Art News Headlines 2016
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from around the world in 2016.
Art News Headlines 2015
Nov 13th 2015 - Art Market Nearing
Peak in New York
The semi-annual bellweather, art auctions at Christie's and Sotheby's
over the past fortnight appear to confirm that the market peak is close.
Despite the success of "Reclining Nude" ("Nu Couche")
(1918) by Modigliani, which
sold to Shanghai's Mr Liu for $170.4m, it was thanks to lone bidders
that 10 of the hightest-priced works - including "Nurse" by
Roy Lichtenstein ($95.4m),
and the abstract, "Untitled (New York City)" by Cy
Twombly ($70.5m) - found homes to go to. However, with a New Year
and the $200 million barrier beckoning, we are sure to see more records
for the right works.
May 13th: Wool Word Art Sells for
Nearly $30 million
Although total revenue fell far short of Christie's auction earlier
in the week, Sotheby's auction of American-oriented contemporary art
- headlined by Mark Rothko's unusually uplifting 1954 canvas "Untitled
(Yellow and Blue)" which sold for $46.4 million - raised $379.7
million, from the 63 lots offered, 56 of which found buyers. Highlights
included the monumental black and white enamel-on-aluminum word painting
"Riot" (1990) by Christopher
Wool, which sold for $29.9 million; and Sigmar Polke's 1967 painting
"Dschungel (Jungle)", which sold for $27 million.
May 11th: Picasso Painting Sets World
The 1955 abstract oil painting entitled Les femmes d'Alger, by
Pablo Picasso, sold at Christie's
auction house this evening for a world record $179 million, beating
the previous record of $142 million set in 2013 by Francis Bacon's Three
Studies of Lucian Freud. Other records set included $141 million
for the sculpture L'homme au doigt (Pointing Man) (1947), by Giacometti,
making it the world's most expensive sculpture sold at auction. Other
record prices were achieved for paintings by Mark Rothko, Chaim Soutine,
Peter Doig, Jean Dubuffet and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Art News Headlines 2014
Nov 12th 2014:
Christie's evening auction of Postwar and Contemporary art was led by
the sales of two screenprints by Andy
Warhol (1928-87). These were Warhol's 1963 work "Triple Elvis"
(Ferus Type), which went for $81.9 million; and "Four Marlons"
(1966), a screenprint of the actor Marlon Brando, which sold for $69.6
million. Other successes included "Seated Figure" (1960) by
Francis Bacon - one of the artist's series of paintings based on Velazquezs
portrait of Pope Innocent X - which went for $45 million; and "Untitled
Film Stills", a group of 21 photos by the surrealist camera artist
Cindy Sherman, which were
bought by the Manhattan financier David Ganek for $6.7 million.
Nov 11th: Rothko and Johns Highlight
Sotheby's Contemporary art
sale which grossed $343.6 million was highlighted by "No. 21 (Red,
Brown, Black and Orange) (1951)" by Mark Rothko, which sold for
$45 million; "Flag" (1983), a 12-inch by 18-inch canvas by
Jasper Johns, which sold for $45 million; and "Abstraktes Bild,"
(1991) by Gerhard Richter,
which sold for $21.4 million.
Nov 5th: Manet Record set at Christie's
Christie's sale of Impressionist and Modern art at the Rockefeller Center,
New York (which totalled $165.6 million), was headlined by "Le
Printemps" Manet's 1881 portrait of the actress Jeanne Demarsy.
The painting was eventually secured by the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los
Angeles, for $65.1 million - a world record for the artist. A number
of Cubist paintings and drawings, including works by Braque and Picasso,
were exceeded by Magritte's surrealist painting entitled "Mesdemoiselles
de L'Isle Adam," which went for $4.9 million.
Nov 4th: Giacometti Bronze sells for
Sotheby's evening sale of Impressionist and Modern art - which generated
total sales of $422.1 million - was dominated by the sale of the 1950
bronze sculpture by Giacometti, entitled "Chariot", for a
whopping $101 million, although it failed to match the $104.3 million
that Lily Safra paid at Sotheby's in London, four years ago, for Giacometti's
lanky bronze "Walking Man I". Other highlights included the
$70.7 million paid for Modigliani's sculpture "Tete," (1911-12);
and the $61.7 million paid for van Goghs "Still Life, Vase
With Daisies and Poppies" (1890).
May 16th: Phillips Hosts $131 million
Sale of Contemporary Art
The lead items were Untitled (Red, Blue, Orange) (1955) by Mark
Rothko, which fetched $56 million; Flowers ($10.2 million) and
Jackie ($3 million) - both by Pop artist Andy Warhol.
May 14th: Sotheby's Sale Grosses $364
Highlights at their Evening Sale of Contemporary Art included Untitled
(1952) by Mark Rothko, which went for $66.2m; Six Self Portraits
by Andy Warhol, which sold for $26.7 million; and Undiscovered Genius
of the Mississippi Delta (1983) by Jean-Michel Basquiat which went
for $21 million.
May 12th/13th: Christie's Holds World's
Most Valuable Art Auction
With total sales of $744.9 million, Christie's Post-War and Contemporary
Art auction proved to be the most lucrative auction in art market history.
