Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Serpentine Gallery, London. London-born, but of Ghanaian descent, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye is a painter whose haunting figurative works show how contemporary the medium can be. Closes 13 September.
Sonia Delaunay, Tate Modern, London. Sonia Delaunay was the doyenne of abstract art yet her work is rarely given the acknowledgement in this country that it deserves. Tate Modern seek to redress the balance with this retrospective that covers not only paintings but her work in all media. Closes 2 August.
Kapoor Versailles, Palace of Versailles, Paris. Anish Kapoor has the stunning setting of the gardens of Versailles as the backdrop to his latest exhibition. His works play with perspective, distort the grounds and destabilise the fabric of the landscape to create an extraordinary version of his work. Closes 1 November.
Gold and Ivory: Paris, Pisa, Florence, Siena 1250–1320, Louvre Lens. The artistic exchange between Paris and Tuscany in the period just preceeding the Renaissance has never been looked at before. Louvre Lens tells the story through some of the finest sculptures and carvers of the time in works that would go on to influence the artists of the Renaissance. Closes 28 September.
Sickert in Dieppe, Pallant House, Sussex. This exhibition looks at British artist Walter Sickert’s fascination with the town of Dieppe in France, which he visited for over 40 years. It shows the evolution of a relationship with a place and the growth of an artist over 80 paintings. Closes 4 October.
Joseph Cornell, Royal Academy, London. The shadow-boxes of Joseph Cornell, assemblages of ephemera put together to create journeys for the mind, are entirely sui generis. Influenced by the Surrealists this New York artist created an artistic idiom entirely his own. Closes 27 September
What you must see this summer:
Landscape drawings in the Frick Collection, Frick Collection, New York. The perfectly formed collection at the Frick is full of small wonders and in this exhibition they bring together works on paper by artists such as Claude, Corot and Whistler for an incisive look at the depiction of landscapes across four centuries. Closes 13 September.
Lightscape: James Turrell at Houghton, Houghton Hall, Norfolk. 15 years in the making, this exhibition of James Turrell’s work is an opportunity to see the drawings and preparations of an artist whose medium is light. It culminates in a special series of illuminations which transforms the hall itself in the evening summer light. Closes 24 October
China: Through the Looking Glass, The Metropolitan Museum, New York. The Met’s Costume Institute summer exhibition is always one of the finest exhibitions staged anywhere in the world. This year they examine the way Chinese culture was reflected back through western design in a stunning study of Orientalism that combines decorative arts, fashion and painting. It is fascinating and beautiful. Closes 7 September.
How things look
As the summer season comes to an end, now is a good moment to take stock of what the past few months show about the market, and look at what to expect as we move into Autumn.
The London auctions did not have quite the same razzmatazz and record-breaking numbers as New York. Almost all the auctions showed a steady mid-estimate performance representing a steady market that is clearly still resilient. Perhaps more importantly, they suggest that the New York sales were not a bubble-popping moment.
The Old Master auctions were not as headline grabbing as their Post-War and Contemporary cousins, but both Sotheby’s and Bonhams came in at mid-estimate, showing a certain reliability. There’s no doubt the focus and attention of the market is currently not centered on Old Masters, allowing collectors to still find 'value' within this sector. With in depth research it is possible to find a piece you love that does not break the bank. It is the perfect moment for the connoisseur to find the right piece for their collection.
Outside the auction houses it was business as usual. Art Basle tapped into the feel-good factor of the New York sales and had the air of a success. Sales were strong and plentiful at the $1,000,000 mark, giving most collectors and dealers a good fair. Reports suggest there was less oxygen for deals above $15,000,000 even for “star” names such as Bacon and Calder. Though perhaps the biggest triumph for the fair was on Instagram as everyone seemed to be taking selfies wherever you looked.
It is a good moment to consider what your collection needs and where you are looking to go. Despite the eye-watering sums of June in New York there are plenty of pieces at good prices that a passionate collector would do well to seek out.