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Chinese artist Zeng Fanzhi re-creates Van Gogh in stirring exhibition

Zeng Fanzhi and Axel Rüger (Director of the Van Gogh Museum) in front of Zeng's version of Wheatfield with Crows.

by Jo Biddle

AMSTERDAM (AFP).- It's hard to imagine that any artist would take on the daunting task of re-inventing some of Vincent Van Gogh's most iconic self-portraits and paintings. But in a new exhibition opening Friday in Amsterdam, one of China's best known contemporary artists, Zeng Fanzhi, has done just that, and in a unique fusion presents a series of striking paintings that lend fresh energy and vibrancy to the Dutch artist's works. "Many of the works by Vincent Van Gogh have become so iconic that you always feel that you know them, and we tend not really to look at them anymore," said Axel Rueger, the director of the Van Gogh museum. "That an artist really dares to enter into that confrontation again, and look at Vincent’s work afresh, and ... do his own thing with it. That is for us of course, really interesting and really inspiring," he told AFP at a press preview on Thursday. For the exhibition "Zeng Fanzhi/Van Gogh" which runs until February 25, the Chinese artist has recreated six masterpieces b ... More

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Lebanese police says seized stolen Dali   Gagosian opens first exhibition dedicated to Picasso's diverse portrayals of his eldest daughter, Maya   "Soutine's Portraits: Cooks, Waiters and Bellboys" opens at The Courtauld Gallery, London

The 1954 painting, named "Portrait de Mrs Reeves", dates from his classical period and is not considered one of his most important works.

BEIRUT (AFP).- The Lebanese police has seized what it said was "probably an original" painting by surrealist master Salvador Dali and arrested four people suspected of attempting to sell it. The 1954 painting, named "Portrait de Mrs Reeves", dates from his classical period and is not considered one of his most important works. The police said in a statement late Wednesday that it could fetch millions of dollars if confirmed to be an original, but records from the global auction house Christie's show it was sold for a more modest 89,500 British pounds 20 years ago. The painting is a full-length portrait of a high-society woman from the time during which the extravagant Spanish artist lived in the United States and painted many commissioned works of limited value. The police said the painting had been stolen "from a country neighbouring Lebanon" and added it had detained three Syrians and ... More

Pablo Picasso, Maya a la poupee et au cheval, 1938. Oil on canvas, 28 3/4 x 23 5/8 in. Succession Picasso 2017. Photo: Rob McKeever. Courtesy Gagosian.

PARIS.- Gagosian is presenting “Picasso and Maya: Father and Daughter,” the first exhibition dedicated to the artist’s diverse portrayals of his eldest daughter, Maya. Maria de la Concepción, known as Maya, was born on September 5, 1935. During the first ten years of her life she was a constant subject in her father’s drawings and paintings, who observed with fascination and tenderness her physical and mental development. Her mother, Marie-Thérèse Walter, was the artists’ most iconic model. After meeting in 1927 at the Galeries Lafayette in Paris, Picasso and Marie-Thérèse began a long lasting love affair, resulting in Picasso’s first daughter Maya. Following Maya’s birth, Picasso chronicled intimate details of their private life together en famille, exploring the archetypal theme of maternity. Maya’s portraits reflect the great joy that she brought into the artist's life, even ... More

Chaim Soutine, Butcher Boy (Le Garçon boucher) c.1919-1920. © Courtauld Gallery, Private Collection.

LONDON.- This major international loan exhibition of works by Chaïm Soutine (1893-1943) is the first show on the artist in the United Kingdom in 35 years. Soutine was one of the leading painters in Paris in the 1920s and 1930s, part of the influential ‘School of Paris’ and seen by many as the heir to Van Gogh. The exhibition focuses on a group of remarkable modern portraits that helped establish Soutine’s name and reputation. Soutine’s progress is the ultimate rags-to-riches story. Born in Russia (modern-day Belarus), Soutine arrived penniless in Paris in 1913 and lived in poverty in Montparnasse alongside other immigrant artists, including his closest friend Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920). In the early 1920s, Soutine became fascinated by the cooks and waiting staff of French hotels and restaurants, attired in boldly coloured uniforms. Over the next decade, these humble figures sat for the artist in Paris ... More

Henry James and American Painting opens at Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum   Alberto Giacometti's Grande Femme II sells for $29,390,850 at Christie's Paris   Christie's to offer the finest collection of sporting and ornithological art to come to auction in over 20 years

John Singer Sargent (American, 1856-1925), Henry James, 1913. Oil on canvas, 85.1 x 67.3 cm (33 1/2 x 26 1/2 in.) © National Portrait Gallery, London.

