In 1994 I bought a 29cm by 38cm oil on canvas painting. It is a mirror reverse image of Landseer's "Low Life". The antiquarian John Hawkins of Scotland and Tasmania has ventured his opinion that the work is contemporary with Landseer's original of 1829. He also thinks the Ackermans label on the back is of importance. Art historian Tony Smibert is of the opinion that it may possibly be an earlier version by Landseer himself or by a member of his close circle, including his brother who migrated to Australia in the 1800's. The Tasmanian artist William Buelow Gould, who was a friend of Landseer, also painted a version of "Low Life" sometime after his transportation to Tasmania in 1827 so there must have been a version of it before Landseer's painting in 1829. Gould called his painting "The Guard Dog" and it hangs in The Art Gallery of South Australia.in Adelaide. Goulds harsh life in the Tasmanian penal colonies would have made it impossible for him to have seen another copy to have copied from himself, so it would seem logical that he painted it from memory, having practiced it many times during his former life as a student of Ackermann. I would love to find out where to go to show this work to someone who can help me solve the mystery of it's date and author.
Answer Dear Linda,
It is a wonderful painting. You have done exceptional research and I do not have additional information other than to take it to one of the large auction houses that have sold a lot of Landseer's paintings. Those would be Sothebys and Christies of London. I will give you links to their experts in 19th Century European paintings. You can email or call them. They should be able to direct you to the appropriate people to look at your painting. Good luck with your venture.
Thank you Dolly for your help. I will be writing to the people you suggested today. It is gratifying to know that an expert like yourself feels that my own research is on the right track. I will be taking the painting to London in September and now I know who to take it to. Again, many thanks. Regards, Linda.
I can assist with identification, acquisition, sell representation, and care of fine art prints and original paintings. Some of my artist specialties include Henri Toulouse Lautrec, California Artists, and the Modern Masters. I can also assist with information on getting professional appraisals and authentication.
Dolly D. Headley, owner of Headley Fine Art, LLC, has provided consultative art services to retail gallery clients in Sausalito, CA, and at www.headleyfineart.com since 1998. With over 14 years experience as a Senior Art Consultant, Gallery Director, and an extensive art research library; Ms. Headley has provided hundreds of people with her high quality personalized consultation services and solid guarantee of satisfaction. Dolly is a volunteer at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.
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Education/Credentials Bachelor of Science; Self taught with thousands of hours research and retail gallery consulting. Personalized mentorship from various experts in the industry.