LATEST NEWS


  • Jean Dufy - A Summer Preview


    Our recently acquired Jean Dufy painting A View from the Place de la Concord to the Assemblée National offers clients a preview of new stock that we shall be exhibiting at MASTERPIECE 2017 this June/July. Our stand, as in previous years, will showcase a broad range of European Masters from early 17th century Dutch and Flemish masters to 18th, 19th and 20th century French and English masters. Jean Dufy came from a family of nine children brought up in an artistic and, especially, musical environment. By the age of 14 Dufy was painting stage sets for family plays; his talents were recognised and nurtured by his older brother Raoul and the latter's friend Othon Friesz. He travelled extensively in Western Europe and North Africa. He served in a cavalry regiment during World War I, but by 1920 he was back in Paris, where he exhibited examples of his painting at the Salon d'Automne, of which he was already a member. He produced designs for the silk factories in Lyons and for the porcelain works in Limoges.
    Like his famous brother Raoul, Jean often painted views of Paris and other French cities. His purpose was to capture the overall impact of a scene rather than its uniqueness and individuality. Jean (himself a gifted classical guitarist and jazz musician) painted in a style that was smoother and more fluent than his brother’s, using deep blues interspersed with reds and greens, with points of yellow creating the effects of light. This work illustrates the artist’s debt to the achievements of Impressionism in its bold colour and immediacy of brushwork, but is in turn wholly representative of the École de Paris, that creative explosion of modern and highly stylized art in early 20th century Paris.

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  • The Roman Campagna brought back to Life


    Every so often we have to great joy of finding an artwork that is truly undisturbed. This neoclassical landscape by Jean-Victor Bertin is just such a work. Painted in 1821, it has remained untouched in a private collection until now, and as such has had the fortune to have suffered no previous restoration campaigns, and remains unlined and in its original frame. The removal of old discoloured varnish has revealed a perfectly preserved paint-surface, and the verdant tones of the Roman countryside are as fresh for us to enjoy today as when the artist painted them almost 200 year ago. For dealers, collectors and restaurers alike, the alchemistic transformation of the cleaning is one of the most gratifying processes. Click here for more details on this work.   

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  • Current exhibition ALPS: MAMMOTH PHOTOGRAPHS by Thomas Crauwels


    As a lover of mountains in the purest sense, Thomas Crauwels is a deserving and most welcome successor to our annual Peaks and Glaciers exhibitions held every winter in our gallery. As a craftsman making a living from photographing Leslie Stephen’s ‘Playground of Europe’, Thomas can be considered as a photographe-alpiniste in the rich tradition established by those pioneering painters, the peintres-alpinistes, who were the first to climb in the Alps intent on sketching and painting from life the views from high up.

    In the wake of photography’s early ‘golden age’ in the mid-1850s the

    medium readily appealed to extroverts who thrived on challenges and innovation. With technological advances in cameras and film by the early 1900s, mountain photography became a mainstay for tourists, scientists and climbers alike. It will come as a surprise to learn that in the mid-1860s Chamonix was France’s second most photographed destination after Paris.

    Having established himself as a professional photographer and accomplished mountaineer, Thomas Crauwels abandoned his day-long hiking trips to head further up into the mountains, replete with a bivouac bag and supplies. His diary entries accompanying the catalogued works reveal a dedicated, if perfectionist, approach to his subject matter. These photographs bear witness to countless days spent above 3000 metres and a thorough technical training combined with great reverence for the earliest practitioners of Alpine photography. ALPS: MAMMOTH PHOTOGRAPHS will be on display at our gallery until April 7th, visitor are welcome throughout the week, 10:00 - 17:00. A digital catalogue can be viewed here.

     

     

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  • Old Master Flowers for Spring


    If you cannot make it to this year's TEFAF, but would like a dose of Dutch Old Masters, why not come and see our selection a little closer to home. Particularly this stunning and rare flower painting by Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder (1573-1621). The flowers in our panel emerge in a mysterious fashion from the dark background and the brushwork consists of many layers of carefully built-up glazes. Bosschaert’s unique bouquets owe much of their mystery and magic to these techniques, unsurpassed by his contemporaries, and yet there are no traces of laboriousness in his methods. The effect was to hide any trace of how each flower was conceived in paint and, even today, they still defy the closest scrutiny with the naked eye. Nor did the artist’s powers diminish towards the end of his life. Arguably one of the best known flower paintings in the world is Bosschaert’s open background composition (the Mauritshuis, The Hague) which was definitely done after 1618 and Bouquet of Flowers in a Glass Vase dated 1621(National Gallery of Art, Washington) may have been his last painting but remains, nonetheless, one of his finest. Indeed Bosschaert’s life and the stylistic development of his work has been the subject of considerable scholarship since Laurens Bol published The Bosschaert Dynasty in 1960. Bol’s work initiated a renewed appreciation of Ambrosius the Elder’s role in developing flower painting and also examined for the first time his artistic legacy in the context of the Bosschaert family. Four of the next generation of flower painters that succeeded him were closely related to him, his three sons, Ambrosius the Younger, Abraham and Johannes and his brother-in-law, Balthasar van der Ast. How precise was Bol’s title: a dynasty indeed!
     

