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Art in the News

World art sales hit new record in 2014; China tops market

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Written by ANTOINE FROIDEFOND   
Thursday, 26 February 2015 13:01

Paul Gauguin (French, 1848-1903), 'Nafea Faa Ipoipo?,' 1892

PARIS (AFP) – Global art sales set a fresh record in 2014 driven by acquisitions from new museums, while China maintained its place a the top of the market, data firm Artprice said Thursday.

Works worth $15.2 billion (13.5 billion euros) sold at auction during the year, an increase of 26 percent on 2013, Artprice said in its annual report, produced with China's Artron.

A record number of 1,679 sales worth $1 million or more were recorded over the year, four times more than a decade ago, it added.

Thierry Ehrmann, founder and CEO of Artprice, described the figures as "an amazing result, an increase of 300 percent in a decade."

He added that the boom was not being driven by speculators, with 37 percent of lots going unsold in the West and 54 percent in China.

2014 also saw 125 artworks sell for $10 million or more, not including commission, against 18 in 2005.

Greater China, grouping the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan, maintained its market leader status, accounting for $5.6 billion in sales, closely followed by the United States.

However, in a sign that a slowdown in Beijing's economy and an anti-corruption drive that has curtailed luxury spending may have taken their toll, sales in China were down five percent compared to 2013.

2014 was an exceptionally strong year in the United States, with $4.8 billion being spent at U.S. auctions, an increase of 21 percent from the previous year.

British auction houses also put in a solid performance to secure third place with $2.8 billion in sales, up 35 percent from 2013.

"Demand is constant and aggressive on every continent ... notably from museums," said Ehrmann.

"More museums were created between 2000 and 2015 than during the entire 19th and 20th centuries," added Wang Jie, president of Artprice.com and Artron group.

The phenomenal expansion saw a new museum opening every day somewhere in the world, led by growth in Asia, he said.

"A museum needs a minimum of 3,000 to 4,000 quality works to be credible ... (and) is not meant to get rid of its acquisitions," he added.

And even though top valued lots represented only a small proportion of the total market, they were key to the United States and Britain maintaining their top positions.

Eighty-three of the 125 sales worth $10 million or more were conducted in the United States. These sales represent only one percent of lots but 75 percent of U.S. sales volume.

One of the most spectacular auction results of the year saw Black Fire 1, a 1961 work by American abstract expressionist Barnett Newman, sell for $84 million in New York in May.

It had a presale estimate of $39 million.

Artprice also said that the upper threshold for works could soon scale new heights. The $100 million ceiling for a single work was first breached in the 2000s. This month, a work by Gauguin sold privately for $300 million, according to the New York Times.

The $1-billion-mark could soon be reached, said Artprice.

"Twenty years ago, America and Europe accounted for more than 95 percent" of sales, said Ehrmann, whereas today, buyers are active "on all continents without exception."

Art, he said, "has become an investment category in its own right, reliable, stable over time and much less prone to turbulence that the stock market."



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE

Paul Gauguin (French, 1848-1903), 'Nafea Faa Ipoipo?,' 1892 

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 February 2015 13:19
 

VIDEO: Warhol documentary to be bankrolled through Kickstarter

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Written by Outside news source   
Wednesday, 25 February 2015 11:45

'Uncle Andy and Archie.' Image courtesy of Abby Warhola and Jesse Best

PITTSBURGH – Andy Warhol's great-niece, Abby Warhola, and fellow filmmaker Jesse Best are launching a Kickstarter campaign on March 3 to bankroll a documentary film project titled Uncle Andy: The Andy Warhol Family Film.

The film will portray Warhol from perspective of the people who knew him the best since the day he was born – his family.

In the documentary film project, Uncle Andy: The Andy Warhol Family Film, which is currently in production, the producers plan to highlight these rare, never-before-seen roots and perspectives.

The film will be produced by Warhola Films and largely funded through an upcoming, grassroots Kickstarter campaign. Warhola Films will launch the Kickstarter campaign for Uncle Andy on Tuesday, March 3, and it will run for 31 days with a goal of $175,000.

The film will provide the most personal look at Warhol’s life and legacy to date, all through the eyes of his immediate family, the Warholas – siblings, nieces, nephews and others. The filmmakers have been capturing rare footage, including from family members who have since died, for several years. When completed, this feature-length documentary will be the first time audiences will discover a side of Warhol that only his family knew. They witnessed firsthand his unprecedented transformation from humble son of a working-class Pittsburgh family into one of the most important and celebrated artists in history.

Eric Shiner, director of the Andy Warhol Museum, said: "Andy Warhol was a family man. Although he left Pittsburgh within weeks of graduating from Carnegie Tech, he stayed in close contact with his brothers and their children via weekly phone calls and their regular visits to see him in his new home of New York City. This film will expose a side of Warhol the very few people have ever seen, and I know it will shed new light on Uncle Andy."

Warhola Films was created by photographer and filmmaker Abby Warhola and visual artist and filmmaker Jesse Best in 2013. They are also filming, directing and producing Uncle Andy so that it can be as personal and historically authentic as possible.

Following is the link to the Kickstarter campaign, including sample footage: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1546349139/73993249?token=1c5bac58



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE

'Uncle Andy and Archie.' Image courtesy of Abby Warhola and Jesse Best

Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 February 2015 14:07
 

Barnes Foundation discovers two Cézanne sketches

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Written by Museum PR   
Monday, 23 February 2015 09:48
Paul Cézanne, French, 1839–1906, 'Trees (Arbres),' c. 1900 (possibly earlier), watercolor and graphite on laid paper, 12 3/16 x 18 11/16 in. Image © 2015 The Barnes Foundation

PHILA., Pa. – During a recent paper conservation treatment, the Barnes Foundation discovered two unfinished sketches – one graphite and one watercolor – on the reverse sides of two watercolors by Cézanne, which depict the landscape of southern France: The Chaine de l'Etoile Mountains (BF650) and Trees (BF655), normally on view in room 20 of the Collection Gallery.

