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Sotheby's Department of Scientific Research celebrates first anniversary
State-of-the-art laboratory opened in Sotheby’s New York headquarters

NEW YORK, NY.- One year ago today, Sotheby’s announced the acquisition of Orion Analytical, the leading materials analysis and consulting firm in the art world, and hired its founder, Jamie Martin, to establish a Department of Scientific Research. It was the first – and still only – department of its kind in the auction world. In just one year, dramatic progress has been made in the integration of science and technology with the world-class expertise and provenance research behind the works of art, objects and wine offered by Sotheby’s.

Jamie Martin, Director of Sotheby’s groundbreaking Department of Scientific Research, commented: “It’s been an incredibly energizing year for me at Sotheby’s. I’m particularly inspired by my work with specialists worldwide – it is the combination of their art historical knowledge with our laboratories’ analysis that has led to our most impactful determinations. In 2018 I look forward to expanding our capabilities both geographically and into a greater variety of materials, as Sotheby’s world affords us access to the very best of fine art, furniture, wine and beyond.”

State-of-the-art laboratory opened in Sotheby’s New York headquarters

• Only the 4th laboratory in the United States,

• Alongside The Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Gallery of Art and J. Paul Getty Museum,

• To Acquire a Bruker M6 Jetstream: Revolutionary German X-Ray Fluorescence Technology that Maps the Composition of Works

Facility in London Opened to Serve the United Kingdom and Continental Europe

• Plans to Establish a Similar Facility in Hong Kong

• Portable Capability Available for Worldwide Use

Collaboration with Sotheby’s Specialists Across 15 Different Collecting Categories in New York, London, Paris, Geneva and Hong Kong

• To Examine Hundreds of Paintings, Works on Paper, Bronze and Stone Sculpture, Furniture and Wine Valued at More than $100 Million

• Investigating Construction, Composition, and Condition and Providing Leads for Attributions and Dispute Resolutions

Additional Staff Recruited Including:

• Technical Art Historian & Research Coordinator, Assistant Conservation Scientist and London Project Administrator

Materials analysis revealed an unusual blue paint in Kazimir Malevich’s painting Suprematist Composition with Plane in Projection, and infrared photography revealed changes the artist made in the composition at an earlier stage.

Further research into the blue paint led the Sotheby’s Scientific Research Department to another painting by the artist in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago: Painterly Realism of a Football Player – Color Masses in the 4th Dimension, 1915. Not only did both works contain the same blue paint additive (basic magnesium carbonate); both paintings also revealed changes Malevich made to the compositions throughout the execution process.

The analysis conducted by Scientific Research Department, together with provenance research conducted by specialists in Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Department, provided insight into unique materials and creative processes, lending physical evidence in support of the art historical understanding of the painting and the artist’s greater oeuvre.

Suprematist Composition with Plane in Projection, 1915 was sold at Sotheby’s in New York on May 16, 2017 for $21.2 million after a prolonged battle between four bidders – topping its $18 million high estimate, and marking the 4th-highest auction price for Kazimir Malevich.

Today's News

December 6, 2017

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Sotheby's New York to offer the earliest known illuminated Hebrew Bible from Spain

Save Venice Inc. restores Titian's Madonna di Ca' Pesaro

Harvard Art Museums acquire Kara Walker drawing

Jean d'Ormesson, France's 'prince of letters', dies aged 92

Sierra Leone's huge 'peace diamond' fetches $6.5 mn

Trio to replace disgraced Levine at Met for much-awaited 'Tosca'

Ferdinand Hodler's "Thunersee" soars to CHF 4.3 million as winter landscapes triumph at Sotheby's Zurich

Toledo Museum of Art adds three Native American works of art to its collections

The Redwood Library & Athenaeum opens Paris Salon exhibition

Christiane Paul named Director + Chief Curator of Galleries at Parsons School of Design

Mona Lisa: The world-renowned portrait that still affects world's culture

Site-specific sculpture unveiled in Sydney CBD's Wynyard Station suspended above a bank of escalators

Turner Auctions + Appraisals to offer the Anita Hellman Collection of Costume & Fine Jewelry

Jonathan Wong appointed to head Sotheby's S/2 Gallery in Hong Kong

The couture fashion jewellery of Shaun Leane achieves $2.6 million at Sotheby's

Ansel Adams Museum set to highlight photographs auction at Doyle

The Warhol appoints Clark Crowley-Bunyard Advancement Director

Galerie Max Hetzler opens exhibition of recent works by Toby Ziegler

Sotheby's Department of Scientific Research celebrates first anniversary

Carnegie International commits to fair artist pay

Supercars and timeless classics triumph at multi-million pound Bond Street sale

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