Picasso

Tagsmart hand-pick: best 2017 exhibitions... so far!

What was the best exhibition you’ve been to over the past few months? Here are the Tagsmart team’s highlights of 2017 so far, plus what we’re looking forward to next!

Julie Smith, Business Development Manager
Wolfgang Tillmans at Tate Modern

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His abstract photography pieces were just beautiful, particularly Blushes #136 (2014). It was the first time that I saw photography executed in this way. By playing with chemicals and light, he created almost a painting through photography. Another work that drew me in was Tillmans’ luscious and foamy depiction of the sea in La Palma (2014). Very satisfying to look at.

My next exhibition: Kevin Callaghan at Doswell Gallery

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Aya Aroukatos, PR & Marketing Executive
Donna Huanca’s Scar Cymbals at the Zabludowicz Collection

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This exhibition at Zabludowicz Collection was the most moving exhibition that I had ever been to, leaving a permanent impression on me. 

Upon entering, I was faced with mostly naked men and women, wearing only latex, ripped bodystockings and slathers of paint. They moved in slow motion to the sound of a heavy bass, leaving remnants of paint on the glass installation and footsteps in the sand maze.

I thought that a room filled with naked people would put me on edge, but somehow I felt I could sit in the beautiful chapel and watch the scene with comfort, totally mesmerised by the passing models who seemed totally unaware of my presence.

The show could have been laughable, but Huanca executed it with a certain delicacy and fearlessness which I cannot contest.

My next exhibition: Michael Wolf’s Tokyo Compression at Flowers Gallery

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Julia Ferreira de Abreu, Marketing Manager
Joel Shapiro at Pace Gallery

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Back in the 1950/60s, Hélio Oiticica created the radical series of red, yellow, and orange hanging structures called Relevos Espaciais (Spatial Reliefs). Built from sheets of plywood, they intersect and overlap, leaving gaps through which light can pass. By transposing blocks of colour into space, Oiticica involved the viewers in a personal and immersive way with these three-dimensional constructions.

It seems to me a further step was taken in this direction with Joel Shapiro’s suspended sculptures, which seem to float and defy gravity. Open to several possible interpretations, his continuous study of the dynamics of form and colour confounds expectations and challenges our senses.  

My next exhibition: Giacometti at Tate Modern and The Discovery of Mondrian at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag 

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Steve Cooke, Chief Innovation Officer & Co-Founder
Picasso: Minotaurs and Matadors at Gagosian Grosvenor Hill 

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What fascinates me about him is his almost unique talent for creative composition, which is really clear in the works shown here. There was less emphasis on his paintings, which suited me because I don’t enjoy them as much! I bought several, of course – they took my cheque.

My next exhibition: The Other Art Fair at the Truman Brewery

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Pavel Baskakov, Product Development Manager
David Hockney at Tate Britain

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I loved the way it was set up. It was very interesting to see periods in his life divided by rooms and so much of his work in one place. The last room with digital iPad drawings just showed how talented he really is, that he could adapt quickly to new media.

My next exhibition: Summer Exhibition 2017 at the Royal Academy of Arts

Slovenian busted in Austrian investigation into art forgery

Austrian police have busted a multi-million forgery ring comprised of five Austrian and one Slovenian nationals. In the Slovenian part of the operation, Ljubljana police uncovered 66 works of art by acclaimed authors, including by Picasso, Klimt and Monet, at the home of a 65-year-old from the vicinity of Ljubljana.

New evidence in stolen Picassos case

Art dealer Olivier Thomas has been placed under investigation once again as new evidence has emerged in the ongoing investigation into stolen Picasso paintings. Last year, Picasso’s stepdaughter Catherine Hutin-Blay accused the dealer, who’s associated with former Freeport head Yves Bouvier, of stealing three works from her. Hutin-Blay alleged that three paintings, including two works by her stepfather that she had entrusted to Bouvier for storage, had been stolen and surreptitiously sold to Dmitry Rybolovlev without her consent.

Thomas was detained by French authorities in May of 2015, and the Brigade de Repression du Banditisme, a special unit of the French Ministry of the Interior, took over the investigation. But Thomas evaded formal charges in his first appearance at court on 9 November, 2015. Back then, he insisted that the works in question “meant nothing to him” and that he had never seen them before. He then emerged from the judge’s office as assisted witness. However, the investigation was still ongoing at the time.

Now, investigators who seized and searched his digital devices, found photos of the disputed artworks on his laptop that he had apparently taken himself.

Thomas was placed under investigation once again on July 6, in Paris by judge Isabelle Rich-Flament for “abuse of trust, fraud, concealment, and laundering” to the detriment of Hutin-Blay.

The judge had summoned Thomas for renewed questioning, and reminded him of his insistence that he had “never seen these pictures” before. The Justice maintained that Thomas had seen the works on multiple occasions, and that his feigned confusion is the crux of the problem.

Fake Monet, Renoir paintings cost dealer US$31M and his reputation

Alex Komolov, the owner of the Alskom Gallery in Manhattan, is in the midst of a six-year legal battle against his former business colleagues for allegedly selling him more than US$31 million worth of fake art. He’s seeking to recoup his money and restore his name.

