Court usher, 46, is suspended for having sex in the video-link room with a colleague – who described him as ‘no oil painting’

Court usher, 46, is suspended for having sex in the video-link room with a colleague – who described him as ‘no oil painting’

  • Court usher Matt Fowkes is being investigated by the Ministry of Justice 
  • The allegations were made by a Witness Service volunteer he had met at work
  • The pair allegedly engaged in regular romping sessions, but the woman said he always kept on his usher’s gown  
  • A court usher is being investigated by the Ministry of Justice after it was alleged he had been having secret sex sessions in the video link room with a former colleague.

    Matt Fowkes has been suspended from his role after the allegations were made by a Witness Service volunteer.

    The volunteer said she had engaged in regular romping sessions with 46-year-old Fowkes when he should have been on duty, but that he always kept on his usher’s gown.

    Court usher Matt Fowkes (pictured) has been suspended over secret sex sessions in the video link room

    Fowkes and the co-worker exchanged messages about a sex session they had in the video link room and how they thought they’d broken a table

    Fowkes sent nude pictures like this to the 40-year-old female co-worker after they started dating in A ugust

    The 40-year-old woman said they first began dating in August after the pair had engaged in flirting at Mansfield Magistrates’ Court.

    She said that Fowkes was ‘no oil painting’ but that he had been ‘very charming’.

    ‘We often had sex in his car, but then decided to spice things up and we began doing it in the court.

    ‘We knew it was wrong but the video room was private and we could lock the door.

    ‘It was never what you’d call romantic. Matt would bend me over or lay me on the desk and get on with it.

    ‘He always kept his usher’s gown on and would flap his ID lanyard and tie around the back of his neck.

    Fowkes ‘always kept his usher’s gown on’ when the pair romped in the court’s video link room

    He was describ ed by the co-worker he had a fling with as ‘very charming’ but ‘no oil painting’

    ‘He used to answer his mobile while we were at it, but just carry on. We both got a thrill out of taking the risk. We could hear people walking by and a prison van backed up in the yard outside.’

    The mother-of-one, who has since been dismissed from her volunteer job, said on one occasion Fowkes had been forced to dash out of court with ‘fake tan from my boobs all over his hands and face’, she told The Sun.

    On another occasion she said they thought they had ‘broken the table’ after their love making session.

    The pair began dating in August after meeting at Mansfield Magistrates Court (pictured above)

    However, it is alleged that the regular meetings came to an end when the pair had a disagreement and the woman was then told by collea gues that Fowkes was actually engaged.

    The woman then gave a statement to court officials about the affair, which included messages and pictures of Fowkes naked — and resigned from her role.

    Speaking to The Sun, Fowkes, of Hucknall in Nottinghamshire, said he was ‘not at liberty to comment about this matter’.

    HM Courts Tribunals Service confirmed a staff member at Mansfield magistrates’ court has been suspended, but did not comment further on the matter.

    The woman found out that Matthew Fowkes (above) was engaged while they had been engaging in sexual activity

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    Annual NEACA Holiday Craft Show to take place this weekend at the VBC

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    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — NEACA presents the 2018 Christmas Craft Show December 7-9 at the Von Braun Center.

    Since 1973, NEACA has promoted the study, appreciation, enjoyment, and preservation of original handicrafts.

    The goal of our non-profit organization is to encourage craftsmen to continue and improve their crafts through workshops, meetings and craft shows. Currently, NEACA has over 100 members offering a wide range of handicrafts.

    All proceeds generated by the NEACA shows are used to provide donations to Huntsville charities and 2 or 4 year scholarships for local students. Since 1973, NEACA has donated more than $1,000,000 to Huntsville area charities in addition to providing scholarships. This year’s dates and times for the NEACA Christmas Craft Show are:

  • Friday, December 7: 9am – 6pm
  • Saturday, December 8: 9am – 6pm
  • Sunday, December 9: 12pm – 5pm
  • It’s all happening at the Von Braun Center’s South Hall and as always it’s free admission.

    A Curator’s Favourite Thing… In The National Portrait Gallery

    London has an abundance of museums and galleries, and most of them are totally stuffed with amazing objects and works. It can make the whole experience of going to a museum a little overwhelming. With so many things fighting for your attention, where should you focus? We asked the people who know best, the curators, about the objects they see on a daily basis.

    We chatted to Lucy Dahlsen, who’s an Associate Curator at National Portrait Gallery, about her favourite piece in the gallery.

    Pauline Boty by Pauline Boty, circa 1958 © Pauline Boty Estate/National Portrait Gallery, London

    What is your favourite object?

    Pauline Boty’s self-portrait in stained glass dating from when she was a student in the stained glass department at the Royal College of Art. Boty had wanted to attend the school of painting but was advised it was too competitive for a woman. There are only about four known existing stained glass pieces by Boty and this is the only known self-portrait. It incorporates many of the experimental techniques associated with the Royal College of Art at that period, including the expressive use of glass painting and an eccentric use of arbitrary leads such as the piece cutting across Boty’s face.

    Why do you like it so much?

    Pauline Boty was a key member of the British Pop Art movement, producing a vibrant body of work from a resolutely female perspective. During her lifetime, she enjoyed fame as a painter, actress and advocate of women’s independence, yet after her tragically early death from cancer aged 28 in 1966, her contribution was largely forgotten until very recently.

    Boty’s work was rediscovered in the 1990s, renewing interest in her contribution to Pop art, and gaining her inclusion in several exhibitions. In 2013 she was the subject of a major solo retrospective at Wolverhampton Art Gallery and in 2016 she was the subject of Ali Smith’s novel Autumn.

    How did the museum acquire it?

    Boty gave the portrait to her then boyfriend, the photographer David Cripps, who kept the work throughout his life. We acquired the portrait from Cripps’ widow, Annie Cripps, who offered it to the Gallery in 2017.

    Photo: Shutterstock

    What makes it stand out?

    This is the only stained glass portrait in our collection. It seems fitting that Boty would use the medium of stained glass, traditionally consigned to the sphere of ‘craft’, to make a beautiful and assured self-portrait, which serves to remember her as a radical and pioneering Pop artist, and the only prominent female among a generation of famous men.

    What are people’s reactions when they see the object?

    Visitors really engage with the work and Boty’s story. As it is the only stained glass portrait, people are surprised to find it in a room full of painting and sculpture.

    Where can visitors find the object?

    In room 31 on our first floor within our 20th century galleries.

    Art Notes: Holiday Shows Still Opening Doors

    A handful of new shows open this weekend with modest festivities.

    First, Two Rivers Printmaking Studio in White River Junction opens its Holiday Show with a First Friday reception from 5 to 7. The group show features work by the studio’s artist-members.

    There are other receptions planned for First Friday, including at Zollikofer Gallery for “I’ve Got It Covered,” photographs of manhole covers by Sharon artist Carol Langstaff, which is on view through Dec. 26.

    Also on Friday evening, fresh from a stint at Two Rivers, “Blue x 2,” cyanotypes by Linda Bryan, opens in the Gallery at the Space on Main, in Bradford, with a reception from 5 to 7. On view through Jan. 2.

    Here’s something you don’t see every day, but that makes eminent sense: Cartoonist and cineaste Stephen Bissette, of Hartland, and author Joe Citro, of Windsor, will be joined by students and graduates of the Center for Cartoon Studies from 6 to 8 this evening at the Windsor Diner, where they will be selling their work and personalizing it for patrons. The event repeats on Saturday, noon to 5, minus Citro, who will be in attendance only this evening.