The discovery marks the first time these sketches have been seen since at least the early 20th century, most likely prior to Dr. Albert Barnes’s purchase of the works from Leo Stein in 1921. These sketches provide a glimpse behind Cezanne’s artistic process and their discovery highlights the importance of conservation efforts and dedicated collection stewardship.

To allow students and visitors the opportunity to view these sketches, they will be displayed in double-sided frames, with both sides visible, from April 10 through May 18 in the second floor classroom of the Barnes Foundation. Following their display to the public, the watercolors will be returned to their original locations.

It was not uncommon for Cezanne to work on both sides of the paper in his sketchbooks and on larger, individual sheets such as these, and over the course of his career he produced thousands of drawings, some of which were done in preparation for oil paintings, but most often they were a place to experiment with line and color.

“These sketches offer a window into Cezanne’s artistic process, which is truly invaluable,” said Barbara Buckley, senior director of conservation and chief conservator of paintings at the Barnes Foundation.

“Barnes bought The Chaine de l'Etoile Mountains (BF650) and Trees (BF655) from Leo Stein, the American collector who, along with his sister, Gertrude, had assembled one of the world’s most important collections of modern European art,” said Martha Lucy, assistant professor at Drexel University and consulting curator at the Barnes Foundation. “What Barnes probably didn’t know was that in purchasing these two watercolors from Stein, he had actually acquired four works by Cézanne.”

The Barnes Foundation’s collection holds 365 works on paper comprised of primarily American and European works from the late 19th to early 20th century. The IMLS Museums for America Program grant that funded the discovery of these new sketches, provided for the conservation treatment of 22 watercolors and pastels on paper including five works by Paul Cézanne, five by Pablo Picasso, nine by Paul Klee, two by Edgar Degas, and one by Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The conservation included mending tears, stabilizing supports, rehousing the works with archival quality materials, and providing ultraviolet-light filtering protection.



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
Paul Cézanne, French, 1839–1906, 'Trees (Arbres),' c. 1900 (possibly earlier), watercolor and graphite on laid paper, 12 3/16 x 18 11/16 in. Image © 2015 The Barnes Foundation
Last Updated on Monday, 23 February 2015 10:26
 

Film shows how artists found work in the Great Depression

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Written by CAROLYN THOMPSON, Associated Press   
Tuesday, 17 February 2015 11:23
Door to the Postmasters office in Kewaunee, Wis., above which is the mural 'Winter Sports,' painted by Paul Faulkner in 1940, and funded as part of the New Deal. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

WASHINGTON – Eighty years after the federal Works Progress Administration put unemployed artists to work creating sculptures and murals for post offices and courthouses during the Great Depression, film maker Michael Maglaras is issuing this reminder: Look around.

Much of the art still exists and has as much meaning now as it did then, says Maglaras, whose documentary Enough to Live On: The Arts of the WPA will be released May 15.

The 90-minute production revisits the inclusion of artists in President Franklin D. Roosevelt's WPA program, better known for the bridges and buildings that it paid workers to build.

The arts piece offered creative types like Sinclair Lewis, Orson Welles and Jackson Pollock $42 a week.

“The goal was that you would walk into a public space – a post office, federal office building, courthouse – and you would be transacting your business, standing in line, passing through a hallway ... and look at what was on the wall,” Maglaras said, “and what was on there would spiritually enlighten you and lift you up and take you away from the terrible burdens that all Americans were suffering during the Depression, and give you confidence and hope for the future.”

Among 100 featured works is a 1936 Welles production of William Shakespeare's Macbeth featuring an all-black cast and set in Haiti, instead of Scotland.

“This is a 21-year-old Orson Welles, and we have found archival footage that no one believed existed of rehearsals for this play,” Maglaras said.

Other works have been lost or scattered through the years. The U.S. General Services Administration is in the process of tracking down the tens of thousands of pieces created through 1943. At last count, more than 20,000 works had been inventoried.

The agency said the artwork is most commonly found when it's offered for sale.

Maglaras said enough still exists in their original locations to make a state-by-state tour.

The documentary will premiere at the New Britain, Connecticut, Museum of Art and then tour the country through December.

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-02-15-15 2115GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
Door to the Postmasters office in Kewaunee, Wis., above which is the mural 'Winter Sports,' painted by Paul Faulkner in 1940, and funded as part of the New Deal. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.
Last Updated on Monday, 23 February 2015 10:56
 

Meijer Gardens adds large sculpture by Ai Weiwei

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Written by DAVID RUNK, Associated Press   
Friday, 13 February 2015 10:29

Ai Wiewei, 'Iron Tree.' Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park image.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) – A large iron sculpture by Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei is the latest addition to Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in western Michigan.

Meijer Gardens on Wednesday announced the acquisition of Iron Tree, which is made of 99 iron pieces and is designed to prompt thoughts about how different people and cultures come together. The reddish sculpture is more than 22 feet tall and looks like a tree without leaves, but oversize stainless steel bolts holding it together give it a mechanical, somewhat awkward appearance.

Ai, one of China's best-known dissidents internationally, isn't allowed to travel outside China. Meijer Gardens worked with him and his Beijing studio and foundry to bring the work to Grand Rapids.

A dedication ceremony and a lecture about Ai are planned April 20.