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  • Peaks & Glaciers 2017 - Exhibition now open


    A printed catalogue is now available on request or PDF by clicking here. This week's Market News in Tuesday's Daily Telegraph, 24 January, succinctly promotes our exhibition:

    " Sotheby's has just announced that one of the highlights of their contemporary art sale in London is Gerhard Richter's 1982 photo painting Iceberg, with an estimate of £ 8 million to £ 12 million. If snow and ice are your thing, but that price is a bit hefty, you might want to look at the John Mitchell Fine Paintings annual exhibition of snow-capped mountain peaks and glaciers by an array of British and European artists of the 19th and 20th centuries, where prices range from £950 to £95,000. 

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  • The Father of English Watercolour


    Paul Sandby’s traditional designation as the father of the English watercolour school has much justification. He freed watercolour from a subservient role to oil painting, and by the introduction of the aquatint process provided the ideal means for the reproduction of watercolours, widely diffusing their appeal. Sandby also mastered the Continental medium of bodycolour, or ‘gouache’ as it is also known, which the artist applies like oil paint, mixing in increasing amounts of white into the pigment to achieve lighter tones. As one art historian has memorably observed, "the decorative quality of bodycolour perfectly suits [Sandby’s] topography, imbuing his sunny mornings with a light-hearted, Haydnesque cheerfulness that has come to epitomise a certain aspect of eighteenth-century life.”
    Shown here is just such an remarkable example, which we have recently sold to an American collector affiliated with a prominent Mid-Western museum. In the same private ownership since 1962, this highlight of eighteenth-century British art reminds us that a
    well-preserved, fresh work on paper can sometimes be far more pleasing than an oil painting.

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  • A Summer Scene for a Cold January


    To stave off the depressing January weather and rail disputes, enjoy this wonderfully accomplished watercolour by George Arthur Fripp (1813 - 1896), and be transported to a late summer's afternoon punting on the Thames. See a detailed image here.

    Fripp was a pupil of J.B. Pyne and Samuel Jackson. He spent several years as a portrait painter in his native Bristol before moving to London in 1841. He was acclaimed for a landscape in oils entitled Mont Blanc from above Courmayeur. Thereafter, he limited himself to watercolours. In 1872 or 1873 he was elected to membership of the Belgian society of watercolourists.
    He was a prolific exhibitor, sending some 600 paintings to London exhibitions over 50 years. He ranks as an accomplished landscape painter, particularly of English subjects, and is noted above all for his delicate, virtually translucent palette. His work was admired by Queen Victoria, and in 1864 he stayed at Balmoral Castle in Scotland and produced a number of local scenes there. 

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  • A New Website for a New Year.


    We wish you a very happy New Year, and are pleased to reveal to you our newly refurbished website. As is customary we will be exhibiting our annual alpine exhibition Peaks & Glaciers 2017 at the end of January. More details and a digital catalogue will be published here later in the month. 

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  • Alfred Stevens in this week's Country Life


    We are pleased to be able to draw your attention to some flattering coverage of our current exhibition Alfred Stevens - Second Empire Elegance in this week's Country Life (December 7th 2016, p.88). Huon Mallalieu selects the best this season's London gallery shows have to offer, highlighting our recently rediscovered painting Mappemonde, and the return of Stevens' status as one of the premier painters of the Second Empire, as he writes "he was a very fine painter and his time is coming again". The exhibition will be on show until the 16th December. 

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  • Daily Telegraph Market News


    We are delighted that our current exhibition, Alfred Stevens - Second Empire Elegance, was mentioned in today's (22/11/2016) Daily Telegraph Art Market News. See here for the article. The exhibition will stay on view at our gallery until the 16th December.

