Friday, August 31, 2012
Interview with Francis Russell, Deputy Chairman, Old Master & Early British Paintings, Christie's UK conducted by Nicola Linza and Cristoffer Neljesjo in London, England during August 2012.
How do you view the astonishing art sales records being made today?
These reflect the demand of discriminating collectors and institutions for exceptional works of art.
In your opinion is the Old Masters market stable today as fewer significant works are brought to sale, or have you witnessed any significant changes since you began your career at Christies?
Inevitably the market has changed, partly as the result of decreasing supply.
How is the auction process different today, than it was 30 years ago?
More knowledgeable private collectors participate directly at picture sales; and the internet makes it very much easier for those who are interested to follow movements of the market and sales of individual works of art.
If you could have your portrait done by any artist, living or deceased, whom would it be? And why?
This would depend on the age at which I was to be painted. As I write this I can see a facsimile of David Hockney’s watercolour of me, which he has generously allowed to be used in some recent books: it shows me in argumentative humour. I seem to be more reflective in his larger and more recent computer print. It can take time to come to like a portrait of oneself: thus I used not to care for Derek Hill’s drawing, but now do.
A deceased artist is a challenging proposition. We do not know how the greatest painters of portraits—Titian, Velasquez or Rembrandt—might have responded to an English sitter. But none of us would object to van Dyck’s ostensibly effortless flattery. Among English painters. Lawrence rarely fails with men. While Raeburn understood age.
The above interview with Francis Russell 2012 © Manner of Man Magazine. All rights reserved. Reproduction is strictly prohibited without written permission from the publisher