The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Rare violin tests Germany's commitment to atone for its Nazi past

Felix Hildesheimer, right, plays piano accompaniment for his younger daughter, Elsbeth, in the mid-1930s. More than 80 years after Hildesheimer's death, his 300-year-old violin — valued at around $185,000 — is at the center of a dispute that is threatening to undermine Germany’s commitment to return objects looted by the Nazis. Via David Sand via The New York Times.

by Catherine Hickley

NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- No one knows why Felix Hildesheimer, a Jewish dealer in music supplies, purchased a precious violin built by the Cremonese master Giuseppe Guarneri at a shop in Stuttgart, Germany, in January 1938. His own store had lost its non-Jewish customers because of Nazi boycotts, and his two daughters fled the country shortly afterward. His grandsons say it’s possible that Hildesheimer was hoping he could sell the violin in Australia, where he and his wife, Helene, planned to build a new life with their younger daughter. But the couple’s efforts to get an Australian visa failed and Hildesheimer killed himself in August 1939. More than 80 years later, his 300-year-old violin — valued at around $185,000 — is at the center of a dispute that is threatening to undermine Germany’s commitment to return objects looted by the Nazis. The government’s Advisory Commission on the return of Nazi-looted cultural property determined in 2016 that the violin was almost certainly eit ... More

The Best Photos of the Day

National Gallery of Art announces new acquisitions   In Ice Age Siberia, a meeting of carnivores may have given us dogs   Asia Week New York zooms-in on the allure of Indian painting

Aurelio Lomi, The Stoning of Saint Stephen, c. 1602. Pen and ink with oil over chalk on four sheets of paper, framed: 106.5 × 86.5 × 5.5 cm (41 15/16 × 34 1/16 × 2 3/16 in.) National Gallery of Art, Washington. New Century Fund and The Ahmanson Foundation 2020.101.1

WASHINGTON, DC.- The National Gallery of Art has acquired The Stoning of Saint Stephen (c. 1602) by Aurelio Lomi (1556–1622), the leading painter in Pisa during the last quarter of the 16th century. It joins two other works by Lomi in the Gallery’s collection: a figure study in chalk, Studies of a Youth Pulling Ropes (recto); Faint Study of a Youth Pulling a Rope (verso) (1610s), and a small monochrome bozzetto of the Visitation, a preparatory work for a Florence altarpiece from around 1590. The Stoning of Saint Stephen, a large study in oil on four joined sheets of paper, depicts the martyrdom of one of Genoa’s patron saints. The composition refers to a touchstone for the entire school: Giulio Romano’s altarpiece from c. 1521 in the church of Santo Stefano. The study is closely related to Lomi’s altarpiece for the church of Santa Maria della Pace (now in Genoa’s ... More

An artistic rendering of the relationships between humans and canines in Siberia. Ettore Mazza via The New York Times.

by James Gorman

NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- Twenty-three thousand years ago, in the cold of the last ice age, some humans found a place where the climate was marginally better: Siberia. While many people associate the region that is now in Russia with forbidding cold today, climate data as well as archaeological and DNA evidence show that this was where horses, mammoths and other prey animals found enough to eat, which attracted humans and other carnivores. Hemmed in by worse conditions, the humans, some of them the ancestors of Native Americans, were isolated for thousands of years. So were wolves. It is there and then that dogs were first domesticated, according to a new hypothesis from a group of archaeologists and ancient DNA experts who specialize in the deep history of humans and canines. They published their analysis on Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. ... More

A Party of hunters returning to camp (detail), Leaf from the British Library-Chester Beatty Library, Akbarnama, Mughal India, 1603-04, 9 x 5 inches, 22.9 x 12.7 cm, painting, 12 1/4 x 8 1/2 inches, 31 x 21.5 cm, folio. Courtesy of Oliver Forge and Brendan Lynch Ltd.

NEW YORK, NY.- Continuing its lively series of virtual panel discussions, Asia Week New York will present Tales in Connoisseurship: Appreciating Indian Painting with an all-star panel of specialists including Brendan Lynch, co-director of London-based Oliver Forge & Brendan Lynch Ltd., Marika Sardar, PhD, Curator, The Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, and collector Gursharan Sidhu, PhD. These renowned experts will reveal their personal journeys of connoisseurship within the rich and wonderful world of Indian paintings. The presentation will be held on Thursday, January 28 at 5:00 p.m. (EST), 2:00 p.m. (PST). To reserve, visit here. Says moderator Anu Ghosh-Mazumdar, Senior Vice President & Head of the Indian & Southeast Asian Art Department at Sotheby’s: “Any collecting category requires three lynchpins to thrive and survive – the collector, the curator and the dealer. We are excited to host ... More

David Nolan Gallery announces the death of Barry Le Va   Chairwoman of San Francisco art school facing budget issues resigns   Exhibition of sculptures by Sarah Lucas on view at Contemporary Fine Arts

Barry Le Va, 2019.