___

Online:

http://www.meijergardens.org

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-02-11-15 2201GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE

Ai Wiewei, 'Iron Tree.' Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park image.  

Last Updated on Friday, 13 February 2015 13:33
 

Hudson River historic sites hosting contemporary art exhibit

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Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 13 February 2015 09:44
Olana Mansion, the home of Frederic Edwin Church (1826–1900), one of the major figures in the Hudson River School of landscape painting. Image by Roffmueller. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license. CATSKILL, N.Y. (AP) – The work of 30 prominent contemporary artists is going on display at Hudson Valley sites linked to two of the most influential figures in American art.

The Thomas Cole National Historic Site in Catskill and the Olana State Historic Site across the river in Hudson have announced that they'll co-host an exhibit of contemporary art to highlight the role the two properties played in shaping American art in the 19th century.

Cole was the founder of the first distinctly American art movement, known as the Hudson River School. Olana was the home of Frederic Edwin Church, who became a famous artist after becoming a student of Cole's.

The new exhibit – “River Crossings: Contemporary Art Comes Home” – opens May 3 and runs through Nov. 1. Chuck Close and Maya Lin are among the featured artists.

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-02-12-15 1227GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE
Olana Mansion, the home of Frederic Edwin Church (1826–1900), one of the major figures in the Hudson River School of landscape painting. Image by Roffmueller. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license. The Thomas Cole house, also known as Cedar Grove. Cole is founder of the Hudson River School of American painting. Image by Dmadeo. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.
Last Updated on Friday, 13 February 2015 10:07
 

Art expert denies authenticating 'lost' Leonardo portrait

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Written by COLLEEN BARRY, Associated Press   
Thursday, 12 February 2015 12:46

Da Vinci's 'Portrait of Isabella d'Este,' 1499-1500, an authenticated version of the subject which hangs in the Louvre. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

MILAN (AP) – Assertions that an eminent scholar had authenticated a portrait by Leonardo da Vinci tantalized art lovers with the prospect of a new masterpiece and inflated a backroom bidding war worth tens of millions of euros. But Carlo Pedretti, long-time director of the Leonardo center at the University of California, Los Angeles, said Wednesday that he drew no such conclusion.

“I never attributed this painting to Leonardo,” Pedretti told The Associated Press by telephone from Tuscany. “I only said it merited more study.”

The oil-on-canvas painting of noblewoman Isabella D'Este was seized this week in Switzerland under an Italian probe into whether the painting had been illegally expatriated. Financial police said in a release announcing the seizure on Tuesday that the work had been attributed to Leonardo by Pedretti – an assertion also made in an Italian magazine cover story in 2013 that tantalized Leonardo admirers with the possibility of a new masterpiece.

Police also noted that the work's market value had been driven up from a starting price of 95 million euros when they first discovered the painting's existence in 2013, to 120 million euros when they finally located it in the vault of a private Swiss bank last summer.

Pedretti said he viewed the painting several years ago in Switzerland after being contacted by a lawyer representing the owners. He wrote a letter expressing promising elements, including the treatment of the noblewoman's face, but recommending that they pursue further tests without publicizing the find.

“It is mistaken to say I recognized the work. I recognized it as a document important for the study of Leonardo, as a scholar,” Pedretti said.

Pedretti is convinced the painting is old, and quite likely from Leonardo's lifetime, with some details like a palm frond and wheel clearly added much later, adorning the noblewoman in symbols of St. Catherine. But he said that before making a declaration of authenticity, “I would want to consult with my colleagues in England, France and the United States. That would be the correct procedure.”

Alessandro Vezzosi, director of a museum dedicated to Leonardo in his hometown of Vinci, said Pedretti's name has been falsely associated with a claim he never made – which has demonstrably driven a bidding war.

“There is a substantial difference between tens of thousands and tens of millions of euros,” he said.

While Vezzosi said he doesn't see Leonardo's hand in the work, it is possible “that underneath there are surprises, perhaps a drawing by Leonardo.”

A drawing in the Louvre of Isabella D'Este demonstrates Leonardo's association with the portrait's subject. And Pedretti doesn't rule out that Leonardo may have contributed to the portrait, but said even if Leonardo began the work, it was likely to have been finished by a student.

“Leonardo was very interested in his personal research and studies in mechanics and physics. He didn't have time to stay and work on a painting,” Pedretti said.

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP-WF-02-11-15 1729GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE

Da Vinci's 'Portrait of Isabella d'Este,' 1499-1500, an authenticated version of the subject which hangs in the Louvre. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 February 2015 10:19
 

Landscape artist Peter Joyce has solo exhibition in London

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Written by Art gallery PR   
Wednesday, 11 February 2015 16:40
'Water Primrose,' 2014, acrylic on canvas laid to wood panel, 28cm x 28cm. Price: £2,000. Jenna Burlingham Fine Art image

LONDON – Jenna Burlingham Fine Art is holding a solo exhibition of landscape artist Peter Joyce’s work. The exhibition will be held at Gallery 8, 8 Duke St., St. James’s, on Tuesday, May 5, through Sunday, May 10. The private view and press reception will be held on Tuesday, May 5, 5 to 9.30 p.m.

“Peter Joyce is an important and well-known international, contemporary artist, working in a Modern British style, encompassing the landscape tradition of the postwar British art movement, such a Peter Lanyon, Keith Vaughan and Alan Reynolds, said Jenna Burlingham. “He is extremely well-respected by galleries, museums, designers and Modern British collectors and this is his biggest show for four years. Prices range from £1,500 to £18,000 – so there are pieces for the new collector too.”

