to any collector that a firm attribution to an painter positively impacts a painting’s value.  But what does this mean in the world of Bruegel / Brueghel?  The recent attribution of “Wine on St. Martin’s Day” to Bruegel the Elder from a previous attribution of Brueghel the Younger catipulted this painting’s value to 25M Euros if sold on the open market (1).  An upcoming auction for Brueghel the Younger’s “The Wedding Dance” at Palais Dorotheum on October 21, 2014 will test the value of attribution for his son, in one of Bruegel / Brueghel’s most popular painting motifs.

In February of last year at rather rough looking painting of “The Wedding Dance” was put up for auction at Bill Hood and Sons in Florida in the USA.

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This work, “attributed to Brueghel the Younger” was estimated at $10,000, but on the day of the auction soared above the estimate to land at a sale price of $21,000.

brueghel rough 1

In the time since the auction, the painting was carefully restored, and the owner (or Palais Dorotheum, the seller) worked with the preminant scholar in the area of Brueghel the Younger, Klaus Ertz, to determine whether the work was an autograph Brueghel the Younger.

The Dorotheum website explains the attribution, “The present painting was analysed using X-ray technology and infrared reflectology. The analysis found that the pigment matched that usually used by Pieter Brueghel the Younger. Furthermore, the manner of working is that of Pieter Brueghel; the wooden panel was prepared using a white chalk base and the imprimatura was applied on the diagonal using a wide brush, as is the case with most of Brueghel’s paintings. The entire composition was meticulously sketched on to the prepared panel. In the underdrawing there are multiple pentimenti.”  (The phrase “meticulously sketched” is interesting, since Christina Currie and Dominique Allart in “The Brueg(h)el Phenomenon” show that Brueghel the Younger and his workshop typically used pouncing to transfer images from the preparatory cartoon to the surface of the paining.  Hopefully Currie and Allart can examine this painting to tell us more about how the image was tranferred, since it is only one of two examples of this scene in round (“tondi”) form.)

The Dorotheum description concludes by stating, “The present painting is of an exceedingly high quality and should be considered among Pieter Brueghel the Younger’s masterpieces.”

In other words, the attribution raises the price from $21,000 to up to $378,000 (the high end of the sales estimate, which I think this painting will achieve.)

Below is an image of the restored patining on sale at the auction.

Happy bidding!!

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(1) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11402594

Bruegel’s Mirror – Exhibition

A wonderful new exhibition at the Royal Cornwall Museum from September 20 to November 8 2014 explores Bruegel the Elder via art created by Laurence Smith.

From the introduction:

Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c.1525-1569) was a Flemish artist who illustrated

people’s everyday lives and the worlds they inhabited. His work is often seen

as being one of the earliest forms of social satire in art history.

In the drawing Nobody and Somebody (1558) the character of Nobody

is shown staring at himself in a mirror, below Bruegel has written the line

“Nobody looks at himself”. Bruegel loved to turn proverbs into pictures and in

doing so held his own mirror up to what he saw as the foolishness of society.

Bruegel was predominantly known for his large, colourful oil paintings of, what

were known as, ‘peasant scenes’. These were commissioned by wealthy

patrons and rarely seen in public. However, many of his drawings were made

into engravings allowing them to be reproduced and seen by a far wider

audience.

Laurence Smith has made a study of Bruegel’s little known graphic works and

turned some of these drawings and engravings into oil paintings whilst trying

to mirror the colour and energy of Bruegel’s paintings. Enlarged and vividly

coloured Bruegel’s highly detailed graphic images can now be seen like never

before.

Pieter Bruegel the Elder wanted to hold up a theatrical mirror in order for us to

see our own selves, with all our virtues and vices, reflected back at us.

Brueghel in the Broom Closet

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Of course it is not unusual to find a Brueghel painting in a public art collection, or in a private museum, or, increasingly, in the residence of a wealthy citizen of Russia.  What is unusual is finding a Brueghel in an out of the way location.  In what is perhaps the strangest setting in which I’ve seen a Bruegel, recently I visited the Church of Saint-Severin Paris’ Latin Quarter knowing that this church had a large format Brueghel, The Crucifixion.

Upon entering the typically fairly dark interior of the Roman Catholic church, I scanned the walls for the painting.  I wasn’t surprised that I did not see it, since I expected that it might be in one of the small chapels of the church.  

After circling the church several times and not seeing the painting, I noticed an open door into a sort of closet, or anti-chamber, where there was activity.  It appeared that the church was preparing for a concert performance.

