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Charm and negligence behind network of master forgeries

Noce has spent five years investigating Ruffini's exploits and is careful to insist that he is innocent until proven guilty.

by Jean-Louis De La Vaissiere

PARIS (AFP).- A French journalist's investigation into the alleged forgery network around art collector Giuliano Ruffini has also criticised the "great negligence" of art world experts. The doubts first became public when French police seized a painting owned by the prince of Liechtenstein from an exhibition in Aix-en-Provence in 2016. The prince had paid seven million euros at auction for the portrait of the goddess Venus by 16th century Italian painter Lucas Cranach, yet tests would soon reveal that the pigments used in the painting dated from the 20th century. Ruffini was well-known in the art world. Since the 1990s, he had sold dozens -- even hundreds -- of paintings by such luminaries as Parmigianino and El Greco to some of the great museums of Europe, including the Louvre, often through intermediaries. Many, he said, had come from the collection of an ex-girlfriend's father, Andre Borie, a civil engineer who helped build the Mont Blanc tunnel. Vincent Noce, a journalist for The Art Newspape ... More

The Best Photos of the Day

Colonial Williamsburg, William & Mary identify structure of 18th-century school   Sotheby's to offer $150 million art collection of legendary Texan & visionary philanthropist Mrs. John L. Marion   Yale University Art Gallery receives major gift from Friday Foundation

Front elevation of the Dudley Digges House in its original location on Prince George Street, Williamsburg, Virginia. Photo by Earl Gregg Swem, 1921. Special Collections, John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

WILLIAMSBURG, VA.- A small, white building tucked away on the William & Mary campus once housed the Williamsburg Bray School, an 18th-century institution dedicated to the education of enslaved and free Black children, researchers have determined. Now, the university and Colonial Williamsburg are working together to ensure current and future generations learn about the complex history of what is likely the oldest extant building in the United States dedicated to the education of Black children – and the stories of those who were part of it. The new partnership calls for relocation of the Bray-Digges House to Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area, where it would become the 89th original structure restored by the foundation. It also establishes the Williamsburg Bray School Initiative, ... More

Clyfford Still, PH-125 (1948-No. 1), 1948 (detail), Oil on canvas. Estimate $25-35 million. Courtesy Sotheby's.

NEW YORK, NY.- The private collection of visionary philanthropist, renowned art collector, and legendary Texan Anne Marion (1938-2020) will be unveiled for the first time at Sotheby’s this spring. Widely celebrated throughout her lifetime, both for her generous support of cultural institutions, critical contributions to education and healthcare, and for her passion for the life and traditions of the American Southwest where her family had been rooted for generations, Anne Marion held a fabled status among art lovers and ranchers alike. And yet, despite the public-facing nature of her support for so many leading American museums, the treasures of Anne Marion’s own private collection have remained – until now – largely unknown. Sotheby’s forthcoming exhibition and sale of that collection will therefore represent, for many, the first opportunity to appreciate the exceptional caliber and scope of the collection ... More

Mark Rothko, No. 11 (Yellow, Green, and Black), 1950. Oil on canvas. Yale University Art Gallery, Gift of the Friday Foundation in honor of Richard E. Lang and Jane Lang Davis. © 2021 Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

NEW HAVEN, CONN.- The Yale University Art Gallery has received an extraordinary gift from the Friday Foundation honoring the legacy of late Seattle philanthropists Jane Lang Davis and Richard E. Lang. The Lang collection is one of the most important private collections of 20th-century art in the country, with masterworks by renowned postwar American and European artists and incredible examples of Abstract Expressionism. The gift from the Friday Foundation includes six artworks by Franz Kline (1910–1962) and Mark Rothko (1903–1970). It augments the Gallery’s collection of midcentury European and American art and brings increased attention to these two remarkable artists and their range of artistic output. With this gift, the ... More

Exhibition at Joan B Mirviss LTD places Kitaōji Rosanjin's oeuvre in dialogue with works by mid-century masters   New Orleans Museum of Art announces extraordinary gift of photographs from Cherye and James Pierce   Bonhams to offer major Picasso portrait at New York Impressionist & Modern Art sale

Kitaōji Rosanjin (1883-1959), Large Karatsu madara glazed vase. Glazed stoneware, ca. 1955. 17 1/4 x 15 5/8 in.

