Art In The Week That Was

A selection of creative current affairs and events which have hit the headlines in the last week…

1.  Sotheby’s Vivien Leigh Auction

‘Study of Roses’ by Winston Churchill, c. 1930-40. Oil on canvasboard, 51 x 36cm. Gifted to Vivienne Leigh – star of Gone With The Wind – in September 1951.

On 26th September, an auction of the famous movie star’s effects was held at Sotheby’s London.  Numbering 321 lots, the sale totalled £2,243, 617GBP.  The most expensive lot was 245 – an oil painting by ex-Prime-Minister Winston Churchill which he gifted to the actress.  The simple and pleasantly-executed piece fetched a princely £638,750 (including Buyer’s Premium), which was much higher than the estimated £70,000-£100,000.  Included in the Lot was a photograph of Churchill in his studio at Chartwell (c. 1955) with the painting in the background.  Of the painting, Leigh wrote in a letter to the politician in 1961:-

‘I should like to show you where the painting you gave me hangs. It is in my bedroom dear Sir Winston and I look at it every day as I wake and every night as I go to sleep…’.

Despite the work appearing in the Chartwell photograph dated 1955, it was apparently framed and sent to Leigh not long after she visited Churchill in 1951.  It is said to have remained hung on her bedroom wall for the rest of her life.

2.  Art Out Loud, Chatsworth

One of the UK’s most famous country houses, Chatsworth stages the Art Out Loud festival each year, drawing a plethora of leading names from the international art scene…

The Art Out Loud festival began at Chatsworth on 22nd September.  This year, it coincided with the Sotheby’s ‘Beyond Limits’ exhibition at the grand country house.  Leading lights in the art world and creative fans mingled at the 3-day stellar event, from Grayson Perry, to Christopher Kane, Cornelia Parker to Chatworth’s own Duke of Devonshire.  Speakers aplenty presented talks, workshops and interviews on the lates and the greats, with all creative topics being covered, including sculpture, fashion, contemporary art, old masters and even landscape gardening.  The festival has accrued rave reviews on social media, with many looking forward to returning next year.  A seminal art event to add to your calendar, check in with us for 2018 dates and details.  (The Sotheby’s ‘Beyond Limits’ exhibition will run until 12 November.).

3.  Sony World Photography Awards 2018

‘Untitled’ by Anastasia Kaloshina, c. 2017. (Sony Photographer of the Year 2018 entry.). The photographer aims to show how ‘beautiful and amazing albino people are’

The Sony World Photography Awards competition is drawing multiple stunning entries, as ever.  Now in its 11th year, it aims to celebrate the best in contemporary photography from the last year.  New for this particular run, is a prize offered by Sony where award-winners can secure a grant for future photographic projects – $7,000 for the professional category and $3,500 for students.  Closing dates for entries have been announced as follows:-

The shortlist will be revealed on 27th February next year, with winners being announced on 20th March (Open and National) and 19th April (Photographer of the Year and Professional categories).

4.  Blue Planet II

On the subject of stunning photography, David Attenborough’s latest wildlife offering has released a tantalising trailer…  Scored by Radiohead and movie composer Hans Zimmer, the trailer for Blue Planet II gives a taste of the spectacular footage that the 4-year filming for the second series achieved.  The programme will be aired by BBC1 later this year, and will be shown in 7 parts.  Shot across 39 countries, Attenborough states:-

‘New science and new technology allow us to voyage further and deeper than ever before.’.

The first series aired 16 years ago in 2001 and was primarily focussed on aquatic lifeforms.  This time around, however, not only will updates on aquatic life be covered (including new species such as the ‘Hoff Crab’ – named after Baywatch‘s David Hasselhoff because of its hairy chest!), but also some of the world’s most dramatic and untouched landscapes (think methane volcanoes from Mexico).

The first series can still be viewed  via DVD/Bluray, digital download or occasionally on BBC iPlayer.

5.  Modelling newcomers at Paris and Milan Fashion Weeks

Thylane Blondeau aka ‘The Most Beautiful Girl in the World’.

Both Paris and Milan drew some dramatic big names in the modelling industry to walk their catwalks in the past week.  Whilst Kaia Gerber continued her stellar rise to supermodel-dom in Paris, Milan saw the previously-named ‘Most Beautiful Girl in the World’ walk for Dolce & Gabbana.  Thylane Blondeau was bestowed with the illustrious epithet when she was just 6 years old.  Now 16, the French beauty (daughter of footballer Patrick Blondeau) starred in a secret, off-schedule show, much to the acclaim of her 1.6m Instagram followers.  She was joined on the runway by other celebrity offspring Hailey Baldwin, Anais Gallagher and Amber Le Bon. Always a label to choose a more diverse range of models, Dolce & Gabbana showcased Blondeau despite her 5’6 stature.

6.  Getty Images Bans Photoshopped Model Images

From the start of October, Getty Images iStock prohibited the publication of photoshopped physical shots on their site in accordance with new French legislation.  Getty Images – an international source of stock photography – sent emails to potential contributors banning “… any creative content depicting models whose body shapes have been retouched to make them look thinner or larger…”.

The new French law in question deems that commercial images must feature a label disclosing when they have been retouched to make a model look slimmer or larger.  According to Anne Flanagan – Getty spokesperson – other creative changes such as ‘a change of hair color, nose shape, retouching of skin or blemishes, etc’ remain acceptable, however.



[Credits:  feature photo – Vivienne Leigh as Cleopatra in ‘Caesar and Cleopatra’, 1945 (;;;;;;;;;]



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