Top Art Stories: Discoveries Edition

Top Art Stories, June 16. The art world never ceases to amaze with new discoveries, whether it is a hidden element in a painting, a long forgotten talent, a newly authenticated masterpiece or an online street art treasure hunt. Read on to find out more about the most recent art news.

AFTER: View of Scheveningen sands, with a stranded sperm whale, c. 1641Epidemic museum expansion in New York: the Frick Collection is no exception

If you thought that there have already been too many changes to the museum landscape in New York recently (MoMA, Whitney, Metropolitan), how do you like this news: last Tuesday The Frick Collection announced plans for a new wing as an additional exhibition space to its historic mansion. A proposed six-story building will increase space by nearly a third. That will allow showing more of large-scale paintings by artists like Vermeer, Hals and Rembrandt from the Frick collection, and certainly providing more room for new acquisitions. Some of the recent shows at the Frick (namely Vermeer’s Girl with the Pearl Earing from the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis in The Hague) brought extraordinary numbers of visitors, increasing attendance by thousands and causing many art lovers to turn away at sight of the jammed entrance and dozens of people in line. The project also provides for opportunity to open private upstairs rooms and a new rooftop garden on East 70th Street. Source: The New York Times

AFTER: View of Scheveningen sands, with a stranded sperm whale, c. 1641Whale uncovered in a 17th century Dutch painting

Some museums discover Rembrandts in their storage, while some reveal surprising details in previously not-so-remarkable paintings. Shang Kuang, a conservator at the Hamilton Kerr Institute was cleaning a 17th century Dutch painting by Hendrick van Anthonissen owned by the Fitzwillliam Museum when she first stumbled on a figure standing on the horizon line and then uncovered an entire whale beaching on the coastline. Well, the new character actually did put the whole composition together where groups of people are gathered on the beach observing and pointing at something that wasn’t there. The museum concluded that it wasn’t the artist who painted over the whale and decided to uncover the original paint. Most likely the painting had been altered before it came to the museum collection. As for the reason why someone painted the whale out of the picture, Kuang suggests that the previous owners could have simply adjusted the piece to their changing tastes, interiors, or… market demand. Source: Artdaily

AFTER: View of Scheveningen sands, with a stranded sperm whale, c. 1641An Abstract Expressionist rediscovered

With booming prices for the Post War and Contemporary art it is not surprising at all that more and more under appreciated artists from that period surface on the market. And, surprisingly enough, many of these artists were connected to the Abstract Expressionist movement (the most sought-after segment in the art market) to one extent or another: a Washington D.C.-based artist Sam Gilliam was brought by David Kordansky Gallery to Frieze Art Fair in New York this year, an active member of the famous New York School Edward Dugmore was exhibited at Loretta Howard gallery just recently, and now it is Raymond Spillenger, an Abstract Expressionist who is gaining attention with an upcoming retrospective scheduled for early 2016 at the Black Mountain College near Asheville, N.C. Spillenger, who died in November at the age of 89, abruptly left the art scene in the late 6os, and while his fellow AbEx artists were going through mounting recognition and success at the Stable Annual, Spillenger plunged into family life and didn’t show his art even to the family members. Just a few months ago Mr. Spillenger’s two sons uncovered hundreds of paintings and drawings, so we are going to keep an eye out for auction estate listings in the near future. Source: The New York Times

AFTER: View of Scheveningen sands, with a stranded sperm whale, c. 1641Newly discovered Vermeer to go on sale at Christie’s

When there are only 37 known works by a 17th century Dutch artist and just 2 of these works are in private hands – you know that there is going to be an extraordinary amount of interest when one of them comes to auction. Saint Praxedis was recently identified as the earliest work by Johannes Vermeer and is listed to sell through Christie’s, London next month with an estimate of £6-8 million. The work is coming from the collection of Barbara Piasecka Johnson, the American collector who passed away last year and the proceeds form the sale will go to her charitable foundation. The newly authenticated work is, however atypical of Vermeer’s easily recognized composition, (often an interior space with a window on one side), elements (musical instruments), or subjects. The authenticity of the piece was long disputed but was finally confirmed by the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The only other privately held painting by Vermeer was sold at Sotheby’s in 2004 for over £16 million. Source: The Guardian

AFTER: View of Scheveningen sands, with a stranded sperm whale, c. 1641Google reveals Street Art Project database

If before discovering street art was a matter of chance or a well planned visit to one of the graffiti-covered neighborhoods (Wynwood in Miami, Bushwick in Brooklyn), now thanks to Google Street Art Project we can all enjoy street art from around the globe online! Even if it’s not there anymore, like in the case of 5 Pointz in Queens, or Space Invader mosaics that either are taken into pieces or fall victim to weather conditions, it is documented on Google Art Project. You can browse street art by collections, geographic locations, artists, and artworks. The images are provided by cultural institutions or captured by Google Street View Cameras and  make an indespancible contribution in documenting art, sometimes illegal or ephemeral, but nevertheless well deserving to be recorded for ourselves and future generations. Source: ARTFIXdaily

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