Art Movements

Roy Lichtenstein, “The Ring (Engagement)” (1962), oil on canvas, 48 x 70 inches. The work sold for $41,690,000 at the Sotheby’s contemporary evening sale. (courtesy Sotheby’s)

Art Movements is a weekly collection of news, developments, and stirrings in the art world.

Christie’s sold over a billion dollars of art in a single week. A summary of the Sotheby’sChristie’s, and Phillips contemporary evening sales can be found at Art Market Monitor. Here’s a selection of some of the world record artist prices set this week:


  • Lucian Freud, “Benefits Supervisor Resting” (1994), $56,165,000
  • Robert Rauschenberg, “Johanson’s Painting” (1961), $18,645,000
  • Robert Ryman, “Bridge” (1980), $20,605,000


  • Helen Frankenthaler, “Saturn Revisited” (1964), $2,830,000
  • Sigmar Polke, “Dschungel (Jungle)” (1967), $27,130,000
  • Christopher Wool, “Untitled (RIOT)” (1990), $29,930,000


  • James Lee Byars, “The Figure of Death” (1986), $761,000
  • Fred Sandback, “Broadway Boogie Woogie…” (1991/2006), $545,000
  • Rudolf Stingel, “Untitled” (2012), $4,757,000

Rumors persist that the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) is considering deaccessioning several works, including Vincent van Gogh’s “Vase with Carnations” (1886). The move would undoubtedly be controversial considering the museum’s $100 million contribution to the “grand bargain,” an agreement that permanently transferred ownership of the DIA’s city-owned art to the museum itself.

Catherine Hutin-Blay, Picasso’s stepdaughter, accused Parisian dealer Olivier Thomas of stealing artworks that he was allegedly storing on her behalf.

Napoleonic finial in the form of an eagle (1813-1814), bronze (via

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum offered a new $100,000 reward for the recovery of the Napoleonic finial that was stolen during the infamous 1990 heist at the museum.

A German court approved the return of two paintings from the Cornelius Gurlitt art trove, the first works to be returned to the heirs of their rightful owners. The paintings are Henri Matisse’s “Woman Sitting in an Armchair” (1921) and Max Liebermann’s “Two Riders on the Beach” (1901).

Pleas for an air conditioning system from curators at the Borghese Gallery are consistently being ignored by the Italian government. Kristina Hermann Fiore, the museum’s former director, told the Telegraph that works such as Raphael’s “The Deposition” (1507) are sustaining serious damage. “It is plain to anyone that the artwork has curved so much at either end that you can now see not only the inside of the frame, but even the wall behind,” she said. “The situation needed to be addressed immediately.”

Convicted art forger Wolfgang Beltracchi is holding his first exhibition, following his release from prison.

Twenty-seven of the so-called “Black Spider Memos,” a collection of private correspondence between the Prince of Wales and the former Labour government, were published following a long legal battle by the Guardian. The letters, considered by many as a violation of the royal family’s tradition of political neutrality, document the Prince’s concerns on economic, military, and cultural matters. In a 2005 letter to the then Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell, Charles expressed his desire to assist with the conservation of the Antarctic settlements built by the Scott and Shackleton expeditions: “…it poses some difficult questions — both for your department, and for the Heritage Lottery Fund, which I gather is not constituted to help projects overseas. But, on the other hand, I thought there was something called the ‘The Government of the British Antarctic Territory,’ which must mean that there is some British territory to be ‘governed!'”

Fifteen schools, including the Art Institute of Jacksonville, will close following a 2011 investigation of the Education Management Corporation by the US Department of Justice. The for-profit education company has been accused of targeting low-income families and saturating local job markets.

Seven institutions in upstate New York and Connecticut will collaborate to stage a series of art exhibitions, each based on one of the seven deadly sins.

Adrien Broom, “Envy and Temptation” (2015), digital print (courtesy Hudson River Museum)

The future auction proceeds of a 13th-century Madonna and Child — which was withdrawn from Sotheby’s last year after the Art Recovery Group flagged it as a stolen work — are to be divided between the heirs of its original owners and its current consignor as part of a settlement agreement.

Chris Burden’s final completed artwork, “Ode to Santos Dumont,” will go on display at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art for one month. Described by Burden’s longtime dealer Larry Gagosian as “Chris’s personal spaceship,” the work is a tribute to Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont.

Congressional leaders appointed figures from the broadcasting, museum, fundraising, and anti-abortion fields as part of the creation of a National Women’s History Museum.

