Martin Philip Guise

Seeing it rightfully home - Martin Philip Guise


As a Fine Art Broker I often view my task as seeing an art object rightfully home. Rightfully being an relevant adjective since many objects offer obvious solutions that are not always the ones that place the object where it really belongs. However when is a placement right? When the institution have several works with which it can be constellated or when it opens up a whole new area both of study and of collecting? My challenge here is not unique. All who work in the art trade encounters this conundrum.

When I wished to sell an object from my own collection this problem presented itself again. The object was a leaf from the LLangattock Breviary created in Italy, circa 1440, for Marquis of Ferarra and Duke of Modena, Leonello D´Este. Speaking with museums and collectors who already knew the breviary was an obvious route. And I did. And I also approached Italian museums in Ferrara but to no avail. So was I really seeing it rightfully home or was I blinded by traditional conceptions of how to place this work?

The answer came in conversations with libraries who did not know the breviary or had such works in their collection. It turned out that a buyer was no further away than Denmark´s national library, Det Kongelige Bibliotek, since the leaf diversified their collection and it could be part of their current exhibition of important works from their collection. Adding to this was the opportunity for the library to take part in the efforts to bring this breviary together digitally. This project is undertaken by Mrs Debra Taylor Cashion, a Manuscript scholar at the Library in St. Louis, USA.

So I will remind myself of this when I work with an artwork; the obvious routes are sometimes blinding – it could be that choosing a path less travelled one sees a work rightfully home in the end.

Click here for more information on the exhibition Treasures in the Royal Library.

Martin Philip Guise has placed works at various Danish Museums including the Danish Royal Collection, Design Museum Denmark and the National History Museum. His key focus is art with a Scandinavian provenance as well as artworks for which dealers wish an alternative sales strategy.

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