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Originally posted by wine+art:
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Originally posted by billhike:
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Originally posted by wine+art:
No trip to Chicago is ever complete without a visit to the greatness of The Art Institute of Chicago.

Greatness, once again.

It's an ok place - a few interesting pieces. Wink


In my personal Top 10 for the USA.


And a walk along Canyon Road is not chopped liver!
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Originally posted by Board-O:
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Originally posted by wine+art:
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Originally posted by billhike:
quote:
Originally posted by wine+art:
No trip to Chicago is ever complete without a visit to the greatness of The Art Institute of Chicago.

Greatness, once again.

It's an ok place - a few interesting pieces. Wink


In my personal Top 10 for the USA.


And a walk along Canyon Road is not chopped liver!


Indeed. Don't overlook the Railyard district as well on your next visit.
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Originally posted by wine+art:
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Originally posted by billhike:
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Originally posted by wine+art:
No trip to Chicago is ever complete without a visit to the greatness of The Art Institute of Chicago.

Greatness, once again.

It's an ok place - a few interesting pieces. Wink


In my personal Top 10 for the USA.

For art museums--Top 3.
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Originally posted by The Old Man:
quote:
Originally posted by wine+art:
quote:
Originally posted by billhike:
quote:
Originally posted by wine+art:
No trip to Chicago is ever complete without a visit to the greatness of The Art Institute of Chicago.

Greatness, once again.

It's an ok place - a few interesting pieces. Wink


In my personal Top 10 for the USA.

For art museums--Top 3.


And your Top 5, are?
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Originally posted by fcs:
I implore all of you who have any interest in art, collecting, and understanding the way big art galleries operate, to buy this book!!

Published last year, the data and information gathered is recent and intriguing.

Trying to get this guy to do a book talk, need to work my connections!

https://www.amazon.com/Selling...olving/dp/1621534626


Thanks fcs, just ordered for delivery tomorrow.

Also just emailed you an iPhone picture of a piece we bought recently.
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Originally posted by wine+art:
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Originally posted by KSC02:
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Originally posted by Jabe11:
I'm not sure if this is breaking news here...huge haul of works in Munich...German police recover 1,500 modernist masterpieces 'looted by Nazis'

I wonder what will emerge. German police apparently kept the find secret for two years, over concerns of restitution, claims and diplomatic issues.

I sincerely wish the best to the ancestors of the true owners of these works and that they are able to successfully reclaim what is theirs. Be damned those that supported this blatant thievry.


+1.

Not only what was stolen by these thugs, but so many pieces were burned being tagged as degenerate art that can never be returned to their owner or their family.

The Swiss are dirty in all this cover-up as well.


We watched the Woman in Gold tonight and it got me to thinking about this. I admit i didn't do a lot of research but the only relavent article I could find (from Jan '16) Few Answers... is very disturbing. Basically, what one can surmise is 'they' generally got away with the looting.

w+a, you are a very keen participant in the art world. Are there any recent developments regarding restitution, pending litigation or, at the very least, displays of these works? Any other recent cases that found a similar fate, or have had a happier ending?
Spent the afternoon wandering in future, a collection of art, dance, music, sculpture and other installations spread over the 14 acres that make up the West Island of Ontario Place. Those who grew up in the area will remember this as the home of the Cinesphere, Wilderness Log Ride, and silos depicting northern Ontario. Time has taken its toll on the place. Crumbling buildings are rusted and overgrown, concrete channels that once guided faux log boats are collapsing and play spaces that used to be filled with screaming kids are empty and dark. This quasi-dystopian setting was perfect for a multi-layered art exhibition and for those who have a chance, it's definitely worth a wander. On 'til Sept 25th. Added bonus: the entire venue is licensed and if you're willing to pony up $8.50 for a beer, you can meander around the island with it. (I know that sounds sounds crazy to those outside Ontario, but this is a huge step forward for the KGBO).
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Originally posted by Italian Wino:
Saw DaVinci's Lady with an Ermine on exhibit in a castle in Poland last week. A Very important rare painting and it was a pleasure to finally see it.

IW


There are just so few paintings by this master and always special when you get to view one in person. This painting is generally accepted as one of his although there are still experts who differ.
We'll be spending this afternoon at the Pompidou for the extensive Magritte exhibition. Smile

My interest has also been piqued by an exhibit that will open today entitled Polyphonies, described as "the voice as a shapable material, involving the human body in its relationship with sound and space." They do some innovative work at the Pompidou; can hardly wait to see-- or hear-- what this is about.
We are looking forward to an afternoon and evening of art galleries here in Berlin before heading to London.

We will get a private viewing at Sexauer before their show opening on the 26th. We then will visit 5 other galleries with our tour host who is also a critic for the local newspaper.

We are excited to see both emerging artist as well as mid-career and established artist today. For D and me, the local art scene gives us much insight to the current vibe of any city.
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Originally posted by wine+art:
I never expected to see a Raphael in Dresden.

Wow!


Without googling the painting, I can say the two cherubs looking skywards, in the painting you must be speaking of, is an incredibly iconic image. It is so prevalent on tourist items in Italy, I was surprised when I first found out the painting was in Dresden.
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Originally posted by Seaquam:
We'll be spending this afternoon at the Pompidou for the extensive Magritte exhibition. Smile

My interest has also been piqued by an exhibit that will open today entitled Polyphonies, described as "the voice as a shapable material, involving the human body in its relationship with sound and space." They do some innovative work at the Pompidou; can hardly wait to see-- or hear-- what this is about.

Seaquam, enjoy, and please let us know if it's worth seeing.
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Originally posted by VinT:
quote:
Originally posted by Seaquam:
We'll be spending this afternoon at the Pompidou for the extensive Magritte exhibition. Smile

My interest has also been piqued by an exhibit that will open today entitled Polyphonies, described as "the voice as a shapable material, involving the human body in its relationship with sound and space." They do some innovative work at the Pompidou; can hardly wait to see-- or hear-- what this is about.


Seaquam, enjoy, and please let us know if it's worth seeing.



Yes, absolutely worth viewing the Magritte exhibit! It shows some of the different motifs in his work and arranges them chronologically. One thing that surprised me was the size of some of his famous works-- I had assumed them to be large canvasses, given the "size" of his impact on surrealism, but they were actually fairly small. I really enjoyed the wit he displayed, as well as the expected innovation. I would love to have been able to spend an evening with the artist, hearing him discuss his motivations and experiences firsthand. You and C. will enjoy it, and no doubt talk about it for a while afterwards, perhaps in the very nice bar at the top of the Pompidou which I didn't know about until we went up there for the first time. Great views of Paris, too. Smile

The Polyphonies exhibit unfortunately was not ready, despite Oct. 19th being its announced opening day. We watched some of the sound engineers working on the exhibits, and it does look interesting. I hope you'll be able to tell me what it was like, especially one room with music stands and large 'rocks' placed on a big white gravel surface (at least that what it looked like from a distance). I'm assuming there will be specific music, or perhaps other sounds, to accompany this. I'd be interested to know what the audio portion is like, but not interested enough to go back.

The permanent collection at this museum is always worth enjoying as well, if you like contemporary art. In addition, something we hadn't expected is a current exhibit called "Kollektsia" which is a large display of contemporary Russian/USSR art from around 1950-2000, with some very interesting pieces, some utilizing unusual media, highly entertaining and informative.
We went to a museum new to me, Jacquemart-André Museum on Boulevard Haussmann, to see a fairly extensive Rembrandt exhibit.

The museum is a fantastic mansion, fully restored and very beautiful, in a commercial part of Paris. I was more intrigued by this magnificent property than by the Rembrandts. I think it's actually worth going to see this building no matter what the current exhibit may be. It's very easy to imagine what life would have been like for the exceedingly wealthy (this was originally the home to a banking family) a couple of centuries ago. Even the furnishings-- many original, others acquired and restored-- are fabulous.
Yesterday we went to see the Bernard Buffet exhibition at the Musée d'Art Moderne in the Palais de Tokyo.

We love the venue so we were going there anyway; I hadn't heard of Bernard Buffet previously, but am very glad we were introduced to his work-- powerful and primitive; some pieces were disturbing, others even more disturbing, his work is mainly bleak and challenging, with motifs that lean to death and mythology. His work is not easily forgettable once seen.

This show is on until Feb. 2017. Highly recommended. And the permanent displays in this incredible space should also be enjoyed; many impressive pieces from great artists, displayed in a unique and very beautiful setting.
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Originally posted by Seaquam:
Yesterday we went to see the Bernard Buffet exhibition at the Musée d'Art Moderne in the Palais de Tokyo.

We love the venue so we were going there anyway; I hadn't heard of Bernard Buffet previously, but am very glad we were introduced to his work-- powerful and primitive; some pieces were disturbing, others even more disturbing, his work is mainly bleak and challenging, with motifs that lean to death and mythology. His work is not easily forgettable once seen.

This show is on until Feb. 2017. Highly recommended. And the permanent displays in this incredible space should also be enjoyed; many impressive pieces from great artists, displayed in a unique and very beautiful setting.


Sea, I love BB's work. I have made serious bids on his work twice now but unfortunately came up empty.

I'm confident we will secure one of his works though. We should have pulled the trigger prior to his death. He was a brilliant printmaker.

I'm glad you enjoyed his art.
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Originally posted by Italian Wino:
If you live close to Baltimore, there is an exhibit of Matisse and Diebenkorn at the Baltimore Museum of Art. I love Richard's work and wish I lived closer to Baltimore. While the two artists never met each other the influence that Matisse had on Richard's work is very obvious.


IW, the exhibit will be in San Francisco next. A viewing then off to the wine country might be in order. Wink

Diebenkorn was also heavily influenced by Hopper early in his career which is obvious in much of his work as well.
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Originally posted by wine+art:
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Originally posted by Italian Wino:
If you live close to Baltimore, there is an exhibit of Matisse and Diebenkorn at the Baltimore Museum of Art. I love Richard's work and wish I lived closer to Baltimore. While the two artists never met each other the influence that Matisse had on Richard's work is very obvious.


IW, the exhibit will be in San Francisco next. A viewing then off to the wine country might be in order. Wink

Diebenkorn was also heavily influenced by Hopper early in his career which is obvious in much of his work as well.


