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New scientific research dispels myths surrounding portrait by Sandro Botticelli

V&A Conservator(s) with Sandro Botticelli’s Portrait of a Lady known as Smeralda Bandinelli (c.1470-5) in the paintings galleries at the V&A.

LONDON.- New scientific research undertaken by V&A experts has uncovered tantalising details beneath the paint layers of Sandro Botticelli’s Portrait of a Lady known as Smeralda Bandinelli (c.1470-5), which has been in the Museum’s collection for over a century. The findings dispel a longstanding myth that its former owner, the Pre-Raphaelite painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti, added the sitter’s vibrant red hair and sheds new light on Botticelli’s artistic technique. This painting provides the starting point for the V&A’s major spring exhibition, Botticelli Reimagined, which will show how the Pre-Raphaelites rediscovered the then long-forgotten Florentine master and how artists and designers have responded to his work ever since. Rossetti purchased the Portrait of a Lady known as Smeralda Bandinelli from Christie’s in 1867 for a modest £20, paying an additional £4 to have it cleaned. A ... More

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Famed Russian art 'at risk' after Uzbek museum head Marinika Babanazarova fired   ISIL and antiquities trafficking: FBI warns dealers, collectors about terrorist loot   Archaeologists unearth ancient Greek palace with important archaic inscriptions near Sparta

Staff say her firing was "illegal" signing an open letter of protest that was posted on Facebook which alleges Babanazarova was forced out and flatly denying allegations that she had stolen works from the collection.

ALMATY (AFP).- A world-renowned collection of avant-garde Russian art housed in a remote museum in Uzbekistan may be at risk after the director was abruptly fired on allegedly trumped-up charges of theft, staff say. The alarm was raised by staff working at the Savitsky Karakalpkstan Museum who claim the director, Marinika Babanazarova, was forced to resign over allegations she had stolen works of art. But the staff insist that nothing has been stolen from the state-run museum, which is located in the remote city of Nukus some 800 kilometres (500 miles) north of Tashkent and houses more than 50,000 pieces of Soviet-era avant-garde art. They claim the move to oust Babanazarova, which has not been confirmed by the Uzbek authorities, is part of a ploy by officials to seize control of its valuable collection which ... More

Satellite imagery of Dura Europos, a 150-acre site in Syria dating to 300 B.C., shows how it looked in 2012.

WASHINGTON, DC.- The FBI is alerting art collectors and dealers to be particularly careful trading Near Eastern antiquities, warning that artifacts plundered by terrorist organizations such as ISIL are entering the marketplace. “We now have credible reports that U.S. persons have been offered cultural property that appears to have been removed from Syria and Iraq recently,” said Bonnie Magness-Gardiner, manager of the FBI’s Art Theft Program. The Bureau is asking U.S. art and antiquities market leaders to spread the word that preventing illegally obtained artifacts from reaching the market helps stem the transfer of funds to terrorists. In February, the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 2199, which obligates member states to take steps to prevent terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria from receiving donations and from benefiting from trade in oil, antiquities, and hostages. As part of a broad U.S. ... More

At the site, archaeologists found objects of worship, clay figurines, a cup adorned with a bull's head, swords and fragments of murals.

ATHENS (AFP).- Archaeologists in Greece have discovered the ruins of an ancient palace with important archaic inscriptions dating back to the Mycenaean Age, the culture ministry said Tuesday. The palace, likely built around the 17th-16th centuries BC, had around ten rooms and was discovered near Sparta in southern Greece. At the site, archaeologists found objects of worship, clay figurines, a cup adorned with a bull's head, swords and fragments of murals. Since 2009, excavations in the area have unearthed inscriptions on tablets detailing religious ceremonies and names and places in a script called Linear B, the oldest script to be discovered in Europe. It first appears in Crete from around 1375 BC and was only deciphered in the mid 20th century. The new discovery will allow for more research on the "political, administrative, economic and societal organisation of the region", and provide ... More

Sotheby's to offer the first major piece of Abba material to appear at auction: "The Abba Piano"   Exhibition of large, abstract half-figure sculptures by Swiss artist Josephsohn opens at Hauser & Wirth   Christie's to offer the most comprehensive collection of Song ceramics ever to appear at auction

The piano was featured on their most celebrated songs. Photo: Sotheby's.

