Sunday, August 12, 2018

Art on Television #1: Fake or Fortune returns

BBC has two new series starting this week

Fake or Fortune

The team for Series 7 is the same as the last series - Fiona Bruce and Philip Mould
What's changed is that it now occupies a prime time slot of 9pm on BBC1 (albeit in  dead month TV wise).

There are 5 episodes in this series programmes but we only know the artists involved in the first two episodes so far. What we know so far is.....

Episode 1 - British artist William Nicholson

The subject of Episode 1 of Series 7 - and those pears look a bit suspect to me...
Can the team prove that a beautiful still life of a glass jug and pears is the work of celebrated British artist William Nicholson? 
Portrait of William Nicholson
Normally the first episode is a cracker - but I confess I've never heard of the artist, although had worked out it was likely that William Nicholson had a connection to Ben Nicholson (he's the father) !  I'm wondering if this one is a very good example of techniques used in a case.

The problem with the painting is it cost £165,000 to buy - and Patricia Read, the expert on Nicholson, left it out of the Catalogue raisonne - which effectively reduces the painting to the value of a decorative item.

If you want to do your homework and get acquainted with him before tonight.....

REFERENCE:
Nicholson's wife, the painter Mabel Pryde, is standing by the door. Sitting at the table from left to right are the Nicholson children: Nancy, who married the writer Robert Graves; Tony, who died during the war in 1918; and Ben, who would become Britain's foremost abstract artist. Standing in the foreground is Christopher or 'Kit'

'A Bloomsbury Family' depicts the artist William Nicholson and his family.

Episode 2 - Toulouse Lautrec

Photo of Henri Toulouse Lautrec
Has somebody found two sketchbooks used by Toulouse Lautrec?
Two sketchbooks found in a garden shed in St Emilion were given to a teenage boy, Alain, by his grandmother back in 1965. Although she never revealed where they came from, they were thought to be the work of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, the aristocratic artist born in 1864 known for his atmospheric depictions of Parisian nightlife.

Henri Toulouse Lautrec drew brilliantly - and I know I'd love to see his sketchbooks. The last time I saw his drawings was in The Musée Toulouse-Lautrec is an art museum in Albi, southern France. Highly recommended for a visit by anybody who likes drawing / sketching from life and working in dry media.

Below is a pastel sketch/drawing he did of Vincent Van Gogh on cardboard (and there's a LOT of work by Lautrec or cardboard and/or brown paper)

Portrait of Vincent van Gogh (1887) by Toulouse Lautrec
pastel on cardboard; Height: 54 cm (21.2 in); Width: 45 cm (17.7 in)

REFERENCE

Scientific Techniques


On the web portal, you can read about the scientific techniques used to detect what's there to detect
  • Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS) - a useful method for identifying the binding medium used to hold all the pigments together.
  • Infrared radiation (IR) - Infrared cameras detects carbon-based materials such as graphite, charcoal and ink and provides a non-invasive method of looking under the surface of a painting.
  • Microscopy
  • Multispectral scan - The camera is able to scan the painting to identify the pigment used and then restore the true colour in the resulting image.
  • Raman laser spectroscopy - a non-destructive, non-invasive technique which provides quick results
  • Thread count analysis - compare the thread count (horizontally and vertically) to a known work by the artist painted on canvas at a similar time. Painters tend to like using the same canvas.
  • X-radiation (X-ray) -  a non-destructive way of penetrating penetrate low-density materials (eg canvas and the canvas support) and inspecting a painting to examine the condition of a picture

Fake or Fortune - previous series

You can find out more about the artists covered in previous series

Series 1 - Monet, Winslow Homer, Han van Meergeren and Rembrandt van Rijn
Series 2 - Degas, Turner and van Dyck
Series 3 - Vuillard, Constable, Chagall and Gainsborough
Series 4 - Lowry, Renoir, Montemezzano, Munnings
Series 5 - Freud, Delaroche, Rodin, portraits said to be painted by Willem de Kooning, Philip Mercier and Adolph von Menzel.
Series 6 - John Constable, Tom Roberts, Paul Gauguin - and the final episode was suspended (Alberto Giacometti)

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