from an Inuit child’s parka in seal gut to a golden shawl woven from spider silk


Monkfish Laserstein, Self-portrait from the front (1934-35); Agnew’s at Eye of the Collector, London, September 8-11. Around £ 200,000

Once considered one of the preeminent figurative painters working in Europe at the turn of the 20th century, Lotte Laserstein’s legacy was almost lost after the Nazi regime seized power in 1933. Although she never practiced Judaism, Laserstein was declared “three-quarter Jewish” by the Nazis. After years of escalating anti-Semitism in Germany and a crackdown on his ability to teach, buy materials, exhibit or sell his work, Laserstein was able to escape to Sweden in 1937 with a cache of his paintings. This powerful, cropped self-portrait, taken during his creative years in Berlin, reveals the depth with which Laserstein was able to explore the intensity of his emotions. Anna-Carola Krausse, the author of Laserstein’s catalog raisonné, describes the painting as “exploring her face to reflect her soul … which suggests the conflict that Laserstein must have experienced in her forced new Jewish identity”, where “the humiliation and pride go hand in hand “.

Parka for Inuit child, Alaska, circa 1900 Courtesy of Sotheby’s

Parka for Inuit child, Alaska, circa 1900; Worlds Within Worlds: Works from the Collection of Peter Petrou, Sotheby’s, London, September 10-21 (online). Estimate: £ 10,000- £ 15,000

Not the disgusted type, this 40cm tall waterproof parka was designed for an Inuit child from pieces of seal gut finely sewn together with sinew thread. These coats made from this lightweight and durable material were admired by Admiral Lord Nelson and Captain Cook, the latter having even purchased them in large numbers for his crew. But they were also believed to have symbolic and protective powers – protecting the wearer from evil and bringing good luck – and were worn by shamans during rituals. Seals are a central part of Inuit culture, their hunt being crucial to keeping its people alive and warm in harsh conditions. These parkas are said to have been worn during the seal soul celebration in midwinter and at the start of seal season in the spring. Similar examples, of adult size, are held in the collection of the British Museum.

Golden Weaver Spider Silk Shawl

Silk shawl of golden weaver spiders; The Natural World, Oliver Hoare, Cromwell Place, London, September 22-October 23. About $ 250,000

It is one of only four known textiles produced from the silk of golden weaver spiders (Nephila Madagascariensis) – and three of them (two shawls and a lambda) are included in this exhibition of natural wonders at Oliver. Hoare. The painstaking process of making them is mind-boggling – it took textile designer Simon Peers and entrepreneur Nicholas Godley almost 20 years of work, leading a team that harvested silk from over two million dollars. spiders. They spent 15 years researching 18th and 19th century methods, designing equipment to extract silk, then embarked on eight years of production, employing a team of 80 to search the Malagasy highlands for spiders every morning. (who were rendered unharmed), 24 of them were hitched together for the jogging process. The silk was then woven into textiles on looms. The textiles have been exhibited at the American Museum of Natural History (2009), the Art Institute of Chicago (2011) and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2012).

Veronica Ryan, Sowing Seeds (2018) Courtesy of: Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, and Alison Jacques, London © Veronica Ryan

Véronique Ryan, Sewing seeds (2002-18); Art UK, Live Auction, Cromwell Place, London, September 29. Estimate: around £ 6,000

British Montserrat-born sculptor Veronica Ryan is well known for her sculptural works, often referred to as ‘containers’, which envelop seeds and other plant material in non-organic materials and refer to the history of global trade networks. . These mango seeds wrapped in plastic and held in a fishing net are similar to a number of works on display in Ryan’s solo exhibition at Spike Island in Bristol (until September 5). Interest in Ryan’s work has increased recently and in July she signed with Alison Jacques in London (Paula Cooper represents her in the US). Sowing Seeds is at the low end of Ryan’s price bracket, which can reach up to $ 50,000 for large marble works, says Harry Thorne, director of the Alison Jacques Gallery. The work is included in a live auction of donated pieces, organized by the cultural education charity Art UK, which aims to democratize access to the UK’s national art collections. The benefits will be shared equally between the association and the artists involved.


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