Issue 41, Winter 2014

Editor's Letter:

There are many joyful moments in the auction business. When a client is thrilled with a result takes some beating – as does the point during an auction itself when the price of a lot takes wing. But most of the specialists will say that discovering – or rediscovering – a lost masterpiece provides one of the greatest sense of achievements of all.

This is what William O'Reilly, Director of Impressionist Art in New York, experienced when he 'found' a painting by Degas that had slipped off the published record. The jewel-like Danseuses et Contrebasse – a heart-stopping evocation of ballet dancers on stage – was, it turns out, "being enjoyed privately, away from the glare of the market", as O'Reilly puts it. At some point the work crossed the Atlantic and was in the collections of some of the most renowned families in the US. To find out how he tracked the work through the archives, turn to page 34.

This issue touches on collections of all sorts. One of the most celebrated museums of the world, The Hermitage, was created initially through combining a number of European collections – such as Sir Robert Walpole's superlative set of paintings. To celebrate the 200th anniversary of the museum, the film-maker Margy Kinmonth, was given unprecedented access to go behind the scenes – and into the astonishing kingdom of the Hermitage itself, which has its own church and post office. On page 38, Kinmonth describes making the film and what was in the many hidden storerooms she discovered.

Another superb collection – this time Sir William Burrell's splendid collection from Glasgow – is actually coming to Bonhams New Bond Street. The Scottish Parliament had to pass legislation to allow some 40 items, including Rembrandt's Self Portrait, to travel south on what will be the first stop of an international tour. The exhibition will be open to all – admission free – and will give London a wonderful opportunity to see works that last left Glasgow in 1975.

Finally, it seems hard to imagine a monumental Henry Moore 'being enjoyed privately'. But in a way it was. Reclining Figure on Pedestal that is being offered in the Modern British Sale in November was, at one point, sited in a roof-top garden belonging to its owners, Longmans the printers. For the past month, it has been sitting resplendently at Bonhams New Bond – and judging by the number of visitors who have come in to see it, there's a hunger to see works that have re-emerged into the light. And it does, by the way, look every bit as powerful as it would have outside. It's a magnificent work.

Enjoy the issue.

Lucinda Bredin is Editor of Bonhams Magazine

  1. Page 2

    Play it, Sam

    The piano in Casablanca, to be sold at Bonhams, is in all the key moments of one of the most romantic films ever made. Barry Norman describes its role and how Bogart and Bergman nearly walked off set ...

    Let's not get carried away here: it would be pushing it a bit to suggest that the piano Sam (Dooley Wilson ...

  2. Page 8

    Behind the façade

    Filmmaker Margy Kinmonth was given unprecedented access to the Hermitage Museum and discovered a world of extraordinary art, hidden from public view

    My first steps inside the State Hermitage Museum took me through acres of gold and marble imperial throne rooms, past giant porphyry vases and mirrors that reflected the light from St Petersburg's great frozen River Neva through ...

  3. Nikolai Konstantinovich Roerich (Russian, 1874-1947) 'The praying stylite (Ecstasy)', 1918 unframed (Estimates available upon request)

    Page 12

    Off piste

    Nikolai Roerich sought divine inspiration in the wilds of nature and esoteric religions. Neil Lyndon traces a spiritual journey that took the artist from his native Russia to America, the Himalayas - and beyond

    In Nikolai Roerich's The Praying Stylite (Ecstasy), an emaciated seer in loin-cloth, with beard streaming like a waterfall, stands alone like a statue in a barren ...

  4. Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) La baigneuse assise (Executed in 1883)

    Page 14

    Belle époque

    Renoir's sensuous nude represents his vision of female beauty – which bears a strong resemblance to his wife, Aline Charigot. Rosie Millard describes how the artist painted his life and lovers

    If you lined up a hundred people and asked them what their favorite period in art history might be, chances are that the Impressionist era would feature high on ...

  5. Page 18

    Ahead of the curve

    Henry Moore was fascinated by the relationship between figure and landscape. Rachel Spence on how one sculpture marks a crucial turning point in his work

    "The sculpture that moves me most is full blooded ... it is not perfectly symmetrical, it is static and it is strong and vital, giving out something of the energy and power of great mountains. It ...

  6. Page 20

    My favorite room
    Griff Rhys Jones

    Griff Rhys Jones embraces his Welsh heritage at St Fagans Museum – as well as the austerity of country living

    When I was about eight I went to stay with my godmother in Cardiff – I was born there but my family moved to England when I was a baby – and she took me on a kind of cultural tour of south ...

  7. Page 26

    Més que un city

    Paul Richardson is captivated by the capital of Catalonia, a work of art in its own right

    That Barcelona is now an artistic hub is beyond dispute. Many, if not most, of the seven million visitors who come to Barcelona each year are drawn by its modernista architecture and names like Picasso and Miró. When I first came here as ...

  8. Page 30

    Great Scot

    Sir William Burrell was one of the greatest art collectors in British history. Kirsty Wark investigates the man who created the collection and previews a show of selected highlights at Bonhams in London

    When Sir William Burrell and his wife Constance bequeathed their personal collection of art and antiques to Sir William's birthplace, Glasgow, in 1944, the city received ...

  9. An historically important Leica III, used by Yevgeny Khaldei to take the iconic "Raising a flag over the Reichstag" photograph, 1937,

    Page 38

    Photo finish

    When Yevgeny Khaldei took his Leica to the top of the Reichstag in May 1945, he captured a momentous victory. But, asks Francis Hodgson, was it a moment of truth?

    If ever a picture held symbolic value, then this is it. And by evocative association, so does the camera that took it. Yevgeny Khaldei, a great Russian photographer still too ...

  10. EDGAR DEGAS (1834-1917) Danseuses et contrebasse 9 x 6 3/4 in (23.2 x 17 cm) (Painted circa 1879-1880)

    Page 42

    Sleeping beauty

    It's not often that a painting by Degas comes to light – especially when it is one of the artist's famous depictions of dancers. Bonhams' Director of Impressionism, William O'Reilly describes the thrill of discovery

    Auctioneers and art dealers often talk of new discoveries, lost masterpieces and hidden treasures. Those moments are undoubtedly the most thrilling part of ...

  11. Page 60

    Inside Bonhams
    Master chef

    Bonhams' London headquarters will soon open a sleek restaurant with the talented Tom Kemble at the helm. Bruce Palling reports

    It is not often that a brand new restaurant in a brand new space opens off Bond Street, but this is what will happen when Bonhams Restaurant opens in its state-of-the art Mayfair headquarters in New Bond Street in December ...

  12. Page 82

    Multiple choice

    Artists' editions and multiples are the perfect entry point for new collectors. Louisa Buck gives the big picture on this exciting trend

    The notion of the artist's multiple is hardly new. In the early 16th century Albrecht Dürer realized that as a maker of prints rather than unique paintings, he could sell his art across Europe, which he duly ...

  13. Page 84

    Build it and they will come

    Rioja has undergone a make-over. Matthew Wilcox explains why the view isn't the only thing that is changing

    Spain, the country that gave us the 'Bilbao Effect', knows better than most the transformative effect of architecture. Soon after Frank Gehry finished the Guggenheim in 2003, the owners of one of the oldest wine house in the country lured the ...

  1. Lucinda Bredin
    101 New Bond Street
    London, United Kingdom W1S 1SR
    Work +44 20 7468 8363

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