The two evening sales created 26 new world auction records, with 2 works
topping $80 million each, 4 selling for over $50 million each, 12 for
over $20 million, 19 for more than $10 million and 86 for more than
$1 million. Highlights included Barnett Newman's Black Fire I
(1961), which sold for $84.2m; and Three Studies for a Portrait of
John Edwards (1984), which went for $80.8m. Other successes included
Race Riot (1964) ($62.8 million) and White Marilyn (1962)
($41 million), both by Andy Warhol.
March 10th, 2014: World's Largest
More than 100 female artists in London have combined to create a record-breaking
300m wall painting in Leake Street Tunnel in the south of the city.
The event was part of the street art event Femme Fierce, which celebrates
the work of women graffiti artists around the world. The tunnel first
achieved artistic fame as the site for the May 2008 Cans Arts Festival,
the brainchild of the famous UK street artist Banksy.
The mural, produced by painters from Africa, South America, the Middle
East and Europe, took six hours to finish, and follows the creation
in 2011 by Joe and Max of the world's longest piece of 3D street art
in London's Canary Wharf, which measured a whopping 106.3m.
Feb 4-13: Record Sales at Christie's
Auctions of Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary Art at Christie's
London produced a number of record sales. The top price for a modern
work was £34.8 million ($56.5m/ €41.8m) for a large colourful
Cubist canvas, Still Life with Checked Tablecloth (1915), by
the Spanish painter Juan Gris - which set a new world record price for
any Cubist work of art. The highlight of Christie's Contemporary Art
Sale was Francis Bacon's Portrait of George Dyer (1966), which
went for £37.6 million ($62m, €44.3m). Dyer (Bacon's muse)
first met the artist in London in 1963. This portrait was first shown
at the Grand Palais in Paris in 1971, two days after Dyer was found
dead from a drink and drugs overdose in his room at the Hotel des Saint-Peres,
Paris. It last changed hands in 2000 at Christies New York, for
$6.6 million. Other record prices were set for artworks by Carlo Carra,
Le Corbusier and Dorothea Tanning. Chinese bidders were again in evidence,
focusing on established artists like Gauguin, Cezanne and Monet.
Feb 5-12: Sotheby's Sells Outstanding
One of the highlights of Sotheby's Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary
Art sales was undoubtedly Camille Pissarro's Boulevard Montmartre,
Matinee de Printemps (1897), one of the most important Impressionist
paintings to be offered for sale in the past decade, which went for
£19.7 million (€24m), twice its pre-sale estimate, thus establishing
a new record price for the artist. Other highlights included Van Gogh's
L'Homme Est En Mer (1889) which also made €24 million -
the highest price offered at a London auction for any work by the artist
over the past 25 years - and Bolero Violet (1941) by the Fauvist
Henri Matisse, which made €11 million. The most valuable example
of Surrealism sold at Sotheby's was Le Beau Monde (1962) by the
Belgium classical surrealist Rene Magritte, which was hammered down
at £7.9 million (€10m).
Jan 1: Van Gogh and Picasso Still
2013 was a relatively good year for the international fine art market,
as illustrated by the New York auctions at Christie's and Sotheby's,
where more than $1 billion worth of art changed hands in 24 hours. Interestingly,
despite the fact that contemporary artists like Francis Bacon and Andy
Warhol seem to be dominating the market right now, the two painters
whose works have made the highest prices after adjusting for inflation
are Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) and Pablo Picasso (1882-1973). Van
Gogh has two in the Top 10 and Picasso three. For details, please see:
10 Most Expensive Paintings
After Adjusting for Inflation.
Art News Headlines 2013
Nov 15th, 2013: New Record for Warhol
The highlight of Sotheby's New York sale of postwar and contemporary art,
yesterday, was a three-way bidding war for Silver Car Crash (Double
Disaster) (1963) by Andy Warhol. The work smashed its pre-sale estimate
of $60 million, fetching $105.4 million and making it the world's 4th
most expensive painting to be sold at auction. New records were also set
for Cy Twombly and Brice Marden. Sotheby's auction generated total sales
of $380.6 million (€283 million).
Nov 13th: Francis Bacon Triptych Sells
for World Record Price
Last night at Christie's "Postwar and Contemporary sale", Three
Studies of Lucian Freud (1969) a life-size triptych by Francis
Bacon, became the world's most expensive painting to be sold at auction,
when it was hammered down for $142.4 million, beating the previous record
set by Munch's Scream by $22.5 million. At the same auction, the
American pop-artist Jeff Koon's stainless steel sculpture Balloon Dog
(Orange) fetched $58.4 million, the highest price for a living artist.
Christie's auction generated total sales in excess of $691.5 million,
the highest total for any single auction in history.
August 2nd: Saatchi Plans "No-Reserve"
Auction of Postmodernist Works
The British contemporary art collector Charles
Saatchi (b.1943) intends to auction about 50 giant works (installations
and sculptures) at Christie's London, on 17 October. Prior to the sale
(12-18 October), all items will be on display at a spacious former postal
sorting office in central London. They include works by former Young British
Artists like Tracey Emin, Jake and Dinos Chapman, and others. All lots
will be sold on the day, as there will be no reserves in place. Proceeds
from the sale will go towards the upkeep of the Saatchi Gallery, Kings
July 17th: Dealer Indicted by Federal
Art dealer Yelena Tylkina Glafira Rosales was today indicted in New York
on charges that she knowingly sold 60 fake paintings to a number of unspecified
galleries. These works included several abstract expressionist paintings
- allegedly never before exhibited - including so-called works by gesturalists
Jackson Pollock and Robert
Motherwell, and by colour field painter Mark
Rothko. The indictment includes charges of tax fraud and money laundering,
all of which are denied by Rosales.
June 28th: London Art Market Lacklustre
The appetite for modern and contemporary
art was decidedly poor at London auctions arranged by Christie's (25
June) (sales £70.3 million); Sotheby's (26 June) (sales £75.8
million) and Phillips (27 June) (sales £12.3 million). At the equivalent
three New York sales held mid-May, buyers spent almost four times as much
- £326.7 million at Christie's alone. Highlights included: the much
touted triptych, "Three studies of Isabel Rawsthorne" (1966),
by Francis Bacon, which went for £13.3m (pre-sale estimate £10m-£15m)
at Sotheby's. Andy Warhol, however, fared less well: three of the nine
works by the artist remained unsold.
May 16th: Richter Rides Again!
The Dresden painter Gerhard Richter (b.1932) has been re-confirmed as
the world's most valuable living artist, following the sale of his 1968
photo-realist painting Domplatz, Mailand (Cathedral Square, Milan)
for a whopping $37.1 million at Sotheby's contemporary art auction in
New York, yesterday. This beats his own previous record for the highest
auction price achieved for a work by a living artist, namely the $33.1
million paid for his abstract painting, Abstraktes Bild, in 2012.
May 8th: Christie's Auction Falls Short
Christie's New York Sale of Impressionist and Modern Art generated $158.5
million in a lacklustre auction, against pre-sale estimates of $131-$190
million. Highlights included: Le Petit Patissier (c. 1927) by Chaim
Soutine, which went for $18 million - a record for the artist; Les
Trois Acrobates (1926) by Chagall ($13 million); Selbstbildnis
mit Modell (1913) by Egon
Schiele ($11.3 million); La Juive (c.1908) by Modigliani ($6.84
million); and Argenteuil, Fin d'Apres-midi (1872) by Claude Monet
($6 million). A notable failure was Madame Matisse au Kimono (1905)
by Andre Derain, which failed to attract a single bid.
May 7th: Sotheby's Modern Art Sale Totals
Sotheby's Impressionist and Modern Art sale in New York was led by Les
Pommes (c.1890), a still-life painting by Paul
Cezanne, which surged past its $25-$35 million pre-sale estimate to
sell for $41.6 million. Other sale masterpieces included L'Amazone
(1909) by Modigliani, ($25.9 million); Trois Femmes a la Table Rouge
(1921) by Fernand Leger ($7.2 million); Paysage a la Ciotat (1907)
by Georges Braque ($15.8
million - a record for the artist); Animal Dans les Fleurs (c.1959)
by Marc Chagall ($4.8 million - a record for a work on paper by the artist).
Total sales were the highest ever at a Sotheby's Modern art sale, except
for last May's auction at which Munch's The Scream sold for a world
record $120 million.
April 25, 2013: Shortlist Announced
for Turner Prize 2013
Tate Britain today revealed the four artists shortlisted for the Turner
Prize in 2013. They are: Laure Prouvost (Installation artist, film-maker);
Tino Sehgal (live encounters between people); David Shrigley (drawings,
photography, sculpture and film); and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye (painting).
This year the exhibition will be staged at Ebrington in Derry, Northern
Ireland, as part of the UK City of Culture 2013. The winner will be announced
on Monday 2 December 2013. The members of the Turner Prize 2013 jury are:
Penelope Curtis, Director of Tate Britain (Chair); Annie Fletcher, Curator
of Exhibitions Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; Ralph Rugoff, Director of Hayward
Gallery, London; Susanne Gaensheimer, Director of Frankfurts Museum
of Modern Art; Declan Long, lecturer at National College of Art and Design,
Dublin. For a list of past winners, see: Turner
April 17: Princie Diamond Sells for
Almost $40 million
Yesterday, Christie's auction house in New York sold the celebrated 34.65-carat
"Princie Diamond", a 300-year old pink cushion-cut gem from
the Golconda mines in India, for $39.3 million, to an anonymous phone
buyer. The second-highest price ever paid for a piece of jewellery
art at auction, it was a world record for a Golconda diamond.
March 15: America Regains Top Spot in
2012 Art Market
According to the art economist Clare McAndrew, strong US sales, notably
for fine art, allied to a slowdown across the board in the Chinese market,
meant that the United State again regained its number one ranking in world
art sales during 2012, accounting for 33 percent of all sales - a 4 percent
increase over the year before. In comparison, China accounted for 25 percent
of all sales, a drop of 5 percent, with the UK, placed third with 23 percent.
These findings were announced officially at a panel discussion held during
Tefaf in Maastricht.
March 1: Mei Moses Index Down in 2012
The Mei Moses World All Art Index, which monitors art auction sales around
the world, fell 3.28 percent in 2012. At Sotheby's, worldwide auction
sales dropped from $4.9bn to $4.4bn, while Christie's rose 7 percent to
February 13/14: Christie's London Auctions
of Post-War Art
Christie's Day and Evening auctions of post-war and contemporary art generated
combined sales of $150,418,090 (€111,575,060). The most expensive
lot of the day auction was Robert Indiana's Love, which sold for
$876,137 (€653,429); the best of the evening sale was Jean-Michel
Basquiat's Museum Security (Broadway Meltdown), which sold for
$14.6 million (€10.8m). In addition, record prices were achieved
for the contemporary painter Peter Doig, the Art Informel painter Pierre
Soulages, and others.
