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Francis Bacon triptych sells for $84.6 million at Sotheby's digitally streamed live auction

An online bidder participating from Asia competes with a determined client bidding by phone with Grégoire Billault of Sotheby's New York Contemporary Art Department in a dramatic 10-minute battle for Bacon’s large-format masterpiece: Triptych Inspired by the Oresteia of Aeschylus. Courtesy Sotheby's.

LONDON (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- A Francis Bacon triptych sold Monday night for $84.6 million with fees at Sotheby’s inaugural digitally streamed “live” auction of contemporary and impressionist art that replaced its postponed May evening sales in New York. A global online audience watched the company’s star auctioneer, Oliver Barker, take bids from international colleagues on screens in an empty salesroom in London specially adapted for the coronavirus pandemic. After a 10-minute duel, the Bacon was finally bought by a telephone bidder in New York against determined competition from an online opponent in China. The price is the third-highest ever achieved for the artist at auction. The celebrated British artist’s “Triptych Inspired by the Oresteia of Aeschylus” (1981), was being sold by the Astrup Fearnley Museet, a private museum in Oslo founded by the Norwegian collector Hans Rasmus Astrup. Entered for the auction before the coronavirus lockdown, the Bacon had been guaranteed by ... More

The Best Photos of the Day

As museums get on TikTok, the Uffizi is an unlikely class clown   Iconic '2001: A Space Odyssey' suit to hit auction block   Nigeria fails to halt Paris sale of 'stolen' treasures

The irreverent clip is one of several on the Uffizi’s TikTok account poking fun at its collection of masterpieces, as the museum tries to transform its image from a dusty home of Renaissance art to a place Italy’s teenagers want to explore.

by Alex Marshall

NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- Last month, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence — long a bastion of tradition — posted a video to its TikTok account featuring Botticelli’s “Spring.” The painting depicts Venus and other mythological figures, and has been gawked at by tourists and studied by academics for centuries. On TikTok, users were treated to a new perspective on this masterpiece of the Italian Renaissance: Set to Todrick Hall’s expletive-filled club track “Nails, Hair, Hips, Heels,” each time a body part is mentioned — “thin waist, thick thighs” — the video jumps to a corresponding part of the painting. “Purse full, big bills,” Hall sings, and the TikTok zooms in on the flowers held by Flora, the goddess of spring. As the song ramps ... More

The spacesuit is conservatively estimated to fetch between $200,000 and 300,000.

by Maggy Donaldson

NEW YORK (AFP).- The elusive "2001: A Space Odyssey" spacesuit believed to have been worn by Dr. David Bowman when he "killed" HAL in the groundbreaking 1968 film goes on the auction block next month. The highlight of a Hollywood and space exploration memorabilia show that's set for July 17-18 in Beverly Hills, the spacesuit is conservatively estimated to fetch between $200,000 and 300,000. It's a rare artifact from the classic by filmmaker Stanley Kubrick, who is thought to have destroyed most of the props and wardrobe from "2001" -- widely regarded as one of most influential films of all time -- to prevent their use in other productions without his authorization. According to Jason DeBord -- chief operating officer of Julien's Auctions, which is hosting the event -- the only other significant piece from the film to go up at auction was the Aries 1B Trans- ... More

A pair of "museum quality" Igbo statues went under the hammer for 212,500 euros. © Christie's Images Ltd 2020.

PARIS (AFP).- Nigeria failed to halt a Paris sale of sacred statues Monday which museum officials said were stolen during the country's bloody civil war. Nigeria's National Commission for Museums and Monuments demanded that auction house Christie's stop the sale of the artefacts, which were collected by a former art advisor of the late French president Jacques Chirac. While a pair of "museum quality" Igbo statues went under the hammer for 212,500 euros, a "major Urhobo statue" estimated at 900,000 euros ($1 million) failed to sell. The three pieces from southern Nigeria were among a number of "African masterpieces" that Christie's said came from an "important European private collection" they declined to name. But the head of the National Museum in Nigeria's Benin City said that objects were stolen and appealed to Christie's "and other auction houses to halt the process immediately. "They have to repatriate such ... More

Defenders of Roosevelt statue converge on Natural History Museum   Cirque du Soleil files for bankruptcy protection   Christie's to offer Pablo Picasso's 'Baigneuses, Sirènes, Femme Nue et Minotaure'

Protesters gather to protest the removal of the Theodore Roosevelt statue outside of the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Demetrius Freeman/The New York Times.

