Flash News! Art Karlsruhe – Corot – Raden Saleh


Art Karlsruhe 2018

The exhibition halls of the Karlsruhe Trade Fair Centre will once again host the KARLSRUHE art fair from 22 to 25 February. This edition is special, since the show celebrates its 15th anniversary this year. 215 galleries from 15 countries will gather under the banner “Art.Space.Emotion.” to give visitors the opportunity to discover new talent. In just a few years, the fair has built a strong identity, exhibiting works that date from various periods of Modern art and have a unique place in the history of art. Each edition highlights great names in Modern and Contemporary art that are particularly sought after on the market, giving the event its credibility. Just take a stroll through Hall 3 in which are exhibited works by Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and Max Ernst and you will see for yourself. Modern sculpture is particularly well represented with the work of artists such as Ernst Barlach and Käthe Kollwitz. The 2018 edition also pays homage to Sam Francis. This American painter, a major figure of Abstract Expressionism, created his first non-figurative works 70 years ago. The Bommer and Cortina galleries will notably show some of his brightly coloured works. From classical Modern art to Pop Art, including artists from the Zero movement or Neo-Expressionism, the selection covers nearly 120 years of art. The event’s prospective approach is thus based on this historical heritage. Each year, an exhibition is dedicated to a major private collection to encourage buyers and collectors. After Tomi Ungerer in the Würth Collection in 2017, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner in the Kirchner Museum Collection, Davos in 2016 or the photographs of Gisèle Freund in the Marita Ruiter Collection in 2013, this year, the prestigious Frieder Burda Collection will be in the spotlight at art KARLSRUHE with a selection of major works from the famous Baden-Baden museum, including Gerhard RICHTERGeorg BASELITZ and Sigmar POLKE. With such a varied programme, the 2018 edition of art KARLSRUHE is expected to attract more than 50,000 visitors.

Corot. The Painter and his models

The exhibition Corot. Le peintre et ses modèles, organised in collaboration with the Louvre and on show at the Marmottan Monet Museum, from 8 February to 8 July 2018, aims at showing that the artist was not just a Master of Landscape painting. It is the first Parisian exhibition dedicated to the artist since the major retrospective at the Grand Palais in 1996. This time, the work of the “father of Impressionism” or the “oldest of the Naturalist painters,” as Zola called him, can be discovered from a totally different – less well-known – perspective, through more than 60 works, mostly portraits of women that Camille Jean-Baptiste COROT did not show during his lifetime. All these works come from prestigious public and private collections in Europe and the United States, including the Louvre Museum, the National Gallery in London, the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Kunsthalle in Hamburg and the Belvedere in Vienna.

A fine collection, both intimate and moving. This exhibition proves how the Master of Landscape was also a master of the figure, something that collectors and the art world had been aware of for many years, as Corot’s portraits of melancholy women attain even higher prices than his paintings depicting nature. His absolute record (already 10 years old) was created for a small canvas entitled Juive d’Alger, l’Italienne. This young woman in a red dress, dreamy if not sleeping, sold for $4.745 million in 2007 at Sotheby’s New York (7 November 2007) and his next two best sales were also portraits of women (L’Italienne, sold for $2.8m in 2001 at Christie’s New York and Jeune Femme à La Fontaine, sold for $2.3m in 2010 at Sotheby’s London). The most expensive landscape by the painter, a large painting called Le Batelier passant derrière les Arbres de la Rive, sold for $2 million 20 years ago at Christie’s New York. Corot’s best paintings remain under-rated compared to his importance in the history of art and the prices achieved by the Impressionists, whose leader, Claude Monet, said: “There is only one master, Corot. We are nothing in comparison, nothing.” (Claude Monet, 1897).

An incredible record for Raden Saleh

Who has never dreamed of finding a treasure in the loft? A work of art passed down from generation to generation, gathering dust in a corner, totally forgotten but finally discovered by chance? This happened last summer in Brittany (France). Someone contacted Jack-Philippe Ruellan about the disposal of a large, somewhat bulky canvas. The work was identified by the auctioneer as being by the painter Raden Sjarief Bastaman SALEH (1814-1880), a major artist from Indonesia, “whose popularity is comparable to that of Delacroix in France”. In this superb 1.8 metre canvas, entitled La Chasse au taureau sauvage (Banteng), Raden Saleh combined his Javanese heritage and the 20 years he spent in Europe studying the great masters. But as luck would have it, in November 2017, the National Gallery of Singapore was hosting a large exhibition dedicated the work of Raden Saleh. The auctioneer took the opportunity to show off his find and meet several collectors and institutions ready to fight over the masterpiece.

The sale finally took place on 27 January 2018 in Vannes. Estimated between €150,000 and €200,000, the painting triggered an unprecedented bidding war, reaching its final price of €7.2 million ($8.95m). An Indonesian collector in the room won the auction with great applause after 45 minutes of breathtaking bidding. The work will therefore be reunited with its country of origin after making history in the French auction rooms with a double record, firstly for the artist and secondly for a public sale in Brittany.