NEW YORK, NY.- David Nolan Gallery announced the death of Barry Le Va on January 24th. A pioneer of process art, Le Va rose to prominence in the late 1960s through sculptures and installation work of unconventional materials made according to meticulous yet dynamic drawings. Barry Le Va was born in 1941 in Long Beach, California to Arthur and Muriel Le Va. In his youth, he was greatly interested in cartoons, architecture, and the artwork of Frank Lloyd Wright, Öyvind Falhström and Roberto Matta as well as detective stories, all which would influence his work later in his career. Le Va attended California State University, Long Beach from 1960 to 1963, continuing his studies at Los Angeles College of Art & Design, and Otis Art Institute of LA County, where he received a Master of Fine Arts in 1967. In 1968, Le Va received a Young Talent Award from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and graced the cover of Artforum, accompanied ... More

“The Making of a Fresco Showing the Building of a City” by Diego Rivera, on display at the San Francisco Art Institute. SFAI via The New York Times.

by Zachary Small

NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- Pam Rorke Levy has resigned as chairwoman of the San Francisco Art Institute, a 150-year-old college that has struggled over the past year to emerge from a multimillion-dollar debt and declining enrollment despite its history of training artists such as Kehinde Wiley, Catherine Opie and Annie Leibovitz. “I feel I can step back,” Levy said in a statement Thursday in which she expressed optimism that debt restructuring and new leadership would mean that “SFAI has the runway to rebuild itself.” Her departure comes amid criticism over discussions of the potential sale of a Diego Rivera mural worth $50 million that would have given the institute a way to close its budget gap. That move now seems to be on hold because of an effort to give the ... More

Sarah Lucas, OOPS 2019. Strumpfhosen, Draht, Wolle, Schuhe, Acrylfarbe und Vinylstuhl. Tights, wire, wool, shoes, acrylic paint and vinyl chair, 86 x 76 x 97 cm. 333/4 x 30 x 381/4 in. Courtesy Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin. Photo: Matthias Kolb.

BERLIN.- Contemporary Fine Arts is presenting Hurricane Doris, an exhibition of sculptures by Sarah Lucas. The artist’s sixth solo exhibition with the gallery encompasses a new group of soft sculptures from her ongoing body of Bunnies as well as a work in bronze from the same series. The first Bunnies were created as early as 1997 and are becoming increasingly timeless. The new, anthropomorphic figures made out of stuffed pantyhose reclining on chairs are a perpetuation of Lucas’ recognisable visual language bordering on the surreal. Deploying highly gender-coded found objects such as high heels and nylon stockings, Lucas inflates the notion of female objectification to its apex, only to invert it with an ungainly, exaggerated pose. Reminiscent of the reclining ... More

John Mendelsohn's first solo exhibition at David Richard Gallery opens in New York   Exhibition at Gladstone Gallery presents Shirin Neshat's latest body of work, Land of Dreams   He Xiangyu's first solo show in the United States opens at Andrew Kreps Gallery

John Mendelsohn, Tenebrae 5, 2014. Acrylic and oil stick on canvas, 40 x 28 “. Artwork Copyright © John Mendelsohn, Courtesy David Richard Gallery.

NEW YORK, NY.- David Richard Gallery is presenting, Color Wheel + Tenebrae Paintings, the gallery’s first solo exhibition for New York artist, John Mendelsohn. This exhibition features two series of works by Mendelsohn, the Color Wheel paintings from 2020 and the Tenebrae paintings from 2014. Each series has a distinctive approach to color and structure, but in both groups, the abstract qualities conduct an undercurrent of emotion. Constellations of moods and meanings evoked by the paintings are reflected in two poems commissioned by the artist: Jeffrey Cyphers Wright’s “A Round” on the Color Wheel series, and Danny Rivera’s “Ekphrasis” on the Tenebrae series. The exhibition is on view January 20 through February 12, 2021 at David Richard Gallery located at 211 East 121 Street, New York, New York 10035, P: 212-882-1705. These ten ... More

Shirin Neshat, Jenasis Greer, from Land of Dreams series, 2019. Digital c-print with ink and acrylic paint. © Shirin Neshat. Courtesy the artist and Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels.

