Issue 36, Autumn 2013

Editor's Letter

Sometimes clichés are true – or at least there is a modicum of fact in the mix. Take the notion of the 'troubled genius'. On occasions, this concept has given license to all sorts of bad behavior – one thinks of Marlowe, Byron, Caravaggio, Gauguin, Hemingway, Iggy Pop... But then there are gifted artists who cause trouble only for themselves – the quiet ones who choose to live their lives in a certain way in order to create masterpieces. L.S. Lowry fits into this category. On page 30, Tom Rosenthal writes about how we may see Lowry as an untrained, confined, eccentric artist. It's true, he did live with his mother and his day job was spent collecting rent. But for Lowry, it was a perfectly acceptable way of living.
The Scottish Colourist, J.D. Fergusson, also had his idiosyncratic ways. According to Chris Brickley, who writes about the painter on page 22, Fergusson had a compulsion to take baths. Even when traveling in the Highlands, he was never without his portable rubber tub. But although this habit was much remarked upon, it doesn't qualify as 'troubled'... it merely puts him in the foothills of OCD in my book. Kitaoji Rosanjin, on the other hand, did cause trouble – to himself and to others. Joe Earle describes how the artist-cum-polymath was abandoned as a child – a tricky start. However, he managed to overcome this handicap by becoming an award-winning calligrapher, a ceramicist of international renown and an exquisitely subtle artist – his lacquered panels, a detail of which is featured on this issue's cover – is being sold in November in Bonhams Fine Japanese Sale. But he wasn't an easy person to rub along with as his six wives would testify. See page 26 to find out more.
We are also featuring an article on a glorious painting by Camille Pissarro – written by the artist's great-grandson, Joachim; some of the rarest American coins and one of the most exciting finds in the world of paleontology.

Do enjoy the issue.

Lucinda Bredin

  1. Miranda Grant

    Page 15

    Inside Bonhams: Front runner

    Miranda Grant, the Director of the Bonhams Scotland, survived as the only girl in a boys' school. The experiment clearly worked. Lucinda Bredin reports

    It's not often that someone from the auction business gets a name check in a novel. However, in Alexander McCall Smith's Bertie Plays the Blues, art dealer, Guy Peploe, recommends a client gets a ...

  2. CAMILLE PISSARRO (1830-1903) Le jardin de Maubuisson, Pontoise, la mère Belette 21 7/16 x 25 7/8 in. (54.5 x 65.7cm) Painted in 1882

    Page 18

    Seeds of discontent

    Camille Pissarro was the elder statesman of the combustible Impressionists. When he moved to Pontoise, the rest followed – and brought their rows. Joachim Pissarro describes Pissarro's work from this period

    Camille Pissarro painted no fewer than 300 oils, not to mention countless drawings, engravings, pastels and gouaches of Pontoise and the surrounding countryside. Not even Courbet at Ornans, Chintreuil ...

  3. John Duncan Fergusson (British, 1874-1961) Souvenir de Saintonge 34.8 x 27 cm. (13 3/4 x 10 5/8 in.)

    Page 22

    Out of kilter

    Scottish Colourist, J.D. Fergusson, may have insisted on wearing
    a three-piece suit on the beach, but Chris Brickley exposes a rather less buttoned-up side to the painter

    I first met Fergusson in 1913, when I took my dancers to Paris to appear at the Marigny Theater. Armed with an introduction, I presented myself at his studio at about four ...

  4. Kitaoji Rosanjin

    Page 26

    He shouted at Picasso

    Kitaoji Rosanjin was a troubled genius. He mastered and re-invigorated Japanese art and ceramics. He also married at least five times. Joe Earle investigates

    In December 1952, Kitaoji Rosanjin – one of Japan's leading chefs, ceramic artists, and calligraphers – was down on his luck. Japan's extreme version of postwar austerity wasn't suiting him at all. A polymath, contrarian ...