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  • Alfred Stevens (1823-1906) – Second Empire Elegance


    We are pleased to announce our forthcoming exhibition Alfred Stevens (1823-1906) – Second Empire Elegance will open on Wednesday 16th November. Our firm has been closely associated with the paintings of Alfred Stevens since the late 1940s when John Mitchell bought a painting by him in a New York auction. In his heyday in Paris in the 1860s and 1870S, Stevens was one of the most commercially successful artists, as well as being a prominent figure with a wide group of friends including Edouard Manet. One highlight of our exhibition is a long-lost genre picture entitled Nouvelles de l’Absent. Recently having resurfaced in Belgium, the dazzling quality of this painting ranks it among one of his very best works. Our exhibition will comprise of further examples of his female studies, genre scenes and the less well-known seascapes which he painted obsessively towards the end of his career in the 1880s. Some works can be previewed here on our website.
    It is a fortunate coincidence that our exhibition coincides with the public sale of one of Stevens’ famous ‘Vanderbilt’ paintings, bought directly from the artist in 1880. Sotheby’s New York will be offering Ready for the Fancy Dress Ball on the 22nd November with an estimate of $500,000–700,000.

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  • Our upcoming Alfred Stevens Exhibition November 16th - December 16th


    Now on at the Musée d'Orsay in Paris The Spectacular Second Empire 1852-1870 (which runs until January 15th 2017) includes two famous paintings by Alfred Stevens:L’Inde a Paris; le bibelot exotique (Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam) and La rentrée du bal (Musée d’Orsay). Our exhibition will display several hitherto unrecorded and unpublished pictures from the 1860s and 1870s – arguably the artist’s finest period. Photographs and details will soon be sent out and published online.

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  • Spreading Canvas - Eighteenth-Century Marine Painting


    For more than seventy years John Mitchell Fine Paintings has been buying and selling marine paintings from the seventeenth, eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, both by the Dutch pioneers of the subject and their many successors in England . In the wake of the influential Van de Velde studio in London at the end of the seventeenth century,there arose a native tradition of sea-painting whose rise in stature and quality was commensurate with that of Britain’s maritime power. Artists such as Monamy, Scott, Brooking, Serres and Cleveley were once very familiar to collectors, and their work continues to find favour with us. We are pleased therefore to draw attention to what looks like a magnificent survey of the subject currently being held at the Yale Center for British Art in new Haven, Connecticut (ends on 4th December) and which includes paintings bought by Paul Mellon from John Mitchell in the 1960s. A photo of the lavish accompanying catalogue is shown here.

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  • A Thomas Blinks painting given a new lease of life.


    A client has recently asked us to clean this charming
    sporting picture by the renowned Victorian dog painter, Thomas Blinks
    (1860-1912). This photograph of the conservation work in progress serves as a
    useful reminder that often just removing surface grime and old discoloured
    varnish can bring renewed pleasure with no further restoration required.

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  • Gallery Notes Summer 2016 - now online


    Our latest edition of Gallery Notes is now available either by post or by clicking here.  All paintings and drawings seen in Gallery Notes will be on our stand B17 at Masterpiece from 30th June to 6th July.  

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  • Swiss landscape at the National Gallery


    As the leading dealer in Alexandre Calame’s work, William Mitchell is pleased to report that the National Gallery has been given a fine painting by him.
    At Handeck from 1860 has been presented to the Nation by the New York collector and long-standing friend of our firm, Asbjørn R. Lunde.
    A large,unrecorded canvas, A mountain torrent in the Bernese Oberland, also painted in 1860 has just been added to our Calame inventory (see here).

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  • Prestigious commission for James Hart-Dyke


    As a long-standing member of The Queen’s Club in west London, James Mitchell was able last year to secure an important commission for our ‘resident’ artist, James Hart Dyke, to do a series of paintings to adorn the newly-refurbished clubhouse. After more than a year’s work, costing several million pounds, the new bars and dining areas were formally opened to the members of Queen’s ten days ago, and James Hart Dyke’s fourteen pictures have already become a talking point. Illustrated here is the spectacular pair of oil paintings, each over six feet wide, of crowds watching the tennis at the Club last summer – one at the Aegon Championships in June, and the other at the now-famous Davis Cup tournament. Other paintings include a remarkable life-size study of the head groundsman at work, as well as Andrew Murray knocking up, and other scenes both on and off the courts. With over four thousand members to enjoy them all year round, and the many additional guests during the major tournaments, James Hart Dyke’s paintings will now reach a whole new audience, and be a lasting credit to this famous Club. For more photographs of the commissioned pictures please see James's website http://jameshartdyke.com/

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  • DUTCH FLOWERS at the National Gallery, London - on until 29th August


    The National Gallery is now showing twenty-two Dutch flowerpieces by the greatest masters of the genre, The exhibition is reviewed by William Mitchell in this week's Country Life

     (6th April). 

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  • The Museum of Childhood acquires our Francis Hayman painting


    We are pleased to announce that, with the support of the Art Fund, the V & A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green, London, has been able to purchase our Francis Hayman painting of Charles Bedford as an infant from 1741.