LONDON.- The “ABBA Piano”, the instrument on which ABBA recorded their best-loved songs, will be offered for sale at Sotheby’s Rock & Pop auction in London on 29th September 2015. One of the world’s finest pianos, no other single instrument has featured more prominently in pop music since the 1970s. From the opening refrain of ‘Mamma Mia’, to ‘Waterloo’, ‘Dancing Queen’ and ‘Money, Money, Money’, the sound of this piano has resonated throughout countless bedrooms, headphones and dancefloors across the world. The first major piece of ABBA material to be offered at auction, the piano comes from the collection of Atlantis Grammofon (formerly known as Metronome Studios), where ABBA recorded their greatest hits. Estimated at £600,000-800,000, it is accompanied by a certificate of authentication signed by Benny Andersson in 2015. "The Bolin Grand, one of a kind and a great ... More

Josephsohn, Untitled, 1979. Brass, 110 x 56 x 46 cm / 43 1/4 x 22 x 18 1/8 in. © Josephsohn Estate. Courtesy the estate of the artist, Hauser & Wirth and Kesselhaus Josephsohn.

ZURICH.- Hauser & Wirth is unveiling a focused presentation of the large, abstract half-figure sculptures from the late career of Swiss artist, Josephsohn (1920 – 2012). Featuring five of these over-life-size brass sculptures alongside a substantial relief, this exhibition conveys Josephsohn’s deep reverence for ancient motifs brought to fruition in contemporary application. The gallery’s first Josephsohn show in Switzerland since his death, this exhibition displays the artist’s mastery in balancing volume and mass in his timeless sculptures. The exhibition’s six voluminous sculptures imbue the sparse gallery space with a calm and timeless presence. Selected from the late period of Josephsohn’s 60-year-long artistic career, the works from 1990 to 2004 typify the artist’s ... More

A large carved Ding "Daylily' basin. Northern Song Dynasty (9601127). Estimate: HK$5,000,000-7,000,000 / US$650,000-900,000 / ¥80,000,000-100,000,000.

HONG KONG.- On 2 December 2015, selected items from the most comprehensive private collection of Song ceramics ever to appear at auction will be offered for sale at Christie’s Hong Kong. Carefully assembled over three decades by a distinguished Japanese collector, The Linyushanren Collection is comprised of exquisite examples created during the Song dynasty (960-1279), encompassing some of the most important kiln sites active across China at the time. The highlight of the 36-lot sale is a very rare Ge foliate dish dating from the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279). It was shown in the seminal 1952 exhibition dedicated to Chinese ceramics by the Los Angeles Museum, and was once owned by the famous collector Stephen Junkunc, III (Estimate on Request). Particularly admired ... More

Sotheby's Hong Kong unveils an extremely rare Patek Philippe vintage wristwatch   Ian Wardropper publishes first book dedicated to the Frick's French enamels collection   Phillips announces highlights from the September New Now auction in New York

Patek Philippe, a Yellow Gold Double Crown World Time Wristwatch with 24 Hour Indication and Fine Guilloché Dial Ref 2523/1 Made in 1968 (Est. HK$4 – 5.5 million / US$510,000 – 710,000). Photo: Sotheby's.

HONG KONG.- Sotheby’s Hong Kong Important Watches Autumn Sale 2015 will take place on 6 October at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. An eclectic array of timepieces from the most prestigious watchmakers will be offered, led by an exceptionally rare Patek Philippe world time vintage wristwatch made in 1968. Connoisseurs will also be delighted by exquisite jewellery timepieces, including an iconic and possibly unique full-diamond-set ‘Panther’ bangle watch by Cartier. The sale will offer more than 420 lots with a total estimate in excess of HK$86 million / US$11 million*. Sharon Chan, Head of Watches, Sotheby’s Asia, said, “This Autumn Sotheby’s is delighted to bring to the market an array of rare and extraordinary timepieces, encompassing vintage and jewellery wristwatches as well as works by independent watchmakers, offering a superb acquisition opportunity for collectors. Rare ... More

Exquisitely illustrated with new photography, this hardcover volume (80 pages, 75 color illustrations; 7 1/8 x 7 1/8 inches, $19.95, member price $17.96) is published by the Frick in association with D Giles Limited.

