April update - Additions and Comments

Miscellaneous Additions
The additions showing here were acquired fairly recently, but procrastination has prevented several of them from being added to the website. None are outstanding, but they include several interesting sitters, the research for which was, as usual, fascinating to explore through the Internet.

The rarest item is probably the portrait of the Russian Grand Duchesses who were murdered in 1918. The miniature was painted in Berlin in a narrow window between 1913 and 1914, immediately before the start of World War I, after which it would no longer have been politically acceptable to paint a portrait of Russian Royalty in Germany or in Communist Russia. Thus there can be very few miniatures of the family in existence.

For more details and images, follow the links below;

Unknown - portrait of General van Renen see View

Charlotte Farrier - portrait of James Courthope Peache see View

Unknown - portrait of General George Washington see View   

M Autant - portrait of Art Nouveau lady see View  

Adolf Helzel - Grand Duchesses Olga and Tatiana see View 

Leonard Morel-Ladeuil - the death of Andre Mazet see View

Portraits of General George Washington are unusual, as most portraits designate him as President George Washington. Also interesting is the Morel snuff box. This commemorates the work of French doctors during an outbreak of yellow-fever in Barcelona in 1821 when 20,000 victims died.

New Specialist Dealer
For anyone interested in buying quality miniature portraits, there is a list of auctioneers and dealers in the Background to Miniature Portraits link at  View Blog . A recent addition to this is Emma Rutherford who is consulting at  Philip Mould | Fine Paintings | Works For Sale | Miniatures  Those interested in the subject will remember that Emma used to work for an auction house and more recently is the author of a highly regarded book, Silhouette: The Art of the Shadow which is available from Amazon.

Emma advises that  Philip Mould, well known for his knowledge with large portraits, is launching his new business ‘Philip Mould Portrait Miniatures’ at the Masterpiece Exhibition in June. He is also arranging a lecture on portrait miniatures in June (http://www.philipmould.com/news.php) which British collectors may be interested to attend.

This prompts me to comment on something I have been pondering recently. That is we may see solid increases in the market value of quality miniature portraits over the next few years. We have seen the price of both gold and silver rise a great deal in the last few years, also agricultural commodities. While they are somewhat opposite in nature, I sense there will be an element of profit taking if professional investors sense the markets are approaching any high point.

That then provides investors with a dilemma as to what to reinvest in.  Interest rates are very low, and major Western currencies and economies have been under pressure, hence recent sharemarket rises. There will however be a resistance to following the market to the excessive PE ratios of several years ago. Hence, high quality art and antique items seem likely to become attractive for defensive investment purposes.

Antique silver has been carried along with the rise of silver bullion due to its intrinsic value, but my feeling is that other quality art and antique items will follow the trend. They have been out of fashion with the trend to minimalism, but I believe we are now seeing resistance to minimalism as a furnishing style, as it is so associated with the now unfashionable cult of conspicuous consumer consumption. However, as usual, time will tell!

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