Rare paintings restored at Trinity House

Two rare paintings are back on display at Trinity House maritime museum in Leith after essential conservation work.
The Trinity House collection includes four paintings by Sir Henry Raeburn. Most notable is a portrait of Admiral Duncan, who led the British fleet to victory against the Dutch at the Battle of Camperdown in 1797. This critical engagement in the Napoleonic wars made the admiral a national hero. Trinity House awarded him the Freedom of the Incorporation and commissioned Raeburn to paint his portrait for the walls of their headquarters.
One restored painting , dating from around 1885 and by an unknown artist, shows a Glasgow ship called the Loch Broom in full sail. The vessel was still in service as late as 1917, by which time it was in Scandinavian hands and renamed the Songdal, when it was sunk by a German submarine.The other painting, which dates from 1891, is by Bernard Benedict Hemy (1855-1913) and shows a steam tug towing a sailing ship.

Hemy’s family had emigrated to Australia in 1852, but he returned and settled in the north of England. Historic Scotland conservators Damiana Magris and Ailsa Murray carried out the work, which included cleaning and stabilisation of the oil paint.Ailsa said: “This is a lovely project to work on. The paintings at Trinity House give a real insight into the history of Leith and its role as a great sea port.

“But it’s also fascinating to find out more about the stories behind the paintings – the artists who created them and even what happened to the ships themselves.”The operation is part of a long-term project to conserve around 175 paintings which were transferred to the care of HS by the Incorporation of Mariners and Ship’s Masters in 2005.Hugh Morrison, Historic Scotland collections registrar, said: “Trinity House is a wonderful place and has a nationally important collection of maritime paintings and artefacts.

“Since the collection came into our ownership we have carefully catalogued what is there and assessed its condition so we can make sure that it is all properly conserved and protected for the future. The job of conserving the paintings will take many years, so we have started with those most in need of attention, and our experts are gradually working their way through them.

“The two pictures which have just gone back on display mark a remarkable point in history – the very end of the age of sail.

“In fact, it comes as quite a surprise to a lot of people that wooden ships like the Songdal would have been operating in an era when the oceans were being stalked by submarines.”

The incorporation, which was founded in 1380, had the mansion in Kirkgate built in 1816 and many of the paintings it contains were commissioned or donated by members. Historic Scotland’s Collections Unit spent two years carrying out a complete condition check and fully documenting the collection before starting work on the items in most urgent need of attention. Four paintings have been completed so far.

Photogold featured artist – Suzan Wolters

Magic Moment
Suzan Wolters .Suzan is a full time artist and has been for the past 25 years.
Suzan:”My love for working in clay is one of my most vivid childhood memories, I have been growing up with paint and clay, it was almost inevitable that I was being drawn to dedicate my live sculpting and painting. From my early twenties up to now I have been sculpting and painting, at first reproductions of antique dolls in porcelain, after that I sculpted infants in polymer clay and later my well known and recognizable happy plus-size woman in their full form.
I have always been enchanted with sculpts and paintings of big woman, in particulair happy ones, they are often so much more buoyant and graceful than thinner woman”.

Suzan received for her sculptings several prestigious prices at International art shows in New York. Her sculptings are collectible items in Japan, the USA, Australia, Russia and Europe.

“A few years ago my mother moved to a new house and asked me to paint her a big happy woman, I thought that would be a fun thing to do and a passion emerged….I was hooked!
Every time I am working on a painting I get ‘bewitched’ in putting together a voluptuous confident and happy female,it is a very fulfilling and gratifying experience.
I work mainly from live models, beautiful plus size woman with a positive image of themselves.

A ‘feel good’ mood and a smile is what Suzan is hoping for when people view her work.

Suzan Wolters admits to being a big fan of Beryl Cook

Damien Hirst sale beats the credit crunch

Damien Hirst’s new auction of art works has broken all the estimates to bring in a record total of £70.5m ($125m), with still more works for sale.Hirst has proved that the credit crunch has had no effect at the top end of the art market . His auction has caused a feeding frenzy amongst dealers and collectors .
The British artist has used the auction house Sotheby’s instead of the traditional art dealer.
It is the first time an artist has sold a substantial body of work this way.
Sotheby’s say the sale has set a new record for a sale dedicated to one artist.
The works for sale include The Golden Calf – a bull in a tank of formaldehyde, with its head crowned by a gold disc – which sold for £9.2m ($16.5m).

The extraordinary body of new work to be showcased at Sotheby’s is among his best yet.The Kingdom – a tiger shark also in formaldehyde – which sold for £9.6m ($17.2m). It had been estimated at about half that price.
The Black Sheep with the Golden Horn, another animal in formaldehyde, sold for £2.6m, within its £2-3m estimate.
The auction, entitled Beautiful Inside My Head Forever, was the first of three that will sell a total of 223 art works by Mr Hirst.
The second and third sessions are due to take place on Tuesday.
Mr Hirst has called the auction a “mini retrospective” and “probably the most amazing show I’ve put on”.
It has been called a landmark sale , but that the artist says galleries can be snobby and elitist.
A spokesman for the auction house Sotheby’s said: “The extraordinary body of new work to be showcased at Sotheby’s is among his best yet – ambitious, exquisite and incredibly powerful.”

Art news from Photogold art gallery

U2 sell "Untitled (Pecho/Oreja)" by US artist Jean-Michel Basquiat

Rock superstars U2 could make up to £6m when their painting “Untitled (Pecho/Oreja)” is auctioned in London this week .
The painting, which originally attracted the attention of band bassist Adam Clayton, will be auctioned at Sotheby’s.
Basquiat, originally a graffiti artist in New York, died from a suspected drug overdose in 1988.
The current auction record for a Basquiat work stands at $14.6m (£7.4m).
In 1996, director Julian Schnabel directed the film Basquiat, based on the artist’s life and starring Gary Oldman and David Bowie. Basquiat’s paintings continue to influence young artists.

New record for Gino Severini's painting Danseuse

A new world auction record was set when the rendition of a dancer painted by the Italian Gino Severini in 1915 climbed to £15.04 million, making it the most expensive Futurist work ever auctioned. “Everything is in movement, everything rushes forward, everything is in constant swift change,” the 1910 Futurist Manifesto proclaimed. In contrast to French Cubism, which influenced Futurism but was static, Severini’s “Danseuse” gives the impression of being caught in a swirling movement. The light tonalities distinguish it from the severe compositions of Braque and Picasso in their early Cubist phase.

Severini’s “Danseuse” has a significant place in the history of Modern art in the United States. The famed New York dealer Alfred Stieglitz received it from the Italian artist for his 1917 one-man show. More giclee prints