News

Hockney Painting Becomes Most Expensive Work Sold by a Living Artist, and US Returns Bells of Balangiga to Philippines

Plus, the Smithsonian acquires an Arthur Jafa video, and a Nazi-looted painting is returned to its heirs.

David Hockney, "Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)" (1972), acrylic on canvas, 84 x 120 inches (image courtesy Christie's)
David Hockney, “Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)” (1972), acrylic on canvas, 84 x 120 inches (image courtesy Christie’s)

Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening sale in New York brought in a total of $357,622,500 on November 15. The sale’s top lot, David Hockney’s “Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)” (1972), sold for $90,312,500, becoming the most expensive work ever sold by a living artist.

Installation view of Arthur Jafa, “Love is the Message, The Message is Death” (2016) in <em>The Message: New Media Works</em> at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, 2017 (image courtesy Arthur Jafa and Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York/ Rome, photo by Cathy Carver)
Installation view of Arthur Jafa, “Love is the Message, The Message is Death” (2016) in The Message: New Media Works at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, 2017 (image courtesy Arthur Jafa and Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York/ Rome, photo by Cathy Carver)

The Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden have jointly acquired Arthur Jafa’s single-channel video “Love is the Message, The Message is Death” (2016). This is the first joint acquisition between the two museums. Funding for the acquisition comes from the Joseph H. Hirshhorn Bequest Fund; Nion T. McEvoy, chair of the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s commission; and gifts made in McEvoy’s honor by his fellow commissioners. The video was recently on view in the Hirshhorn’s exhibition The Message: New Media Works and features “original and appropriated footage, exploring the mix of joy and pain, transcendence and tragedy that characterize the African American experience at this historical moment,” according to the press release.

Edward Hopper, "Two Comedians" (1966), oil on canvas, 29 x 40 inches (image courtesy Sotheby's)
Edward Hopper, “Two Comedians” (1966), oil on canvas, 29 x 40 inches (image courtesy Sotheby’s)

Sotheby’s sale of American Art in New York brought in a total of $44,101,950 on November 16. The sale’s top lot, Edward Hopper’sTwo Comedians” (1966), sold for $12,492,200.

Cy Twombly, "Untitled" (1970), oil, wax crayon, and graphite on paper, 27 3/8 by 34 3/8 inches (image courtesy Sotheby's)
Cy Twombly, “Untitled” (1970), oil, wax crayon, and graphite on paper, 27 3/8 by 34 3/8 inches (image courtesy Sotheby’s)

Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Day Auction in New York brought in a total of $99,881,625 on November 15. The sale’s top lot, Cy Twombly’sUntitled” (1970), sold for $3,135,000.

Gerhard Richter, "Abstraktes Bild" (1987), oil on canvas, 2 panels, each: 102 3/8 x 78 7/8 inches, overall: 102 3/8 x 157 3/4 inches (images courtesy Sotheby's)
Gerhard Richter, “Abstraktes Bild” (1987), oil on canvas, 2 panels, each: 102 3/8 x 78 7/8 inches, overall: 102 3/8 x 157 3/4 inches (images courtesy Sotheby’s)

Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction in New York brought in a total of $314,018,000 on November 14. The sale’s top lot, Gerhard Richter’sAbstraktes Bild” (1987), sold for $33,604,500.

Willem De Kooning, "Untitled" (1987), oil on canvas, 88 x 77 inches (image courtesy Sotheby's)
Willem De Kooning, “Untitled”(1987), oil on canvas, 88 x 77 inches (image courtesy Sotheby’s)

Sotheby’s The History of Now: The Collection of David Teiger, Sold to Benefit Teiger Foundation for the Support of Contemporary Art sale in New York brought in a total of $48,540,700 on November 14. The sale’s top lot, Willem De Kooning’sUntitled” (1987), sold for $9,331,000.

George Leslie Hunter, "Still Life with Roses and Fruit," oil on canvas,18 x 15 inches (image courtesy Sotheby's)
George Leslie Hunter, “Still Life with Roses and Fruit,” oil on canvas, 18 x 15 inches (image courtesy Sotheby’s)

Sotheby’s Scottish Art sale in London brought in a total of £925,375 (~$1,187,000) on November 20. The sale’s top lot, George Leslie Hunter’sStill Life With Roses and Fruit” (c. 1920s), sold for £187,500 (~$240,000).

