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U.S. Supreme Court to rule on medieval treasure bought by Nazis

A 12th-century statuette of a church, part of the Guelph Treasure, a trove of medieval religious art displayed at the Kunstgewerbemuseum in Berlin, July 8, 2020. The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing a case regarding the sale in 1935 of many items from the trove; descendants of a consortium of Jewish art dealers argue that the sale was under duress. Gordon Welters/The New York Times.

by Christopher F. Schuetze

BERLIN (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- After hundreds of years residing in a cathedral in Braunschweig, Germany, the Guelph Treasure has had a comparatively active century. The trove of medieval religious art was sold just before the stock market crash in 1929, sent to the United States and back, then split up and sold. All 82 pieces have changed hands at least twice. Now, it is the subject of a U.S. Supreme Court case that could see 42 pieces, estimated to be worth nearly a quarter of a billion dollars, on the move again. The dispute centers on a transaction in 1935, when a consortium of Jewish art dealers that bought the entire collection in 1929 sold those 42 pieces to a German museum. For more than a decade, descendants of those dealers have claimed that the sale was made under duress and that the price paid — the equivalent of about $20 million today — was far below value. At least one of the dealers lived in Germany, then under Nazis rule, at the time of the sale, raising the possibility that his life was un ... More

The Best Photos of the Day

A Swiss Dada pioneer finally gets her spotlight   Auctions are crimped as the pandemic forces them online   The National Gallery acquires painting by Camille Pissarro

Sophie Taeuber-Arp. Dada Head. Zurich, 1920. Painted wood. 11 9/16 × 5½ × 5½” (29.4 × 14 × 14 cm). Centre Pompidou, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris. © 2020 Stiftung Arp e.V., Berlin/Rolandswerth / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

by Ted Loos

NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- In 1937, Swiss artist Sophie Taeuber-Arp wrote a letter to a friend, noting her exclusion from an avant-garde exhibition in Paris. While a male Belgian artist in her circle was refused entry too, “as a woman it is ten times harder to hold your position in this caldron.” And therein lies a tale, one that may be receiving an updated ending. Taeuber-Arp (1889-1943), a pathbreaking artist, is the only woman on a Swiss bank note, and she has been featured previously in major museum exhibitions. But her name is hardly bandied about — certainly not with the frequency of her husband’s, Jean (Hans) Arp — and some influential people in the art world are collectively looking to change that. Among her advances was ... More

An image provided by Sotheby’s, a Rolex Daytona watch. Watches lend themselves to the online scrolling so many of us have been doing to pass the time and that has pushed Sotheby’s watch department to move to weekly and monthly auctions, scrapping its previous format of semiannual New York auctions. Sotheby’s via The New York Times.

by Paul Sullivan

NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- Just about every area of personal finance has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. That economic shock reaches all the way to some of the most aspirational purchases on the planet: art, cars, watches and wine. The mechanism to buy and sell many of these objects — frothy, in-person auctions, with attendees dressed smartly and cocktails readily available — has been rendered untenable since March because of social-distancing measures meant to stop the spread of the virus. But the desire remains, with sellers looking to shed valuable items to shore up their own balance sheets, and buyers who have reserves looking to collect ... More

Camille Pissarro, (1830 - 1903), Late afternoon in our Meadow, 1887 (detail). Oil on canvas, 54 x 65 cm © The National Gallery, London.

LONDON.- On the 190th birthday of Camille Pissarro (1830-1903), the National Gallery has announced the acquisition of his Late afternoon in our Meadow (1887) which has been on loan to the Gallery since November 2019. This is the 12th painting by Pissarro to enter the National Gallery’s collection and it has been acquired through a hybrid Acceptance in Lieu with the support of a generous legacy from James Francis George Wilson, 2020. An acquisition of great importance, this is the first of Pissarro’s Divisionist works to enter the collection, and the first painting of the 1880s, joining a group of pictures which range from an early scene in Louveciennes to a late view of the Louvre in winter. It can be viewed in Room 44 from today. The painting was first acquired in 1888 by Parisian art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel, the great supporter and collector of the Impressionists, possibly directly ... More

Incredibly rare maps of the defeat of the Spanish Armada at risk of export   David Zwirner to represent the Estate of Juan Muñoz   Sapar Contemporary exhibits works by Indonesian contemporary puppetry masters

Valued at £600,000 the works are the only surviving contemporary drawings of the battle.