I presume you saw the piece about this on Sunday Morning yesterday?
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Originally posted by bman:
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Originally posted by wine+art:
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Originally posted by Italian Wino:
If you live close to Baltimore, there is an exhibit of Matisse and Diebenkorn at the Baltimore Museum of Art. I love Richard's work and wish I lived closer to Baltimore. While the two artists never met each other the influence that Matisse had on Richard's work is very obvious.


IW, the exhibit will be in San Francisco next. A viewing then off to the wine country might be in order. Wink

Diebenkorn was also heavily influenced by Hopper early in his career which is obvious in much of his work as well.


I presume you saw the piece about this on Sunday Morning yesterday?


I recorded the program but have yet to watch.
We went to the Picasso,Rivera exhibit at the LACMA yesterday...excellent, very nicely done.

Had fun with my kids in the John McLaughlin rooms, I asked them to each pick a painting, then tell me an idea or a feeling they get looking at it.

Found their lone Frida, and a portrait of her by Diego.

The LACMA is a world class art museum. We bought a yearly membership to motivate us to go again.
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Originally posted by wine+art:
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Originally posted by Jabe11:


Found their lone Frida, and a portrait of her by Diego.



Only one Rivera and Kahlo? Frown


It's all about expectations. We weren't planning on seeing any Frida paintings. It was only when I realized the breadth and depth of the collection that I thought to search their online archive. So, yes, only one Frida, and we were quite excited to see this smallish, minor work. We are going to plan a trip to Mexico City one of these days, mainly to go to Casa Azul and the Dolores Olmedo.

Rivera, on the other had, was very well represented, maybe two dozen paintings, along with sketches, posters. In the exhibit, there were contemporary works by him and Pablo side by side, in similar styles, sometimes even the same year, punctuated by indigenous Meso-American art/artifacts.

Diego's portrait of Frida was not included in the exhibit, but left in the Art of the Americas building, along with several other of his works. There was a new artist I was turned into in this building, Rufino Tamayo.

The Diego/Rivera exhibit is on til May....you should go if your going to be in SoCal. I know you'd enjoy it. You can swing down afterward for an offline with the SD crew Smile
An article in the NYT about how the Metropolitan Museum of Art is in serious decline is disturbing. The Met is one of the greatest museums in the world.

The Met is $40M in debt, have already downsized their payroll and put on hold their expansion plans which would have been dedicated to both Modern and Contemporary art which is clearly needed.

I would not be surprised to see major changes at the top and selling off items in their vast collection to rebalance their books.

I also think the Met must identify where they fit in the world of art going forward for the next 50-100 years as the landscape of art museums looks uniquely different than it did even 20 years ago, both in America and the world.
And yet I heard from a reliable source that they spent (or are currently spending - I'm not sure if it has launched yet) in the neighbourhood of $700K on a new website.

A big mandate for museums and galleries these days is accessibility: not only programming that appeals to a wider audience beyond the core "cultural believer" (which means balancing education with entertainment), but also access to the collection outside the physical museum space (online digital archives).
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Originally posted by sunnylea57:
And yet I heard from a reliable source that they spent (or are currently spending - I'm not sure if it has launched yet) in the neighbourhood of $700K on a new website.

A big mandate for museums and galleries these days is accessibility: not only programming that appeals to a wider audience beyond the core "cultural believer" (which means balancing education with entertainment), but also access to the collection outside the physical museum space (online digital archives).


Also, VR & AR.
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Originally posted by wine+art:
Jeff Koons loses plagiarism lawsuit in France.

Richard Prince, take notice!



Hard to believe that an artist of Koons's stature, with the prices his sculptures command, would copy others' works. And yet this isn't the first time he's been found guilty of copyright infringement.

I wonder whether this is a case of all publicity is good publicity; these incidents don't seem to have negatively affected his reputation much at all.
Jean Michel Basquiat work sells for over $110M this week as New York continues to be the center of the art world.

With the exception of 2009 the bull market continues now for 20 years as Contemporary Art remains the star and fashion art (see Hirst) continues to struggle for survival.

The art world still revolves around the genius of Picasso ( billions a year) and Warhol remains uber important.

Art is history and history continues to drive the art market.
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Originally posted by wine+art:
Jean Michel Basquiat work sells for over $110M

I saw this as a news alert yesterday. I noted it only because Metallica's Lars Ulrich had previously owned and sold some Basquiat works, and I was wondering if he made this sale - it would have likely doubled his career earnings as a musician! Eek
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Originally posted by billhike:
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Originally posted by wine+art:
Jean Michel Basquiat work sells for over $110M

I saw this as a news alert yesterday. I noted it only because Metallica's Lars Ulrich had previously owned and sold some Basquiat works, and I was wondering if he made this sale - it would have likely doubled his career earnings as a musician! Eek


I know he sold The Boxer maybe 10 years ago for for $15M (?). The market continues to explode for Basquiat as there are just so precious few which happens when you die in your 20's.

Modigliani"s work is also so very limited due to his early death and his time spent sculpting.
Gotta' say: I'm an interested observer, but I can't claim to understand it. I've genuinely fallen in love with Clyfford Still, since his museum was placed in Denver. That I get, but when I look at "Irony of Negro Policeman" or "God, Law," it seriously looks like something I'd expect from a 2nd-grader. It's listed as "abstract art." Really? What's abstract about that?

Confused
stick, always good to see you posting.

Think of JMB as you might as a person in your profession, meaning the more you understand music at its most basic form, the more you appreciate their work.

I have always thought of JMB as a neo-expressionist artist or even an American Die Neue Wilden styled artist. When dealing with concepts of fear, politics, oppression and sexuality often the most basic and even primitive forms of art offers a raw experience by stripping away known or expected visuals.
mrs bman and I visited the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts yesterday and saw Chagall Colour (note correct spelling) and Music. They were letting too many people into the exhibit which made it tough to move around and see the pieces. I wasn't aware that Chagall had done so much more than paint, such as set and costume design, stained and painted glass and puppets.

While we were there we also saw two other exhibits:

-Wedding Bliss for All à la Jean Paul Gaultier, a number of way-out-there wedding dresses, which was very interesting, and

-MNEMOSYNE When Contemporary Art and the Art of the Past Meet which had a couple of very cool pieces but most of which left us cold
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Originally posted by bman:
mrs bman and I visited the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts yesterday and saw Chagall Colour (note correct spelling) and Music. They were letting too many people into the exhibit which made it tough to move around and see the pieces. I wasn't aware that Chagall had done so much more than paint, such as set and costume design, stained and painted glass and puppets.




Bman, Chagall's stained glass can be stunning. We have certainly not seen all of it, but 2 unforgettable examples are in the Cathedral in Reims, Champagne, and my favourite-- "The America Windows" in the Chicago Art Institute. I must have stood in front of the latter for almost half an hour; I was mesmerized by the content and the beautifully back-lit deep blue colour (my wife gave up on me and left, so I had to try to find her later in that massive museum; it was worth the little dispute we had afterwards Smile.) Next time you're in Chicago, I highly recommend seeing this.
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Originally posted by Seaquam:
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Originally posted by bman:
mrs bman and I visited the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts yesterday and saw Chagall Colour (note correct spelling) and Music. They were letting too many people into the exhibit which made it tough to move around and see the pieces. I wasn't aware that Chagall had done so much more than paint, such as set and costume design, stained and painted glass and puppets.




Bman, Chagall's stained glass can be stunning. We have certainly not seen all of it, but 2 unforgettable examples are in the Cathedral in Reims, Champagne, and my favourite-- "The America Windows" in the Chicago Art Institute. I must have stood in front of the latter for almost half an hour; I was mesmerized by the content and the beautifully back-lit deep blue colour (my wife gave up on me and left, so I had to try to find her later in that massive museum; it was worth the little dispute we had afterwards Smile.) Next time you're in Chicago, I highly recommend seeing this.


Thanks, SeaQ. I cannot imagine your wife ever being angry with you about anything though, she is the sunniest person I've ever met! Or were you made at her? (you're a pretty sunny guy yourself so still hard to imagine.....)

Not sure when we will be in Chicago next though, mrs bman seems to feel that she has seen and done it sufficiently for the foreseeable future. It might take some kind of wine event to persuade her otherwise!

Never been to Reims but now that her love of champagne has begun to change my lack of love for same, perhaps we will go there one of these days!
Gustav Klimt was little more than a footnote in an undergraduate art course, but after my trip to Vienna last month, he has vaulted to my top ten list -- not that he cares much. Standing before his Beethoven Frieze, perhaps like Seaquam viewing Chagall in Chicago, I lost track of time, pondering the work in its historical context as other tourists came and went. And to think, it was meant as a temporary display that was almost discarded.
quote:
Originally posted by Javachip:
Gustav Klimt was little more than a footnote in an undergraduate art course, but after my trip to Vienna last month, he has vaulted to my top ten list -- not that he cares much. Standing before his Beethoven Frieze, perhaps like Seaquam viewing Chagall in Chicago, I lost track of time, pondering the work in its historical context as other tourists came and went. And to think, it was meant as a temporary display that was almost discarded.

This was a great show: Gustav Klimt: Five Paintings from the Collection of Ferdinand and Adele Bloch-Bauer.
These were the ones returned to the family in LA that were stolen by the Nazis during WWII.
quote:
Originally posted by Seaquam:
Bman, Chagall's stained glass can be stunning. We have certainly not seen all of it, but 2 unforgettable examples are in the Cathedral in Reims, Champagne, and my favourite-- "The America Windows" in the Chicago Art Institute. I must have stood in front of the latter for almost half an hour; I was mesmerized by the content and the beautifully back-lit deep blue colour (my wife gave up on me and left, so I had to try to find her later in that massive museum; it was worth the little dispute we had afterwards Smile.) Next time you're in Chicago, I highly recommend seeing this.

Seaq, did you have a chance to walk past Chagall's public mosaic artwork in the Chase Bank Plaza in Chicago?
Chagall's The Four Seasons

VM
quote:
Originally posted by Vino Me:
quote:
Originally posted by Seaquam:
Bman, Chagall's stained glass can be stunning. We have certainly not seen all of it, but 2 unforgettable examples are in the Cathedral in Reims, Champagne, and my favourite-- "The America Windows" in the Chicago Art Institute. I must have stood in front of the latter for almost half an hour; I was mesmerized by the content and the beautifully back-lit deep blue colour (my wife gave up on me and left, so I had to try to find her later in that massive museum; it was worth the little dispute we had afterwards Smile.) Next time you're in Chicago, I highly recommend seeing this.