NEW YORK, NY.- Gladstone Gallery is presenting an exhibition by Shirin Neshat and the New York premiere of the artist’s latest body of work, Land of Dreams. Comprised of more than 100 photographs and a two-channel film installation, Land of Dreams marks a significant visual and conceptual shift for the artist, who has turned her lens to the landscape and people of the American West. For this exhibition, Neshat presents the entire collection of photographs from this series as well as both films, which has been complemented by an online viewing room and virtual screenings throughout the show’s run. Combining Neshat’s singular artistic language with her intuitive approach to documenting the subjects she photographs, Land of Dreams presents multifaceted, surreal views into contemporary American culture ... More

Installation view. Image courtesy of the Artist and Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York. Photo: Dan Bradica.

NEW YORK, NY.- Andrew Kreps Gallery is presenting Soft Dilemma, He Xiangyu’s first exhibition with the gallery, as well as the artist’s first solo show in the United States. He Xiangyu's conceptual practice manifests in multi-year projects that span sculpture, drawing, installation, film and publications. Emerging as part of a generation of artists who experienced the post-socialist state of China, He’s work looks to shift the viewer’s perception of cultural signifiers through an examination and manipulation of material. The exhibition highlights the divergent strategies used by He to investigate an array of clinical, social and anthropological themes, and his response to the ongoing political and existential crises in the world. Upon entering the space, the viewer is confronted with Practical Opacity, 2020, a sculpture from an ongoing series that incorporates found school chairs, with doodles, scratches, stickers, and graff ... More

The Snite Museum of Art acquires a work by Magnum photographer Alex Majoli from The Eye of the Storm series   Austrian artist and Holocaust survivor Arik Brauer dies   Edmund de Waal donates library of exile to Mosul following exhibition at the British Museum

Alex Majoli, Scene #2756, Novara, Italy, 2020, archival pigment print. Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame. Milly and Fritz Kaeser Endowment for Photography, 2020.024

NOTRE DAME, IN.- The Snite Museum of Art at the University of Notre Dame has added an important photograph by Magnum photographer Alex Majoli from his The Eye of the Storm series. Shot in Novara, Italy, in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, Scene #2756, Novara, Italy, 2020, captures the moment when a priest blesses coffins that have just arrived at the cemetery by Italian Army trucks from nearby Bergamo. This image brings into sharp focus the painful and tragic extent that northern Italy suffered during the first outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Italy’s death toll was the highest in Europe during the first months of the outbreak, and the country could barely keep up with the transportation of coffins for burial. The photograph was an acquisition proposed by the Museum’s PhotoFutures, a student seminar led by the Curator of Academic Programs and Curator of Photographs. Designed ... More

This file photo taken on November 13, 2014 shows Austrian artist Arik Brauer lifting his hat during a press tour of his exhibition 'Arik Brauer - Gesamt.Kunst.Werk' at the Leopold Museum in Vienna. HERBERT NEUBAUER / APA / AFP.

VIENNA (AFP).- Austrian artist and Holocaust survivor Arik Brauer, renowned in his homeland for his painting and songwriting, has died at the age of 92, his family announced Monday. Brauer -- whose prolific output included work as a painter, graphic designer and singer-songwriter -- died on Sunday night surrounded by his family. According to a statement from his family, Brauer's last words were: "I was happy with my wife, with my family, with my art and my Vienna Woods." Born in Vienna in 1929 into a Russian-Jewish family, his childhood was thrown into turmoil when the Nazis annexed Austria in 1938. While his father was killed in a concentration camp, Brauer survived in Vienna, partly through hiding his mandatory Star of David badge. During the November 1938 Kristallnacht pogrom, he was hidden by the caretaker at his ... More

Edmund de Waal library of exile at the British Museum 2020 © The Trustees of the British Museum.

LONDON.- Following presentations in Venice, Dresden, and London, British artist and author Edmund de Waal will donate almost 2,000 books from his acclaimed installation library of exile to the Mosul University Library in Iraq to help rebuild its collection which was almost destroyed in 2015 by the group calling itself the Islamic State. The Mosul University Library will be the final home for the library’s collection recently on display at the British Museum, and features the work of writers from over a hundred countries in dozens of languages from antiquity to the present day by over 100 writers from across the world who have experienced exile, loss and displacement. The books will be transported to Mosul with the kind participation of Book Aid International, the UK’s leading book donation and library development charity and the Iraqi Embassy in London. On Friday 29th January, 6pm the British Museum will host ‘A Space to be’, a free evening of readings and musical performanc ... More