She continued: “Having moved from coastal Dorset, he now lives and works in the marshlands of Western France and this landscape shapes his paintings. He has a very distinctive approach with his paintings created layer by layer. The painting surface is worked and reworked: drawing, painting and compositional changes are endlessly made creating complicated and yet enchanting surfaces. The process continues until the painting reminds him of the place and the place reminds him of the painting.”

“I always choose outside, naturally I’m more comfortable outdoors, in landscape rather than townscape, in nature as opposed to being around people,” said Joyce. “I enjoy weather, wildlife, geography and the seasons. Somehow painting is an extension of that. I actually think of myself as an abstract painter, the mechanics of painting are the stuff I attempt to deal with, but it is clear that my pictures wouldn’t look like they do if it wasn’t for the landscape in which I immerse myself. For the past eight years this happens to be in France, on the west coast there is a remarkable place called the Marais Breton Vendéen. I love being here, it’s a challenging landscape reclaimed from the sea. Maybe it isn’t so immediately obvious in terms of aesthetic appearance as my home county of Dorset. It isn’t hills, valleys and cliff faces; it is endlessly flat and apparently featureless. It rewards perseverance on the aesthetic level, very much like painting.”

Joyce was born in 1964 in Poole, Dorset, and was educated at Bournemouth & Poole College of Art & Design from 1980. He went on to study at Stourbridge College of Technology & Art, and qualified with a Diploma in General Art & Design and a B.A. (Hons) in fine art.

Jenna Burlingham Fine Art, Peter Joyce’s main representative, specializes in Modern paintings, prints, ceramics and sculpture as well as work by selected contemporary artists. Burlingham has over 20 years experience of the art world having worked in an auction house and then an art dealership in London, prior to opening her gallery in 2010.

For more information on Jenna Burlingham Fine Art, visit www.jennaburlingham.com .



ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE
'Water Primrose,' 2014, acrylic on canvas laid to wood panel, 28cm x 28cm. Price: £2,000. Jenna Burlingham Fine Art image 'Propriété Privéé,' 2014, acrylic on canvas, 200cm x 118cm. Price: £18,000.  Jenna Burlingham Fine Art image
Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 February 2015 16:58
 

Museum challenges visitors to spot Old Masters copy

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Written by ALICE RITCHIE   
Tuesday, 10 February 2015 11:52
A museum visitor examines Old Masters paintings at the Dulwich Picture Gallery to determine which one is a newly made copy. Copyright Stuart Leech, courtesy of the Dulwich Picture Gallery, London LONDON (AFP) – Visitors at Dulwich Picture Gallery peer at the Old Masters on the walls, trying to spot the $120 (106 euro) Chinese replica hung among paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens and Gainsborough on Tuesday.

"I think it's that one. It's just looking so pristine," said Ian Mortimer, a 60-year-old from northwest England, pointing at a portrait from 1820 by English painter James Lonsdale.

In an audacious move, the London gallery has replaced one of the 270 paintings in its permanent collection with a work knocked up in a few weeks in a studio in southern China.

Hung among a world-class collection that also includes paintings by Van Dyck, Constable and Canaletto, the goal is to make people re-examine the artworks around them.

"It suddenly raises everything to doubt, they have to look around and look at every single picture properly," said Xavier Bray, chief curator of the Dulwich Picture Gallery.

"When you look at an Old Masters painting you've got the varnishes, you've got the brushwork, you've got the type of canvas that was used, the cracking of the paint.

"This is a Chinese replica that was made in 2014, so it is pretty obvious when you find it. What's fascinating is to see it in the museum context."

After Mortimer recorded his choice on the gallery's iPad, his wife Sue took her turn, picking a portrait of a woman the other side of the room – mainly "because I loathe it."

The 59-year-old praised the concept, telling AFP: "As soon as you hang something in an art gallery, you presume it's good. I should be able to say what I think is good."

But she mused: "If nobody gets it at all, what does that say about what we are looking at?"

Throwing down the gauntlet:

Not everyone was so enthusiastic. "It's impossible," said one regular to the gallery, who asked not to be named, and looked rather downbeat at the prospect of having to choose.

"The project is going to destabilize how you feel when you look at a piece of art," said Doug Fishbone, the American artist who came up with the idea.

He said his intention was not to fool people but to strip away the certainty that something is worthwhile just because it is in a gilded frame and in an art gallery.

"I'm hoping that it will throw down the gauntlet a bit in terms of giving them a challenge," Fishbone said, adding that he also hoped it would be fun.

The idea of replicating the work of top painters is nothing new. In the time of Rubens, "if you wanted a copy of his beautiful Venus and Mars, you would just contact his studio ... and order one," Bray noted.

"What we're doing here is just showing that the practice has now moved to China," he said.

Millions of replicas are produced every year in China for a global and also domestic market, focused around the studios and workshops in the southern village of Dafen.

The Dulwich replica was ordered from Meisheng Oil Painting Manufacture Co. Ltd. in Xiamen, in Fujian province.

The gallery emailed a jpeg of its chosen picture, paid $126 including shipping via PayPal, and received the rolled-up replica within three weeks by courier.

It was stretched onto the frame that normally holds the original painting and from Tuesday was hung in its normal place, where it will stay, unannounced, until it is revealed to the public on April 28.

Both Fishbone and Bray praised the quality of the replica, but insist there really is no comparison, as the public will be able to judge when the two are exhibited side by side.

"You'll be able to compare and contrast how well the person making the replica did, and to appreciate how beautiful the original is," Bray said.



ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE
A museum visitor examines Old Masters paintings at the Dulwich Picture Gallery to determine which one is a newly made copy. Copyright Stuart Leech, courtesy of the Dulwich Picture Gallery, London Copies of paintings to be shipped from the Meisheng Oil Painting Manufacture Co. Ltd. in Xiamen, China. Copyright Flickr User Michael Mandiberg, courtesy of the Dulwich Picture Gallery, London
Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 February 2015 14:12
 

Mike Wolfe of American Pickers restoring Nashville building

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Written by TONY GONZALEZ, The Tennessean   
Monday, 09 February 2015 11:52
Mike Wolfe at his workbench. Image by Amy Richmond Photography. NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Mike Wolfe has made a career out of rescuing old and dilapidated things. The creator of the American Pickers TV show often sees the charm that others overlook.

But in all his pickings, he's never taken on a project like the one consuming him now in Nashville.

Wolfe bought a crumbling 1898 brick building on Jo Johnston Avenue, a block from his Antique Archaeology store, after several years of driving past it. He wondered about it. And he worried about missed chances he was hearing about, across Nashville, to preserve historic buildings.

As happens in his line of work, Wolfe got more than he bargained for.

"This is the worst building I've ever bought,'' he said while showing off the partially gutted interior.

After owning and rehabbing nine old buildings in Iowa, Wolfe bought the former Nashville grocery store for $235,000 without ever setting foot inside.

When he finally did, the beam of his flashlight was aided by light slipping in through holes in the roof above.

"It's been raining in this building for over 30 years,'' Wolfe said. "Nature has done a lot of the deconstruction for us.''

But true to his way of seeing the world, Wolfe found something worth saving. Namely: the kind of sturdy brick walls, rough and inconsistent and bearing the marks of more than a century of inhabitants, that just don't get made the same way anymore.

"That's what I bought the whole building for: this wall,'' Wolfe said, climbing up on a foundation outcropping to smack it. "It's the texture. People try to recreate this.''

Wolfe envisions two retail spaces with big storefront windows facing Jo Johnston, and offices on the second floor -- all with views of the state capitol about a mile to the east.

The future shops will be remarkably close to downtown, but located in a neighborhood with a reputation still slowly changing away from crime and blight. The new vibe is due mostly to the renaissance of the bustling Marathon Village, home to artisans, a radio station, distilleries and a concert venue.

"This is a big city and a very tiny building. But it has purpose,'' Wolfe said. "This is a small piece in the puzzle.''

Last fall, Wolfe spoke out about the demolition of historic buildings while helping Historic Nashville Inc. announce its annual list of endangered properties.

With this project, he said, he's doing more than advocacy. He's putting money behind a mindset, upward of $700,000, in fact, to completely clear out and renovate the interior -- other than those brick walls -- and to bring business back to a corner with a history in the neighborhood.

Local preservationists have already celebrated the plan, often flocking to Wolfe's Instagram posts about the building.

"Everybody else would have seen it as too far gone,'' said Robbie D. Jones, a board member with Historic Nashville Inc. "He's showing an example for the city of what can be done. We're going to point to this building and say: 'Look what Mike Wolfe did.'"

Of course, he's nowhere near being done. When Wolfe suggested completing the overhaul by spring, he drew a disbelieving laugh from lead contractor Jeff Rogers, of Dowdle Construction.

"This,'' he said, "is my challenge.''

Looking back, moving forward:

While Wolfe's massive online following buzzes about the project, Rogers and his work crew are enjoying a more old-fashioned form of hype from gawkers and passersby. Some have stopped to share memories of a building that has been slow to reveal itself.

A dentist used to work upstairs, one man told Rogers, recalling getting a tooth pulled there. Several risque paintings on the walls suggest a former dance club. And, true to form, the crew has picked a few antiques, including a 1930s Coca-Cola sign hidden in one wall, and a grungy old Dixie cup dispenser.

Meanwhile, Jones, from the preservation group, dove into the historic record to trace the building's origins. What he found was a single place packed with Nashville history, including an immigrant's tale, and a building that played witness to neighborhood change.

A Hungarian Jew built his grocery store at what was then 1314 Line Street in 1898 and lived upstairs. From 1912 to 1944, another immigrant family -- the Saigh family of Syria -- did the same.

"A lot of people have the impression, and I did too, that Nashville's immigration history is new,'' Jones said.

Over time, the mixed-race enclave for working-class Europeans shifted into a mostly black community.

After the 1950s, the paper trail became spotty, Jones said. In the 1990s, a carry-out restaurant, a game room, a tavern and a laundromat took turns there before a long period of vacancy.

Wolfe says, "People are playing Monopoly with our community's historic sites.''

Now Wolfe and the work crew carry on the investigation on site, puzzling over clues.

Almost giddy, he knocked loose some green glass shards to look closer at some spiraling wrought iron over one window. Then he pried apart some drywall to marvel at the olive green paint on an old door.

Now that he's not just driving by the building, he still wonders about it. There's a burned ceiling beam above, remnants of windows long since bricked over, and those peeling wall paintings -- mostly of women, but also the silhouette of one man with a pompadour, someone who looks a little bit like Elvis.

Wolfe can't likely get to the bottom of all that he finds. But in saving the building, he'll preserve a piece of history.

And a little bit of its mystery.