by Zachary Small

NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- For more than a dozen years, Marion Reid, 77, had walked past the statue of Theodore Roosevelt on his way to work in information technology at the American Museum of Natural History, an employer that he said often failed to treat African Americans with dignity. He drove into Manhattan around noon on Sunday to photograph the statue before officials carried out plans to remove it from its place of pride at the museum’s Central Park West entrance, only to find himself engulfed by about 150 protesters clamoring to preserve it. Among them were men in seersucker suits and women draped with pearls, people wearing MAGA hats and others waving Blue Lives Matter flags while chanting, “Save Teddy. Save our police. Save law and order.” About a dozen police were in the vicinity. The protesters Sunday ... More

In this file photo taken on August 29, 2018 artists of the Canadian entertainment company "Cirque du Soleil" perform as part of the "LUZIA" show during the premier in Guadalajara City, Mexico. Ulises Ruiz / AFP.

MONTREAL (AFP).- Cirque du Soleil announced on Monday it is filing for bankruptcy protection and cutting thousands of jobs as the world's most famous circus troupe seeks to survive the coronavirus pandemic. Struggling with a debt of more than US$1billion, the Canadian group said its application would be heard by the Superior Court of Quebec on Tuesday. If granted, the Canadian company will then seek bankruptcy protection in the United States. In a statement, Cirque du Soleil said it has entered into a purchase agreement with its current shareholders, including a mix of investors from the United States, Canada and China. It will immediately lay off 3,480 workers who had previously been furloughed. "For the past 36 years, Cirque du Soleil has been a highly successful and profitable organization. However, with zero revenues since the forced closure of all of our shows due to COVID-19, management had to act decisively ... More

Pablo Picasso, Baigneuses, sirènes, femme nue et minotaure, 1937 (detail). Estimate: $6,000,000-9,000,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2020.

NEW YORK, NY.- As part of ONE: A Global Sale of the 20th Century, Pablo Picasso’s Baigneuses, sirènes, femme nue et minotaure (1937, estimate: $6,000,000-9,000,000) will be offered in the New York session. Here, Picasso depicts the projection of an inner self, in the form of the Minotaur, a character lifted directly from ancient mythology. In the late 1920s, Picasso’s interest in Surrealism, especially through his close friendships with Paul Éluard and other poets in the vanguard of the movement, inspired him to take broad license with classical fables, to practice his own method of creative reconfiguration. The artist, moreover, had been writing poetry since April 1935, and, indeed, was at work during 6-19 March 1937 producing a stream of verbal imagery, on 17 March, he wrote “desire so cramped in its prison explodes the eggshell of the sea and lights up the bars that confine it”. Baigneuses, sirènes, femme nue et minotaure represents an inventive pictorial ... More

Bonhams Australia offers exceptional Aboriginal works consigned from Spain   Hindman's Fine Books and Manuscripts auction achieves strong sell through rates   Munson-Williams Museum of Art receives important bequest from Estate of James H. Duffy

Lipundja, Mokuy (Wild Honey Figure), 1964. Photo: Bonhams.

SYDNEY.- Bonhams Australia announced its Aboriginal art auction comprising works from the collection of the Spanish surrealist sculptor, Eudald Serra (1911-2002). Once held and exhibited in Barcelona, the collection has arrived in Australia to be offered for the first time at auction. The highlight is undoubtedly Long Jack Phillipus Tjakamarra’s monumental Untitled (Kalipinya), 1972 (lot 16, estimate: $70,000-100,000), the largest Papunya board ever to come to market (119 x 122cm). The Serra Collection came about due to the passion and spirit of adventure of three individuals whose paths serendipitously crossed in the late 1940s. Eudald Serra, Augusto Panyella (1921-1999), director of the Ethnology Museum of Barcelona and chemist/businessman Alberto Folch (1892-1984). Throughout the 1960s and 70s, Serra, Folch and Panyella undertook expeditions to some of the most remote parts of the globe selecting and purchasing for the Ethnology Museu ... More

[KELMSCOTT PRESS]. When Adam Delved and Eve Span.... [Ancoats Brotherhood, 1894-5]. Estimate: $500 - $700. Price Realized: $6,000.