The spectacle of the sky overwhelms me. Joan Miró

More News
The Metropolitan Opera hires its first Chief Diversity Officer
NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- Marcia Sells — a former dancer who became an assistant district attorney in Brooklyn and the dean of students at Harvard Law School — has been hired as the first chief diversity officer of the Metropolitan Opera, the largest performing arts institution in the United States. Her appointment, which the Met announced on Monday, is something of a corrective to the company’s nearly 140-year history and a response to the Black Lives Matter demonstrations that followed the killing of George Floyd in 2020. It’s also a conscious step toward inclusivity by a major player in an industry in which some Black singers, including Leontyne Price and Jessye Norman, have found stardom, but diversity has lagged in orchestras, staff and leadership. Since last summer, cultural institutions across the country have made ... More

Junior Mance, jazz pianist who played with giants, dies at 92
NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- Junior Mance, a buoyant, bluesy jazz pianist who worked with some of the biggest names in jazz, including Lester Young, Dizzy Gillespie, Cannonball Adderley and Dinah Washington, before establishing himself as the leader of his own groups, died on Jan. 17 at his home in New York. He was 92. His wife, Gloria Clayborne Mance, said the cause was a brain hemorrhage caused by a fall last month. He also had Alzheimer’s disease. Mance had a strong affinity for the blues — he wrote a book, “How to Play Blues Piano” (1967) — but he also played the standard repertoire with aplomb. “The blues ooze through his performances, even when he is not actually playing a blues,” John S. Wilson of The New York Times wrote in a review of a performance by Mance in Manhattan in 1982. Mance’s career took off in the late ... More

Christie's to offer the Collection of Lucien and Edmonde Treillard
PARIS.- Christie's presents Man Ray and the Surrealists, Collection Lucien and Edmonde Treillard on March 2, 2021 at 2pm. This exceptional sale, consisting of 203 lots for a total estimate of nearly €3 million, will highlight the world of Man Ray through the unique collection of the man who worked alongside him until the end of his life: Lucien Treillard. In 1960, Lucien Treillard became Man Ray's assistant, following in the footsteps of illustrious predecessors such as Berenice Abbott, Jacques-André Boiffard, Bill Brandt and Lee Miller. His role, central to the artist's career, was above all to promote Man Ray's work. Alongside Juliet, the artist's companion, Lucien Treillard continued his efforts to promote Man Ray's art even after the artist's death. His mission also led him to organise Man Ray's first monographic exhibitions such as the one at the Photokina ... More

Song Yoo-jung, South Korean actor, is found dead at 26
NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- A 26-year-old actor was found dead Saturday in Seoul, South Korea, the latest loss of a young performer in the country’s entertainment industry, which has faced a reckoning over the mental health burden on its glamorous stars. The death of the actor, Song Yoo-jung, who appeared in several television dramas, was confirmed in a statement by the company that represented her, Sublime Artist Agency. The agency did not disclose the cause, but the suddenness of Song’s death brought to mind the series of suicides that has plagued Korean pop music in recent years. Alarms have long been raised over the pressures imposed by South Korean management companies on young entertainers, many of whom are groomed starting as teenagers to be pop idols. Their looks are closely scrutinized, and their tightly ... More

Shulamit Nazarian presents a series of new paintings by New York-based artist Michael Stamm
LOS ANGELES, CA.- Shulamit Nazarian is presenting ”so super sorry sir!” , a series of new paintings by New York-based artist Michael Stamm. This is the artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. The paintings in “so super sorry sir!” revel in their idiosyncratic, contradictory attitude toward morality, sexuality, mental health, and contemporary cultural politics. They feature an unlikely cast of characters––ranging from the Devil to an anthropomorphic hand–– whose disparate senses of virtue and spirituality often clash with societal convention. At once clinging to life and hurtling toward annihilation, the artist questions what self-actualization looks like in the face of an overly righteous and emotionally precarious world. The Devil appears as a surrogate for various archetypes––a conspiratorial friend, a scorned enemy, or at times, the artist himself. He is at once a foe to be v ... More

Marianne Boesky presents a selection of recent paintings from Suzanne McClelland's MUTE series
ASPEN, CO.- Marianne Boesky Gallery is presenting a selection of recent paintings from Suzanne McClelland’s MUTE series, which is on view on the first floor of our Aspen location from January 22nd to April 18th. Systems of communication and exchange are at the center of Suzanne McClelland’s practice. The artist explores the inherent interdependence between abstraction and representation as it appears in painting and the printed, written and spoken word. In large-scale canvases as well as collaborative books and prints, McClelland has opened new avenues for painting, investigating its linguistic and acoustic dimensions and reflecting our broader cultural and political concerns. Built from visual as well as auditory observations of this world, her works underscore the ways in which language itself is gendered and politicized by its ... More

