Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving DinDons

Best wishes to all my American Readers who are celebrating Thanksgiving.

Les Dindons
a.k.a. The Turkeys at Montgeron
(1877) by Claude Monet

oil on canvas, 174 x 172cm
Musee d'Orsay

This is my photo, taken nearly a decade ago at the Musee d'Orsay, of a 140 year old painting of turkeys. Plus the accompanying label identifying its title as "Les Dindons" by Claude Monet

They have a curious story.

The turkeys - the Dindons - were painted by Monet in 1877 in the grounds of the Chateau of Rottenburg at Montgeron (just south of Paris) which was the home of Ernest Hoschedé, a wealthy department store magnate who was also an art collector and Monet's patron.

This painting is unique insofar as:
  • this is the only painting I know in which Claude Monet painted birds. 
  • It was planned and painted as part of series of four decorative panels commissioned for the Chateau at Montgeron

As it happens the same year that this painting was painted, Hoschedé went bankrupt and his wife Alice and their children moved in with the Monets at Vertheuil while Hoschedé continued to try and work in Paris and subsequently moved to Belgium.

Monet's wife Camille had become ill with tuberculosis the previous year (1876). Then she gave birth to their second son in March 1878 - so having a second woman around may well have been a godsend.

Camille subsequently died (of cancer) on 5 September 1879 at the age of thirty-two - and Alice Hoschedé then helped Monet to raise his two sons, Jean and Michel.

Monet finally married Alice Hoschedé in 1892 after the death of her first husband.

Alice died in 1911 and Monet in 1926.

What happened to the painting?

The painting was exhibited at the Third Impressionist Exhibition 140 years ago in 1877 - and seems to have been sold
The third exhibition is considered “the most balanced and coherent” of the eight exhibitions held over a dozen years. Caillebotte contrived, solicited and arranged for what he wanted to see as a “democratic” exhibition of 230 works that represented 18 artists and attracted around fifteen thousand visitors in its thirty-day run. Gustave Caillebotte’s Dinner Invitation Leads to the Exquisite Third Impressionist Exhibition of 1877

Timeline of Ownership 

It's clear the painting was sold following the bankruptcy and the timeline of ownership is interesting.
  • from 1878, collection G. de Nittis, Paris
  • from 1884, in the Theodore Duret collection, Paris
  • 1894, sale of the Théodore Duret collection, paintings and pastels, Paris, Galerie Georges Petit, March 19, 1894, n ° 24
  • from 1894, in the Théodore Duret collection 
  • bought on sale on March 19, 1894
  • from 1903 to 1906, in the collection François Depeaux, Rouen1906, sale of the Depeaux collection, Paris, Georges Petit Gallery, May 31 and June 1, 1906, No. 27
  • from 1906 to 1944, in the collection of the princess Edmond de Polignac, born Miss Winnaretta Singer, then became princess of Scey-Montbéliard (acquired on the sale of Depeaux collection of May 31 and June 1)
  • 1947, accepted by the State as legacy of Princess Edmond de Polignac to the National Museums for the Louvre Museum (committee of 27/06/1945, council of 03/07/1945, decree of 19/01/1947)
  • from 1944 to 1947, Louvre Museum, Paris
  • 1947, attributed to the Louvre Museum, Paris
  • from 1947 to 1986, Louvre Museum, Jeu de Paume Gallery, Paris
  • 1986, assigned to the Musée d'Orsay, Paris


After its exhibition in 1877 it didn't get out much - until 1980 - after which it has been exhibited all over the world!
  • Third impressionist exhibition, Paris, France, 1877
  • Claude Monet, A. Rodin, Paris, France, 1889
  • World and International Exhibition, Brussels, Belgium, 1910
  • Monet, Paris, France, 1928
  • Claude Monet: retrospective exhibition, Paris, France, 1931
  • Exhibition of masters of English 19th century painting, London, United Kingdom, 1936National Museums: New Acquisitions 1939-1945, Paris, France, 1945
  • French painting in the second half of the nineteenth and early twentieth century, Nice, France, 1955Tribute to Claude Monet, Paris, France, 1980
  • Monet, Tokyo, Japan, 1982Monet, Kyoto, Japan, 1982
  • The new painting impressionism 1874-1886, San Francisco, USA, 1986
  • The New Painting - Impressionism 1874-1886, Washington, United States, 1986
  • Claude Monet - Auguste Rodin, centenary of the 1889 exhibition, Paris, France, 1989
  • Monet: A Retrospective, Tokyo, Japan, 1994
  • Monet: A Retrospective, Nagoya, Japan, 1994
  • Monet: A Retrospective, Hiroshima, Japan, 1994Claude Monet: 1840-1926, Chicago, United States, 1995
  • Impresionismo: A Nuevo Renacimiento, Madrid, Spain, 2010
  • Birth of Impressionism. Masterpieces from the Orsay Museum, San Francisco, USA, 2010
  • Claude Monet 1840-1926, Paris, France, 2010

