London Art Week (LAW) is a week-long celebration of paintings, drawings and sculpture in Mayfair and St James’s from 4 to 11 July, which attracts collectors and curators from all over the world. Launched last year, it is the platform that unites Master Drawings & Sculpture Week and Master Paintings Week and this collaboration brings together some fifty specialist dealers across the fine art disciplines and three major London auction houses. LAW illustrates the extraordinary range and quality of fine art from the 15th to 20th centuries available on the market and strongly underlines the unrivalled connoisseurship and expertise to be found in the city.
MunchDuring LAW, special exhibitions, auctions and events will be staged by the participants. Stephen Ongpin Fine Art will present The Art of Pastel: Three Centuries of Works on Paper which will include Rocks at the Edge of the Sea by Edvard Munch (1863-1944). Although he worked more frequently in watercolours, Munch produced a significant number of pastel drawings throughout his long career, including two of the four versions of The Scream. This bold pastel study of rocks or boulders at the water’s edge is likely to have been drawn at the little village of Åsgårdstrand, on the western shores of the Oslofjord, where the beach was strewn with large rocks. The Munch family had a summer house at Åsgårdstrand, about a hundred kilometres south of Oslo, and spent holidays there from 1889 onwards. Munch returned to the small fishing village, which also attracted a number of other artists and writers from the capital, almost every summer for twenty years. It was a place to which the artist remained strongly attached, and the curving shoreline and the landscape around Åsgårdstrand were to serve as a constant source of inspiration for his paintings throughout the 1890s.
A stunningly vivid and previously unknown depiction of Saint James the Greater by the Spanish-born Neapolitan artist Jusepe de Ribera, called Lo Spagnoletto or the Little Spaniard (1591-1652), will be shown by Fergus Hall Master Paintings. When Fergus Hall saw the painting, catalogued as an unsigned studio work after a presumed lost original, it was covered with centuries of grime and old varnish. His hunch paid off when cleaning and conservation revealed a fully signed work of the highest quality. Nicola Spinosa, the recognised authority on Ribera, has confirmed that this is a fine autograph work datable to around 1632. The painting, with the bravura brushwork and brilliantly observed naturalism that made Ribera one of the most important painters of the Baroque period, is now being offered for £1.1 million (€1.3 million).
One of the highlights to be shown at the Illustration Cupboard by Parisian dealer Galerie Sismann is this medallion attributed to the circle of the sculptor Benedetto Briosco (1483-1517). It depicts the Duke of Milan Ludovico Maria Sforza, also known as Ludovico il Moro, one of the greatest figures of the Italian Renaissance, who patronised two of the greatest artists of his generation: Donato Bramante and Leonardo da Vinci. Sculpted portraits of Ludovico il Moro are extremely rare outside Italy so the discovery of this medallion is an important contribution to art history.