NEW YORK, NY.- Limoges enamels, named after the town in central France in which they were was produced, are one of the most distinctive art forms of the French Renaissance. Director Ian Wardropper has authored the first book dedicated fully to the important collection of Limoges enamels housed at The Frick Collection. Reflective of the jewel-like character of these exquisite objects, the publication shows the broad range of applications to which this brilliant but delicate medium was applied in fifteenth-, sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century France: from secular objects, such as portraits, caskets and tableware, to objects of religious association, such as devotional triptychs. Featured in the publication are major examples by some of the leading masters of the art, including Jean I and Nardon Pénicaud, Léonard Limousin, Pierre Reymond, and the Master of the Large Foreheads. In ... More

Joe Bradley, Nude (Bust) , 2007. Stretched vinyl over canvas, in 2 parts, overall 62 x 60 in. Signed, titled and dated "NUDE (BUST) Joe Bradley 07" along the stretcher bar of the lower element, and again along the overlap of the upper element. Estimate $300,000 - 500,000.

NEW YORK, NY.- Phillips announced the highlights for the New Now auction in New York on 17 September. The sale juxtaposes works from a younger generation of artists with works by established artists offering a diverse range to engage seasoned collectors and newcomers alike. Phillips New Now auction – formerly known as Under the Influence – will offer over 250 lots, carrying a total pre-sale estimate of between $4.4 - 6.5 million (£2.8 - £4.1 million / €3.9 - €5.7 million). Included in the auction are two works by Jonas Wood; Backward Bol (Color), 2008 ($60,000 - 80,000) and Crossword Master, 2007 ($30,000 - 40,000), and two Ed Ruscha works on paper from a Private American Collection, Zero, 1996 and Selma/Vine, 1998 estimated at $70,000 - $90,000 each. The sale also includes a selection of Pop works including, ... More

Fresh-to-market estates highlight 1,000+ lots of fine & decorative arts at Heritage Auctions   For this year’s edition, Moniker Art Fair to become first major art fair to accept Bitcoin payments   Bruce Museum in Greenwich adds three new staff members in art, science and education

A Blanc de Chine, Gilt and Silvered Bronze Figural Clock: Scholar, Ruler and Wise Man. Estimate: $15,000 - $20,000.

DALLAS, TX.- Treasured objects from fresh-to-market private collections, including a 96-Piece Sèvres-Style Porcelain Service (est. $30,000+) will cross the block in Heritage Auctions' Fine & Decorative Arts Including Estates Auction Sept. 12-13 in Dallas. The auction presents a richly diverse selection of than 1,000 lots, ranging from a Moorish Revival Mahogany and Gilt Bronze Mantle Clock for Tiffany & Co., New York, New York, circa 1884, (est. $15,000+) to a 40-inch-tall Blanc de Chine, Gilt and Silvered Bronze Figural Clock titled Scholar, Ruler and Wise Man (est. $15,000+). Important private collections are the cornerstone of the two-day event and feature art and furnishings from the private Beverly Hills, California, home of poet, singer-songwriter and musician Rod McKuen. Among the home’s furnishings offered in the Sept. 12 session include a German Roman Catholic ... More

Blek le Rat - His Master's Voiceless (yellow), courtesy of Blek le Rat and Moniker Art Fair.

LONDON.- This October, Moniker Art Fair returns to east London’s iconic Old Truman Brewery for its sixth year, having firmly established itself as London’s premiere event for contemporary art rooted in urban culture. For this year’s edition, Moniker Art Fair has teamed up with global art, music and technology collective Fork The Banks, in an exciting venture to become the world’s first international art fair to accept Bitcoin payments. The collaboration confirms Moniker’s reputation in the modern art market as a progressive fair that seeks to inspire social change. Their 'Renaissance is Now' installation focuses on the solutions offered by global connectivity, decentralisation and collaborative consumption. Displayed across a 50ft wall, the installation will take centre stage and aims to inspire and inform, leaving the visitor with a sense of hope and belief that our world really can be changed for the better. Fra ... More

Laura Stricker will join the Bruce Museum as Manager of Youth & Family Programs.

