LONDON – On June 22, Sotheby’s and Victoria Beckham opened a first of its kind collaborative exhibition in which highlights from Sotheby’s Old Master Paintings sale will be presented in the contemporary setting of Victoria Beckham’s Dover Street store in Mayfair.
Featuring 16 portraits selected by Victoria, the exhibition juxtaposes the classical appeal of Old Masters with the modern aesthetic of the Dover Street boutique, showcasing this long-established genre of art in a new light. Presenting exceptional examples by renowned artists, including Sir Peter Paul Rubens and Lucas Cranach the Elder, the exhibition celebrates the innate beauty of Old Master Paintings and the enduring appeal of portraiture in art.
The exhibition is on display in Dover Street until June 27, ahead of Sotheby’s Old Master Evening sale on July 4, 2018.
Speaking about the collaboration, Victoria Beckham said, “It was my first visit to the Frick in New York last year, that really opened my eyes to Old Masters, and is where my fascination began. To have now been given the opportunity to start to learn about them with the incredible team at Sotheby’s and have these portraits hanging within my retail space is literally a dream come true. I hope their installation in such a contemporary setting is as inspiring to my customers as it is to me.”
Speaking ahead of the exhibition opening, Chloe Stead, Sotheby’s Old Master Specialist said, “Portraiture is a genre of art the appeal of which has endured throughout the centuries, so it’s great to be able to shine a spotlight on all the tremendous history and romance that can be wrapped up in a single face. I hope, that in presenting Victoria’s selection of portraits by the Old Masters in this wonderfully unexpected, modern and sleek space we will be able to participate in some small way in the dialogue surrounding the magic of painted portraiture, and its enduring appeal, even in our modern age of selfie-overload!”
With its white walls and polished concrete floor, the Dover Street boutique is Victoria’s flagship store. Designed by renowned architect, Farshid Moussavi, the store, which opened in 2015, has hosted a number of collaborative projects with artists including – Turner Prize winner Martin Creed, artist Eddie Peake and sculptor and jeweller Emily Young. Displayed across three floors, the Sotheby’s exhibition is the first time Victoria has displayed Old Master paintings in her store, marking a departure from the Contemporary aesthetic for which she is known.
Selected by Victoria from Sotheby’s forthcoming July Old Master sales, the works include examples of portraiture by some of the most celebrated artists of the genre, from the Renaissance and the Dutch Golden Age to the British 18th century. From famous duchesses and viscounts, to self-portraits and sitters entirely unknown, the portraits in the exhibition tell the remarkable stories of both the sitters and the artists.
Speaking about the tradition of portraiture, Chloe Stead explained: “There was a moment when its popularity might have given way to the more abstract, conceptual movements in contemporary art during the 20th century, but it was kept alive by the efforts of artist such as Freud, Bacon and Warhol. Over recent years portraiture has found new champions in artists like Hockney, Jenny Saville and Marlene Dumas (to name but a few), and interest in the genre appears stronger than ever.“
One of the oldest and most engaging genres in art history, portraiture not only depicts physical characteristics but offers an insight into the status and the personal tastes of the sitter. It captures how sitters perceives themselves, and in turn, how they wish to be perceived, making it the most personal of all art forms.
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