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Bernheimer – Colnaghi will be exhibiting an exciting selection of works from many of the major schools of European painting from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries to the 24th Biennale des Antiquaires in Paris. Katrin Bellinger at Colnaghi is also showing a select group of Old Master drawings, including a very rare eighteenth century study by Antoine Watteau.

Bernheimer – Colnaghi bring their gallery to the Biennale, with the stand inspired by the nineteenth century interior of Colnaghi, the oldest commercial gallery in London. The interior design offers potential collectors a glimpse of how this superb collection of masterpieces would look in a domestic setting.

The theme of this year’s Biennale is the Lifestyle of the Antique to the Present Day, and the collection exhibited reflects this. Konrad O. Bernheimer, Chairman of Bernheimer and Colnaghi, commenting on the collection, said: “We have selected a fine collection of important paintings from the French School, together with some exciting new discoveries and re-attributions.”

One of these recent discoveries is an oil sketch by Pierre Subleyras (1699 – 1749), The Triumph of Harlequin and Columbine – a design for a fan. This spirited oil sketch is connected to a design for a fan by the artist’s wife, the miniaturist Maria Felice Subleyras-Tibaldi (1707-1770). Subleyras provided the original design, which was developed with modifications (in particular the landscape background) by his wife. This can also be seen in a painting now in Toulouse; and it was this that was used as a basis of a design for a fan, now in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. Subleyras’ hand can also be seen in the figurative groups, which seem to have been inspired by Nicholas Poussin; in particular Feast in the House of Simon the Pharisee from 1748, now in the Louvre. It is known that Maria Felice Subleyras-Tibaldi copied this work of Poussin in miniature for the collection of Pope Benedict XIV.

The Portrait of Monsieur de Buissy is considered to be one of the finest works by Joseph Siffred Duplessis (1725 –1802), and was until very recently in the collection of the sitter’s ancestors. The son of a surgeon, Duplessis travelled to Rome where he is thought to have studied with Pierre Subleyras. He became Court Painter to Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette after 1769. Other sitters include the sculptor Christophe-Gabriel Allegrain (1774) and the composer Christoph Willibald Gluck (1775). Duplessis’ style was greatly influenced by other great portrait-painters of the period, including, Largilliere, Rigaud and Nattier.

A further discovery in the Bernheimer-Colnaghi collection is a Portrait of an Angel by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905). This work dates from 1883 and is a study for a large series of planned paintings commissioned to decorate the chapel of the Virgin Mary in the Church of Saint Vincent de Paul in Paris. Although the chapel was finished in 1870, Bouguereau series of paintings were not ultimately commissioned. It seems the artist became ill in June 1882 and was treated by Dr. Parrot; and the generous artist probably gave the picture to the physician, whose name is inscribed by the artist, with gratitude for his treatment.

The monumental historical work, a French Mission Station in Barcelona in the year 1821, during the Yellow Fever Epidemic, is an outstanding masterpiece by the artist August Xavier Leprince (Paris 1799-1826 Nizza), whose work was collected by Louis XVIII of France. This work was highly praised by 19th century art critics, for offering a new interpretation of the historical set piece. The picture was also a very successful piece of pro-Bourbon propaganda; as it shows the ship from Cuba arriving in Barcelona, which brought the yellow fever in the heat of the Catalan summer and cost 20,000 people their lives - one sixth of the whole population of Barcelona at the time.

One of the highlights of the still-lifes being exhibited is the Floral Still Life by Cornelis van Spaendonck (Tilburg 1756 – 1840 Paris), a flower painter from Brabant, who moved to Paris in 1773, when he became artistic director at the Sèvres porcelain factory until 1800. Under him, Sèvres became known for its flower compositions carried out in oil or gouache, in the style of the “Académie de Beaux Arts”. This outstanding example of flower painting dating from 1810 depicts a loosely bound bouquet of roses, fuchsias, with a solitary tulip. The blooms are painted with soft brushwork in warm pastel tones. The individual water drops give the impression of freshly cut flowers, which have been put down briefly on a table, while being arranged in the beautiful vase.