Click to read an exclusive, early interview with the stars of American Pickers, Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz: http://auctioncentralnews.com/index.php/features/people/2288-history-channels-american-pickers-have-put-the-man-into-mantiques

# # #

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This information may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
Circa-1950 Nash Statesman Super 2-door sedan at the front of Wolfe's Midwestern business location, Antique Archaeology in LeClaire, Iowa. Photo by NBastian210, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 February 2015 15:17
 

National Gallery of Art lists works chosen from Corcoran collection

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Written by Museum PR   
Monday, 09 February 2015 11:14
Frederic Edwin Church, 'Niagara,' 1857, oil on canvas. National Gallery of Art, Corcoran Collection (Museum Purchase, Gallery Fund). Image courtesy of National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

WASHINGTON - Earl A. Powell III, director, and Franklin Kelly, deputy director and chief curator, National Gallery of Art (NGA), has announced that 6,430 works of art have been selected initially from more than 17,000 Corcoran works in NGA’s custody to join the nation’s collection of European and American art. As curators continue to review the collection of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the newly accessioned objects will have an immediate impact across NGA’s collections and will be particularly transformative for its holdings of American art in all media.

From February 6 through May 3, 2015, the National Gallery of Art will present two installations in its West Building: American Masterworks from the Corcoran, 1815–1940 on the main floor and Focus on the Corcoran: Works on Paper, 1860–1990 on the ground floor. An exhibition of photographs from both the Corcoran and NGA collections is scheduled for spring 2016 in the West Building photography galleries.

Beginning in the summer of 2015 and continuing for several months, paintings will be integrated into the American galleries on the main floor of the West Building. This effort will continue into other galleries through 2016, when the East Building galleries reopen. Admission to the National Gallery of Art is free of charge every day of the week.

NGA officials will assist the Trustees of the Corcoran in their distribution of the non-accessioned works to eligible cultural institutions in Washington, D.C., in accordance with the process approved by attorney general of the District of Columbia.

NGA’s plan for exhibitions in the second floor galleries of the Corcoran’s Flagg Building is dependent on GW’s construction schedule. It will take NGA approximately one year to update and refurbish the floors, walls, lighting, and skylights, and to install the first exhibition in the second floor galleries. Boundary Markers: Outliers and Mainstream American Art and Rachel Whiteread are among the shows that are being planned for 2017 and 2018.

Visit the National Gallery of Art online at www.nga.org .

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If you have any questions or would like to do an interview, please contact my office.

Background: On August 18, 2014, the Corcoran Gallery of Art and Corcoran College of Art + Design, the George Washington University (GW), and the National Gallery of Art received approval from the District of Columbia Superior Court to implement their agreements that were first announced in February 2014. The court's ruling permits the parties to proceed with the transfer of ownership of the Corcoran's historic 17th Street building and the College of Art + Design to GW and custody of the art collection to the National Gallery of Art.

 



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
Frederic Edwin Church, 'Niagara,' 1857, oil on canvas. National Gallery of Art, Corcoran Collection (Museum Purchase, Gallery Fund). Image courtesy of National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.
Last Updated on Monday, 09 February 2015 12:18
 

Sale of Swiss-owned Gauguin painting shrouded in secrecy

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Written by FRANK JORDANS, Associated Press   
Monday, 09 February 2015 10:27
Paul Gauguin (French, 1848-1903), 'Nafea Faa Ipoipo?,' 1892 BERLIN (AP)  A painting by French post-impressionist Paul Gauguin has reportedly sold for a record-breaking sum, but its erstwhile owner won't reveal the price or buyer.

The oil painting, called Nafea faa ipoipo? -- Tahitian for "When will you marry?'' -- and showing two Tahitian women, had belonged to the Swiss family Staehelin for almost 100 years. Earlier this week, Swiss media citing unidentified art world insiders reported that the 1892 painting was bought by Qatari royalty for $300 million, making it the most expensive painting ever.

Ruedi Staehelin, who speaks for the Staehelin Family Trust, would only confirm the sale.

"The contract has been signed, the sale and handover will take place in January 2016,'' Staehelin said in an email Saturday to The Associated Press. "According to the contract I can't provide any information on the buyer or the price.''

In an interview with Swiss paper Basler Zeitung, however, Staehelin was quoted as saying about the price: "It's clear that it isn't just a figure in the double-digit millions.''

The sale was prompted by the current boom on the art market, he told the newspaper.

Qatar Museums, run by the emirate's royal family, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The painting is currently exhibited at the Fondation Beyeler in Riehen, near the northwestern Swiss city of Basel. Before the sale is completed next year it is also scheduled to be shown in Madrid and Washington, the Basler Zeitung reported.

The Kunstmuseum Basel, where the painting had been deposited, said it regretted the sale and the Staehelin Family Trust's simultaneous decision to withdraw other works loaned to its collection.

"These works, which had been integral to our exhibitions, will be sorely missed at the Kunstmuseum, and we are painfully reminded that permanent loans are still loans,'' the museum said in a statement.

Staehelin's grandfather, Swiss businessman and art collector Rudolf Staehelin, had purchased the painting in 1917 from the Geneva gallery Maison Moos. The family trust has previously sold paintings by Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet and Paul Cezanne.

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Jill Lawless in London and Adam Schreck in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, contributed to this report.

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This information may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
Paul Gauguin (French, 1848-1903), 'Nafea Faa Ipoipo?,' 1892
Last Updated on Monday, 09 February 2015 10:47
 

N.M. police stumble upon $33K art portfolio at old meth lab

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Written by RUSSELL CONTRERA, Associated Press   
Monday, 09 February 2015 10:06
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - An Albuquerque officer searching a former meth lab stumbled upon artwork by late American Indian artist Alfred Morris 'Al' Momaday that likely was stolen and worth more than $30,000, police said.

Police said the officer found the valuable prints last week during a protective sweep of the condemned apartment right before city official were to board up the property. Authorities say the building was deemed uninhabitable for two years following the discovery of a methamphetamine lab.

