The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Wednesday, September 18, 2019


Diligent research propels a Gainsborough study, initially believed a copy, to $103,125
Study by Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788), for perhaps the renowned English painter’s most intricate and recognizable composition – The Honourable Mrs. Graham ($103,125).


FRANKLIN, MASS.- Diligent research by Bruce Wood of Woodshed Art Auctions propelled what was initially believed to be an ordinary copy of a painting to a six-figure finish at the firm’s November 1st fine art auction titled Gainsborough, Monet, Warhol & Friends. The painting was an oil portrait study by Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788) titled The Honourable Mrs. Graham.

Wood’s examination of the under-drawing and comparison with Gainsborough’s drawing style led to the conclusion that the painting was a precursor to the finished work, which hangs in the Scottish National Galleries in Edinburgh. Still, to be safe, Wood called it an attribution for the sale, but savvy bidders were convinced. The final price, with buyer’s premium, was $103,125.

The painting, in a 40 ¼ inch by 55 inch frame, was in fine condition, though it did show signs of age, furthering the notion it was a study. The cracking was consistent with portraits of the period, including ones in Edinburgh’s National Gallery. Wood’s infra-red photography revealed a complex and energetic drawing hidden beneath the surface of the paint, a convincing revelation.

The selling price outperformed the pre-sale estimate of $75,000-$100,000, cementing the notion that the painting, perhaps Gainsborough’s most intricate and recognizable compositions and one of the finest examples of 18th century portraiture, was indeed by the famed British artist. Wood’s discovery led to an examination of another Gainsborough in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

But his investigation wasn’t limited to stateside research. Wood hopped a flight to Edinburgh to view The Honourable Mrs. Graham up close and personal, and perform infra-red photography there in the gallery. What he learned led to a deeper understanding of Gainsborough’s working methods. The artist was very precise when rendering fine fabrics, jewels, hair and accoutrements.

The hair in the painting was of particular interest to Wood. The infra-red technology led to his discovery of how he rendered the sitter’s coiffures in such a dynamic manner – an underlying sketch in black chalk. When highlighted with paint, the quick, vertical strokes of black chalk added to the dynamism of the sitter’s fashionable up-do and added depth to the static portrait.

The technique prompted further investigation by Wood, who found similar under-drawing technique not just on the painting in Scotland but also Gainsborough’s works titled Haymaker and Sleeping Girl, both done in the 1780s and now housed in Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts.

Gainsborough was also adept at drawing elegant hands. In The Honourable Mrs. Graham, the hands extend from an already elongated wrist and end seamlessly into her gown. The elongated, clutching fingers enhance the elegance of the sitter and pronounce the dainty features of his elite, sophisticated clientele. An infra-red photo revealed quickly sketched hands in the under-drawing.

The variation on backgrounds is probably the clearest indication that the work sold was a preparation sketch. The background of the exhibited version in Scotland is a quintessential Gainsborough Rococo landscape, with an undulating, verdant hill and exquisitely rendered trees that would lay the groundwork for British Romanticism in the subsequent decades to come.

The study, however, displays a more somber (but equally striking) tone. The bucolic hillscape is replaced with a seemingly opaque mass of darkness, capped by an eerie sunset, providing a stark contrast to the delicate, pale white Mrs. Graham. It is reminiscent to the background in a 1759 Gainsborough Self-Portrait, and adds a dynamic to the rigid rules of 18th century portraiture.

Interestingly, the subject in the painting was born Mary Cathcart, the daughter of the Scottish ambassador to Russia. She spent her early years at the Court of Catherine the Great before her marriage to Thomas Graham in 1774. She was one of the most beautiful women of her time and Gainsborough, smitten with her himself, painted her multiple times, most often from memory.

Other paintings in Gainsborough, Monet, Warhol & Friends also performed well. They included:

• An oil on canvas painting by a follower of Edward Hopper (American, 1882-1967), titled Office at Night, artist signed and nicely housed in a 28 inch by 34 ¼ inch frame ($7,500).

• A tempera on paper work attributed to Claude Monet (French, 1840-1926), titled Winter Landscape, artist signed and verso stamped Collection Simon in Paris, France ($3,900).

• An oil on canvas landscape painting attributed to Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (French, 1796-1875), likely in the original frame measuring 23 ¾ inches by 26 ¾ inches ($3,750).

• An oil on canvas painting attributed to John Whorf (American, 1903-1959), titled Woman Reading, artist signed and with an auction label on upper stretcher bar ($1,250).






Today's News

November 20, 2018

New conservation reveals lost details of intimate Gainsborough portrait

Sotheby's American Art Auction totals $44.1 million

Phillips opens a selling exhibition in Hong Kong dedicated to Banksy

Julian Opie creates a new interactive art studio for children and families

MoMA announces the first major publication on former Director René d'Harnoncourt

Sotheby's presents 'Geek Week': NY auctions of space exploration and the history of science & technology

Waddington Custot opens an exhibition of new work by American sculptor Jedd Novatt

Marja Sakari appointed new Museum Director of Ateneum Art Museum

Vienna Art Week 2018 opens its 14th edition

Diligent research propels a Gainsborough study, initially believed a copy, to $103,125

China's youth embrace street dance amid hip-hop crackdown

British artist Phoebe Dickinson unveils new landscape paintings

Marilyn Monroe's Thunderbird sells for $490,000 at Julien's Auctions

Final report: Luxembourg Art Week 2018

Holabird Western Americana Collection to hold five-day 'to die for' sale

Morphy's to auction premier fine and decorative art, silver, luxury timepieces Dec. 5-6

Estonian artist Kris Lemsalu opens exhibition at Vienna's Secession

Everson Museum receives $4.8 million donation

New Michel Comte multimedia installation in the Arctic commissioned by Wavelength Foundation

Over 400 lots of fine art, estate jewelry and decorative art will come up for bid at Gray's Auctioneers

Art Düsseldorf establishes itself as a set date for collectors, curators and art lovers in the region

Sondra Perry wins Nam June Paik Award 2018

Can art help champion gender and racial inequality?

Christie's announces highlights included in the Winter Season Luxury Sales in London

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Holocaust 'masterpiece' causes uproar at Venice film festival

2.- To be unveiled at Sotheby's: One of the greatest collections of Orientalist paintings ever assembled

3.- Bender Gallery features paintings by up and coming Chicago artist Michael Hedges

4.- Lévy Gorvy exhibits new and historic works by French master in his centenary year

5.- Artificial Intelligence as good as Mahler? Austrian orchestra performs symphony with twist

6.- Fascinating new exhibition explores enduring artistic bond between Scotland and Italy

7.- Exhibition explores the process of Japanese-style woodblock production

8.- Robert Frank, photographer of America's underbelly, dead at 94

9.- The truth behind the legend of patriot Paul Revere revealed in a new exhibition at New-York Historical Society

10.- Hitler bust found in cellar of French Senate



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 



Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org avemariasound.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful