The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Final show in France for looted Benin treasures

In this file photo taken on September 10, 2021 a royal seat of the 'Royal treasures of Abomey kingdom' (Œuvres des tresors royaux d’Abomey) is displayed at the Musee du quai Branly in Paris, part of 26 artworks set to be restituted to Benin later in the year. the Quai Branly museum in Paris, exhibited, on October 29, 2021 over a dozen colonial-era treasures taken from Benin, the last time they will be shown in France before being handed back in a landmark gesture. Christophe ARCHAMBAULT / AFP.

by Sandra Biffot-Lacut and Clare Byrne

PARIS.- A Paris museum on Tuesday exhibited over a dozen colonial-era treasures taken from Benin, the last time they will be shown in France before being handed back in a landmark gesture. The 26 pieces, from a trove of objects snatched by French forces in 1892, are being shown for just six days at the Quai Branly museum before being shipped to the West African country later this month. The decision to return them follows growing calls in Africa for European countries to return the colonial spoils from museums. The move is part of a drive by French President Emmanuel Macron to improve his country's image in Africa, especially among young people. The treasures are from the kingdom of Dahomey in the south of present-day Benin and include the throne of Dahomey's last king, Behanzin, as well as three totemic statues, four palace doors, several portable altars and three warrior dance staffs. Macron will visit the exhibition Wednesday afternoon. ... More

The Best Photos of the Day

The Snite Museum of Art receives long-term loans of Spanish Colonial art   Dutch court rules Crimean treasures must go to Ukraine   National Museum of Women in the Arts lends collection highlights to National Gallery of Art

Gregorio Vásquez de Arce y Ceballos, Allegory of the Eucharist with the Virgin Mary and Saints, c. 1670s, Oil on canvas. Courtesy of the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation. (photo: Jamie Stukenberg).

NOTRE DAME, IN.- The Snite Museum of Art installed recent loans from the internationally renowned Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation. Three paintings dating from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, drawn from the Foundation’s extraordinary holdings, complement the Museum’s existing collection of Spanish Colonial works to expand our understanding of the period. This new loan follows an earlier one from the Thoma Foundation of thirteen works that were shown in the 2020 exhibition Divine Illusions: Statue Paintings from Spanish Colonial Peru, organized by Professor Michael Schreffler of the University of Notre Dame’s Department of Art, Art History & Design. In 2023 When the new Raclin Murphy Museum of Art debuts in 2023, the University will receive five different works from the Foundation to replace the three currently exhibited. Those loans are slated to extend through 2026. “The Thoma family have become very good, t ... More

The treasures have until now been kept in "safe storage" at the Allard Pierson museum, which is the archaeological museum of the University of Amsterdam.

AMSTERDAM.- Dutch appeals judges on Tuesday ruled that a priceless collection of Crimean gold "must be handed over to Ukraine," in a decision welcomed by Kiev but criticised by Russia. The pieces, dubbed "Scythian Gold" and loaned to the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam just before Moscow annexed Crimea in 2014, have been subject to legal wrangling since four museums on the peninsula launched a joint challenge seven years ago to have them returned. In 2016, a lower Dutch court ruled that the treasures were part of Ukraine's cultural heritage and must be returned to Kiev -- not to the museums who launched the petition -- on the grounds that Crimea was not considered a sovereign state. The Crimean museums appealed the judgement. But on Tuesday, the Dutch court of appeal ruled that the gold should be held by Ukraine "pending stabilisation in the Crimea." On Tuesday, the lawyer for the Crimea museums ... More

Amy Sherald, They Call Me Redbone but I’d Rather Be Strawberry Shortcake, 2009, oil on canvas, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Steven Scott, Baltimore, in honor of the artist and the 25th Anniversary of NMWA, © Amy Sherald; Photo by Lee Stalsworth.

WASHINGTON, DC.- While the National Museum of Women in the Arts undergoes a comprehensive renovation to its historic building, 11 highlights from its collection will be loaned to the National Gallery of Art. Works by women artists including Lavinia Fontana, Eva Hesse, Frida Kahlo, Clara Peeters, and Amy Sherald have been installed throughout the National Gallery’s iconic East and West Buildings. These special installations position NMWA’s paintings and sculpture in conversation with works from the National Gallery’s own permanent collection. “The National Museum of Women in the Arts’ mission to champion women artists never stops. We’re offering great virtual and off-site programming while our building is closed, and we’re delighted that our partners at the National Gallery of Art are exhibiting NMWA collection works to share that inimitable in-gallery experience ... More

Dayton Art Institute promotes Elaine Gounaris to Interim Development Director   Works in marble lead the way in the auction of part 1 of the John Nelson Collection   The Studio Museum in Harlem marks milestone in construction of its new home

Prior to her time at the Dayton Art Institute, Gounaris was both the Campaign & Corporate Giving Manager and then promoted to Senior Development Officer at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus.

