I thought I would begin with an update on the Antoine Blanchard.org web site. Last month we went live and the response has been incredible ... over 1000 people have logged on and we are receiving requests to review works for possible inclusion. Currently there are over 160 works on the site and we will be adding more each month; we hope to have at least 200 works by year’s end. When viewing the works on the site please note that each has been (or will be) rescanned, watermarked and color corrected; we are doing our best to capture the true color of each work as accurately as possible. The paintings have been catalogued not only by the monument/building illustrated, but the main street depicted and, in certain instances, the side of the street the view was seen from. This should allow our visitors easier access to the specific work, or works, they are looking for. We have even gone so far as to include, when possible, the names of the cross streets depicted in a painting and, when time permits, we will be adding short historical descriptions of the monuments themselves.
Over time we believe our site will become the ‘go-to’ site for the most up-to-date information on Antoine Blanchard and the authenticity of a particular painting.
During the past month we have also received a number of e-mails asking if the site will include works by some of the ‘other’ Antoine Blanchards. We have been looking into the possibility of adding a section to the web site for these works … and we may even be able to uncover the real names for some of them … which might help create a true market for those works.
We hope that you have all had an opportunity to visit the web site (www.antoineblanchard.org) and invite you to continue coming back to see the updates we make.
Rehs.com Web Site Upgrades
Some of you may have already noticed the first improvement we made to www.rehs.com. Now, when viewing the works in our Online Inventory you move from the basic group of thumbnail images under a specific artist’s name to a single thumbnail with the image on the left side of the screen and all the documentation on the right side. If you click on that new thumbnail image a pop-up window appears with a large high-resolution version of the painting and all the specific documentation. Along the top of this new pop-up window are a number of options: Full Screen Image, Framed Image (when available), Inquire About This Work, Artist Biography and Printable Version. All of these options also open up individual pop-up windows; allowing you to close any window without loosing the detail window below … now there is no need to use your ‘back button’ to return to a previous page when viewing a specific painting.
You will also note that when viewing works in other parts of our web site ... Virtual Exhibitions and General Searches … those that have been sold are marked as such; the word SOLD appears above the specific painting in the pop-up window.
We are working on a few other interesting upgrades that should make your visit more enjoyable and will keep you posted.
From Around the Globe
Normally the summer is a time for the Art and Antique markets to recharge their batteries; auction activity normally slows down and many art galleries (including ours) alter their ‘open for business’ hours. However, this year the fun and games have continued and I thought I would give you a smattering of the interesting results we have seen … from all of the markets.
I am sure you have all read about the Raphael portrait, from 1518, that made its way to the market this summer. Back in 1968 a New York dealer attended an auction and saw this portrait hanging high on the wall. Noting the quality, beneath all the dirt and grime, he bought the piece for a mere $325. After cleaning the work and doing the proper research it was determined that the piece was in fact a long lost Raphael. This summer the dealer decided to put the painting up for sale in London and was rewarded with a sales price of £16.5 million (that is over $34 million) … not a bad return on the $325 investment!
In the automobile world, it was recently reported that Ralph Lauren, in a private transaction, purchased a 1931Bugatti Royale for $22 million (in 1986 the same automobile sold for $8.1 million); while a 1962 Ferrari 330 TRI/LM Testa Rossa sold for $9.3 million.
In the world of furniture and furnishings, here are some outstanding results … a Queen Anne figured maple dressing table, c.1765 and attributed to William Savery, Philadelphia, carried a high estimate of $600,000 … when the bidding was done, the piece made $4.4 million; a 19th century Hertford jewel cabinet made by John Webb brought $3.176 million; a carved 5 foot by 6 foot fire surround cost its new owner £350,000 (over $700,000); a pair of chairs thought to be by Giles Grendy, which sold just 4 years ago for £42,000 (about $76,000), brought £75,000 ($154,000); and a pair of ormolu-mounted porphyry vases made £420,000 ($860,000).
Sculpture also seems to be a hot number … the Roman bronze figure of Artemis and the Stag, deaccessioned by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, made a whopping $28.6 million (4 times its auction estimate); an archaic bronze wine vessel (also from the Albright-Knox) made $8.1 million while a massive limestone chimera, from the first half of the Sixth Century, sold for $5.47 million; a Benin head of an Oga (c.1575-1625) made $4.74 million; and a Florentine bronze, carrying an estimate of £2,000 - £4,000 ($4,000 - $8,000) was being offered in a small English country sale … when the bidding ended, the new owner had paid £129,500 (over $260,000).
Sports Memorabilia saw a flurry of activity and among the highlights were a 1951 Mickey Mantle rookie card which sold for $162,414; Wilt Chamberlain’s 1957-58 Kansas Jayhawks signed game jersey made $45,776; and Johnny Unitas’ game used helmet brought just over $54,000.
In the world of Entertainment here are some thought provoking results: the last passport issued to Walt Disney, yes his passport, sold for $28,680; a ¾ style guitar owned and played by Elvis Presley brought $77,675; Anna Nicole Smith’s personal journals from 1992 and 1994 each made $29,875; Christopher Reeve’s costume from Superman III fetched $14,300; an Omega watch worn by Daniel Craig during the filming of Casino Royale brought a whopping $213,000; and while we all know, and have seen, that celebrity attachments to normal items make a huge difference, I did find it interesting to read that in a recent sale a 1957 Gibson Les Paul guitar, owned by a doctor who bought it new in 1957, brought $247,000.
Odds and Ends – a Viking toy truck brought $4,600; a Pantin salamander paperweight founds its way to auction in another English country sale. The piece carried an estimate of £100 - £150 ($200 - $300) … the new owner needed to fork over £25,410 ($52,000) to take it home; an 18th century snuff bottle, from the Imperial Palace Workshops, garnered $146,250; an 11 inch Frederick H. Rhead ceramic vase made a record shattering $516,000; an African Fetish figurine, 8 inches tall and dating from before 1918, appeared in a German sale with an estimate of 800 Euros; when the bidding stopped the new owner had paid 520,000 Euros (over $700,000); an 1864 ceremonial sword presented to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant made an impressive $1.6 million; and a 1913 Liberty Head nickel was sold in a private transaction for $5 million … now that is a good example of compounding interest!
And last, but surely not least, the Contemporary artist Damien Hirst placed one of his most recent creations on the market … a human skull cast in platinum and set with over 8,600 diamonds (weighing in excess of 1,100 carats). The work cost a reported $23.5 million and was being offered by a gallery in London for just over $100 million. I think it is still available … any takers?
Gallery Updates: Please note that for the month of August the gallery’s hours are Tuesday – Thursday 10 am – 5:30 pm and all other times by appointment.
Among the many works that have passed, or are in the process of passing, through the gallery this month are Charles F. Daubigny’s Les Sablières près de Valmondois; Henry John Boddington’s The Way to the Mill, North Wales; Victor Gilbert’s The Flower Market; Edouard Leon Cortes’ Place de la Madeleine et rue Cambon and Place de l'Hotel de Ville, jour de marche; and Antoine Blanchard’s Arc de Triomphe, and Place de la Repubilque.
Web Site Updates: New works by the following artists have been added to the web site: Julien Dupré, Daniel Ridgway Knight, Louis Aston Knight, Edouard Cortes, Antoine Blanchard, Sally Swatland, Greg Harris, Holly Banks and Ugo Giannini.