According to police, the officer spotted an art portfolio case containing Momaday prints on the floor. The officer googled Momaday's name and discovered he was a Mountain View, Oklahoma-born Kiowa painter who died in 1981.

"Knowing this, and knowing all the history about this apartment, I knew (whoever) left this property behind had no lawful reason to be in possession of this (artwork),'' the officer wrote in his report.

The officer took the prints to an Albuquerque Museum curator who valued them at $33,000. Investigators believe the art might have been stolen while on loan.

Momaday's paintings depicting his Native American heritage have gained international acclaim and are featured in galleries around the country. He also created plaques for Albuquerque churches.

A teacher, Momaday married Natachee Scott at Jemez Pueblo and helped bring Native American art lessons to New Mexico.

He is the father of N. Scott Momaday, the first American Indian to win a Pulitzer Prize for literature.

An assistant to N. Scott Momaday told the Albuquerque Journal that the author believes some items were stolen from him during a recent move to Santa Fe. However, he wasn't sure if those items included artwork by his father.

In recent years, the abandoned building where the prints were found had been used as a drug den and a place to store stolen goods, authorities said.

No arrests have been made. The case remains under investigation.

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Follow Russell Contreras on Twitter: http://twitter.com/russcontreras.

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This information may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
This 1950s/'60s painting, which is unrelated to the art discovery made by Albuquerque police, is an example of Alfred Morris Momaday's (Native American, 1913-1981) artistic style. It depicts a Kiowa Indian dancer and was sold at auction on Oct. 16, 2010. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers Archive and R.G. Munn Auction, Mayhill, N.M.
Last Updated on Monday, 09 February 2015 10:41
 

Christie's hosts first 'Surreal' auction to break $100M; Miro tops $23M

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Written by Auction House PR   
Thursday, 05 February 2015 11:38
Bidders from 34 countries across five continents participated in Christie's first Surreal auction to reach and exceed $100 million. The star of the show was Joan Miró’s Painting (Women, Moon, Birds), which sold for £15,538,500/ $23,540,828/ €20,510,820 against an estimate of £4 million to £7 million. It is shown on the screen behind the auctioneer. Courtesy Christie's Images Ltd 2015

LONDON - The Evening Sales of Impressionist and Modern Art and The Art of the Surreal that took place at Christie’s London on February 4th realized a combined total of £147,031,000 / $222,751,965 / €194,080,920, selling 88% by lot and 94% by value. The auctions had a combined pre-sale estimate of £92.8 million to £133.8 million. The top price was achieved by Joan Miró’s Painting (Women, Moon, Birds), which sold for £15,538,500/ $23,540,828/ €20,510,820 against an estimate of £4 million to £7 million. In total, 36 works of art sold for over £1 million / 45 for over $1 million.

Jay Vincze, International Director and Head of The Impressionist and Modern Art Department, Christie’s London, said: “We are very pleased with the strong results of this evening’s sales of Impressionist, Modern and Surrealist art which exceeded the top pre-sale estimate and welcomed registered bidders from 34 countries across 5 continents. The broad range of styles and periods of the works offered – many of which came to the market for the first time in generations – contributed to the extraordinary depth of bidding we witnessed. Pan Asian buyers continue to compete for the best works across 20th century avant-garde art, notably extending this season to Surrealist masters such as Magritte, Ernst and Dominguez. This is a strong start to the overall week of five sales for the category at Christie’s in London, which presents new and established collectors with opportunities across price levels.”

Olivier Camu, Deputy Chairman, Impressionist and Modern Art, Christie’s: “This is the first ever surrealist to sale to break the $100 million barrier; this is an exciting moment made possible by the inclusion of two important private European collections which also included Impressionist and Modern works. One of the collections had been hidden away for 50 years and had never come to auction. A great evening for Magritte and Miró: the sale set record prices for a Post-War Miró and a new record for a Magritte work on paper; all 9 Magrittes offered were 100% sold.”

Leading the sale’s Impressionist selection was Vue sur L’Estaque et Le Château d’If, circa 1883-1885 by Paul Cézanne, which realized £13,522,500/$20,486,588/€17,849,700 (estimate: £8-12 million). This work was acquired in 1936 by Samuel Courtauld, founder of the illustrious Courtauld Gallery and Institute of Art in London. The auction marked the first time that Vue sur L’Estaque et Le Château d’If has appeared on the market in almost 80 years.

The auction included six works by Joan Miró, which provided the market with what is arguably the best group of works by the artist to be offered in a single sale. The selection achieved a combined total of £32,700,500/$58,700,932/€43,164,660, and was led by the auction’s top lot, Painting (Women, Moon, Birds), which sold for £15,538,500/ $23,540,828/ €20,510,820 (estimate: £4-7 million). The 1950 canvas was executed during the artist’s prodigious post-war period and comes from a private European collection. It has never before appeared at auction.

Also highlighting the selection of works by Miró was his masterful L'oiseau au plumage déployé vole vers l'arbre argenté, 1953, which realized £9,154,500/$13,869,068/€12,083,940 (estimate: £7-9 million).

La Lampe, 1914, by Juan Gris fetched £4,562,500 /$6,912,188/ €6,022,500, (estimate: £2.5-3.5 million). This work is considered to be among the artist’s greatest contributions to Cubism, establishing Gris as a leading innovator of the revolutionary movement and placing him alongside Picasso and Braque. Christie’s set a new benchmark for the artist in February 2014 when Nature morte à la nappe à carreaux, 1915, sold for £34,802,500, setting a world record price for the artist at auction.

