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The Rake’s progress: last week in gossip

22 May 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.

Julian Schnabel is back, and in a big way. Not only is the enfant terrible of the New York art world of the ’80s the subject of a major retrospective in San Francisco, but he has also directed a Van Gogh biopic that could be in the running for an Oscar. At Eternity’s Gate stars Willem Dafoe as the troubled painter (Van Gogh, that is), Oscar Isaac as Gauguin and Rupert Friend as Vincent’s brother, Theo.

This is far from the first time Van Gogh has been immortalised on the big screen, but Schnabel is confident his own take will outstrip all precursors. ‘I don’t think they get it,’ he told Indiewire last year.


Anyone watching the Royal wedding on Saturday may well have noticed the particularly handsome chairs on which Meghan and Harry perched for part of the ceremony. For any readers who coveted the seats, an Instagram account dedicated to A.W.N. Pugin – who designed the chairs in the late 1820s – is on hand to point you in the right direction…

Chair. AUGUSTUS CHARLES Pugin. Ca. 1828. Rosewood, gilt bronze, silk (modern). 100 x 59.2 x 65.5 cm. Part of a set of rosewood and gilt chairs with a rectangular back, top rail with gilt metal foliate mounts, square-in-section uprights which splay to the base, the upper ends with Gothic arches, the lower part with rosettes on the side; seat with floral gilt metal mounts. Octagonal in section front legs. Over upholstered seat and back in pink damask. Part of the group of furniture and furnishings supplied between 1827 and 1829 to King George IV by the partnership of Morel and Seddon for the Large Dining Room to Windsor Castle. #awnpugin #pugin #augustuspugin #gothicrevival #gothic #gothique #neogothic #chair #gothicchair #rosewoodfurniture #gothicrevivalfurniture #design #rosewood #woodcraft #woodwork #sidechair #art #royalresidence #woodworking #gothicfurniture #windsorcastle #morelandseddon #19century #rosewoodchair #royalcollection #georgeIV #princeofwales #furnituredesign #charlespugin #royalwedding ©HM Queen Elizabeth II 2018 @royal_collection_trust @kensingtonroyal

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Kerry James Marshall made history last week when his Past Times sold for $21.1m at Sotheby’s, smashing the auction record for a work of art by a living African American artist. Later in the week, Marshall’s dealer, Jack Shainman, confirmed that the lucky bidder was none other than budding art collector Sean Combs – AKA the rapper P. Diddy.


Last week, The Times polled a number of art-world figures for advice on looking at art. Perhaps the most interesting response came courtesy of Maggi Hambling. ‘I remember the Venice exhibition at the Royal Academy about 15 or 20 years ago’, she told the paper. ‘The crowd all wanted to see Titian’s Flaying of Marsyas. So I elbowed my way in with difficulty and when the people were only about three deep in front of me, inadvertently, I farted. It was extremely effective; as with the parting of the Red Sea, my path and my view were clear.’


Finally, if you’ve ever wondered what Grant Wood’s American Gothic would look like recreated in Lego, now’s your chance (sort of):

Got a story for Rakewell? Get in touch at rakewell@apollomag.com or via @Rakewelltweets.