BOSTON, MASS.- This fall, Henry James and American Painting, an exhibition that is the first to explore the relationship between James’ literary works and the visual arts, opened at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. On view from Oct. 19 to Jan. 21, 2018, it offers a fresh perspective on the master novelist and the significance of his friendships with American artists John La Farge, John Singer Sargent, and James McNeill Whistler, and close friend and esteemed arts patron, Isabella Stewart Gardner. Originating this summer at the Morgan Library and Museum, the exhibition includes a rich selection of more than 50 oil paintings, drawings, watercolors, photographs, manuscripts, letters, and printed books from 24 museums and private collections in the US, Great Britain, and Ireland. The Gardner Museum also pays special attention to James’s enduring relationship with Gardner ... More

Alberto Giacometti, Grande Femme II. Sold for: €24,907,500/ £22,167,675 /$29,390,850. © Christie’s Images Limited 2017.

PARIS.- Christie’s FIAC week sales opened with the second edition of Christie’s Paris Avant-Garde auction which realised a strong €38,6M/£34,4M/$45,6M. Christie’s France’s President, François de Ricqlès, held the hammer in a packed room selling 27 lots to international buyers from 12 countries. The highly-expected Grande Femme II by Alberto Giacometti achieved an impressive €24,907,500/£22,167,675/$29,390,850, becoming the most expensive work of art sold in France in 2017. This sculpture was first conceived by Giacometti in 1960 when he was asked to realise a project for the Chase Manhattan Bank’s public plaza in New York. Pierre Martin-Vivier, Director, Chairman’s Office: “We are thrilled with the very good results achieved tonight and especially for the new high for any work of art sold in France in 2017 with Grande Femme II and ... More

A cock and a hen pheasant (detail). © Christie’s Images Limited 2017.

LONDON.- Christie’s will present The Astor Collection from Tillypronie, the finest collection of sporting and ornithological art to come to the market in over 20 years, as part of December Classic Week 2017. The auction will reflect the Astor family’s thoughtful collecting interests and includes one of the most comprehensive selections of works by ornithological artist Archibald Thorburn, along with a younger generation of artists such as Claire Harkess, Steven Porwol, Darren Woodhead and Jonathan Sainsbury, many of whom have been hosted at the historic Tillypronie estate in Scotland. The collection also presents sculpture, furniture and decorative arts and will be offered at Christie’s London on 15 December 2017, along with an online-only sale that will be open for bids from 9 to 18 December 2017. Harriet Drummond, International Head of Department, British Drawings & Watercolours at ... More

Galerie Max Hetzler Paris opens exhibition of recent works by Bridget Riley   Käthe Kollwitz and Marlene Dumas: Three exhibitions at the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden   The Morgan Library & Museum acquires important collection of works by French Avant-Garde writer Alfred Jarry

Installation view. © Bridget Riley 2017. All rights reserved. Photo: Charles Duprat.

PARIS.- Galerie Max Hetzler Paris announces an exhibition of recent works by Bridget Riley. This is her second solo show in the Paris gallery, and her third show in Paris counting her survey exhibition in 2008 at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. The exhibition focuses upon Bridget Riley’s most recent works, the Disc series. Two wall paintings and eight canvases with muted colours are on view. Internationally acclaimed artist Bridget Riley has radically pursued an inquiry into the constituent elements of painting for over 50 years, exploring the active role of perception in art. The British artist started her experimentations at the very beginning of the 1960s with a series of black and white paintings in which she ingenuously arranged elementary abstract shapes - such as circles, curves, stripes - so as to create a feeling of depth and movement that would cause disorientation to the viewer’s eye. In 1965, Riley was ... More

Marlene Dumas, Rejects, seit 1994 fortlaufende Serie lavierte Tusche und Mischtechnik auf Papier © Marlene Dumas, Repro: Peter Cox, Eindhoven.

DRESDEN.- To honour the legacy of one of the 20th century’s most significant artists, the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden’s major autumn exhibition in the Kupferstich-Kabinett is dedicated to the work of Käthe Kollwitz (1867–1945). Around 70 masterpieces of graphic art from the SKD’s collections are being showcased to mark the 150th anniversary of her birth. The exhibition presents a comprehensive view of her early work, supplemented by works by Max Klinger, Eugène Carrière, Edvard Munch and Ernst Barlach, as well as loans from the Käthe Kollwitz Museum in Cologne, the Kupferstichkabinett Berlin and the Akademie der Künste in Berlin. Kollwitz’s works represent perfect examples of the experimentation with new graphic forms of expression that was taking place around 1900. In view of its quality and particular correlation between ... More

Alfred Jarry (1873-1907), Chanson du décervelage (tudé), chantée par Jacotot, au 5e. acte d'Ubu roi. Music by Claude Terrasse. Paris: Mercure de France, 1898. The Robert J. and Linda Klieger Stillman Pataphysics Collection.

