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Fishy fragrances and Flemish still lifes

7 December 2018

Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories

Fishy news from Hackney. Last month, Sarah Baker, an artist and perfume developer, launched a new range of new fragrances in Antwerp, and in homage to the city, decided to create a marketing campaign for it based on Flemish still life paintings. To do so, she enlisted the help of Broadway Market fishmonger Fin & Flounder, having long admired its window displays.

‘The result is unique and arguably one of the most memorable fragrance campaign images combining the unlikely – maybe even taboo – fellow travellers of fragrances and fish,’ reads a press release marking the collaboration. Baker will be launching a new perfume – a number composed of a ‘sea-breeze fresh combination of notes’ – at Fin & Flounder over the Christmas period. Who could possibly refuse?

In other news…

In an interview with the Sunday Times last weekend, Lucian Freud’s former assistant, David Dawson, allowed us a revealing glimpse into the late artist’s life. As Dawson explained, Freud was a frequent source of worry to Andrew Parker Bowles, sometime commander of the Household Cavalry. ‘Andrew was brigadier at the barracks in Knightsbridge, and he would take Lucian riding in the early morning in Hyde Park,’ Dawson revealed. ‘Andrew used to be really nervous because Lucian just wanted to gallop flat out without a helmet.’


New York magazine has asked artists about the best – and indeed, worst – advice they have received from their peers and elders. Choice snippets include Paula Rego’s instruction to Natalie Frank (‘Work, work, work. Work, work. And take many lovers.’) and Alighiero Boetti’s advice to Maurizio Cattelan (‘Never write bullshit!’). Yet the most revealing contributions come courtesy of Marina Abramović, who recalled the moment she realised she had made the big time.

‘When I lived in Amsterdam, next door to me there was a shop which sold very good organic fruits and vegetables,’ Abramović remembered. ‘The owners were never friendly to me and the products were so expensive. One day I was passing by and they finally invited me in the shop with a huge smile on their faces and they offered me a basket of delicious strawberries for free because they had seen me on Sex and the City. I knew then that things had changed.’

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