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Max Beckmann's 'Birds' Hell' leads Christie's £149.5 million London sale

Auctioneer and Global President Jussi Pylkkänen selling Max Beckmann’s Hölle der Vögel (Birds’ Hell) (1937-38), for £36,005,000. © Christie’s Images Limited 2017.

LONDON.- The highlight of 20th Century Week at Christie’s in London, the Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale was 94 per cent sold by lot and 87 per cent sold by value, realising a total of £149,500,000 (including premium), with three works selling for more than £20 million. The top lot of the night was Max Beckmann’s Hölle der Vögel (Birds’ Hell). Completed over the course of 1937 and 1938 and depicting mankind’s descent into darkness and terror, the painting is the artist’s visceral response to the rise of the Nazi regime in his native Germany. There was keen bidding before the painting was hammered down for £36,005,000 / $45,834,365 (with premium), setting a new world auction record for the artist, as well as the highest price realised for an Expressionist work. The previous world auction record for Beckmann was $22,555,750, set in 2001. ‘The sale of such a historically significant painting as Beckmann ... More

The Best Photos of the Day

Dali's 'daughter' says she wants her identity   Sotheby's confirms its strong position in the market for Swiss art   Two-part exhibition at the Getty Center features rarely seen self-portraits by David Hockney

Pilar Abel Martinez, 61, who claims to be Salvador Dali's daughter, speaks during an interview in Barcelona. LLUIS GENE / AFP.

BARCELONA.- Pilar Abel, the woman claiming to be Salvador Dali's daughter, said Tuesday she wanted to recover her identity more than anything else, a day after the artist's exhumation was ordered. For a decade, the 62-year-old who long worked as a psychic in the northeastern region of Catalonia where Dali was born, has tried to prove she is the painter's child. Her paternity claim, however, has raised scepticism, with Dali biographer Ian Gibson writing in El Pais that he had doubts, saying the artist preferred watching rather than having sex. But Abel is adamant her mother had a relationship with Dali, one of the most celebrated and prolific painters of the 20th century, when she worked for his friends in Port Lligat, a tiny fishing hamlet. The painter lived and worked there for years. Abel told AFP a judge's decision on Monday to exhume Dali's remains was "a big ... More

Félix Vallotton, La Neva, brume légère, 1913 (detail). Estimate: CHF 1 – 1.5 million / EUR 915,000 – 1,370,000. Sold for: CHF 1.3 million / EUR 1.2 million. Courtesy Sotheby’s.

ZURICH.- "We are delighted to have once again achieved excellent results for Félix Vallotton, following the world auction record for the artist which we set six months ago. Our aim was to assemble a selection of high-quality works at appealing estimates and this evening’s results show that demand remains strong for the finest examples of Swiss Art.” Stéphanie Schleining & Urs Lanter, Co-Heads of Sotheby’s Swiss Art Department. This superb landscape by celebrated Swiss-French painter Félix Vallotton is one of a small group of rare works completed following his visit to Russia in 1913. Adding to its rarity, the painting boasts exceptional provenance: it remained within close circles connected to the artists before entering a private collection in 1965. This rare discovery for the auction market achieved a final price of CHF ... More

David Hockney, “Self Portrait, 20 March 2012 (1219)” iPad drawing printed on paper, mounted on Dibond Exhibition Proof, 32 x 24” © David Hockney.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- David Hockney (British, born 1937) is celebrated as one of the most important artists of the past fifty years. His work in many media—from painting and drawing to printmaking and photography—demonstrates a distinctive, playful style and an enduring curiosity about technique. In celebration of the artist’s 80th birthday on July 9, the J. Paul Getty Museum presents Happy Birthday, Mr. Hockney , a two-part exhibition featuring Hockney’s rarely seen self-portraits, Polaroid composites and photo collages, including the Getty Museum’s masterpiece Pearblossom Hwy., 11–18th April 1986, #2, which was last shown in 2008. “David Hockney is one of the most prolific and beloved artists of our time,” says Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “His light-filled images of Los Angeles, where he has spent much of the past fifty years, have become icons ... More

US Supreme Court to decide on Iran artifact case   Exhibition at Pinakothek der Moderne presents more than 80 of Lucas van Leyden's prints   Nationalmuseum Sweden acquires three works by German-Danish artist Louis Gurlitt

This file photo taken on July 2, 2015 shows the Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois. SHAUN TANDON / AFP.

