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Master Paintings Week comes of age
Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553), Venus, 1531. Oil on panel, 38.7 x 24.5 cm. Photo: Courtesy of Colnaghi.

LONDON.- The fifth staging of Master Paintings Week, 28 June to 5 July 2013, a collaboration between twenty leading dealers and three auction houses and supported by The Crown Estate, has not only attracted collectors and curators from around the globe but also generated significant sales. In 2013 Master Paintings Week joined forces with Master Drawings and Sculpture Week under the banner of London Art Week and this new initiative has proved popular, providing a coherent platform that serves to highlight the pre-eminence of the city in these fields. The free pocket-sized publication was much sought after as was the iPhone/iPad app with 1,500 registered downloads and more than 25 hours spent by users with over 4,000 screen views in the month leading up to and during MPW.

One of the undoubted highlights of MPW was the recently rediscovered and highly important Venus by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553), which was sold by Colnaghi to the Princely Collections of Liechtenstein. The must-see of the event, the painting is one of the most iconic images by the artist, only to be compared with the Venus in the Städel Museum , Frankfurt . Visitors were not only impressed by the variety of works on offer, ranging from the 15th to the 20th century in all schools and genres, but also by the special exhibitions staged by many of the participating galleries.

Sales reported by Fergus Hall Master Paintings to British and American collectors included a portrait of Lady Anne Hyde, Duchess of York, by Peter Lely (1618-1680) whilst Derek Johns Ltd, who staged a special exhibition entitled Discovering Latin America devoted to Viceregal and Colonial paintings from the New World , was also delighted to sell to an American collector. Rafael Valls Ltd’s innovative exhibition Master Paintings on a Budget, presenting 17th and 18th century paintings priced under £40,000, was a great success with a number of sales concluded and more in the pipeline, as is the case for many of the dealers.

Jonathan Green, managing director of Richard Green and one of the co-founders of MPW, said: “We were incredibly impressed with the response to Master Paintings Week. The number of visitors was substantially up on last year and we had many interesting visitors to the gallery notably from North and South America as well as Europe, particularly from Holland , Belgium and Spain ”.

With the economic outlook looking more positive, there were more curators in evidence than in previous years particularly from American museums and institutions such as the Art Institute of Chicago, Cleveland Museum of Art, Dallas Museum of Art, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and National Gallery of Art, Washington, to name but a few. Representatives from such UK and Continental museums as the National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britain , The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford , and Dulwich Picture Gallery, also made the rounds as did curators from Alte Pinakothek, Munich , Museo Nacional del Prado, the Mauritshuis in The Hague and the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam .

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