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  • Victor Gilbert (1847-1935) Le déjeuner du chat, oil on canvas, 35 x 27 cm. signed & dated 1879



    This previously unknown early Victor Gilbert genre painting of 1879 has just returned to us from the conservation studio and is flawless in every way. Gilbert became well-known for his scenes of flower sellers, game dealers and other market traders at work in Les Halles in Paris, but at the outset of his career he was primarily interested in still-life and genre painting.
    Like his contemporaries Vollon, Ribot and Rousseau, he revered the
    work of Chardin and, like him, was drawn to the quiet, humble scenes of
    domesticity of everyday life. In this intimate picture the cat patiently waits
    while his mistress pours out his milk – in itself a detail which brings to mind
    the serving girls of Vermeer – and the woman’s plain clothes and her sparse
    room are depicted by Gilbert with a subtle and sensitive palette.
     

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  • PEAKS & GLACIERS 2016 - catalogue now online


    Our fifteenth annual catalogue of paintings, drawings and vintage photographs of the Alps is now available as a download , please click here :CATALOGUES 

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  • Aberdeen Harbour in Hong Kong 1906


    A specialist artist can often surprise with his or her accomplishment in another field and this painting is a good example. It is by Frank Wootton OBE (1914-1988), best known as the doyen of aviation artists. In WW2 his illustration work for aircraft manufacturers made him famous, and he became the official war artist to the RAF.
    His artists’ manual, How to draw Aircraft, is still widely regarded today.
    After the war, his work for airlines and travel companies not only took him all over the world but led him to widen his subject matter, and the painting we offer here shows what a gifted all-round painter he became. The last owner’s father ran the publicity department at the De Havilland aircraft company and was personally given the painting by Wootton.

     

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  • WE HAVE MOVED!


    After our sell-out James Hart Dyke Whymper’s Mountains exhibition we are
    excited to move into our new premises on the first floor of 17 Avery Row,
    Mayfair, London W1K 4BF
    . We look forward to greeting visitors to the new
    gallery from Monday 7th onwards. Our telephone number and email
    addresses remain the same.

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  • James Hart Dyke: Whyper’s Mountains opening this Thursday.


    With only four days until James Hart Dyke's stunning alpine exhibition
    opens, we look forward to welcoming visitors to the gallery from Thursday 12th
    onwards. An illustrated catalogue is available on request, or can be downloaded
    from our catalogues page. We shall be holding evening views on Thursday 12th
    and Wednesday 18th until 8:30pm.  

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  • JAMES HART DYKE : WHYMPER’S ALPS 150 YEARS ON


    With his conquest of the Matterhorn one hundred and fifty years ago, Edward Whymper concluded his triumphant career as the most courageous and determined mountaineer of his generation. After a series of first ascents in 1864, Whymper had devised a remarkable campaign for the following season: he intended to scale all the significant unclimbed peaks and, principally, had his sights on the Matterhorn. During a period of twenty-four days between June and July, Whymper and his guides climbed five mountains and crossed eleven passes. Four of those summits were first ascents including the Grandes Jorasses and the Aiguille Verte. He ascended just over 100,000 feet in the process and covered the same distance going down.

    This November, the narrative landscapist, James Hart Dyke, will exhibit thirty oil paintings and sketches made on his own ‘season’ in the Alps this summer, during which he trekked and climbed, retracing where possible Whymper’s footsteps.

    A catalogue of the exhibition can be downloaded here, and photographs of a selection of works in the exhibition can be seen here.

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  • Robert Salmon rediscovered


    We have recently rediscovered in Europe this fascinating American painting by Robert Salmon which will go on display at our stand (B 17) at Masterpiece 2015.
     
    Robert Salmon was an important marine artist who worked in England and America. His maritime subjects played a pivotal role in the development of the Luminist Movement in nineteenth century American landscape painting. Although this scene of a celebratory firework display, or ‘lumination’, was documented in Salmon’s original catalogue of his work and published in a 1971 monograph of the painter, its whereabouts have been unknown for over a century.
    Research has shown that the evening in November 1837 was hosted by John W. Fenno, the
    son and heir of the founder of The Gazette of the United States, a newspaper that played a major part in the shaping of party politics in the United States in the 1790s.
    The banquet hall and hotel, Maverick House, served as both a summer resort for the wealthy and an overnight stay for people sailing to Europe or catching a train further north. It was subsequently owned by Patrick Kennedy, father of Joseph and grandfather of John F.Kennedy. Read more about this fascinating painting here. 

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  • Masterpiece 2015


    We are happy to announce that we will be exhibiting this summer at Masterpiece 2015 at the Royal Chelsea Hospital, from 25th June – 1st July. Please come and visit us at stand B17, tickets can be left at the entrance desk upon request. For more information see here.
      

