Masterpiece

By Field, Katherine | British Art Journal, Autumn 2012 | Go to article overview

Masterpiece


Field, Katherine, British Art Journal


Masterpiece London opened in the grounds of the Chelsea Hospital for its third year this June. Reports of steady sales and the presence of serious national and international collectors--among them Lord Thompson, Sheikh Al-Thani, Charles Saatchi, Terence Conran (and even Jeffery Archer)--has confirmed Masterpiece London's reputation as one of the most important international fairs on the calendar.

Philip Mould Ltd had a very successful fair and were recipients of the 'Masterpiece of Masterpiece' award for their Van Dyck Self-portrait of 1640. Among their most significant sales was Allan Ramsay's (1713-1784) early Portrait of a Lady as a Shepherdess to a well-known US museum (Pl 1). The work was a recent discovery, its autograph status confirmed by the existence of a preparatory drawing (for the head) in the collection of the Yale Centre for British Art (Pl 1a)..

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Martyn Gregory Gallery exhibited an exquisite sheet of sketches by Jacques-Laurent Agasse (1767-1849), thought to have been completed after the artist's move to London in 1800 (Pl 2). Agasse's horses, like those of Stubbs, are finely observed both anatomically and (as it were) psychologically, capturing them in various states from excited freedom to cautious observance. These sketches of horses with grooms and riders relate to other works by Agasse, notably The Gate (1803), and Two Horses with a Groom (1805): see Tate Gallery and Musee d'Art et d'Histoire, Geneva, 1988Jacques-Laurent Agasse (1767-1849), cat. nos. 19 and 98. The composition sketch at the foot of the page may relate to one of Agasse's large paintings, such as Smithfield Market of 1824. Stylistically the sheet may be compared with Setting off for the Ride (op cit, cat. no.81). Not many watercolours by Agasse are known, but the artist became a member of the Sketching Society founded by the Chalon brothers in 1808, and the Chalons may have encouraged him to experiment in landscape watercolours.

The Fine Art Society exhibited a number of sculptures by one of the most important pioneers of modern British sculpture, Frank Dobson (1883-1963). …

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