February 12: Sotheby's London Contemporary
Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening Auction fetched a total of $116,357,664
(€86,321,943), which was the firm's second-highest total for a London
ssale of contemporary art in February. The highlight was Three Studies
for a Self-Portrait (1980), an oil on canvas triptych by Francis Bacon,
painted when the artist was 71, which sold for $21.5 million (€15.9m)
- a figure towards the higher end of pre-sale estimates.
February 6: Christie's Impressionist/Modern
Christie's Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale realised a total
of $213,426,725 (€157,340,801), with 89 percent of lots sold. The
top price was achieved by Jeanne Hebuterne (au chapeau) (1919),
by Modigliani, which went for $42.1 million (€31m). In addition,
a Berthe Morisot portrait set a new record for a female artist at auction.
February 5: Sotheby's Impressionist
& Modern Art Sale
Sotheby's Impressionist, Modern and Surrealist Art Evening Sales generated
sales of $190,500,035 (€140,798,252), the second-highest ever total
for the firm, in this category. The highlight was the 1932 painting Femme
Assise pres d'une Fenetre, by Picasso, which sold for $45 million
(€33.2m). Impressionist highlights included Nympheas avec Reflets
de Hautes Herbes (1914-17) by Claude
Monet, which went for $14.1 million (€10.4m), and Apres le
Bain (Femme s'essuyant) (c.1885) a pastel painting by Edgar Degas,
which was bought for $12.2 million (€9 million). The Degas went for
twice the high estimate, while both the Picasso and the Monet went for
sums in the lower range of pre-sale estimates.
January 1: Guston Centenary
2013 marks the centenary of the birth of Philip
Guston (1913-80), one of the most innovative abstract expressionist
painters. Born in Canada to Russian parents, he grew up in Los Angeles,
where he was a school mate of Jackson Pollock, travelled around Mexico,
settled in New York. His singular style has been described as "abstract
impressionism." Had a revival during the 1970s, as a pioneer of "New
Image Painting". Not as famous as Pollock, de Kooning or Rothko,
but well worth a look.
Art News Headlines 2012
3 December: Elizabeth Price Wins Turner
The video installationist Elizabeth Price was today announced as the winner
of the 2012 Turner Prize for contemporary art. The three other shortlisted
artists were: Spartacus Chetwynd (Performance artist), Luke Fowler (Film-maker),
and Paul Noble (Painter and draughtsman). See also: Turner Prize Winners
27 November: Irish Art Finding Buyers
Yesterday's auction of important Irish art at Whyte's in Dublin grossed
over €1 million, with threequarters of all lots sold. The top price
was €70,000 for Louis le Brocquy's tapestry Adam and Eve in The Garden.
One in five of the artworks sold exceeded their higher estimate.
Oct 23: Turner Prize Shortlist
Following the recent announcement of the shortlist for the British Turner
Prize for Contemporary Art (2012) - namely, Spartacus Chetwynd (performance
art), Luke Fowler and Elizabeth Price (video installation artists), and
Paul Noble (traditional draughtsman, painter) - the odds are that the
prize will go, once again, to an "entertainer" rather than an
How to analyze a painting? See our educational
essays: Art Evaluation and How
to Appreciate Paintings.
Oct 16: Rotterdam Art Heist
Last night, in the biggest ever art robbery in Holland, seven priceless
paintings were stolen from the Kunsthal Museum in Rotterdam, including
works by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Paul Gauguin, and Lucian Freud,
as well as two works by Claude Monet: "Waterloo Bridge, London"
and "Charing Cross Bridge, London". The works were part of an
exhibit on loan from the private Triton Foundation Collection, owned by
Sept 18: Pablo Picasso at Evansville
The Museum of Arts, History and Science in Evansville, Indiana, has just
discovered that they possess a rare work of art by Picasso. "Seated
Woman with Red Hat" is a gemmail - a type of stained glass
art, first developed in the 1930s by the Swiss artist Jean Crotti. Apparently
the work was mis-described when acquired, 40 years ago and has only recently
come to light. Too valuable to keep, the work is expected to be auctioned
for $30-40 million.
Sept 10: Marlon Brando Coming to Christie's
A silkscreen portrait of legendary film star Marlon Brando, created by
Andy Warhol (1928-87), will be auctioned at Christie's postwar and contemporary
art sale in New York later this year, it was announced, earlier. Owned
by art collector Donald L. Bryant, who bought it at Christie's 9 years
ago for $5 million, the picture is estimated to sell for $20 million.
The record auction price for a Warhol is currently $71.7 million - paid
at Christie's in 2007 for Green Car Crash I. See: Most
Expensive Paintings: Top 20.
Aug 20: Online Art Auction
A total of over 250 original works of art by artists such as Leonardo
Da Vinci, Picasso, Andy Warhol and many others, are to be offered for
sale in an Internet auction on UniversalLive website, later this
month. Unusually, there is no reserve on any of the items up for auction
which means, regardless of the price offered, everything will be sold.