Seaq, did you have a chance to walk past Chagall's public mosaic artwork in the Chase Bank Plaza in Chicago?
Chagall's The Four Seasons

VM


VM, I did not know about it until I read your post. We're thinking of a possible Detroit-Chicago-Boston trip next year. Perhaps you'd be able to show it to me. I'll buy lunch.
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Originally posted by Italian Wino:
David R. collection is breathtaking. This auction will be one for the history books.

Here is a link.

https://www.google.com/aclk?sa...X9CBVQQ0QwIJA&adurl=


IW, much of his collection has never been seen by the public. He bought directly from artist early in his life and many works just were never seen.

With his mother founding MoMA and later him becoming their chairman, he had such a keen eye.

Known as The Ruler of the World ( which he hated) he and Peggy did decided that the proceeds of this auction will be divided among several charities which will be so beneficial for decades to come.

I would love to own/buy the catalog for this auction taking place next year.
Who said this? I am a big fan of this artists work.


According to (---------), an object could only legitimately be considered art if it was an unadulterated, outward manifestation of the artist’s psyche—of his or her authentic thoughts and feelings. Despite the theoretical underpinnings of his work, (---------) believed that theory came after, not before, true artistic creation.

He felt that the expression of one’s inner reality was crucial to achieve moral integrity. Anything less would not only undermine one’s artistic merit, but it would also be spiritually harmful to the artist. Furthermore, true artists should be prepared to be misunderstood throughout their lifetimes.

IW
I wish I could find this at a garage sale.....

An Arizona auction house announced the potential discovery of a Jackson Pollock painting, which was uncovered in a local homeowner’s garage.
(via the Arizona Republic)



The Sun City, Arizona, resident first called Josh Levine, owner and founder of J. Levine Auction & Appraisal LLC, about a collection of sports memorabilia signed by basketball star Kobe Bryant. But when Levine visited the home, he also found a chest of artworks—including one that seemed to be an iconic Pollock drip painting. (Others appeared to be the work of artists Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski, and Cora Kelley Ward.) To determine if it was genuine, Levine said he spent more than $50,000 to trace the work’s provenance. Investigators determined that the homeowner’s sister, Jenifer Gordon, was a friend of both art critic Clement Greenberg and collector Peggy Guggenheim. A forensics report also proved that no paint had been added to the work after the artist’s death. “I'm brave enough to call it a Jackson Pollock and put my entire reputation on it,” Levine said, though no art historian has yet weighed in. The question remains if collectors will buy the backstory when the work goes up for auction on June 20th; Levine estimates it will sell for at least $10 million.
quote:
Originally posted by Italian Wino:
I wish I could find this at a garage sale.....

An Arizona auction house announced the potential discovery of a Jackson Pollock painting, which was uncovered in a local homeowner’s garage.
(via the Arizona Republic)



The Sun City, Arizona, resident first called Josh Levine, owner and founder of J. Levine Auction & Appraisal LLC, about a collection of sports memorabilia signed by basketball star Kobe Bryant. But when Levine visited the home, he also found a chest of artworks—including one that seemed to be an iconic Pollock drip painting. (Others appeared to be the work of artists Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski, and Cora Kelley Ward.) To determine if it was genuine, Levine said he spent more than $50,000 to trace the work’s provenance. Investigators determined that the homeowner’s sister, Jenifer Gordon, was a friend of both art critic Clement Greenberg and collector Peggy Guggenheim. A forensics report also proved that no paint had been added to the work after the artist’s death. “I'm brave enough to call it a Jackson Pollock and put my entire reputation on it,” Levine said, though no art historian has yet weighed in. The question remains if collectors will buy the backstory when the work goes up for auction on June 20th; Levine estimates it will sell for at least $10 million.


Reminds me of all the Picasso works that surfaced decades after his death that families had owned.
New records for Kandinsky....

£33 Million Kandinsky Breaks Record at Sotheby’s


01 Solid Impressionist and Modern sales at Sotheby’s London saw the auction record for Wassily Kandinsky’s work broken twice in one night.
(via Sotheby’s)



Kandinsky’s Murnau – Landschaft mit grünem Haus (1909) sold for £21 million (with fees), setting a new record for the artist. It stood for all of six lots until Kandinsky’s Bild mit weissen Linien (1913) went for £33 million with fees. By the end of the night, the sale had brought in £127.9 million, falling squarely within its estimate of £110.6 million to £142.6 million. The sell-through rate of 73.9% was, however, less impressive, and a special sale of small works titled “Actual Size” didn’t meet its low estimate and notched only a 65% sell-through rate. The house’s day sale drew in £19.6 million on a sell-through rate of 73.8%, falling between the estimates of £17.6 million to £25.7 million. While last year’s sale boasted a slightly higher total of £20 million, it also featured a higher number of lots overall: 277 lots in 2016 to 210 lots this year. After announcing the cancellation of its June contemporary auctions in London earlier this year, Christie’s will hold its Modern and Impressionist sale next week.

IW
OUCH.....

$12 million in paintings, including works by Frank Stella and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, have been stolen from a Queens storage facility.
(via NY Daily News)



William Pordy, a 62-year-old retired doctor and entrepreneur living in Manhattan, discovered on June 1st that 22 works of art were stolen from his Queens storage unit. Thieves had cut the lock on Pordy’s locker and cleared out its contents, leaving behind the cardboard boxes that once held the works and replacing the broken lock on their way out to evade detection. Examination of the facility’s records by police revealed that the theft occurred on December 30, 2016—two months after Pordy last reported visiting the unit. Investigators have compiled a list of the stolen works and are currently monitoring for attempts by the thieves to resell them.

If I had artwork like this I would be keeping it in a more secure environment. An unattended locker is nuts.

IW
quote:
Originally posted by Italian Wino:
OUCH.....

$12 million in paintings, including works by Frank Stella and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, have been stolen from a Queens storage facility.
(via NY Daily News)



William Pordy, a 62-year-old retired doctor and entrepreneur living in Manhattan, discovered on June 1st that 22 works of art were stolen from his Queens storage unit. Thieves had cut the lock on Pordy’s locker and cleared out its contents, leaving behind the cardboard boxes that once held the works and replacing the broken lock on their way out to evade detection. Examination of the facility’s records by police revealed that the theft occurred on December 30, 2016—two months after Pordy last reported visiting the unit. Investigators have compiled a list of the stolen works and are currently monitoring for attempts by the thieves to resell them.

If I had artwork like this I would be keeping it in a more secure environment. An unattended locker is nuts.

IW


I"ve seen where Ken Thompson kept his excess art and while it is on a MUCH larger scale, it's also not a lot different, a full floor of an office building in base building condition (raw concrete, no ceiling etc.) with millions of dollars worth of paintings stacked against the walls...
I witnessed first hand the power of a live auction here in Santa Fe Friday night.

D and I toured the pre-auction works for the charity event twice before the day of the auction, picked a work we loved and agreed just how high we would go during the bidding and we even shook on it! Well, a little Champagne, male testosterone and a some guy from Chicago waving his number in the air like a wild man and the next thing you know, budget be damned! I want to win! We men are such an easy target. Frown

So, we now have a new painting scheduled for delivery in the coming weeks.

Oh, someone got an absolute steal of a Ed Ruscha work for under $35K. Cool
A very interesting article.

Cases That Explain Why Restituting Nazi Looted Art Is So Difficult

ARTSY EDITORIAL
BY ISAAC KAPLAN
JUL 5TH, 2017 8:30 PM
Few issues appear as ethically clear-cut and yet persistently intractable as the restitution of art looted during the Second World War. For many lay observers, the answer to the problem of what to do with work taken from Jews by the Nazis is straightforward: give it back. But as numerous cases have shown, the legalities are not so simple. Litigation brought by heirs seeking the return of works by artists like Picasso and Van Gogh from museums and even national governments has trudged on in court for decades—and has been met with varying levels of success.

Art lawyer Nicholas M. O’Donnell, a specialist in holocaust restitution litigation, has laid out an exhaustive history of these cases in his book, A Tragic Fate: Law and Ethics in the Battle over Nazi-Looted Art. The product of painstaking legal research, the book traces the history of this looted art litigation from the immediate post-war years to the present day, looking at how courts grapple with major ethical questions. It is a must-read for anyone interested understanding why the historic wrongs of the holocaust have not yet been put right under the law.

Ultimately, O’Donnell didn’t emerge from his research cynical about the prospect of righting the historical wrongs. “I look at it as a very pitched battle between very smart and sophisticated people without which the debate about what to do with this art would cease,” he said. Below are three of the many cases included in his book that exemplify why these restitution battles can last decades.

One of the earliest cases to bring the issue of Nazi looted art to the fore, the legal battle over Egon Schiele’s Portrait of Wally (1912) speaks to how lawsuits are not inherently inevitable but can be the result of one party (or sometimes both) refusing to work towards an equitable solution.

The Schiele painting belonged to Jewish art dealer Lea Bondi Jaray, who had her gallery Aryanized prior to escaping to London. She sold the painting to a Nazi, Friedrich Welz, who had expressed an interest in the work. After the war ended, the allied forces returned the piece to the Austrian authorities. This was standard practice: rather than return work to each heir, the allies decided give the paintings back to the rightful governments (which often were still anti-Semitic) for ultimate restitution. In this case, the Austrians returned the Schiele painting to the wrong owners.

In 1953, Bondi, who survived, asked a Schiele expert named Dr. Rudolf Leopold where her stolen work ended up. Leopold told her it was in the Galerie Belvedere but that it would be impossible to retrieve and that the Belvedere would never part with it. However, Leopold turned around and acquired Portrait of Wally from the gallery in exchange for other works.

The case heated up when Leopold loaned the Schiele, through his private museum, to the Museum of Modern Art in New York for a 1997 exhibition of a portion of his collection. Shortly after the piece arrived in the United States, the District Attorney of Manhattan—not the Bondis—moved to have the painting seized as stolen property. Leopold charged that this wasn’t motivated by righting a decades long injustice but rather “greed” on the part of the Bondis. MoMA and museum groups filed briefs asserting that the successful seizure of the painting would have a chilling effect on the loaning of art. In 1999, Leopold and MoMA triumphed in court against the Manhattan DA, but shortly thereafter the U.S. Attorney filed for the seizure of the same painting.