WASHINGTON (AFP).- The US Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to decide on a long-running legal battle over whether Persian artifacts in Chicago museums can be seized as compensation for victims of a terror attack in Israel. The court will have the final word in the more than decade-long saga between Iran and five US citizens, who blame the Islamic republic for its support of militant group Hamas. The case highlights the difficulty for victims in obtaining judgments in their favor against sovereign states accused of supporting organizations considered by Washington to be terror groups. The last decision in the case favored Tehran: a federal appeals court in Chicago ruled that the artifacts being kept at the Field Museum and at the University of Chicago were immune to seizure. The case stems from a 1997 suicide bombing in Jerusalem that was carried out by Hamas. Five US citizens injured in the attack won a $71.5 million civil judgment against I ... More

Lucas van Leyden, The Dentist, 1523, Engraving, 115 x 74 mm (sheet), Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München © Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München.

MUNICH.- Lucas van Leyden was the most important Dutch engraver of the Northern Renaissance. Born in Leiden (also known as Leyden), he specialized in this art form at a very early age and elevated it to the highest level. In 1604, the art theorist Karel van Mander (1548–1606) reported that Lucas, as a child prodigy, had completed his first dated engraving at the age of fourteen. His delicately engraved prints, already highly prized by artists and collectors during his lifetime, had a significant influence on the development of European printmaking. This exhibition presents an accentuated choice of more than 80 of his prints of the rich collection of the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München. It offers a comprehensive insight into the artistic development of Lucas van Leyden, from his beginnings around 1506 until 1530, his last active year. Lucas is famous ... More

Louis Gurlitt, self portrait, 1833. Photo: Cecilia Heisser/Nationalmuseum.

STOCKHOLM.- Nationalmuseum has acquired three works by the German-Danish artist Louis Gurlitt (1812–97), which between them illustrate different aspects of the artist’s diverse oeuvre. Gurlitt studied in Copenhagen and early in his career was considered a promising figure in Danish painting. By the mid-19th century, however, his name had been erased from Danish art history as a result of the border wars with Germany arising from the Schleswig-Holstein question. Now, he is once again considered a major figure of the Danish golden age, while also embodying its close connections to the German art of the period. Louis Gurlitt was born in Altona, just west of Hamburg, which until 1864 was the second largest city under the Danish crown. After initial art studies in Hamburg, in 1832 he was accepted as a student by the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, where his teachers included Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg. The self-portrait recentl ... More

Philadelphia MUseum of Art announces recent acquisitions   Almine Rech Gallery opens exhibition of new paintings on linen and sculptures by Ana Mazzei   Summer group exhibition featuring sculptural works opens at Petzel Gallery

The Adoration of the Magi (detail), c. 1529. Jean Chastellain, French, active 1517, died between September 1541 and January 1542. Blue, red, green, purple, and clear glass with silver stain and vitreous enamel, 35 7/16 inches × 6 feet 6 3/4 inches. Purchased with proceeds from the sale of deaccessioned works of art and the Fiske Kimball Fund.

PHILADELPHIA, PA.- The Philadelphia Museum of Art today announced a number of new acquisitions that will significantly enrich its collection. Among the works that have been recently acquired are: a group of contemporary films and videos; Japanese ink paintings mounted as handscrolls, hanging scrolls, and folding screens; nine pieces of early American furniture that illuminate the artistic achievements of cabinetmakers in colonial New England and Pennsylvania; and a major work in stained glass dating to the 1520s commissioned for a church in Paris. These works have come to the Museum variously as gifts, promised gifts, and purchases. ... More

Untitled, 2017. Aniline and varnish on wood and metal, 176 x 207 x 100 cm 69 1/4 x 81 1/2 x 39 3/8 inches.

NEW YORK, NY.- Almine Rech Gallery New York announces Ghost Studies, an exhibition of new paintings on linen and sculptures by Brazilian artist Ana Mazzei. Mazzei's paintings are in the same spirit as the radical and harmonious sculptures she is known for that are presented alone or in groups with a quiet, slightly anthropomorphic presence. Sometimes painted or varnished, and made primarily out of wood – a flexible and generic material that appeals to an artist who likes to “make” things by herself in the studio – Mazzei’s standing arrangements of angles, curves and straight lines quote the vocabulary of the avant-garde with a distinctive twist. In Mazzei's practice, the viewer is never incidental, on the contrary, they are taken into account from the beginning, like a friendly ghost that is always present with the artist while she conceives her work. This spectator is used by Mazzei as a way to materialize her thoughts ... More

Nicola Tyson, Dancing Figure #1, Dancing Figure #2, 2016.