    Artists and diners seem like a natural pairing. And the Windsor Diner is perhaps the only Upper Valley eatery to be featured in a major American cartoon strip, Zippy the Pinhead, in 2002.

    The John D. Bennett Gallery, in Claremont Opera House, opens an exhibition of paintings by Vermont artist Jamie Townsend with a reception from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Friday.

    Chew & Co. Design, Hanover. Paintings in egg tempera and precious metals by Windsor artist Gary Milek are on view through February. A reception is planned for 2 to 4 p.m., on Saturday as part of the firm’s open house.

    Matt Brown Fine Art in Lyme opens a holiday show that features work by artists Susan Arnold and Sara Goodman with a reception from 1 to 4 on Sunday afternoon. On view through Feb. 9.

    Closing

    BigTown Gallery, Rochester, Vt. “Landscape Mysteries,” paintings by Hanover resident and Dartmouth College studio art professor Ben Frank Moss, and “Infinity of Worlds,” recent work by Erika Lawlor Schmidt. Through Saturday.

    Ongoing

    ArtisTree Gallery, South Pomfret. “Small Works,” an exhibition of art that’s bigger than a stocking stuffer but would still fit down the chimney, is up through Dec. 22.

    AVA Gallery and Art Center, Lebanon. The annual Holiday Exhibition is on view through Dec. 24. Also at AVA: Also at AVA: Partly to mark the season, and partly as a response to recent acts of violence, the nonprofit art center is hosting “Messages of Peace,” a wall of reflection in its entry lobby. Visitors are encouraged to leave a drawing, some writing or other expressions of peace on a small card. The cards will be strung on twine for display and reflection.

    Center for the Arts, New London. Current exhibitions include: The seventh annual Juried Regional show at the New London Inn; artwork by Kearsarge Middle School students, at Whipple Hall; abstract paintings by Roger Wells and photographs by Jay Fitzpatrick, at Blue Moon Bakery; and paintings by Tom Pirozzoli and photographs by Ken Schuster, at Bar Harbor Bank and Trust.

    Chandler Gallery, Randolph. The 17th annual Holiday Market, an exhibition of art and gifts, is on view through Dec. 23.

    Converse Free Library, Lyme. “Chasing the Muse,” watercolor paintings by Lyme artist Stephanie Reininger, runs through December.

    Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon. Fall exhibitions consist mainly of paintings, by artists Nan Darham, a Montana resident studying at Dartmouth; Maureen Harrington, of Killington, Vt.; Youngsheen Ahn Jhe, of Lexington, Mass.; Norman Rhodes, of Lebanon; Alison Vernon, of New London; and Richard Weis, of Castleton, Vt. Also on view is work by the Lone Mountain Artists, from the Monadnock region of New Hampshire, and the Upper Valley Ship Modelers Guild.

    The Great Hall, Springfield, Vt. “Healing: The Transformative Imagery of Art” features work by 12 artists, including Margaret Jacobs, of Enfield; Carolyn Enz Hack, of East Thetford; and Robert O’Brien, Robert Carsten and Neomi Lauritsen, all of Springfield. Through March 30.

    Kilton Public Library, West Lebanon. Recent work by Todd Renninger, through January.

    Library Arts Center, Newport, N.H. The annual Gallery of Gifts, a holiday show of fine art and craft, is on view through Dec. 23.

    Main Street Museum, White River Junction. “Jack Rowell, Cultural Documentarian: Portraits of Vermont People and Other Wildlife,” is on view.

    North Common Arts, Chelsea. “Vessels,” an exhibition of still-life paintings by Carrie Caouette-De Lallo, is on view through December.

    Norwich Public Library. “Redlining Our Souls,” recent works by Laura Di Piazza about segregation in America, is on view through Jan. 14.

    Osher@Dartmouth, Hanover. “Barns & Backyard Discoveries,” an exhibition of drawings by Priscilla Eliades and photographs by Evelyn Swett and Shiela Swett, is on view through Dec. 20.

    Philip Read Memorial Library, Plainfield. “Surf’s Up,” an exhibition of painting and sculpture by Cornish artist Jim Schubert, is on view through Jan. 7.

    Royalton Memorial Library, South Royalton. Paintings by California artist Ciara Cumiskey.

    Scavenger Gallery, White River Junction. “Im/migration” features recent paintings by Windsor artist Liz Ross that examine the migration and extinction of birds and the immigration and exile of people.

    Steven Thomas, Inc. Fine Arts & Antiques, White River Junction. Work by Upper Valley “vintage” artists, such as Alice Standish Buell (1892-1964), Arthur B. Wilder (1857-1949) and Ilse Bischoff (1901-1990) is on view.

    Taylor Gallery, Kimball Union Academy, Meriden. “Between Two Worlds: The Sculpture of Lawrence J. Nowlan,” honors the late Cornish sculptor through Dec. 19.

    Tunbridge Public Library. Photographs by South Royalton photographer Marianne Benoir are on view through Jan. 7.

    White River Craft Center, Randolph. “Branching Out,” an exhibition of watercolor paintings by Amy Hook-Therrien, a Randolph native who now lives in Windsor, is on view through Feb. 8.

    White River Gallery, South Royalton. “Graphite Insomnia,” graphite drawings by Gerald Auten, who teaches art at Dartmouth College, is on view through Dec. 16.

    Alex Hanson can be reached at ahanson@vnews.com or 603-727-3207.

    Gallery celebrates December with felted works, oil paintings

    Reception to be held 5 to 8 p.m. Friday

    EASTON — The Green Phoenix Gallery this month is featuring felted works by Laura Rankin and palette knife oil paintings by Diane DuBois Mullaly.

    Meet both artists at the gallery during a First Friday reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 7. Rankin will demonstrate her techniques, and Mullaly will be available to discuss her paintings.

    Rankin, who also is a children’s picture book author/illustrator, has created miniature felted creations for the season, focusing on ornaments and brooches. You will find tiny Santas decked out in acorn cap berets, mice in holiday finery, seagulls, mallard ducks, elves with pointy hats, winter birds and jewel-toned felted acorns — plus a few holiday surprises.

    Rankin taught herself needle felting about nine years ago. When she received her first batts of wool, it was love at first sight.

    “I look at a soft, fluffy handful of gorgeous, dyed wool, and I see its sculptural possibilities as a whimsical character or object,” she said. “It’s a magical and unexpected way for me to create. I love the rich colors — the palette is endless, and the texture and smell of the wool soothes me.”

    Mullaly will hang the unsold paintings from her recent Adkins Arboretum exhibit, “Light and Life,” a series of 32 small palette knife oil paintings created en plein air during the past year at Adkins Arboretum, as well as in the artist’s studio while working from field studies, memories and reference photos. These works were painted in the spirit of the Daily Painting movement, where each piece is 6 by 6 inches and quickly captures a moment unique to the arboretum.

    “As I painted the creeks and marshes, the meadows and woodlands, I began to understand what makes Adkins so special to me is that I can participate in the spirit and wonder of it all,” Mullaly said. “At first, my paintings were pure landscapes, which included nothing manmade. Then, as the series developed, it came to include some of the magic-filled objects the arboretum director and staff have imaginatively incorporated to enhance our interaction with nature.”

