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A clash of wills keeps a Leonardo masterpiece hidden

Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi,” at Christie’s auction house in New York, Nov. 13, 2017. The Louvre inspected the “Salvator Mundi” and certified it as the work of Leonardo da Vinci. But it kept those findings secret after a squabble with the painting’s owners. Benjamin Norman/The New York Times.

by David D. Kirkpatrick and Elaine Sciolino


NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- French curators had worked for a decade to prepare a major exhibition marking the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci. When it opened, though, the most talked-about painting they had planned to show — “Salvator Mundi,” the most expensive work ever sold at auction — was nowhere to be seen. Plucked from shabby obscurity at a New Orleans estate sale, the painting had been sold in 2017 as a rediscovered “lost” Leonardo and fetched more than $450 million from an anonymous bidder who kept it hidden from view. The chance to see it at the Louvre museum’s anniversary show two years later had created a sensation in the international art world, and its absence whipped up a storm of new questions. Had the Louvre concluded that the painting was not actually the work of Leonardo, as a vocal handful of scholars had insisted? Had the buyer — reported to be Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, although he had never acknowledged i ... More


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Auction houses Sotheby's, Phillips latest to join NFT craze   Exhibition highlights a selection of works from the 1960s through 2010s by Jack Whitten   Russians celebrate 60 years since historic Gagarin spaceflight


Fungible Open Edition, Single Cube. Courtesy Sotheby’s.

NEW YORK (AFP).- Sotheby's and Phillips launched so-called NFT auctions on Monday, a month after Christie's sold a digital artwork for $69.3 million, as traditional auction houses seek to capitalize on the craze shaking up the art market. Three months ago, barely anyone had heard of a non-fungible token (NFT), a digital object such as a drawing, animation, piece of music, photo, or video with a certificate of authenticity created by blockchain technology. But that changed in March when a digital collage by American artist Beeple sold for $69.3 million at Christie's, setting a new record for an NFT, and the first message posted on Twitter went for $2.9 million. More than $10 million in NFT transactions are now taking place daily, according to the website DappRadar. The exchanges happen in cryptocurrencies on specialist sites such as Nifty Gateway and OpenSea, on the fringes of the art world. But the phenomenon is now becoming more mainstream with traditional auction houses keen to cash ... More
 

Jack Whitten, The Apollonian Sword, 2014. Marble, metal, lead, charred black mulberry wood, 184 x 56 x 46 cm / 72 1/2 x 22 x 18 1/8 in. Photo: Genevieve Hanson © Jack Whitten Estate. Courtesy Jack Whitten Estate and Hauser & Wirth.

HONG KONG.- Hauser & Wirth Hong Kong is presenting American abstractionist Jack Whitten’s first solo exhibition in Asia. Celebrated for his innovative processes of applying paint to the surface of his canvases and transfiguring their material terrains, Whitten’s work bridges rhythms of gestural abstraction and process art, arriving at a nuanced language of painting that hovers between mechanical automation and intensely personal expression. Consisting of rarely seen paintings, sculpture and works on paper, the exhibition highlights a selection of works from the 1960s through 2010s. Blurring the boundaries between sculpture and painting, and between the artist’s studio and the world outside, the multidimensional paintings on view combine geometric abstraction and found objects to mine spiritual and metaphysical thematic veins. Works on paper ... More
 

A technological duplicate of Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin's SK-1 spacesuit is seen on display at Moscow's Museum of Cosmonautics on April 9, 2021. Alexander NEMENOV / AFP.

by Anna Smolchenko


MOSCOW (AFP).- Russia on Monday celebrated the 60th anniversary of the legendary flight that made Yuri Gagarin the first man in space, a major source of national pride for millions of his countrymen. Russia's space industry has struggled in recent years and been hit by a series of mishaps, but the sending of the first human into space on April 12, 1961 remains one of the crowning achievements of the Soviet space programme. President Vladimir Putin travelled Monday to the southern city of Engels on the banks of the Volga River, to the site of the cosmonaut's landing where a memorial stands to honour the historic flight. He was accompanied by Valentina Tereshkova, a Soviet cosmonaut and the first woman in space. The day of Gagarin's flight is celebrated every year in Russia as Cosmonautics Day, and this ... More


Fashion's premiere Met Gala returns with two shows...and two parties   Google Doodle to mark 151st anniversary of The Metropolitan Museum of Art's founding   Phillips announces the first private selling sculpture exhibition to be sold online through Phillips X


"VEIL FLAG" by S.R. STUDIO. LA. CA., 2020. Courtesy of Sterling Ruby Studio. Photography by Melanie Schiff.