NEW YORK, NY.- Petzel Gallery announces SomeBodies, a summer group exhibition featuring the sculptural work of the following six artists: In his new sculpture Keith Edmier approaches the Ancient Greek myth of Medea. The sculpture, cast in pink dental stone, shows Medea rising from deceased Los Angeles artist Lowell Grant’s kiln, holding her child on her lap, preparing to slay him. The sculpture takes its initial form from a 19th Century sculpture by Yannoulis Chalepas, who spent most of his life in an insane asylum. Medea is portrayed by Nancy Kovack, the actress who played Medea in the 1963 Hollywood version of Jason and the Argonauts, a movie that influenced Keith's early childhood. Lowell Grant sculpted a portrait of Nancy Kovack, who played an artist’s model, in the Vincent Price movie, Diary of a Madman, also from 1963. Grant died tragically when his kiln exploded in 1977. The kiln still exists as a ruin on the actual site. Mythologic ... More

High Line Art presents a large-scale, vibrant fiber installation spanning over 300 meters   Exhibition of works by Alberto Biasi opens at Tornabuoni Art London   Exhibition at Pallant House Gallery brings together representations of women created by women artists

Sheila Hicks, Hop, Skip, Jump, and Fly: Escape From Gravity, 2017. A High Line Commission. On view June 2017 – March 2018 at the Western Rail Yards. Photo by Timothy Schenck. Courtesy of Friends of the High Line.

NEW YORK, NY.- Presented by Friends of the High Line, High Line Art announces a new High Line Commission by American artist Sheila Hicks. The work, titled Hop, Skip, Jump, and Fly: Escape from Gravity, is a large-scale installation spanning over 1,000 feet at the Western Rail Yards, beginning at 30th Street and 11th Avenue. The installation is on view through March 2018. For over 50 years, American artist Sheila Hicks has redefined the boundaries of fiber as a medium, creating a distinctive body of work that falls between the fields of fine art, craft, design, and architecture. Having studied at the Yale University School of Art under the tutelage of Josef Albers, a modern master of art education and color theory, Hicks is a sculptor of color just as much as of fiber. Her works range in ... More

Alberto Biasi, Azzuro nel blu, 2003.

LONDON.- This summer Tornabuoni Art London presents the work of Italian kinetic artist Alberto Biasi (b. 1937). Focused primarily on his iconic Rilievi Ottico-Dinamici (optical dynamic reliefs), the exhibition also features works from Biasi’s early period working with the Gruppo N and extends all the way to his more recent production. Born in Padua in 1937, Alberto Biasi is one of the foremost of kinetic artists in Italy, as well as a co-founder of the Gruppo N, which included Ennio Chiggo, Toni Costa, Edoardo Landi and Alfredo Massironi. The optical-dynamic experiments that the group realised between its creation in 1959 and dissolution in 1967 led to Biasi being exhibited alongside Enrico Castellani and the Nove Tendencije movement in Zagreb. Biasi’s inclusion in the groundbreaking exhibition in Zagreb established him as one of the leaders of the Arte Programmata (‘Programmed Art’) movement that advocated the crea ... More

Lys Hansen, Hold On, 1987, screenprint on paper, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester (The Golder - Thompson Gift, 2002) © Lys Hansen.