Komolov claims David Segal and Mohamed Serry tricked him into buying US$30 million worth of fraudulent Monet, Vlaminck, Picasso and Manet paintings, among other antiques, between 2007 and 2009. Komolov purchased the works through his company High Value Trading and also claims Segal and Serry, owners of Artique Multinational, skipped out on paying US$4.2 million for his New York City condo in 2007.

In a second suit, Komolov is targeting Universe Antiques owner Jack Shaoul for allegedly selling him a fraudulent Renoir painting in 2011 for US$1.2 million.

Master forger Geert Jan Jansen presents own exhibition

The Dutch painter Geert Jan Jansen has just opened his new exhibition in List, Germany. Although this time the works on display are modelled after original masterpieces, they are not regarded as a forgery as they are signed by the artist with his own name. Some of the 135 exhibits are also his own work.

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The 72-year-old is well-known in the art world for his copying skills and is considered the “master forger of the century”. Jansen has forged works of over 40 different artists, including Pablo Picasso, Juan Miró, Paul Gauguin and Marc Chagall. He not only has copied artworks of these artists, but also used their individual artistic language to create original pieces and sign it their names. 

Jansen was arrested in 1994 in France, when over 1,500 artworks were seized. He was held in detention for six months, but was acquitted for lack of evidence. 

The exhibition runs until July 3rd.

Picasso vase worth US$30K stolen from art gallery

An Owl vase made by Pablo Picasso was swiped from a Manhattan gallery, police said Tuesday. The 10-inch ceramic piece is estimated to be worth about US$30,000. Chelsea’s ACA Gallery noticed that it was gone May 10, but a police report wasn’t filed until Monday.

A brush with the law: forger turns fine artist

He spent time in prison for forgery, but now David Henty has found a better use for his artistic skills. He’s discovered a talent for copying the works of geniuses like Van Gogh and Picasso. David, from Saltdean in Sussex, denies his paintings are fakes, but not everyone agrees. Ebay, for example, has banned him, as Malcolm Shaw reports.

Copycat artist defends sale of 'Grand Masters'

A reformed forger has rejected criticism that selling his near-perfect copies of world famous paintings is damaging the art world. David Henty, who has previously been convicted of forging passports and number plates, insisted he is simply allowing the public to own great artworks at an affordable price.

Until recently he sold forgeries of Van Gogh, Picasso and Modigliani online, auctioning off hundreds of his works through multiple eBay accounts. He trod a fine line between legality and law-breaking by never explicitly claiming – merely implying – that his reproductions might be authentic originals.

How not to sell stolen art

Art dealer Kenneth Hendel recently found himself in a sticky situation: He was in possession of stolen art. The Florida-based dealer purchased a painting by Picasso after it failed to sell at auction. After the purchase, Wilma “Billie” Tisch, the rightful owner, discovered the painting’s whereabouts and demanded its return. Hendel claims that he is now the rightful owner. The dealer is confident that he will not be forced to return the work because he is working under the assumption that Florida law protects his purchase. He claims that “the piece belongs to the last person who purchased it if it has passed through at least two people since the theft.” This is simply not true.

While it is true that certain aspects of the law in Florida are more forgiving towards current possessors than would be the case under New York law, there are major misconceptions in Hendel’s analysis. There is no law, in any state, that allows someone to gain title over a work after it has passed through a requisite number of exchanges. In fact, a work can be sold by a hundred dealers and yet still belong to an original owner.

Picasso works stolen from German collection

Several artworks, including 11 lithographs by Pablo Picasso, were stolen from the corporate collection of Portigon AG, a financial services company from North Rhine-Westphalia.

Portigon was formed in 2012 as the legal successor WestLB, the Western German state Bank. A spokesperson for the company confirmed the theft this past Friday in Düsseldorf.

When you're so rich you don't notice your Picasso is missing

Billionaire socialite Wilma “Billie” Tisch is suing a Florida gallery owner for trying to sell a US$1 million Picasso that was stolen from her Manhattan home — sometime after December 2009, according to court papers.

Tisch, 88, only recently discovered the 1928 portrait of the famed painter’s mistress, Marie-Therese Walter, was missing.

Yves Bouvier pushes to have New York art consultant’s dealings revealed in US court

The New York-based art consultant Sandy Heller has disclosed he was employed by Dmitry Rybolovlev, the Russian billionaire and owner of AS Monaco football club, as an art adviser in February 2015. Heller’s position was revealed in an affidavit he submitted to a US federal court in December following a petition filed by the Swiss freeport magnate, Yves Bouvier, to have Heller questioned about his dealings with the Russian collector. Bouvier is now pushing to have further documents connected to the sale of a painting by Modigliani disclosed.

Battle over $105M Picasso sculpture heats up

The latest filing in the ongoing legal battle between ex-Christie’s Impressionist head Guy Bennett, and power dealer Larry Gagosian exposed further details about the chronology of two competing sales of the same work. It also shines a light on disagreements between Picasso’s heirs about how works in the lucrative, multi-billion-dollar estate are handled and distributed.