Should there be some legislation against the risk that a buyer will effectively or literally destroy a work of art? Particularly one which could be designated a “world treasure”, on a list of the sort that Unesco releases on protected monuments? One that would oblige private owners to make the works accessible within reasonable terms and require them to maintain the work, which could be considered a matter of international interest?
“Third-party guarantees at auction — the art market’s hybrid of a risk hedge and a speculative gamble — are on track to hit an all-time high of around $2.5bn in 2018. … Such deals are now the norm for high-value Impressionist, Modern and contemporary works. But experts warn that third-party guarantees, if misused, may precipitate a crisis.”
The painting of Jesus of Nazareth with John the Baptist — badly deteriorated but perceptible with high-tech photography and potentially restorable — is on the wall of the baptistery in a ruined 5th- or 6th-century Byzantine church. “In contrast to the Western image of Jesus as someone with flowing long hair and, sometimes, a beard, the Shivta painting shows him in the Eastern style with short curly hair, a long face and an elongated nose.”
With a total price of $90.3 million at Christie’s last night, Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) (1972) became the most expensive piece by a living artist ever sold at auction. Even more unusually, “the Hockney painting went to the block without any type of guarantee — almost unheard of in this day and age, when consignors know how to play the big auction houses off against one another.”
“Today, you couldn’t tear down a McKim, Mead & White building. The preservationists wouldn’t let you.” But the firm’s long tenure at the top of the architecture field wasn’t always guaranteed. “They were the Ralph Lauren, the Rolls-Royce of architecture. Then the modern movement started, and boy did they crash. From 1925, when white walls and European modernism began its takeover of architecture, McKim, Mead & White were poison to the profession.”
“I work best on commission. I work best when the situation is the opposite of when someone says ‘Do whatever you want.’ I’m not a fan of that situation. I don’t want. My job is not to want. My job is to be, so it’s a good situation when I can bounce back to other people’s minds, and listen to other people’s thoughts. I love to be proved wrong.”
It’s those features, common in his male nudes and rare in those of his colleagues, that led researchers at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge to be certain that the two “Rothschild Bronzes” were sculpted by Michelangelo — making them the only surviving works in that metal by the Florentine artist.
Demonstrating that conceptual art and masterful trolling can be one and the same, Max Siedentopf says that his installation — which he has titled Please respect our neighbours’ privacy — will “just help visitors to enjoy Tate Modern’s most popular sight a little bit more and up close.”
Nathaniel Kahn’s documentary poses the question “What is the relationship of art to money?” to a handful of prominent figures in the contemporary art world, including richer-than-god Koons, Sotheby’s chairman Amy Cappellazzo, self-styled populist critic Jerry Saltz, and the painter Larry Poons. Their answers, while often brazen, land ambivalently, creating an incomplete portrait of an art world that seems completely resigned to the status quo.
“Chop Suey” was among the marquee collection carefully curated by Seattle-area luxury-travel magnate Barney A. Ebsworth, who had promised in 2007 to give the painting, along with 64 other works, to SAM. But Ebsworth died in April, and about 100 pieces from his collection — including “Chop Suey” — went to Christie’s. On Tuesday, sales from that auction totaled $317.8 million, above Christie’s low estimate of $261 million. The auction continues Wednesday.
Austria has been criticised for moving too slowly to return works looted from Jews in the Nazi era. But now the country is facing criticism for returning a painting too hastily—and to the wrong Jewish family.
The Battel Hall retable is one of the very few pieces of English religious art to have survived the Protestant iconoclasts’ destructive fury in the mid-16th century. Though the scars of centuries of damage are still evident, two years of conservation in Cambridge have restored the original colors and determined an approximate date of creation, circa 1410.
Buoyed by a surging economy, Chinese dealers and collectors have since the mid-2000s been bidding formidable sums for the finest artworks from their country’s past. … [In fact,] with their own market awash with forgeries, the Chinese look to Europe for pieces with ownership histories that guarantee authenticity.”
“[The choice is] Mary Ceruti, who transformed New York’s tiny SculptureCenter into a quiet force in contemporary art. When she reports to work Jan. 28, Ceruti will become only the sixth director of the Walker since 1940, and the third consecutive woman, succeeding Olga Viso, who resigned amid turbulence after the Scaffold controversy.”
The biggest fall in fundraising income was seen at the Tate group of galleries, where the level fell last year by £18.1m (26%) to £51.6m, its lowest since 2011/12. A spokesperson for the gallery group said that the higher levels of income seen several years ago include large amounts of capital raised for the new Tate Modern extension, which opened in 2016, as well as for the expansion of Tate St Ives, which opened last year.
