On September 13, Mario Testino will auction 41 items from his personal art collection with Sotheby’s to benefit Museo MATE, the nonprofit cultural centre he founded in Lima, Peru.
Testino is a voracious admirer and friend of many of the artists represented in the sale — from Richard Prince to Cindy Sherman to Wolfgang Tillmans —making this a rare auction that represents more than acquisitions. No wonder the title of the sale is “Shake It Up”.
According to Testino, “it’s a big exercise to detach yourself from your belongings in order to satisfy greater ambitions. I’ve been collecting for over 25 years and I’ve never ever sold anything. Today is the first time that I’ve decided to sell something because I can see a reason to sell. It’s allowing me to give back to the community that gave me everything.”
Testino explains he came to know and love some of the works with which he’s parting: “in the art world, sometimes it’s not enough to like something; you have to be puzzled by it. You hang it on a wall and every time you see [it], you discover something new. Sometimes I would find a work and I felt it was difficult, but then I’d come back to it after some time and I’d understand it and love it. I think that culture has a particularly important role in society: we learn how to look at things differently, and it pushes our boundaries—that’s what art does.”
Renowned artists from 45 different nationalities will be represented across the auction, including Richard Prince, Georg Baselitz, Wolfgang Tillmans, Rudolf Stingel, Sterling Ruby, Gilbert & George, Adriana Varejão and Cindy Sherman.
The exhibition is on view from September 8 through September 13, 2017 at Sotheby’sGallery, 34-35 New Bond Street, London W1A 2AA.
After collector Henry Bloch donated an enviable group of impressionist artworks to the city’s Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the museum returned the favor, sort of.
The museum printed digital copies of each of Mr. Bloch’s 29 paintings—including examples by Edouard Manet, Vincent van Gogh and Henri Matisse—and delivered the framed replicas to his home two months ago so he could hang them in the exact same spots as the originals. Mr. Bloch said the copies are so realistic, he has to peer closely to discern the differences. “Every museum should be offering this service,” he said.
Art forgers aren’t the only ones using technology to produce ever-more-convincing fake paintings. Museums, in a rarely discussed practice, are churning them out as thank-you gifts to major donors. Curators say it’s mostly a taboo topic because the recipients don’t always like to admit they’ve got a glorified poster hanging in the place of a masterpiece, but Sotheby’s said auction houses have long gifted their major consignors with framed copies of big-ticket items.
Julian Zugazagoitia, CEO and director of the Nelson-Atkins, said he initially considered the Bloch copies to be a fluky one-off, a gesture that could allow the museum to display Mr. Bloch’s art as part of its permanent collection when it reopens its renovated European art galleries March 11. Otherwise, it would have had to wait for the works to be given in a promised bequest as part of the 94-year-old collector’s estate. (Mr. Bloch’s foundation paid $12.7 million for the renovation.)
Yet as word spread of the museum’s unconventional offer, the director said his own trustees started reaching out, seeking prints for their art holdings. The director said going public about the potential perk could elicit gifts while donors are still alive. “The offer is becoming part of my tool kit now,” Mr. Zugazagoitia said.
Mr. Zugazagoitia said he is aware that such swapping could undermine one of the intangible factors that fuel an artwork’s value, namely the evidence of the artist’s own handiwork or at least the artist’s legitimising involvement. The museum itself will continue to display only original works, not copies. “We still believe in the aura of artists’ works,” he said. “People who come here need to see the originals.”The museum’s knockoffs are designed to look real—but only from the front so as not to dupe anyone long-term, said Steve Waterman, the museum’s director of design and experience. The fake canvases lack telltale brush strokes, and the backs of their frames lack gallery labels and other notations that appraisers and authenticators typically use to determine a work’s legitimacy.
New Zealand has a history of art crime which will be exposed in an intriguing new exhibition to open at Waikato Museum by the end of the month. The exhibition, An Empty Frame: Crimes of Art in New Zealand features 30 artworks and explores the different aspects of art crime; theft, vandalism and fraud in the form of forgery.
Guest curator and art historian Penelope Jackson says art crime is far more widespread than we know and New Zealand is no exception where art crime is criminally punishable and often motivated by money.
All artworks in the exhibition have at some stage been “victims” of art crime and each is accompanied by its own particular story.
An Empty Frame is named after the elegant gold frame, left behind after the 1902 painting, Psyche by Solomon J Solomon was stolen from a Christchurch gallery in 1942. The famous frame now belongs to the Christchurch Art Gallery collection and is featured in the exhibition. “Psyche is one of my favourite cases as it is full of intrigue. There is a sense of hope the exquisite gold frame will one day be reunited with the stolen painting, although it is highly improbable now”, says Ms Jackson.
One aspect of An Empty Frame intended to challenge visitors is the placement of a genuine artwork from the Museum’s collection alongside a fake.
Waikato Museum Director Cherie Meecham says it was surprisingly easy to arrange high quality reproductions of the originals for the purpose of the show. “It’s not illegal to produce a copy of a painting, but it is a crime to try to sell it as the original – it’s essentially fraud.”
Visit http://waikatomuseum.co.nz for more information.
The Ho Chi Minh City Museum of Fine Arts publicly apologised for failing to verify the authenticity of 17 paintings on display at an exhibition that have been confirmed as fake.
A panel of famous artists and experts and officials found 15 of the paintings, supposedly the works of legendary artists such as Nguyen Tu Nghiem and Bui Xuan Phai, were copies.
Two others were found to be works of other artists. At least one living artist, Thanh Chuong, has claimed one of the two paintings as his.