NEW YORK, NY.- The Morgan Library & Museum announced the acquisition of one of the most important private collections of material related to the life and work of avant-garde French writer Alfred Jarry (1873-1907). Assembled by Dr. Robert J. Stillman and Dr. Linda Klieger Stillman, of Potomac, Maryland, the gift totals some three hundred items, including books, magazines, correspondence, musical scores, and ephemera, encompassing every significant appearance of Jarry in print, as well as modern and contemporary publications that reflect his ongoing legacy. The formal name of the gift is the Robert J. and Linda Klieger Stillman Pataphysics Collection. Jarry was a ground-breaking pioneer of the early modernist movements of the turn of the twentieth century. His unusual ... More

Sikkema Jenkins & Co. opens exhibition of recent paintings and works on paper by Josephine Halvorson   Bidding with bitcoin, a world first at Italian auction   Exhibition of important paintings and works on paper from the 1960s by Lee Mullican opens at James Cohan

Josephine Halvorson, Jagged, 2017. Oil on linen, 23 x 20 inches (58.4 x 50.8 cm) © Josephine Halvorson, courtesy of Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York.

NEW YORK, NY.- Sikkema Jenkins & Co. presents As I Went Walking, an exhibition of recent paintings and works on paper by Josephine Halvorson. On view from October 19 through November 22, the exhibition is Halvorson’s fourth solo show with the gallery. A catalog accompanies the exhibition with an essay by Erin Yerby. As I Went Walking includes a series of life-sized oil paintings made in the western Massachusetts town where Halvorson lives and votes. The exhibition’s title is borrowed from the first line of a missing stanza from Woody Guthrie’s anthem, This Land Is Your Land, rediscovered in the 1990s. As I went walking I saw a sign there / And on the sign it said "No Trespassing." / But on the other side it didn't say nothing, / That side was made for you and me. The lyrics echo Halvorson’s artistic practice and subject matter. Wandering the woods near her home, she encounters signs of neighbors, ... More

This file photo taken on July 04, 2017 shows an image of Bitcoin and US currencies displayed on a screen. ROSLAN RAHMAN / AFP.

ROME (AFP).- Italian auction house Sant'Agostino said Wednesday bidders at its next sale will be able to settle up in bitcoin, a world first according to the auctioneers. Early next week, around 600 Italian and foreign design objects, mostly pieces of furniture, will go under the hammer at Sant'Agostino and "bitcoins will be accepted as payment", it said in a statement. Paying with the crypto currency will also be allowed at the following auction at the end of November which will feature paintings, jewelry and watches. Bitcoin is not generally recognised as a proper currency -- lacking a home country, central bank or treasury -- although its real world use is constantly increasing. It is traded through blockchain technology, which publicly records transaction details including the unique alphanumeric strings that identify buyers and sellers -- technology which is gaining increasing currency among ... More

Flying, 1965. Oil on canvas, 50 x 40 in. Courtesy of the Estate of Lee Mullican and James Cohan, New York.

NEW YORK, NY.- James Cohan is presenting an exhibition of important paintings and works on paper from the 1960s by Lee Mullican at the gallery’s Chelsea location, on view from October 19 through December 21, 2017. A fully illustrated catalogue with an essay by art historian Andrianna Campbell accompanies the exhibition. During the late 1940s and 1950s, Lee Mullican, along with fellow painters Wolfgang Paalen and Gordon Onslow Ford, constituted the short-lived but influential Dynaton collective, which culminated in a 1951 exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Art. After the group disbanded in the mid-1950s and his connection with Paalen and Onslow Ford waned, Mullican’s aesthetic shifted but his spiritual concerns remained unchanged. Drawing inspiration from the natural world, Mullican developed a practice of mapping both a quasi-mystical internal landscape and an external topography which he expanded in the decade ... More