GREENWICH, CONN.- The Bruce Museum adds three new faces to its staff next month, filling one permanent position in its Audience Engagement and Interpretive Services Department (formerly the Education Department), and adding two year-long fellows, one each in art and science. Laura Stricker joins the Bruce Museum in September as Manager of Youth & Family Programs. Ms. Stricker comes to the Bruce from the Museum of London, where she was the institution’s Early Years Coordinator. Previously, she worked as Manager of Early Childhood Programs at the National Children’s Museum in National Harbor, Maryland. Ms. Sticker holds an M.A. in Museum and Galleries in Education from the University of London’s Institute of Education where she specialized in the importance of family learning experiences in museums. Ms. Stricker says that she is “most excited about the Bruce’s dedication to providing engaging and ... More

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

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Clark Art Institute leaders honor retiring Director Michael Conforti
WILLIAMSTOWN, MASS.- A leadership group of trustees, benefactors, staff, and close associates has made a $6.5 million gift to the Clark Art Institute to honor Michael Conforti’s vision and leadership during his twenty-year tenure as its director. Conforti announced his retirement earlier this year and will step down at the end of this month. In recognition of Conforti’s many contributions to the growth of the Institute, the Clark’s Board of Trustees will rename the West Pavilion in the new Clark Center as the Michael Conforti Pavilion. The gift provides capital and operating support for the pavilion and also creates an endowment to fund future academic and public programs held in the space. “This is a fitting tribute to Michael; it ensures continued growth of the rich and vibrant programming that he spearheaded at the Clark,” said Andreas Halvorsen, chair, and Robert G. Scott, ... More

Fifth edition of TRAFO MEDIA LAB opens with works by Tomasz Wiech and Pawel Zukowski
SZCZECIN.- In the fifth edition of TRAFO MEDIA LAB we will see the works of two Polish artists: Tomasz Wiech and Paweł Żukowski. Although formally different, their activities are connected by a common theme, which is Poland. The documentary photographer Tomasz Wiech creates his images based on the reality close to him. He takes his inspiration from the places, where he lives. Passionate about travel, a few years ago he began to search for absurdities within the Polish space. In the effect of his search, in 2012, he published a catalogue titled “Poland. In Search of Diamonds”. His numerous simultaneous projects (among others his blog “Simple Observations” as well as the different series of works oscillating around the ideas of utopia and the ideal system (“Utopia”, “Highway”, “Welcome to Paradise”) are always anchored inside Polish reality. The exhibition ... More

The 'Rainbow Grandpa' saving a Taiwan village with art
TAICHUNG (AFP).- Huang Yung-fu greets visitors to his village in central Taiwan with paint-stained hands and shoes spattered with flecks of colour, a sign of the daily artistic labour that has seen him single-handedly stave off the developers' bulldozers. At 93 years old, the former soldier still gets up at 3am every day to spend four hours daubing the walls of the small settlement with colourful figures, from birds and animals to celebrity singers and sportsmen. Known as 'Rainbow Grandpa', Huang's artwork has kept the village safe as the surrounding area has been flattened. He walks with a slight limp and rolls up his trouser leg to reveal a bandaged knee -- bruised from spending too much time kneeling on the ground to paint, he says. But Huang is determined to continue adding to the vibrant murals that decorate the walls and pathways of the military dependents' village as a way to ensure its survival. ... More

Philadelphia Museum of Art announces appointment of new Director of Government and External Affairs
PHILADELPHIA, PA.- The Philadelphia Museum of Art announced today the appointment of Nicole K. Allen White as Director of Government and External Affairs, effective immediately. In this position, Mrs. Allen White will advance the Museum’s goals for public support for its programs and build on its relationships with city, state, and federal legislators and officials, as well as community groups. She comes to the Museum from the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, where she has served as Director of Policy and Community engagement since 2014. She will report to Gail Harrity, the Museum’s President and Chief Operating Officer. Ms. Harrity stated: “Nicole is a strong advocate of arts and culture in Philadelphia and we are delighted that she will bring her considerable expertise to the Museum. At the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, she led the successful campaign to restore ... More

National Gallery of Art's Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts announces 2015-2016 appointments
WASHINGTON, DC.- The world-renowned Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art has announced the appointments of members for 2015–2016. They include Iain Boyd Whyte of the University of Edinburgh as Samuel H. Kress Professor; Paul B. Jaskot of DePaul University as Andrew W. Mellon Professor; Thomas Kren of the J. Paul Getty Museum as Edmond J. Safra Visiting Professor for spring 2016; and Vidya Dehejia of Columbia University as the Sixty-Fifth A. W. Mellon Lecturer in the Fine Arts for spring 2016. “This year, CASVA’s topics range from the gold discs of Chichen Itza to the encounters between art and science in the work of Hungarian artist György Kepes,” said Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art. “This incoming class of CASVA appointees exemplifies the Center’s diverse and dynamic nature.” n addition, six senior and four ... More

