Art Movements

This week in art news: “Salvator Mundi” became the most expensive work ever sold at auction, the final missing piece of Magritte’s “The Enchanted Pose” was discovered, and Walmart removed posters from its wall art collection after the images were identified as photographs documenting the detention of Japanese-Americans during WWII.

Leonardo da Vinci, “Salvator Mundi” (c.1500), oil on panel, 25 7/8 x 18 in.(65.7 x 45.7 cm) (courtesy Christie’s)

Art Movements is a weekly collection of news, developments, and stirrings in the art world. Subscribe to receive these posts as a weekly newsletter.

“Salvator Mundi” (c. 1500) sold at Christie’s for $450,312,500 (inc. buyer’s premium) after just under 20 minutes of bidding, becoming the most expensive artwork ever sold at auction. Christie’s hired an outside PR firm for the first time in order to conduct its marketing campaign — branded “The last da Vinci” — which included a video of viewers stunned in awe before the painting. The record price was set despite concerns regarding the precise attribution of the work from figures like Michael Daley, Frank Zöllner, and Jerry Saltz. A Guardian article published last month regarding Walter Isaacson‘s new biography of Leonardo was later revised with an editor’s note explaining that the piece “is the subject of a legal complaint made on behalf of Christie’s International Plc.” Isaacson subsequently took to Facebook to clarify his stance that the work was created by Leonardo.

The number of natural World Heritage sites imperiled by climate change has almost doubled in three years according to a new report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The NYPD are searching for a young woman filmed on in-store surveillance mailing back two photographs stolen from MoMA PS1. AM New York identified the two prints as works by Carolee Schneemann, whose current retrospective continues at the museum through March 11.

The late artist Rosemarie Koczy (1939–2007) allegedly faked her life story, according to a New York Times report by Annalisa Quinn. A team of German archivists working over the summer were unable to corroborate Koczy’s claim that she was imprisoned in Nazi concentration camps. The team found documents describing the family as Roman Catholic rather than Jewish. Koczy’s husband, Louis Pelosi, has disputed the claims, citing the family’s need to convert to Catholicism as a necessary step to elude the Nazis.

The Old Vic claimed to have received 20 complaints regarding alleged sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior by Kevin Spacey, who served as the theatre’s artistic director between 2004 and 2015.

A dozen men and women accused art collector François Odermatt of sexual misconduct in allegations published by Canadian newspaper La Presse.

DC Comics editor Eddie Berganza was fired after Buzzfeed published a report detailing multiple sexual harassment allegations.

The fourth and last missing piece of Rene Magritte’s “The Enchanted Pose” (1927) was discovered at a museum in Brussels with the use of x-ray imaging. Other sections were discovered at Norwich Castle (January) and the Museum of Modern Art (2013).

The only known photograph of René Magritte’s “La Pose Enchantée” (1927). The image was included in the artist’s catalogue raisonné (courtesy Norwich Castle)

Laura Owens published a statement in response to a protest by anti-gentrification activists at the VIP opening of her exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Marina Abramović published a statement in response to the New York Post‘s story on her Kickstarter project and the scrapping of the planned Marina Abramović Institute (MAI).

Protestors demonstrated outside Sotheby’s to demand the return of works from the Berkshire Museum’s collection. The works were withdrawn from sale on Monday evening after a preliminary injunction was granted by Massachusetts appeals court judge Justice Joseph Trainor.

Walmart removed a selection of posters from its website after author Jamie Ford identified the images as photographs of Japanese-American incarceration during World War II. The posters were described on Walmart’s website as “the perfect Wall Art for any home, bedroom, playroom, classroom, dorm room or office workspace.”

The Smithsonian raised over $341,000 on Kickstarter for an anthology of hip-hop and rap, over $118,000 in excess of its $250,000 goal.

EarthCam published a 3 minute time-lapse video documenting the eight-year construction of the Louvre Abu Dhabi.


Viktor Pivovarov, “No. 2, Sacralizators for a Friendly Party” from the album Sacralizators, (1979), graphite and colored pencil on paper, 29.6 x 24.1 cm, Norton and Nancy Dodge Collection of Nonconformist Art from the Soviet Union (photo by Jack Abraham)

The Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University acquired the Dodge Collection of Soviet Nonconformist Art.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art received an $80 million bequest from trustee Florence Irving and her late husband, Herbert Irving.

The Art for Justice Fund awarded a total of $22 million in grants to 30 arts programs dedicated to criminal justice reform.