DAYTON, OH.- The Dayton Art Institute has announced the promotion of Elaine Gounaris to Interim Development Director for the museum. Gounaris served as the DAI’s Sponsorship & Special Events Manager for the past eight years. As Sponsorship & Special Events Manager, Gounaris has been the chief fundraiser for the museum’s three signature events–Bourbon & Bubbles, Art Ball and Oktoberfest–and helped raise more than $1.9 million in sponsorships for those events. She has also overseen the event management for both Art Ball and Oktoberfest, as well as helping develop and launch the popular Bourbon & Bubbles event, which sold out each of its first three years. During her time at the DAI, Gounaris also helped create at-home fundraising events during the pandemic, including one to take the place of a traditional Oktoberfest in 2020 ... More

18th or 19th century Italian white marble torso of a youth ($35,000).

LOS ANGELES, CA.- Works in marble achieved marvelous results in Andrew Jones Auctions’ October 24th auction of The John Nelson Collection, Part I, which more than doubled its presale estimate to realize $1.6 million. Leading the sale were two magnificent life-size Italian Carrara marble models of dogs, both from the19th century, that brought $62,500. All prices quoted in this report are inclusive of the buyer’s premium. An Italian marble torso of a youth, circa 18th/19th century, achieved $35,000, while a pair of Roman marble lion head reliefs made $23,750 against an estimate of $2,000-3,000. Asian items featured a beautiful set of four Chinese hand painted wallpaper panels of birds amidst flowering branches ($12,500); and a Southeast Asian verdigris mixed alloy bust of the Buddha ($15,000). “I am beyond elated that the sale performed as fantastically as it did,” said Andrew Jones, the president and CEO of Andrew Jones ... More

Taking its cues from the brownstones, churches, and bustling sidewalks of Harlem, David Adjaye’s design provides the Studio Museum with a dynamic sculptural facade that contrasts strongly with the surrounding commercial buildings.

NEW YORK, NY.- The Studio Museum in Harlem, the preeminent institution dedicated to artists of African descent, today joined with civic leaders, trustees, artists, friends, patrons, and members of its vibrant community for Creating Space, a ceremony marking the next phase in the construction of the Museum’s new home on West 125th Street. New York’s Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray joined Studio Museum Director and Chief Curator Thelma Golden, Sir David Adjaye (architect of the museum’s new home, with Cooper Robertson), and artists Theaster Gates and Yaw Agyeman for the celebratory event, held on the plaza of the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building, directly across 125th Street from the site where the new Studio Museum will rise. ... More

New arts complex aims to build community in Detroit   Christie's to offer The Collection of Dr. Thomas Chua including Design, Tiffany, Impressionist and Modern Art   Damascus bookshops disappear as crisis hits culture

McArthur Binion, an abstract painter, at Lehmann Maupin in New York on Jan. 17, 2019. Daniel Dorsa/The New York Times.

by Hilarie M. Sheets

DETROIT, MICH.- “If we knew how the gallery world worked, I don’t know that we would have jumped into it,” said JJ Curis, who, with her husband, Anthony Curis, founded an art gallery, the Library Street Collective, in 2012, in a once-derelict alleyway. But she feels their naïveté going into that first venture may have allowed them to conduct future business with an unconventional mindset. Now, hoping to contribute to the city’s artistic renaissance, the Curises have bought and restored the Good Shepherd Catholic Church and rectory from 1912 and are self-funding the redevelopment of the structures and surrounding land into a new cultural arts complex. Expected to open in spring 2023, the Shepherd, as it is now called, is conceived as a hybrid of a commercial gallery space, institution and community center. While the rapid redevelopment of downtown Detroit during the past decade has led ... More

Gallé, Important and rare 'Wisteria' table lamp, circa 1920. Cameo glass, gilt bronze mounts, 30½ in. high; 20 in. diameter of shade. Estimate: $100,000-150,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2021.