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Call for Entries - Royal Society of British Artists 301st Exhibition

This is a reminder that you have until 8th December 2017 to submit an entry to the 2018 Annual Exhibition of the Royal Society of British Artists (RBA)

Paintings exhibited by members in the Main Gallery
The 301st exhibition in 2018 will be held in March 2018 at the Mall Galleries - across all three galleries due to its size.
  • It opens on Wednesday 21 March 2018 and closes at 2pm on Saturday 31 March 2018. 
  • It will open to the public every day from 10am - 5pm 
  • The Private View will be on Tuesday 20 March 2018, 11am – 8pm.
The RBA is a society where membership is often seen as a complement to membership of other national art societies. Indeed this was its original intention.
A group of painters met at Lincoln’s Inn Fields on May 21st 1823, to form the ‘Society of British Artists’, whose manifesto stated, ‘This organisation was not formed to rival existing societies but that every Member was to be at liberty to assist and support any other society.’
Below you can find
  • a review of the metrics associated with the 300th exhibition in 2017
  • a summary of how to enter the next annual exhibition.
You can also follow my summary of the Calls for Entries for the various exhibitions of the national art societies in the UK on my blog PAGE UK Art Societies: Open Exhibitions.

Paintings and prints in the North Gallery

Exhibition Metrics for 2017

Below you can find information about the 2017 exhibition which is worth looking at if you are considering entering the 2018 exhibition
  • This is a LARGE exhibition. 510 artworks were exhibited in 2017 in the open exhibition across the three galleries (i.e. excluding the work by past Presidents and members, NADFAS RBA Scholars and the National Students At Exhibition).
  • Of these 510 artworks 
    • 383 artworks (75%) by 86 members and 
    • 127 artworks (25%) were by 100 non-members
    • of the open artists,16 were members of other national societies (most of which are based at the Mall Galleries). Which leaves 84 which have no affiliation. 
You can find out more about the 2017 exhibition as follows:
For the 2018 exhibition I'd personally like to see:
  • more scrutiny of the originality (as in 'Has it been exhibited before?') and quality of work by members 
  • a bigger percentage of artwork coming from the open entry (i.e. nearer one third would be a good first step) 
After all the open entry is the future lifeblood of the RBA and the society needs to attract both good artwork and good artists who will be active supporters of the work of the RBA in future.

PLUS I think artists need reminding that having their artwork shown at the annual exhibition is the route to membership of the RBA
Before you may apply to become a Candidate it is essential that you have had several pieces of work accepted and shown at 3-4 of our annual exhibitions so members are aware of the quality of your work.RBA website - Election to Membership of The Royal Society of British Artists

Call for Entries

In summary, this is an OPEN EXHIBITION. Both members of the RBA and other artists are invited to submit artwork for consideration.
  • There is no constraint on type of artwork or medium - which creates the potential for this exhibition to be very interesting (However, typically this is an exhibition which tends to display paintings, drawings, sculpture and prints
  • All entries are via digital submission 
  • The deadline for entries is 12 noon on Friday 8th December 2017 
  • The entry fee is £15 per work payable at the time of submitting (£10 per work for artists aged 35 or under). 
Details of how artists can apply via the open entry process are set out below.
RBA in 2017 - Paintings and prints in the North Gallery
Founded in 1823, the RBA seeks submissions of work displaying the highest standards of skill, expression and concept of draughtsmanship. Artists are invited to submit works for exhibition alongside members of the Royal Society of British Artists at their Annual Exhibition 2018.