ASU Art Museum opens "Body/Magic" a new exhibition by artist Liz Cohen
TEMPE, AZ.- “Body/Magic: Liz Cohen” presents all aspects of Phoenix-based artist Liz Cohen’s well-known “Bodywork” series for the first time. The exhibition at ASU Art Museum offers new and never-before-seen video, photographs, performance and ephemera related to this tour-de-force project. For the original “Bodywork” series, Cohen merged two cars, the American El Camino and the East German Trabant, into one customized lowrider. Simultaneously, she transformed her own body to become a bikini model for her car, which she presented at lowrider shows in and around Phoenix, Arizona. “In the car show, there are really three kinds of people,” said the artist. “There are the car owners, the car builders and the models that represent the cars. I want to be all three.” This ongoing project examines the artist’s own identity, in-betweenness as a first-generation Colombian and a child of th ... More

Collectors go bananas and pay nearly $400,000 for Del Monte-stickered $20 bill
DALLAS, TX.- Collectors broke out into a banana bidding war Friday evening and pushed the auction price of a $20 bill featuring a Del Monte banana sticker to nearly $400,000 at a public auction of rare, U.S. currency held by Heritage Auctions. The coveted banknote error sold to a bidder competing on Heritages' live bidding platform, HA Live. Pre-auction bidding lifted the bids to $210,000. From there, the winning bidder outlasted a determined phone bidder and two other live internet bidders, to push the final winning auction price to $396,000. The price sets a world record for any error banknote ever sold. This was just the third time the note had been offered at public auction since its discovery in 2004. "The Del Monte Note is considered perhaps the most famous of all U.S. error banknotes and now it holds a world record as the most valuable ever ... More

Elias Rahbani, Lebanese composer who sought new sounds, dies at 82
NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- On Friday evenings, before the coronavirus came to Beirut, a pulsing crowd of partygoers would stomp on the roof of a warehouse overlooking the port dancing to music at once retro and fresh. Its beat was unstoppable, its sound a mix of lush Arab diva melody, French 1960s pop and disco. The musical blend required no modern adaptation by a DJ. It was simply another Elias Rahbani experiment. From the 1960s through the ’80s, Rahbani, a Lebanese composer and lyricist who died of COVID-19 on Jan. 4 at 82, wrote instant classics for the Arab world’s most idolized singers, commercial jingles, political anthems, film soundtracks and music for underground and experimental Arab artists. The Rahbani sound was ubiquitous. Many Lebanese remember the jingles he wrote for Picon ... More

A monument honoring Brooklyn abolitionists stalls under scrutiny
NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- When the artist Kameelah Janan Rasheed was commissioned to conceive of a project honoring Brooklyn abolitionists, she wanted to turn the idea of a monument on its head. She proposed to reinvent the design of the anticipated Willoughby Square Park in Downtown Brooklyn with pavement engravings and bronze placards, which would offer questions and prompts to highlight the borough’s antislavery movement and its legacy. But the preservationists and activists who, for 20 years, have pushed the city to honor Brooklyn’s abolitionist roots were displeased with Rasheed’s designs, complaining they were too abstract at a time when women and people of color are fighting to see themselves figuratively represented in New York’s monuments. “We are not going to settle for plaques and engravings, which people ... More

Climate change is worsening. So the weather station is singing about it.
NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- Some musicians are compelled to write a song after a lovers’ quarrel, an encounter with a great work of art or a particularly resonant overheard exchange. Tamara Lindeman, the 36-year-old Canadian singer and songwriter who records under the name the Weather Station, was recently driven to write one immediately after reading an article about oil and gas corporation Exxon Mobil. “When I say that, it sounds very esoteric or political or strange, but it’s very personal to me,” she said on a video call from her Toronto home one Monday morning in January, her sandy-blond bangs hanging as long as the fringe on her brown suede jacket. Call the songs on her piercing record “Ignorance,” due Feb. 5, anthems of ambivalence: Lindeman wrote most of them over what she calls “a weird winter where I was obsessively ... More

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On a day like today, Dutch painter Govert Flinck was born
January 25, 1615. Govert (or Govaert) Teuniszoon Flinck (25 January 1615 - 2 February 1660) was a Dutch painter of the Dutch Golden Age. For many years Flinck laboured on the lines of Rembrandt, following that master's style in all the works which he executed between 1636 and 1648. With aspirations as a history painter, however, he looked to the swelling forms and grand action of Peter Paul Rubens, which led to many commissions for official and diplomatic painting. In this image: Blessing of Jacob (1638).

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