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Very Sad Breaking News

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I just received an email saying that Michael Rush, the founding director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University, had died after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer. Rush was also, of course, the director of the Rose Museum at Brandeis University when the president and trustees there tried to sell off its collection in 2009. Because he opposed that idea, Rush's contact was not renewed. Today's statement from MSU continued: “On behalf of the MSU community, I would like to express my deepest condolences to … [Read more...]

Menil Collection Starts Drawing Center

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Nearly 40 years after the creation of The Drawing Center in New York, the Menil Collection in Houston has broken ground on The Menil Drawing Institute (pictured below)--and I haven't seen any national publicity. Could it be that the subject is "drawings?" Not very sexy to most editors. It will be interesting to watch the Menil's trajectory. The two, New York and Houston, are a little different, as follows: The Drawing Center is the only fine arts institution in the U.S. to focus solely on the exhibition of drawings, both historical and … [Read more...]

Crystal Bridges Reshuffles PostWar Galleries With 2014 Acquisitions

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The postwar and contemporary art galleries at the Crystal Bridges Museum have always been the weakest part of the collection, but steadily the museum has been filling out the collection. Sixteen acquisitions in this category, all made in 2014, were announced on Friday--I broke the news Thursday evening in a small item in The New York Times (scroll down; it's the last of four items)--valued at about $20 million. The works include Robert Rauschenberg's The Tower and three paintings and two works on paper by Helen Frankenthaler, including Seven … [Read more...]

Exhibitions To See This Spring

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As usual for the past few years, I also compiled a list of about 30 exhibitions at museums around the country that are on view now or will be on view this spring and summer for The New York Times's Museums special section. That's not so easy. I look at hundreds of exhibition descriptions and images, and I strive to choose a balance to appeal to many tastes. So there's always a mix of Old Masters (though few this year), 19th Century European, American, Asian and modern and contemporary art. Sometime I throw in a manuscript exhibit if there's … [Read more...]

What’s Up With The Met’s Lauder Center?

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That was the question on my mind when I proposed a story on it for the annual New York Times special section on museums, which was part of today's paper. The result is headlined A Gift That Could Rewrite Art History in the paper (it's different--and too "newsy" a headline on the web--bt that's journalism today. Interestingly, the Times usually shows the writer the print head, but not the web head). In any case, here's the link to the article. The Lauder Research Center for Modern Art has an enviable $22 million endowment of its own and is … [Read more...]

It’s Official: A New Director For National Gallery

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As I predicted here on Jan. 4, the National Gallery in London has chosen Gabriele Finaldi to succeed Nicholas Penny. The NG made the announcement this morning, saying: Dr Finaldi will take up his new position 17 August 2015. Current Director, Dr Nicholas Penny announced his retirement in summer 2014. Dr Finaldi, a British citizen, is currently Deputy Director for Collections and Research at the Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid where he has been since 2002. He was formerly a Curator at the National Gallery, London between 1992 and 2002 where … [Read more...]

Why Otis Kaye?

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Last week, The Wall Street Journal published my review of a little show up at the New Britain Museum of American Art: paintings by Otis Kaye. Kaye (1885-1974) is not very well known--in fact, that's how I began my review. I commend the New Britain museum for taking the show, which was organized, oddly enough, by James M. Bradburne, the departing director of the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence. Bradburne had learned of Kaye when the Palazzo Strozzi presented Art and Illusion, a survey of trompe l'oeil from antiquity to the present, in 2009 (which … [Read more...]

Bouvier Shenanigans, Chapter Two: Steve Cohen

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When I cited that article in Le Temps, a newspaper in Geneva, to identify the buyer of Leonardo's Salvator Mundi (Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev), I hadn't read far enough: Yves Bouvier (pictured), the broker-dealer who sold the Leonardo to Rybolovlev--allegedly committing fraud (which his lawyer denies)--also may have used the same tactic when he sold a Modigliani nude owned by Steve Cohen to the Russian. Here's how it worked, supposedly: Rybolovlev paid Bouvier $118 million for the Modigliani, but Cohen received $93.5 million for … [Read more...]

Buyer of Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi Identified–UPDATED

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Along with, supposedly, the final price tag. He is Russian billionaire Dmitri Rybolovlev and he is said to have bought the painting for $127 million. When I last left this subject, in November, 2013, I said that the painting has been sold to a private collector in Europe.  In March, 2014, the New York Times picked up the sale and put the price tag at around $75- to $80 million. Now a lawsuit filed in Monaco says that Rybolovlev bought the work in May 2103, through Swiss dealer and free-port king Yves Bouvier. Rybolovlev is suing Bouvier, … [Read more...]

Breaking: Met Names New President

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The Met's board of trustees this afternoon anointed Daniel H. Weiss, who is 57, as president, succeeding Emily K. Rafferty, who is retiring as of Mar. 31. He has a tough act to follow, and he will undoubtedly bring different skills to the job. For one thing, he is an "accomplished art historian" who is currently president of Haverford College. That will change the dynamic between the president and the director, Thomas P. Campbell. Rafferty always assiduously avoided commenting on matters about art--even though she spent some 40 years at the … [Read more...]

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