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Toomey & Co. Auctioneers will close 2020 with two impressive sales

LOT 1: Edward Willis Redfield, Overlook at Boothbay Harbor, Maine, circa 1930. Estimate $70,000-90,000. Tradition & Innovation, December 3, 2020. Toomey & Co. Auctioneers, Oak Park, Illinois.

OAK PARK, IL.- Toomey & Co. Auctioneers will conclude its 2020 auction schedule with two upcoming sales featuring a wide variety of material, including several rare and important items. On Thursday, December 3, the third annual Tradition & Innovation will feature a limited, expertly curated range of works from painters, sculptors, ceramicists, furniture designers, architects, and jewelry makers who have helped define their respective fields for more than a century. On Sunday, December 6, Art & Design will offer a few hundred carefully selected lots of fine and decorative artworks, early 20th century and modern furniture, art pottery, lighting, metalwork, and more. In 2018 and 2019, the total of all prices realized for these December sales averaged over $2 million. Tradition & Innovation on Thursday, December 3 will start at 6:00 p.m. CST and Art & Design on Sunday, December 6 will start at 10:00 a.m. CST. Both sales will take place at Toomey & Co. ... More

The Best Photos of the Day

UK museums and galleries facing crisis with 60% worried about survival   Bomberg's Spanish masterpiece tops Bonhams Modern British and Irish Art sale   Birmingham Museums partners with the online game and art platform Occupy White Walls

Towner Eastbourne © Marc Atkins.

LONDON.- Museums, galleries and historic houses across the UK are facing a crisis due to the impact of Covid-19, with six in ten (60%) surveyed worried about their survival. Today Art Fund, the national charity for art, is releasing new research showing the perilous position of the country’s much-loved museums, alongside an urgent new crowdfunding appeal: Together for Museums. The UK’s 2,500 museums were thriving before the pandemic hit, providing inspiration, joy and education, enriching lives and bringing communities closer together. But national and local lockdowns, combined with social distancing limiting visitors, have been catastrophic. Despite this, only half (55%) have received emergency funding to date, with 56% of those saying they would have gone under if they had not received it. Museums have shown they can respond to this crisis with creativity and serve their communities, but need urgent help. Together for Museums aims ... More

David Bomberg (British, 1890-1957) The Old City and Cathedral, Ronda (detail). Sold for £790,750. Photo: Bonhams.

LONDON.- The Old City and Cathedral, Ronda by the British painter David Bomberg (1890-1957) sold for £790,750 at Bonhams Modern British and Irish Art sale in London on Wednesday 18 November. Painted in 1935, it had been estimated at £400,000-600,000. The sale made a total of £3,579,440 with 86% sold by lot and 93% sold by value. Bonhams Director of Modern British & Irish Art, Matthew Bradbury said: “Bomberg moved to Spain in 1934 and it proved a turning point in his life and career. The Old City and Cathedral, Ronda represents the artist’s response to the drama of his new home and the liberating light-suffused setting in which he was now working. It is a wonderful work which sparked a fierce bidding war on the phone and the internet and fully justified its very high selling price.” Other highlights included two works by William Roberts (1895-1980): • Women ... More

200 public domain images from Birmingham’s collection are now officially part of the game.

BIRMINGHAM.- It’s Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, but not quite as you know it! You can now curate your own exhibitions in a virtual BMAG from the comfort of your own home, as Birmingham Museums Trust has embarked on a collaboration with the new online game Occupy White Walls, making it the first official museum to partner with the AI-driven art platform that allows users to explore a growing fantasy world of art. Two hundred artworks from Birmingham’s collection of Public Domain images, including some of the city’s most famous Pre-Raphaelite works such as The Last of England by Ford Madox Brown and Proserpine by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, are now available to players in the digital world and can be explored at As the partnership continues, it is planned to upload the full collection of Birmingham’s public domain images, which are accessible via Birmingham Museums’ online database. In a year where we ... More

Sprüth and Magers opens an exhibition featuring 26 new drawings by Andrea Zittel   Along Russia's 'road of bones,' relics of suffering and despair   Solo exhibition of new paintings by Merlin James opens at Sikkema Jenkins & Co.

Andrea Zittel, Study for Planar Configuration Variant #8, 2019. Watercolor and gouach on paper, 55.9 × 76.2 cm. 22 × 30 inches. Photo: Timo Ohler © Andrea Zittel. Courtesy the artist and Sprüth Magers.