After numerous motions and appeals, the case moved through discovery (a rarity in holocaust restitution cases). Ultimately, the question became: did Leopold know that the work was stolen when he sent it to the United States for exhibition? The stage for a trial to begin in July 2010 was set, and, as O’Donnell writes “there was little doubt that the trial could be avoided given the lengths to which the museum had gone to retain ownership and the persistence that the Bondi heirs had shown in pursuing their family’s property.”

But a few short weeks before the case was to begin, Leopold died. Shortly thereafter, the Bondi heirs and the Leopold Foundation commenced negotiations and a settlement was reached. The foundation paid the heirs $19 million and the painting remained in Austria. “Leopold knew the painting was stolen,” writes O’Donnell, “He had always known it. With his arrogance and pride out of the way, a real negotiation was possible.” The publicity afforded to the case reshaped the litigation landscape. From 1990 to 1997, only two holocaust restitution cases were filed. After Wally, it seemed possible to pursue looted art in American court.

In 1939, Lilly Cassirer was a grandmother looking to obtain a visa and flee Germany. Before being allowed to leave, an official from the Nazi government’s chamber of visual arts searched her home and inquired about purchasing the Pissaro. “I went along with it, although I knew this price didn’t even remotely reflect its true value,” Cassirer would later testify. This kind of forced sale—one made for diminished value under coercive circumstances—proved to be the more common way Nazis acquired paintings. Rarely did they kick down the front door and seize a painting off the wall, but rather the transactions were given an air of legitimacy through forced “legal” transactions.

The painting went missing, and after the war Cassirer settled with the German government, who paid her cash for the work with the stipulation that she would still have a right to it should it resurface. In 2001, decades after Cassirer’s death, the painting was found in Madrid’s Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and Lilly’s heir, Claude Cassirer, sued to have it returned. The case brought a crucial issue to the fore. Broadly, there was no question about the work’s history. Yet, as O'Donnell writes, Spanish authorities “look at the question from the perspective of a work of art on display for the public, which was not stolen by the government.”

Legally, under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) American courts generally can’t exercise jurisdiction over foreign sovereign governments. One exception, is if the taking of property by a government is in violation of international law. Early on, Spain asserted that they did not actually take the painting (because the Germans did) so therefore could not be sued in the United States. But the courts eventually disagreed, and the case proceeded.

The court also faced an issue that crops up in cross-continental restitution cases: should American or foreign law apply to their judgment? In the Cassirer case, the court ultimately decided to apply Spanish law, which includes something called “adverse possession.” Basically, “the concept that if you have a piece of property for long enough it becomes yours,” explains O’Donnell. Under this concept, the Cassirer heirs should have found the painting since it was in the museum’s collection since 1993—though during this time the museum was doing nothing to find the work’s owner. As such, the court awarded the painting to Spain, though the Cassirer heirs have appealed this ruling

The history of holocaust restitution cases is often murky, and tracing a painting's provenance through the war years can rarely be done with absolute certainty. But as in the Cassirer case, this reconstruction through time and space has a legal dimension when the question is, should the work have been found by the heirs? And then additionally—who should be the one reconstructing the past—institutions or the heirs themselves?

“I think the better view is that the dispossessed shouldn't bear that burden,” said O’Donnell.

During his lifetime, the Jewish Baron Mór Lipót Herzog assembled an impressive collection of artworks from some of history’s most fabled artists, from El Greco to Lucas Cranach the Elder. Kept in the family home in Hungary, the collection was passed down after Herzog’s death in 1934. But later, as Nazi Germany exerted its influence, Hungary began passing laws dispossessing Jewish residents of their property.

The Herzog family attempted to safeguard their artwork, but it was eventually seized and some even sent to Holocaust architect Adolf Eichmann’s headquarters. After the war, a portion of the works were returned to the family in the form of short term loans, before, under “relentless harassment,” they gave the pieces to the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest.

Shortly thereafter, as the Iron Curtain fell and a communist government came to power in Hungary, it became impossible to investigate or adjudicate issues around the Herzog collection. But in 2010, David de Csepel and two other heirs filed suit in the United States seeking the return of the collection from Hungary. They faced numerous hurdles, among them the protracted delay in filing suit, whether the litigation should be in Hungarian courts, and, as always, the question of if American courts could intervene under FSIA. To boil down years of motions and appeals into a single sentence: the court found that the rise of a communist government had stopped the clock on the statute of limitations for bringing a claim and the plaintiffs didn’t have to exhaust local remedies before filing in the U.S.

But the decision in the Herzog case on the FSIA point proved especially important. If another government takes property from its own citizens within a national border, American courts view that as the decision of a sovereign government which they cannot overrule. Hungary argued that this is essentially what had happened with the Herzog works. But the plaintiffs asserted that the taking of the Herzog collection was a violation of international law.

Significantly, the courts agreed and found that targeting someone economically in what was the prelude to genocide is part of that genocide, which is itself a crime against international law. Thus, American courts can intervene. The case was allowed to proceed—though Hungary is appealing. Like so many others, this suit is likely to drag on, especially with a right wing government in Hungary unlikely to look for an amicable settlement.

In 1998, the Washington Conference produced a set of principles—including a shared commitment to “fair and just solutions”—for the return of Nazi looted art. The principles were agreed to by the 44 attending nations, Hungary included. So with this in mind, “why is Hungary resisting in this fashion?” asks O’Donnell in his book, citing a slew of other cases in which there is no doubt that paintings were taken by Nazis, but where institutions and governments assert legal reasons to hold onto the works. In a sense, the moral questions are not addressed, while legal questions are.

“Such answers are always couched in why one can keep the artwork,” writes O’Donnell, “but not whether one should keep it.”

—Isaac Kaplan

IW
While I enjoy art, I'm not very knowledgeable on the topic beyond the masters and pieces the world knows and loves. We spent some time in the Cleveland Museum of Art on Sunday and I came across an artist who really had me saying "WOW!". I did a forum search for his name and found nothing so I'm curious if any of you are familiar with William Adolphe Bouguereau? I stood in front of his work Rest for what seemed like forever just admiring.
Vino Bevo,

Here is some info about the artist. and a link to his painting Rest.

http://www.williamadolphebougu...Bouguereau-Rest.html



William-Adolphe Bouguereau; November 30, 1825 – August 19, 1905 was a French academic painter and traditionalist. In his realistic genre paintings he used mythological themes, making modern interpretations of classical subjects, with an emphasis on the female human body. During his life he enjoyed significant popularity in France and the United States, was given numerous official honors, and received top prices for his work. As the quintessential salon painter of his generation, he was reviled by the Impressionist avant-garde. By the early twentieth century, Bouguereau and his art fell out of favor with the public, due in part to changing tastes. In the 1980s, a revival of interest in figure painting led to a rediscovery of Bouguereau and his work. Throughout the course of his life, Bouguereau executed 822 known finished paintings, although the whereabouts of many are still unknown.
quote:
Originally posted by Seaquam:
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Originally posted by Vino Me:
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Originally posted by Seaquam:
Bman, Chagall's stained glass can be stunning. We have certainly not seen all of it, but 2 unforgettable examples are in the Cathedral in Reims, Champagne, and my favourite-- "The America Windows" in the Chicago Art Institute. I must have stood in front of the latter for almost half an hour; I was mesmerized by the content and the beautifully back-lit deep blue colour (my wife gave up on me and left, so I had to try to find her later in that massive museum; it was worth the little dispute we had afterwards Smile.) Next time you're in Chicago, I highly recommend seeing this.

Seaq, did you have a chance to walk past Chagall's public mosaic artwork in the Chase Bank Plaza in Chicago?
Chagall's The Four Seasons

VM


VM, I did not know about it until I read your post. We're thinking of a possible Detroit-Chicago-Boston trip next year. Perhaps you'd be able to show it to me. I'll buy lunch.

Love to. It is one of the stops on an informal walking architectural tour of the Loop that I've taken out of town guests on (mostly relatives).

VM
The $570 million art collection of Francesco Federico Cerruti will go to Turin’s Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art.
(via artnet News)



The collection belonged to a bookbinder’s son who “made his fortune by growing his family’s business into Italy’s first automated bindery,” artnet reported. Cerruti passed away in 2015, leaving the collection to a foundation along with instructions to permanently lend it to the nearest museum, the Castello di Rivoli. The collection includes works by Francis Bacon, Pablo Picasso, Wassily Kandinsky, Amedeo Modigliani, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, René Magritte, and Andy Warhol, among others, but extends back to the Middle Ages and also includes “various furnishings and rare and ancient books.” While encyclopedic museums have been adding contemporary work to their historic collections, integrating the wide-ranging Cerruti collection into the holdings of the Turin contemporary art museum will be the first time a contemporary institution expands its collection into the past, according to the museum’s director, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev.

IW
I previously mentioned this case and here are the latest developments.

Appeals Court Revives 16-Year Lawsuit over $40 Million Nazi-Looted Pissarro

ARTSY EDITORIAL
BY ISAAC KAPLAN
JUL 10TH, 2017 11:06 PM
On Monday, a federal appeals court in San Francisco revived a 16-year-long Nazi restitution dispute centered on an Impressionist painting by Camille Pissarro, the value of which could exceed $40 million.

Currently held by Madrid’s Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Rue Saint-Honoré, Après-midi, Effet de Pluie (1897) was originally owned by German-Jew Lilly Cassirer, who sold the work to a Nazi functionary in 1939 for roughly $360. Asserting the transaction was a forced sale, Cassirer’s heirs filed a petition in 2001 in Spain seeking the work’s return after they learned where it was being held. When the petition was denied, Cassirer’s grandson and great-grandchildren sued the Spanish museum in 2005.

In June of 2015, a lower court dismissed the suit, ruling the museum held the rights to the painting under Spanish law.

But Monday’s ruling by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found that while Spanish law does apply, a trial is required to determine whether or not the museum knew the painting was stolen when it was acquired in 1993 from Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza as part of a $338 million purchase of his collection.

“We're obviously very pleased,” Stephen Zack, a Boies, Schiller & Flexner partner representing the Cassirers, told Reuters in a phone interview. “This has been a scar they've had to deal with for generations.”

As is typical in Holocaust restitution cases, the work’s provenance stretches across multiple continents. The baron bought the Pissaro work in 1976 from New York’s Stephen Hahn Gallery and then took it to Switzerland where it remained until 1992.

