Thursday, October 18, 2007

"They would have been ravishing shows" (UPDATED)

In the New York Sun today, John Goodrich has a review of the "indefintely postponed" Salander-O'Reilly shows. It begins:

"As one of the city's premier galleries for over three decades, Salander-O'Reilly has mounted numerous museum-quality shows featuring the likes of Rembrandt, Turner, and Constable. The art world is currently holding its breath over the latest developments at the gallery. A rash of lawsuits brought against the gallery has resulted in the indefinite postponement of what was to have been its most spectacular project yet: two exhibitions of master artworks organized in association with Whitfield Fine Art, a London gallery specializing in Italian Baroque art."

And he has this to say about the $100 million "Caravaggio:"

"Following its recent cleaning, 'Apollo the Lute Player,' long thought to be a copy, has recently been identified by authorities as an autograph work. It seems even to predate the two previously known versions of the subject, because the artist's corrections — visible in X-rays — and the canvas's close conformity with a description of the painting from around 1625 suggest that it is the original. (Sotheby's, which auctioned the canvas in 2001, has questioned the attribution.) Like most works here, it was to be available for purchase, for a reported $100 million."

In the end, "the immense, unique reward of these two exhibitions is that they allowed one to experience and reconsider great art in an intimate setting. [They] would have been ravishing shows. One hopes that, in whole or part, they will at some point become available for public viewing."

UPDATE: Bloomberg reports that, by court order, the gallery is being padlocked until at least tomorrow. The Maine Antique Digest discusses the efforts by Whitfield to keep the (alleged) Caravaggio out of the reach of Salander's creditors ("The facts are very simple. Salander does not own the Caravaggio, and did not pay for the restoration. It was loaned to the Galleries specifically for the Show. It was not for sale and is not for sale.").