Velázquez, when all is said and done, he's the best. Pablo Picasso

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Collection of private and anonymous photography on view at Werkbundarchiv - Museum der Dinge
BERLIN.- Quirky however conventional, familiar yet enigmatic: The gaze of uncounted nameless snapshooters is reflected in the collection of private and anonymous photography of Werkbundarchiv – Museum der Dinge. This rich, but largely unknown collection is displayed in the special exhibition FOTO | ALBUM. In three chapters, hundreds of photographs, photo albums and tangible photo-objects are presented, highlighting poses and motifs, distinctive narrative structures and social functions. The first chapter of the exhibition features hundreds of single photographs, grouped into visual clusters according to recurring motifs and conventions of private image practice. Whether formulaically staged images of important life events or snapshots ranging from the ordinary to the absurd, consciously or not, the same motifs are being reproduced over and over again and have ... More

Abbot Hall Art Gallery opens one of its largest shows in the last ten years
KENDAL.- This Autumn, Abbot Hall Art Gallery stages one of its largest shows in the last ten years with over seventy works, by forty-eight artists. The gallery has gained a national reputation for showing work of the highest quality particularly focusing upon work from British artists working in the twentieth century. Building on this reputation the LAND | SEA | LIFE exhibition highlights the very best of twentieth century art from The Ingram Collection of Modern British Art. Chris Ingram, a serial entrepreneur and philanthropist, began collecting in 2002, and quickly created one of this country’s most significant collections of Modern British Art. Ingram has been described as, “one of the most active and thoughtful collectors of Modern British Art today.” (Stephen Deuchar, Director, The Art Fund.) The exhibition explores a broad range of themes, representing what the artists ... More

Lisa Tremper Hanover, Director and CEO of the Michener Art Museum, announces retirement
DOYLESTOWN, PA.- After nearly six years at the helm of the James A. Michener Art Museum, Lisa Tremper Hanover has announced that she will retire at the end of the calendar year. She noted it was a very difficult decision for her, as she has cultivated a lifelong passion not only for art, museums, and cultural leadership, but also because she has developed a very personal connection to the Michener institution and its entire community, including the board of trustees, donors, and staff members. “But after 35 years in this profession,” she said, “it is time for me to step back and refocus on my family and personal priorities that have naturally taken a back seat to a demanding, but ultimately very rewarding, career.” Under Lisa’s purview, the Michener Art Museum has elevated its profile substantially and has achieved notable milestones: drawing extraordinary worldwide ... More

Hirshhorn debuts new acquisitions in "What Absence Is Made Of"
WASHINGTON, DC.- The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden has opened "What Absence Is Made Of," a major new exhibition of more than 70 recent acquisitions and rarely shown works that reimagine the extensive permanent collection. Prompted by today's increasing focus on the material and digital worlds, the exhibition explores the compelling and enigmatic ways in which artists use absence - the loss of body, of physical form or of memory - as a form of artistic expression for more than 70 years. "What Absence Is Made Of" is organized by Hirshhorn curator-at-large Gianni Jetzer, and it completely transforms the Hirshhorn's third-floor galleries Oct. 19 through summer 2019. This new perspective on the collection reflects the complex ways artists approach ideas around "emptiness." Some use frame of reference, or mirroring effects, that trigger the imagination ... More

Phillips to offer Keith Haring's "CityKids Speak on Liberty" banner
NEW YORK, NY.- Phillips announced that it will offer Keith Haring’s monumental “CityKids Speak on Liberty” Banner for private sale this fall. Executed in 1986, the legendary Manhattan-based artist created the 90’x30’ banner in conjunction with The CityKids Foundation to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the Statue of Liberty’s arrival in the United States. The banner was named “CityKids Speak on Liberty” in recognition of the 1,000 young people from all over New York City who collaborated with Haring by including their thoughts on liberty within the artist’s intricate black, pop-like outline of the Statue of Liberty. All proceeds from the sale will benefit The CityKids Foundation and Phillips is working with the organization pro bono, recognizing the importance of their ongoing ... More

Fondazione Prada presents a research project on the Chicago art scene
MILAN.- From 20 October 2017 to 15 January 2018, Fondazione Prada presents at its Milan venue a research and information program on the Chicago art scene developed in the aftermath of World War II. The Fondazione thus further expands its strategy of reinterpretation of those moments in contemporary art history that, although not entirely acknowledged by critics, have nonetheless influenced new generations of artists, from graffiti to neo-digital artists. The project is focused on the employment of a painting style characterized by political commitment, figurative narratives and radical graphics, and therefore rejected by mainstream New York culture – which was more interested in the abstract and impersonal dimensions of art. The exhibition is structured around three thematic sections conceived and curated by Germano Celant as a whole - “Leon Golub”, “H. C. Westermann” ... More