Unlike U.S. law, under Swiss law, title to a stolen artwork can pass if a purchaser acted in good faith and did not know the work was stolen. But the appeals court noted a good faith transaction wouldn’t occur if the purchaser “failed to exercise the diligence required by the circumstances.”

The Cassirer heirs have long asserted that there was reason to suspect the work’s provenance. One example is that in purchasing the piece from Stephen Hahn Gallery, the Baron paid $275,000—what an expert for the heirs testified “was approximately half of what would have been expected in a dealer sale, and that there is no reasonable explanation for this price other than dubious provenance.”

“After reviewing the record developed before the district court, we conclude that there is a triable issue of fact as to the Baron’s good faith,” the appellate decision reads, noting the museum “has not established, as a matter of law, that it did not have actual knowledge the [Pissarro] was stolen property.”

Thaddeus Stauber, a lawyer for the foundation which runs the museum, disputed the findings, telling Reuters that the purchase was made in good faith and that he was “confident that the foundation's ownership of the painting will once again be confirmed.”

Monday’s appellate decision is the most recent instance in which a higher court has revived a prominent Holocaust restitution case. Along with the Cassirers’s case, the 9th Circuit has prevented the dismissal of the long running dispute between the Norton Simon Museum and Marei Von Saher over two looted pieces by Lucas Cranach the Elder held by the institution. The future of that case will again rest with the 9th Circuit after a lower court dismissed the case for a third time last August.

The D.C. Court of Appeals also reversed a prominent dismissal by a lower court of a Holocaust restitution case, ruling in June that heirs of the original owners of the Nazi-looted Herzog collection can continue in their quest seeking the return of the works now held in Hungarian state museums.

Broadly, the Cassirer case exemplifies the complex and sometimes conflicting nature of the law and ethics when it comes to Holocaust restitution cases. Neither party disputes the piece passed into Nazi hands through “forced sale,” or one made for diminished value under coercive circumstances. But the museum notes that they had nothing to do with how the work was taken, and asserts that under Swiss and Spanish law they hold good title to the Pissaro.

“This isn’t a case where people disagree about whether the art was stolen,” said Nicholas O’Donnell, art lawyer and author of A Tragic Fate: Law and Ethics in the Battle over Nazi-Looted Art. “And yet here we are.”

—Isaac Kaplan

HERE IS A LINK TO THE PISSARO.

https://d7hftxdivxxvm.cloudfro...idth=1100&quality=95
Thought this would be of interest to the art lovers here.

Why Are Artworks Pulled from Auction?

In May, just before Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern evening sale was getting underway in New York, the auctioneer announced the star lot had been withdrawn. The loss of Egon Schiele’s Danaë, which was slated to sell for between $30 million and $40 million, was a significant blow: It would have accounted for at least 15 percent of the auction’s estimated total. The auction house did not say why the work was pulled, but the answer presumably had to do with the absence of bidders for the consigned painting.

Withdrawing lots from auction is far from unheard of; that one just happened to be major enough to make the news. Zoom out and you find even more smaller pieces—from fine art to Hollywood memorabilia—being withdrawn from auction prior to sale.

“It comes up a lot, but you don’t always see it making the news unless it’s a higher-value, sexier object,” said Megan E. Noh, partner at the law firm Cahill Cossu Noh & Robinson, who previously served as vice president and senior counsel at Bonhams auction house (Bonhams did not comment for this story).

Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and Phillips declined to comment on how often withdrawal occurs.

The same week that the Schiele was withdrawn, Christie’s pulled a Willem de Kooning expected to sell for between $25 million and $35 million, and Phillips pulled Gerhard Richter’s Abstraktes Bild (1994), slated to go for $15 million to $20 million, from its evening sale in New York.

So why would a work be yanked sometimes just hours prior to an auction? Are there penalties for a consignor who chooses to pull a piece? And when, if ever, would an auction house run into legal trouble when deciding to take a piece off the block?

Better Pulled than Burned


There are numerous reasons why a work might be pulled prior to auction: some of them due to market conditions, others to personal circumstances, and sometimes due to questions of legality or provenance. In the former category, a consignor might simply decide they want to keep the work or, alternatively, they get cold feet because it doesn’t look like the piece will sell. Major works are consigned months before an auction, and changes in market dynamics or personal sentiment can result in withdrawing pieces.

When faced with a lack of demand, withdrawing a piece is often the savvy move, notes Abigail Asher, an art advisor at Guggenheim Asher Associates. A piece’s public failure to sell can be “damaging in the short term” to its value, she adds, describing the hit in a piece’s price that comes after it is “burned,” to use industry parlance.

Auction houses typically charge a fee to consignors who withdraw works, as compensation for its having invested time, money, and energy into promoting the piece with the expectation of a sale. The fee depends on the contract a consignor enters into with the auction house, which are not standard. Noh described a few common ways it can be calculated: as a percentage of the low estimate; a percentage of the median estimate; or the full amount of the buyer’s premium on the low estimate, had the piece sold.

That said, in a business based largely on relationships, an auction house could very well waive the fee for a prominent consignor to stay in her or his good graces, or the auction house and consignor could mutually agree to pull a piece to avoid an embarrassing flop of a star lot. Indeed, the successful sale of a work at the high end of the market is particularly subject to timing given the demand for such pieces is automatically thinner, since very few people can afford eight-figure works, said Asher.

Title Trip-Ups


There are two main legal reasons why works get pulled: if the consignor doesn’t hold good title to the piece, or if questions are raised over its authenticity.

While auction houses will vouch for a piece’s authenticity (auction houses recognize that consignors are not experts in art history or provenance), issues of title are the responsibility of the consignor, who is expected to ensure they have good and unencumbered title, meaning there aren’t other people or organizations with a financial interest in the piece.

For example, it is a consignor, not an auction house, who would know if there is a competing claim to a consigned piece, say, because of a disputed will or divorce. Auction houses also won’t know if consigned painting has been used as collateral for a loan, giving a lender a stake in the piece should the consignor default. Imagine a situation where a piece of art used as collateral is sold and then a consignor defaults—the bank would be looking to collect the artwork from the person who bought the work at auction.

In New York, state regulations prevent auction houses from offering works in which someone other than the consignor—be it a relative or a bank—has a financial stake. In other states, an auctioneer might issue a disclaimer noting that the purchaser is only buying however much right or interest the consignor has to sell.

When disputes over title do arise, the auction house will evaluate the evidence presented and determine if there is the potential for liability on their part should the sale proceed. A dispute doesn’t always mean a work will be pulled. Settlements and agreements between people with competing claims of title to a work can sometimes be reached prior to an auction that would allow it to proceed. But that is certainly not always the case. Just one example: In 2009, Christie’s pulled a Nazi-looted work by Camille Pissarro after two descendants of the original owner disputed who held title to the piece and how to split proceeds from the sale.

Not the Real Deal


Auction houses also pull works when there is doubt to their authenticity. The most obvious cases involve instances of forgery. One humorous example involved an auction house in New Zealand that withdrew two “Claude Monet” paintings actually by the forger Elmyr de Hory. A master forger, de Hory’s fakes are valuable in their own right. But after de Hory denied forging these two particular Monets, it emerged that the forged works were, in fact, forged by someone else. Go figure.

Complex authenticity issues can also emerge when an artist disavows their work. In 2011, artist Cady Noland declared that her work Cowboys Milking (1990), due to be sold at Sotheby’s in November of that year, was no longer an authentic piece attributable to her under the terms of the Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA). Cowboys Milking is a work on aluminum, and Noland asserted that damage to the corners meant that the piece was mutilated to the point where it was no long an authentic piece by her. The declaration infuriated the consignor, collector Marc Jancou, but Sotheby’s decided to pull the work nonetheless, given that doubts had now been raised regarding its authenticity.

Alleging breach of contract, Jancou sued Sotheby’s, which said it was protected by the language of the agreement, which gave it “the right to withdraw any property before the sale and…have no liability whatsoever for such withdrawal.” A judge agreed, and the case was dismissed. The Noland suit illustrates the relatively broad latitude auction houses have to pull a piece under the terms of consignor agreements.

“Judges have generally upheld an auction house’s discretion to withdraw or rescind a sale based on its judgment about potential liability for the consignor or the house, as long as the auction house isn’t operating in bad faith,” said Noh.

So what does bad faith look like? By way of example, an auction house can’t pull a piece arbitrarily. That would mean an auction house yanking, say, Pablo Picasso’s Les Femmes d'Alger (Version “O”), simply because a random person walked in off the street claiming to have title to ahead of its auction. If that sounds improbable, it’s because that sort of thing never really happens—auction houses don’t typically operate in bad faith.

The withdrawal of works prior to auction can appear to be opaque and mysterious. And while each withdrawal is different—the exact circumstances rarely reaching the public eye—there are common legal and market mechanisms at play in them all.

—Isaac Kaplan

IW
IW, it is truly complicated to say the least.

I had a conversation with the auction house that we recently bought from at their auction that I sent you the picture of. Apparently if a work does not hit the reserve it is the kiss of death for that work and often you will not see the work for sale again for five plus years.

As you and your dad knows, the art market is funny. Also, if the stock markets are strong, selling significant works is often more difficult.
A recent interview with the former director of The Met in NYC. (Quite long.....)

Former Met Director Thomas Campbell Defends His Legacy.

On February 4th, the New York Times published a front page story entitled “Is the Met Museum ‘a Great Institution in Decline’?” The article ignited a ferocious public backlash against New York City’s most-visited institution and its director and CEO, Thomas P. Campbell. By the end of that same month, Campbell had announced his resignation—making his tenure as director the shortest since the Met’s fourth, Herbert Eustis Winlock, who presided over the institution from 1932 to 1939.

Principal among the issues that led to Campbell’s resignation was a roughly $10 million budgetary deficit (public knowledge for a year or so prior to his resignation), which officials warned could swell to $40 million if immediate action was not taken.

In a conversation with Artsy, days after his July 14th departure from the Met, Campbell was candid about the issues that contributed to that deficit—including his own ambition as director. But he also painted a far more nuanced picture of the circumstances surrounding the major grievances levied against him and the museum: in particular, heavy investment in expanding the museum’s activities in modern and contemporary art and extensive resources put into digital infrastructure to help expand the reach of the United States’s largest museum.

Alexander Forbes: Thank you, Tom, for joining me today at Artsy HQ.