NEW YORK, NY.- Christie’s presents Hidden Gems: The Collection of Dr. Thomas Chua to be sold across sales of Design, Jewels, and Impressionist and Modern Art. Dr. Thomas Chua established himself as a highly successful Medical Doctor who was deeply admired by his patients. As a devoted collector, Dr. Chua made time to develop his connoisseurship and curious eye for art. Dr. Chua aligned himself with a long history of Chicago-area collectors who were drawn to innovative examples of creative expression. Hidden Gems: The Collection of Dr. Thomas Chua illustrates the extraordinary vision of a collector who focused on the ethereal in nature, led by significant works of Design and Tiffany, to be sold in a series of live sales in December 2021 at Christie’s New York. Captured in the medium of glass, Hidden Gems explores the luminous and sculptural effects of the medium, from historic exhibition pieces by Emilé Gallé ... More

Muhammad Salem al-Nouri, 71, blows dust off a book at the Dar al-Maarifa library, which was forced to close in 2000 because of poor sales and growing costs, in the Syrian capital Damascus on October 12, 2021. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP.

by Maher al-Mounes

DAMASCUS.- The Damascus bookshops and publishing houses that once stood as beacons of Syria's intellectual life are being replaced with shoe shops and money changers, as culture falls casualty to crisis. Syria is home to some of the Arab world's literary giants, and Damascus boasted an abundance of busy bookshops and publishing houses printing and distributing original and translated works. But the city's literary flare has faded. A decade-old civil war, a chronic economic crisis and a creative brain drain that has deprived Syria of some of its best writers and many of their readers, have compounded worldwide problems facing the industry, such as the growing popularity of e-books. "People can't afford to read and bookstores can't cover the expenses of staying open," said ... More

Tiancheng International announces highlights included in the Jewellery and Jadeite Autumn Auction   David Richard Gallery opens an exhibition of works by Sonia Gechtoff   Albanian artist offers 'therapy' with portraits painted in coffee

Very fine pair of jadeite and lavender jadeite bangles.

HONG KONG.- Tiancheng International’s Jewellery and Jadeite Autumn Auction will be held on 26 November, offering a dazzling array of natural jadeite, coloured gemstones, precious diamonds, and distinctive pieces from prestigious jewellers and designers. Leading the sale is a pair of natural jadeite and lavender jadeite bangles that is of exceeding rarity. Also gracing the auction are coveted gemstones hailing from fabled mines, including an 18.18-carat natural unheated “pigeon’s blood” ruby ring from Mogok, Burma and a 13.56-carat natural untreated Colombian Muzo emerald ring. Garnering a wide spectrum of treasures, the sale is set to be no doubt one to look out for. Connie Huang, Managing Director and Head of Jewellery Department of Tiancheng International, remarks, “Tiancheng International has always been sparing no effort in sourcing one-of-a-kind pieces for jewellery aficionados. This season, we are thr ... More

Installation View: Sonia Gechtoff, The 1960s In New York: A Series of Transitions. All Artwork Copyright © Sonia Gechtoff Estate, Courtesy David Richard Gallery.

NEW YORK, NY.- David Richard Gallery presents Sonia Gechtoff (1926-2018), The 1960s In New York: A Series of Transitions, an exhibition that looks critically into this pivotal and transformative period following the artist’s move from San Francisco in 1958. Like the preceding decade, during the mid-1950s with Gectoff’s arrival in the Bay Area, the 60s were full of change and experimentation in New York. This presentation maps several such transitions, including: changes in Gechtoff’s painting medium and method of application; experimenting with collage and lithography; but most profound, the notable change of the imagery in her drawings and paintings. The presentation will include paintings and drawings, the mainstay of Gechtoff’s repertoire from the 1950s and 60s. Both media share strong relationships to one another ... More

Painter David Kryemadhi chats with girls as he paints a portrait of one of them, in coffee in Durres, western Albania, on October 15, 2021. Gent SHKULLAKU / AFP.

