Editor's Letter: LUCINDA BREDIN
Where is the best place to see art? Having come back from holiday touring around Germany – where I visited a huge number of museums and saw loads of art – I had to dust off my art books when I got home in order to sharpen up the rapidly fading experience of seeing the work. There is such a thing as looking at too much, too quickly. But hey, no lesser figure than Philippe de Montebello, who reigned at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for 31 years, has the same problem as I do. Art needs time, he says in Rendez-vous with Art, a new book that he has written with Martin Gayford, and time is hard to find when seeing works in a museum setting. For one thing, there are too many masterpieces on the walls clamoring to be looked at. In this issue, Martin describes his journeys with Philippe to see the world's great art. Turn to page 34 to discover their conclusions.
However, I don't think it's giving much away to say that owning a work and studying it on a daily basis is by far the best way to appreciate it. And this is why, from time immemorial, people have needed to own art. For an example of this, look no further than the late Count and Countess Martignone, whose collections from their homes in Milan and Genoa will be offered at Bonhams London in September. The Martignones had a passion for religious art, silverware and furniture, and, in the words of their niece, Mariella Battaglia, they adored being surrounded by their collections, which they knew so well. It was as if these works were their 'family'.
In May, Bonhams opened its new state-of-the-art saleroom in Hong Kong to emphasize the company's ambitions for its Chinese operation. In this issue, we feature Magnus Renfrew, the new Deputy Chairman, Asia and the Director of Fine Arts, Asia. On page 15, Magnus discusses the extraordinary art boom throughout the region. As he says, "It's not just China. The growth in the art market is across Asia: Indonesia, Singapore, Japan and southeast Asia. There is incredible potential."
This is a view echoed by the curator Philip Dodd, who writes about Shanghai and how art fairs and private museums have become a way of life. It goes to show that there are more and more people every year who crave a closer connection with art, which only ownership can bestow.
Enjoy the issue.