    The Green Phoenix Gallery is at 31 N. Harrison St. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 410-822-7554 or visit www.facebook.com/greenphoe nixgallery.

    A colorful reunion: Former gallery co-owner organizes pop-up art show

    There used to be an art gallery in Newburyport called Chameleon, which was a fitting name because the works on display were constantly changing.

    “It covered everything from beautiful fine art down to wind-up toys for the holidays,” said Leslie Scanlon, who worked at the gallery for 13 years. “There was ceramics, sculpture, photography — it was really unusual. I couldn’t think of any place to compare it to.”

    Gallery co-owner Christopha Fitzmaurice also held three-day art salons at her home in Ipswich every fall, which were well-attended by clients and added to the sense of community among the artists she represented.

    “They were so big, we had parking attendants in the field,” Scanlon said. 

    Fitzmaurice and co-owner Lucinda Cathcart closed Chameleon’s doors after 20 years in 2014, bowing to financial pressures. 

    But 10 of the artists who used to show at their gallery have missed it so much, they lobbied Fitzmaurice to hold a pop-up show of their work during the upcoming holidays.  

    She has obliged them by organizing Artapalooza, which will be held for the 12 days before Christmas at the Hall-Haskell House in Ipswich.

    “It’s the information center during the busy summer months,” Fitzmaurice said. “Also, the front room is available to artists all over the North Shore to have shows there. It’s not a huge space, but it’s a great little space for artists to show in, at minimal cost to them.”

    Where Chameleon would normally have around 350 works of art on display, Artapalooza will adapt to Hall-Haskell House by showing around eight or 10 works by each artist.

    The group includes Janice Eaton Updike, who lives in Newburyport and creates pastel still lifes and landscapes, and Cathy Connor, an artist who runs Connor Summers Gallery in Newburyport.

    “Cathy Connor does this very dreamlike work, with a Chagall-like quality, dreamlike and soothing and beautiful,” Fitzmaurice said. “She also does these wonderful carved birds that she’s painted.”

    Scanlon, who lives in Newbury, is a printmaker and has designed knitwear over the past 20 years. She will display recent work in ceramics at Artapalooza.

    “They’re all functional, and they all snuggle up to each other,” she said. “A lot of people feel like they look like people in conversation. I put 30 of them on a table, and people rearrange them constantly.”

    Scanlon doesn’t use a potter’s wheel but builds her ceramics from slabs of porcelain or studio clay that she first rolls out.

    “If you notice, around the rims, they’re uneven and wobbly,” Scanlon said. “They have a very handmade, touched-by-hand feel about them.”

    The artists also include Marcia Hermann of Beverly, Sarah Winderlin of Ipswich, Julie Adinolfi of Lynnfield and Donna Baldassari of Lynn.

    Steve Negron, a Lynn resident who is the assistant registrar at Endicott College, will display paintings that feature elements we recognize — people engaged in some action, along with a tree, a pool or a chair — but are part of a world whose nature is obscure.   

    “I’ve always been telling stories in my pictures, even as a kid sometimes,” he said. “I look at these paintings, and I think that they’re like the things I did before I was formally trained.”  

    Negron, who studied art at Parsons School of Design, said that his paintings have been described as visionary, outsider and naïve, and he’s OK with all of those adjectives.   

    He thinks they have a gothic quality, and his paintings remind him of ancient Egyptian art and 18th-century Japanese prints.

    “I’ll get an idea for a figure in space and then whatever position they’ve taken guides me toward the rest of the picture,” Negron said.

    Mary Pollak, an Ipswich resident who owns Indigo Artist Studio in Newburyport, will also exhibit at Artapalooza along with Maria Malatesta, a Rockport woman who teaches at Montserrat College of Art in Beverly and will bring one large painting from her “Field” series.

    “They’re very intuitive, but they’re landscape-based,” she said. “Not that I’m trying to depict a particular landscape, but they’re definitely influenced by nature. It’s about the energy and the marks and the color and the space.”

    Malatesta said that she has learned a lot from looking at Claude Monet’s late paintings, where his gardens and waterlilies veer into abstraction, and also at the work of abstract expressionist Joan Mitchell.

    “She picked up where he left off,” Malatesta said. 

    Malatesta’s paintings are about color relationships, and her work at Artapalooza will include small several small grids, measuring 4 inches by 4 inches, which grew out of a series of paintings that she made of stripes. 

    “They actually are a lot of work for a tiny little painting,” Malatesta said. 

    She was one of those who asked Fitzmaurice to organize Artapalooza, and she said that the artists who exhibited at Chameleon felt like members of a family. 

    “We all miss the gallery and her enthusiasm,” Malatesta said. “You’d bring something in, and she’d love it.” 

    If you go

    What: Artapalooza: Holiday Pop-up Group Exhibition and Sale

    When: Dec. 12-24, with opening reception Wednesday, Dec. 12, from 4 to 8 p.m. Hours are Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. Also open Monday, Dec. 24, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  

    Where: Hall-Haskell House Gallery, 36 S. Main St., Ipswich 

    How much: Free admission

    More information: 978-356-8540, www.facebook.com/IpswichVisitorCenter or www.historicipswich.org/ipswich-visitor-center

    ||||

    A Curator’s Favourite Thing… In The National Portrait Gallery

    London has an abundance of museums and galleries, and most of them are totally stuffed with amazing objects and works. It can make the whole experience of going to a museum a little overwhelming. With so many things fighting for your attention, where should you focus? We asked the people who know best, the curators, about the objects they see on a daily basis.

    We chatted to Lucy Dahlsen, who’s an Associate Curator at National Portrait Gallery, about her favourite piece in the gallery.

    Pauline Boty by Pauline Boty, circa 1958 © Pauline Boty Estate/National Portrait Gallery, London

    What is your favourite object?

    Pauline Boty’s self-portrait in stained glass dating from when she was a student in the stained glass department at the Royal College of Art. Boty had wanted to attend the school of painting but was advised it was too competitive for a woman. There are only about four known existing stained glass pieces by Boty and this is the only known self-portrait. It incorporates many of the experimental techniques associated with the Royal College of Art at that period, including the expressive use of glass painting and an eccentric use of arbitrary leads such as the piece cutting across Boty’s face.

    Why do you like it so much?

    Pauline Boty was a key member of the British Pop Art movement, producing a vibrant body of work from a resolutely female perspective. During her lifetime, she enjoyed fame as a painter, actress and advocate of women’s independence, yet after her tragically early death from cancer aged 28 in 1966, her contribution was largely forgotten until very recently.

    Boty’s work was rediscovered in the 1990s, renewing interest in her contribution to Pop art, and gaining her inclusion in several exhibitions. In 2013 she was the subject of a major solo retrospective at Wolverhampton Art Gallery and in 2016 she was the subject of Ali Smith’s novel Autumn.

    How did the museum acquire it?

    Boty gave the portrait to her then boyfriend, the photographer David Cripps, who kept the work throughout his life. We acquired the portrait from Cripps’ widow, Annie Cripps, who offered it to the Gallery in 2017.

    Photo: Shutterstock

    What makes it stand out?

    This is the only stained glass portrait in our collection. It seems fitting that Boty would use the medium of stained glass, traditionally consigned to the sphere of ‘craft’, to make a beautiful and assured self-portrait, which serves to remember her as a radical and pioneering Pop artist, and the only prominent female among a generation of famous men.