NEW YORK (AFP).- After a remarkably dressed-down year, New York's premiere Met Gala is back -- and not one but two shows celebrating American fashion are in the works. The Metropolitan Museum of Art on Monday announced the annual sartorial exhibit would happen in two parts, with the first show entitled "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" opening September 18 to celebrate The Costume Institute's 75th anniversary. The second exhibit -- "In America: An Anthology of Fashion" -- will kick off May 5, 2022. Both will run until September 5 of that year. And with two shows, comes two parties. The Met and Costume Institute Benefit trustee Anna Wintour, the longtime editor-in-chief of Vogue, postponed 2020's normally star-studded bash over the Covid-19 pandemic. The new schedule banks on the notion that restrictions will ease as more Americans get vaccinated -- more than 56 million in the United States are ... More
 

The images are all drawn from The Met’s Open Access program, which includes some 400,000 photographs of objects in the Museum’s collection available for use without restriction.

NEW YORK, NY.- The 151st anniversary of the founding of The Metropolitan Museum of Art will be celebrated with a custom Google Doodle, the creative treatment of the Google logo featured on the search engine’s homepage. The Met-inspired animated Doodle will launch in the United States at 12 a.m. on Tuesday, April 13, and be viewable for 24 hours. The Doodle will appear in more than 20 countries. The Doodle features a rotating carousel of objects from across The Met’s vast collection, with the objects echoing the shapes of the letters in the word “Google.” Featured works include a sculpture of a dancer from 2nd-century B.C. China; a 13th-century terracotta sculpture of a seated figure from the Inland Niger Delta region of present-day Mali; The Unicorn Rests in a Garden (1495–1505), from the Unicorn Tapestries; ... More
 

Jeff Koons, Balloon Venus Dolni Vestonice (Orange), 2013-2017. Image courtesy of Phillips.

NEW YORK, NY.- Phillips announced Ground / Breaking, the first dedicated sculpture exhibition to be sold online through Phillips X, Phillips’ private selling exhibition platform. This curated selection of 39 pieces explores the trajectory of 20th and 21st century & contemporary sculpture. Online from 9 April to 21 May 2021, Ground / Breaking will feature works by world renowned artists including Thomas Schütte, Jeff Koons, Willem de Kooning, Ugo Rondinone, Ai Weiwei, Sarah Lucas, Franz West, George Condo, Duane Hanson, and Arthur Jafa, among others. Miety Heiden, Phillips’ Head of Private Sales, said, ‘As Phillips’ first dedicated online sculpture exhibition Ground / Breaking presents an exciting next step for Phillips X. From Willem de Kooning’s Seated Woman on a Bench and Duane Hanson’s life-size 1980s Cowboy through to George Condo’s gold patinated bronze God 2 and Ai Weiwei’s ... More


MASSIMODECARLO opens a virtual exhibition curated by gallery artist Tony Lewis   Hindman's Spring Fine Art sales to feature important works by Andy Warhol, Cy Twombly, and others   Kanye West Nike Air Yeezy 1 sneakers, valued at over $1 mn, to be sold


Neal Vandenbergh, Untitled (Nancy Reagan), 2021. Graphite, pastel, acrylic and colored pencil on paper, 101.6 × 76.2 cm / 40 × 30 inches

MILAN.- MASSIMODECARLO is presenting Stopgap, a virtual exhibition curated by gallery artist Tony Lewis, opening online at MASSIMODECARLO VSpace. Stopgap presents a selection of artworks by the artists Gregory Bae, Josh Dihle, Megan Greene, Nyeema Morgan, Edra Soto, Adrienne Elise Tarver, Neal Vandenbergh. ‘I’ve been drawing, writing, thinking and drinking since last March. I’ve occasionally needed other stopgaps to help distract, or help move along the days. Art that I’ve lived with has helped. Newer artist friends I’ve traded with, or old ones have known for years, have helped me think about their psychology as a way to escape mine for a moment. Chicago has helped. In each artist’s work there’s something that I don’t fully understand, like a gap of logic, imagination; a gap of humor, private behavior, or nothing. It’s nourishing to have even brief dialogues about an artist’s ideas a ... More
 

Joan Mitchell (American, 1925-1992), Untitled, 1989. Estimate: $500,000-700,000.