    Opening times: 25th – 26th June 11.00 – 21.00, 27th – 28th June 11.00 – 19.00, 29th June 11.00 – 21.00, 30th June 11.00 – 18.oo, 1st July 11.00 – 21.00  

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  • In the wake of the Van de Veldes: marine painting in 18th century England


    We are pleased to announce that this summer’s exhibition in the gallery will display the work of three generations of the Van de Velde dynasty, and investigate their influence on the British school of marine painting. In the aftermath of the Dutch Golden Age the works of the Van de Veldes were highly sought after by collectors, especially in Britain, and greatly emulated by artists. Most notable of these were Charles Brooking and Dominic Serres, who will be well represented in the show, and there will also be oils and watercolours by artists such as Cleveley, Anderson, Atkins and Whitcombe.
     

    The exhibition will be held at 44 Old Bond Street from 4th June – 10th July.   

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  • A Cherished Child of the Early Georgian Age


    Until only very recently this portrait remained in the possession of the sitter’s descendants, and was not known of outside the family circle. Painted in 1744 or 1745, it is an uncommonly intimate and informal portrait of a child in the context of early Georgian portraiture, and, as such, a valuable addition to Hayman’s known oeuvre. It is one of numerous surviving portraits of the family of Grosvenor Bedford (1708-1771), one of Hayman’s most consistent patrons and a retainer of the Walpoles. Charles Bedford is seen when a few years older sitting on a St Bernard dog with his sister Elizabeth in a larger canvas of 1746-7 still privately owned (see Brian Allen, Francis Hayman, 1987, col. pl. II, p. 8) and in Grosvenor Bedford with his Wife Jane and Son Charles (Exeter, Royal Albert Memorial Museum). A friend of Hogarth and David Garrick, and teacher of Gainsborough, Hayman holds an important position in the history of British art, and yet his paintings appear only infrequently on the market today.

    See a larger image and details of the work here.

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  • Durand-Ruel at the National Gallery


    The National Gallery’s fantastic new exhibition on the legendary art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel (1831-1922) opened this month. The show gives a fantastic insight into this key figure whose discovery and support of the Impressionists fostered the movement loved today. The BBC’s promotional video (see here) gives us a teasing sneak-peak of some of the fabulous works on view, including a series of Monet’s famous poplars painted in the summer of 1891. Christopher Riopelle, curator of 19th century paintings, discusses Durand-Ruel’s discovery of Manet after a visit to Alfred Stevens’ Paris studio. Manet’s influence on Stevens is undeniable, and is perfectly illustrated in the loose brushwork of our Girl in a Kimono, see here.

    Inventing Impressionism:

     4th March - 31st May 2015 

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  • Peaks and Glaciers 2015 - Now on View


    Please note that we are open on Saturdays between 12pm and 5pm.

    Our fourteenth annual exhibition of paintings, drawings and vintage photographs of the Alps is now on view until the 12th March.

     

    The exhibition features over 30 works for sale by the leading Alpine landscape painters from the mid-nineteenth to the late twentieth centuries. A fully illustrated 40 page catalogue is available to download here.
     
    Opening times: 
    Tuesday 27th January - Thursday 12th March 2015
    Monday to Friday 10.00am - 5.30pm, Saturday 12.00pm - 5.00pm 

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  • Exhibition now on: The Old Hill Framed in Memory


    After a private view by the Governors of Harrow School on Wednesday night The Old Hill Framed in Memory is now open. The exhibition contains over 50 paintings, watercolour drawings and prints of Harrow on the Hill from the mid-eighteenth century to the present day. Five pictures have been lent by the School, including one of the earliest known oil paintings of the Hill and a little-known but remarkable study of trees at Harrow by a veteran of the Great War, David Jones. The pictures in the exhibition document the changing topography of the Hill since the 1770s and several views show how little the famous silhouette has altered over the centuries.

    An illustrated booklet to accompany the exhibition can bedownloaded here.

    The exhibition is on display from 20th November – 12th December, Monday – Friday, 9.30AM – 5.00PM. 

     

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  • Bouquets: French Still-Life Painting from Chardin to Matisse


    A stunning exhibition of French 19th century flower painting is now on view at the Dallas Museum of Art and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts next spring. Bouquets: French Still-Life Painting from Chardin to Matisse showcases 60 floral still lifes. Two large oil paintings by Antoine Berjon Fruit and Flowers in a Wicker Basket and Bouquet of Lilies and Roses in a Basket on a Chiffonier, have been lent by the Musee des Beaux Arts de Lyon and the Louvre, which is a great coup for this scarce and masterful Lyonnais painter in North America. Berjon’s genius and reputation, long championed by our firm over the past four decades (see here) has historically been hampered by the scarcity of his works. We applaud this joint venture between Dallas and Virginia in now taking the initiative to bring Berjon to a wider audience.  French Still-Life Painting from Chardin to Matisse for more details see here.