Femme de Venise V by Alberto Giacometti, which was offered from a distinguished European collection, realized £6,802,500/$10,305,788/€8,979,300 (estimate: £6-8 million). With an extraordinarily rich brown and green patina, the bronze belongs to the renowned series of sculptures created for the Venice Biennale of the same year; it was conceived in 1956 and cast in the artist’s lifetime.

Amedeo Modigliani’s rare double portrait Les deux filles, 1918, sold for £7,586,500/ $11,493,548/ €10,014,180, it was offered from a distinguished European collection, (estimate: £6-8 million).

Leading the group of works offered from the Collection of Carl Hagemann, was one of the masterpieces of Die Brücke art, Erich Heckel’s Badende am Waldteich. The 1910 canvas realized £2,994,500/ $4,536,668 /€3,952,740 (estimate: £1.5-2 million), and set a world auction record for the artist.

Offered from a private German collection, Three Piece Reclining Figure No. 2 (Bridge Prop), a monumental sculpture by Henry Moore, is a powerful example of the artist’s unique ability to balance figuration and abstraction in a sculptural, three-dimensional form, it fetched £4,338,500/ $6,572,828/€ 5,726,820 (estimate: £2-3 million). Conceived in 1963 and cast in an edition of six, other casts are housed in major museums and collections across the world.

Among the 9 works by René Magritte in the sale the top lot was Quand l'heure sonnera, which realised £4,338,500/ $6,572,828/ €5,726,820 (estimate: £2.5-3.5). The group offered constitutes the most extraordinary and extensive selection of works by the artist to come to the market since the landmark Harry Torczyner sale that took place in 1998 at Christie’s New York.

Presented at auction for the first time, having been acquired by a European family almost 60 years ago, Jeune fille au cheval, 1927-1929, by Marc Chagall realized £5,906,500 / $8,948,348/ €7,796,580 (estimate: £2.2-2.8 million).

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ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
Bidders from 34 countries across five continents participated in Christie's first Surreal auction to reach and exceed $100 million. The star of the show was Joan Miró’s Painting (Women, Moon, Birds), which sold for £15,538,500/ $23,540,828/ €20,510,820 against an estimate of £4 million to £7 million. It is shown on the screen behind the auctioneer. Courtesy Christie's Images Ltd 2015
Last Updated on Thursday, 05 February 2015 12:20
 

News Flash: Five major works by Monet earn $83.76M at Sotheby's

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Written by Auction House PR   
Tuesday, 03 February 2015 15:59
Claude Monet (French, 1840-1926), 'Le Grand Canal,' auctioned by Sotheby's London on Feb. 3, 2015, for $35.57 million. Image courtesy of Sotheby's

LONDON - Five artworks by Claude Monet (French, 1840-1926) were auctioned for £55.74 million / $83.65 million today at Sotheby's London.

The top lot of their Evening Sale of Impressionist & Modern Art was a rare 1908 view of Venice, Le Grand Canal, which sold for £23.67 million / $35.57 million. The work was displayed for the last eight years at The National Gallery, London.

Also within the selection of five Monet canvases was Les Peupliers à Giverny from 1887, which sold for £10.79 million / $16.21 million. The painting came to sale from the collection of The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and was sold to benefit the Acquisitions Fund.

An Henri Matisse (French, 1869-1954) portrait of Princess Nezy-Hamide Chawkat, the great granddaughter of the last Sultan of Turkey, was yet another highlight of the sale, realizing £15.83 million / $23.79.

Visit Sotheby's online at www.sothebys.com.

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ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
Claude Monet (French, 1840-1926), 'Le Grand Canal,' auctioned by Sotheby's London on Feb. 3, 2015, for $35.57 million. Image courtesy of Sotheby's
Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 February 2015 17:25
 

Frank Lloyd Wright sites nominated for World Heritage List

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Written by BETH J. HARPAZ, AP Travel Editor   
Tuesday, 03 February 2015 09:54
The Frederick C. Robie House in Chicago. Image by Teemu NEW YORK – The U.S. is nominating 10 buildings in seven states by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright to be included on the World Heritage List, which recognizes important cultural and natural sites.

Wright's buildings are considered among the most important in modern architecture.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced the nominations Friday, saying Wright "is widely considered to be the greatest American architect of the 20th century."

Wright's buildings would become the nation's first modern architecture to be added to the list, which includes modern structures elsewhere such as the Sydney Opera House and the city of Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, the Bauhaus School in Germany.

Wright's Fallingwater, a National Historic Landmark in Mill Run about 65 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, was built over a waterfall. The modern design, nestled into a rock mountainside, attracted immediate attention and was featured on the cover of Time magazine in 1938.

Also on the list are Unity Temple in Oak Park, Illinois; Frederick C. Robie House in Chicago, Illinois; Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin; Hollyhock House in Los Angeles, California; Herbert and Katherine Jacobs House in Madison, Wisconsin; Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City; Price Tower in Bartlesville, Oklahoma; and Marin County Civic Center in San Rafael, California.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden centennial

It's going to be a big year for New York City's Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

Not only is the garden marking the centennial of its serenely beautiful Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden, but it's hosting an exhibition of outdoor sculpture by the Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi. The Noguchi works will be set amid the Japanese garden's rocks, pond and plantings. The late Noguchi's studio in Queens houses the Isamu Noguchi Museum, which is collaborating on the garden exhibition.

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden also hosts an annual cherry blossom celebration, Sakura Matsuri, April 25-26, with a variety of Japanese-themed cultural events. And several long-term improvements will be unveiled soon as well, including an expanded Discovery Garden for children in June and a refurbished entrance on Flatbush Avenue reopening this spring.

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-02-02-15 1258GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
The Frederick C. Robie House in Chicago. Image by Teemu
Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 February 2015 11:37
 
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