    What are people’s reactions when they see the object?

    Visitors really engage with the work and Boty’s story. As it is the only stained glass portrait, people are surprised to find it in a room full of painting and sculpture.

    Where can visitors find the object?

    In room 31 on our first floor within our 20th century galleries.

    Intro to Watercolor Class: Hummingbird

    Bring your creativity to this one! Painting loose is what this watercolor class is all about. Learn how to mix multiple colors to make your painting fun and alive! This is an introductory class. No experience necessary. All materials and snacks will be provided.

    Gallery celebrates December with felted works, oil paintings

    Reception to be held 5 to 8 p.m. Friday

    EASTON — The Green Phoenix Gallery this month is featuring felted works by Laura Rankin and palette knife oil paintings by Diane DuBois Mullaly.

    Meet both artists at the gallery during a First Friday reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 7. Rankin will demonstrate her techniques, and Mullaly will be available to discuss her paintings.

    Rankin, who also is a children’s picture book author/illustrator, has created miniature felted creations for the season, focusing on ornaments and brooches. You will find tiny Santas decked out in acorn cap berets, mice in holiday finery, seagulls, mallard ducks, elves with pointy hats, winter birds and jewel-toned felted acorns — plus a few holiday surprises.

    Rankin taught herself needle felting about nine years ago. When she received her first batts of wool, it was love at first sight.

    “I look at a soft, fluffy handful of gorgeous, dyed wool, and I see its sculptural possibilities as a whimsical character or object,” she said. “It’s a magical and unexpected way for me to create. I love the rich colors — the palette is endless, and the texture and smell of the wool soothes me.”

    Mullaly will hang the unsold paintings from her recent Adkins Arboretum exhibit, “Light and Life,” a series of 32 small palette knife oil paintings created en plein air during the past year at Adkins Arboretum, as well as in the artist’s studio while working from field studies, memories and reference photos. These works were painted in the spirit of the Daily Painting movement, where each piece is 6 by 6 inches and quickly captures a moment unique to the arboretum.

    “As I painted the creeks and marshes, the meadows and woodlands, I began to understand what makes Adkins so special to me is that I can participate in the spirit and wonder of it all,” Mullaly said. “At first, my paintings were pure landscapes, which included nothing manmade. Then, as the series developed, it came to include some of the magic-filled objects the arboretum director and staff have imaginatively incorporated to enhance our interaction with nature.”

    The Green Phoenix Gallery is at 31 N. Harrison St. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 410-822-7554 or visit www.facebook.com/greenphoe nixgallery.

    The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures Has Won the $250,000 Sotheby’s Prize to Stage a Show on the History of Black Cinema

    The second annual Sotheby’s Prize for curatorial excellence went to the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures for its proposal to stage an exhibition titled “Regeneration: Black Cinema 1900-1970,” which aims to expose a largely forgotten history of American filmmaking.

    The winner of this year’s award, which comes with $250,000, was chosen by a panel of jurors that included Hammer Museum chief curator Connie Butler, Whitney Museum chief curator and deputy director Donna De Salvo, former director of Munich’s Haus der Kunst Okwui Enwezor, Mauritshuis director Emilie Gordenker, Sotheby’s chairman Allan Schwartzman, and former Tate London director Nicholas Serota.

    The winning entry “comes at a moment when issues of representation—of the under-representation of people of color, of women, of black filmmakers and artists—are so important and so urgent,” said Connie Butler in a statement.

    In addition to the main prize, the auction house also awarded $10,000 to each of five other institutions who made “inspiring and transformative” proposals. Beneficiaries this year include the ZUMU in Hura, Israel (for “Tradition & Modernization”); the Wallace Collection, London (“Henry Moore: The Helmet Head Series”); Des Moines Art Center, Iowa (“Contemporary Queer Abstraction”); Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, Ohio (“The Career of Robert Colescott”); and the Norval Foundation, Cape Town, South Africa (“Jackson Hlungwani: Alt and Omega”).

    “We felt that these stood out,” Serota told artnet News. “They either are a major reassessment of an artist, like Robert Colescott, or in the case of Henry Moore, throwing light on an unknown aspect of his work. They each commended themselves in different ways.”

    Launched in May 2017, the Sotheby’s Prize helps fund exhibition proposals exploring overlooked or under-represented areas of art history.

    Serota added that the geographic locations of the winning institutions—in many cases away from global art centers, was an added bonus. “In such places curators look for new areas to look at,” he said. “They may not be able to do a Warhol or Picasso show, but they are committed to new ways of looking at the world.”

    Follow artnet News on Facebook:Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.

    Man and wife — the greatest marriage portraits in art history

    As superb examples of marriage portraits by Frans Hals and Anthony van Dyck are offered in our Old Masters Evening Sale  in London on 6 December, the recently wed Andrew Graham-Dixon gives us his shortlist for an imaginary exhibition

    I was lucky enough to get married last summer. It was a quiet ceremony in a tiny neo-Gothic chapel in a remote corner of Scotland. Friends took photographs, in which everyone present looks happy but ruffled, and a little squinty: a strong northwesterly had sprung up just as we were leaving the church, and the sun was shining directly into everybody’s eyes.

    Looking at our joyfully imperfect pictures set me thinking about other, much earlier images inspired by love and marriage: more formal images, created in more formal times. Never having previously given it much thought, I realised that some of my favourite paintings fall into the category — one way or another — of marriage pictures. In the spirit of André Malraux’s musée imaginaire, I found myself putting together an imaginary exhibition devoted to the subject. So here is my shortlist of pictures to include.

    First, The Arnolfini Marriage, by Jan van Eyck, from the National Gallery in London. Painted in 1434, it is one of the earliest and eeriest Renaissance paintings to depict a married couple. Despite the traditional title, it is not certain that the people in it are actually Mr and Mrs Arnolfini.

    Jan van Eyck, The Portrait of Giovanni (?) Arnolfini and His Wife Giovanna Cenami (?) (The Arnolfini Marriage), 1434. National Gallery, London, UK/Bridgeman Images

    Leaving aside the enigma of their identity, this pinched and wary man and his porcelain-skinned wife were surely valued by Van Eyck, to judge by the extravagant flourish of the artist’s signature on the wall above the convex mirror behind them. ‘Jan van Eyck was here,’ it declares, suggesting that the picture may have been a gift: a lasting reminder of Van Eyck’s presence at the propitious moment of their union.

    It is a secular portrait, in the sense that it shows the couple holding hands at home after their wedding, having kicked off their clogs, rather than in church making their vows. But it is nonetheless as heavily freighted with symbolic detail as any altarpiece.

    READ: Frans Hals’ portrait of a prosperous Dutch merchant and his wife, offered on 6 December

    A candle has been lit in the brass chandelier above the couple’s heads, despite the milky Flemish daylight bathing the room: the unextinguishable flame of true love. A beady-eyed terrier stands guard at their feet: the dogged embodiment of fidelity. A tall Gothic chair at the back of room, on the bride’s side, is decorated with a carving of St Margaret, whose legends associate her with chastity; and below the carving hangs a broom of twigs, for cleanliness and therefore purity.