CHICAGO, IL.- This May, Hindman will present three days of fine art sales featuring nearly 500 works of art. The auctions will kick-off with American and European Art on May 3, followed by Post War and Contemporary Art on May 4, and conclude with Prints and Multiples on May 5. Outstanding collections and artworks will be featured including important works by Joan Mitchell, Andy Warhol, Cy Twombly, Alexander Calder, and others. Mitchell’s extraordinary Untitled, 1989 (lot 32) will headline the three sales and will be offered at $500,000-700,000. Untitled, 1989 is from a Private Collection (Atlanta, Georgia) and was purchased from Cheim & Read in New York in 2012. The sales showcase Property from the Collection of Noel and Kathryn Dickinson Wadsworth (Atlanta, Georgia), the Collection of Ginny L. Williams (Denver, Colorado), the Estate of Avis Hope Truska (Scottsdale, Arizona), the Miriam B. Swanson Trust (Chicago, Illinois), the Michael H ... More
 

In this file photo musician Kanye West performs onstage during the 50th annual Grammy awards held at the Staples Center on February 10, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. Kevin Winter / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP.

WASHINGTON (AFP).- A pair of Kanye West's first Nike Yeezy sneakers, which he debuted on stage at the Grammys, are to be sold, with Sotheby's predicting the shoes could fetch in excess of $1 million. The Nike Air Yeezy 1 sneakers are part of a private sale -- which means neither the final price nor the buyer will be released unless the individual comes forward. The sneaker range were the first to be launched by West's Yeezy brand, and caused a fashion furore when he wore them during a 2008 Grammys performance. Previously, Nike had only worked with athletes and West's shoe was a significant break for the US brand. The Air Yeezy 1 launched in a limited series in 2009, followed by the Air Yeezy 2 in 2012. The following year, West ended his partnership with Nike -- deeming his share of the revenue insufficient -- going on to work ... More



The show must go on, say Belgian theatre staff amid virus shutdown   Exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts brings together new works by Yann Pocreau   Ketterer Kunst to offer an impressive work of art made by Gerhard Richter


This file photograph shows a general view of the newly renovated Theatre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels. EMMANUEL DUNAND / AFP.

by Anne-Laure Mondesert


BRUSSELS (AFP).- Theatre staff in Belgium left desperate by seemingly unending virus restrictions that have forced them off stage and left seats empty are making their frustrations known. They are occupying two theatres in Brussels and are threatening to stage unauthorised performances in another. Their anger over theatres being kept dark with no reopening date is fused with that of other professions -- restaurants, non-essential shops, hairdressers -- which keep seeing prospects for a return to activity pushed back. "I see people around me with a lot of doubts and uncertainty, and living on the brink too, with friends unable to pay the rent," said Thymios Fountas, a 31-year-old playwright and stage director. He is part of a group that has taken over a state theatre and concert hall, La Monnaie, for more than a week, ... More
 

Yann Pocreau (born in 1980), Celestial Bodies, 2018-20, digital print, 221 x 140 cm. Collection of the artist.

MONTREAL.- Well known for his photography, multidisciplinary artist Yann Pocreau has for a number of years been keenly interested in light and its many manifestations. The exhibition Impermanencies, presented at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, brings together new works by Pocreau that offer a poetic reflection on time, the cosmos and photography. Impermanencies is the culmination of an MMFA-sponsored residency the artist completed at the Darling Foundry from 2016 to 2018 as well as a research stint conducted at the Mont-Mégantic Observatory in 2018, during which he studied the universe and its phenomena. The exhibition offers a metaphorical expression of Pocreau’s recent musings and the existential questions that astronomy and an observation of the stars naturally inspire. The first gallery features cyanotypes exposed to sunlight and moonlight, lumen prints, photographs and ... More
 

Gerhard Richter, Abstraktes Bild, 2001. Oil on Dibond. 50 x 72 cm / 19.1 x 28.3 inches. Estimate: € 600.000-800.000 / US$ 690,000-920,000.

MUNICH.- Mission accomplished. Gerhard Richter has completed his pictorial œuvre at the age of 89. His paintings made in squeegee technique mark the peak of his creation. A particularly fine example of these internationally sought-after works will be called up in the Ketterer Kunst auction in Munich on June 18/19 with an estimate of € 600,000-800,000. Gerhard Richter is more than the superstar of the German art scene. His name is of global significance, as grand exhibitions and retrospectives, at, among others, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York as well as Tate Modern in London, show. Accordingly, the art world was all the more shocked when the artist unpretentiously announced “Things come to an end at some point“ last fall. So this is it then; at least as far as his impressive squeegee works are concerned. “In this context I regard it as a great honor,“ says Robert Kette ... More