Ken Simon, a teacher at Raymore-Peculiar High School in Missouri, was forced to retire after screening Boys Beware (1959), an infamous public information film describing homosexuals as “mentally ill,” as part of a lesson demonstrating the changing attitudes towards homosexuality. Alex Taylor, a former student, launched a petition calling upon the school to reinstate Simon.

The last will and testament of Robert Ellsworth, a major collector of Asian art, left Maureen Donohue-Peters and her neice Maureen Barrie — both of whom are waitresses at his favorite steak house — with $50,000 each.

A new documentary, The Collector, charts the collection of Eric Edwards, whose Clinton Hill apartment contains over 1,600 pieces of African art.

John Hopkins University is exploring the possibility of constructing a $100-million student center on the site of its $17 million Mattin Center arts complex.

The opening of M+, a museum project in the West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong, was pushed back to 2019.

US President Barack Obama announced the site of his future presidential library in a video with the first lady. The Barack Obama Library and Museum will open in south side Chicago, one of four sites that had been proposed. The chosen site has already been the subject of controversy since it will use up 20 acres of park land.

The Rijksmuseum is aiming to digitize its entire collection by 2020.

Long Island City’s Clock Tower was officially landmarked less than a year after a preservation campaign was launched.

The New York Observer‘s Ryan Steadman criticized an exhibition curated by Vito Schnabel that was due to opens tomorrow. The show, which professes to include work that “immediately conveys its significance,” only includes work by white male artists — including Julian Schnabel, Vito’s father. The public opening has since been called off, and the exhibition will only be open by appointment.

Kenneth Baker, senior art critic at the San Francisco Chroniclesince 1985, announced his retirement today. “San Francisco has become inhospitable to gallery activity and art production alike,” he wrote, “through escalating rents, a perpetual parking crisis, and above all by what appears to be a desertion of old cultural forms by new money.”


Stephan A. Schwarzman will donate $150 million toward Yale University’s new performing arts center. The center, which is scheduled to open in 2020, will be named the Schwarzman Center.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Art each acquired works by Harlem Renaissance artist Aaron Douglas.

The Contemporary Austin acquired Tom Friedman’s sculpture “Looking Up” (2015).


Philip Guston, "Meeting" (1969) in the McKee Gallery booth at Frieze New York (photo by Benjamin Sutton for Hyperallergic)
Philip Guston, “Meeting” (1969) in the McKee Gallery booth at Frieze New York (photo by Benjamin Sutton for Hyperallergic)

New York’s McKee Gallery is closing down after 41 years. The gallery’s owners, David and Renee Conforte McKee, attributed their decision to the current state of the art world. “The value of art is now perceived as its monetary value,” a joint statement reads. “The art world has become a stressful, unhealthy place; its focus on fashion, brands, and economics robs it of the great art experience, of connoisseurship, and of trust”.

The Casa Daros cultural center in Rio De Janeiro will close at the end of the year.

The Estate of Jack Tworkov is now represented by Alexander Gray Associates.

Timothy Rodgers was appointed the director of the Wolfsonian-FIU.

Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev will assume the directorship of the so-called “superfondazione,” the result of a merger between the Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art and the GAM.

Stephanie Cash assumed the role of interim executive director of Atlanta art non-profit BURNAWAY following Susannah Darrow’s appointment as executive director of

The Royal Academy of Arts unveiled the designs for its 250th anniversary redevelopment.


Adrian Piper was awarded the Golden Lion for best artist at the Venice Biennale, while Armenia received the prize for best national pavilion.

Angela Grauerholz was awarded the fifth annual Scotiabank Photography Award.

The Dallas Museum of Art announced the recipients of its 2015 Awards to Artists.

The Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance announced the recipients of the 2015 Baker Artist Awards.

The nominees for the 2015 Kubus. Sparda Art Prize were announced.


Chris Burden, “Trans-fixed” (April 23, 1974). Performance, Venice, California. Documentary photograph in three-ring binder (photo by Thomas Micchelli for Hyperallergic)

Chris Burden (1946–2015), artist.

Dorothee Fischer (1937–2015), art dealer. Wife of Konrad Fischer (1939–1996).

Peter Gay (1923–2015), historian. Author of books on Freud, Voltaire, and the Enlightenment.

Menashe Kadishman (1932–2015), sculptor.

Val E. Lewton (1937–2015), exhibition designer.

Felicity Powell (1961–2015), artist and curator.

Rachel Rosenthal (1926–2015), artist.

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