Amid the activity I stepped into the small room, scanned the walls, and much to my surprise, just above the door to another room, was the painting.  It hung approximately 15 feet above floor level and gleamed luminously.  While members of the choir were running in and out of the room, I stood back and took in the painting.  It was fantastic, large, and had the attributes of a typical Brueghel work.

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The painting is similar to other versions of the painting, showing Christ and two others being crucified in a large format landscape.  A city extends further in the distance with the temple of Jerusalem.  A field of wheat can be viewed behind the figure on the left. In the background two peaks can be seen connected by a natural bridge. Marlier notes that in this version of the painting, the sky is darker than in other versions.  It is thought that this painting is a copy after a lost work by the elder Bruegel.

As the activity in the small church room was dying down, it appeared that a concert performer was preparing to lock the door and wanted me to leave.  I exited the room, and the door was closed behind me.

I wondered if my visit hadn’t coincided with musicians preparing for a performance, if I would have been able to see the painting.  It seemed like the door to this room was normally closed, and only happened to be open because of the performers preparing for the concert.

In life, as with seeing Bruegel/Brueghel paintings, timing is everything.  Particularly when there is a Brueghel in a broom closet-like setting.

Two Outstanding Bruegel-Related Paris Galleries: Galerie D’Art Saint-Honoré and De Jonckheere Gallery

Paris is home to the only two galleries that specialize in work by the family of Bruegel.  For those interested in Brueghel, these galleries are “can’t miss” opportunities.  Fortunately, during a visit to Paris earlier this year, I was able to tour both galleries.

Galerie D’Art Saint-Honoré

The Galerie has been in existence since 1984 when it was established by Monika Kruch.  I spent a wonderful afternoon with Jérôme Montcouquiol  discussing the Galerie and all things Bruegel.

Mr. Montcouquiol discussed with me the recently concluded and very well received exhibit “The Brueghel Dynasty”.  The exhibit not only included works from the Galerie, but several private collections contributed works to the exhibit.  Included in the exhibit were works from  by Jan the Elder, Jan the Younger, Pieter the Younger and others.  A highlight of the exhibit, and a work that can be seen in the Gallery, is “The Wedding Feast.”  This version differs from many others (and differs from the version painted by Bruegel the Elder) in that two figures can be seen in the loft in the top left portion of the painting.

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We spoke about the Galerie’s upcoming exhibition in the Maastricht, Netherlands art fair, where the gallery exhibits each year.   Mr. Montcouquiol indicated that they are looking forward to another outstanding show. 

The gallery only acquires works of exceptional quality, and strives to showcase works of the Brueghel family as well as major works of other artists of the period.

Galerie De Jonckheere

Paris is one of two locations for Galerie De Jonckheere.  This galerie has been catering to Bruegel-related collectors for nearly 40 years.  I spent a lovely hour in the Galerie speaking with the staff.  The Galerie has had both large scale and more intimate Bruegel-related works, including a wonderful version of the Peasant Wedding Dance by Pieter the Younger (see below).  Collectors from North America, Europe and increasingly Russia frequent this gallery to view the latest additions to its collections.

wEDDING dANCE

Like many galleries, locating quality Bruegel-related works is difficult in this internet-connected environment.  After a new work is acquired, it is reviewed and cleaned to the gallery’s exacting specifications.  The works gracing the Galerie’s walls are of the highest standard.

The Galerie has experimented with exhibiting in New York (MANE) as a way to exposure new collectors to its work.  This sounds like an ideal way to ensure that new collectors are aware of the magnificence of the Bruegel family.

The Galerie uses its own expertise, with the extensive expertise of Georges and François De Jonckheere, as well as occasionally calling in experts to authenticate works.

In conclusion, both galleries offer outstanding works and are well worth a visit when in Paris.  If you aren’t able to visit Paris, the galleries have wonderful websites that can provide a fine view of the current paintings on offer.

Galerie D’Art Saint-Honoré: http://www.art-st-honore.com/en/

De Jonckheere Gallery: http://www.dejonckheere-gallery.com

Brueghels in the Bunker

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — The wine-red walls of the Brueghel exhibition hall at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art are now bare, like the crime scene of a daring art heist.

Tel Aviv’s leading art museum, spooked by rocket attacks on Israel’s cultural capital, moved nearly 200 works Friday into a rocket-proof safe the size of an auditorium — including some 100 works painted by relatives of Flemish Renaissance master Pieter Brueghel the Elder.

