Category Archives: History

Art History: ‘Fragonard’s Painted Portraits’ (Video)

Jean-Honoré Fragonard delighted in painting fascinating portraits. In this episode of Sotheby’s Stories, learn how he captured the true essence of character, through his mastery of observation and light.

Jean-Honoré Fragonard was a French painter and printmaker whose late Rococo manner was distinguished by remarkable facility, exuberance, and hedonism. One of the most prolific artists active in the last decades of the Ancien Régime, Fragonard produced more than 550 paintings, of which only five are dated.

Art: Monet’s ‘Islands At Port-Villez, 1897’ (Video)

“I want to paint like a bird sings,” Claude Monet once stated. In this episode of Expert Voices, Simon Shaw describes Monet’s direct and unmediated response to his subject matter. In The Islands in Port-Villez, one can feel just that – Monet sitting on his boat on the seine, absorbing his surroundings.

Art History Video: ‘De Chirico & Man Ray’s Pre-WWI ‘New Modernity’

In this video, join essayist and New Yorker staff writer Adam Gopnik in an exploration of two masterpieces from the early twentieth century: Georgio De Chirico’s “Il Pomeriggio di Arianna (Ariadne’s Afternoon)”and Man Ray’s “Black Widow (Nativity).” Both painted near the outset of the first world war, these works not only capture the effusive zeitgeist of their age but prefigure the aesthetic movements that would come to characterize modern art.

Making their auction debut, “Il Pomeriggio di Arianna (Ariadne’s Afternoon)”and “Black Widow (Nativity)”will be offered as highlights of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale in New York. (28 October | New York) Learn more: https://www.sothebys.com/en/series/to…

The Impressionists: ‘A Dazzling Still Life From Van Gogh’s Final Days’

“’Auvers is very beautiful, really profoundly beautiful” wrote Vincent van Gogh to his brother Theo, and his stay there in the final days of his life proved to be enormously productive. In his seventy days in Auvers, van Gogh would paint seventy or so canvases, including the masterwork Fleurs dans un verre. Intricately rendered, this vibrant canvas represents one of the few still life paintings executed during this period and will be a highlight of Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale in New York.

Learn More: https://www.sothebys.com/en/buy/aucti…

Artwork: Mark Rothko’s ‘Black On Maroon, 1958’ – An “Optical Experience”

In this episode of expert voices, David Galperin examines the painting that entirely shifted the remaining decade of Mark Rothko’s career. In 1958, Rothko’s transforms his color palette into the somber, meditative colors intended to provoke a submersive, awe-inspiring event upon viewing. Learn how in Untitled (Black on Maroon), Rothko embarks on this endeavor for the very first time. Untitled (Black on Maroon) is a highlight of the Contemporary Art Evening auction (28 October 2020, New York).

Artists: French Romantic Painter Eugène Delacroix – ‘Greece On The Ruins Of Missolonghi, 1826’ (Video)

Eugène Delacroix, Greece on the Ruins of Missolonghi, 1826, oil on canvas, 208 cm × 147 cm (Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux). Speakers: Dr. Steven Zucker and Dr. Beth Harris.

Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix was a French Romantic artist regarded from the outset of his career as the leader of the French Romantic school. 

Legendary Automobiles: The ‘Alpha Romeo B.A.T. Concept Cars’ Of 1953-55

Perhaps the most incredible thing that could be said about the B.A.T. series is that the fantastical design is actually functional, with all three examples exhibiting drag coefficient figures that would still land them in the top ten most aerodynamic cars on sale today. Their extreme forms are, in fact, functional.

Predictably, the B.A.T. concepts made a huge splash on the international motor show circuit, leading to Scaglione’s two greatest hits in terms of production figures – the NSU Sport Prinz and Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint. Unfortunately, the B.A.T. concepts would also mark an inflection point for Bertone and Scaglione’s working relationship.

Scaglione’s daughter Giovanna describes it, “Bertone was a little bothered when it happened that in a magazine article they wrote about Franco Scaglione and not Bertone… For example, in an article speaking of one of his works [Scaglione’s] name was mentioned three times and the name of Bertone was mentioned only once…” Though Giovanna does not attribute her father’s sudden departure from the firm to this incident alone, it was clear that Scaglione wanted to strike out on his own, so that year, he handed over the title of chief stylist to Giorgetto Giugiaro and left Bertone for good.

Read more

History: ‘Constantine’s Death Splits The Roman Empire’ (Smithsonian)

Constantine’s death would drive a crack through the Roman Empire, splitting it into West and East. Over the next several hundred years, parts of it would even fall to foreign invaders. But a new capital would rise to take its place: Constantinople.

Arts & Culture: ‘Paris Vs London – A Tale Of Two Capitals’ (Sotheby’s Video)

Pick your favourite between Paris and London as we pit Europe’s premier art capitals against each other in a tongue-in-cheek battle. Compare and contrast the allure of each location as we build-up to our marquee evening auctions on Modernités/Contemporary (21 October | Paris/London).

Discover some of defining moments of the 20th and 21st centuries by the greatest artists working in Europe and beyond. From the birth of the avant-garde and modernism, to seminal contemporary works, the artists represented all forged a distinct path.