Feature: ArtScene

ArtScene: New Year's Resolutions

By , Columnist

London: At about one o’clock this morning and just a half bottle of Calvados left, we played The New Years Resolution Game. Ronnie says she’s giving up smoking. (Or was that smirking? She’s 60-a-day croaky from Marseilles, so could be both.)

Guillaume is only on sulking terms with his droopy catamite he picked up in the Musee d’Orsay so that does not count.

Anton says he will not be here in 2012. Anton is an existentialist and has affected a lisp as his latest bow to the human condition and I really do regret giving him the book on Nietzsche.

My Number One Fan says he’s giving up buying shirts. He has 140 (according to the laundry lady) because he has a seemingly daily stripe-or-blank-blanc indecision complex.

The girl across the hall, I know, is giving up Italian boyfriends (including her own).

By 2am I’m thinking I’m surrounded by people who are not taking life seriously enough to realize that we’re all sliding into the most life changing year of the century so far.

What’s up, Doc? Just this: Eurozone Crisis can’t be fixed. EU is a college of incompetents who fiddle fish quotas while the Euro burns. IMF Lady’s a snappy dresser but no one listens to her. Merkel’s about to dump on Sarkozy and pull up the drawbridge.

So, it’s fallen to me to New Years Resolutionize and save the world — well, mine at least. Here’s the answer. T&CA, of course. Be at Bonham’s sale room in the pretty street opposite Harrods at 1pm 17 January next . They’ve got a sale of Modern British and Irish art.

erez.jpegJoan Gilchrist, who died just three years ago, was part of the group known as Cornish artists. Maybe the work has a certain greeting card simplicity, but she’s starting to be collectible. Bonham’s think her "Walking Near Lands End" could fetch as much as £2500.

There’s a Ruskin Spear, "Near Fonthill Gifford," that might be had for as little at £500. Okay, it’s just three black and white cows in a field but it would have cost more than that in the Royal Academy summer show. (Spear is an RA).

spears-near-fonthill-gifford.jpg

erez1.jpegMore to spend? Mary Fedden, another RA, always does well at Bonhams. Five or six thousand for "Bishops Smalls." Not for my walls, but a good investment. Same for Sir Frank Brangwyn’s "Sketch of a Centaur." Shouldn’t fetch more than £1000.

Two years ago, one of my oils sold for £8000 and is now valued at £13000. My Number One Fan bought a Pooh Bear Shepherd a few months back for hundreds and it’s now worth a couple of thousand.

When the economy wilts, the art market looks a good hedge and gives enormous pleasure. Much in the 17 January Bonham’s sale is affordable. City boys in London were spending many times the estimated total sale on their office parties a couple of weeks ago.

A Fred Uhlman, a Daniel O’Neill, and certainly a Mary Fedden make affordable investments that’ll turn a dollar quicker and safer than anything the City and Wall Streeters are recommending today. Better put hard to come by money on the wall rather than in their grubby pockets. Mmm?

erez2.jpegRonnie’s Zippo still won’t work so could be she’ll have enough change from her Gitanes Lites savings to get to Knightsbridge. Guillaume? He’s buying Rouquette liposuction, so no way. Anton? Existentialists don’t do paintings, only contemplative mortality. The girl across the hall prefers decorated ceiling mirrors, so maybe not.

Me? I’m in. I like cows.

See you there on the 17th.

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Fiona Graham-Mackay, is London's newest royal portrait painter. She is also recently back from painting in the Pakistan-Afghan border. She studied at London's Royal College of Art, had a studio in Paris before returning to the UK to paint and teach in London, Spain and Italy. Her next assignments are…

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