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  • High prices for Stevens in New York


    Our two paintings by Alfred Stevens,Girl wearing a kimono and Trahie-Perplexité were much admired in New York at the recent International Fine Art & Antiques Fair. A strong auction result for StevensGlass Ball ($557,000 with buyers premium) at Sotheby's New York continues to bolster the standing of his work for both private collectors and museums.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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  • Watercolours & Drawings exhibition on show this autumn


    John Mitchell Fine Paintings is pleased to present an eclectic mix of British and European watercolours and drawings this autumn. Our exhibition which ranges from the mid-18th century to the early 20th covers a diverse range of genres and styles, highlighting the qualities of the medium that have gained it enduring popularity with collectors past and present.  The exhibition offers works by artists of established renown such as Thomas Rowlandson and William Turner of Oxford, alongside lesser known yet equally charming and capable artists -  Johan Hubert PrinsTollbridge at Rijswijk for example. The exhibition will be on view from Monday 6th October - Friday 14th November. Digital catalogues are available here. Visitors are welcome throughout the week.

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  • Le Havre. 1881 The other side to Alfred Stevens' story


    Alfred Stevens began painting coastal scenes formally in the summer of 1881 having signed a contract with the picture dealer, Georges Petit, to return to Paris with eleven ‘marines’. Earlier in the year, Stevens’ doctor, Professor Michel Peter, had also urged him to leave Paris for the sake of his his congested lungs. Stevens indeed badly needed the change of scene - and to repay some worrying debts brought on by a heady lifestyle in the capital. This striking seascape puts Nature to the fore as Man’s presence is confined to two distant sails and two beach huts. Executed with a palette knife, the blustery sky echoes the sea bashing into the breakwater with thick impasto passages cresting the waves. Our painting on panel was shown in the 1900 retrospective Stevens exhibition at Paris’s Ecole des Beaux-Arts together with fifteen other coast scenes and seascapes. There can be no better proof of how integral these marines were in his artistic legacy and we are now delighted to be able to offer for sale some of the best Stevens pictures we have handled in many years.

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  • Sir Stirling Moss in The Steeple Times


    Our painting of Sir Stirling Moss by James Hart Dyke (b.1966) has been highlighted by The Steeple Times. James Hart Dyke has been closely associated
    with John Mitchell Fine Paintings since 2002. The firm has held six exhibitions
    of his work, the most notable being 'A Year with MI6' (2011), a series of
    paintings done to commemorate the centenary of the Secret Intelligence Service
    which earned him international recognition. In 2013 Hart Dyke was the official
    artist for the centenary of Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd, and this painting belongs
    to that series. Visit The Steeple Times website for more here.

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  • Only three days of Masterpiece London left.


    Now in its fifth year the fair has seen record attendance. We were proud to receive painting of the year for our Willem van de Velde the Elder pen drawing. Please come and see us at stand B17. 

    Tickets can be left at the entrance desk upon request.
     

    Opening times: Monday 30th June 11.00-18.00, Tuesday 1st – Wednesday 2nd July 11.00-21.00

     

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  • Two Belle Ēpoque beauties by Alfred Stevens (1823 -1906)


    As the leading specialists in his work, we are delighted to have recently acquired not one but two paintings by the Belgian, Alfred Stevens – neither of which has been seen in public for over eighty years.

    Both pictures are the same size and painted on panel, with distinguished provenance and exhibition histories. Trahie is a relatively early picturedating from the mid-1860s whilst Girl in a kimono was painted in 1876, contrasting sharply in technique and palette from one another. The model for Girl in a kimono, recorded in the artist’s work diaries as ‘Agathe’, features in several of his most famous paintings from 1870 -1884, his ‘power’ years. With her distinctive auburn hair and fair skin, Agathe can be seen in Le Bain (Paris, Musée d’Orsay), Souvenirs et regrets (Williamstown, Massachusetts, The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute) Après le bal (New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art) and Méditation (Boston, Museum of Fine Arts) to name a few. These small, intimate single figure subjects are the finest endorsement for Stevens’ status as one of the leading painters of his time, a claim familiar to readers of our Gallery Notes and followers of our numerous Stevens publications and exhibitions. Stevens was strictly a genre painter who did not consider himself a portraitist and made no secret of his real and everlasting preference for women as his sitters. Trahie and Girl in a kimono will be on our stand B17 at MASTERPIECE (26th June – 2nd July).