Aug 12: Picasso Portrait Comes to London
A rarely seen portrait by a young Picasso, painted when he was just twenty,
has gone on display at the National Gallery in London. The portrait is
of a famous bohemian figure in turn-of-the century Paris, Bibi la Puree,
whom Picasso would have met in the bars they both frequented in Montmartre.
So far, the only sight of it has been a small black-and-white photograph.
July 31: Madonna Returns to Warsaw
A painting by the artist Lucas
Cranach the Elder, entitled Madonna under the Fir Tree (c.1510)
has been returned to the Cathedral of St John in Warsaw where it had been
hanging since the early part of the 16th century. After the war, the 'Madonna',
which had been broken into two pieces, was returned to Warsaw. Here it
was restored by Siegfried Zimmer, a German priest and amateur painter,
who copied the painting and stole the original. The switch was not discovered
until 1961. Following negotations with the estate of the original's 'owner',
the painting has now been returned to it's original home.
July 9: Joan Miro Record at Sotheby's
"Peinture (Etoile Bleue)" (1927) by the Spanish surrealist painter
Joan Miro (1893-1983) sold
at Sotheby's Impressionist and Modern Art sale in London this week for
three times the amount it sold for a mere five years ago. The abstract
composition went for £23.5 million, almost fifty percent higher
than the previous record for a Miro of £16.8 million, set four months
July 1: Record for John Constable at
At Christie's sale of Old Master and British Paintings, "The Lock"
(1824), a landscape by English artist John
Constable (1776-1837) - one of the Stour Series - was sold to an anonymous
buyer for over £22.4 million, a world record for a work by the artist.
June 1: Goncharova's Painting, 50 years
Last week, in the first of a series of auctions on Russian
art at Sotheby's of London, the top price of $4.6 million was for
an early primitivist painting by Natalia Goncharova (1881-1962), who died
fifty years ago.
May 23: China Now Biggest Art Market
According to several indicators, including figures from Christie's and
Sotheby's, Chinese buyers now account for 30-40 percent of all global
sales, with Chinese ceramics and other decorative arts accounting for
most of the demand.
May 13: New World Record for a Rothko
This week it was the turn of Christie's New York, whose auction of postwar
and contemporary art achieved all-time record sales of $388.5 million.
The biggest single contributor was an anonymous telephone bidder who paid
$86.9 million for the abstract expressionist painting Orange, Red,
Yellow (1961) by Mark Rothko. Now the 6th most expensive painting
to be sold at auction, it gives Rothko his second Top 20 ranking.
May 3: Scream Goes For $120 million
Yesterday, Sotheby's New York auctioned The Scream (1895) by the
haunted Norwegian expressionist Edvard
Munch for a record-breaking $119.9 million, making it the most expensive
work of art ever sold at auction. It easily exceeded the $106.5 million
paid for Picasso's Nude, Green Leaves & Bust (1932) in 2010.
May 1: Renoir at the Frick
A group of 9 large-scale oil paintings by the French Impressionist artist
Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), is currently on show at the prestigious Frick
Collection, in New York. Art museums from around the world have loaned
some of Renoir's finest works for the exhibition. See it if you can.
April 25: Louis le Brocquy Dies
Louis le Brocquy, one
of Ireland's most versatile and creative artists has died, aged 95. The
first internationally successful Irish modernist painter, he was also
known as a master of tapestry art.
April 16: Art is a Good Investment
The Financial Times states that last year, according to the Mei
Moses World All Art Index, investment grade artworks outperformed
both the S&P 500 and the FTSE All Share indexes, growing in value
by an impressive 10.2 percent.
April 2: Renoir in Basel
An exhibition of fifty paintings by the great impressionist painter, Renoir,
begins today at the Kunstmuseum, Basel. The exhibition, entitled "Between
Bohemia and Bourgeoisie - The Early Years" includes still lifes,
portraits and landscapes including many of Renoir's most famous works
from the collections of of other museums including the National Gallery
in London, the Metropolitan in New York and the Musee d'Orsay in Paris.
Also included are a number of lesser known paintings which belong to private
March 28: Sotheby's Auction Success
Sotheby's Paris sale of book illustrations and illustrated manuscripts
generated an impressive $6 million: double its pre-sale estimate. The
highest price was for a book by Balzac containing an original ink drawing
by Pablo Picasso. Also sold, was an album of drawings by Matisse dating
Mar 8: Vermeer Oil Painting Back on
Woman in Blue Reading a Letter (1663-64), an 'interior' genre painting
by Jan Vermeer, leader of the
Delft School of Dutch Realism, will soon be back on display at the Rijksmuseum
in Amsterdam. Following major restoration work, which enables us to see
far more of Vermeer's orginal paintwork, the masterpiece is due to reappear
at the end of this month.
Mar 1: Knoedler's Knocked
The fine art world is still reeling from a number of contentious sales
by New York's oldest art gallery, Knoedler's. Apparently, a number of
works - originally sold to the gallery by Galfira Rosales, an art dealer
from Long Island, and then sold on to gallery customers - are the subject
of expensive litigation, including an alleged Jackson Pollock (sold for
$17 million), and an alleged Robert Motherwell (whose $650,000 price was
refunded). In both cases, it is said that certain colour
pigments used were not invented until after the death of the painters
Feb 9: Antoni Tapies (1923-2012)
The Spanish abstract artist, Antoni
Tapies, died at the age of 88 at his home in Barcelona this week.