More News
Online exhibition proposes an about-turn in economic thinking: Not growth, but balance in nature
ROTTERDAM.- Bringing the maelstrom of plastic pollution to a halt requires us to think outside the box: How do you eventually break down what you are producing right now? On April 8, Dutch art Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen launched ‘The Breakdown Economy’, a bio-based response to the pollution of the fossil-based economy. This online exhibition proposes an about-turn in economic thinking: Not growth, but balance in nature. You can now make a virtual visit to the online exhibition ‘The Breakdown Economy’ till December 31st 2021. At the invitation of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Studio Klarenbeek & Dros and the artists’ collective Atelier Van Lieshout present a vision for an alternative production chain. One is realistic; the other is provocative. In addition, designers Koehorst in ’t Veld have created a graphic installation that reveals ... More

Daisy Desrosiers named director of Kenyon's Gund Gallery
GAMBIER, OH.- Kenyon College’s Gund Gallery announced today that Daisy Desrosiers, an interdisciplinary art historian and curator, will join its community as director and chief curator, effective June 1, 2021. Desrosiers currently serves as director of artist programs at the Lunder Institute for American Art, an incubator of research and artistic practice within the Colby College Museum of Art. In that role, she oversees the institute’s collaborations with artists and, with others at the institute and the museum, generates structure for its community initiatives, publications, exhibitions and public programming. She also leads outreach efforts among local and global audiences and creates opportunities for engagement with diverse communities. “Daisy’s experience positions her well to lead the Gallery as it continues its work of engaging in critical, timely topics through ... More

Met Opera players to meet an old friend for a gig and for aid
NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- The musicians of the Metropolitan Opera’s orchestra, who went unpaid for nearly a year, are getting a hand from one of their old maestros, Fabio Luisi. Luisi — who was the Met’s principal conductor for more than five years and was seen as a candidate to succeed James Levine as its music director before the post went to Yannick Nézet-Séguin — has invited the musicians to Texas at the end of the month to join the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, which he now leads, for two benefit concerts. The Dallas Symphony announced Monday that the Met musicians would join its players for performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 on April 30 and May 1. The orchestra noted in a news release that the concerts would present the first opportunity in over a year for many of the Met’s musicians — who recently began ... More

The healing power of music
NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- “Focus on the sound of the instrument,” Andrew Rossetti, a licensed music therapist and researcher, said as he strummed hypnotic chords on a Spanish-style classical guitar. “Close your eyes. Think of a place where you feel safe and comfortable.” Music therapy was the last thing that Julia Justo, a graphic artist who immigrated to New York from Argentina, expected when she went to Mount Sinai Beth Israel Union Square Clinic for treatment for cancer in 2016. But it quickly calmed her fears about the radiation therapy she needed to go through. The fears were causing her severe anxiety. “I felt the difference right away, I was much more relaxed,” she said. Justo, who has been free of cancer for more than four years, continued to visit the New York City hospital every week before the onset of the pandemic ... More

Turner Contemporary appoints 5 new trustees to its board, further strengthening its connection to Kent
MARGATE.- Today Turner Contemporary announces the appointment of five new trustees, who will play a key role in leading the future of the organisation as it builds a vision for the next 10 years. The new appointments form part of Turner Contemporary’s commitment to championing creativity and strengthening communities in Margate and Kent. On 16 April 2021, the gallery will celebrate 10 years since opening. Turner Contemporary’s impact on East Kent has been widely recognised, and the vision for the future is evolving to ensure that the gallery’s work continues to makes a real difference to people’s lives. Since it opened, Turner Contemporary has created considerable social and economic impact in Margate, with research by Canterbury Christ Church University demonstrating that the gallery delivers benefits to educational ... More

New publication investigates digital developments on the African continent
KARLSRUHE.- ZKM launched a new publication called Digital Imaginaries. Digital Imaginaries. African Positions Beyond the Binary was published in German and English by Kerber Verlag Bielefeld/Berlin on March 23, 2021. The book presents the results of the three-year cooperative project Digital Imaginaries (2018-2021). The project partners were Kër Thiossane and Afropixel Festival in Dakar/Senegal, Wits Art Museum and Fak'ugesi Festival of African Digital Innovation in Johannesburg, South Africa, and the ZKM | Karlsruhe. Digital Imaginaries investigated digital developments on the African continent by focusing on exhibitions, festivals and performances, seminars, lectures and artist residencies. The project leader was Richard Rottenburg, curators of the exhibitions in Dakar, Johannesburg, and Karlsruhe were Julien McHardy, Marion Louisgrand Sylla, ... More