NEW YORK, NY.- Rosanjin has long been hailed as one of the greatest ceramists of the twentieth century. His bold, eclectic ceramics emerged from the highly creative atmosphere of postwar Japan. Rosanjin forged a remarkable career, but it was not without first crossing paths, and even colliding, with many of his contemporaries who were themselves renowned ceramic masters and connoisseurs: Arakawa Toyozō, Fujiwara Kei, Kaneshige Tōyō, Katō Tokurō, Kawakita Handeishi, and Koyama Fujio. For Asia Week New York 2021, Joan B Mirviss LTD re-examines the legend of Rosanjin and his place within this Japanese artistic milieu in Tradition Redefined: Rosanjin and His Rivals. In his own words, Kitaōji Rosanjin (1883-1959) came to ceramics as a gourmand; dissatisfied with the tableware options for presenting elegant cuisine, Rosanjin set ab ... More

Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Retrato de lo eterno (Portrait of the Eternal), 1935, printed later. Platinum print, image: 9 1/8 x 7 in. Gift of Cherye R. and James F. Pierce, 2020.57.7.

NEW ORLEANS, LA.- Distinguished collectors Cherye R. and James (Jim) F. Pierce have gifted more than 260 photographs by master art photographers, ranging from the nineteenth century to the present, to the New Orleans Museum of Art. The Pierces’ gift to NOMA is representative of their wide-ranging collecting interests. It includes vintage prints by Ansel Adams, Ilse Bing, Brassaï, and Heinrich Kühn, contemporary masterworks by Laila Essaydi, Deborah Luster, William Eggleston, and platinum prints by Frederick Evans, Manuel Alvarez-Bravo (commissioned directly from the artist), and Lois Conner. Their gift also includes several iconic images such as The Falling Soldier by Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson’s Behind the Gare St. Lazare, and a rare large-format photogravure of Alfred Stieglitz’s Flatiron Building ... More

Femme au Béret Mauve, 1937 by Pablo Picasso. Estimate: $10,000,000-15,000,000. © 2021 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

NEW YORK, NY.- Bonhams announces the sale in New York of a major Picasso portrait from 1937, one of the artist’s most fruitful years during which he also produced, Guernica and Weeping Woman. Painted in March 1937, Femme au Béret Mauve is a serene depiction of Picasso’s greatest muse Marie-Therese Walter. The work will be offered at Bonhams Impressionist and Modern Art sale in New York on Thursday 13 May. The painting has not been on public display since it was bought in 1984 from a New York gallery by the current owners. It has an estimate of $10,000,000-15,000,000. Bonhams Senior Vice-President and Head of Impressionist, Modern, European and American art in America, Molly Ott Ambler said: “This bright, joyous portrait of Marie-Thérèse Walter exudes stability and calm at a time when Picasso’s personal life was in turmoil and ... More

The Magnum Gallery exhibits photographs of Morocco taken by Harry Gruyaert   The outsized influence of teen T. Rex and other young dinosaurs   The Frick savors the opulence of emptiness

Harry Gruyaert © Taro Karibe.

LONDON.- The Magnum Gallery is presenting Morocco, an exhibition of works by Belgian photographer and filmmaker Harry Gruyaert focusing on his extensive travels to the North African country of Morocco. Gruyaert’s first trip to the country marked his colour photography ‘epiphany’. Gruyaert joined Magnum Photos in 1982. The exhibition is presented from 30 January to 2 April 2021 at the gallery and online. While Gruyaert became fascinated by the power of colour when he first moved to Paris in the 1960s, and subsequently on his first trip to New York in 1968 where he saw the works of Pop artists Roy Lichtenstein and Robert Rauschenberg, his revelation that colour photography was his preferred medium came from his very first trip to Morocco in 1969. Reminiscent of artists Eugène Delacroix and Henri Matisse, this revelation had a long-lasting impact on Gruyaert’s oeuvre which he decided to entirely dedicate to colour phot ... More

The dinosaur gap versus modern carnivorous mammals. Schroeder et al., Science (2021) via The New York Times.

by Cara Giaimo

NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- Adolescence is a time of great change for most of us. But it was particularly volatile for young T. rexes. Before they became fearsome, bone-crushing adults, they had to pass through a number of stages — 2-foot hatchling, gangly preteen, bulky young adult. At each phase, they hunted different prey and filled different niches. As a new study in Science reveals, juvenile T. rexes and the youth of other large carnivores called megatheropods transformed their communities as they fumbled through their own physical changes. Their rapid shifts in size and roles shaped their ecosystems, the study suggests, and could help to explain some of the perplexing mysteries of dinosaurdom, from the relative lack of species diversity ... More

In an image provided by the museum, curator Aimee Ng and chief curator Xavier Salomon at the Breuer building in Manhattan, soon to be operated by the Frick Collection as Frick Madison. Joe Coscia via The New York Times.

NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- Yesterday’s robber barons lived like princes; today, they’d rather be monks. When union-crushing coke and steel magnate Henry Clay Frick left Pittsburgh for New York in 1905, he built himself a beaux-arts town house the width of a city block, encased in marble and mahogany, trimmed with velvet and gold. The museum it now houses on Fifth Avenue is expanding: The house’s upstairs living quarters will open to the public, and there will be an addition designed by Annabelle Selldorf, the New York architect of understated rigor. But to prepare, the Frick Collection has to move out for two years — and in a sublet five blocks north, it’s discovering the more modern luxury of blank walls and empty rooms. ... More

Exceptional 20th century art collection donated to the Seattle Art Museum   Beeple brings crypto to Christie's   Christie's Post-War and Contemporary Art Online Sale series now open for bidding

Clyfford Still (1904-1980), PH-338 (1949-No. 2), 1949, Oil on canvas, 91 3/4 x 68 7/8 in.

SEATTLE, WA.- An exceptional collection of 20th century art assembled over a decade by late collectors Jane Lang Davis and Richard E. Lang will find permanent homes and be accessible to the public at the Seattle Art Museum and the Yale University Art Gallery. The Friday Foundation, established to realize the Langs’ passion and philanthropy, today announced gifts of 19 masterworks and $10.5 million in dedicated funds to the Seattle Art Museum. In addition, the Friday Foundation announced a gift of six specifically chosen artworks to the Yale University Art Gallery. Longtime philanthropists and arts supporters, the Langs wanted to ensure a strong, diverse, and vibrant arts community. To help achieve this, they imagined a gift that would first and foremost share with the public their own rich experience of engaging thoughtfully, deeply, and personally with compelling objects and, through them, their creators. They hoped to inspire othe ... More

Detail of Beeple, Everydays – The First 5000 Days, NFT, 21,069 pixels x 21,069 pixels (316,939,910 bytes). Estimate Unknown. Starting Bid: $100 | Open for bidding from February 25 - March 11. © Christie's Images Ltd 2021.

by Josie Thaddeus-Johns

NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- Mike Winkelmann never used to call himself an artist. But that was before he made $3.5 million in a single weekend from selling his artworks. In December, he auctioned off multiple editions of three digital artworks, each priced at $969, and 21 unique works, most of which sold for about $100,000 each. It was only the second time he had put his art on sale. The digital artist, who goes by Beeple, has created a drawing every single day for the last 13 years. He started with pen and paper but now mostly uses computer software such as the program Cinema 4D. On Thursday, a two-week-long online auction of a composite of the first 5,000 days of the project will begin at Christie’s, which says it’s the auction house’s first sale of a solely ... More

Janet Taylor Picket, The Messenger (detail). Acrylic and paper collage on canvas, 36 x 48 in. Estimate: $30,000-50,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2021.

NEW YORK, NY.- Christie’s New York is hosting a series of four online only sales dedicated to the artists defining contemporary art today. The sales include: First Open | Online, which encompasses jewelry by Alexander Calder alongside cutting-edge contemporary art from Tomoo Gokita and Nicole Eisenman; Beeple ǀ The First 5000 Days, a single lot sale that marks the first-ever purely digital artwork (NFT) to be sold by a major auction house; Contemporary Art Asia presents a prominent private American collection as well as works by Tsuyoshi Maekawa, Chiyu Uemae, Vu Cao Dam, Aya Takano, Hajime Sorayama, Javier Calleja, Josh Smith and more; and Aboudia | Noutchy in New York City, a sale dedicated to the Brooklyn-based artist whose large-scale, mixed-media paintings and drawings echo those of Jean-Michel Basquiat. This spring, Christie’s presents a special First Open ... More

More News
J. Garrett Auctioneers to offer the Loyd-Paxton Collection
DALLAS, TX.- Items from the collection of the internationally recognized interior design firm Loyd-Paxton, plus consignments from other estates including an incomparable collection of rare David Webb jewelry with other fine makers, will be sold the weekend of March 20th and 21st by J. Garrett Auctioneers, online and absentee only. Start times both days are 11 am Central time. “The Loyd-Paxton name is one that exudes glamour and mystique to anyone in the antiques and fine arts industries over the past five decades,” said Julie Garrett VanDolen, an officer with J. Garrett Auctioneers. “The two artists, Loyd Taylor and Paxton Gremillion, brought unparalleled design and extraordinary furnishings to the exploding design mecca of Dallas and beyond.” Loyd-Paxton created brilliantly imaginative environments of distinctive originality. Inspired by their ... More

