BEIJING — The Chinese legal authorities released the dissident artist Ai Weiwei on Wednesday after a three-month detention, apparently ending a prosecution that had become a focal point of criticism of China’s eroding human rights record.
NEW YORK— Robert Miller, whose eponymous gallery has worked with such legendary artists as Andy Warhol, Louise Bourgeois, and Georgia O’Keeffe, died on June 22, his gallery announced today. He was 72. Miller’s career was defined by his commitment to great women and gay artists, including Eva Hesse, Robert Mapplethorpe, Diane Arbus, Joan Mitchell, Patti Smith, Alice Neel, and Gilbert & George.
LONDON— Packed with a rare-to-market trove of postwar German art from a prominent private collection, Sotheby’s achieved the highest tally for any contemporary art sale in London to date, realizing £108,803,550 ($174,129,201). The stunning result exceeded the high end of the £74-105 million pre-sale expectations, with all but nine of the 88 lots finding buyers for a stellar buy-in rate of 10 percent by lot and six percent by value.
There is something so obvious, so crude, about Leonardo da Vinci’s portrait of Cecilia Gallerani that it might seem beneath discussion. The 16-year-old mistress of the ruler of Milan, Ludovico Sforza, is stroking an ermine. The creature is white, furry and bony. Scholars have written reams about this ermine’s significance as an allegory of purity. To my mind, with its long snout and serpentine body, her pet looks unmistakably phallic – and her control of it suggests that Sforza has been tamed by his young mistress.
A sculpture of 100 fish by Damien Hirst was snapped up with a price tag of $2.8 million. A Takashi Murakami painting of a Chinese lion dog and two works by Louise Bourgeois were also hitting the $2 million mark in Paris.
A group of artists including Chuck Close and Laddie John Dill has been joined by the estate of artist Robert Graham in filing two class-action suits against the New York outlets of Christie’s and Sotheby’s for allegedly violating the 1977 California Resale Royalty Act. The foundation representing the estate of artist Sam Francis was included as a plaintiff in the lawsuit against Christie’s as well, though not against Sotheby’s, where a major exhibition of Francis’s work is now on view.
Under the California resale royalty law — which is similar to the “droit de suite” laws in the E.U. — any person selling an artwork by an artist who is either alive or has been deceased for fewer than 20 years must give the artist or the artist’s estate 5 percent of the sale’s proceeds. The law applies to both works of art sold in California and those sold outside the state by a California resident.
LOS ANGELES (CN) – In three federal class actions, Chuck Close and other artists accuse New York-based Sotheby’s and Christie’s, and Internet auctioneer eBay, of “willful and systematic violation” of their obligation to pay royalties on artworks sold in California or at auction by California residents. The artists say the auctioneers “affirmatively engaged in a pattern of conduct intended to conceal” the sales, and the money due to the artists.
Lisa Yuskavage and her signature women are back, in all their lopsided, voluptuous glory. Perky breasts meet bulging bellies, meaty thighs in sexy stockings join wide, sensuous hips. As perverse as ever, the women crouch and splay their legs towards the viewer, or turn away, offering their bodies in profile, titillating, youthful and fresh. It seems that the unrelenting painter of unsettling candy-colored sirens won’t be put off by requests that she “just stop,” made over the years by her family, friends and even strangers, who beg her to “cease and desist.” No — Yuskavage is still at it, as evidenced by her newest body of work, on view in David Zwirner’s airy 19th Street space, Sept. 27-Nov. 5, 2011.
American artist Cy Twombly, known for his large-scale, calligraphic scribble paintings, has died in Rome after several days of hospitalization. He was 83. The celebrated painter had been battling cancer for a number of years and died on Tuesday, according to a statement from Gagosian Gallery, which represents the artist. Still actively collaborating on forthcoming shows only months before his death, Twombly was widely considered alongside Jasper Johns and Gerhard Richter as one of the world’s most important living painters. He is survived by his son Alessandro Twombly, also a painter.
An eerie painting of Christ holding a glass orb in one hand and making a benediction with the other, all the while leveling an otherworldly stare at the viewer, has been authenticated as a long-lost Leonardo da Vinci portrait, putting it “up there with any artistic discovery of the last 100 years,” according to ARTnews. Called “Salvator Mundi” (“Savior of the World”), the painting will now go on view in a Leonardo show opening at London’s National Gallery in November, and it is said to carry an asking price of $200 million.
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts announced today that it would “dissolve” the Andy Warhol Art Authentication Board, Inc. in early 2012. The 16-year-old board, which has been charged with reviewing and authenticating artworks by the Pop artist, has been subject to criticism — and numerous lawsuits — for its questionable and controversial authentication practices.
Law360, New York (July 28, 2011) — A federal judge in New York on Thursday handed Marvel Worldwide Inc. victory in a copyright battle over superheroes including Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk, rejecting a bid by comic book artist Jack Kirby’s heirs to terminate the comics publisher’s rights to the iconic characters.
New York’s Museum of Modern Art, which is raising adult admission 25 percent to $25, paid Director Glenn Lowry $1.6 million in 2009.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — If you stumbled into a meeting of French Impressionist painters in the mid-1870s, you’d get some frosty looks. Edgar Degas would eye your clothes. Paul Cézanne, born suspicious, would scowl. Claude Monet might size you up for a sale.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s flair for the dramatic will not end when the blockbuster Alexander McQueen exhibition closes at midnight on Sunday. Its encore will be theatrical, but in an entirely different way. A colossal statue of a pharaoh weighing more than nine tons is heading to the Met by ship from Germany. When it arrives in New York in the next 10 days, it will go on view in the museum’s Great Hall.
NEW YORK, N.Y.- Sotheby’s (NYSE: BID) announced the results for the second quarter and first half ended June 30, 2011. For the three and six months ended June 30, 2011, Sotheby’s net income increased by 48% and 54% to $127.2 million and $129.7 million, respectively, when compared to the prior year. This improvement is principally due to significantly higher auction and private sale commission revenues, partially offset by a decline in auction commission margin 2 to 16.4% in both periods, from 18.7% in the second quarter of 2010 and 18.3% in the first half of 2010. Competitive pressures to win high value consignments resulted in lower commission margins, as Sotheby’s consolidated sales reached a record $3.4 billion in the first half of 2011.
NEW YORK, N.Y.- Christie’s announced it will join with Takashi Murakami and Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. to provide support for the victims of the March 11, 2011 Tohoku-Pacific earthquake in Japan by dedicating a special section of a forthcoming New York auction to the continuing relief effort. Murakami is personally selecting a roster of artists who will donate works to be auctioned. All proceeds from the special sale, including works made by some of the biggest names in contemporary art, will be contributed to organizations providing relief to the survivors of the catastrophe, the effects of which continue to be devastating.
Market ups and downs have affected the value of many artworks. Insurance experts explain why—and how—to keep appraisals current.
Whether it is fine wines, vintage movie posters or abstract paintings, some people spend a great deal of time and money compiling collections of valuables. Even if they’re collecting out of personal passion, rather than as an investment, it makes sense to keep tabs on how much the collection is worth.