The famous painting depicting Judith beheading Holofernes, which recently caused controversy for its attribution to Caravaggio by the Old Masters specialist Eric Turquin, will go on show at Galerie Kamel Mennour in Paris this week (18 April – 4 May). The piece will be displayed next to French Artist Daniel Buren’s site-specific work, Pyramidal, haut-relief – A5, travail (2017), in a “face to face” presentation.
Turquin has said that “experts, art historians, conservators, restorers and radiologists have weighed in on the painting in the utmost secrecy.” He added that while “there is no consensus, I’m not looking for a consensus. In 2003, there were still criticisms on the Dublin work. Caravaggio is an artist who lends himself to controversy.” Turquin has said that he is “more convinced than ever that the picture is the lost Caravaggio seen by the Flemish painter Frans Pourbus in 1607.”
The story of the lost Caravaggio recently found in an attic in France made headlines when it was discovered in a house near Toulouse in 2014. The work was initially unveiled in February at Colnaghi gallery in London and is now set to be auctioned at La Halle aux Grains in Toulouse in June of this year with an estimate of £86m-£129m. It will go on an international tour before the final auction, scheduled for the Adam Williams Fine Art gallery in New York for one week mid may (May 10 – May 17).
Kamel Mennour told the Art Newspaper: “I think giving audiences the opportunity to view these two works together (Buren and Caravaggio) is fantastic. It is about the parcours of 400 years between the avant-garde then and now.” Buren’s works comprise of a series of striped, mirrored blocks.
When asked about supporting the Caravaggio, which some have dismissed, Mennour said: “I love being part of this debate. I like bringing people to see the work, and they can decide if they love or hate it. I believe Eric 100%, and his views are supported by other scholars.”
In a separate statement, Mennour also added: “We are dealing here with works that are complete opposites, that’s what makes this arrangement work. Caravaggio is telling a story, he dramatises it with a red curtain and a tight composition with three figures who tie the action into the midst of the painting. Daniel’s high relief doesn’t tell anything in itself, it’s dry and strictly non-pictorial.”