Enjoying Flemish Paintings

I don’t have much time today, but wanted to recount a lovely experience we had at the De Jonckheere Gallery.  I had visited their gallery in Paris and was excited to see the new one they just opened in Geneva.  They’re located at 7 rue de l’Hôtel de Ville and specializes in the study and sale of 15th, 16th and 17th century Flemish paintings.

The new gallery is as beautiful as the one in Paris, right in the heart of the old town in Geneva.  When I visited the Parisian gallery I was struck by their detailed knowledge of paintings of this era and by their extensive catalogue of painting offerings.

Now, I was similarly impressed with the De Jonckheere Gallery.  They are incredibly knowledgeable about Flemish painting and it was a pleasure to look through the gallery and hear from their staff about their extensive selection and offerings.  Quite a good day!

 

A Detour to Gallerie Interart

While we were eating breakfast in our hotel one morning in Geneva, we struck up a conversation with the guests at the next table.  They were raving about their visit to the Gallerie Interart in the Old Town. While it wasn’t on my original agenda, we decided to check out this Gallery after hearing such great things.

And we definitely weren’t disappointed. Established in Geneva’s Old Town in 1992, Interart shows works of art by modern and impressionist masters.  I was immediately wooed by their impressive list in their permanent exhibition.  It includes Impressionnists and Post-Impressionnists like Monet and Pissarro, artists of the major Modern Art movements like Braque, Derain, and Gleizes and artists of the Surrealist Movement like Ernst, Dali and Brauner.

In addition, on display at the time was a collection called Selection 1950-1970 which featured major figures and movements from the post-war art period.  They showed fifteen works that can mostly from private collections. The main focus was on Vieira da Silva, de Staël and Poliakoff,  They also had a major work by Dubuffet and one by Sam Francis.

We were definitely not disappointed by our breakfast neighbor’s recommendation and were happy to be sidetracked for a few hours with their suggestion!

Picture taken from http://www.galerie-interart.com/en/home.html.

Going Back in Time with Phoenix Ancient Art

In sharp contrast to our quite modern experience in the Gallery Patrick Gutknecht was our venture to the Phoenix Ancient Art S.A. Gallery owned by brothers Hicham Aboutaam and Ali Aboutaam.  I had once visited the Phoenix Ancient Art S.A. location in New York, and I was very much looking forward to seeing what their Geneva locale held.

While small in size, the Gallery is immaculate and impressively displayed.  Each antique, spanning 7000 years of history, is offered its own glory and its own space.  As the curator explained to us, each of the displayed items is carefully selected for its historical significance and also for its beauty and artistic value.

The Gallery owners certainly take pride in their work, as is evident by the layout of the display and by the enthusiasm with which they describe each piece.  While we were there, we marveled at a bronze Egyptian mirror that came from the Middle Kingdom period (circa 1938 B.C.) and at a Hellenistic necklace and matching earrings made with Greek gold and semiprecious stones.

As described on the Phoenix Ancient Art website, this is an Egyptian bronze mirror from the Middle Kingdom period, circa 1938-1758 B.C. that stands 20.3 cm high.

The Gallery Grand Rue and the Gallery Patrick Gutknecht

One of the most fascinating days that we had incorporated the Gallery Grand Rue and the Gallery Patrick Gutknecht.  The Gallery Grand Rue is a gallery that specializes in the work of art on paper, with emphasis on the 18th and 19th centuries.  They are open at quite tricky hours, so it’s very important to check ahead before setting out.  The Gallery, now owned by Marie-Laure Rondeau, has quite an eclectic mix of items from Swiss art to hiking books.

Their most recent exhibition was of Neapolitan Gouache which included a brilliant and vibrant selection from a large range of artists.

From the Gallery Grand Reu, we made our way to the Gallery Patrick Gutknecht. I had heard that Patrick had the most unusual collection of decorative canes and I was looking forward to seeing the display.  I was not disappointed.  The Gallery Patrick Gutknecht has one of the largest and most comprehensive selections of decorative canes from the 17th century to the 1930s. They also have a vast selection of other antiques from the 20th century, making for a refreshing and unusual exploration.

While still in the art district of Geneva, this Gallery is a refreshing change from the regular offerings in a traditional art gallery.

Gagosian Gallery – Featuring Richard Serra

One morning in Geneva, we gave ourselves plenty of time to enjoy the Gagosian Gallery, one of the more well known locations on the European art market row.  I had been to the Beverly Hills and Madison Avenue locations, so I was looking forward to seeing what the Geneva Gallery had in store.

On display in their stunning studio were drawings by Richard Serra. Unfortunately, they were a bit disappointing.  While I happen to truly enjoy his sculptures and to value him as the famous sculpter that he is, I didn’t quite understand why they were focusing on his mundane drawings instead.  They featured a number of drawings from his Greenpoint series, namely Dreiser and Artaud, both of which take up expansive canvases but offer very little in creativity or energy.

Other works in the exhibit were Stratum 12 and Tracks #47 that were supposed to show the play of light and darkness and to give the viewer a sense of mass and volume.  I think I’ll have to wait until he has a sculpture exhibit to truly appreciate his genius.

(This drawing is by Richard Serra; Tracks #47, 2008; Paintstick on handmade paper; 40 x 40 inches (101.6 x 101.6 cm))

The Gallery Jacques de la Beraudiere

The first gallery that we stumbled upon in our Geneva exploration was the Gallery Jacques de la Beraudiere.  This location specializes in the Masters of the 19th and 20th century.  We had actually heard of his gallery in Paris that he opened with his partner Philippe Cazeau, and we were looking forward to seeing both the new Geneva space and the Parisian location.

The Geneva gallery opened in January of 2009. They provide museum quality painting and sculptures for private sale and for institutions around the world.  When we spoke to the curator, he emphasized that they focus on Surrealistic art and he pointed out the work that they have by Brauner, de Chirico, Dali and Ernst (and told us that there is more by Lam, Magrittle and Tanguy as well).

While not my favorite type of art, it was a lovely Gallery and a pleasure to see and enjoy the art and the architecture.

The Trip of a Lifetime

It was a dream come true.  After teaching European history for over three decades, I was finally able to get myself a one month trip to Europe.  My husband and I saved for years for this chance, and we were hoping that nothing would stop us.  We’ve been in Europe many times, of course, but have never had the chance to stay for this long, or to enjoy ourselves this much.  Most of my European travel has been as a graduate student, as a professor taking students on a whirlwind ten day tour, or as a research grant for my latest article, but never have I had the chance to simply relish in my travel for the sake of enjoyment.

Now, as we were both ready to retire, we couldn’t wait for our adventure to begin. In total, we spent a bit of time in Eastern Europe, enjoying Budapest, Prague and Warsaw, and then made our way to Geneva and Paris before enjoying London at the end.

The entire trip was simply a dream come true.  As a professor of European history, I obviously enjoyed the historical aspects of the trip the most.  My husband, an architect, was enthralled with the architecture of each location. Together we were quite a pair!

The most fascinating place for the both of us was in Geneva, where they’ve created a European art market in one location with over a dozen stores, set in a picturesque and breathtaking area.  We actually extended our time in Geneva just so that we could soak in these art galleries and enjoy both the artistic offerings inside the galleries – and the magnificent architecture surrounding them.

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