“Fra Angelico”

The Prado acquires a Fra Angelico

The Prado Museum (Madrid) recently acquired a major Renaissance work: The Virgin with a Pomegranate, a tempera on a panel produced in the 15th century by Guido di Pietro, also known as Fra Angelico. The painting in question was one of the last by Fra Angelico to still be held by a private individual — the Duchesse of Alba who died in 2014. The Prado Museum announced this acquisition on 20 January in a press release. The painting is said to be in a remarkable state of preservation. The transaction amounted to €18 million and includes a personal donation from the heir to the Duchess of Alba, her elder son Carlos Fitz-James Stuart y Martínez de Irujo — a small panel recently attributed to Fra Angelico by the Prado...

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Leclere auction house announced its 2012 statement

Marseille, 2 January 2013, Art Media Agency (AMA). With a €7m turnover in 2012, Leclere auction house, created in 2006 by Damien Leclere, based in Marseille, becomes the first auction house on the French province. The auction house consists of twelve departments, which published this year 35 catalogues, including ancient paintings, modern and contemporary art, furniture and art objects, design, photography, jewellery… 2012 was marked by important sales: a painting by Fra Angelico, examined by Michel Laclotte (sold for €550,000 gross amount, during the 27 October 2012 sale) and the unreleased archives of Portalis, Napoleon’s Secretary (€660,000 gross amount, on the sale on 24 November 2012). “Important Parisian auction houses would be in running for this exceptional pieces, but the work which was realised on the spot was more convincing” says Damien Leclere. Amongst other important sales of the year, we can mention the furniture and modern design sale which was held on 25 october 2012. An assembly of Modernist furniture by Jean-Michel Frank, Robert Mallet-Steven and Paul Dupré-Lafon at the Villa Noailles, re-launched the dialogue with architecture in situ. This idea to put the works in their initial environment re-established their real dimension. Ten best results of Leclere auction house in 2012: Fra Angelico, Scènes de la Thébaïde, tempera on wood, 27,5 × 38,5 cm, around 1430-1435, from a private collection from the Southern France, €552,000, purchased by a French collector, on 27 October 2012; Auguste Rodin, L’Age d’airain, €510,000, on 27 October 2012; Chu Teh-Chun, Composition, 1979, oil on canvas, €335,000, on 23 June 2012; Plaque Great Eagle of Legion of Honour of the First type (1805) which belonged to Jean-Etienne-Marie Portalis, €200,000, on 24 November 2012; Lamborghini Countach LP400 S, 1980, €140,000, on 16 December 2012; Ron Arad, Before summer chair, 1992, €112,000, on 28 January...

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Interview with Damien Leclere, auctioneer

Marseille, 12 November 2012, Art Media Agency (AMA). Art Media Agency had the opportunity of meeting Damien Leclere, auctioneer and associate of Leclere auction house. He gracefully accepted to answer our questions, notably about the exceptional sale of a Fra Angelico. Art Media Agency (AMA): Could you present Leclere auction house? Damien Leclere (DL): Leclere auction house was founded in 2006 in Marseille, in a 800-sqm former factory. Delphine Orts and I created it. AMA: You recently auctioned a Fra Angelico panel. Could you tell us a bit more about this work and how the sale went on? DL: On occasion of the 27 October 2012 auction, organised by Leclere auction house, a painting produced by Italian painter Fra Angelico (1400-1455) and his atelier has been sold, a very rare piece. It was the first time a work by Fra Angelico was sold at auctions in France. It had remained in a French private collection since it was last acquired in the 19th Century. In 2001, Michel Laclotte – expert in 14th and 15th Century Italian painting – confirmed it was indeed a Thebaid, probably realised between 1430 and 1435. A Thebaid depicts monastic life, with reference to the life of the first Christians in Thebes, a desert region of Southern Egypt. It appears this painting was divided into six panels at the end of the 18th Century. Today, only one is still missing: the other four are  displayed in museums. AMA: The other panels are displayed in museums. However, the piece was eventually auctioned to a French collector, how can you explain the museums did not show a willingness to get the panel? Do you think it will ever be possible to see Fra Angelico’s work reconstituted? DL: Museums do not take part in auction sales, and they probably didn’t succeed...

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Marseille: a work by Fra Angelico put up for sale

Marseille, 7 September 2012, Art Media Agency (AMA). On 27 October, a unique work of eremitic life will be put up for sale in Marseille. This is a new painting of the Thebaid from 1435 measuring 27.5 x 38.5 cm. It is the central part of a large composition divided into six paintings during the late 18th century. The Thebaid refers to this Egyptian region, its name coming from the town of Thebes. Eremitic refers to the “hermit” term. In Greek, it means desert or solitary person. For around two hundred years, this work was in possession of a private collection located in the south of France. In 2005, it was identified by Michel Laclotte, a specialist of Italian painting. On the six elements of the Thebaid, one work has not been found yet. Four of them are on display all over the world: from the Fine Arts of Anvers to the Philadelphia Museum of Art without forgetting the Condé de Chantilly and Thomas Henry Museums in Cherbourg-Octeville. This is the second painting by this Renaissance artist who was recently rediscovered. Saint Dominique et saint François d’Assise recevant les stigmates had been spotted in August 2009. The work has been estimated between €200,000 and €400,000. Most art lovers are amazed by such a low price. However, this choice of upset price was...

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“Fra Angelico and the Masters of light” at Jacquemart–André

Paris, 13 September 2011, Art Media Agency (AMA). The Jacquemart-André Museum will soon open an exhibition to Florentine artist Fra Angelico (1400- 1455). The event, entitled « Fra Angelico and the Masters of light » will run from 23 September to 16 January 2012. Fra Angelico was a pupil of Lorenzo Monaco and, like him, a monk. He learnt art in Florence, a city saturated with international Gothic styles. This refined style, which combined influences from Northern Europe and Italy, inspired Fra Angelico to create works with deep spiritual meaning. He was a major player in Florence’s artistic and cultural revolutions at the beginning of the 15th century, initiating the artistic movement which specialists have coined “Peintres de la Lumière” (painters of light). The exhibition will present approximately 25 major works by Fra Angelico and a similar number of panels painted by some of his prestigious contemporaries, such as Lorenzo Monaco (vers 1370-1424), Masolino (1383-vers 1440) and Paolo Uccello (1397-1475), as well as artists that he inspired, such as Filippo Lippi (1406-1469) and Zanobi Strozzi (1412-1468). A video shown at the entrance to the exhibition will allow visitors to view his finest work – the frescos adorning the monks’ rooms at the San Marco monastery in Florence. “Fra Angelico and the Master of light” has been put together through partnerships with the major Italian museums – including the Uffizi Gallery in Florence – and other world–class...

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