Artist Tim Kent joins Hollis Taggart Gallery
NEW YORK, NY.- Hollis Taggart announced its representation of artist Tim Kent, who joins the gallery’s growing contemporary program. Kent’s work examines the dynamics of power as experienced through architecture and the formal vocabulary of art. His own paintings, which embrace both soft painterly gestures and crisp graphic lines, often depict architectural spaces and landscapes disrupted by the incorporation of grids or other geometries as well as figures in motion. Hollis Taggart previously included Kent’s work in its fall 2020 exhibition Figure as Form and in its recent online presentation for art miami. The artist will be featured in a group show at the gallery’s location in Southport, Connecticut later this year and will be the subject of a solo exhibition at Hollis Taggart’s Chelsea flagship in March 2022. Kent is a first-generation Canadian ... More

Florence Birdwell, singing teacher to Broadway stars, dies at 96
NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- Florence Birdwell, an inspiring voice teacher whose many students included the Tony Award-winning musical stars Kelli O’Hara and Kristin Chenoweth, died on Feb. 15 in Yukon, Oklahoma. She was 96. Her death, in an assisted-living facility, was confirmed by her son Brian. Birdwell taught voice from 1946 to 2013 at Oklahoma City University, establishing herself as a dramatic, no-nonsense mentor. She helped aspiring musical theater and opera singers unlock the mysteries of captivating an audience, but she could also make her students weep with her candid feedback on their progress. “That’s life,” she told The New York Times in 2015. “If they can’t take the criticism they’ve asked for — don’t come.” During a visit to Manhattan in 2015 to see the Tony-nominated performances of O’Hara in “The ... More

The birth of 'Rent,' its creator's death and the 25 years since
NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- What’s 525,600 times 25? It has been 25 years — or, to use a memorable “Seasons of Love” calculation, 13.14 million minutes — since “Rent” upended Broadway’s sense of what musical theater could be. Jonathan Larson’s rock-infused reboot of “La Bohème” had already generated positive chatter during its off-Broadway rehearsals at New York Theater Workshop. But then came full-throated shouts of disbelief and anguish on Jan. 25, 1996, when, hours after the final dress rehearsal, Larson was found dead in his apartment from an aortic aneurysm. He was 35 years old. His shocking death came right before the start of previews, when a creative team typically makes changes based on audience reactions. After briefly considering whether to bring in a script doctor, the team decided instead to streamline Larson’s ... More

50 years later, Gamble and Huff's Philly sound stirs the soul
NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- By the late 1970s, things had gotten so busy at Philadelphia International Records that the label’s co-founders, Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, had to leave town to write new songs. During one trip to Jamaica, they were settling in at the piano when a power outage hit the island. “It was scary for a second, but then we said, ‘Turn off the lights,’” Huff recalled in a recent interview. “Gamble got a candle so we could see, so that was the second line: ‘Light a candle.’” Sitting in the dark, they soon sketched out “Turn Off the Lights,” which became a No. 2 R&B hit for powerhouse sex symbol Teddy Pendergrass. “We were just in a creative zone,” Huff explained, still sounding both amused and a little bit awed. It was a zone they inhabited for a long time. During the ’70s, 40 songs written by Gamble and Huff reached the R&B ... More

Sotheby's to offer unique Cognac bottled in celebration of Shawn "JAY-Z" Carter's 50th birthday
NEW YORK, NY.- On 13 March, a one-of-a-kind bottle of D’USSÉ® Cognac will be presented for sale at Sotheby’s from the Shawn Carter Foundation, with proceeds to benefit the charity launched by the acclaimed artist, philanthropist and entrepreneur “JAY-Z” to help individuals facing socio-economic hardships further their education at institutions of higher learning. A Cognac connoisseur, Mr. Carter first tasted the unique Cognac many years ago and found it so remarkable that he noted it must be reserved for a momentous occasion. D'USSÉ surprised him with the first ever bottle in celebration of his 50th birthday on 4 December 2019. Just fifty bottles were issued to mark this milestone, the majority of which were given to his family and friends. Estimated at $25,000-75,000, the bottle of D'USSÉ 1969 Anniversaire Limited ... More

