Bernhard Strigel, Thurifer Angel in a Yellow Tunic (1521-22)
Maison Artpaugée, Toulouse, 4 February
This rediscovered work by the German painter Bernhard Strigel (1460-1528) was found last July by Pauline Maringe, the co-founder of Maison Artpaugée, in a house in Toulouse. It is thought to be the lost pair of the Thurifer Angel by Strigel that was bought by the Louvre Abu Dhabi for €1.1m at Drouot, Paris, in 2008. Maringe was in the middle of an inventory when her client suddenly came up to her with the painting: “It was so well preserved. I could not believe my eyes.” She took it to the Paris-based expert Eric Turquin—well-known for his own discoveries of Old Master paintings in France—who authenticated it. The Louvre Abu Dhabi was contacted and it confirmed that the two oak panels, which depict similar-looking angels, are exactly the same dimensions (48.8cm by 61.2cm). They were possibly commissioned around 1521 for the Altarpiece of the Deposition in the Church of Our Lady in Memmingen (which was dismantled during the Reformation), but the pair was broken up at a sale in 1813.
Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun, Portrait of Louis Jean-Baptiste Etienne Vigée (around 1772)
100 Portraits for a Century: a Parisian Collection, 15 February, Artcurial, Paris
A decade before he became a notable playwright, Etienne Vigée sat for a series of portraits by his older sister, the celebrated portraitist Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun. In this oil, painted around 1772 when Etienne was 13, she captures him wearing a tricorn hat and holding a set of drawings under his arm. Vigée Le Brun executed at least four versions of Etienne in this pose, and a similar painting hangs in the Saint Louis Art Museum. This version does not have a signature—although that is fairly common for a work made in an informal family setting—but it has been exhibited in Tokyo and Versailles. Etienne Vigée would grow up to become a notable man of letters in Revolution-era France. However, the turbulent politics of the time would eventually divide the two siblings, as Etienne wrote in favour of the anti-monarchists, damaging his relationship with Elisabeth, an avowed royalist. The painting comes from a Parisian collection of one hundred 18th-century French portraits, which will be sold in a single-owner sale at Artcurial.
David Butler, Walking Stick with Figure (around 1975)
Christies, New York, Outsider Art, 3 February
Bill Fagaly was a collector, curator and champion of self-taught folk artists, such as David Butler, an African American sculptor from Louisiana who made lively kinetic sculptures from found materials. “According to Fagaly’s memoirs, he brought Butler the umbrella handle that graces the top section of the sculpture, and David Butler’s incorporation of this element in the work brings Fagaly into the object and artmaking process,” says Cara Zimmerman, Christie’s head of Americana and Outsider Art. Fagaly was fascinated by Butler’s work, his use of everyday materials and the fantastical figures that emerged from them. In the 1970s, Fagaly curated Butler’s first exhibition at New Orleans Museum of Art and, shortly after, the artist was included in the legendary 1982 exhibition Black Folk Art in America 1930-1980—this work, Walking Stick with Figure, starred on the front cover of the catalogue.
Lucy Harwood, Still Life with Daisies and Grapes (late 1940s)
The Art & Design Sale, Cheffins, Cambridge, 24 February
In the mid-20th century, Benton End, in Suffolk, was the idyllic 16th-century home of the artist Cedric Morris and the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing. Lucian Freud was Morris’s most famous student, but the house also became home to a community of artists, writers and horticulturists in the 1930s to 50s. The Essex museum Firstsite in Colchester is currently holding an exhibition (until 18 April) dedicated to the Benton End group, and the Cambridge-based auction house Cheffins will this month sell a group of nine paintings by the Benton End group artists Lucy Harwood and Allan Walton, which have come from the collection of John Hamilton Travis who lived in Chelsea, London, until his death in 2018. He bought all of the works from the Sally Hunter Gallery in London in the 1980s and 90s, and two of the Harwood oil paintings, Daisies and Grapes (pictured above) and Still Life with Paper Whites, were previously in Cedric Morris’s own collection. “Following [the London dealer] Philip Mould’s exhibition in 2018, there has been a marked increase in demand for works by the Benton End group,” says Brett Tryner, the director of Cheffins. Values for Harwood have risen in particular, Tryner says, by at least ten-fold in the past decade.