Who can Submit?

Any artist - over the age of 18 - living anywhere in the world can submit artwork to this exhibition.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Call for Entries - Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours 206th Exhibition 2018

The Call for Entries opened last month for the 206th Exhibition of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (RI) at the Mall Galleries in April 2018.  The deadline for entries is 5 January 2018.
The RI seeks the best in contemporary watercolour and watermedia painting
Always an incredibly popular exhibition which appeals to all ages - this was the Private View in 2017

The RI was founded in 1831 to exhibit the best in watercolour painting and to show non-members’ works alongside that of members, a policy still followed today.

Exhibition Metrics for 2017

This is a summary of the exhibition metrics for the annual exhibition in 2017
  • The open entry generated 1,090 entries from 489 artists (c.2.2 paintings per artist). 
  • 389 paintings by both members and other artists were hung on the walls of all three galleries. 
  • 142 of the works (36%) were by 98 non-member artists (1.45 paintings each) were selected and hung in the exhibition.
  • Members: averaged 2.87 works hung
  • 'Open' artists: averaged 1.45 works hung each
You can review my past blog posts about this annual exhibition (2007-2017) 
at the end of this post.

Call for Entries

In summary, both members of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours and other artists are invited to submit painting for consideration.  
  • Anybody can enter artwork created using in traditional watercolours or water-soluble media
  • All entries are via digital submission
  • The deadline for entries is Noon on the 5 January 2018.
  • The entry fee is £15 per work payable at the time of submitting (£10 per work for artists aged 35 or under).

Details of how artists can apply via the open entry process are set out below.

Information about the Annual Exhibition 2018

The 206th Exhibition will be held at the Mall Galleries between Friday 6 April and Saturday 21 April, 1pm (10am - 5pm every day) - so just over two weeks.

You can find
Another view of the 2017 Annual Exhibition on the Preview Day

Who can Submit

Any artist - over the age of 18 - living anywhere in the world can submit work in water-soluble media to this exhibition.

What you can submit 

  • Number: You can submit a maximum of six works - of which a maximum of four works selected.  Typically it's candidates for membership who submit a large number of paintings.
  • Media: Artwork in watercolour or water-soluble mediums, including watercolour, acrylic, ink or gouache (excluding water-soluble oils) are eligible for exhibition.
  • Size: Works must not be larger than 2.4m high and 1.5m wide.
  • Price: The minimum price is £450

Personally I think it's a mistake to pitch the minimum price at £450 since there are a lot of sales below this figure in other exhibitions. I'd limit how many low priced paintings can be submitted and pitch the minimum price at (say) £250 or £300.  I hope the rationale for this constraint on submission has been based in a rigorous analysis of past sales.....

The Candidates Wall at the RI Exhibition in 2017 - note each has four works hung

How to Submit

Monday, November 20, 2017

ING Discerning Eye Exhibition 2017 - award winners and review

The ING Discerning Eye Exhibition is a show of six curated exhibitions of small works independently selected by six prominent figures from the art world: two artists, two collectors and two critics.

View of one of the six individual exhibitions at the Mall Galleries
This is a review of the 2017 Exhibition which opened last week and continues until Sunday 26 November (10am and 5pm daily) at the Mall Galleries in London. It's taken a little longer than I had planned - I always forget how long this particular show takes to review properly - because there are lots of prizes and six completely different exhibitions!

If you're unable to get to see the show, you can
  • view the online artwork catalogue and 
  • also read my past reviews and view the sort of artwork which has been selected in previous years - with the different sets of curators they have each year - see the archive of my posts dating back to 2008 at the end of this post.

Some exhibition statistics provided by the organisers

This year there are 465 works by 237 artists on show
  • 75% of the artists and 55% of the works have come from the open submission. Typically if you see groups of work by the same artist in this exhibition it's a very good indication they have been "invited" to exhibit as opposed to "selected" from the open entry.
  • In terms of types of artwork selected for the exhibition:
    • Painting and drawing make up over 60% of the works, 
    • mixed media and sculpture about 15%, and 
    • printmaking about 8%.
This post covers the award winners and then reviews each of the six mini exhibitions in turn - with comments about different aspects of the show as a whole cropping up as and when!