“Even if there’s a very small possibility (of damage), we don’t play around. We don’t take chances,” said Doron J. Lurie, the senior curator and chief conservator. “We’ve guarded them like our own kids.”

One other Israeli art museum followed suit, hauling some of its most prized artworks into fortified vaults deep underground to protect them from the current round of Israel-Palestinian fighting. For nearly a week, the Israeli military has waged air strikes against Gaza, while Palestinian militants have barraged Israel with rocket fire.

In the southern city of Ashdod, which has suffered more frequent rocket barrages because of its proximity to Gaza, the curator of the Ashdod Art Museum — Monart Center took down 15 works of leading contemporary Israeli artist Tsibi Geva. On Sunday, he stashed them in a vault four floors underground designed to withstand rocket fire and biological weapons.

“It’s chutzpah to take a chance on them,” said curator Yuval Biton, using the Yiddish word for “audacious.” It was the first time the Ashdod museum had hid its art in the vault since it opened in 2003.

Israel has seen its fair share of incoming fire over the past decade: Hezbollah launched rockets that rained down during the 2006 Lebanon war, and rockets from Gaza have repeatedly been fired into Israel’s south.

During fighting in Gaza four years ago, the art museum in the southern city of Beersheba moved works from unfortified storage to a reinforced vault in city hall, said Idit Amihai, the top government official in charge of museums.

But most of Israel’s leading museums in the heartland cities of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv — far from traditional rocket range — have had little reason to fortify artworks in the past.

Even during the current fighting, not all museums have rushed to protect their treasures. The Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv, which displays Near Eastern antiquities and other art, left its works in place. “We don’t get into a panic and take stuff from the glass showcases,” museum spokeswoman Miri Tsedaka said.

And, despite one instance of rockets aimed toward Jerusalem that landed south of the city, no extra security precautions have been taken at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, the country’s central museum housing its most prized antiquities and cultural possessions. “It’s business as usual,” said director James Snyder.

Lenny Wolfe, a prominent Jerusalem antiquities dealer, said he hasn’t moved his valuable ancient objects from his bank’s safe deposit box. “I’m more concerned about my own safety and the safety of my own family than a few bits of pottery,” Wolfe said.

The only other time the Tel Aviv museum rushed to save its works was during the 1991 Gulf War, when Iraqi Scud missiles pounded the seaside metropolis. At that time, the museum whisked its entire collection of paintings and sculptures into its large vault.

The works that were moved into the safe on Friday include one of the Jewish world’s most iconic paintings — Polish artist Maurycy Gottlieb’s 1878 work, “Jews Praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur” — as well as some 100 works by sons and relatives of Pieter Brueghel the Elder, and one precious painting by the master himself, the mid-16th century “The Resurrection of Christ.”

The Brueghel exhibit had already been crippled by Israel’s image as a dangerous place, said the curator, Lurie. He knew museums wouldn’t lend him many works by Brueghel himself, so he focused on persuading museums and collectors to lend him works by Brueghel’s descendants.

Then, a month before the “All His Sons: The Brueghel Dynasty” exhibition opened in August, two foreign museums backed down on their promise to loan two important paintings by the Flemish master’s sons because of heightened talk of a possible Iran-Israel war, Lurie said.

“‘Are you serious that you’re asking for this painting for summer 2012?'” Lurie recalled museum representatives telling him.

Now the exhibition’s works are behind a heavy, hulking metal door with an outsized combination lock. Wearing white gloves, Lurie turned a large silver wheel in the middle of the door and struggled to pull it open to show some of the stored paintings.

Despite concerns about the risks, top masterworks are frequently exhibited in Israeli museums on loan from world institutions and collectors. Displaying masterpieces is a trickier proposition in the West Bank: It took yearlong negotiations with Israel’s army and Dutch museum officials to get a $7 million Pablo Picasso masterpiece safely into a West Bank gallery in 2011.

Only a few rockets have whistled over the skies of Tel Aviv during the current conflict, and the city is considered safer than other Israeli towns along the Gaza border. So the Tel Aviv museum let southern Israelis visit the museum for free — and reduced admission for everyone else to account for the 200 or so missing spots on the museum walls. The Israel Museum and Eretz Israel Museum also offered free and discounted entry.

The works moved into the safes in Tel Aviv and Ashdod were mostly pieces on loan from private collectors.

“If they survived 800 years before they got here, we have to do the utmost, for the good of humanity, so they will survive at least another 500 years,” said Lurie.

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Original Article here: http://news.yahoo.com/israel-museums-hide-art-protect-rockets-213242859.html