     

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  • Rare Willem van de Velde painting on show this summer


    At Masterpiece we will be presenting this very rare penschilderij (‘pen painting’) by the Dutch seventeenth-century artist, Willem Van de Velde the Elder (1611-1693). Last recorded in a sale in Germany ninety years ago, this re-discovered work is a fascinating addition to the known work of this famous master. Van de Velde and his son, Willem the Younger, are regarded as the most important marine artists in the history of art, and their paintings found their way into many of the great collections in Britain in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
    Van de Velde the Elder specialized in highly finished, precisely detailed compositions using the technique of ‘drawing’ with the brush on a white ground, this being either a canvas or wooden panel prepared with a fine layer of gesso (plaster) which would be delicately impressed with the lines of his drawing. His paintings are few in number compared to the thousands of drawings and sketches on paper which served him and his son as templates for their more elaborate oils.
    Our example shows a large English ship-of-the-line, and is most unusual in dating from the very end of his life (c.1690), by which time he and his son had been established as court painters in London for nearly twenty years. The quality and accuracy of his work here reveal that Van de Velde the Elder’s talents remained undimmed by the years, his mastery of the subject as assured and competent as in his more familiar pen paintings of the 1650s and 1660s.
    See us at Masterpiece 2014, Royal Hospital Chelsea, stand B17, 26th June - 2nd July. 

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  • Gunner F J Mears: watercolours from the Great War


    This year’s centenary of the outbreak of the Great War, has evoked much renewed interest in the art that originated from that devastating conflict. John Mitchell Fine Paintings are offering four works for sale by Gunner F J Mears, two of them dated 1916 (please see under Artists).
    Not much is known about Gunner Mears. He served on the Western Front in the Royal Garrison Artillery at the Ypres salient and also on the Somme. It is believed that he was commissioned by the War Office as an official artist but his work lay largely undiscovered until a London gallery exhibited thirty of his drawings in 1920. His haunting nocturnal images of the Messines Road with shadowy figures hurrying from shell-blasts, or columns of men trudging wearily to the front line, faceless and anonymous, caused a stir in the refines of Old Bond Street. The Duke of Norfolk, Lady Astor and General Gough were just a few of the distinguished buyers from that sell out exhibition that rescued Mears from poverty.
    His period watercolours are signed and dated (usually 1916 or 1917) upside-down. When asked why he inverted his signature Mears replied "The whole of the World is upside down... Why then should my signature only be the right way up?" Later undated works often depicted the same tree lined roads, however, the Grim Reaper had replaced the figures of soldiers. He died in 1929 as a result of gas inhalations sustained during the war.

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  • Chamonix Exhibition : Gabriel Loppé, Artiste au sommet: finishes on the 17th May 2014.


    Gabriel Loppé, artiste au sommet, will close in a few weeks time in Chamonix’s musée Alpin. This is the second major solo exhibition dedicated to this remarkable peintre-alpiniste in the last decade. Gabriel Loppé (1825-1913) was one of the leading Alpine landscape painters of the 19th century who spent over fifty seasons climbing and painting in the Chamonix valleys as well as further afield in the Alps. William Mitchell is the leading specialist in Loppé’s paintings having sold over forty pictures by him since the late 1990s. (See ALPINE)
    The exhibition finishes on the 17th May 2014.

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  • Original painting by Frank Wootton OBE PPGAvA


    Although not in keeping with our usual areas of specialization, we recently bought this gouache by Frank Wootton (1911-1998) in a provincial sale. The doyen of ‘aviation artists’, Wootton became well-known in Britain during the Second World War as his commercial work was widely publicised, and today it is very unusual to find one of his original studies.
    By 1939 Frank Wootton already had a best-selling book, How to Draw Aircraft, and therefore it is no surprise that when he volunteered for the R.A.F. at the outbreak of the war he was offered a special duty commission as official war artist. He painted R.A.F. subjects in England, France and Belgium before travelling to south-east Asia in 1945.
    Our painting by Wootton (gouache on card, 33 x 35cm) is the original artwork for an advertisement for AVRO published in Flight magazine, 20th January 1944. It depicts the attack on the Schneider engineering factory at Le Creusot, France on the 17th October 1942 by 94 AVRO Lancasters of No.5 Group.
    Wootton was recognised as probably the finest aviation artist of all time and was awarded the O.B.E in 1995 for his services to aviation art during the Second World War.
    Our gouache is advertised in the latest issue of Aeroplane, and is for sale at the gallery for £4,500. 