He is believed to have painted over 8,000 works, during his long life
his work has been exhibited in museums and institutions all around the
world, including solo exhibitions at the Jeu de Paume in Paris,
the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum in New York. He represented
Spain at the Venice Biennale in 1993 and was awarded the Golden Lion prize.
He was also awarded the Velazquez Prize, Spain's top honour for artists
Feb 7: Drysdale Centenary
Today is the centenary of the birth of Russell
Drysdale (1912-81), one of the best Australian landscape painters
of the 20th century.
Feb 1: Dorothea Tanning (1910-2012)
Dorothea Tanning, who was one of the few female artists involved in the
surrealist movement, died this week at her home in New York, aged 101.
Even though an accomplished artist in her own right, Tanning was probably
better known as the wife of Max
Ernst, the German artist and sculptor who was one of the main pioneers
of both the Dada movement and Surrealism.
Jan 16: Future Generation Art Prize
The second Future Generation Art Prize, worth $100,000, which is funded
by the Ukrainian collector Victor Pinchuk, has been launched and is open
to artists around the world. The director of the Guggenheim Museum in
New York, Richard Armstrong and Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate
Gallery are members of the prize's board, and four well-known artists
- Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Andreas Gursky and Takashi Murakami
will serve as mentors to the winning artist. The winner of the first Future
Generation Art Prize was the Brazilian artist Cinthia Marcelle.
Jan 1: Kippenberger Cleaned Out
Looking back on 2011, we empathize with the cleaner (turned contemporary
art critic) at the Ostwall Gallery in Dortmund who inadvertently ruined
a $1 million modern installation sculpture by the controversial postmodernist
artist Martin Kippenberger (1953-97). Apparently she scoured a 'dirty'
trough whose 'dirt' was actually paintwork depicting a dried-out puddle
Art News Headlines 2011
December 18: Bingham's Centenary
2011 was the 200th anniversay of the birth of George
Caleb Bingham (1811-79), the great Missouri painter who specialized
in landscape paintings of the American frontier. Along with other artists
like Albert Bierstadt, Frederic Remington and others, Bingham brought
East coast art-lovers face-to-face with the American wilderness. His most
famous picture is Fur Traders Descending the Missouri (1845), now
in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
December 11: New Portrait by Rembrandt
X-ray imaging has revealed that an unknown oil-on-panel painting is in
fact a work by the great Dutch Realist portraitist Rembrandt (1606-69).
The work, entitled Old Man with a Beard, shows an old man with
a white beard, and is believed to have been executed by the artist around
December 6: Martin Boyce Wins Turner
The installation-sculptor Martin Boyce, aged 44, was announced on Channel
4 TV last night as the winner of this year's Turner Prize for contemporary
art. The Emperor's new clothes look fabulous. Boyce's installation takes
up a whole room and contains various pieces which are reminiscent of a
public park. There are trees (the pillars which support the gallery ceiling),
leaves on the floor (cut from paper) and an angular park bin and park
bench. He was inspired by the designers Joel and Jan Martel who created
a modernist garden, complete with concrete trees in Paris in 1925. Judges
believe that Boyce reinvents the language of early modern art. (Are they
joking or what?)
November 29: Leonardo Self-Portrait
A drawing by the High Renaissance artist, Leonardo
da Vinci, is currently on show at an exhibition celebrating the 150th
anniversary of Italian Unification in Turin, Italy. Shown in public only
twice before, in 1929 and 2006, the drawing is the only self-portrait
accredited to the artist,and is being displayed inside a special shock-proof
glass case filled with sensors. The drawing is housed in the Royal Library
in Turin and is insured for a sum of €50 million.
November 16: Records Tumble at Christie's
Post-War and Contemporary Art
The 1961 painting "I Can See the Whole Room! and There's Nobody
in It!", by the pop artist Roy Lichtenstein (1923-97), sold yesterday
for $43 million, a record for the artist. Other records included the sale
of a bronze spider by sculptor Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010) for $10.7
million, as well as a photograph by the German artist, Andreas
Gursky (b.1955) for $4.3 million - making it the costliest item of
fine art photography in history.
November 1: Russian Icon Paintings Repatriated
Seventy religious icons have been donated to the Russian Orthodox Church
by a Russian property developer. Sergei Shmakov spent a year abroad tracking
down the icon paintings, valued at $1
million, which were taken out of Russia after the Revolution. The icons
were found at auctions, antique shops and markets in a number of countries
and include a rare mid-18th century icon entitled St John the Theologian
in Silence depicting the apostle composing his Gospel, with his fingers
over his lips and an angel peering over his shoulder. The Russian culture
minister has said that Shmakov's donation was an act of "great patriotism"
and that the people of Russia appreciated the return of not only sacred,
but "cultural treasures, works of art."
27 Oct: Export Ban on Guardi Painting
Venice, a View of the Rialto Bridge, Looking North, from the Fondamenta
del Carbon, a painting of the Rialto Bridge by Italian painter Francesco
Guardi, in the manner of Canaletto and Bellotto, has had a temporary export
ban placed on it by the British Arts Minister, Ed Vaizey. The work of
art was sold for a record £26.7 million to an unknown buyer by Sotheby's
of London earlier this year. It is hoped that by delaying the granting
of an export licence, it will give time for someone to come up with the
money to keep the painting in Britain.
