The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Thursday, June 27, 2019


Was Masterpieces Destroyed When Owner Died?


SCOTLAND.- Claire Smith of The Scotsman.com reported that until Picasso’s Le Garçon à la Pipe sold for more than $100 million (£56 million) this week, Van Gogh’s Portrait de Dr Gachet was the world’s most expensive painting. Yet the masterpiece, bought for $82.5 million by Ryoei Saito in 1990, has not been  seen since the Japanese paper magnate died in 1996. Saito once threatened to burn the painting to avoid inheritance tax - so did the most notorious example of a "lost" masterpiece go to the grave with its owner?

Experts are also unsure of the whereabouts of Renoir’s Au Moulin de la Galette, which Saito bought for $78 million a few days after the Van Gogh. Two Van Gogh’s stolen in Amsterdam in 1990 have never re-emerged, and works by Vermeer, Rembrandt and da Vinci (The Madonna with the Yarnwinder, stolen from Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfries-shire last year) are also missing.

Experts say that an increasing number of masterpieces will remain "lost" because of the dominance of the art market by a small number of super-rich collectors. It is easy for these wealthy individuals to keep personal treasures secret and trade among themselves. Picasso’s Le Garçon à la Pipe and the missing Dr Gachet, a portrait of the physician who treated Van Gogh and became his friend, are both rumored to have been bought by the Italian spaghetti billionaire, Guido Barilla.

Sarah Jackson, an expert on Dr Gachet who works for the International Art Loss Register, thinks Van Gogh’s portrait probably was not destroyed by Mr. Saito, but sold to another collector. She said: "My belief is the painting was bought by a very wealthy individual. Unless that person decides to lend it to a museum, it will be hidden from the public. Some paintings will resurface, others may be put in a bank and used as a security against a loan."

Unless wealthy collectors court kudos by lending or gifting works to public museums, the whereabouts of paintings can remain a mystery for years.

The Art Loss Register recently uncovered an £18 million Cézanne, which had been missing since 1978.

The art industry analyst Guita Abidari, who works for the art-pricing experts Gabrius, said it was rare that paintings of the quality of Le Garçon à la Pipe went on sale, and that the exceptionally high prices were due to the outstanding nature of the works.

"We don’t believe this is going to set a trend for higher prices."

While public galleries cannot compete with the super-rich collectors, Ms Abidari said some made public donations as a legacy for future generations.

Richard Calvocoressi, the director of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, said galleries would inevitably have to rely on gifts or loans to maintain collections in future.

"Prices have been increasing for the last ten to 15 years, but they have been too high for us for some time now. Our acquisitions budget is £1.2 million a year, so whether it is £56 million or £57 million, it is still way beyond our reach."

MISSING MASTERS

 

Portrait de Dr Gachet, Van Gogh - sold for $82.5m (£47.1m) in May 1990.

 

• Au Moulin de la Galette, Renoir, $78m (£44.5m).

 

• Leonardo da Vinci’s Madonna with the Yarnwinder, right, is still missing after its theft from Drumlanrig Castle in Scotland last summer.

 

• Two Van Goghs stolen in Amsterdam in 1990 have never re-emerged and works by Vermeer and Rembrandt are also still lost.

 






Today's News

June 27, 2019

National Portrait Gallery unveils Cindy Sherman's first major UK retrospective

Sotheby's sale led by Francis Bacon's evocative 'Self-Portrait' from 1975

New Museum announces design of second building by OMA / Shohei Shigematsu and Rem Koolhaas

Jerusalem's Tomb of the Kings to reopen to public

Christie's France achieves €6 million for the Old Master Paintings and Sculptures sales

Detroit Institute of Arts exhibits Impressionist era treasures from the Albright-Knox Art Gallery

Getty Villa opens first major exhibition on the Villa dei Papiri

Getty announces new Pacific Standard Time theme of art and science

Artsy names Mike Steib Chief Executive Officer

Hauser & Wirth announces representation of New York-based Swiss artist Nicolas Party

Prints as propaganda: Krannert Art Museum builds world-class collection of Dutch political prints

The Barakat Gallery presents eight millennia of ceramic art from around the world

Pinakothek der Moderne exhibits single-leaf woodcuts of the 15th century

Garage Museum of Contemporary Art opens 'The Coming World: Ecology as the New Politics 2030-2100

Michael Hoppen Gallery opens an exhibition of photographs by Ernest C. Withers

Nikita Kadan reshapes the Soviet-era hero-tipped plinth sculptures into heroless sculptural pedestals

Vienna's Secession opens an exhibition of works by Nora Schultz

Lil'Buck, US dancer mixing street and classical, ready for next level

Sudan's underground musicians turn defiant after uprising

Russian pottery "dark horse" sells for 157 times high estimate at Morphy's

OUT OF SIGHT, Lawrence Weiner's playful and inspirational installation, presented by LongHouse Reserve

The Ringling brings the museum experience to kids and families

The Fashion and Textile Museum brings the captivating art and textiles of Peru to the UK

New work by Jacqueline Humphries on view at Dia's Dan Flavin Art Institute

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8.- The most famous car in the world: RM Sotheby's presents James Bond Aston Martin DB5

9.- Mexico unearths what may be historic recording of Frida Kahlo

10.- Exhibition of Pierre-Auguste Renoir's paintings marks centenary of his death

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