2017 Award Winners 

This year there has been some very sloppy labelling of artwork in the exhibition and on the website. It's such a privilege to get selected and then such a disappointment when winning a prize if the right prize is not identified either in the gallery and/or on the website. The numbers are there for a reason - to get it right.

This is the list of prizewinnersThose that have numbers with an asterisk next to them were selected from the open submission.

11 of the 16 prizes went to artists selected from the open entry.  This breaks down as:
  • 6 of the 8 purchase prizes (75%) went to open entrants
  • 2 of the 2 other sponsor prizes (100%) went to artists selected from the open entry
  • 4 of the 7 regional prizes (57%) went to open entrants
Asterion by Jill Desborough
£1,200 SOLD
For those who have thought of submitting but not done so before, or maybe been dispirited by not getting selected, here's a word from Jill Desborough, who was one of the successful artists submitting via the open entry. This year she had two works selected by two different judges, won one of the top Purchase Prizes and also sold the other work that was selected
First, many thanks to the Discerning Eye for another lovely show and to Elmo Hood and Simon Tait for picking the pieces. There was such a good vibe there on PV night! Getting the prize was wonderfully encouraging. You have to harden yourself to a fair number of (kindly worded) rejections from open shows every year so it means an awful lot to get accepted and then the prize was an extra affirmation to keep on submitting!

The Purchase Prizes

These are prizes where the prize funds the purchase of the work. It's only just occurred to me that it could make a lot of sense to price your work to match the value of one of the Purchase Prizes! (Duh!)

The ING Purchase Prize £5,000

This year this was awarded to a painting by Rick Garland, one of the artists selected by Miranda Richardson.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Breach of rules - Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2017

This is about a competition where the organisers and Jury allowed an entry which breached the rules to remain in the competition and win two prizes.

One of the things I do when writing about art competitions is I aim to make the process more accessible for those wanting to enter and further their careers and/or achievements.

To that end I do three things:
  • I aim to unpick and make the call for entries a bit more accessible for people entering for the first time
  • I try to show those thinking about entering what the standard of work is in the exhibition - and the competition they're up against.
I've had much praise over the years from people around the world for making that effort - which is NOT why I do it - but it's always nice to know that my efforts are appreciated.

The third thing I do is the subject of this blog post.

Basically, I speak up for those who may feel they maybe can't when things happen which really shouldn't happen in terms of the conduct of the competition.

I don't like doing this - but I do think it's necessary.

This post is about how to undermine confidence in competitions 
  • BY allowing an entry which breaches the rules to remain in the competition 
  • AND win not one but two prizes!

One of Them Is a Human #1 (Erica: Erato Ishiguro Symbiotic Human-Robot Interaction Project) by Maija Tammi

Maija Tammi's project, One of Them Is a Human #1, is a series of photographs that places androids alongside one human, asking what it means to be alive.

A photo of an android was submitted as an entry into the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2017

The portrait is not of a human, but the National Portrait Gallery decided to keep it in the competition anyway. In a statement they say (my bold):
The Gallery has decided not to disqualify this portrait though accepts it is in breach of the rules. The rules are reviewed every year and this issue will be taken into consideration for next year. This portrait was part of 'One of Them Is a Human #1', a broader series which presents androids alongside one human. It was felt that the subject of this portrait, while not human, is a representation of a human figure and makes a powerful statement as a work of art in its questioning of what it is to be alive or human and asks challenging questions about portraiture. The ambiguity of this portrait makes it particularly compelling.

We review the competition rules each year and as part of this will discuss whether they need to be changed in light of the selection of 'One of Them Is a Human #1' for this year’s exhibition. The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize is dedicated to showcasing the best in contemporary portraiture. There are occasions when particularly compelling portraits raise interesting questions about the genre of portraiture, and these may be included at the judges’ discretion
The Judges also shortlisted the photograph which then went on to win
  • the third prize of £2,000
  • the John Kobal New Work Award and a £5,000 prize for a photographer under 35.
Maija Tammi with her awards
So a total of £7,000 (presumably in part funded by competition entry fees) was awarded for an entry which breached the rules and was ineligible for entry.

I'll now go on to explain why, in my opinion, this should not have happened.