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Archives for January 2013

More Evidence Of Market Insanity

I just can’t help myself. The juxtaposition of two auction sales is simply too tempting. In tomorrow’s New York Times, Steve Wynn announces that he’s the one who bought Tulips, by Jeff Koons, last November for $33.6 million, a record for a piece by Koons at auction. He had to admit it at some point, because he […]

The Al-Sabah Collection Is Going Places — Not Just Houston

It was news last fall when the  Museum of Fine Arts in Houston announced a five-year partnership with Sheikh Nasser Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah and his wife, Sheikha Hussah Sabah al-Salem al-Sabah, of Kuwait — through which the al-Sabahs would send parts of their collection for long-term viewing in Houston. They want their treasures seen around the world, […]

Hopper, Wowing Them In France, Also Goes 24 Hours

American art seems more and more welcome and appreciated in Europe, and around the world, nowadays. It has been a long time coming for art made before Abstract Expressionism. One more bit of evidence: the Edward Hopper exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris, which has brought together 164 of his 128 paintings, watercolors, engravings […]

Manet’s Star Rises In London

The Manet portraiture exhibition, which ended recently at the Toledo Museum of Art, has opened in London at the Royal Academy. It’s getting the attention it deserves. For a start, on Jan. 20, The Telegraph reported that “Advance bookings for the show are among the highest in the Academy’s recent history, exceeding sales for its blockbuster […]

A New Model Of Museum Financing

I will have more to say on the subject in a subsequent post, but for now I would just like to link to an article I have written that will be published in tomorrow’s Wall Street Journal. It’s a Cultural Conversation with Dan L. Monroe, the executive director of the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, […]

The Verdict On “Doubt,” The Opera — UPDATED

To followup on my recent Cultural Conversation with John Patrick Shanley: “Doubt” premiered at the Minneapolis Opera on Saturday night and the reviews are starting to come in. I’m not surprised that they are mostly positive. For one, who’s going to criticize Shanley’s writing, even if it’s a new form for him? The reviews I’ve […]

A Short Message About Museums And Antiquities

Hugh Eakin has it exactly right in his long piece in today’s New York Times, headlined The Great Giveback. In it, he chronicles what has been happening at American museums regarding the antiquities in their collections. While some of those objects have clearly been obtained under suspicious circumstances — and have now been returned, as they should be […]

While I’m Speaking of Old Masters, Here’s An Acquisition

The San Diego Museum of Art is well-known, deservedly, for its collection of  Spanish art — including work by such masters as El Greco, Zurbarán, Goya, and Sorolla. The other day, it announced an acquisition that complements those works: It’s a Spanish baroque sculpture, a polychromed wood piece by Pedro de Mena (1628–1688). The museum calls […]

Le Brun Masterpiece Discovered At The Ritz

Here’s another one of those you-can’t-make-this-up stories, which I received in a press release this morning: A previously unrecorded painting by Charles Le Brun (1619-1690), official painter to the ‘Sun King’ Louis XIV, has been discovered hanging in the Coco Chanel Suite at the Hôtel Ritz in Paris by the London-based fine art consultant Joseph […]

Columbia University’s Big Mistake? Or Misconceptions About Deaccessioning?

Writing on The Nation‘s website, Jon Wiener outlines the tale of how Columbia University stupidly sold a Rembrandt in 1974 that’s now worth multiples of the price it got. Right from the start, though, he generalizes, saying the story “has many lessons, starting with the folly of universities selling art to make money.” But hold on […]

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