Sunday, July 22, 2018

About Old Master Copies and Auctions

Have you ever fancied making a copy of an Old Master Painting?
Lots of art students do this in order to understand better how an artist painted. Copying old masters was and continues to be considered by some to be a traditional form of training for an artist wishing to paint in the manner of the Old Masters.

Of course, every art museum and gallery is also home to a number of copies of paintings by old masters and otherwise famous and or well reputed painters. Whether they know they are copies is another matter!

But who knew though that Sotheby's holds online auctions of copies of old Master Paintings!

samples of the sort of copies of old master paintings to be sold at the upcoming auction in the autumn

Its website states about Old Masters Copies Online (opening for bidding 5th - 13th September 2018 | 10:00 AM EDT)
We are delighted to announce that we are now accepting consignments for the second edition of the online-only Old Master Copies auction, which will be open for bidding this coming Autumn from 5 -13 September 2018. The sale will feature a vast range of paintings by accomplished followers and students of some of the greatest old master painters.
Apparently Sotheby's held its first auction last year in October 2017 - and Old Master Copies Online: Imitation & Influence is said to have been very successful.

This is the 2017 slideshow - Respected Reproductions: Highlights from Old Master Copies Online - which features paintings included in that auction PLUS the sort of prices they were expected to fetch. I haven't been able to locate the actual results page for that auction - but the fact they're having a second auction in under a year suggests there is a market for this sort of artwork.

More about Old Master Copies


Personally speaking I have absolutely no problem with Old Master Copies - just so long as they are sold as copies and not as forgeries!
Buying copies can be an affordable option for budding collectors and a great way for seasoned collectors to expand their collections. (Invaluable)
Should you be thinking you now have the perfect project for your summer holiday(!) - here's some more information about "Old Master Copies"

The Invaluable article provides a useful glossary / summary of terms related to Old Master Copies

  • Autograph: sometimes signed by the artist, a known original usually described as “by” the artist.
  • Studio of: created in the studio or workshop of the artist, possibly with his or her supervision or participation; can also be described as “workshop of” the artist.
  • Circle of: a work created by someone associated with the artist, during or in the years immediately following the artist’s own lifetime; can also be described as “follower of” the artist.
  • After: an exact or partial imitation of a known work by a famous artist, done during or after their lifetime; a copy of another work.
  • Style of: an interpretation of the artist’s style done by someone else at a later date, usually described as “in the style of” or “in the manner of” the artist.

My guess is that these auctions are mainly dealing with copies made around about the same time as the original as opposed to copies made in more recent times.

It does however beg the question of where does one go to commission a copy of an Old Master.

I rather like the notion that you include something extra - or exclude a key details of the original painting - so the overall impression is similar while at the same time making it quite clear that it is NOT the original.

I've certainly known artists in the past who have been asked to deliver such a painting - and for those trained in the ways of old master painters I imagine it could be a nice little earner - just so long as it is sold as an "After" or a "Style of" painting.

Otherwise one can get in quite a bit of trouble.... and even end up in prison!



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