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Picasso Museum: Reopening With What?

Picasso museum in Paris prepares for reopening

"It beggars belief that some urgent "conservation" necessity should have struck all of these modern works at the same time...." That's Michael Daley, the conservation watchdog, opining on the reopening of the Picasso Museum in Paris, which is set for June. When it does readmit the public to the building -- an operation of "restoration, renovation and extension" that began in 2009 and "was far more extensive than the preceding work in terms of both objectives and cost -- it will be completely restructured (pictured at right), raised to new … [Read more...]

Another Find In the Basement!


This time, the basement is in Honolulu, not New Haven or Brooklyn or Denver. According to KITV, the Honolulu Museum of  Art made a discovery when a group of Korean art historians were looking at uncatalogued art works in a vault. They found a Korean ink painting on silk, dating back to 1586. They said this is very important. That's when we knew we came across something special when that happened," recalled [Shawn] Eichman, [the museum's curator].... We found the one that is the gem among gems," said Eichman. "Ten years after painting … [Read more...]

Speed to the Speed For a Discovery


I'm giving you really good news from the Speed Art Museum, because the news from my orthopedist today was really bad. I have to take it easy with my arm, which is getting a new cast on Tuesday, for six weeks. And typing with one hand isn't easy. But the Speed news is a simple story: while the museum is expanding, it has been assessing the condition of works in its collection, planning to repair damage suffered over the years. Looking through a 1998 gift from General Dillman A. Rash and Nancy Baton Rash, which included paintings by Picasso, … [Read more...]

Crystal Bridges Buys A Koons

5-KOONS Hanging  Heart close up

Just in time for Valentine's Day, Crystal Bridges has gone soggy on a sculpture by Jeff Koons -- a Hanging Heart in gold! Measuring about 9 1/2 feet wide, and tied with a magenta stainless steel “ribbon,” the heart is one of five Koons has created, each in a different color. The museum says that he keep this one and sold it directly to Crystal Bridges in 2013. It is now suspended from the ribbed ceiling of one of the museum’s glass-walled bridges. In the press release, Koons said: "Hanging Heart, ultimately, is a symbol of warmth, … [Read more...]

Poor Trade-Off — Bellows To London — But One Bright Side


Of course I have mixed emotions about the sale by Randolph College of its beautiful painting, Men of the Docks, by George Bellows, to raise money for its endowment. Remedying financial mismanagement elsewhere is not what art in museums is supposed to do, especially as this painting was purchased by students for the college in 1920. That part is very sad. But the great news is that the National Gallery in London bought the work and paid $25.5 million, finally adding a major American painting to its collection. As Nicholas Penny, the NG … [Read more...]

The Cost of Poor Care: Multi-millions


When I saw a digital image of the Pontormo portrait of Cosimo I de Medici, which was up for sale at Christie's yesterday, I fell in love with it. It's a beautiful pose, a study in black. But then I heard from art historians about how abraded the surface was -- some said they could not even stand to look at it. And surely, the presale estimate was a giveaway: $300,000 to $500,000 for a Pontormo? It would, some experts said, be worth $30 million to $50 million if it were in good condition. The Metropolitan Museum doesn't even own a Pontormo. … [Read more...]

Rothschild Prayerbook Squeezes Out A New Record, Sort Of


It was just by a sliver. This afternoon at Christie's, when the Rothschild Prayerbook came up for sale, the final price including the premium was $13.605 million. Last time, in 1999, it fetched $13.379 million. Considering that the book was sold in London last time, and therefore in pounds sterling, not dollars as today, the price could be construed as lower now. In pounds sterling, the price last time was £8,581,500 and today it was £8,215,583. I was watching only online, so I could not tell who was bidding -- the buyer was the phone, … [Read more...]

Asking A Lot From Visual Art


Perhaps you read -- yesterday in The Wall Street Journal and today in The New York Times -- about JR's project at the New York City Ballet. The French artist who goes by JR is known for his provocative, open-air photographic installations, and the Ballet commissioned a work from him for the Koch theater as part of The Art Series, which employs visual arts as a way to connect to new audiences. The Art Series is in its second year, and it makes perfect sense since, as Karen Girty, the Ballet's senior director of marketing and media, told the WSJ, … [Read more...]

Don’t Regret Missing “Civilisation” — Not Anymore


I never saw Civilisation. But I -- and you -- can easily access it now on a free website, along with 492 other documentaries about art, and hundreds more about science, history, war, Britain, America and so on. The site is called DocuWatch, and I have no idea how new or old it is. It was called to my attention today by a Facebook friend, and -- considering the snow that is paralyzing much of the Northeast corridor and some other parts of the country, it seemed like to perfect time to share it with RCA readers. Maybe you'll have Wednesday … [Read more...]

Have A Merry, Merry Christmas


At this time of the year, when I take a few days off to celebrate Christmas with my family, I like to leave a painting that captures the moment. This year, it is Botticelli's Mystic Nativity, 1500c. 1475, which is in the collection of the National Gallery, London.* I wish all my readers a very happy Christmastime. * Please see comments below -- I got my Botticelli's mixed up! … [Read more...]

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