12 Oct: Ceramics at Sotheby's
A major auction of ancient ceramics from Persia, Iraq and Central Asia
(including part of Harvey Plotnick's huge collection of medieval Islamic
pottery) was held last week at Sotheby's, London, with disappointing results.
Expecting sales revenues of around £18-22 million, the auction actually
generated £8.5 million, with between 30-44 percent of items failing
to find buyers, including a 13th century Khurasan silver-inlaid brassewer.
Demand was brisk, however, for medieval Islamic items of clothing with
one item - a regal post-Sassanian silk shirt from central Asia, woven
with blue, cream and honey silk - selling for £713,250.
Sept 28: Jack B Yeats Painting Sells
for €1 million in Ireland
A Fair Day, Mayo (1925), an oil painting by Jack B. Yeats, was
hammered down for €1 million at Adam's sale of Important Irish Art
in Dublin (against a pre-sale estimate of €500,000-€800,000
the highest price ever paid at auction for a painting in Ireland.
Previously owned by Eamon de Valera, among others, it was sold to an anonymous
collector, although it is believed that it will remain in Ireland. For
full details of other record-breaking pictures by Irish painters, see:
Most Expensive Irish Paintings.
Sept 28: Record Sales at Christie's
Christie's of New York racked up record sales of $75 million at their
recent auctions of Asian art. ($38
million from Chinese art; $7.3 million from modern and contemporary Indian
and Southeast Asian art.) By comparison, Sotheby's made £31.5 million,
mostly from Chinese painting,
sculpture and ceramics.
Sept 26: Hidden Goya Picture Uncovered
The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam
has discovered a 'hidden' portrait by the Spanish Old Master Goya, lying
underneath his Portrait of Ramon Satue (1823). The concealed image,
which was discovered using scanning macro x-ray fluorescence spectrometry,
is an early portrait of an unknown Spanish general. The technique used
to make this discovery is very new and has been developed by the Universities
of Antwerp and Delft.
Sept 25: $11.4 million Chinese Masterpiece
Might Be a Fake!
A painting, sold by the Jiuge International Auction House last year, as
a masterpiece by the Chinese 20th century painter Xu Beihong, is now thought
to be a fake. The oil on canvas nude, which sold for $11.4 million, was
listed as a study of the artist's wife painted in 1920. The work was authenticated
for the auction house by the artist's son, Xu Boyang. Best known for his
ink on paper works, Xu Beihong is ranked by Artprice as one of
the top ten artists, based on auction value, with sales in excess of $176
million. Having travelled to Paris in the 1920s to study Western Art,
Beihong was a Chinese pioneer in the use of oil on canvas. The controversy
has emerged thanks to an open letter which was recently published by a
group of former students at Beijing's Central Academy of Fine Arts. The
letter stated that the painting was actually painted by one of them in
1983, thirty years after the artist's death, as part of an art class exercise.
A number of Chinese experts have confirmed that the painting is not of
Jiang Biwei, Beihong's wife and some have declared that the painting bears
no resemblance to Xu's style.
Sept 4: Graffiti Art the Hamptons
Stencilled paintings by the world's most famous street artist, Banksy,
were recently shown at an exhibition at the Keszler Art Gallery in the
Hamptons. Originally the works had been spray-painted onto walls in Bethlehem
by Banksy, in 2007. According to the Gallery, all the pieces on display
were legally purchased. Apparently, the British art dealer Robin Barton
bought them (attached to over 5 tons of concrete) from two Palestinian
art dealers who had tried to sell them on the Internet.
Aug 20: Rembrandt Heist Solved
Last week, in a meticulously-planned heist, thieves in California grabbed
a pen-and-ink drawing by
the Dutch portrait painter Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-69) from the lobby
of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Marina del Rey, California. The drawing,
entitled The Judgment (c.1655) was valued at $250,000. Two days
later, following an anonymous tip-off, the work of art was recovered from
a Church in the San Fernando valley.
Aug 16: Warhol's Eggs Coming to the
Tate St Ives, UK
Andy Warhol's little known silkscreen print Eggs (1982) is to be
shown in the UK for the first time this autumn. One of 25 egg paintings
completed by the artist, it will be the main attraction at the Tate St
Ives Autumn exhibition entitled The Indiscipline of Painting which
will feature works from the 1960s up to the present by 50 British, American
and European contemporary artists.
Aug 2: Restoration of Carracci's Farnese
Four centuries after Annibale Carracci dazzled Rome with his ceiling frescoes
in the gallery of the Palazzo Farnese (c.1596-1601), a €1 million
fund has been raised to clean them up. Regarded as the start of Baroque
painting, Carracci's murals set new standards in ceiling decoration.
The forthcoming restoration promises to return much of their original
July 30: Art Theft: Police Recover Picasso
A man caught on video camera has been charged with stealing a sketch by
Picasso entitled Tete de Femme (Head of a Woman) from the Weinstein
Gallery, as reported below. When police entered his home in New Jersey,
they found eleven other works of art which had disappeared from a number
of venues in New York City over recent times.