Thomas Campbell: It’s a pleasure to be here.

AF: There’s so much I’d like to get through, so, if you don’t mind, I think we’ll just dive right in.
Looking back at some of the statements you’ve made leading up to your departure from the Met, you’ve said that various portions of the narrative that have played out have been accurate and not accurate to varying degrees and that you hope that, in some amount of time, a larger narrative could come out about your tenure there and the circumstances around your departure. There’s been no shortage of coverage around the Met’s trials and tribulations over the last six months. But, from your perspective: What were the less accurate portions of that coverage; why did you resign; and what is that larger narrative that you hope might emerge over time?

TC: We had a quite a turbulent year last year. Like many businesses, we were going through a financial restructuring just to make sure that our income was balanced with our expenditures and it generated quite a lot of agitation inside and outside the museum that was portrayed in some of the media as a major crisis. The reality is that the Met has a $3 billion endowment. It has a AAA rating. It has one of the most generous donor bases of any cultural institution in the world. So the work we were doing was being done from a position of great strength and the institution remains very strong in every sense. So I think that as the dust settles, people will be able to see again how amazing the Met is. On every metric, we’re in a very strong place. We’ve just broken an audience of seven million; we’ve grown our audience by 40 percent over the last eight years, which I think is faster than any peer institution anywhere in the world. The quality of our program is the envy of the world. We’re firing on all cylinders, and I think that is the story that will emerge.

AF: The Met was the most visited tourist attraction in all of New York last year. You’ve repeated in a number of interviews that the Met is on a pathway to financial stability and prosperity in the long term. Is there any detail to which you can get into the underpinnings of that claim and how you see that path emerging out of this tumultuous year?
TC: The Met is a big business. We’re a $350–360 million gross business, $320 million net. Our income comes from multiple sources. And our expenditures are considerable. One of the challenges we’ve been facing in recent years is that we have a high internal inflationary pressure because between about 65–70% of our budget goes on salaries and benefits and we have a constant, incremental 2–3% increase in that every year while at the same time some of our revenue streams were being impacted. For various reasons, our admissions stream was weakening. In order to deal with deferred maintenance we had to take out a bond issue for $250 million back in early 2015, so we had additional debt repayment. Another incremental factor was that, because the actuarial projections were changed, by law we had to start putting more money aside for pensions; many institutions across the country are facing similar circumstances. So we had a combination of factors that were increasing our expenditures while our revenues were weakening. And what we were doing was essentially good housekeeping. We were trimming our costs, trying to reduce the headcount to a certain extent, looking carefully at our priorities, but it’s business. And we’re well on track to having a comprehensive, balanced, sustainable budget over the next two to three years.

AF: One of the major public blows that, I think, a lot of people in New York noticed was the indefinite pushing off of building the $600 million contemporary wing. To what extent did the impact of the gaps between the mandate that you were given when coming in to vastly expand contemporary and modern art as part of the Met’s program and the realities of funding around that initiative impact this larger picture?
TC: Again, I think that the story has been somewhat simplified in the press. And perhaps I’m also victim of some of my own overly optimistic projections from five or six years ago. The situation is that, back in 2012–2013, we undertook a feasibility study of the whole building. We looked at infrastructure needs, deferred maintenance, and we looked at future elective projects, transformative projects that would really enhance the Met’s offering to its public. And out of the study came a very realistic understanding of some very urgent needs: areas of roofs that needed to be replaced, in particular the need to re-roof the area over our European paintings galleries. That was one subject that then led into a deep-dive analysis that came to completion at the end of 2016.
At the same time, on the elective projects, the project that seemed to the leadership and to the board the highest priority back in 2013 was the opportunity of rebuilding the southwest corner of the museum which houses our modern and contemporary collections but also has a number of other functions; it’s where we have the roof garden, restaurants, boardroom, and so on. That too led into a deeper-dive analysis. We did an architectural competition. We ended up selecting the British architect David Chipperfield and we then worked with David on a very exciting year and a half, two year process as we developed a schematic design for that project. There’s no question that, if we embark on it, it will be very expensive.
Those two—the infrastructure project and the modern wing vision—both came to fruition at the end of last year. By the time that we had completed both of these analyses, it was clear that we couldn’t do both at the same time. Originally, i had thought that they might overlap or they might run in conjunction. But it was quite clear that the scale of the infrastructure project is so enormous that that would be standalone just as the southwest wing. So we had to make a call—which was the higher priority? And I think it was clear to all of us that ensuring the integrity of the existing building, protecting the existing collections has to be the priority, especially insofar as we had done a $250 million bond issue, so we had the money in hand to move forward with that project.
The decision to put the southwest wing project on pause, there has been a lot of speculation about what does this mean; I think we have a very exciting vision for what can happen with that southwest corner and my successor and the board will now have the time to really think carefully about what is the appetite and how much are they prepared to invest in that venture. There is no question that for the growth and the future health of the Metropolitan, that is a part of the museum that has to be redeveloped. But this all has to be looked at in the context of an institution that is 147–148 years old. We’ve been under almost permanent construction since the building was set up in Central Park in 1880, and you just have to take a longer-term perspective on this.

AF: It’s been exciting to see the activities in the Met Breuer in the meantime, and it’s my understanding that it's actually bringing in a larger audience than the Whitney was in the same location, especially given the backdrop of the issues getting funding around these things and clearly, the Kerry James Marshall show was one of the favorite exhibitions I’ve seen in the last five years. But one question that I’ve heard a lot was actually written in the Times in one of Robin Pogrebin’s early articles in a bit of a rhetorical way, but which I think warrants getting your perspective on is: “Why try to compete with the new Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art, some ask, instead of sticking to what the Met already does best?”

TC: It’s a really good question; it’s a very important question. I don’t think we were out to compete with the MoMA or the Whitney or the Guggenheim. You have to take a step back. When the Met was founded, it was founded as an encyclopedic museum to collect everything from antiquity through to the present day. And for the first 40 years of the Met’s existence, modern art was the Hudson River School and contemporary was Sargent and Whistler and William Merritt Chase. And the Met collected quite aggressively in those areas, and thank God it did, because those are now some of the strengths of our collection. But the Met famously pulled back from collecting contemporary in the early 20th century because the art that was coming out of europe—Cubism, Fauvism, and so on—was just too radical for the tastes of the board and the curators of the time. That despite the efforts of brave curators like Roger Fry, who felt we should be collecting.
There was a hiatus of 20–25 years in which time MoMA was created, the Whitney was created, the Guggenheim was created. But by the 1930s and early ’40s, it was becoming clear again to staff at the Met that many of them felt that we should be collecting contemporary, not to compete but because it was part of the longer narrative that the Metropolitan was charged with telling. If you look back, if you read authors like Calvin Tomkins’s Merchants and Masterpieces, you see the effort that the museum began to make in the 1950s and ‘60s to re-engage. Famously, Henry Geldzahler in the 1960s under Tom Hoving brought a whole new effort to collecting and displaying modern art at the Met. That continued, not turbocharged, but it continued under Philippe de Montebello and we built up a meaningful collection—but it’s patchy, it’s spotty—and by the time I became director I think it was very clear to the board and the leadership that our audience wanted to see a more consistent approach to modern and contemporary in the context of our global and historical collections.

AF: How did you start to shape that narrative?

TC: When I came in as director, I had a number of briefs from the board—one of them was to expand our engagement with modern and contemporary. That involved expanding the department, finding a platform for more exhibitions, more activity. And my appointment and that charge coincided with the approach that we’d had from the Whitney to find out whether we would be interested in taking over their building when they moved downtown. It seemed like a very exciting opportunity: a custom-made modern art space, an exciting opportunity for us to expand our programming. So we thought hard about it. We took two or three years to really analyze the opportunities, the costs. But that was the exciting opportunity. And the Met Breuer is the exciting result of that.

AF: It was interesting, when you took over, the great excitement that a curator would take on this role at a time when museum directorships were evermore heading towards a more financier or manager type, and I wondered how it was stepping into such a complex institution, one with so many different—I’m sure, competing—interests. I’m sure everyone wants to put on a landmark show every year. What was your approach to making those tough decisions and managing such a vast staff of over 2,000 employees?

TC: The Met is quite a political place. And that’s not a bad thing. It keeps you on your toes. You have 17 curatorial departments all, to an extent, competing for a slice of the same resources. So I tried hard during my tenure to find the right balance. There might be a contemporary art show but there was also an exhibition about Ancient Greece or an exhibition about the Islamic world or an exhibition about the Middle Ages. So I’ve always been trying to find a balance.
That said, I had a clear mandate to expand the modern and contemporary program, so I was putting resources there. Under the leadership of Gary Tinterow, the previous department head, a number of initiatives had already been taken. For example: expanding the roof garden program or bringing in a number of high-profile exhibitions into the pipeline. When Gary went to Houston to run the museum there, I brought in Sheena Wagstaff, who had been number two to Nick Serota at the Tate. And with Sheena, we worked to envision a future program, to evolve a collective program, and to expand the staff of her department.
That sort of activity in a competitive institution like the Met breeds rivalry and a lot of chatter. But I believed and I continue to believe that that is an important investment both in the original vision of the Met and in its future vitality. I think if you stop collecting, you run the danger of becoming a dusty institution. In a sense, that’s what the Met was fighting against back in the 1950s and the 1960s.

AF: Was there any time when you sat down and said “Gosh, if I’d only gotten an MBA rather than studying tapestries, this might be a lot easier”?

TC: [Laughs] It’s a complex place and I was dependent on the advice and support that I had. And as the years have gone by I was learning rapidly on the job. I was fortunate to become the director when Emily Rafferty was the president; she had been at the museum for a long time, had great experience and a very experienced staff under her. So I had the opportunity to come up to speed under her. And then, as the years have gone by, I’ve done my best to bring in strong people who would give me good advice. Obviously, when Emily retired, I worked very closely with the board to choose her successor, Dan Weiss. And it was with Dan, in fact, that I worked very closely on the whole financial restructuring that we were talking about just now.

AF: One of the departments that you invested in heavily and tried to champion as a way forwards for the Met, but also which has drawn some of the greatest scrutiny in the past months, is the digital department. I was wondering if you could outline your high-level strategy and any particular initiatives that you thought were successful in the Met’s expansion into the digital realm.