London's theaters stay shut, with one exception
LONDON (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- In Shakespeare’s time, the plague repeatedly shut down London’s theaters. It closed them in 1592, and again in 1603. Shakespeare kept writing throughout both Elizabethan versions of lockdown. The plague might have been a time “when madmen lead the blind,” as he wrote in “King Lear,” but it certainly wasn’t one for stopping work. The plague was not the only threat that shut down his theater, the Globe. It burned down in 1613; after it was rebuilt, the Puritans shut it for good three decades later. Even as Londoners were celebrating the reopening of many pubs, restaurants, salons and gyms Monday, theaters across the city remained firmly shut. They will not be allowed to open before May 17. That decision has prompted regular complaints from culture figures, questioning why people are able to mingle in ... More

Exhibition documents Christopher Wilton-Steer's four-month journey along the world's oldest trade route
LONDON.- The Aga Khan Foundation announced The Silk Road: A Living History, an open-air photography exhibition by travel photographer Christopher Wilton-Steer. The exhibition documents Wilton-Steer’s journey along the historic trade route undertaken in 2019. Over a period of four months, he travelled 40,000 km overland by car, bus, train, ferry, horse and camel from London to Beijing traversing sixteen countries. He began his journey from London’s King’s Cross where the show is being staged from 8th April 2021 and runs until 16th June. The exhibition has been arranged around Granary Square and is presented in partnership with King’s Cross. Comprised of over 160 photographs, The Silk Road: A Living History invites the viewer to take a journey from London to Beijing, encountering many of the people, ... More

Quite a thrill ride as Heritage Auctions' first Disney-only event brings nearly $1.8 million
DALLAS, TX.- Fantasmic. That's as good a word as any to describe Heritage Auctions' first auction devoted solely to the wonderful world of Disney held April 8-10. The three-day event, featuring The Art of the Disney Theme Park and the Disney Storybook Art Collection, realized nearly $1.8 million — almost twice the pre-sale estimate. It was also a complete sell-out, thanks to the more than 2,800 bidders around the globe who lined up for a thrill-ride auction that coincided with both the reopening of Disneyland and the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World. "This was Heritage's first Disney-centric auction, but certainly not our last," says Jim Lentz, Director of Animation Art. "Already consignors and clients are asking: 'When is the next one?' We have sold Disney storybook art before, but never with the singular focus of this event. ... More

Jaynie Miller Studenmund joins Getty Board of Trustees
LOS ANGELES, CA.- The J. Paul Getty Trust Board of Trustees has elected business executive and independent board member Jaynie Miller Studenmund to its Board. “Jaynie’s extensive leadership experience across many different fields will serve the Getty well,” said Dr. David L. Lee, chair of the Getty Board of Trustees. “She has deep knowledge from service on both non-profit and corporate Boards. We welcome her to the Board, where she will help us guide one of the world’s leading cultural organizations into a new, post-pandemic era.” The former Chief Operating Officer for Overture Services, Ms. Studenmund’s career spans four decades of experience in management consulting, corporate executive management, and board service for public companies and non-profits. Her corporate background is primarily in financial services, digital, ... More

In-person Oscars to feature bevy of A-list presenters
LOS ANGELES (AFP).- Film lovers tired of tedious Zoom-based Hollywood awards shows can rejoice -- producers of the glitzy in-person Oscars this month are bringing in the big guns, with Harrison Ford, Brad Pitt and Reese Witherspoon among an A-list lineup of presenters unveiled Monday. The April 25 ceremony, to be primarily held at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, comes as California accelerates its reopening after a year of Covid-19 closures, buoyed by a vast vaccination rollout, and will follow a glamorous "awards-show-as-a-movie" theme, the Academy said. In a statement announcing the Oscars' "truly stellar cast of stars," the producers warned: "There's so much wattage here, sunglasses may be required." Along with Ford and Witherspoon, presenters will include last year's big acting winners Joaquin Phoenix, Renee Zellweger, Pitt ... More




Joy Labinjo 'Untitled' | London | Spring 2021



Flashback
On a day like today, English painter Thomas Lawrence was born
April 13, 1769. Sir Thomas Lawrence PRA FRS (13 April 1769 - 7 January 1830) was a leading English portrait painter and the fourth president of the Royal Academy. In this image: Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769 - 1830) Portrait of the Hon. Emily Mary Lamb (1787 - 1869), 1803. ©The National Gallery.



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