BERLIN.- Monika Sprüth and Philomene Magers announced the Berlin exhibition Works on Paper by American artist Andrea Zittel, presenting 26 new drawings that all hinge, in one way or another, on planar structures. Planar panels are flat rectangular elements that form the building blocks of so much of the reality that we construct around ourselves, from benches to bed frames to walkways. Zittel's artistic work regularly traverses the boundaries between art and architecture, and here reflects upon the planes and panels that exist in both our literal and psychological fields of reality. Horizontal panels naturally function as platforms for actions and behavior, creating sites where life happens (e.g. floors, tables, benches, fields, streets). Vertical panels, in turn, privilege the eye and are the carriers of messages and ideologies (e.g. walls, screens, paintings, billboards). Rigid or flexible, these panels can provide shelter or divide s ... More

A Soviet-era monument to Lenin in Ust-Omchug, a settlement on the Kolyma Highway in Russia's Far East, Oct. 9, 2019. Emile Ducke/The New York Times.

by Andrew Higgins

ALONG THE KOLYMA HIGHWAY (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- The prisoners, hacking their way through insect-infested summer swamps and winter ice fields, brought the road, and the road then brought yet more prisoners, delivering a torrent of slave labor to the gold mines and prison camps of Kolyma, the most frigid and deadly outpost of Josef Stalin’s gulag. Their path became known as the “road of bones,” a track of gravel, mud and, for much of the year, ice that stretches 1,260 miles west from the Russian port city of Magadan on the Pacific Ocean inland to Yakutsk, the capital of the Yakutia region in eastern Siberia. Snaking across the wilderness of the Russian Far East, it slithers through vistas of harsh, breathtaking beauty dotted with frozen, unmarked graves and the rapidly vanishing traces of labor camps. There was little traffic when a photographer, Emile Ducke, and I ... More

Merlin James, The Window, 2020 (detail). Acrylic and mixed materials, 59.5 x 82.25 inches, 151.1 x 208.9 cm © Merlin James, courtesy of Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York.

NEW YORK, NY.- Sikkema Jenkins & Co. is presenting River, a solo exhibition of new paintings by Merlin James, on view November 21, 2020 through January 23, 2021. Central to James’ recent work is the artist’s daily, nuanced awareness of the view from his home in Glasgow, looking out to the River Clyde and surrounding environments. These paintings constitute a “familiar remembered image, a cumulative memory,” incorporating all the “inaccuracies or approximations” of his own recollection. Works like Dredge or The Window present very much a specific location, yet a sense of the artificial and the universal is carried through the imaginative scale and coloration. Painting neither directly from life nor from photographs, James draws on impressions and recollections over time to bring to life familiar spaces and the presences that populate them. The physicality of painting remains a central focus. The ... More

albertz benda opens an exhibition of works by Wassef Boutros-Ghali   New exhibition brings together quilts to tell important American stories   Frederick Weston, outsider artist who was finally let in, dies at 73

Wassef Boutros-Ghali, Untitled, 2009. Acrylic on canvas, 59 x 51.5 inches, 150 x 131 cm.

NEW YORK, NY.- albertz benda is presenting Wassef Boutros-Ghali: A Retrospective, the artist’s debut gallery exhibition, on view from November 12 to December 19, 2020. An accomplished painter and architect, Boutros-Ghali presents paintings and drawings from the 1960’s through the present day with an emphasis on work of the past twenty years. Drawn from the artist’s personal collection, Retrospective marks the first time these pieces have been shown publicly. In his paintings, Boutros-Ghali’s primary goal is to elicit a “shock” using “as little explanation on the canvas as possible.” In earlier works, such as The Night Raiders (1977), groupings of asymmetrical geometric shapes allude to recognizable figures - angular limbs, distorted shadows - without becoming literal. Within the past twenty years, the artist has “transformed reality by simplifying it…abolishing a subject and having ... More

Gen Guracar, Vietnam Era Signature Quilt, c. 1965-1973. Made in Mountain View, California, 80 x 63.5 inches. International Quilt Museum, Gift of Needle and Thread Arts Society, 2007.008.0001. Image: International Quilt Museum, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2007.008.0001.