LONDON.- Culture Minister Caroline Dinenage has placed an export bar on a set of ten hand drawn maps of the defeat of the Spanish Armada valued at £600,000 plus VAT. It is hoped that a UK gallery or institution will come forward to acquire the treasures for the nation which depict the greatest naval battle of the early modern period. The drawings were completed by an unknown draughtsman, possibly from the Netherlands and are undated, although are thought to be from the years immediately after the battle. The defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 has a totemic place in English history and has been employed at various moments of national crisis including the threats of invasion from Napoleonic France and Nazi Germany. The most famous images of the battle extant are a series of engravings completed in 1590 by Augustine Ryther. The original drawings have been lost and the maps at risk of export are a very rare ... More

Juan Muñoz, Five Seated Figures, 1996. Collection of Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid. Courtesy Estate of Juan Muñoz and David Zwirner.

NEW YORK, NY.- David Zwirner announced its exclusive worldwide representation of the Estate of Juan Muñoz. The Estate comes to the gallery on the recommendation of Marian Goodman. Marian Goodman Gallery has represented Muñoz’s work since 1990 and has mounted six shows in New York between 1991 and 2015. David Zwirner is looking forward to continuing to promote and further the legacy of Juan Muñoz. The gallery is planning a solo exhibition of Muñoz’s work for New York in the spring of 2021, curated by Vicente Todolí. J uan Muñoz: Six Rooms will be on view at the gallery’s Chelsea spaces and will include six major installations by the artist, from 1986 to 2001, that exemplify the formal and perceptual breadth of his sculptural works. Juan Muñoz was among the most significant artists to rise to international prominence in the mid-1980s and 1990s. In his formally inventive ... More

Mulyana. Installation image Jumping the Shadow.

NEW YORK, NY.- Sapar Contemporary is presenting for the first time in NYC the works by two Indonesian artists, Mulyana and Iwan Effendi, both inspired by a puppetry tradition. The shadow puppet theater tradition (Wayang) has been woven into Indonesia’s cultural history for more than a thousand years. The term Wayang means shadow (as well as visual imagination) in Javanese. The two-person exhibition Jumping the Shadow at Sapar Contemporary, celebrates the New York City debut of Indonesian contemporary artists Iwan Effendi and Mulyana. Although their artistic lineages do not directly reference the history of shadow puppets, their work envisions imaginary worlds and characters that open up our minds to relevant narratives. The whimsical and animated characters in their work point to a rich tradition of story telling. Effendi and Mulyana started their education at the UPI Fine Arts in Bandung, and at different points, migrated to the city of Yogya ... More

Turkey turns Hagia Sophia back into a mosque   Sotheby's Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels sale totals US$56,473,108   Russia fines LGBT activist for 'gay propaganda' drawings

A woman visits the inside of Hagia Sophia on July 10, 2020, in Istanbul, before a top Turkish court revoked the sixth-century Hagia Sophia's status as a museum, clearing the way for it to be turned back into a mosque. Ozan KOSE / AFP.

by Fulya Ozerkan

ISTANBUL (AFP).- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced Friday that the Hagia Sophia, one of the architectural wonders of the world, would be reopened for Muslim worship as a mosque, sparking fury in the Christian community and neighbouring Greece. His declaration came after a top Turkish court revoked the sixth-century Byzantine monument's status as a museum, clearing the way for it to be turned back into a mosque. In an address to the nation, Erdogan said the first Muslim prayers at the Hagia Sophia would be performed on July 24. "God willing, we will perform Friday prayers all together on July 24 and reopen Hagia Sophia to worshipping," he said, assuring that it would open ... More

The sale was led by two exceptionally rare Fancy Vivid coloured diamonds. Courtesy Sotheby's.

HONG KONG.- Wenhao Yu, Deputy Chairman, Jewellery, Sotheby's Asia, commented: “Today’s results are a clear indication that the appetite for top quality jewels in Asia remains undiminished. The hottest colour diamonds in the most romantic of cuts and settings proved irresistible, with the pair of fancy vivid pink and blue rings taking top billing as the stars of the show, while ‘imperial jadeite’ attracted strong interest from international collectors. For a couple of years now, young and established collectors in the region have shown a growing interest in jewels with a royal connection and steeped in European history, and this was confirmed today, as they faced fierce competition from bidders around the world for Princess Margaret’s 21st birthday bracelet. This spring we have seen a resilience in the jewelry market, as collectors demonstrate their eagerness to transact with us in both new and traditional ways.” Pr ... More

The 27-year-old also faces a criminal trial for pornography over drawings of vaginas she posted online. © Yulia Tsvetkova.