CHICHESTER.- A new exhibition in Pallant House Gallery’s De’Longhi Print Room brings together representations of women created by women artists from the Gallery’s extensive prints and drawings collection. The exhibition considers the challenges faced by women artists working in the early 20th century, and how their representations of women have evolved to the present day. Featuring works by Suzanne Valadon, Laura Knight, Prunella Clough and Paula Rego, the exhibition is free to enter. Throughout history women have been used by male artists as the subject of their art. Usually women have been characterised within the narrow stereotypes of the virgin, the mother or the harlot and idealised as muse to invoke a particular view of beauty, femininity and sexualized object of desire. Women artists’ representations of women challenge ... More

Everything is miraculous. It is a miracle that one does not melt in one's bath. Pablo Picasso

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Victorian women's library re-imagined for today at Compton Verney
COMPTON VERNEY.- On 28 June 2017, Compton Verney in Warwickshire unlocks the mysteries of a remarkable set of library shelves in a small room of their own. Representing a groundbreaking collaboration between Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park and Oxford University’s Research Centre for the Humanities, Unsilencing the Library is a detective story, an installation, and a celebration of what reading can do. Compton Verney, the former seat of the Verney family, was virtually a ruin by 1993, before it was restored to glory. One room, however, retained its historic fittings, and a key decorative feature remained intact: a set of imitation books framing the room’s doorway. Research suggests that this visionary doorway was probably commissioned by Georgiana Verney, wife of the 17th Lord Willoughby de Broke, in around 1860. It is remarkable not just for ... More

Four new curators appointed at the Art Gallery of Ontario
TORONTO.- The Art Gallery of Ontario announced today the appointment of four new curators, adding to its ranks of internationally recognized scholars. The new curators are: Julie Crooks, Assistant Curator of Photography; Alexa Greist, Assistant Curator of Prints and Drawings; Wanda Nanibush, Assistant Curator of Canadian and Indigenous Art; and Caroline Shields, Assistant Curator of European Art. Their hiring is part of the museum’s strategy to strengthen its role as a leader in art scholarship across a range of areas, while also generating a greater number of collection-based exhibitions and programs for audiences both in Toronto and internationally. “The four areas in which Alexa, Caroline, Julie, and Wanda will work are all central to the vision for the future of the AGO,” said Stephan Jost, the Michael and Sonja Koerner Director and CEO of the Art ... More

i8 Gallery opens exhibition of works by Alicja Kwade
REYKJAVÍK .- An unimaginable unit of time marks that moment in which we can detect the first traces of the Universe: gravity was created in the first trillionth of a second following the Big Bang, and out of this, matter. Our understanding of this is the starting point for Alicja Kwade’s exhibition A TRILLIONTH OF A SECOND. Computer, lamp, iPhone, mirror: almost a contemporary still life. With these items, the autobiographical interior of an artist unfolds itself. It is her own broken, now-defunct property that Alicja Kwade presents here. They are objects which emerge time and again in her work. Suddenly, an entirely different still life emerges from therein: bowls that remind one of ceramics. They are made of finely ground functional objects. Pulverized and cast in new forms, they here live second lives as cups and vases. Their original components, as well as their exact volumes, ... More

Marc Chagall's Circus portfolio tops Bonhams Prints and Multiples sale
LONDON.- Le Cirque, a rare, complete portfolio of 38 lithographs by the Russian/French artist Marc Chagall (1887-1985) sold for £149,000 at Bonhams Prints and Multiple Sale in London today (27 June). The auction achieved £1,025,750, with 80% of lots sold by value. Bonhams Director of Prints, Lucia Tro Santafe said, “Le Cirque is one of the finest examples of Chagall’s printmaking, and I am not surprised that bidders were so keen to own such a vibrant and colourful collection. This was my first sale since joining Bonhams, and I look forward to building on this success at future Prints and Multiples auctions.” Chagall’s fascination with the circus and its performers dates from his childhood in pre-revolutionary Vitebsk (then part of the Russian Empire; now in Belarus). The 38 lithographs that make up Le Cirque are joyous and exuberant. The scenes feature familiar circus ... More

Thousands in Cuzco celebrate Incan festival of the sun
CUZCO (AFP).- At the highest point of the Coricancha temple in Cuzco at dawn, an indigenous actor interpreting a ceremony of the ancient Inca raises his hands to receive the sun's first rays. But these are changing times for the ancient Inti Raymi festival, one of the most important Incan religious ceremonies: nearby, a drone flies overhead, recording the staging. For today's South American civilizations, June 24 marks the southern hemisphere's winter solstice. But for the country's indigenous population it commemorates the beginning of the sun's journey back to "Pachamama" -- the word for "Mother Earth" in Quechua, a language spoken by some 3.2 million Peruvians. Approximately 80,000 people crowd in and near Cuzco, a southeastern Peruvian city, for the celebration, many clad in vividly colored costumes. The theatrical representation at the ancient Incan ... More