TC: Sure. Again, when I was appointed director, I was given a very clear mandate by the board to expand the Met’s digital activity. It was clearly the zeitgeist. The iPhone was invented in 2007 and was just one manifestation of the many innovations that were being made in that sector. So I think I saw it as a very exciting moment for us to use the digital realm to expand our audiences and to reach out, not just locally, but nationally and internationally. I think we’ve had really a three-pronged strategy.
One has been to get the collections online. When I became director there were something like 23 different databases across the museum, some of which had been very inadequately populated with information. They didn’t speak to one another. In many respects they conflicted. So we amalgamated all of those resources into a single collections database and a huge amount of progress has been made in getting those collections online.
A second leg of the strategy was to create cross-department publications that would give different audiences different points of engagement with the collections. My predecessor had started something called the Timeline of Art History, which was a sort of history of art told through the lens of our collections, our precursor in a way to the British Museum’s History of the World in 100 Objects except we were doing it with thousands of objects. That has always been a centerpiece to me in our cross-collection strategy and we’ve invested in it and relaunched it twice in the last eight years. But we’ve also created other points of contact. For example, the series called The Artist Project, where we got artists to talk about works that were meaningful to them, another series called Met Kids where we had kids interviewing members of staff, obviously aimed at an audience of teenagers.
The third leg of the strategy evolved under a head of the department called Sree Sreenivasan, who really brought fresh thinking to our social media engagement and got the Met and its staff really thinking about Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and so on, again as ways of reaching out, finding new points of entry, new footholds for different audiences. What’s been amazing to me is that some of our crustiest curators are now busy blogging or are practically writing their next catalogues on Instagram. It’s been a very invigorating process for all of us.

AF: Much of the art world can be a bit on the back foot about investing in going online, which can be expensive. Do you think some of the pushback that you received throughout that process, do you think any of that reticence is structural and generational or were there other factors at play?

TC: You put your finger on it. I think there is an element of generational reaction. A cultural institution like the Met has got to be online. So we had to invest in getting the collections online and exploring different ways to connect with the audiences. A certain amount has been said in the press implying gross over-investment. But, in fact, much of the funding for those projects came from the Bloomberg Foundation. And when people talk about the large numbers of people in the digital department, it's again somewhat misleading because these are collection data entry people, these are our video programmers, these are people who are running the systems in the galleries. Many of these people were existing staff, so I think there have been some misleading things said in the press. We invested hard. We created a significant presence. I think now, going forward, my successor will need to think carefully about priorities. But I think we have a real toehold in this area. And I think we did exactly what needed to happen.

AF: I recall one of your major initiatives in coming on as director was also to diversify the audience in terms of socio-economic status, race, regions which they were coming out of. Was the digital effort also aimed at that diversification effort or moreso for people visiting the museum?

TC: I think digitization is one of the factors that has contributed to our success in building audience, but I think there are others. We have a very active multi-cultural audience development initiative that organizes different kinds of activities to try and reach out to different demographics, different communities throughout the city. We have a very active education department, which is doing similar things with teenagers and school kids. We have a very successful program called Teens Take the Met where, literally, we bus teenagers in from schools right across the district. Last time we had something like 4,000 kids in the Met one Friday night. It’s a way for them to find that the Met is a safe, comfortable, happy place, to normalize it as an activity for them.
We’ve also done a lot of thinking just about audience needs because as we’ve grown our audience, the knowledge that that audience comes to the museum with is very varied. Some people know very little about history, very little about art, very little about museums like the Met. It’s not necessarily a comfortable experience for people. We did an audience engagement study back in 2013, really trying to dig down and understand what people like and what people find alienating. One of the most interesting things that actually came out of that study, and almost shocking to me, was that something like 40 percent of our first-time visitors left feeling somewhat uncomfortable with the Met experience.

AF: Were there specific initiatives that came out of that, then?

TC: Absolutely. We did a rebranding of the museum that launched back in spring 2016 and it was quite controversial at the time, but it came out of a lot of analysis and understanding that we had a lot of legacy systems—different fonts, different logos, different symbols—that for many people were very conflicting. Really, what we were trying to do in that rebranding was to get the Met out of the way between the visitor and the artwork. We wanted it to be as simple as possible. For example, the old icon was a stylized Renaissance “M,” which, for people who know the Met well, they loved it. But what we found was if you go five or six blocks down the street, many people literally didn’t know what it meant. And by the time you get out into the country at large: no brand recognition at all. That’s the reason we made the decision to go from that symbol to a word icon “the Met,” and that’s just one example among a larger branding process of how we were trying to simplify things.

AF: Looking back at your entire tenure both as a curator and then as director of the Met, if you had to name three things that you’re most proud of and then one you wish hadn’t happened, what would those be?

TC: Three things I’m most proud of: I went to the Met as a curator because I saw it as a place where I could do really ambitious things in my field, tapestries. And I will always look back with huge pride on the two very big tapestry exhibitions that I organized. I’m very proud that, when I became director, I retained an environment in which the curators could dream big. We’ve done some very ambitious loan shows. We’ve continued to invest in the scholarship of our curators. I’m proud of that.
I’m very proud of having expanded the audiences as significantly as we have done. It’s not just about numbers, it’s that I believe that everyone who comes to the Met, ideally, is having a meaningful experience. It’s not just metrics for metrics’ sake. I really believe that we have, both physically and online, we are reaching out with our mission and engaging people with art.
I’m proud of the way that I think we’ve gone back to the original vision of an encyclopedic museum and questioned that. There are areas of great strength, especially in the European collections, and we’ve built there. But we’ve also brought new focus to new areas that had been neglected, like Latin America—we have a number of new curators working in the Latin American sphere; we’ve started collecting there quite interestingly. Native American: I’m just thrilled that Chuck and Valerie Diker have made the decision to gift their very significant Native American collection to the Met. And, of course, in modern and contemporary. I really believe that an encyclopedic museum should have a full, meaningful engagement with the modern era. And I think that we’ve brought new energy there.
What do I regret? You know, the museum is complex, the finances are complex, and I wish that, with hindsight, that we had started the financial restructuring at an earlier point. But then, of course, hindsight is always 20/20, and turning an institution like the Met around is very much like turning a tanker in the ocean. We got going. It took time. And the museum is now heading in a very positive direction. I feel that, as I step away, I’m leaving an institution that is in a very strong place, leading institutions across the world.

AF: Looking at that wider institutional landscape, what do you think the biggest challenges facing your colleagues leading major museums, whether encyclopedic museums or other foundational institutions to various regions’ cultural identities, are at the moment?

TC: Looking forward, clearly financing is a big factor. As we’ve all grown, as our ambitions have evolved, we’ve all become bigger and bigger businesses. The old funding sources that many of us have depended upon are in some cases falling away. Wealth is concentrated in new areas. So cultural institutions across the country are having to be quite creative in how they’re reaching out to new donors. But, with that comes new creativity. I think the other thing that’s very exciting is that, as we’re ever more connected and the world is shrinking in many respects, we’re all becoming part of a tighter network. In the past, the paradigm was that Western institutions just collected from the rest of the world. But with new cultural institutions developing in Latin America in Africa, across Europe, in Asia, the opportunities to collect on the scale that we used to collect are diminishing. But I think there are new opportunities to be part of an international partnership. One of the things I did at the Met was really push hard on developing relationships with international peers.

AF: And lastly, before we go, the Times published another article earlier this week looking at possible futures for the Met, talking to around 20 cultural influencers about what they hoped to see. And so, I thought we could go through four or five of those at relatively rapid pace to get a reality check from the man who has had to make these calls for the past decade.

TC: Sure.

AF: Okay. First up from Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky, who writes that “The average person looks at a painting for six seconds.” He was recalling the Pokemon Go fad last summer where you had kids running around to try to catch ‘em all. He says, “They weren’t there for six seconds; they were there for minutes,” and is wondering what museums could do with augmented reality to keep people looking at the objects before them.

TC: Well, I love the idea of using digital to reach people, especially younger audiences. We’ve recently put all of our images of all of our collections out on open access. I’d love people to be creating video games, exploratory tours of the Met for themselves and for the audiences they’re engaging with. I’d love the Met to be an exploratory, innovative center in the digital realm.

AF: Simon Doonan writes, “If the Met could extend into Central Park with an outdoor sculpture garden, it could truly become a destination.”

TC: We’ve had discussions with the park over the years about the possibility of putting sculptures in the park. And I think the longstanding approach is that in fact the plants and the trees are the sculptures in the park. Maybe future generations will have a different take on that balance.

AF: The restaurateur Bill Telepan writes, “My first suggestion is: Get a good food program there, whether it’s a fancy, high-end place or not.” He’s even gone as far to say that he’d do it if the Met would ask him.

TC: [Laughs] Well, there’s a pretty good restaurant at the moment called the Members Dining Room, which is actually now open to all members of the public. We’re constantly looking at how we can improve the food offerings across the museum.

AF: The artist Judith Bernstein asks if there could be a more “conscious effort to feature more art by women and to take more chances.” She says, “They shouldn’t wait until someone has been around for 20 years.”

TC: All for future leadership. Sheena Wagstaff has brought in a very active program related to women artists. In the last year, we’ve had Cornelia Parker on the roof. We’ve Lygia Pape and Marisa Merz, Nasreen Mohamedi. So, I think that those who want to see more art by women are going to be well served by that program.

AF: And finally, from Hank Willis Thomas: Due to museums’ key role in setting a narrative around a particular region, he was wondering why Egypt is placed outside of the rest of the African collections. He says, “I think Egypt’s in Africa. If the Met’s trying to be objective, objectively Egypt should be closer to Africa.”

TC: [Laughs] Well, maybe you can do that in a virtual reality museum. The museum has evolved over the years in response to opportunities in the marketplace, to the leadership within the museum and to the generosity of different donors. And we’re always recalibrating in one way or another. But, physically, to take entire collections from one quarter of the museum to another would be hugely expensive. But, who knows, you know? One masterplan was completed under my watch. We’ve laid the foundations for a new masterplan. So it’s exciting to think what is going to happen in the next 50 years.

AF: Well, thank you so much for your time, Tom. We’ll look forward to hearing what you get up to next.

IW
Twenty-one paintings attributed to Modigliani have been confiscated from an exhibition on suspicion that they were forged.