Oklahoma City Museum of Art names Roja Najafi curator
TULSA, OKLA.- Roja Najafi has been named curator at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Najafi comes to Oklahoma City from Texas, where she taught modern and contemporary art at the University of Texas at Austin, Austin Community College, and Rice University, among other institutions and was a curator at the Strake Jesuit Art Museum. "Roja's strong background in modern and contemporary art and impressive academic accomplishments make her a perfect fit for our team," said Michael J. Anderson, Ph.D., director of curatorial affairs. "Roja will be curating our spring exhibition, 'The New Art: A Controversial Collection 50 Years Later,' and I am looking forward to seeing what new scholarship she develops as she researches this important OKCMOA collection. We are glad to have Roja in Oklahoma City." As curator at the Strake Jesuit Art Museum, Najafi curated ... More

Danielle Darrieux, who charmed world as 'Madame d', dies at 100
PARIS (AFP).- Danielle Darrieux, one of France's greatest and most enduring stars despite her wartime collaboration with the Germans, has died aged 100 at her home near Paris, her partner said Thursday. The actress who charmed the world in Max Ophuls' romantic 1953 masterpiece "The Earrings of Madame de" became unwell "recently after a little fall", Jacques Jenvrin told AFP. With her smouldering good looks and sulky pout, Darrieux became a huge international star in the 1930s, playing opposite Douglas Fairbanks Jr in the Hollywood romance "The Rage of Paris" in 1938. But her decision to keep working after the Nazis occupied France, and to act in movies made by the studio set up by their propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels, saw her branded as a collaborationist. However, Darrieux later said that she was forced to take part in a notorious publicity ... More

Yves Saint Laurent museum opens to the public in Marrakesh
MARRAKESH (AFP).- Visitors crowded through the doors Thursday as a museum to legendary fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent opened to the public in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh. The museum's management said 1,000 people thronged through its exhibition halls in the first three hours to get a glimpse of some of Saint Laurent's most iconic creations as they went on display in the city that inspired him. The opening comes just over a fortnight after another museum to the famed French couturier, who died in 2008, began working at the company's former headquarters in Paris. The Moroccan project -- housed in a modernist building of traditional rose-coloured ochre bricks -- was a last labour of love for Saint Laurent's former business and life partner Pierre Berge, who died last month aged 86. The pair fell in love with Marrakesh after first visiting in 1966 when ... More

Harry Potter showcased with bones and cauldrons in London
LONDON (AFP).- The British Library has conjured to life the magical world of Harry Potter in a new exhibition featuring the oldest objects in its collection alongside never-seen items from J.K. Rowling's personal archive. "Harry Potter: A History of Magic", which opens in London on Friday, includes Chinese oracle bones from 1192 BC -- the oldest datable items in the library's vast collection -- as well as annotated sketches, notes and books by the author. Marking the 20th anniversary of the publication of the first book in the world-famous series, the display brings together nearly 100 other historic treasures, including cauldrons and scrolls, with original material provided by Potter publisher Bloomsbury. Artworks by Jim Kay, illustrator of the books, including paintings and sketches of key characters, are also among the exhibits. The four-month show, which took a year ... More

Arab tradition glitters in Colombia
SANTA CRUZ DE MOMPOX (AFP).- With strong yet delicate hands, Daniel Alfonso Garrido masterfully manipulates fragile threads of gold to craft fine jewelry, perpetuating an ancient Arabic art handed down by generations of Colombian goldsmiths. Lacy spindles of silver and gold have been used to make jewelry in the isolated northern Colombian town of Mompox since the time of the Spanish conquest. Built on an island on the wide Magdalena river, the town's colonial beauty inspired Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the Colombian magic-realist partly setting his "General in his Labyrinth" there. However, tourists make their way here -- four hours upriver by boat, an hour's droning by small aircraft -- for the magic realism of handcrafted jewels. "It's an Arab tradition, and the Arabs taught it to the Spaniards who, when they conquered us, brought this art to America, and especially ... More

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On a day like today, Dutch painter Aelbert Cuyp was born
October 20, 1620. Aelbert Jacobsz Cuyp (October 20, 1620 - November 15, 1691) was one of the leading Dutch landscape painters of the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century. The most famous of a family of painters, the pupil of his father Jacob Gerritsz. Cuyp (1594–1651/52), he is especially known for his large views of the Dutch countryside in early morning or late afternoon light. In this image: The Negro Page circa 1652, oil on canvas; Royal Collection.

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