MOSCOW (AFP).- A Russian court on Friday fined a LGBT activist 75,000 rubles ($1,053) over "propaganda" drawings of gay families aimed at influencing minors. A magistrate's court in the far eastern city of Komsomolsk-On-Amur fined activist and artist Yulia Tsvetkova over social media posts of drawings, she told AFP. One, called "A family is where love is," shows gay couples with their children. Others depict rainbow-coloured cats and matryoshka dolls holding hands. Tsvetkova posted on Facebook her testimony in court where she said the drawings were posted on a social media group aimed at adults and marked 18+. The 27-year-old also faces a criminal trial for pornography over drawings of vaginas she posted online. Her case has prompted international condemnation and protests in Russia. If convicted, she would face up to six years in jail. She spent months ... More

Christie's online sale fetches $421 mn despite virus pandemic   Exhibition of contemporary Aboriginal Australian memorial poles opens (virtually) at Frost Art FIU   McMullen from Home brings Boston College's museum to viewers

Roy Lichtenstein’s Nude With Joyous Painting, leads the sale, realizing $46,242,500 / £36,787,987 / €40,981,818 / HK$356,659,537. © Christie's Images Ltd 2020.

NEW YORK (AFP).- Roy Lichtenstein's "Nude with Joyous Painting" was the big seller as a Christie's hybrid sale fetched an impressive $421 million Friday, signaling the art market is holding firm during the coronavirus pandemic. The event, entitled "ONE," started with an auctioneer in Hong Kong selling a series of works, before another took over in Paris, followed by London and then New York. Christie's opted for the unique, one-day format after it was forced to rework its spring sales, a traditional highlight of auction season, because of the COVID-19 crisis. Lichtenstein's 1994 painting sold for the highest price at $46.2 million, well above its pre-sale estimate of around $30 million, Several records were broken, most notably for the American abstract painter Brice Marden, whose "Complements" went for $30.9 million. No painting crossed the $50 million mark, but 94 percent ... More

Joe Guymala with Lorrkkon Story, 2016, in front of Injalak Hill. Images © and courtesy of Injalak Arts, Kunbarlanja, Photograph by David Wickens.

MIAMI, FLA.- The Inside World: Contemporary Aboriginal Australian Memorial Poles from the Debra and Dennis Scholl Collection opens virtually on July 11 at Frost Art FIU. On view until January 10, 2021, the exhibition presents approximately 100 works by contemporary Aboriginal artists. The artists included in the exhibition come from Arnhem Land, a historical region in the Northern Territory of Australia. “The Inside World is an exciting opportunity to introduce a thoroughly new artform to our FIU students, faculty, and South Florida communities. These memorial poles mesh an ancient Aboriginal ritual with contemporary art practice. We are grateful to the Scholls for introducing us to these complex and vibrant works that are joyous and magnificent,” said museum director,. Jordana Pomeroy. These poles traditionally served as hollow log coffins, marking the final point in Aboriginal mortuary rites. Known ... More

"McMullen From Home" features an interactive spotlight of James Miller's “Peaceable Kingdom.

CHESTNUT HILL, MASS.- Whether you're an art aficionado or a casual appreciator, the McMullen Museum of Art at Boston College can connect you to exciting exhibitions and collections as well as dynamic related programming via McMullen From Home, an interactive resource now available on the museum’s website. Visitors of all ages can virtually explore the McMullen's exhibitions and permanent collection, as well as digital catalogues, related films, lectures by and interviews with curators, podcasts with Boston College faculty and and students, and more. "We hope you will make the museum your own," said Nancy Netzer, the inaugural Robert L. and Judith T. Winston Director of the McMullen Museum and a BC professor of art history. "My colleagues have worked remotely with determination and creativity to further the McMullen’s mission to promote learning by making resources available online to visitors throughout the world, ... More