Nye & Company announces highlights included in the Estate Treasures auction
BLOOMFIELD, NJ.- Nye & Company Auctioneers’ two-day, online Estate Treasures auction, featuring property from the estate of Bernard and Josephine Chaus, a Rumson, New Jersey private collection, a private Mill Neck, Long Island collection and a New Jersey and California collection, will be held on Wednesday and Thursday, March 10th and 11thth at 10 am Eastern time. The private Rumson collection features a nice selection of late 18th and 19th century English furniture, as well as multiple examples of canine-inspired works of art, such as dogs in human dress and others in various pursuits. There is also a fine group of chic upholstered furniture that is often down-filled and in excellent condition – perfect for anyone looking to upgrade and brighten up their home. Accessories abound in the terms of shaving mirrors, small desks, and ... More

Pirelli HangarBicocca opens first major solo exhibition devoted to Neïl Beloufa in an Italian institution
MILAN.- Pirelli HangarBicocca is presenting Neïl Beloufa’s solo exhibition ''Digital Mourning'. The French-Algerian artist is one of the leading voices of the past decade and a keen observer of our times, offering vivid representations of the world through films, videos, installations, and sculptures. Avoiding direct judgements and forceful declarations, Beloufa successfully conveys a reality that, in its subtlety, is often awkward to behold, focusing on highly topical issues such as power relationships, the technological control, the perils of data collection, as well as on a possible collapse in the management of a pandemic. Digital Mourning, curated by Roberta Tenconi, is the first major solo exhibition devoted to Neïl Beloufa in an Italian institution, and it stems from a reflection on the current times and on the concept of life in our digital world. Right from the title, ... More

sepiaEYE opens a solo online exhibition of works by Qiana Mestrich
NEW YORK, NY.- sepiaEYE is presenting Thrall (2017-2020), a solo online exhibition by Qiana Mestrich. By integrating the outdoor studio, staged portraiture, still life, and family photography, Mestrich externalizes her thoughts around recent political, social, and cultural discussions on white supremacy and Black consciousness. “I was inspired to create this work during a visit to a museum with my children, when we encountered a towering statue of Pandora in front of a large window. In Greek mythology, Pandora is the first woman created by the gods and this sculpture (made in 1871 by Chauncey Bradley Ives) depicts her in the act of opening the box/jar containing humanity's evils. Despite her divine origin and childlike curiosity, Pandora’s misfortune is allegorically and literally giving birth to civilization’s “dark” tendencies. Pandora’s ... More

UK artist hopes world's largest art canvas sparks humanitarian movement
DUBAI (AFP).- British artist Sacha Jafri unveiled on Thursday 70 framed sections of his work "Journey of Humanity", the world's largest painting on canvas, which will be auctioned off to raise millions for charity. The 44-year-old contemporary artist hopes his Guinness World Record-holding painting, which spanned 1,595.76 square metres (17,176 sq ft) of the ballroom at Dubai's Atlantis, The Palm hotel, will spark a humanitarian movement. The colourful painting now adorns the walls of the luxury hotel's ballroom in 70 separate framed pieces of varying sizes that will be sold at auctions in the coming years. The aim is to raise at least $30 million to fund health, sanitation and education initiatives for children in impoverished parts of the world. But Jafri, who is currently based in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, said he has an even bigger goal. "I don't want this ... More

Pax Romana's March 7 auction explores Chinese decorative art for interiors
LONDON.- Internationally acclaimed for its auctions of connoisseur-level antiquities, ancient jewelry and weaponry, Pax Romana will add a new string to its bow on March 7 with the debut of Asian Interiors: Chinese Decorative Arts. The 243-lot sale of hand-picked, fully vetted Chinese porcelain and art focuses on exquisite decorative treasures that add color and sophistication to the home, with a timeline that starts with the Qing Dynasty and concludes in the 20th century. All items are being offered with no reserve and will be sold to the highest bidder at or above the starting price. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers. “Since the 17th century, Chinese vases, censers and accent pieces have been favored as decorative elements in fine European and American homes,” said Pax Romana’s director Dr. Ivan Bonchev (PhD, University of Oxford). ... More

Exhibition Tour---A New Look at Old Masters

On a day like today, French artist Honoré Daumier was born
March 26, 1808. Honoré-Victorin Daumier (February 26, 1808 - February 10, 1879) was a French painter, sculptor, and printmaker, whose many works offer commentary on the social and political life in France, from the Revolution of 1830 to the fall of the second Napoleonic Empire in 1870. He earned a living throughout most of his life producing caricatures and cartoons of political figures and satirizing the behavior of his countrymen in newspapers and periodicals, for which he became well known in his lifetime and is still known today. In this image: The bas-relief Les émigrants, which probably originated around 1850, consists of a series of figures, adults and children.

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