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  • John Constable and Albert Bierstadt: John Mitchell’s Boston connection


    1946 was a busy time for the founder of the firm, John Mitchell, then based in New York City.
    A recent episode of the BBC’s Fake or Fortune series was dedicated to a successful re-authentication of a Brighton Beach painting by John Constable, acquired that year by the MFA (Museum of Fine Arts) in Boston from John Mitchell. Two years later, in 1948, Boston acquired another Constable also from John Mitchell. This major painting entitled The Stour Valley featured in the background of the television programme.
    Established in 1907 the MFA has received many remarkable bequests over the past century including the Karolik Collection of over two hundred American paintings. Maxim Karolik was an opera singer who collected art with his wife, Martha Codman. In 1946 Karolik bought four Albert Bierstadt oil studies from John Mitchell, Seal Rocks (Farallons), A Geyser in Yellowstone, Storm in the Rockiesand and Piz Bernina. These now hang in the MFA together with fifteen other Bierstadts and seventy years on John Mitchell’s grandson, William, is a specialist in the artist who inspired Bierstadt’s work more than any other – the Swiss Alexandre Calame (1810-1864). (see Alpine)
    In 1858 Bierstadt organised an exhibition in his hometown of New Bedford, Massachusetts to showcase the work of the best American artists of the time, as well as three contemporary European artists: the English animal painter E.H. Landseer (1802-1864) and two landscape painters, the Düsseldorf-based Andreas Achenbach (1815-1910) (see European Paintings) and Calame.
    Bierstadt travelled to Lake Luzern from Düsseldorf in 1856 accompanied by his fellow American artist, Worthington Whittredge (see Alpine) in the hope of meeting and studying with Calame, whose work was now known and collected all over Europe. Indeed in 1865 the ‘Central Park’ landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, referred to Calame’s work when lobbying the American government to preserve the Yosemite Valley in California from loggers, settlers and speculators.
    Although Calame’s lithographs were readily available it is no exaggeration to claim that Albert Bierstadt introduced Calame to an American public. In the last decade alone there have been three museum exhibitions devoted to Alexandre Calame’s paintings one in the USA, one in Norway and one in London’s National Gallery (Forests Rocks Torrents, June-September 2011).
    Bierstadt, a German-American, emulated Calame in painting many Alpine scenes during his two year European sojourn in the 1850’s. The Karolik Piz Bemina would make a wonderful loan to our thirteenth Alpine exhibition next winter, Peaks and Glaciers!

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  • Pierre-Joseph Redouté (1759-1840), the ‘Raphael of flowers’


    Having sold a beautiful watercolour on vellum of flowers by Redouté at the start of the year (see our Gallery Notes Autumn 2013), we were keen to try and buy a similar example which appeared at an auction in Le Havre, France in mid-March. On the day we pushed the bidding to €50,000, but were unsuccessful; it sold for a total of €60,000. Nonetheless we take heart from the result. Pure flowerpieces by Redouté, as opposed to his purely botanical illustrations, are rare today and deserve greater admiration and recognition than the French auctioneer’s lowly estimate of €8,000-10,000 would suggest. Indeed, as an artist with whose remarkable creations our firm has had a long association, we would like Redouté to be restored to his rightful place in the pantheon of flower painters, and to see his finest vellums be valued accordingly.
     
     

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  • French miniature makes record price:


    A portrait miniature by the elusive Antoine Berjon (1754-1843) was auctioned in Paris earlier this month for over €33,000 (£27,300) including buyer’s premium, a record price for such a picture by this artist, in whose work John Mitchell Fine Paintings has specialised for over thirty years.
    The miniature Portrait of a Young Woman sitting three-quarter length in a low-cut brown Dress with a white Scarf was estimated at €2,000-3,000 and soared above its predicted value. Signed and dated ‘An 8’ in reference to the eighth year of the Revolutionary calendar (1800), the exquisite miniature was painted in oils on ivory. Berjon’s name is usually associated with his mysterious flower paintings; his miniatures however present a less well known side of his oeuvre.
    In 1794 the Revolutionary army from Paris laid siege to Lyon, in a savage reprisal for the city’s support of the defeated Girondin party. As a consequence the once booming Lyonnais silk trade, which in 1740 employed 18,000 people, was destroyed. Berjon, together with many young artists like him, left Lyon for Paris in search of work. Lodging in the Place des Victoires in the capital Berjon became friends with Jean-Baptiste Augustin (1759-1832), a prolific miniaturist, who had painted such distinguished figures as Marie-Antoinette, Napoleon I and Louis XVIII. Augustin taught Berjon his craft, adding miniatures to his extensive range of skills. The miniature in question is an early example of Berjon’s work, his better known flower pieces in oil generally dating from 1810 onwards, making it all the more unusual.
    For an artist of such genius Berjon’s renown has always been hampered by the scarcity of his work both commercially and in museums. However the high price achieved by this miniature proves a rarity in both availability and subject matter make today’s collectors ever hungry for all things Antoine Berjon.
    Please look out for our upcoming edition of Gallery Notes in June where we will be publishing a spectacular, large flower painting by Berjon.

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