NEW YORK, NY.-
One year ago today, Sothebys
announced the acquisition of Orion Analytical, the leading materials analysis and consulting firm in the art world, and hired its founder, Jamie Martin, to establish a Department of Scientific Research. It was the first and still only department of its kind in the auction world. In just one year, dramatic progress has been made in the integration of science and technology with the world-class expertise and provenance research behind the works of art, objects and wine offered by Sothebys.
Jamie Martin, Director of Sothebys groundbreaking Department of Scientific Research, commented: Its been an incredibly energizing year for me at Sothebys. Im particularly inspired by my work with specialists worldwide it is the combination of their art historical knowledge with our laboratories analysis that has led to our most impactful determinations. In 2018 I look forward to expanding our capabilities both geographically and into a greater variety of materials, as Sothebys world affords us access to the very best of fine art, furniture, wine and beyond.
State-of-the-art laboratory opened in Sothebys New York headquarters
Only the 4th laboratory in the United States,
Alongside The Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Gallery of Art and J. Paul Getty Museum,
To Acquire a Bruker M6 Jetstream: Revolutionary German X-Ray Fluorescence Technology that Maps the Composition of Works
Facility in London Opened to Serve the United Kingdom and Continental Europe
Plans to Establish a Similar Facility in Hong Kong
Portable Capability Available for Worldwide Use
Collaboration with Sothebys Specialists Across 15 Different Collecting Categories in New York, London, Paris, Geneva and Hong Kong
To Examine Hundreds of Paintings, Works on Paper, Bronze and Stone Sculpture, Furniture and Wine Valued at More than $100 Million
Investigating Construction, Composition, and Condition and Providing Leads for Attributions and Dispute Resolutions
Additional Staff Recruited Including:
Technical Art Historian & Research Coordinator, Assistant Conservation Scientist and London Project Administrator
Materials analysis revealed an unusual blue paint in Kazimir Malevichs painting Suprematist Composition with Plane in Projection, and infrared photography revealed changes the artist made in the composition at an earlier stage.
Further research into the blue paint led the Sothebys Scientific Research Department to another painting by the artist in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago: Painterly Realism of a Football Player Color Masses in the 4th Dimension, 1915. Not only did both works contain the same blue paint additive (basic magnesium carbonate); both paintings also revealed changes Malevich made to the compositions throughout the execution process.
The analysis conducted by Scientific Research Department, together with provenance research conducted by specialists in Sothebys Impressionist & Modern Art Department, provided insight into unique materials and creative processes, lending physical evidence in support of the art historical understanding of the painting and the artists greater oeuvre.
Suprematist Composition with Plane in Projection, 1915 was sold at Sothebys in New York on May 16, 2017 for $21.2 million after a prolonged battle between four bidders topping its $18 million high estimate, and marking the 4th-highest auction price for Kazimir Malevich.