The Het Noordbrabants Museum acquired Vincent van Gogh’s “Le Moulin à l’eau” (1884) at Sotheby’s for $3,135,000 (inc. buyer’s premium).

Marc Chagall’s “Les Amoureux” (1928) was sold at Sotheby’s for $28,453,000, an auction record for the artist.

The Bastian family donated over 200 artworks to the German city of Chemnitz. The gift includes works by Joseph Beuys, Robert Rauschenberg, Gerhard Richter, and Luc Tuymans.

The Joan Mitchell Foundation awarded $625,000 in grants to 25 artists.

The Rema Hort Mann Foundation awarded $10,000 each to eight New-York based emerging artists.

The McNay Art Museum acquired John M. Parker, Jr’s collection of Minimal and Conceptual art. The gift includes works by Alice Aycock, Donald Judd, Zoe Leonard, Agnes Martin, Robert Rauschenberg, and Frank Stella.

The Clark Art Institute acquired Alexandre-Jean Dubois-Drahonet’s “Portrait of Achille Deban de Laborde” (1817).

Alexandre Jean Dubois-Drahonet, “Portrait of Achille Deban de Laborde” (1817), oil on canvas, 59 x 39.6 inches, Clark Art Institute


Olga Viso will step down as director of the Walker Art Center.

Lawrence J. Wheeler will retire as the director of the North Carolina Museum next November.

Laura Copelin was promoted to executive director of Ballroom Marfa.

Darsie Alexander was appointed chief curator of the Jewish Museum in New York.

Ryan D. Mahoney was appointed executive director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University.

Dieter Roelstraete was appointed curator of the University of Chicago’s Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society.

Participant Inc appointed seven new members to its board of trustees: Derrick Adams, Jeffrey Gibson, Justin Vivian Bond, April Hunt, Rose Lord, Sheri Pasquarella, and Elisabeth Sussman.

Tania Ragasol was appointed artistic director of  Zona Maco. Marisol Barbosa, the fair’s coordinator, was promoted to managing director.

The Memphis College of Art announced that it will cease operations, citing “declining enrollment, overwhelming real estate debt and no viable long-term plan for financial sustainability.”

Lincoln Center announced that it will discontinue the Lincoln Center Festival.

Janaina Tschäpe is now represented by Sean Kelly.


César Dezfuli, “Amadou Sumaila” (2016), from the Passengers series (© César Dezfuli)

Cesar Dezfuli was awarded the 2017 Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize. The second and third prizes were awarded to Abbie Trayler-Smith and Maija Tammi respectively.

Kerstin Brätsch received the 2017 Edvard Munch Award.

The Studio Museum in Harlem announced its 2018 artists in residence; Allison Janae Hamilton, Tschabalala Self, and Sable Elyse Smith.

Ade Omotosho was awarded the Pérez Art Museum Miami’s inaugural Ford Foundation Curatorial Fellowship.

The Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College (CCS Bard), will award the 2018 Audrey Irmas Award for Curatorial Excellence to Lia Gangitano [via email announcement].

The Wexner Center for the Arts at the Ohio State University announced its 2017–18 Wexner Center Artist Residency Award recipients.


The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation is accepting applications for its Archives Research Travel Fund through December 15, 2017.


Patrick Nagatani, “Kwahu/Hopi Eagle Kachina, White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico” (1989 & 1993), chromogenic print (Ilfocolor Deluxe), 17 x 22 and 27 1/2 x 33 inches (via

Paul Buckmaster (1946–2017), musician, arranger, and composer.

Shannon Michael Cane (1974–2017), curator and editor. Fairs & editions curator for Printed Matter.

Debra Chasnoff (1957–2017) documentarian.

Fred Cole (1948–2017), guitarist and singer. Member of Dead Moon.

Frank Corsaro (1924–2017), theater and opera director.

Robert De Cormier (1922–2017), choral director, composer, and conductor.

Harry Geffert (1934–2017), artist.

Frank Holder (1925–2017), jazz singer and percussionist.

Pat Hutchins (1942–2017), artist and illustrator.

Marcel Imsand (1929–2017), photographer.

Karl Katz (1929–2017), curator and museum director.

Katie Lee (1919–2017), folk singer.

Sarah Maguire (1957–2017), poet and translator.

Patrick Nagatani (1945–2017), photographer and collagist.

Eric Newman (1911–2017), numismatist.

Lil Peep (Gustav Ahr) (1996–2017), rapper.

Ray Robinson (1920–2017), biographer and magazine editor.

Gilbert Rogin (1929–2017), writer and magazine editor.

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