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Oops: There’s Bigger News Today From Sotheby’s


William Ruprecht, the CEO, is stepping down, and the board has begun a search for a new chief executive. Obviously, while I was busy here writing about the Georgia O'Keeffe record sale today at Sotheby's, a lot more was happening on York Avenue in NYC. The announcement arrived a short time ago: Ruprecht, who has served as CEO since 2000, will continue as Chairman, President and CEO until his successor is in place to ensure a smooth transition. The Board has formed a Search Committee to oversee the recruiting of a new CEO and has retained … [Read more...]

Sotheby’s Roars Back In American Art

GO'KJimson Weed

Years ago, when I first started covering auctions, Sotheby's always had the best American art sales. Lots of people didn't even bother going to Christie's to look, I recall. But that changed, and for the last several years, as in most categories, Christie's has surpassed Sotheby's in this category, getting the best art and posting the best sales totals.  Not this week. Thanks to three consignments by the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, Sotheby's sale today reached $75.4 million, far exceeding it presale high estimate of $46 million--though that … [Read more...]

Revealed: Roman Hoard, Found In France, Conserved Here


Imagine being a French farmer, plowing your field near a village named Berthouville in rural Normandy; it's 1830. And you hit something, stop and discover the first items in a trove that grew to 90 silver and gilt-silver statuettes and vessels dating to the 3rd century and before. It happened, and now, after four years of conservation work at the Getty Museum, they went on view today at the Getty Villa. Known as the Berthouville Treasure, they appear to be an ancient offering to the Gallo-Roman god Mercury, the museum says. It's the first … [Read more...]

Tomorrow’s Museum Leaders–And A Few Of Today


Whether or not they ever become museum directors, the twelve curators who were named this week as the eighth class of fellows at the Center for Curatorial Leadership* are signalling their ambition. It's a well-rounded group, coming from ten American museums plus two overseas museums--in Denmark and the Netherlands. But before we get to them, let me link to two people who were named museum directors this week (aside fr0m new president of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art Don Bacigalupi): John B. Ravenal (right), modern and contemporary … [Read more...]

Breaking News: Don Bacigalupi Leaving Crystal Bridges


Don Bacigalupi has been president of Crystal Bridges only since February, 2013, but now he is leaving to become the Founding President of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, which George Lucas intend to erect in Chicago. It is not without controversy. The recently released design concept, put forward by MAD Architects, has been criticized. People don't approve of its "space-mountain-like design." Still it has a proposed opening date of 2018. Previously, Bacigalupi was director of Crystal Bridges, and I'm not sure anyone ever understood … [Read more...]

Mass MoCA Closes In On Its Original Promise


"It's really exciting to see a lot of the promise of that project being realized," Michael Govan told me the other day. I was telling him that, tomorrow, the Massachusetts Museum of Contempory Art plans to announce six new partnerships with artists and artists' foundations that will fill 90,000 square feet. That's a huge chunk of the new space being renovated in the expansion that I wrote about in August for The New York Times. Mass MoCA's new partners are big names: James Turrell, Laurie Anderson, Jenny Holzer, plus the Robert Rauschenberg … [Read more...]

Detroit: Time To Put Artists On The Spot?


Supporters of the Detroit Institute of Arts have been celebrating for almost a week now--it was last Friday that the court ruled in favor of the Grand Bargain, which buys freedom for the DIA. But with a catch: the museum still has to raise more than $10 million to reach its $100 million mandated contribution to the deal. And then it must raise about $300 million over the next eight or so years for its endowment, to replace the money it is receiving from the millage tax--which ends after 10 years from its inception. Plus, it always has to … [Read more...]

A Few Differences With the Met Re: Madame Cezanne

MCin aRed Dress

Not me, of course. I haven't seen the exhibit Madame Cezanne, which opens next Wednesday at the Metropolitan Museum*--though you can bet I will get there soon. Seeing  twenty-four of the artist's twenty-nine known portraits of his wife Hortense sounds inviting to me. ...the exhibition explores the profound impact she had on Cézanne's portrait practice. The works on view were painted over a period of more than twenty years, but despite this long liaison, Hortense Fiquet's prevailing presence is often disregarded and frequently diminished in … [Read more...]

Strategic Timing: Christie’s Gallery Announcement


Last week, just as the bellwether fall sales of Impressionist, Modern and contemporary art in New York were about to begin, Christie's announced that it was going deeper into dealer territory. Not with that headline, of course. The press release was titled CHRISTIE’S OPENS NEW ART SPACE IN ROCKEFELLER CENTER, and it said that architect Annabelle Selldorf, whose work can be seen in many NYC commercial galleries as well the renovated Clark Art Institute, had designed the new galleries. There are four of them, plus five private viewing rooms, … [Read more...]

Opening Soon In Tacoma: New Wing, New Collection


Before everyone gets distracted by the opening of the new Harvard Art Museums later this week, let's learn a little about the expansion set to open a day before, on Nov. 15, at the Tacoma Art Museum. I haven't been to Tacoma in about 20 years, and the museum has moved to new quarters since then. Back in 2003, it moved to a $22-million Antoine Predock-designed building. Now it is opening a new wing and entrance to house a collection of Western art donated a few years back. The gift came from a German supermarket mogul, billionaire Erivan … [Read more...]

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