  5. The Ex-Scuderia Ferrari, Hans Ruesch, Dick Seaman, Dennis Poore Donington Grand Prix and RAC Hill-Climb Championship-winning,1935-36 ALFA ROMEO  8C-35 Grand Prix Racing Monoposto   Chassis no. 50013   Engine no. 50013

    Page 30

    Alfa males

    In the hands of a series of charismatic drivers including Tazio Nuvolari, the Alfa Romeo 8C-35 became a legend of the golden age
    of motor racing. Richard Williams tells its story

    Any machine associated with Tazio Nuvolari is touched by a special magic. This is especially true when it is as handsome as the muscular Alfa Romeo 8C-35 which is ...

  6. Laurence Stephen Lowry R.A. (British, 1887-1976) The Steps at Wick 43.2 x 53.3 cm. (17 x 21 in.)

    Page 34

    Smoke screen

    He was a rent collector, he was an eccentric, but L.S. Lowry is also misunderstood, says Tom Rosenthal. The artist was a genius who saw beauty where others saw ugliness

    L.S. Lowry is one of England's finest painters, but he is surely the most enigmatic and, in terms of reputation, one of the most controversial in the ...

  7. Page 39

    Street life

    Harold Evans remembers growing up in Lowry's Manchester

    The Tate gallery's wonderful, if belated, exhibition of the work of L.S. Lowry evokes bitter-sweet memories of growing up in his landscape of mill chimneys and two-up, two-down terraced houses spotted with pubs, churches and corner shops and sooty relics of the industrial revolution. Somehow or other in the ...

  8. A pair of chased brass overlaid teak side chairs<BR />Designed by Lockwood de Forest (1850-1932)<BR />Made in Ahmadebad, India, 1881-1882

    Page 40

    Mogul throne

    William Randolph Hearst bought a pair of chairs when the designer, Lockwood de Forest, sold up. Roberta Mayer charts the vogue for extravagant arts of India

    From 1880 onwards, the media mogul, William Randolph Hearst, spent a staggering million dollars each year on art and antiques, a collection that was mainly displayed in San Simeon, his fantasy castle on the ...

  9. Henri Loyrette

    Page 42

    Platform: It's behind him

    Henri Loyrette has left the Louvre after his groundbreaking reign. He tells Lucinda Bredin about how to spread civilisation

    Henri Loyrette and I were supposed to be meeting in Paris in July. But since he stepped down from the Louvre, where he was director for 13 years, he has had some time off – a holiday, French-style, until September. We finally ...

  10. Clayton Phipps with his 'find'

    Page 46

    Mortal combat

    In 2006, fossil prospectors came across the bones of not one massive dinosaur, but two, locked in a fight to the death. Peter Larson tells the story of the discovery – and why it is the most exciting find yet

    In spring 2006, dinosaur cowboy Clayton Phipps, Chad O'Connor and Mark Eatman were prospecting for fossils in the Hell Creek ...

  11. 1880 $4 Stella Coiled Hair Cameo PF-67 NGC

    Page 50

    Making a mint

    The Americans used French gold coins to fund the revolution. By the time the smoke had cleared, Congress decided the country needed its own currency. Oliver Hoover reports

    The American Revolution (1776-1783) and its immediate aftermath were devastating to the finances of Congress and individual Americans alike. Public faith in paper money, which tended to rapidly lose its value, was ...

  12. Australia's most iconic wine

    Page 55

    Wine: Root and branch

    Australian wine is undergoing reform, says Bruce Palling. Even grand old Grange is facing change

    If you asked the man on the street in Britain to name an Australian wine, they would probably only come up with Jacob's Creek at the lower end of the spectrum or, if they were better informed, Penfolds Grange, at the very peak. This ...

  13. Museo Frida Kahlo

    Page 56

    Travel: El fresco

    Mexico City is having a moment. Fresh from curating the Royal Academy's exhibition on Mexican Art, Adrian Locke lists which of the city's museums matter most

    Twenty years ago, Mexico City was tarnished with a reputation for filth, petty crime, dishonesty and violence. So I was uncertain as to what to expect when I was on my first ...

  14. Philip Treacy OBE

    Page 72

    My favorite room: Philip Treacy

    The milliner Philip Treacy adores the restaurant at the Ritz which for him is like stepping back in time

    My favorite room without doubt is The Ritz Restaurant in London – which is also my favorite restaurant in the whole world. It's beautiful: gilt and gold with painted ceilings and chandeliers. It's rich in every way and like visiting ...