One of the highlights from Katrin Bellinger at Colnaghi is the extremely rare Figure Studies, by Antoine Watteau (Valenciennes 1684 – 1721 Nogent-sur-Marne), a study in red and white chalk on light brown paper. The artist was apprenticed to Claude Gillot from 1705 to 1708. The upper part of our sheet contains studies relates to one of ten prints executed by the artist entitled Les habits sont Italiens. The motif of a man lifting a curtain on the sheet is recurrent in Watteau’s oeuvre, and is evident in Arlequin, Pierrot and Scarpin in the British Museum. The two hands in the work, one holding the bow and the other neck of a viol, were used again by Watteau in a full figure study, now in the Puskin Museum.

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Notes to Editors:

P. & D. COLNAGHI & CO., LTD.

Colnaghi was established by Paul Colnaghi and his partner Anthony Torre in Paris in 1760. The original shop in Paris, known as the ‘Cabinet de Physique Experimental’, dealt in scientific instruments imported from England and they quickly branched out into print selling, importing English mezzotints and barometers. After managing a new shop in the Palais Royale, Paul Colnaghi took over the London branch of the business, based in Pall Mall in 1783, and as a result of the French Revolution transferred the business to London becoming print sellers to the Prince Regent (later George IV). Colnaghi established itself initially as the premier dealership for prints. By the end of the 19th century the firm had begun dealing in Old Master paintings and drawings and was instrumental in the formation of some of the most important American collections, including that of Isabella Stewart Gardener, Henry Clay Frick and Andrew Mellon. In 2002, the Old Master paintings dealer Konrad O. Bernheimer, the fourth generation of one of Europe’s major art dealing families, acquired Colnaghi. Under the Colnaghi umbrella, Bernheimer joined forces with the renowned Old Master drawings dealer Katrin Bellinger. In October 2006, Hauser & Wirth opened their third London gallery at the Colnaghi building in Bond Street – Hauser & Wirth at Colnaghi. Bernheimer and Bellinger continue to maintain a presence in Munich, Bernheimer Fine Old Masters, and Katrin Bellinger Kunsthandel. Colnaghi continues to operate as one of the world’s most important dealerships, specializing in Master paintings and drawings from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century.

BERNHEIMER FINE OLD MASTERS

Founded by Lehmann Bernheimer in 1864, Bernheimer Fine Old Masters dealt initially in textiles and oriental carpets, before expanding to include Italian Renaissance furniture, French antiques, tapestries, porcelain and objets d’art. By 1900 Bernheimer had become purveyors to the Court of Bavaria and its clientele included members of the European aristocracy and American magnates, such as William Randolph Hearst. Konrad O. Bernheimer, great grandson of Lehmann, is the current owner and chairman of Bernheimer Fine Old Masters. Under his direction, the gallery now specializes in Old Master paintings, although it has recently begun to hold exhibitions of photography.

KATRIN BELLINGER AT COLNAGHI

In 2002 Katrin Bellinger joined forces with Konrad Bernheimer at Colnaghi, where she runs the Old Master Drawings department, an established area of expertise at Colnaghi. Old Master Drawings exhibitions are held regularly at the Old Bond Street Galleries as well as other exhibitions of 19th century oil sketches, botanical watercolours and the work of living artists, including John Sergeant. In addition she continues to participate in the Salon du Dessin, Paris and the International Fine Arts Fair, New York. A selection of drawings is always on permanent view at the Old Bond Street premises, and she is regularly available for consultation and appraisals. Katrin Bellinger also maintains a presence in Munich assisted by Marten Grässle.

For press enquiries, further information and images:

Cassleton Elliott & Co. Ltd.
T: +44(0)7808 403 963
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Colnaghi, 15 Old Bond Street
London W1S 4AX,
T: + 44 (0)20 7491 7408
Opening hours:
Monday – Friday 10am – 6pm
www.colnaghi.co.uk

Bernheimer Fine Old Masters
Briennerstrasse 7, D80333 Munich,
Germany
T: +49-89-226672
Opening hours:
Monday – Friday 10am – 6pm
Saturday 10am - 2pm
www.bernheimer.com

Katrin Bellinger at Colnaghi
15 Old Bond Street,
London W1S 4AX,
T: + 44 (0)20 7491 7408
Opening hours:
Monday – Friday 10am – 6pm
Saturday 10am - 2pm
www.colnaghi.co.uk

Katrin Bellinger Kunsthandel
Briennerstrasse 7, D80333 München
Germany
T: +49-89-983465
Opening hours:
Monday – Friday 10am – 6pm
Saturday 10am - 2pm
www.bellinger-art.com

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