Flash News: The “last” Botticelli – Jérémy Gobé & Andrea Mastrovito at the Bullukian Foundation – Degas at the Opera

[27 Sep 2019]

The “last” Botticelli

A painting by Sandro BOTTICELLI (1445-1510) belonging to the Guardans-Cambó family of Barcelona and declared “an asset of cultural interest” in 1988 will leave Spain to be sold by the Trinity Fine Art Gallery during the Frieze Masters (4-6 October). According to the London gallery responsible for its sale, the portrait was donated by an art dealer to Eugène de Beauharnais, son of Empress Joséphine Bonaparte. The work was certified an authentic Botticelli’s painting in the late nineteenth century. After spending a few years in a German collection, the painting was acquired by the Spanish politician Francesc Cambó i Batlle in 1929 where it remained for more than 90 years before becoming one of the jewels of the Prado Museum in 2004 as part of a loan.

Considered the last known painting by Sandro Botticelli still in private hands, Trinity Fine Art has published a fifty-page catalogue about the work and values it at $30 million, no less than three times higher than Botticelli’s current auction record set in 2013 when Christie’s New York sold the “Rockefeller Madonna” for just $10.4 million.

Announced as the “last” Botticelli, much in the same way that Salvator Mundi was dubbed the “last” LEONARDO DA VINCI two years ago, the Portrait of Michele Marullo Tarcaniota (1453-1500) is a unique opportunity for any major collector to acquire a work by the famous painter of The Birth of Venus (an absolute icon of the Italian Renaissance). However, its acquisition is not without constraints. The painting is leaving Spain with a temporary export license, which means that its sale and definitive departure from Spain must be approved by the Spanish government. The future owner will have to comply with Spanish regulations, and the work will ultimately have to remain in Spain.



Lyon Biennale: discoveries at the Bullukian Foundation

Under the title Where Water Comes Together With Other Water, the 15th edition of the Lyon Contemporary Art Biennale opened its doors last week. This year about fifty artists were commissioned to create in situ works in the city’s old Fagor factories (29,000 m²) located very close to the highly symbolic spot where the Saône flows into the Rhone. It’s the first use of this site by the Lyon Biennale.

However, it’s not the only site occupied by the Biennale which has also invested a number of other places (including Lyon’s Contemporary Art Museum and Villeurbanne’s Contemporary Art Institute) showing exhibitions under two separate rubrics: “Resonances” and “Associated Exhibitions”. Among these, an exhibition at the Bullukian Foundation (Place Bellecour) highlights the work of Jérémy Gobé and Andrea Mastrovito, two artists inspired by craft and/or industrial processes in the framework of immersive and socially and/or environmentally committed projects, curated by Fanny Robin.

The Italian artist Andrea Mastrovito is presenting various installations, a film and a spectacular work of marquetry on the Foundation’s floor. Jérémy Gobé has created Anthropocène for the Foundation’s garden, a work combining art, science, industry and sustainable development. Known for having founded the organization CorailArtefact, Gobé worked with Weber Saint Gobain to create works with a virtuous ecological impact. “Art – he says – can trigger fundamental changes in our society”.


Degas at the Opera

Orsay Museum, Paris. 24 September 2019 – 19 January 2020

To mark the 350th anniversary of the Paris Opera, the Musée d’Orsay is organizing an Edgar DEGAS exhibition focused on the Parisian Opera House, a favorite subject of the artist for more than 40 years. Backstage… on stage… dressing rooms… or dance rooms, Degas literally turned the Opera into his ‘studio’ from the early 1860s to his last works after 1900. Curated by Henri Loyrette, (Musée d’Orsay Director from 1994 to 2001, then Louvre CEO until 2013), the exhibition Degas at the Opera brings together dozens of paintings and drawings by an artist who became attached to the dancers, singers, orchestra musicians, spectators, and regulars in black clothes who haunted the backstage areas.

At the barre.. on stage… or at rest, Degas’ dancers are his most sought-after subjects by museums and major collectors. The artist’s auction record is indeed a dance subject: $37 million in 2008 (Danseuse au repos, c.1879, Sotheby’s New York, 3 November 2008). His most famous sculpture, Petite danseuse de 14 ans is dressed in a real tutu. It’s his most popular 3-D work and in 2015 a bronze version fetched $25 million in London (#l-9311315). However, the bronze versions were cast after his death. Only one Petite Danseuse de Quatorze Ans is original: made of real-life coloured wax and with real hair, the work’s ‘naturalism caused a scandal when first exhibited. It now belongs to the National Gallery in Washington, which will take over from the Musée d’Orsay to host the exhibition Degas at the Opera from 1 March to 5 July 2020.