July 20: Wildenstein Institute Controversy
Missing Impressionist masterpieces worth millions of euros have been unearthed
in the vault of the Wildenstein Institute in Paris. As a result, Guy Wildenstein,
the wealthy French art dealer, has been charged with fraud. In response,
Wildenstein has claimed that the presence of the lost works is due to
"an oversight" by his late father, who established the Institute
after making a fortune buying and selling Impressionist
July 9: New Da Vinci Painting Unearthed
Art experts are agog following the authentication of a previously unknown
painting by Leonardo da Vinci. Entitled Salvator Mundi, the painting
- which is owned by a consortium of art dealers - has been examined by
curators at the Met in New York, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston,
as well as by a number of Da Vinci scholars in London. The rare painting
- asking price, reportedly $200 million - will be on display at the Da
Vinci Exhibition in London later this year.
7 July: San Francisco Art Heist
Head of a Woman, a sketch by Picasso valued at $200,000, was stolen
from the Weinstein Gallery in San Francisco. The framed drawing was hanging
near the entrance to the Gallery and it appears that a man in his early-30s
walked in and simply took it off the wall. He then made his getaway by
hailing a taxi! The sketch, which was drawn in 1962 is part of the Maurice
Bresnu Collection. Bresnu was chauffeur to the artist and received a number
of drawings as gifts from him. Police believe it will be difficult for
the thief to sell the work as it is registered in the database of the
Weinstein Gallery and they will be searching art markets worldwide to
July 1: Art On The Move
The Barnes Foundation which houses an exceptional collection of European
Modern Art is moving it's collection, valued at $25 billion, to a new
home near the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Four thousand works of art,
including 108 Renoirs, which is the world's largest single group, 69 paintings
by the French Post-Impressionist painter Paul Cezanne and 59 works by
Henri Matisse. Other famous paintings being moved, include: Picasso's
Woman with a Cigarette, Cezanne's Bathers and his largest
version of The Card Players, Van Gogh's Postman and numerous
paintings by Modigliani, Degas, Seurat, Gauguin and Monet, to name but
a few. The move comes after a decade long legal battle between those who
wanted to relocate the collection to a larger premises and those who wished
to maintain the vision of the gallery's founder, Albert C Barnes, limiting
public access and allowing the school to use the art collection for study
June 29: Record Sale at Sotheby's
Sothebys achieved the highest ever total sales (over £108 million),
for any sale of Contemporary Art in London. A major contributing factor
was the Duerckheim Collection of German Art from the 1960s and 1970s,
which sold for over £60 million. Top lots included Crouching
Nude (1961) by Francis Bacon (£8.3 million); Untitled
by the graffiti artist Jean-Michel
Basquiat (£5.4 million); and a silkscreen portrait of Debbie
Harry (£3.7 million) by Andy Warhol.
June 28: Christie's Post-War and Contemporary
Francis Bacon's Study for a Portrait made the top price of $25
million at Christie's auction of contemporary art this week. Another heavy-hitter
was Mao (1973) by Andy Warhol which sold for $11.1 million. A number
of drawings and paintings by British artist Lucian Freud, were also well
received: His drawing, Woman Smiling (1958) sold for $7.5 million.
June 23, 2011: Reclusive Heiress Leaves
$400 million To Arts
Heiress to a copper mining fortune, Huguette Clark has died at the age
of 104 and has left her estimated estate of $400 million to a foundation
which promotes the arts. The Bellosguardo Foundation will also receive
Ms Clark's 42 room Fifth Avenue apartment, said to be the largest apartment
in New York as well as the dozens of paintings which hung on the walls,
including works by John Singer Sargent, Impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir
and William Merritt Chase. Also included is a Stradivarius violin and
rare first editions of the book Paradise Lost by Milton. The Corcoran
Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. is to receive a Water Lilies
(1907) by Claude Monet which has not been seen by the public since 1925.
Ms Clark's father handed his entire art collection to the Corcoran after
his death in 1925. Ms Clark was briefly married in the 1920s but after
a divorce moved into her Fifth Avenue apartment with her mother. When
her mother died in 1963, she continued to live there, although was seldom
ever seen in public again.
June 18, 2011: Sotheby's Paris Art Sale
Achieves New Records
Sotheby's Paris set several new records during their recent sale of Old
Master and 19th Century Paintings this week. The first was the $4 million
for a Portrait of a Young Woman in an Interior Holding a Glass
by Dutch painter and engraver Cornelis Pietersz Bega (or Cornelis Pietersz
Begijn) (1632-1664). Another record was the $170,000 for Village Square
by French artist Nicolas-Antoine Taunay (1755-1830). Taunay was best known
for his landscapes having studied from the age of 13 with artists like
the Italian painter Francesco Giuseppe Casanova (1727-1803), whose landscape
and history paintings inspired Taunay's own subject matter. A third world
record was achieved for a work by French artist Alphonse-Henri Perrin
(1798-1874), whose Gardens of the Villa Medici in Rome sold for
$241,000, more than six times it's estimate. Popular 19th century painting
and drawing included works by leading French
landscapists. Two canvases by the great romantic French artist Camille
Corot (1796-1875), who was a pivotal figure in landscape painting, were
on sale: Archway/Auteuil, which tripled it's $70,000 estimate to
sell for $232,536 while Souvenir of Normandy (Sunset) sold for