CHICAGO, IL.- Hindman’s auction of Fine Printed Books and Manuscripts including Americana realized $461,725, achieving strong sell-through rates of 94% by lot and 113% by value. Following the success of a record-setting 2019 for the Books and Manuscripts department, Hindman’s first Fine Books and Manuscripts including Americana auction of the year once again exceeded expectations. Strong presale interest and competitive bidding across multiple telephones and four online auction platforms drove the result past the presale estimate of $327,600 to a total $461,725 and sold a remarkable 94% of lots. The outstanding results of this week’s sale confirms that our strategy of offering works of the highest quality and rarity continues to resonate with the market. We were particularly honored to hold the sale of books from the collection of Rhoda H. Clark and the Monastery Hill Bindery, and were pleased with ... More

Jean-Michel Basquiat, American (1960-88), Untitled, 1982. Crayon on paper, 29 7/8 x 22 in. Bequest of James H. Duffy, 2019.11.2.

UTICA, NY.- Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute Museum of Art has received one of the largest bequests in its 101-year history, 72 paintings, works on paper, and sculptures from the estate of James H. Duffy (1934-2019). Duffy was a resident of New York City from the late 1950s, but he was originally from Lowville, NY, 55 miles north of Utica. In July 2000, he sent a letter to (then) Munson-Williams Museum of Art Director Dr. Paul D. Schweizer stating, “One consideration I have had in mind is doing something for the area where I grew up. One thought was to donate my art collection to a regional institution.” Munson-Williams President and CEO Anna D’Ambrosio commented, “Mr. Duffy's gift to the Museum of Art is transformational. He is an example of a selfless collector who saw the importance of giving back to his region. He valued the work of Munson-Williams and his generosity will benefit our community for generations. ... More

IMMA reopens today with The People's Pavilion, Social Distancing Circles, outdoor activities and a pop-up café   Gray appoints Laura Lester as Director in New York   New York's Broadway closed until at least January

The outdoor programme focuses on art trails, the gardens and an activated programme of pop-up events.

DUBLIN.- IMMA reopened the campus from today, Monday 29 June. The grounds of IMMA reopen with a new outdoor tented area called The People’s Pavilion located on the front lawn and Social Distancing Circles placed across the site where friends and families can meet safely and enjoy IMMA. The outdoor programme focuses on art trails, the gardens and an activated programme of pop-up events in The People’s Pavilion which will include collaborations with local community groups and artist collectives from mid-July. All this has been complemented by a new outdoor pop-up café The Flying Dog. Annie Fletcher, Director, IMMA, said “The roadmap to recovery has placed a new focus on the importance of outdoor convivial spaces where we can gather safely and I am pleased that we can celebrate this at IMMA. The grounds are going to be of central importance to IMMA’s programming going forward. This summer we encourage you to use IMMA as a place to meet with friends and family in our Social Dist ... More

Lester most recently served as a Director of Kasmin Gallery, where she co-headed the estates program and organized monographic exhibitions of Modern and postwar artists including Lee Krasner, Stuart Davis and Elie Nadelman. Photo: Frank Ishman.

NEW YORK, NY.- Gray welcomed Laura Lester as Director. Lester joins Gray under the leadership of recently appointed Partner Sharon Kim, and gallery Principals Valerie Carberry and Paul Gray. “One of the goals we set early in this unprecedented and challenging time for business was to remain focused on long-term and measured growth,” stated Carberry. “The hire of Laura Lester is a key component of that plan. Her deep experience in American Modern and postwar art is a strong addition to the high quality of service and expertise that identifies the gallery.” Lester will be based out of Gray’s Upper East Side outpost alongside Sharon Kim, who, prior to her position at Gray, served as International Director of Impressionist & Modern Art at Christie’s. “I am delighted Laura has joined Gray,” Kim says. “Her passion, knowledge and expertise are highly regarded by all who have worked with her and I loo ... More

An exterior view of Mrs. Doubtfire at Stephen Sondheim Theatre on June 29, 2020 in New York City. Broadway will remain closed until 2021 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Cindy Ord/Getty Images/AFP.

NEW YORK (AFP).- New York's iconic Broadway theater district will stay closed through the end of the year, its trade association said Monday, due to the unpredictability of the coronavirus pandemic. The Broadway League did not set a date for performances to resume, but is offering refunds and exchanges for tickets purchased for all shows through January 3, 2021. The association said plans to safely re-open New York's most bankable tourist attraction were being developed, including on screening and testing showgoers, along with cleaning and sanitizing protocols. Reopening the arts and entertainment sectors, a major feature of life in New York, technically is in the final phase of Governor Andrew Cuomo's four-part plan to return economic and cultural activity to the state. Plays and musicals are considered mass gatherings, likely the last facet of pre-coronavirus life to reopen. The Broadway League projected that performances ... More