DURRËS.- Albanian artist David Kryemadhi douses his brush with coffee and carefully sketches the face of a cafe customer, hoping the offer of a free portrait will bring cheer amid the anxiety of the pandemic. Many Albanians regard cafes as a vital institution and punctuate most days with caffeinated outings -- the country of 2.8 million reputedly has one of the highest numbers of cafes in the world per head of population. "Art and coffee help a lot of people," Kryemadhi told AFP in the seaside city of Durres. "The moment of calm and reflection while painting a portrait helps the other person gain self-confidence and see the world with a positive synergy, a more open eye." Kryemadhi uses coffee like watercolour paints, composing portraits with a rich, brown patina -- adding water to create different shades. In the cafes of Albania, he has found a natural ... More

Paint the essential character of things. Camille Pissarro

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Afghan all-female orchestra keeps music alive in exile
DOHA.- For the first time in months, members of Afghanistan's all-female Zohra orchestra have reassembled in Doha, their music once again filling the air as they face an uncertain future. While grateful to be safe in Qatar, their escape from Taliban rule is bittersweet, as the girls leave behind friends from the orchestra and their "old companions" -- their instruments. Last week marked the first time in three months that Marzia Anwari, along with other members of the Afghan music community who escaped to Qatar, played live for an audience. "Most of the girls from the Zohra orchestra are here with me in Qatar, but some of them are still in Afghanistan," the 18-year-old violist told AFP. "I hope that they can join us here as soon as possible and we can be together and rebuild our orchestra." Zohra, Afghanistan's first all-female orchestra, was established in 2016. ... More

Andrew Lloyd Webber plays the hits
NEW YORK, NY.- It was the reopening night of “The Phantom of the Opera” on Broadway, and Andrew Lloyd Webber was DJing the after-party. From a booth built earlier that day on 44th street in Manhattan, Lloyd Webber, the play’s composer, whose career has lasted decades and who has won four Tonys and an Oscar, mixed music, clapped on all four beats, waved his hands in the air, and bobbed his head before a crowd gathered outside. (He was sporting paprika-hued Beats by Dre headphones for the occasion.) The party followed the first performance of “Phantom” since the pandemic began, which was attended by Laura Linney, Joel Gray, several contestants of “The Bachelorette,” some “Real Housewives of New York” and Sen. Chuck Schumer. Outside the theater after the show, throngs of “Phantom of the Opera” devotees — known as “phans” — hoisted their phones ... More

A BRIC in flux turns out an intimate, focused JazzFest
NEW YORK, NY.- As jazz festivals go, BRIC JazzFest is on the small but ambitious side, aspiring to a few ideas at once. It operates in Brooklyn with something close to Manhattan-scale resources, but like BRIC’s flagship music series, the Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival, it aims to serve a broad audience, not a particularly affluent one. To a greater degree than Celebrate Brooklyn! — a series of mostly free summertime performances in Prospect Park — JazzFest spotlights artists who live and work in the borough, though it brings in some of the best from out of town, too. In the process, its organizers cut away at some of the hierarchical thinking that other jazz festivals, at various levels, often reinforce. After three nights of music this past weekend from across the borough’s varied landscape, it was in the closing moments that all these strands came together most effortlessly ... More

Broadway's 'Is This a Room' and 'Dana H.' to close early
NEW YORK, NY.- A pair of short experimental dramas that made an unlikely journey to Broadway this fall will close early, reflecting a tough climate for new plays as the industry seeks to recover from the lengthy pandemic shutdown. “Is This a Room” and “Dana H.” will end their runs on Nov. 14. They had been scheduled to close Jan. 16. “While we would’ve loved to run through our original end date, we recognize that we are in a challenging landscape for live performance and we’re grateful to have had a chance to share this work,” the producers, Dori Berinstein, Sally Horchow and Matt Ross, said in a statement Monday. The plays were jointly capitalized for up to $3.5 million, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. That money has not been recouped by investors. The reviews were strong for both works. “Is This a Room,” which is a verbatim re-enactment ... More

The Wolfsonian-FIU appoints Casey Steadman as new Director
MIAMI BEACH, FLA.- Acting Director Casey Steadman has been named Director of The Wolfsonian–FIU, bringing years of leadership, business experience, and civic engagement to his now-permanent role. Steadman has led the institution for 18 months as Acting Director following the departure of Tim Rodgers. "Director Steadman has successfully steered The Wolfsonian–FIU through the trying times of the pandemic, one of the most challenging chapters in its 26-year history. University leadership applauds his accomplishments, as well as his dedication to student success," said FIU Provost and Executive Vice President Kenneth G. Furton. "We are looking forward to having him lead The Wolfsonian into a new era, one we know will be game-changing." The Wolfsonian–FIU is a museum, library, and research center devoted to art and design, with a collection of about 200,000 ... More