More News
Daughter's wedding car worthy of New York's Museum of Modern Art for sale with H&H Classics
LONDON.- When a Dorchester based man was asked by his daughter for a yellow car to carry her to her wedding this is what the indulgent dad produced – a 1936 Cord 810 Westchester Sedan, now for sale some years after the marriage ceremony. This splendid car is estimated to sell for £50,000 to £60,000 with H&H at their next Live Auction Online on July 22. One like it is featured in MOMA, New York. This magnificent Cord has been the subject of significant restoration work and comes with a comprehensive file of invoices. The car boasts front wheel drive, a Lycoming V8 Engine and was produced in the penultimate year of Cord production. “One of the few automobiles deemed worthy of inclusion in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and arguably the most easily recognised American car of all time, the Cord 810 debuted in November 1935, receiving ... More

Manifesta 13 Marseille introduces Le Tiers Programme
MARSEILLE.- Proposed by the Education and Mediation team of Manifesta 13, Le Tiers Programme (The Third Programme) is a mediation initiative placing the central curatorial programme in dialogue with the citizens of Marseille. The programme is made up of a set of interrelated research and practice based projects born from encounters with a variety of local actors, ranging from inhabitants to artists, that delve into the histories and present realities of the city. Going beyond institutional categories, disciplinary divisions, Le Tiers Programme brings together projects that are educational, curatorial, research-based, artistic, and accessible to everyone. At the core of the programme is the notion of voicing the unheard, including multiple histories and unrepresented narratives of the city’s common heritage, giving an insight into Marseille’s contemporary identity ... More

'Batman: The Killing Joke,' Jack Kirby original art help push Heritage Auctions event past $5 million mark
DALLAS, TX.- Heritage Auctions began its four-day Comics & Comic Art event with a first session full of slam-bang action that smashed most expectations and pre-auction estimates. After a mere 105 minutes had elapsed, the Platinum Session filled with historic titles and significant works of original art had tallied almost $3.3 million. Session 2, which kicked off later in the day Thursday and featured more than 150 additional comics alongside rare Pokémon and Magic: The Gathering items, brought in an additional $1.7 million. That pushed the first day’s total past the $5 million mark. Tales to astonish, indeed. Nearly every single page of original art sold for well beyond pre-auction estimates. Some doubled and tripled expectations. Brian Bolland’s Page 2 from Batman: The Killing Joke, his 1988 collaboration with Alan ... More

Almine Rech opens an exhibition of new paintings by the New York-based painter Joe Andoe
NEW YORK, NY.- Almine Rech is presenting Rolling Hills, an exhibition of new paintings by the New York-based painter Joe Andoe. This is the artist’s third solo show with Almine Rech, featuring five works on canvas created between late 2019 and May 2020. Rolling Hills continues the artist’s abiding interest in the landscapes and totems of the American experience, rendering enigmatic imagery that conjures a uniquely American mythos. Rolling Hills represents a continuation of three motifs: saddles, from a body of work Andoe has been building since last year, obliquely related to his paintings of classic American cars, wherein the saddle functions as proxy for the driver's seat; saddles floating atop landscapes, which collides the former with Andoe’s career-long interest in the internalized vastness surrounding Tulsa, Oklahoma, the artist’s hometown; and ... More

Leslie K. Johnson named Executive Vice President of Skirball Cultural Center
LOS ANGELES, CA.- The Skirball Cultural Center has announced the appointment of Los Angeles cultural leader Leslie K. Johnson as its new Executive Vice President. Johnson will oversee the full range of the Skirball’s exhibitions and programs and day-to-day operations, including a $22 million budget and nearly 400 full-time and on-call staff. She joins the Skirball from Center Theatre Group, where she most recently held the position of Director of Social Strategy, Innovation, and Impact and served as the organization’s chief diversity officer, a role in which she prioritized community building both internally and externally. Following a national search conducted by Morris & Berger, Johnson was selected by the Skirball’s new President and CEO, Jessie Kornberg, whose tenure began on July 1. “Leslie K. Johnson is an inspiring, collaborative leader ... More

Todd Smith named Executive Director of Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
CHARLOTTE, NC.- The Board of Directors for the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art announced today the appointment of Todd DeShields Smith as Executive Director of the Southeast’s only dedicated Modern Art Museum. Smith comes to Charlotte from Orange County, California, where he has served as the Director and CEO at the Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) for the past six years. Under his leadership, OCMA experienced the most transformative period in its six decade history. Smith led the design and approval process for a new museum building as part of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts and successfully secured over $52 million towards the project, which broke ground in September 2019. Smith, who will begin September 8, joins the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art during its tenth anniversary. As the new Executive Director, ... More

