Life at № 42 by E.M. Coutinho
This is up for auction again – not sure why, but usually when things come up for sale just a year or two after they were auctioned off it means divorce or some such. In any event it’s an out of this world piece. Last time it got £22,500 (just over 27k US$) which considering the magnificence of the weaving doesn’t seem too bad. It just would not be viable to have something like that made today for anywhere remotely near that price.
In the past people have routinely made the mistake of focusing just on period rather than on beauty or quality for that matter. So despite my many criticisms of the art/antiques market today, it’s a positive thing that a whole range of 20th century works now get the attention and prices they deserve. A few of them are Maison Charles, Maison Bagues (still open) and Spanish tapestries and carpets by the RFT (Real Fábrica de Tapices), (General Franco’s) Fundación de Gremios or Miguel Stuyck. Spain produced the finest of the kind in the 20th century probably because labour was relatively cheap as compared to the other European weaving centres. Recently a Goya piece done by the RFT in 1980 sold for a substantial amount (thank you Google Cached Copies!) by a Texas gallery.
And just for the gorgeousness of it, here’s the jaw-dropping hall at the Chateau de Groussay which has a whole set of Goya tapestries from the same 20th century series:
But that doesn’t mean you can’t still get a bargain. Coming up for auction next week at Ansorena is this exquisite savonnerie.
In times of uncertainty buying good art is almost always a good move (if you can spare the money and follow good advice.) It’s taken me a long time to convince him, but Mike’s finally come around to the idea that instead of focusing on selling/selling/selling there are pieces we should just set aside, hang on a wall or put on a table and let them sit there, waiting for their moment. Also, some things look really excellent where they are, like the Vivrel painting at the top of the stairs.
In other art news we sold an absolutely stunning Our Lady of Hope recently. She’s gone to live in Texas (two Texases in one post! What are the chances?). The realism of her face is just incredible, and her earrings are real coral and silver. Sublime. Another even larger piece should be arriving at number 42 next week. It’s coming from one of the Cofradias (Religious Brotherhoods) in Spain. It’s been a tough year and many of them are trying to raise funds.