Raqib Shaw, "Napoleon I – Of Beasts & Super Beasts" (2012), acrylic, enamel, and rhinestones on canvas, 73 1/4 x 59 1/2 inches (image courtesy Sotheby's)
Raqib Shaw, “Napoleon I – Of Beasts & Super Beasts” (2012), acrylic, enamel, and rhinestones on canvas, 73 1/4 x 59 1/2 inches (image courtesy Sotheby’s)

Sotheby’s Contemporary Curated sale in London brought in a total of £1,888,751 (~$2,422,000) on November 20. The sale’s top lot, Raqib Shaw’sNapoleon I – Of Beasts & Super Beasts” (2012), sold for £200,000 (~$256,000).

François-Xavier Lalanne, "Hippopotame III" (designed in 1991, case in 2000), patinated and gilt bronze, 24 3/8 x 48 7/8 x 15 1/2 inches (image courtesy Sotheby's)
François-Xavier Lalanne, “Hippopotame III” (designed in 1991, case in 2000), patinated and gilt bronze, 24 3/8 x 48 7/8 x 15 1/2 inches (image courtesy Sotheby’s)

Sotheby’s Design sale in Paris brought in a total of €7,346,375 (~$8,377,000) on November 20. The sale’s top lot, François-Xavier Lalanne’sHippopotame III,” designed in 1991, realized in 2000, sold for €369,000 (~$421,000).

Jean-Michel Basquiat, "Untitled" (1983), silkscreen ink on canvas, 57 1/2 x 75 1/2 inches (image courtesy Christie's)
Jean-Michel Basquiat, “Untitled” (1983), silkscreen ink on canvas, 57 1/2 x 75 1/2 inches (image courtesy Christie’s)

Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Afternoon Session in New York brought in a total of $31,737,250 on November 16. The sale’s top lot, Jean-Michel Basquiat’sUntitled” (1983), sold for $2,532,500.

Ed Ruscha, "Ruby" (1968), oil on canvas, 20 x 24 inches (image courtesy Christie's)
Ed Ruscha, “Ruby” (1968), oil on canvas, 20 x 24 inches (image courtesy Christie’s)

Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Morning Session in New York brought in a total of $63,354,500 on November 16. The sale’s top lot, Ed Ruscha’sRuby” (1968), sold for $3,252,500.

Pair of monumental vases in closed emaux mounted on their bases in bronze patina and gold, China, Qing Dynasty (1796–1820), mounts and bases by Ferdinand Barbedienne, the drawings assigned to Edouard Lievre, second half of Xixeme Century
Pair of monumental vases in closed emaux mounted on their bases in bronze patina and gold, China, Qing Dynasty (1796–1820), mounts and bases by Ferdinand Barbedienne, the drawings assigned to Edouard Lievre, second half of Xixeme Century (image courtesy Christie’s)
Boucheron, pin art nouveau (1902), enamel, sapphires, and diamonds (image courtesy Christie's)
Boucheron, pin art nouveau (1902), enamel, sapphires, and diamonds (image courtesy Christie’s)

Christie’s Japonisme sale in Paris brought in a total of €1,698,938 (~$1,945,000) on November 15. The sale’s top lots, pin art nouveau enamel, sapphires and diamonds by Boucheron (1902) and a pair of monumental vases in closed emaux mounted on their bases in bronze patina and gold, each sold for €355,500 (~$407,000).

Victor Vasarely, "Bakson" (1966), tempera on board, 6 3/4 x 6 3/4 inches (image courtesy Christie's)
Victor Vasarely, “Bakson” (1966), tempera on board, 6 3/4 x 6 3/4 inches (image courtesy Christie’s)

Christie’s online sale of Selections from the Israel Museum, Jerusalem Sold to Benefit the Acquisitions Fund brought in a total of $217,500 from November 9–15. The sale’s top lot, Victor Vasarely’sBakson” (1966), sold for $37,500.

Morris Kantor, "Orchestra" (1923), oil on canvas, 35 1/4 x 34 1/4 inches (image courtesy Christie's)
Morris Kantor, “Orchestra” (1923), oil on canvas, 35 1/4 x 34 1/4 inches (image courtesy Christie’s)

Christie’s An American Place: The Barney A. Ebsworth Collection Day Sale in New York brought in a total of $5,302,250 on November 14. The sale’s top lot, Morris Kantor’s “Orchestra” (1923), sold for $516,500.

Claude Lalanne, armchair, "Crocodile," model created in 2014, this achieved in 2016 (image courtesy Christie's)
Claude Lalanne, armchair, “Crocodile,” model created in 2014, this achieved in 2016 (image courtesy Christie’s)

Christie’s Design sale in Paris brought in a total of €5,395,000 (~$6,177,000) on November 14. The sale’s top lot, Claude Lalanne’s armchair, “Crocodile” (2016), sold for €667,500 (~$764,000).