Spitfire tribute as UK says goodbye to WWII icon Vera Lynn
DITCHLING (AFP).- Two Royal Air Force Spitfires staged a ceremonial fly-past Friday as thousands of people turned out to pay their last respects to British World War II icon Vera Lynn. The popular singer, best remembered for her morale-boosting song "We'll Meet Again" and visits to the frontlines, died last month aged 103, after a glittering career. Crowds thronged her former home of Ditchling in southeast England, to catch a glimpse of her funeral cortege as it passed along streets lined with Union flag bunting. Shop windows were filled with memorabilia and framed pictures of the star. Many described her passing as "the end of an era". Applause rang out as the single-engine fighter planes flew overhead and as the hearse carrying her flag-draped coffin passed, accompanied by military personnel. A private funeral and cremation was held in the nearby ... More

Bruneau & Co. announces highlights included in its online-only Antiques & Fine Art auction
CRANSTON, RI.- Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers’ online-only Antiques & Fine Art auction on Thursday, July 23rd, will kick off with vibrant paintings by Indian artists Maqbool Fida Hussain (1913-2011) and B. Prabha (1933-2001). They will be followed by more than 300 lots, collected from estates across New England. Everything will be sold to the highest bidder, with no reserves. Lot 1 is a Modernist-Cubist watercolor painting by Maqbool Fida Hussain (often called “the Picasso of India”), depicting a galloping golden horse illuminated by the sun with a floating hand. The work, 20 inches by 30 inches (sight), is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from Hussain’s son, Shafat, stating it was done in 2002. The painting should hit $8,000-$12,000. Lot 2 is an oil on canvas Portrait of a Young Woman by B. Prabha, who entered the art world when ... More

Two museums turn a seaside haven into a car lover's dream
NEWPORT, RI (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- Only a few miles separate two auto museums in Rhode Island, but the experiences they offer are quite different. Each museum reopened June 8 after shutdowns due to the coronavirus, and visitors were (with some limitations) again walking into the 1903 Florentine Renaissance building that houses the Audrain Automobile Museum in downtown Newport and traveling to Gunther K. Buerman’s Newport Car Museum in nearby Portsmouth. The gregarious, always bow-tied Donald Osborne, Audrain’s chief executive since November, is well-known in the collector community, not only as an experienced appraiser but also as a master of ceremonies and grand marshal at many concours events. (Osborne, a trained opera singer, can also open the proceedings with the national anthem.) And he’s a TV presenter on “Jay Leno’s ... More

The Dance on Camera Festival, when dance is only on camera
NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- “We’re all becoming filmmakers,” Annie-B Parson told me in May. She was speaking for her fellow choreographers, and in the months since, her generalization has proved prophetic. With theaters closed, dance companies and dance makers accustomed to stage performance have been rushing to channel their work into a form you can stream. Live dance is dormant, but filmed dance has been busting out all over. Many of these new dance films, made in less than ideal circumstances, look like first efforts. But, of course, there is nothing new about dance on camera. The Dance on Camera festival has been surveying the field since 1971. This year, for the first time, the festival is happening online, July 17 to July 20. (Tickets and a schedule are at “It’s never been about putting cameras on dancers,” Liz Wolff, a curator of the festival, said. “It’s really about films that put dance into a filmic narrative or structure.” In othe ... More

Digital theater isn't theater. It's a way to mourn its absence.
NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- I have seen it more times, in more productions, than I can remember: Nick Bottom, the weaver transformed into an ass in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” waking the morning after the merriment. The enchantment broken, he is returned to human form, with strange memories he can’t articulate. It’s a silly comic interlude, and had I caught Nicholas Hytner’s production last summer at the Bridge Theater in London, it wouldn’t have registered the way it did for me the other day. In the National Theater at Home recording I streamed on my laptop, Bottom perches on the edge of a confetti-strewn bed, clutches a pillow in his lap and declaims his muddled thoughts. “The eye of man hath not heard,” he says, “the ear of man hath not seen, man’s hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart ... More

In a Brilliant Light: Van Gogh in Arles, 1984 | From the Vaults

On a day like today, Italian painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo died
July 11, 1593. Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1526 or 1527 - July 11, 1593) was an Italian painter best known for creating imaginative portrait heads made entirely of objects such as fruits, vegetables, flowers, fish, and books. In this image: Giuseppe Arcimboldo, Vertumne (portrait de Rodolphe II), vers 1590, Huile sur bois. Skokloster, Château de Skokloster (Suède).

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