TOLEDO, OH.- American quilts have long been connected with notions of tradition, with patterns and techniques passed down for generations in communities throughout the country. As nostalgic symbols of the American past, quilts have been viewed as antidotes to upheaval during times of change. Disrupting our expectations of quilts as objects that provide warmth and comfort, Radical Tradition: American Quilts and Social Change explores the complicated and often overlooked stories quilts tell about the American experience, offering new perspectives on themes including wartime support and protest, civil rights, gender equality, queer aesthetics, and relationships with land and the environment. Radical Tradition is open at the ... More

Frederick Weston in May 2019 in his apartment in Manhattan’s Chelsea section. Clifford Prince King/Gordon Robichaux, NY via The New York Times.

by Alex Vadukul

NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- Frederick Weston, a belatedly recognized New York artist who inhabited the cramped apartments of the city’s single-room occupancy hotels for decades, hermetically creating meticulous collages exploring the male body and Black queerness, died on Oct. 21 at his apartment in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. He was 73. His cousin Denise Weston said the cause was complications of bladder cancer. It was only in recent years that Weston’s art finally received critical attention. Before then he’d long existed on the margins of New York. He arrived from Detroit in 1973, aspiring to enter the fashion world, but he retired his dream after encountering, as a Black man, stifling racism in the industry. In the 1980s, in a harsher Times Square ... More

Exhibition at Dickinson London considers the theme of courage   A Holocaust survivor lifts neighbors in dark times   New from Kehrer Verlag: Anton Roland Laub's Last Christmas (of Ceaușescu)

Tom Schnieder, Pondering Delacroix.

LONDON.- Courage Exists In Us brings together works in a range of media by Contemporary artists, with pieces from Dickinson's inventory to consider the theme of courage. Conceived and curated by Daniel Malarkey, the exhibition – originally scheduled to take place in Dickinson's Mayfair Gallery and now presented exclusively online – includes examples by Jean-Marie Appriou, Pablo Bronstein and Purdey Fitzherbert, among others, in an imagined dialogue with paintings by Matisse, Gérôme and Renoir. Approaching the theme from various directions, Malarkey brings together works that depict courageous acts; works whose creation required the bravery of the artist; and other pieces calling for a more personal or imaginative interpretation. As Malarkey explains his motivation: ‘This exhibition takes place in a Britain reeling with the struggles of Covid-19, a Brexit deadline without a deal, and a true questioning of a national ident ... More

Simon Gronowski, a Holocaust survivor, at the electric piano he moved beneath a window of his apartment at the height of the first wave of the coronavirus in Europe, in Brussels, Oct. 22, 2020. Ksenia Kuleshova/The New York Times.

by Matina Stevis-Gridneff

BRUSSELS (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- Simon Gronowski had committed many acts of bravery and generosity in his 89 years of life, and opening a window in April wouldn’t ordinarily have counted among them, but this was no ordinary April. It was the height of the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, which hit Belgium as hard as anyplace in the world. But as a Holocaust survivor, Gronowski had faced death more intimately before. The diminutive lawyer summoned his courage, moved his electric piano to beneath a windowsill and flung the window open, letting in spring sunshine along with the thick, wary quiet of a city terrified of the virus. And he began to tap out a jazz tune. “I was afraid,” ... More

Anton Roland Laub, Last Christmas (of Ceaușescu). Edited by Frizzi Krella. Texts by Frizzi Krella, Lotte Laub. Designed by Kehrer Design (July Mollik). Hardcover with synthetic leather, 16,5 x 22,5 cm. 144 pages 60 color and 3 b/w illustrations. English, German. ISBN 978-3-96900-013-7. Euro 29,00 / GBP 25.00.

NEW YORK, NY.- At the end of 2019, 30 years after the system change, an EU resolution was passed calling on the Romanian state to officially process the past events. While the overthrow of other communist dictatorships in 1989 was mostly peaceful, Romania’s revolution ended in a bloodbath. To this day the dead have not been atoned for. Perpetrators who have not been called to account remain a threat, like the undead, sucking the blood and thus the life-force of the living, as the vampire myth puts it. Through a rapid visual choreography, artist and photographer Anton Roland Laub recounts the fall of Romanian dictator Ceaușescu. On their escape on December 22, 1989, Nicolae and Elena Ceaușescu are arrested at Târgoviște, ... More

More News
Presenza showcases its first virtual exhibition titled natura-lism. The Age of Digital Nature
LONDON.- In an age where technology is taking over even our perception of nature and nature itself is succumbing to humanity’s devastating consumerism, there is an inevitable detachment from nature that humans are experiencing. The origins of it date back to the beginning of industrialisation. Many artists since, have conveyed this subject in their various artistic expressions. Today the digitalisation of nature and environmental degradation go hand in hand. On the one hand the actual contact with nature is fading away and on the other, there is a desire to archive it. This year however has brought the entire world to its knees and has served for many as an enlightening moment to reconnect, being part of our natural environment, recognising its fragility. The exhibition brings together the work of 12 emerging artists that advocate a reconciliation with nature, ... More