    One of the most magical aspects of Piero della Francesca’s portraits is their landscape background, which is still recognisable today

    There is another, lower chair against the back wall, carved with a gargoyle: similar grotesques can still be seen on churches today and were once believed to ward off demons, but this one hovers just above the intertwined hands of husband and wife, the painter’s way of keeping evil spirits away from his newly married friends. The apples scattered on sideboard and windowsill may amount to another form of well-wishing: a prayer that the union between husband and wife may prove fruitful. The bunched folds of her dress, green as a meadow in spring, are gathered by the bride at her own belly, as if in intimation of future pregnancies.

    Secondly, a pair of conjugal portraits painted in Italy some 30 years later: Piero della Francesca’s twinned profile paintings of Battista Sforza and her husband Federigo da Montefeltro, in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence. They might be Italian, but Piero’s paintings show the strong influence of Northern Renaissance art, both in their fineness of detail and their very format, namely that of the profile portrait, first developed in Van Eyck’s home city, Bruges, by a younger Flemish master, Hans Memling.

    Piero della Francesca, Battista Sforza, Wife of Federigo da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino, circa 1465. Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Tuscany, Italy/Bridgeman Images

    Piero della Francesca, Federigo da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino, circa 1465. Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Tuscany, Italy/Bridgeman Images

    For all that, these portraits could only have been painted in the very peculiar world of the Italian city-state in the late 15th century. Federigo, unforgettable in his pillar-box hat and matching red tunic, with his thick curls of black hair, was a successful condottiere : a mercenary general, who made fortunes leading his armies into battle on behalf of the frequently beleaguered rulers of neighbouring Italian states.

    A highly effective bully boy, he was also a humanist and scholar, as well as the owner of one of the largest libraries in Italy — into which he would allow only manuscripts, not printed books, which he despised as vulgar. Widely read in the classics, he was a quintessential Renaissance man, in the sense that most of his points of self-comparison were drawn from the ancient world.

    READ: Anthony van Dyck’s portrait to celebrate a royal union, offered on 6 December

    Marching across Italy at the head of his armies, he saw himself as a latter-day Caesar, and that, I suspect, was a powerful reason for his decision to have himself and his bride painted in profile: that was also how the Caesars of Rome had been depicted, on their coinage. Strengthening this network of associations, each portrait has a painting on its reverse side showing Federigo and Battista, just like an emperor and empress, riding on a chariot in triumph.

    Rembrandt had loved and lost, while Vermeer went from health and good fortune to madness and death in a few short days

    Federigo liked to be seen as a no-nonsense military man, without preciousness or vanity: hence his instruction, to Piero, to paint him warts and all (four warts, to be precise). But these portraits speak inevitably of a certain kind of vanity.

    It is clear enough that Federigo was immensely proud of having captured a bride from the powerful Sforza family, rulers of Milan. The most unusual aspect of these portraits is the fact that she has been placed to the left, he to the right, in reverse of the prevailing convention: usually the husband precedes the wife in such paired portraits.

    Whether the arrangement reflects deference on Federigo’s part is, however, open to question. The truth is that he had lost his right eye in a jousting accident when young, so he always insisted that he be painted in left profile. The order of the pictures was thus determined from the outset, not by any chivalry on Federigo’s part, but by an accident of chivalry in his past.

    One of the most magical aspects of these portraits is their landscape background, which is still recognisable today, with some stretch of imagination, from the vantage point of the palace Federigo built in the hilltop town that was his fief, namely Urbino: the scorched hills and plains dotted with trees, the river with sailboats afloat on its placid expanse, the mountains blued by distance. It strikes me that the ideal ruler and his wife are mirrors of one another, just as the boats’ sails are mirrored in the surface of the water far beneath them. Perfectly impassive, they occupy a world so imperturbable that it has the quality of a dream.

    Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, The Jewish Bride, circa 1667. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands / Bridgeman Images

    What other marriage pictures would I choose? Surely Rembrandt’s The Jewish Bride, from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, that mysterious and wonderfully tender depiction of a man and woman embracing, in darkness, and perhaps under threat of some hidden danger. ‘What an intimate, what an infinitely sympathetic picture it is,’ Vincent van Gogh once wrote about it. ‘Rembrandt is so deeply mysterious that he says things for which there are no words in any language.’ And Vermeer’s Woman in Blue Reading a Letter, also from the Rijksmuseum.

    Johannes Vermeer, Woman Reading a Letter, circa 1662-63. Photo: Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands / Bridgeman Images

    Vermeer’s meanings are often elusive, but I suspect that we are meant to understand that the woman in question is reading a letter from her betrothed, who is away somewhere — hence the map on the wall of her sunlit room — and that she is hoping all will turn out for the best. Or perhaps she is already married (the contours of her body suggest she may be pregnant), in which case her position is yet more poignant.

    Rembrandt had loved and lost, while Vermeer went from health and good fortune to madness and death in a few short days. So perhaps it is no wonder that the great Dutch painters, living in their topsy-turvy world, revolving forever on fortune’s wheel, understood so well the vulnerability that accompanies love.

    Frans Hals, The Laughing Cavalier, 1624. Wallace Collection, London, UK/Bridgeman Images

    While in Holland, metaphorically at least, I will have to choose at least one courtship painting — not a painting of or about marriage as such, but rather a painted invitation to marriage. I am thinking of the most elaborate Valentine’s card in history, namely Frans Hals’ Laughing Cavalier, painted for an unknown sitter but almost certainly intended as a gift to the woman he wanted to make his own.

    The man with the come-hither eyes, the cocked hat and the nonchalantly out-thrust elbow is literally wearing his heart on his sleeve, which has the emblems of passion stitched into it: Cupid’s arrows, flames of love, lovers’ knots. What did the recipient make of it, I wonder. It could go either way. But as marriage proposals go, Hals’ masterpiece takes some beating.

    Sandro Botticelli, The Birth of Venus, circa 1485. Photo: Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Tuscany, Italy / Bridgeman Images

    The longer I think about it, the more possible exhibits spring to mind. Renaissance paintings on marriage chests, for example (there is a wonderful pair in the Courtauld collection), from which developed the later custom of presenting brides with mythological paintings to welcome them into the family — Botticelli’s Birth of Venus  being the most celebrated of such nuptial gifts.

    And what about the extraordinary portrait of a man and wife, painted circa 60AD and recovered from the ruins of ancient Pompeii, now in the National Archaeological Museum in Naples? The man and woman in question were bakers, and were proud of their ability to read and write, to judge by the tablet and stylus each holds up so prominently. They look so earnest, so hopeful, that I like to think they escaped Pompeii before the volcano blew and set up shop in some other, safer town.

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    Finally, I could not possibly omit the most memorable English painting of marriage that I know: Gainsborough’s Mr and Mrs Andrews. The painting hangs in the National Gallery, not so far away from Van Eyck’s Arnolfini Marriage, and although they are very different from one another, they do share some common ground. From an airless room in Bruges, Gainsborough takes us to the open fields of a Suffolk estate, to the age of the seed drill and of crop rotation. 

    Thomas Gainsborough, Mr and Mrs Andrews, circa 1748-9. National Gallery, London, UK/Bridgeman Images

    The languorous Mr Andrews, so elegantly dishevelled that his clothes might almost be falling off him, stands beside his young wife, who is seated on a rococo parkland bench and radiant in a dress as blue as the heavens. The clouds churn above them. Mrs Andrews’ expression seems to mingle sangfroid and suppressed excitement. Mr Andrews has his gun tucked under his arm, while his dog sniffs the air in anticipation. The field in which they sit, at harvest time, is demonstrably fertile.