'The River Mur: A Cultural History' opens at Museum im Palais
GRAZ.- The special exhibition of the Museum im Palais is part of the themed focus of ‘Landscape’ to be taken up at several locations of the Universalmuseum Joanneum and places at centre stage the relationship between man and Styria’s largest river – the Mur. In eight chapters, this exhibition sheds light on a space that has constantly re-evolved out of perception and experience, action and reaction, cultural and social practices, as well as due to the many protagonists involved. Today, the Mur can be read not only as a varied natural area. Over centuries it has shaped the life of inhabitants here, just as they in turn have based their actions and aspirations around the river, attempting time and again to process and organise it so as to create a certain vision of it. A re-evaluation is carried out of Mur-related objects that have been preserved, divided into several areas: ‘Imagination and Il ... More

Exhibition of new paintings by Alexander Wagner opens at RaebervonStenglin
ZURICH.- New paintings all made this year are the content of 'post', Alexander Wagner's third solo exhibition at RaebervonStenglin. Each work is of the same size and portrait orientation and was made in dialogue with its companions relating conversationally to one another, their splashy demeanour and garish patterns expressing an untroubled air. Paintings made long after the purported death of painting, post-post-modernism and even post-internet, Wagner's canvases are also sculptural objects, their surface imagery unfolding their process post their own making. To create the works the artist employed a very particular strategy: Wagner stretched a canvas over a small frame to form a 'classic' site for the picture to take place; he then painted on this before re-stretching the canvas onto a larger frame so that the previously unseen drips delineating the edges of the original image now become part of the ... More

National Bank Note rarities abound in Long Beach Currency Signature Auction
DALLAS, TX.- A Near-Gem New York District Binion Fr. 2231-B $10,000 1934 Federal Reserve Note PMG Choice Uncirculated 64 provides a legendary anchor to Heritage Auctions' Sept. 16 - 22 Long Beach Expo Currency Signature Auction, where it's expected to bring $120,000+ as the top lot in the auction. "Banks used $5000 and $10,000 Federal Reserve notes primarily for bank-to-bank transactions," said Dustin Johnston, Director of Currency Auctions at Heritage Auctions. "This superb example was part of the famed Binion Hoard, which was part of a 100-note, $1 million display in Binion's Horseshoe Casino in Las Vegas. As with most examples from the hoard, the story and pedigree is highly coveted among collectors." A unique 1902 Serial Number 1 District of Columbia Red Seal $10 Fr. 614 is one of only three such notes known from the National Bank of Washington, DC and is the lone ... More

International nature artists exhibit at the Customs House Museum
CLARKSVILLE, TENN.- The Customs House Museum’s Kimbrough Gallery is the temporary home to Black-faced Tamarins, Sumatran Tigers, and Cherry-throated Tanagers through October 4th. The artwork in the exhibit, Nature as Art, Art as Awareness, was created by members of the 52-Week-Challenge, a social media group. Begun in January of 2014, Kitty Harvill, founder of the group, states “The idea was to challenge myself and like minded artists to paint from a nature photo presented each Monday, and to complete it within a week’s time. I had challenged myself to daily painting in 2009 and reaped the rewards of such a strict discipline, but wanted to be a little more generous and not as constricting with a commitment every day for 365 days.” Currently the group’s membership boasts almost 400 members spanning four continents, and range from beginners and hobby artists, ... More

Highlights from the Fine Chinese Paintings Sale: Fall 2015



On a day like today, Italian artist Titian died
August 27, 1576. Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio (c. 1488/1490 - 27 August 1576) known in English as Titian was an Italian painter, the most important member of the 16th-century Venetian school. He was born in Pieve di Cadore, near Belluno (in Veneto), in the Republic of Venice. During his lifetime he was often called da Cadore, taken from the place of his birth. In this image: A woman looks at Titian's painting "Mary Magdalene in Penitence" during a press preview of an exhibition of 16th and 17th century Italian painting at the Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens, Greece, on Monday Sept. 22, 2008. The exhibition "From Titian to Pietro da Cortona: Myth Poetry and the Sacred," ran until Dec. 20. On display were 24 works by Titian and other Italian masters, on loan from a score of Italian galleries and collections.

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