Ottocento Art Gallery opens "Paths in the Italian Art Across the Modern Age Centuries"
ROME.- Ottocento Art Gallery is offering important masterpieces coming from several private collections gathered in the usual monthly exhibition aimed to the sale. The selection starts from an oil on canvas, made by Giovanni Paolo Castelli known as Lo Spadino, Still Life in a landscape. Castelli is considered one of the most important artists of the last part of the seventeenth century in the genre of still life, a genre of artistic representation that consists of portraying inanimate objects; he worked on the example of the Flemish painter Abraham Brueghel, however paying particular attention to the "volumetric thickness" of the objects represented and using bright and shiny chromatic effects in his paintings contrasted by the dark background. The selection of the proposal displayed by Ottocento Art Gallery continues with a wonderful still life by Carlo ... More

A bright spot in the pandemic gloom: Jazz is everywhere in New York
NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- Every night after her shift this spring, Bridget Queral would leave the hospital where she worked as a nurse to find her husband, Luis, waiting to walk her home. As they ambled through an eerily silent Central Park, Queral would shed the baggage from treating patients during the pandemic’s intense peak. The stroll became a highlight of the couple’s coronavirus routine, even with the lawns devoid of their usual crowds. When the weather warmed and the virus, for the moment, waned, the sounds of instruments once again rippled through the heavy Manhattan air. “It was really emotional,” Queral said. “Luis describes it as a black-and-white movie turning to color.” For many New Yorkers in late spring, hearing musicians performing outside again was a welcome sign of hope and resilience. Throughout the summer and into ... More

Branch Arts opens an exhibition of works by Alex Merritt
LONDON.- Following the successful launch of their new online initiative featuring British artist Jelly Green, Branch Arts are Introducing… American artist, Alex Merritt, in advance of his inaugural London exhibition in 2021. Merritt brings an element of urgency and vigor to his painting that culminates in large-scale oils often depicting isolated figures within wide, seemingly everyday landscapes. Alongside a selection of new paintings, Branch Arts is presenting a number of Merritt’s hypnotic drawing. From 19 November Merritt features on Branch Arts’ new online platform as their second Featured Artist, with works for sale, insights into his studio practice and more. This online exhibition follows a month-long Dialogue between Merritt and the previous featured artist, Jelly Green. Alex Merritt was born in 1981 in Washington DC, and began painting in ... More

On Sunday, December 6, The Glenn and Taaffe Estates, Part II, go up for bid at Turner Auctions + Appraisals
SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- Turner Auctions + Appraisals will present Part II of the Glenn and Taaffe Estates on Sunday, December 6, 2020, at 10:30 am PST. The sale features a wide selection of fine art, jewelry, and Asian and decorative arts. Nancy Glenn was founder and owner of the well-known, high-end interior design firm, Glenn Design Company, in Sausalito, California, for over 35 years. A social worker, teacher and active community member, Violet Taaffe was a long-time San Francisco resident who presided over a stately turn-of-the-century home. The sale is augmented by selected lots from other collectors. Among the many artworks are paintings, etchings and lithographs by noted artists from the 16th century to the present, such as Jules Chéret, Ira Yeager, David Gilhooly, Joan Miró, Marc Chagall, Georges Braque, Luigi Kasimir, Alexander Dzigurski, Thomas Alexander ... More

World record reached for single work by living ceramic artist, Madgalene Odundo
LONDON.- On 19 November, Maak announce a world record for a single work by a living ceramic artist, Madgalene Odundo whose Angled Mixed Coloured vessel fetched a price £240,000 (inclusive of Buyers Premium). The star lot in the Autumn Sale, Lot 239, was in immaculate condition and exceeded the previous record for her work, €195,000 (Sotheby’s Paris, 2015). The bouyant market for ceramics continues with auction results from the 276 lots seeing a 80% sale rate and a 153% value result against the mid-estimate. Madgalene Odundo lives and works in Surrey and is a Kenyan born potter renown the world over for her hand built, highly burnished works. Many of the vessels Odundo creates are reminiscent of the female form. Her work has come into particular prominence following the success of her seminal exhibition, The Journey of Things ... More

