100 YEARS AGO
Another important decision in the nude art crusade was published this week in Berlin and established the fact that Feurbach’s nude, “Sleeping Nymphs,” is a perfectly proper picture and may be displayed in shop windows. . . . The decision says:
“Nobody would think of questioning the propriety of the original of this painting. According to expert testimony, the reproductions complained of were artistically excellent. In such a case, it is not the possible effect on children that must be considered, but the effect on normal adults.”
Following this decision the dealer who was arrested for displaying copies of the painting in his shop window was released.
—“Refuses to Bar Nude,” March 14, 1914
75 YEARS AGO
Though drawing as an art has only recently become reinstated in popular taste there is no doubt that sketches furnish some of the most illuminating stylistic material, a single sheet, bearing the indelible stamp of personality, often containing elements of the artist’s entire life work. The swinging pendulum of fashion is nowhere more apparent than in the changing styles of drawing that constitute one of the main differences between the productions of the nineteenth and the twentieth century.
—“Great Modern French Drawings,” March 4, 1939
50 YEARS AGO
Ever since the eve of the Second World War, when he painted Guernica and the wonderful portraits of Dora Maar, the characteristics of Picasso’s work have been, one might say, cinematographic. It is the film that counts, not the sum of its “stills.” Likewise, in Picasso’s postwar work, each picture is but a moment in a continuous process. . . . Picasso refuses to choose his “best” oils for his shows and demands that all be exhibited. Rightly so: what movie director would dream of screening only the best stills of his film?
—“Painting is Stronger than Picasso?,” by Pierre Schneider, March 1964
25 YEARS AGO
An unidentified man drove up to Christie’s East in New York last year with a huge old painting lashed to the roof of his jeep, wanting to sell it through the auction house’s saleroom for lower-value works. Last January, it sold in Christie’s main saleroom on Park Avenue for $4.07 million. . . .
The painting was a long-lost late allegorical work by Dosso Dossi (ca. 1479/90–1542), the last of the Ferrarese painters.
“He had no idea of its value or who it was by,” said Jenny Gibbs, a paintings specialist at Christie’s East. Alex Parrish, a specialist in Old Masters at Christie’s, suggested the attribution to Dossi, one later confirmed by Christie’s chief Old Master specialist, Ian Kennedy, as well as by Felton Gibbons and Peter Humphrey, outside authorities on the artist.
The seller, who wanted to remain anonymous, apparently purchased the work at a back-country sale in New York or Pennsylvania. . . .
Even the painting’s subject matter is mysterious. “The allegory is a very important example of Italian High Renaissance painting and a work of great imagination and power,” says Kennedy. “The picture exudes a sense of mystery, which was heightened by the romance of discovery.”
—“A Dazzling Price for Dossi,” by Richard W. Walker, March 1989