More News
Winnipeg Art Gallery Inuit Art Centre Visible Vault goes digital thanks to Canada Council
WINNIPEG.- The Winnipeg Art Gallery announced that the highly-anticipated Inuit Art Centre will feature an innovative, interactive digital platform connected to its Visible Vault, made possible with support from the Canada Council for the Arts. The new digital platform will enable people from around the globe to access thousands of carvings from the world’s largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art, and the stories behind these works. As part of the project, the WAG invites all aspiring Inuit videographers to apply by July 17, 2020 to create short videos amplifying the voices of Inuit. About the Visible Vault Digital Platform: • A major attraction of the Inuit Art Centre, opening near the end of this year, the three-storey glass vault will showcase more than 7,500 stone carvings from the WAG collection and the ... More

Sir Michael Craig-Martin creates new work for Oxford Street
LONDON.- One of Britain’s leading artists, Sir Michael Craig-Martin has created a new work for an iconic site in London’s Oxford Street, which will be launched on Monday 29 June, presented by W1 Curates. The installation, Cornucopia Galactica, will run 24hrs a day until 12 July 2020. For many years the artist has had an interest in creating public artworks for digital screens on the architectural scale now familiar in advertising, but the opportunities for artists to do so are rare. W1 Curates, a permanent digital art platform that launched in September 2019, seeks to address this situation by offering artists the creative use of their extraordinary 3 storey digital facility on the Flannels Flagship building on Oxford Street. Describing his new work, Cornucopia Galactica, the artist said: “Normally I only draw images of ordinary mass-produced objects, everything ... More

Rare Posters Auction #81 features 500 rare and iconic works
NEW YORK, NY.- The 81st auction from Poster Auctions International on Tuesday, July 21st presents numerous never-before-seen designs, including 43 Spanish Art Nouveau posters, 16 hand-painted posters from North Vietnam and important works from Cappiello, Chéret, Loupot, Mucha, Toulouse-Lautrec and other renowned artists. The Rare Posters Auction will be on view to the public from July 6th thru the 20th. The auction will be held live in PAI’s gallery at 26 West 17th Street in New York City and online at The auction will begin promptly at 11 am Eastern time. Jack Rennert, president of Poster Auctions International, Inc., said, “Despite the setbacks of a global pandemic, we are eager to continue our dedicated work with posters. Our 81st Rare Posters Auction will include not only the high-quality works that our collectors expect, ... More

Tree of Life: Nailya Alexander Gallery opens a group exhibition
NEW YORK, NY.- Nailya Alexander Gallery is presenting Tree of Life, on view online Monday 29 June — Friday 31 July 2020. This group exhibition includes work by Denis Brihat (b. 1928, Paris), Albarrán Cabrera (b. 1969, Spain), Ingar Krauss (b. 1965, East Berlin), Sumner Wells Hatch (b. 1984, New Hampshire), Nicholas Hughes (b. 1963, Liverpool), Ann Rhoney (b. 1953, Niagara Falls), Pentti Sammallahti (b. 1950, Helsinki), George Tice (b. 1938, Newark), and Alexey Titarenko (b. 1962, St. Petersburg). The exhibition also includes a new artist that Nailya Alexander is excited to welcome to the gallery, Lucretia Moroni (b. 1960, Milan). There are few symbols as pervasive across different religions, philosophies, and mythologies as the tree. For thousands of years, all around the world, trees have been seen as the embodiment of holiness, knowledge, ... More

Excellent results for the first live auctions at Koller since the lockdown
ZURICH.- With the saleroom often filled to post-covid capacity, and extremely active telephone and Internet bidding, Koller's Old Masters & Antiques auction week was a resounding success. The auctions, initially scheduled for late March, realised overall more than 110% of the pre-sale estimates, not including buyer's premium. Bidders were enthusiastic and determined, driving hammer prices of many lots up to ten times their estimates, and this across all fields - fine arts, furniture & decorative arts, and jewellery. The auction "From Corot to Purrmann", presenting a private Swiss collection of modern paintings, far exceeded expectations. The top lot was a view by Max Liebermann of his garden at Wannsee (lot 3115), which nearly doubled its pre-sale estimate to sell for CHF 488 000. Another work by Liebermann, a spontaneous depiction of ice skaters (lot 3122), sold ... More