(via the Telegraph)

An exhibition at the Doge’s Palace, where several of the paintings were on display, was shut down three days early to aid the developing investigation. Among the first to cast doubt on the works’ authenticity was Tuscan art critic Carlo Pepi, who spoke out in February when the promotional materials for the show were distributed. Pepi then lodged a formal complaint with Rome’s Carabinieri art fraud unit. Modigliani scholar Marc Restellini bolstered these suspicions, labelling the works “dubious.” Three people are currently under investigation in connection with the forgeries, including the exhibition’s Swiss curator. The prices achieved for Modigliani’s works have jumped rapidly in recent years—his Nu couché (1917–18) sold for $170.4 million in 2016, becoming the second most expensive work ever sold at auction—making his market ripe for fakes. The lack of an authoritative Modigliani catalogue raisonné, which would provide a comprehensive inventory of his works, has further exacerbated the problem.

IW
Has anyone ever bought from Paddle8 auction?

My wife and I recently were the high bidder for a charity auction they held. It was our fist time bidding at a live auction through Paddle8. I must say I'm not at all impressed with the way they handled their business after the auction. We still don't have our art some eight weeks later and their communication is very poor.

I feel like I must chase them down for information and when I do, it takes days for them to reply. I have a face to face with them today and will strongly express my opinion.
Picasso and the Mona Lisa.....

The clock struck midnight. It was time to dispose of the evidence. Stuffing the stolen art into a single oversized suitcase, Pablo Picasso and Guillaume Apollinaire darted from the door of their studio and into the thick summer air. A carriage would be too risky. They would have to proceed on foot.

The pair lugged the valise down the steep, cobblestone slopes of Paris’s Montmartre neighborhood. In the distance the Seine gleamed under the gas lights that still dotted its banks. Had the art been stolen from anywhere but the Louvre itself, perhaps the duo would have been able to temper their panic. For now, the river seemed their only hope.

On August 22nd, 1911—some two weeks prior—the world had been jolted to attention by the breathless declaration of a museum guard as he careened into the office of the Louvre’s director general. The Mona Lisa, the very face of high art, had been stolen.

As news of the theft broke, an international dragnet quickly stretched from Europe across the Atlantic. The borders of France were sealed, and onlookers the world over were rapt and aghast. Yet in many ways, the theft of the Mona Lisa was simply the most explosive in a long litany of embarrassments to the Louvre.

Months before the heist, one French reporter had spent the night in a Louvre sarcophagus to expose the museum’s paltry surveillance. And had he tried, the canvases themselves would have been easy enough to pluck from the galleries. Whereas other prominent national museums, like the Italian Uffizi, had long mandated that its paintings be bolted to the wall, the bulk of the Louvre’s pieces—including the Mona Lisa—continued to hang unprotected. Museum personnel, moreover, were allowed to remove artwork with such unchecked impunity that guards would only report the absence of the Mona Lisa a full 24 hours after its theft, having previously assumed the painting was simply out for maintenance.

Even after the discovery, however, clues were scarce. Days passed. Then a week. Starved for leads, investigators were growing desperate. They needed a break—something, anything, to appease the hundreds of distraught patrons that now marched daily through the Louvre to behold the blank space where the Mona Lisa once hung.

And then, as if on cue, the clouds seemed to part.

On August 29th, eight days after the disappearance of the painting, a young man strode into the offices of the Paris-Journal and began to talk. His name was Joseph Géry Pieret. The paper identified him simply as “the Thief.”

Over several rambling and compensated tell-alls, Pieret recounted that for the past several years he had developed an almost compulsive hobby of lifting and hawking minor artwork from the Louvre. To substantiate his claim, Pieret produced a small statue that was soon confirmed by Louvre curators as an Iberian piece from the museum’s exhibit of pre-Christian artifacts.

The questions came swiftly and hungrily: Was Pieret responsible for the Mona Lisa heist? Did he know who was? On these counts the Thief demurred, sharing only that he had previously sold two other statues to a “painter-friend” in Paris who held a personal fascination with Iberian art.
Suddenly the case had momentum. Although the editors of the Paris-Journal refused to give up the name of their anonymous source to police, the Thief had left a clue—a nom de plume in one of his published confessions, pulled straight from the writings of avant-garde poet Apollinaire. (As police would later discover, Pieret was in fact the writer’s former secretary.) Soon, French investigators were knocking at Apollinaire’s door.

But police didn’t think he had acted on his own. Apollinaire was a devout member of Picasso’s modernist entourage la bande de Picasso—a group of artistic firebrands also known around town as the “Wild Men of Paris.” Here, police believed, was a ring of art thieves sophisticated enough to swipe the Mona Lisa.

There was only one problem: neither Apollinaire nor Picasso had played any part in the painting’s disappearance. Accordingly, the police search of the poet’s apartment failed to turn up any new evidence.

But the two artists were hardly innocent. True to Pieret’s testimony, Picasso kept two stolen Iberian statues buried in a cupboard in his Paris apartment. Despite the artist’s later protestations of ignorance there could be no mistaking their origins. The bottom of each was stamped in bold: PROPERTY OF THE MUSÉE DU LOUVRE.

Stricken with the prospect of deportation back to their native countries, Picasso and Apollinaire had resolved to take radical action, stuffing the two stolen Iberian statues into an old suitcase which they lugged to the banks of the Seine. Yet as the duo stared into the river’s murky waters in the early hours of September 5, 1911, neither could bring themselves to let go.

Somberly, they trudged the three miles back to their studio. Later that morning, Picasso returned the statues to the journal that had first published Pieret’s testimony. Two days later, Apollinaire was behind bars, where he eventually gave up both Picasso and Pieret to police. The writer would spend several days in prison before seeing Picasso again, this time in court as they faced charges for dealing in art stolen from the Louvre.
In the end, the trial played out more as farce than finale. Apollinaire confessed to everything: harboring Pieret, possessing stolen art, conspiring to conceal evidence. Picasso—ordinarily at pains to project male bravado—wept openly in court, hysterically alleging at one point that he had never even met Apollinaire. Deluged with contradictory and nonsensical testimony the presiding Judge Henri Drioux threw out the case, ultimately dismissing both men with little more than a stern admonition. As suddenly as the pair had come under suspicion, they were free.

Two years later, in December 1913, the Mona Lisa would resurface in Florence, its winsome smile as alluring as ever. According to the man who had actually lifted the piece—one Vincenzo Peruggia—his only ambition was to see the painting returned to its native homeland. Today, historians continue to debate the legitimacy of Peruggia’s supposed patriotism. Yet back in Paris, one can only imagine Picasso breathing a long sigh of relief at the news, grateful in the knowledge that his early incrimination had not exiled him back to his own Spanish homeland.

IW
Heading out on a three week road trip visiting museums in many cities. Not all art, but highlights are Louisville Slugger Museum, National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial in Kansas City,American Jazz Museum in Kansas City, Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Strataca Salt Museum in Henderson, Kansas, Museum of World Treasures in Wichita, Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in OKC, Oklahoma City Museum of Art to see the Chihuly glass exhibit, Tampa Museum of Art
quote:
Originally posted by billhike:
quote:
Originally posted by Board-O:
Louisville Slugger Museum

I'm not much of a baseball fan but know that you are. I greatly enjoyed visiting three years ago. Good brewpub with unhealthy but tasty offerings not far away attached to the Louisville Bats minor league ballpark.

Thanks, but I don't want to spoil my appetite for dinner with IW that evening.
quote:
Originally posted by mangiare:
C'mon VinT. You telling me you've never sucked on a rock?


How would one know if their sauvignon blanc, tasted blind, was from New Zealand if they'd never sucked on a river stone? Or tasted freshly cut grass or gotten up close and personal with some cat's pee, for that matter?
quote:
Originally posted by wine+art:
quote:
Originally posted by bman:
quote:

There is several excellent books on the subject.


ahem..... Wink


Ha. Predictive text can make one look silly for sure.

I sent a text to a guy named Pino yesterday and the text went through as Pink. Big Grin


You are forgiven, of course. I just can't stay mad at you.......
quote:
Originally posted by Italian Wino:
A quote regarding the top art collectors of today:

There are about 140 people in the world who have the discretionary income to buy works for $50 million ,” Woodham said, and around a thousand for $5 million and above, he estimates. “Each one has a bullseye on them. The art world massively over-serves them.”

IW

There are over 2,000 Billionaires in the world today so I would disagree with this statement. However, of that number being 'serious collectors' of Art, that may be true. Don't know.
quote:
Originally posted by KSC02:
quote:
Originally posted by Italian Wino:
A quote regarding the top art collectors of today:

There are about 140 people in the world who have the discretionary income to buy works for $50 million ,” Woodham said, and around a thousand for $5 million and above, he estimates. “Each one has a bullseye on them. The art world massively over-serves them.”

IW

There are over 2,000 Billionaires in the world today so I would disagree with this statement. However, of that number being 'serious collectors' of Art, that may be true. Don't know.


Steve Martin, a very serious collector thinks $25M is now the entry point for the finest of the fine for both modern and contemporary art.
quote:
Originally posted by wine+art:
Architectural Digest annual art issue ( December) is now out.

I always look forward to their publication, and this is always my favorite. This years art issue will not appeal to the masses, which I love.

FWIW, "Condé Nast, the publisher of The New Yorker, Vogue and Vanity Fair, plans to cut roughly 80 employees across the company. It will also publish one fewer issue per year of the now-monthly magazines GQ, Glamour, Architectural Digest and Allure." Times continue to be hard for magazines.
Will the Leonardo da Vinci piece set a new record tonight? Christie's is auctioning off tonight in NYC the piece Christ portrait Salvator Mundi by da Vinci. Some say it could break the record price for a piece of artwork sold at auction. They have a third party guarantee for the piece and the word out there is that number is in the $100M vacinity. I can think of a few museums that would like to have this.

IW
Individual or Museum? I am guessing Museum. This is simply a WOW number.

IW

This is what blows my mind: (in WP article)

Then it dropped off the grid for another 50 years until resurfacing in Louisiana in 2005. There, for $10,000, New York-based art collector and da Vinci expert Robert Simon and art dealer Alexander Parish found and purchased it, the New Orleans Advocate reported.

At first glance, Simon thought it was just another copy of the famed painting.

“It was a very interesting painting but it’s not something I looked at and thought, ‘Oh, my God, it must be a Leonardo,'” Simon told CNN. “The whole idea that it might be by him was almost an impossibility; it’s kind of a dream.”
Last edited by italianwino