New media series features video by Bani Abidi
ST. LOUIS, MO.- The Saint Louis Art Museum is presenting “The Lost Procession,” a 2018 video work by Pakistan-born artist Bani Abidi as the latest installment of the New Media Series. The free exhibition is on view in Gallery 301 from Nov. 20 through Feb. 21, 2021. “The Lost Procession” is based on the experiences of the persecuted Hazara community, an ethnic minority of Shia Muslims living in predominantly Sunni Pakistan. In recent decades, Hazara people living in Quetta, the capital of the Pakistani province of Balochistan, have sought refuge in Germany. Abidi draws connections between two environments: Berlin, with its immigrant Hazara community, and Quetta, home to the largest Hazara population in Pakistan. A quasi-diaristic voiced narrative accompanies “The Lost Procession,” which juxtaposes documentary footage ... More

Andrew White, virtuoso saxophonist and Coltrane scholar, dies at 78
NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- Andrew White, a profusely talented and proudly eccentric musician and scholar best known in jazz circles for transcribing more than 800 of John Coltrane’s saxophone solos, died Nov. 11 at an assisted-living facility in Silver Spring, Maryland. He was 78. The cause was complications of two strokes he had recently suffered, said Nasar Abadey, White’s longtime drummer. White rightly described himself as a man of “various artistic gifts of excess.” To even gesture at the breadth of his career would require a half-dozen labels: saxophonist, multi-instrumentalist, composer, author, business owner, teacher. He leaves behind one of the largest troves of self-released recordings, books and musical transcriptions by a single musician in jazz history. In the 1960s and ’70s, White played electric bass for Stevie ... More

Fred Hills, editor of Nabokov and many others, dies at 85
NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- It was 1958, and Fred Hills, a graduate student trying to earn some extra cash, was selling books at the Emporium department store in San Francisco. He picked up a copy of Vladimir Nabokov’s “Lolita,” which had just been published in the United States, and read the opening: “Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul.” Hills was so electrified that he paid the full retail price of $5 for the hardback, the first he had ever bought, apart from textbooks. He always remembered that first encounter with Nabokov with great fondness — and with astonishment that in time, he would become his editor. He worked with the author on half a dozen books and on the screenplay for “Lolita,” cutting Nabokov’s script, with its running time of nine hours, down to two. In the twilight of Nabokov’s career, Hills traveled ... More

In the wake of Ferguson, a style-blurring album
NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- On his last album, “Changing Same,” composer and bandleader Joseph C. Phillips Jr. took up a challenge that had once been extended by writer Amiri Baraka. Combining elements of Arnold Schoenberg’s atonality with aspects of funk frisson, indebted to Curtis Mayfield, Phillips embraced what Baraka called “the digging of everything.” That meant doing away with hard distinctions between the experimental and the popular, as artists like Sun Ra and Albert Ayler had done. While Phillips was finalizing plans for “Changing Same,” in 2014, Michael Brown, an 18-year-old Black man, was shot in Ferguson, Missouri, by a white police officer. As a Black man, Phillips was unsurprised. But as a soon-to-be father, he was newly disturbed. “There’s this beautiful thing, waiting for this change to happen,” he recalled ... More

Charles Schulz's original art for 1953 'Peanuts' giveaway heads to auction for the first time
DALLAS, TX.- At this late date one would think there's little left to surprise about the work of Charles Schulz. His illustrated offspring have been ubiquitous in our hearts and minds almost since the first Peanuts strip appeared in newspapers in October 1950 and spready quickly from a handful of papers to 350 million readers worldwide. Thanks to museums and merchandizing, animation specials and auction events, hardback celebrations and paperback collections, one just assumes we've seen all that The Man Called Sparky created 70 years after A Boy Named Charlie Brown weathered his first indignity. But in the Dec. 11-13 Animation Art event, Dallas-based Heritage has one of the earliest-known Peanuts pieces drawn by Schulz: the artwork made in 1953 for a promotional giveaway almost entirely lost to history. These gorgeous ... More

The Sun and Richard Lippold, 1966 | From the Vaults

On a day like today, Cuban American painter Rafael Soriano was born
November 23, 1920. Rafael Soriano (November 23, 1920 - April 9, 2015) belonged to the third generation of avant-guarde painters in Cuba. In the late 1950s, he became one of the Diez Pintores Concretos, known for bringing the geometric abstraction movement from Europe and the Americas to Cuba. In 1962, Soriano exiled to the United States. His paintings began to transform as he created a new visual vocabulary. Art historian, Alejandro Anreus speaks of his paintings as meditative moments where allusive, biomorphic forms move within fantastic spaces filled with diaphanous color, always shifting and fluid. Today, the Rafael Soriano Foundation, LNS Gallery, collectors, friends and family celebrate his centennial.

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