    Whenever I look at the picture I am reminded of a line from Shakespeare: ‘He ploughed her, and she cropped.’ Times may change but people’s hopes for marriage — love, a long life together and a little one or two to bring up along the way — do not change so very much, after all.

    Inside the Painstaking Process of Making High-Quality Oil Paint

    Image from Chromatopia: An Illustrated History of Color. © Adrian Lander 2018. Courtesy of Thames & Hudson.

    Esteemed color expert David Coles has been making artists’ oil paints for over two decades, as the the founder and head paint-maker of Melbourne’s Langridge Artist Colours. Ahead of the publication of his new book on historic and contemporary pigments, Chromatopia: An Illustrated History of Color, we share an excerpt on the process of creating oil paints.

    Pigments are hardly ever used in their raw form. To be usefully employed as a color, billions of individual grains of pigment must be glued together with a binder. This is, in essence, how you make paint.

    Throughout history, people have found ways to permanently “fix” color to create lasting images of the most exquisite beauty. For instance, the binding of pigments in Neolithic cave paintings was probably serendipitous; cave walls containing silicas or limestone trapped the pigment and locked it to the surface over time. Since then, we have discovered a host of sticky, adhesive materials in nature that could hold pigments in place. Some of these earliest binders are still used by artists. Gum arabic, the water-soluble sap of the North African acacia tree, makes watercolors; and beeswax, collected and refined from hives, makes encaustic (molten wax) paint.

    Mixing pigments with different binders successfully converts them into a material for uses as diverse as house paints, plastics, writing inks, automotive coatings, paper and—of most interest to me—artists’ paint.

    In my role as a master paint-maker, I make oil paint by dispersing pigments in a “drying oil” such as linseed, walnut, poppy or safflower oils. Linseed oil is by far the most important and widely used drying oil. When drying oils absorb oxygen, they convert from a liquid into a hard, permanent coating. Pigments can be bound with very small amounts of oil. This means that oil paints contain much higher amounts of the pigment than watercolor or acrylic paints. For artists, this gives the paint a physical feeling. The paintbrush is literally pushing around dense, colored pastes.

    So how do we make our paint? Our first task was to source a high-quality linseed oil. We selected ours after sampling dozens of products from suppliers all over the world. We were looking for a clean, straw-colored oil that was free of natural impurities. It had to have a good drying rate and minimal yellowing as it aged. Eventually we chose exceptional bright, clear oils made in Holland and Germany.

    Image from Chromatopia: An Illustrated History of Color. © Adrian Lander 2018. Courtesy of Thames & Hudson.

    Image from Chromatopia: An Illustrated History of Color . © Adrian Lander 2018. Courtesy of Thames & Hudson.

    Next comes the selection of the pigments. There are so many manufacturers of pigments that the choice seems overwhelming. We hunt out pigments that have qualities equal to their noble intended use: They must be as lightfast as possible, chemically stable, and exhibit color qualities of benefit to the artist. The vast majority of pigments do not meet our needs; they are built for larger, more commercially important industries and have been tailored for industrial applications.

    To select our pigments, we go through a long period of investigation. We select colors of interest, research the chemical construction of the pigment, and assess its suitability for artists’ paint before requesting samples for laboratory trials. The anticipation of opening a sample box and seeing a new pigment for the first time, in its raw unadulterated form, is exhilarating. There is always the nervous hope that the promise held out by this new pigment will be borne out, that its potency will not dull, and that its color will not be lost when it is mixed with the binder. Backwards and forwards go the experiments—working out the right amount of pigment to add to the oil and correcting for undesirable qualities. Like a chef honing a new dish, small, delicate changes in the recipe can lead to dramatic differences in the finished product.

    When we are ready to make the paint, the linseed oil is weighed out into 60-liter heavy-duty stainless-steel bowls. All of our manufacturing equipment and surfaces are stainless steel. The equipment is kept meticulously clean to prevent any chance of other colors contaminating the purity of each new batch.

    Stearate, a wax-like material that is essential to the wetting and stability of the paint, is weighed and added to the oil. The bowl is secured in a planetary mixer and large, powerful motors slowly rotate the blade through the wax and oil mixture.

    Next, another steel bowl is placed on the electronic scales, ready for the pigment. Even after all these years, opening the bins of pure pigment is a ridiculously breathtaking assault on the eyes. The pigment is scooped out, weighed and added slowly to the oil. There are no shortcuts. Adding all the pigment at once would make incorporation impossible. The liquid oil allows the individual grains of color to slide over each other. The physical shape of pigments means that, without this lubrication, they would drag over each other, causing extraordinary resistance, reducing the mixing action and—as happened once very early on—breaking the very expensive blade of the mixer.

    The slow churning of the paste begins. Over the rumbling of the mixer’s motor, you can hear delicious slurping noises as the blade methodically drives through the mixture. As the dry pigment is gradually incorporated with the wet oil, it changes from an incredibly thick batter into what looks like an enormous vat of vividly colored butter.

    Image from Chromatopia: An Illustrated History of Color. © Adrian Lander 2018. Courtesy of Thames & Hudson.

    This process can take as long as four hours, but it is not the finished paint. Under close inspection, vast quantities of the pigments still cling together rather than being individually coated. This is where the triple-roll mill comes in.

    A triple-roll mill is at the heart of paint-making. At its most basic, it is three horizontal granite rollers that each run at different speeds and spin in alternating directions. The paste is scraped out of the mixer’s bowl with a baker’s blade and dropped into the hopper. Each giant dollop makes a delicious slap as it plops onto the rollers below. The paste is drawn down into the tiny space between the rollers, again and again. With each pass, the space is narrowed to more aggressively separate the pigment particles.

    If you have ever used a pasta-making machine with its two rollers forcing the dough through the small space between them, you can understand the paint-making process. Just as the roughly made dough cannot pass through the narrowest setting first, so the pigment-paste must be passed through the mill rollers multiple times. It’s just that our mill is like a pasta-machine on steroids, with three rollers rather than two and a massive motor to drive the material through. For soft pigments, such as zinc white, only three passes are needed, but the synthetics can take up to nine passes. Synthetic pigments are very difficult to prize apart: Their incredibly small size and specific shape mean they have to be painstakingly teased into dispersion.

    The paint-maker must be constantly attentive to the vagaries of milling. Rollers heat up under the friction of pigment particles, which alters the size of the roller gap, and the fluidity of the oil is affected by changes in ambient temperature. Also, pigments behave differently from one batch to another. This is especially true of the natural earths, which vary in their mineral make-up depending on the part of the seam the earth was dug from.

    Towards the end of the paint-making process, we take samples of the paint and test it for quality. Historically, paint-makers would rub the paint between their thumbnails—a simple but surprisingly delicate solution to feel for the grittiness of unmixed pigment. Nowadays, we use a precisely honed stainless-steel gauge to check the quality of dispersion.

    But we are still not ready to sign off on the product. Two extremely thin films of the freshly made paint are applied to paint-maker’s cards. One daub is the pure paint. The other is the paint mixed with a specified amount of titanium white. By placing the card next to one from a previous batch of the same color, we can ensure that every time we make the paint it has identical color, tinting strength, tint color, and undertone to all previous versions.

    Only after the paint has passed these tests is it approved for packing. It is hand-filled into collapsible aluminum paint tubes, labelled with hand-painted swatches of the individual color, boxed and shipped to studios around the world.