Linda Cristal, who starred in 'High Chaparral,' dies at 89
NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- Linda Cristal, an Argentine-born actress who played Victoria, the regal, fiery wife of the rancher Big John Cannon on the 1960s television series “The High Chaparral,” died on Saturday at her home in Beverly Hills, California. She was 89. Her death was confirmed by her son, Jordan Wexler, who said she died in her sleep. Cristal had made nearly a dozen films in Mexico before arriving in Hollywood to take her first English-speaking role, in the Dana Andrews film “Comanche” (1956), playing the kidnapped daughter of a Spanish aristocrat in Mexico. She went on to make several westerns before appearing in Blake Edwards’ knockabout comedy “The Perfect Furlough” (1958). For her performance in that movie as Sandra Roca, “the Argentine Bombshell ” — the dream date chosen by serviceman ... More

Charles Webb, elusive author of 'The Graduate,' dies at 81
NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- Charles Webb, who wrote the 1963 novel “The Graduate,” the basis for the hit 1967 film, and then spent decades running from its success, died June 16 in East Sussex, England. He was 81. A spokesperson for his son John confirmed the death in a hospital but did not specify the cause. Webb’s novel, written shortly after college and based largely on his relationship with his wife, Eve Rudd, was made into an era-defining film, directed by Mike Nichols and starring Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft, that gave voice to a generation’s youthful rejection of materialism. Webb and his wife, both born into privilege, carried that rejection well beyond youth, choosing to live in poverty and giving away whatever money came their way, even as the movie’s acclaim continued to follow them. “My whole life has been measured by it,” he told ... More

Norman Whiteside to sell FA Cup winner's medals and huge collection of memorabilia at auction
LONDON.- He was the youngest player ever to play in a World Cup, the youngest player to score in a League Cup Final and FA Cup Final, he made his debut for Manchester United at 16 (having signed at 13) and was in the FA Cup winning side twice – oh, and he was also Manchester United’s youngest captain at the age of 20. Now former midfielder and Northern Ireland international Norman Whiteside is set to sell his collection of football memorabilia – including his FA Cup winner’s medals from 1983 and 1985 – at Ewbank’s Auctions in Surrey on July 29. The exclusive auction will feature medals, United shirts from both the 1983 League Cup Final and 1985 FA Cup Final, World Cup shirts, international caps and a multitude of awards, among many other pieces of memorabilia directly linked to Whiteside, who won 38 caps for Northern Ireland and ... More

Christie's announces online-only sale "Dialogues: Modern & Contemporary Art"
LONDON.- As part of the expanded online programme to accompany ONE: A Global Sale of the 20th Century, Christie’s presents Dialogues: Modern & Contemporary Art, an online auction running from 26 June to 14 July 2020, featuring painting, sculpture, works on paper and photography. Constructivism, Fauvism, Art Brut, Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, Pop: the past century of Western art has been a period of vast change. As artists responded to events happening around them and the evolution of artistic practice, they also engaged with the work of other artists past and present. Dialogues: Modern & Contemporary Art highlights a selection of these conversations. Some dialogues are formal, as in the sharp, flat hues of Walter Dexel’s Constructivism and Josef Albers’ post-Bauhaus Homage to the Square: Oracle (1961, estimate: £220,000- ... More

Special two-part online exhibition presents the paintings of Camille Henrot
NEW YORK, NY.- Metro Pictures and Kamel Mennour are presenting the paintings of Camille Henrot for the first time in this special two-part online exhibition. Henrot is an artist known for her diverse output. She was awarded the Silver Lion at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013 for her film Grosse Fatigue; her ongoing series of floral arrangements grounded in the Sogetsu school’s tradition of ikebana has been included in one-person shows from the New Museum in New York (2014) to the Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery (2019); and her interactive telephones, wall frescoes, bronze sculptures, and watercolor drawings were all featured in her sweeping carte blanche exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris in 2017. Henrot’s practice reflects the wide-ranging interests that inform her work. Fittingly, as Grosse Fatigue is a film about her impossible wish to know ... More

Conservator's Corner: Blair Bailey

On a day like today, English painter Stanley Spencer was born
July 30, 1891. Sir Stanley Spencer CBE RA (30 June 1891 - 14 December 1959) was an English painter. Shortly after leaving the Slade School of Art, Spencer became well known for his paintings depicting Biblical scenes occurring as if in Cookham, the small village beside the River Thames where he was born and spent much of his life. In this image: Sarah Tubb and the Heavenly Visitors, 1933 by Stanley Spencer © Estate of Stanley Spencer, Bridgeman Images, London.

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