Young Caravaggio Works Found

judith_beheading_holofernes_detail-_2-large-403x484-customClamor occurred in the world after two Italian scholars announced on July 5 that they have found 100 early works, mainly drawings and some paintings, now thought to be by Michelangelo Merisi, called Caravaggio (1571-1610), during his youth. Caravaggio was a student in the workshop of the Mannerist painter Simone Peterzano from 1584 to 1588.

The discovery may represent a turning point in the study of the famous Italian painter. For over a century art historians have been searching for the works of Caravaggio’s youth. The results of the study would throw a new light on the works of Caravaggio’s maturing process.

For two years, art historians Maurizio Bernardelli Curuz and Adriana Conconi Fedrigolli compared the drawings of the Fondo Peterzano with the mature works of Caravaggio, painted during his stay in Rome and then in Naples, Italy. The Fondo Peterzano is a collection of his teacher’s school works, preserved in the Castello Sforzesco in Milan, Italy.

“The discovery came when it was possible to see that these drawings returned in the paintings of his maturity,” Maurizio Bernardelli said in an interview with the Italian news agency ANSA, which broke the sensational news exclusively July 5.  And this was possible, Bernardelli said, because they approached the problem from scratch, eliminating assumptions and results of previous research. “We thought that Caravaggio’s early drawings were not found because there was an error upstream, a wrong assumption,” he said.

According to the two scholars, art historians of the past have always started with the idea that the drawings preserved in the Castello Sforzesco were the works of Peterzano and not of his illustrious student. This was sufficient to render them unable to recognize in these works the different hand of the young disciple.

After systematic and detailed research, the two scholars now claim that they have tracked down 83 figures of those drawings that return in Caravaggio’s mature works, proving that the young painter left Milan with models and heads ready to be used in Roman paintings.

According to the researchers, the works represent a real treasure for the city of Milan, which owns them. They claim that as a rough estimate the works could be worth 700 million euros ($860 million).  The research has caused a commotion in the art world and was met with caution by experts and scholars, who have shown interest, while expressing the need to verify the contents of the study.

The authors have published the study in two volumes of an ebook with about 500 pages each, titled “Young Caravaggio, One Hundred Rediscovered Works,” available online in four languages.


VIa The Epoch Times

A woman buys a Renoir valued at $75,000 and $150,000 for $7 at Flea Market

s-FLEA-MARKET-RENOIR-largeA woman who bought a $7 box lot at a flea market may have unwittingly scored an original painting by Pierre-August Renoir. An auction house believes the landscape to be Renoir’s “Paysage Bords de Seine,” which it values between $75,000 and $150,000.

The Shenandoah Valley resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, was drawn to the box for the Paul Bunyan doll and plastic cow included with the painting. “I’d never seen a Paul Bunyan doll before,” she told The Huffington Post in a phone conversation, identifying herself only as “Renoir Girl.”

She liked the painting’s frame too, she said, and planned to reuse it. After a year and a half of shuttling the small landscape and the box’s other remaining contents in a white trash bag between her garage, car and kitchen, she began the operation of removing it. It was after she’d ripped the backing paper off the frame that her mother advised her to verify the painting’s value before throwing it away, especially in light of the plaque with the name “Renoir” on the front.

“She took it out of her plastic bag and it really looked like the real thing,” said Anne Norton Craner, a specialist at Potomack Company, the Virginia auction house where the woman toted her find for a consultation. “There was beautiful light. It looked like a painting from 1879.”

Craner told The Huffington Post that she instinctively felt the painting to be an original Renoir. A label affixed to the painting’s back — which she describes as a “typical French dealer” label — provided the artist’s name and a title. Using the title, Craner was able to find a matching painting of the same name in Renoir’s catalogue raisonne, or comprehensive catalogue.

Further research at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. and confirmation by a Renoir expert satisfied Craner to where she says she’s now certain of the painting’s provenance. The frame that so charmed the painting’s owner, Craner believes could be a period piece from the 1920s.

If Craner is correct, the painting likely arrived in the U.S. by way of Herbert May, a Renoir collector whose wife Sadie was a major benefactor to the Baltimore Museum of Art. May is the last known owner of “Paysage Bords de Seine,” which he purchased from the Bernheim-Jeune Gallery in Paris. It has not been seen since 1926. Craner told The New York Times she can’t say how it might have wound up in a Virginia flea market.

This painting’s owner told The Huffington Post she hasn’t entertained the thought of keeping it. “I’d be too scared,” she said. “I’m sure that whoever buys it will treat it the way it deserves to be treated.”

She said she hasn’t told anyone but press about its current status, not even her mother, whom she plans on treating with a trip to the Louvre if the auction proves fruitful.

“I’m just glad I didn’t sell it at one of my yard sales,” she said.


Via Huffington Post

$7 Renoir stolen

In 2010 a Shenandoah Valley resident unknowingly bought Pierre-August Renoir’s “Paysage Bords de Seine” at a flea market, for the bargain bin price of $7. (The Huffington Post spoke with the dazed buyer nearly a month ago, when she realized her luck.)

At the time, “Renoir Girl, as she asked us to refer to her, was hoping to earn anywhere from $75,000 and $100,000 for the painting, based on an auction house estimate. Her plans for spending the money included a trip to the Louvre Museum with her mother, whose hunch led her to verify the painting’s authenticity, she told us.

But now it appears that trip may be delayed: a recent investigation indicates the painting was stolen. A report published Thursday by the Washington Post details the mysterious crime.

The saga began nearly 61 years ago, when “Paysage Bords de Seine” was spirited out of the Baltimore Museum of Art. The Post reporter found documentation of the painting at the BMA from 1937 until its theft on November 17, 1951. Questions of who stole it, where it languished for decades and how it would up at a flea market remain.

Documents also show the museum claimed the theft for $2,500 in insurance money. What this means about who rightfully owns the painting is dependent on Maryland state laws, art expert Alan Bamberger told The Huffington Post.

The auction, which was scheduled to take place later this week, is on hold pending the results of an FBI investigation. The enigmatic work will stay shacked up at the auction house expecting to sell it, the Virginia-based Potomack Company, until the rightful legal owner is identified.

While “Renoir Girl” may have hit a bump in the road in her rags-to-riches tale, this month has had no shortage of bizarrely lucky finds. This week a couple who accidentally bought an abstract painting by Ilya Bolotowsky at Goodwill sold it for $27,000. And a batch of vintage Rolling Stones photographs found in an unmarked envelope at an estate sale are finally ours to ogle.


via Huffington Post