In a strategic effort to reshape the narrative of American art, the Souls Grown Deep Foundation will help five museums acquire paintings, sculptures and works on paper by self-taught African-American artists of the South. These acquisitions bring to 12 the number of museums that have received more than 300 works from the Atlanta-based nonprofit, through gifts and purchase.
In 2007 Barney Ebsworth and other local donors pledged an estimated $1 billion worth of art to celebrate three things: SAM’s big downtown expansion, the Olympic Sculpture Park and SAM’s 75th anniversary. “We’re thrilled,” then-SAM director Mimi Gates told The Seattle Times. Fast-forward 11 years: Ebsworth died in April. This week, nearly 100 works from his collection, including most — or even all — of the 65 promised to SAM, are up for sale in a two-day auction that ends Nov. 14.
“What kind of responsibility should fair organizers have to protect the buyers? It would be discriminatory for a fair to restrict the inclusion of a dealer because of past issues and bad press, but at the same time, buyers will assume that fairs are curated to some extent, and that those selling there have been screened by the organizers … In fact, most fairs charge for galleries to exhibit and sell in them, and so there is a financial disincentive to be choosy about who shows.” Noah Charney considers possible solutions.
In its two years of existence so far, Philadelphia Contemporary has run a very successful program of exhibitions and performances without any single building or address. (Director Harry Philbrick works out of cafés.) Now the organization has announced not only that it’s getting itself a building, but that it has hired the architect of Houston’s new Menil Drawing Center. The problem? No site and no money. Inga Saffron is skeptical.
“It’s strange to write the obvious, which is that ‘the art comes first,’ but it often doesn’t. I’m downright puritanical when it comes to visitor amenities such as restaurants, shops, and introductory video theaters. Lots of this can be distracting junk. Sometimes classrooms are good, but the best classroom is the gallery. I’m skeptical of separate entrances for schoolchildren and other groups because they’re always about processing people and consequently second-rate. Everyone should have the same exciting, art-filled, grand entrance, but preferably not like the Louvre’s, where visitors enter like rats.”
While it may seem incredulous that buyers of a glass-walled luxury apartment would be surprised by onlookers, residents say that the amount of exposure incurred by the museum’s observation deck exceeds reasonable expectations with “near constant surveillance,” according to the filed lawsuit.
Those visitors were dominated by foreign tourists, with more than 60 percent from other countries — topped by India, along with Germany, China, England, the United States and France, according to the new museum. The crowd figures are still small in comparison to the flagship Louvre in Paris, which is lending its brand through a 30-year government accord between the United Arab Emirates and France.
Schnabel, who has a new “course correction” movie (not a biopic, or something) about Van Gogh: “I didn’t think he was failed artist. He was doing exactly what he wanted to do, and success is not measured by sales or money. The reward is making the work, not other people agreeing with you.”
One of the artists says, “A lot of young Aboriginal men fought for this country, travelled overseas and never came home. Even those who did weren’t treated with dignity and respect in Australia at the time. Their stories remain hidden, camouflaged in history.” He and other Aboriginal artists are trying to change that.
As the painter approaches the end of her working life, her family keeps her enterprise afloat – and now seems the right time for it. “The horror of her work, unfashionable for so long due to its painterly naturalism, seems appropriate now, as truths about the female experience are being peeled back, and a return to figurative painting has seen artists use the body to discuss, among other things, the sexist politics of art.”
Dirk Hannema, who was the top museum official in the Nazi shadow government, helped the Nazis by buying art from a “clearinghouse” the Nazis set up. The info isn’t new, but “the details of his collaboration are being revisited these days as part of a sweeping review by Dutch museums of their war-era record.”
Where is The Portrait of Mlle. Gabrielle Diot? A German dealer may know, but he’s not talking – and the family says that the German government isn’t doing nearly enough to help.
The drawing had been in a private French collection, and before the sale of Salvator Mundi was expected to go for 11 million euros. Now? Buyers have already offered more than 15 million euros – but it could go for more at auction.
“I’ve done about all the public art I think I really want to do,” the 63-year-old South Side artist reiterated in a phone interview Sunday evening from the Bronzeville studio where he has continued to work even as prices for his paintings have climbed into the stratosphere. “The work I do now, I want to be less accommodating and less compromising … There’s too many contingencies that go with public art, and there are more compromises than I think I’m going to be willing to make from here on out.”
The people depicted in Rockwell’s famous series of paintings — as per the expectations of the time and the artist’s own lived experience — were almost all lily-white New Englanders. Reporter Laura M. Holson talks with artists who are restaging those images, often with the cooperation of the Rockwell Museum, with a more variegated cast of characters.