    David Coles is the founder and head paint-maker of Melbourne-based Langridge Artist Colours.

    Excerpted from Chromatopia: An Illustrated History of Color by David Coles. © David Coles (text) 2018. Reproduced by permission of Thames & Hudson Inc., www.thamesandhudsonUSA.com.

    Inside the Painstaking Process of Making High-Quality Oil Paint

    Image from Chromatopia: An Illustrated History of Color. © Adrian Lander 2018. Courtesy of Thames & Hudson.

    Esteemed color expert David Coles has been making artists’ oil paints for over two decades, as the the founder and head paint-maker of Melbourne’s Langridge Artist Colours. Ahead of the publication of his new book on historic and contemporary pigments, Chromatopia: An Illustrated History of Color, we share an excerpt on the process of creating oil paints.

    Pigments are hardly ever used in their raw form. To be usefully employed as a color, billions of individual grains of pigment must be glued together with a binder. This is, in essence, how you make paint.

    Throughout history, people have found ways to permanently “fix” color to create lasting images of the most exquisite beauty. For instance, the binding of pigments in Neolithic cave paintings was probably serendipitous; cave walls containing silicas or limestone trapped the pigment and locked it to the surface over time. Since then, we have discovered a host of sticky, adhesive materials in nature that could hold pigments in place. Some of these earliest binders are still used by artists. Gum arabic, the water-soluble sap of the North African acacia tree, makes watercolors; and beeswax, collected and refined from hives, makes encaustic (molten wax) paint.

    Mixing pigments with different binders successfully converts them into a material for uses as diverse as house paints, plastics, writing inks, automotive coatings, paper and—of most interest to me—artists’ paint.

    In my role as a master paint-maker, I make oil paint by dispersing pigments in a “drying oil” such as linseed, walnut, poppy or safflower oils. Linseed oil is by far the most important and widely used drying oil. When drying oils absorb oxygen, they convert from a liquid into a hard, permanent coating. Pigments can be bound with very small amounts of oil. This means that oil paints contain much higher amounts of the pigment than watercolor or acrylic paints. For artists, this gives the paint a physical feeling. The paintbrush is literally pushing around dense, colored pastes.

    So how do we make our paint? Our first task was to source a high-quality linseed oil. We selected ours after sampling dozens of products from suppliers all over the world. We were looking for a clean, straw-colored oil that was free of natural impurities. It had to have a good drying rate and minimal yellowing as it aged. Eventually we chose exceptional bright, clear oils made in Holland and Germany.

    Image from Chromatopia: An Illustrated History of Color. © Adrian Lander 2018. Courtesy of Thames & Hudson.

    Image from Chromatopia: An Illustrated History of Color . © Adrian Lander 2018. Courtesy of Thames & Hudson.

    Next comes the selection of the pigments. There are so many manufacturers of pigments that the choice seems overwhelming. We hunt out pigments that have qualities equal to their noble intended use: They must be as lightfast as possible, chemically stable, and exhibit color qualities of benefit to the artist. The vast majority of pigments do not meet our needs; they are built for larger, more commercially important industries and have been tailored for industrial applications.

    To select our pigments, we go through a long period of investigation. We select colors of interest, research the chemical construction of the pigment, and assess its suitability for artists’ paint before requesting samples for laboratory trials. The anticipation of opening a sample box and seeing a new pigment for the first time, in its raw unadulterated form, is exhilarating. There is always the nervous hope that the promise held out by this new pigment will be borne out, that its potency will not dull, and that its color will not be lost when it is mixed with the binder. Backwards and forwards go the experiments—working out the right amount of pigment to add to the oil and correcting for undesirable qualities. Like a chef honing a new dish, small, delicate changes in the recipe can lead to dramatic differences in the finished product.

    When we are ready to make the paint, the linseed oil is weighed out into 60-liter heavy-duty stainless-steel bowls. All of our manufacturing equipment and surfaces are stainless steel. The equipment is kept meticulously clean to prevent any chance of other colors contaminating the purity of each new batch.

    Stearate, a wax-like material that is essential to the wetting and stability of the paint, is weighed and added to the oil. The bowl is secured in a planetary mixer and large, powerful motors slowly rotate the blade through the wax and oil mixture.

    Next, another steel bowl is placed on the electronic scales, ready for the pigment. Even after all these years, opening the bins of pure pigment is a ridiculously breathtaking assault on the eyes. The pigment is scooped out, weighed and added slowly to the oil. There are no shortcuts. Adding all the pigment at once would make incorporation impossible. The liquid oil allows the individual grains of color to slide over each other. The physical shape of pigments means that, without this lubrication, they would drag over each other, causing extraordinary resistance, reducing the mixing action and—as happened once very early on—breaking the very expensive blade of the mixer.

    The slow churning of the paste begins. Over the rumbling of the mixer’s motor, you can hear delicious slurping noises as the blade methodically drives through the mixture. As the dry pigment is gradually incorporated with the wet oil, it changes from an incredibly thick batter into what looks like an enormous vat of vividly colored butter.

    Image from Chromatopia: An Illustrated History of Color. © Adrian Lander 2018. Courtesy of Thames & Hudson.

    This process can take as long as four hours, but it is not the finished paint. Under close inspection, vast quantities of the pigments still cling together rather than being individually coated. This is where the triple-roll mill comes in.

    A triple-roll mill is at the heart of paint-making. At its most basic, it is three horizontal granite rollers that each run at different speeds and spin in alternating directions. The paste is scraped out of the mixer’s bowl with a baker’s blade and dropped into the hopper. Each giant dollop makes a delicious slap as it plops onto the rollers below. The paste is drawn down into the tiny space between the rollers, again and again. With each pass, the space is narrowed to more aggressively separate the pigment particles.

    If you have ever used a pasta-making machine with its two rollers forcing the dough through the small space between them, you can understand the paint-making process. Just as the roughly made dough cannot pass through the narrowest setting first, so the pigment-paste must be passed through the mill rollers multiple times. It’s just that our mill is like a pasta-machine on steroids, with three rollers rather than two and a massive motor to drive the material through. For soft pigments, such as zinc white, only three passes are needed, but the synthetics can take up to nine passes. Synthetic pigments are very difficult to prize apart: Their incredibly small size and specific shape mean they have to be painstakingly teased into dispersion.

    The paint-maker must be constantly attentive to the vagaries of milling. Rollers heat up under the friction of pigment particles, which alters the size of the roller gap, and the fluidity of the oil is affected by changes in ambient temperature. Also, pigments behave differently from one batch to another. This is especially true of the natural earths, which vary in their mineral make-up depending on the part of the seam the earth was dug from.

    Towards the end of the paint-making process, we take samples of the paint and test it for quality. Historically, paint-makers would rub the paint between their thumbnails—a simple but surprisingly delicate solution to feel for the grittiness of unmixed pigment. Nowadays, we use a precisely honed stainless-steel gauge to check the quality of dispersion.

    But we are still not ready to sign off on the product. Two extremely thin films of the freshly made paint are applied to paint-maker’s cards. One daub is the pure paint. The other is the paint mixed with a specified amount of titanium white. By placing the card next to one from a previous batch of the same color, we can ensure that every time we make the paint it has identical color, tinting strength, tint color, and undertone to all previous versions.

    Only after the paint has passed these tests is it approved for packing. It is hand-filled into collapsible aluminum paint tubes, labelled with hand-painted swatches of the individual color, boxed and shipped to studios around the world.