Exhibition of works by painter Nathalie Du Pasquier opens at Pace London
LONDON.- Pace London is presenting an exhibition of works by painter Nathalie Du Pasquier at 6 Burlington Gardens. On display from 27 June to 29 July 2017, the exhibition From time to time is Du Pasquier’s first solo exhibition in the United Kingdom in almost 25 years, her first exhibition in London and with Pace. Featuring over 50 artworks, most of which are new works, the exhibition continues Du Pasquier’s longstanding interest in representation, colour and assemblage. Using sculpture, painting and drawing, Du Pasquier transforms the gallery into a colourful and immersive environment. For nearly forty years, Du Pasquier has playfully blurred the boundaries between fine art and design. Since 1987, she has dedicated herself to painting and challenging the concept of representation. As with her early design work, her vividly-coloured paintings explore complex ... More

Exhibition explores silver as an artistic medium through the centuries
NEW YORK, NY.- The Museum of the City of New York opened New York Silver, Then and Now, a revelatory exhibition designed to create a dialogue between 25 contemporary artists, silversmiths, and designers and the outstanding New York silver in the Museum of the City of New York’s permanent collection. The exhibition displays new works created for a modern audience by these artists alongside their historic inspirations, culled from the Museum’s incomparable collection and presented in the Museum’s Tiffany & Co. Foundation Gallery. The exhibition is organized by guest curator Jeannine Falino and will be on view from Wednesday, June 28 through June 2018. Engaging contemporary artists with treasures from the Museum’s collection allows the exhibition to illuminate the evolution of the ancient craft of metalsmithing and explore the expressive potential of silver as ... More

Rogue city trader Nick Leeson's signature on replica trading jacket for sale with John Pye Auctions
NOTTINGHAM.- A bright yellow and black striped trading jacket signed by Nick Leeson, the city trader who cost Barings Bank $1.3 billion is up for auction with John Pye Auctions, one of Britain’s largest regional and national auction houses. The jacket, which is estimated to sell for £200 to £300, is a replica of the one Nick Leeson wore. It is part of a John Pye Auctions memorabilia sale being held at Marchington. Mr Leeson’s fall from grace reads like a Greek tragedy and is well documented in the UK and international press as well as on his own website. His notoriety put him on the front cover of Time Magazine which showed him being led away, off to prison in Singapore with the headline: “Ego and Greed.” His story started in the 1980s when he landed a job as a clerk with Coutts, followed by positions with other banks, ending up at Barings, where his ability was recognised ... More

Exhibition presents rehearsals from the Korean Avant-Garde Performance Archive
LONDON.- The Korean Cultural Centre UK is presenting Rehearsals from the Korean Avant-Garde Performance Archive running from 27 June – 19 August 2017, as part of the 2017-2018 Korea/UK season. The exhibition explores the development of South Korea’s performance art scene during the late 60s and 70s. Fostered in an atmosphere of rebellion against an unyielding political regime, and a social order which sought to restrict and control the body and conscience of its citizens, artists turned to performance as a medium for creative expression. Rehearsals from the Korean Avant-Garde Performance Archive focuses on how to engage with a non-Western history of performance art through live events, archival material and contemporary artistic practices. Archival material - sourced from the Asia Culture Center (ACC), Gwangju - anchors the exhibition, whilst work ... More

Exhibition examines spectacle and transcendence in contemporary art by women
WASHINGTON, DC.- REVIVAL, an exhibition of contemporary sculpture, photography and video by women artists, is on view at the National Museum of Women in the Arts June 23–September 10, 2017. Exploring how arresting aesthetics and intense subject matter can spur the viewer into a transcendent encounter with a work of art, the exhibition focuses on 16 artists, including Louise Bourgeois, Sonya Clark, Petah Coyne, Lalla Essaydi, Maria Marshall, Alison Saar, Beverly Semmes, Joana Vasconcelos, and Bettina von Zwehl. REVIVAL launches the exhibition schedule celebrating the museum’s 30th-anniversary year. REVIVAL examines the spectacle and visual enchantment that underlies much contemporary art. Rousing the spirit rather than simply tantalizing the eye, the artists in this exhibition harness scale, technique, and effect in photography and sculpture ... More

Broken Angel: Kids spoil glass artwork in Shanghai



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