Art, Design & Architecture Museum welcomes new director and reopens to visitors
SANTA BARBARA, CA.- After a pandemic-induced closure of more than a year-and-a-half, during which exhibitions appeared solely online, UC Santa Barbara’s Art, Design & Architecture Museum has reopened its galleries to the public with three shows, a schedule of events — and a new director. Gabriel Ritter, an expert in Japanese modern and contemporary art and in museum studies, joins the campus from the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia). At UC Santa Barbara he will both head the AD&A Museum and teach as a new faculty member in the Department of History of Art and Architecture (HAA). “We are pleased to welcome Gabriel Ritter to UC Santa Barbara to lead our Art, Design & Architecture Museum into the future as our new director,” said Chancellor Henry T. Yang. “With his robust experience at top art institutions, he has the expertise and vision to grow and diversify ... More

Tarnanthi Art Fair breaks records with $1.4 million in sales
ADELAIDE.- The 2021 Tarnanthi Art Fair, which ran as an online event from 15 – 18 October, closed with a record $1.4 million in sales, surpassing its previous record by 16%. With buyers from across Australia and around the world including Asia, Europe and the USA, the Art Fair brought together thousands of works from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists for sale, spanning paintings, ceramics, sculpture, woven objects, jewellery, textiles, clothes and homewares. More than 2500 unique works of art will now be shipped to their new owners across the country and internationally. Since 2015, more than $5.4 million of art has been sold at the Tarnanthi Art Fair, which operates under the Indigenous Art Code and supports the ethical production and sales of works of art by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. All proceeds go directly to the artists and art centres ... More

Mary Lattimore: Has harp, must travel
NEW YORK, NY.- Mary Lattimore made her public harp debut in an Arby’s parking lot. Her mother, Lelia Hall Lattimore, thought they might be late for her teenage daughter’s recital the moment they left their small North Carolina town for the state’s largest city, Charlotte. When a tire blew, she knew they were doomed. As they fished the harp from the trunk to retrieve the spare, Mom had an idea: Why didn’t her daughter play right there? As Mary Lattimore began to pluck 47 strings in her new floral-print dress, customers abandoned roast beef sandwiches. The tow-truck driver, Angel, marveled. Most customers had never heard a harp live, let alone in a fast-food parking lot. “I stepped out of my bratty teenager self and went for it. I was able to see the comedy, because playing the harp is fun,” Lattimore said by phone from her Los Angeles apartment as her cat, Jenny, meowed to be ... More

Sonny Osborne, bluegrass innovator, is dead at 83
NEW YORK, NY.- Sonny Osborne, the banjo player and singer who, with his older brother, Bobby, led one of the most innovative and beloved bands in bluegrass music, died Sunday at his home in nearby Hendersonville, Tennessee. He was 83. His death, after a series of strokes, was confirmed by his friend and protege Lincoln Hensley. Best known for their 1967 hit “Rocky Top,” the Osborne Brothers pioneered a style of three-part harmony singing in which Bobby Osborne sang tenor melodies pitched above the trio’s other two voices, instead of between them, as was the custom in bluegrass. Sonny Osborne sang the baritone harmonies, with various second tenors over the years adding a third layer of harmony to round out the bright, lyrical blend that became the group’s calling card. The Osbornes broke further with bluegrass convention by augmenting Sonny Osborne’s driving ... More

Ballet theater gives the stage to this pianist's drag persona
NEW YORK, NY.- On a recent afternoon, inside one of American Ballet Theater’s studios near Union Square, John Epperson sat at a piano, unassuming in jeans and a muted button-down shirt. Epperson, 66, has been a pianist with the company off and on for several decades. But he may be better known as his alter ego: Lypsinka, a drag artist who has been on the scene just as long, dressed like a Stepford wife doll and miming sound bites arranged in an irreverent and slyly political supercut of classic Hollywood’s women on the edge. Stepping up from the piano and turning on a portable speaker, Epperson gave a preview of Lypsinka in action, shortly before heading downstairs to play piano for a class. He ran through a 10-minute act that will be presented at the David H. Koch Theater Wednesday and Saturday as part of Ballet Theater’s inaugural Pride Nights — the first ... More

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On a day like today, American painter Lee Krasner was born
October 27, 1908. Lee Krasner (October 27, 1908 - June 19, 1984) was an influential American abstract expressionist painter in the second half of the 20th century. On October 25, 1945, she married artist Jackson Pollock, who was also influential in the abstract expressionism movement. In this 1949 photo provided by the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center, artists Lee Krasner and Jackson Pollock are shown in their garden at their East Hampton, N.Y., home.

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