    David Coles is the founder and head paint-maker of Melbourne-based Langridge Artist Colours.

    Excerpted from Chromatopia: An Illustrated History of Color by David Coles. © David Coles (text) 2018. Reproduced by permission of Thames & Hudson Inc., www.thamesandhudsonUSA.com.

    Gulf Artworks Show its Surprising Historical Mix

    A startling exhibition in Paris, drawn from the Arab world’s biggest private art collection, shows the dizzying mix of cultures in the Gulf in the past with Chinese Qurans and Persian rugs of the Virgin Mary.

    The show at the Paris headquarters of UNESCO, the world cultural and scientific body, is taken from the vast treasury of artworks amassed by Qatari billionaire Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani.

    “The Majlis — Cultures in Dialogue” takes the name of the traditional spaces where guests were sat down and entertained in the Gulf to show how ideas were exchanged in the region, often in unexpected ways, said AFP.

    It shows how Islamic, Jewish, Indian, Christian, Buddhist and African imagery and symbolism was mixed and shared in an enormous number of objects and manuscripts over centuries.

    For the sheikh, a distant cousin of Qatar’s emir, it proves that “the great religions are united by shared moral honesty and authenticity”.

    It was a “l ack of culture” that leads fanatics to destroy historic sides in Mali, Syria or Afghanistan, he told AFP.

    “We think that globalization is new, but these works show the links between empires,” said his daughter, Sheikha Alanoud bint Hamad Al Thani, pointing to a rug showing Germany’s Kaiser Wilhlem II and his family surrounded by the heads of Persian rulers.

    Another curious Persian rug from the first half of the 19th century shows “51 of the most eminent figures of the universe” including Confucius, Moses, Socrates, Jesus, Alexander the Great, Christopher Columbus and Napoleon, said AFP.

    The show, which will go on tour to the US, Britain, Austria, Germany, Turkey and China after closing in Paris in March, is drawn from the sheikh’s museum in Qatar.

    Its Paris run at UNESCO ends on December 14 when it transfers to the city’s Arab World Institute (Institut du Monde Arabe).

    A rare chance to see Van Dyck’s racy portrait of a radical courtier

    The current display of Old Masters at Christie’s (until 6 December) gives pride of place to Anthony van Dyck’s painting of Charles I’s daughter, Princess Mary. Painted in 1637, to mark her marriage to William of Orange, it is an exceptional example of the artist’s renowned late work at the court of Charles I. But not to be overlooked is a second Van Dyck from the collection of the late Dutch businessman Eric Albada Jelgersma. The Double portrait of George Villiers, Marquess and later 1st Duke of Buckingham and his wife Katherine Manners, as Venus and Adonis is a significant early work by the artist that has rarely been exhibited in public.

    Portrait of Princess Mary (1631–1660), daughter of King Charles I of England, full-length, in a pink dress decorated with silver embroidery and ribbons (1641), Anthony van Dyck. Estimate £5m–£8m

    Portrait of Princess Mary (1631–1660), daughter of King Charles I of England, full-length, in a pink dress decorated with silver embroidery and ribbons (1641), Anthony van Dyck. Estimate £5m–£8m

    This painting gives perhaps the clearest example of the influence of Peter Paul Rubens on the young Van Dyck – indeed, the piece was misattributed to Rubens well into the 20th century, assumed to be a late self-portrait of the artist with his wife, Helena Fourment, whom he married in 1630 (the painting is now dated to 1620–21). Van Dyck had worked in Rubens’ studio in Antwerp until 1620, and the great master described him as ‘the best of my pupils’. It wasn’t long before he was on the radar of George Villiers – the great art collector and royal favourite of both James I and Charles I – who invited the painter to the court in London. The painting was commissioned when Van Dyck was just 21, during this visit, most likely to celebrate Villiers’ marriage to Katherine Manners, in May of that year. Noted as a beauty, Manners was the richest woman in Britain outside of the royal family: for Villiers, the youngest son from the second marriage of a minor gentleman , to marry such a woman was an extraordinary coup.

    If the match seems somewhat unusual, the portrait is positively outlandish. It blends two genres – the marital portrait and a classical scene – in a manner never seen in English or Flemish portraiture before. The choice of classical figures for the newlyweds to enact, Venus and Adonis, is remarkable in itself, yet the real audacity is in the presentation of the couple. Villiers and his wife are depicted in a state of undress: the flowing blue cloth of Villiers/Adonis barely covers his body, and the contours of the material draw the viewer’s eye unerringly towards his crotch; while Katherine/Venus’s hand appears to be all that prevents her sumptuous orange cloth from revealing more than her breasts. While there is nothing strange for Venus to be at least partially nude, and such nakedness might have been commonplace in court masques of the time (even Charles I’s queen, Henrietta Maria of France, had appeared in a masque with breasts exposed), it was unheard of for a lady at court to be portrayed in this way. It reinforces the image of Villiers as a radical and ostentatious – even transgressive – courtier.

    In the Metamophoses, Ovid tells of how Venus, accidentally pierced by Cupid’s arrow, falls desperately in love with the beautiful Adonis. Adonis is a great hunter and, despite Venus’s pleadings with him to stay with her, he goes out to hunt and is killed by a boar. It is easy to see why the narrative might have appealed to Villiers: a handsome, athletic youth is adored by the goddess of love, who is here transposed into Katherine Manners, one of the most sought-after matches in England. Yet Ovid’s Adonis, while not immune to Venus’s charms, is desperate to return to the hunt (and thus hastens his own death). By contrast, Adonis/Villiers is doting on his love, staring adoringly at her with his arm wrapped around her shoulder. In Van Dyck’s painting only the hunting dog seems impatient to return to the field.

    Double portrait of George Villiers, Marquess and later 1st Duke of Buckingham (1592–1628) and his wife, Katherine Manners (1603–1649), as Venus and Adonis (1620–21), Anthony van Dyck. Estimate £2.5m–£3.5m

    Double portrait of George Villiers, Marquess and later 1st Duke of Buckingham (1592–1628) and his wife, Katherine Manners (1603–1649), as Venus and Adonis (1620–21), Anthony van Dyck. Estimate £2.5m–£3.5m

    The dog’s posture links this painting back to Van Dyck’s other treatment of this story (now in a private collection in Madrid), in which he recounts the more conventional narrative. Drawing on earlier depictions by Titian and Rubens, Van Dyck shows Venus clinging to Adonis, begging him not to go. But while there are marked parallels in composition between the two works – the placement of a tree to the right of Venus, the ‘attire’ of the figures, and the identical (and distinctly baroque) dogs – the two figures of the later work are a radical reinterpretation of the story. Venus’s desperate gaze is replaced by Manners’ poised certitude, and Adonis’s impatience becomes Villiers’ lingering embrace.

    Like the mythical youth, Villiers was also struck down in his prime – killed not by the wild boar he hunted, but by one of the many enemies he had accrued as the flamboyant favourite of two kings. His influence on English painting, however, is undeniable: Van Dyck returned to become court painter in 1630 and under Villiers’ tutelage, Charles I assembled one of the great art collections, part of which was reconstructed for public view in the Royal Academy’s exhibition earlier this year.

    The Old Masters evening sale and the Eric Albada Jelgersma Collection evening sale are both at Christie’s, London on 6 December.