All the paintings at the show are owned by Vu Xuan Chung, who claimed to have acquired them from Jean-Francois Hubert, a known expert on Vietnamese art and a former senior consultant for giant auction houses Christie’s and Sotheby’s.
A rich trove of drawings by Alberto Giacometti and photographs of the renowned sculptor and artist has been lying in sealed storage cartons in a Swiss museum for more than two years due to a legal dispute over their rightful ownership.
Swiss prosecutors said they had ordered the seizure of the collection pending a decision by a French court after the Paris-based Alberto and Annette Giacometti Foundation alleged that the works had been stolen decades ago.
The Swiss-born Giacometti, who died in 1966, is one of the best-known sculptors of the 20th century. His “Pointing Man” sold last year at Christie’s for $141 million, the largest sum ever for a sculpture.
The forthcoming Francis Bacon catalogue raisonné will offer an unprecedented view into his art—and his controversial private life. Bacon’s surviving oeuvre, totalling 584 paintings, is catalogued in 1,538 pages. Less than a third of the pictures are in museums, with most hidden away in anonymous private collections. Thanks to colour reproductions, some available for the first time, it is now possible to clearly see the development of Bacon’s art.
Although the catalogue will not be published until 30 June, it was launched in London’s Soho—the quarter where Bacon drank and felt at home. Martin Harrison, the editor, has devoted 10 years to the project. He travelled endlessly, failing to locate only one painting, Head with Raised Arms (1955), which was last recorded in Turin more than fifty years ago. The catalogue was funded by the Francis Bacon Estate and although the cost is not being disclosed, it probably amounted to several million pounds.
‘Le Opere Da Non Perdere’, reads a link on the Museo di Castelvecchio website. And if you click through, a gallery displays images of 20 works that must not to be missed on a visit to the museum in Verona. Except six of these highlights can no longer be accounted for. They were among the 17 paintings stolen from Castelvecchio on the evening of 19 November, making for a bleak roll-call of losses: Pisanello, Madonna of the Quail; Jacopo Bellini, Penitent St Jerome; Mantegna, Holy Family with a Saint; Gian Francesco Caroto, Portrait of a Young Boy Holding a Child’s Drawing; Rubens, Lady of the Campions; Hans de Jode, Seaport.
Opere da non perdere. Works not to miss. And works not to lose, either. It is hard to overstate the gravity of this theft for both the museum – one of the finest civic collections in northern Italy – and for an Italian museum sector that has, under the recent reforms of culture minister Dario Franceschini, been tasked with putting its house in order.
Last November, the Wall Street Journal broke a story about a German Expressionist art work restituted at MOMA in New York that had been entangled in a 10-year-legal battle to return the work to its rightful owner, the Ludwig and Rosy Fischer Collection. That family has gifted the majority of its art collection here at the VFMA. And after some legal assistance from the VMFA, this new “gift-purchase” has now come home.
The painting, Sand Hills in Grünau by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, is currently on display at the museum. Not surprisingly, it has a long and eventful history.
Four Dutch Golden Age paintings that were stolen from the Westfries Museum in Hoorn, the Netherlands, 11 years ago were recovered by the Ukrainian secret services, the Ukrainian government has said.
The four paintings, with a total value of about 250,000 euros were among 24 paintings and 70 pieces of silver taken in a nighttime burglary in 2005. The missing art first resurfaced last year in connection with an ultranationalist militia in Ukraine, which requested a €5 million “finder’s fee” for the return of the works.
Someone broke into a Missouri art museum this week and stole an unknown number of prints of Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans.
The Springfield News-Leader reports the theft at the Springfield Art Museum happened between 5:30 p.m. Wednesday and 8:45 a.m. Thursday. Police spokeswoman Lisa Cox says the FBI and Interpol have been notified.
The website for London-based art auction house Christie’s says a similar 1968 color screenprint from Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup I series sold for more than US$30,000 in 2015.
The family of Korean artist Chun Kyung-ja (1924-2015) has filed a suit against the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA), furthering a controversy about the authenticity of one of her works.
Chun’s family said that the museum has abused the painter’s human rights through its long-held claims that the “Beautiful Woman” in the museum’s collection is one of Chun’s artworks, an assertion which was rebutted by the painter.
For decades, art collectors across the globe have opted to donate their collections to museums, but lately, private art collections are becoming modern-day museums. Reasons for this include fulfilling social responsibility, freeing up space in homes and taking advantage of the tax benefits.
Though there has been much hype about the recent growth in the number of private museums, this concept is nothing new. In the 1920s, when Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney offered to donate her extensive collection of American artworks to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, it was refused. So, she set up her own museum—The Whitney—which, to this day, focuses exclusively on American art and artists. Then, in the 1930s, Solomon R. Guggenheim (perhaps inspired by Gertrude Whitney) introduced the American public to the works of Wassily Kandinsky and Rudolf Bauer through his private collection. He soon began working with renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright on an iconic building to permanently house it.
Sometimes, when Anthony Amore gets frustrated by his 11-year hunt for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s stolen paintings, he and the FBI agents on the case will talk each other through the ways that other museums’ stolen masterpieces have come home.
If the 13 Gardner artworks swiped in 1990 are ever returned, will it be thanks to an old crook, ready to deal at last? A family member, sorting through inherited bric-a-brac in some long-locked New England attic? Or a tip from the public, someone who sees or hears a final clue?
Italian police have arrested 13 people yesterday for the theft of 17 Old Master paintings from the Museo di Castelvecchio in Verona last November, including the museum security guard.