A copper articulated sculpture of a dragon, Meiji-Taisho period (early 20th century), 51 1/4 inches (image courtesy Christie's)
A copper articulated sculpture of a dragon, Meiji-Taisho period (early 20th century), 51 1/4 inches (image courtesy Christie’s)

Christie’s Edo to Post-War: 500 Years of Japanese Art and Design online sale brought in a total of $460,125 from November 12–19. The sale’s top lot, a copper articulated sculpture of a dragon, Meiji-Taisho period (early 20th century), sold for $50,000.

Laurence Stephen Lowry, R.A., "A Northern Race Meeting" (1956), oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches (image courtesy Christie's)
Laurence Stephen Lowry, R.A., “A Northern Race Meeting” (1956), oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches (image courtesy Christie’s)

Christie’s Modern British Art Evening sale in London brought in a total of £17,875,750 (~$22,915,000) on November 19. The sale’s top lot, Laurence Stephen Lowry, R.A.’sA Northern Race Meeting” (1956), sold for £5,296,250 (~$6,789,000).

Christie’s Modern British Art Day sale in London brought in a total of £4,397,750 (~$5,625,000) on November 20. The sale’s top lot, Ben Nicholson, O.M.’s1940 (St. Ives, version 3)” (1940), sold for £272,750 (~$349,000).

Joan Miró, "Femme dans la nuit" (1945), oil on canvas, 51 1/8 x 64 inches (image courtesy Phillips)
Joan Miró, “Femme dans la nuit” (1945), oil on canvas, 51 1/8 x 64 inches (image courtesy Phillips)

Phillips’s 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening sale in New York brought in a total of $88,536,500 on November 15. The sale’s top lot, Joan Miró’sFemme dans la nuit” (1945), sold for $22,590,000.

Tomoo Gokita, "Club Mature" (2015), acrylic gouache on linen, 76 x 102 inches (image courtesy Phillips)
Tomoo Gokita, “Club Mature” (2015), acrylic gouache on linen, 76 x 102 inches (image courtesy Phillips)

Phillips’s 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale Morning and Afternoon Sessions in New York brought in a total of $25,532,625 on November 14. The sale’s top lot, Tomoo Gokita’s “Club Mature” (2015), sold for $807,000.

Johannes Hermanus Koekkoek, "Storm at Sea" (1841), (© Concordia University, via Concordia University's Flickrstream)
Johannes Hermanus Koekkoek, “Storm at Sea” (1841), (© Concordia University, via Concordia University’s Flickrstream)

The German auction house Künstlerverein Malkasten has returned Johannes Hermanus Koekkoek’s Nazi-looted painting “Storm at Sea” (1841) to the heirs of Jewish art dealer Max Stern, who fled Nazi Germany in 1938. This is the 18th painting recovered on behalf of the Max and Iris Stern Foundation. The Max Stern Art Restitution Project, which lists all the missing art on its website, received a tip that the painting would be offered for sale at the auction house. After negotiations, the piece was restituted to Stern’s estate, and the auctioneer, Frank Hargesheimer, compensated the painting’s consignor.

A sixth-century Byzantine mosaic depicting Saint Mark, stolen from Cyprus in the 1970s, has been returned to the country by Arthur Brand, a Dutch art investigator. Brand had received a tip from a London art dealer and travelled to Monaco to track down the piece. “It was in the possession of a British family, who bought the mosaic in good faith more than four decades ago,” Brand said to Agence France-Presse. “They were horrified when they found out that it was, in fact, a priceless art treasure, looted from the Kanakaria Church after the Turkish invasion.” The family returned the piece to Cyprus “for a small fee,” according to Al-Jazeera. The mosaic is estimated at five to 10 million Euros.

Jose Romualdez, Philippine Ambassador to the United States, and Defense Secretary James N. Mattis, stand for a photo, November 14, 2018, in front of the bells of Balangiga on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Braydon Williams, image via F.E. Warren Air Force Base)
Jose Romualdez, Philippine Ambassador to the United States, and Defense Secretary James N. Mattis, stand for a photo, November 14, 2018, in front of the bells of Balangiga on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming (US Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Braydon Williams, image via F.E. Warren Air Force Base)

The United States has returned the Bells of Balangiga to the Philippines last week during a veterans remembrance event at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming. At the event, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis presented the bells to Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Romualdez. On September 28, 1901, 45 US soldiers were killed in the town of Balangiga, and afterwards, US forces launched a counterattack killing “anywhere from hundreds to thousands of people in the Philippines,” according to NBC News. After the counterattack, US forces took the bells as a war trophy. Two of the three bells have been on display at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, while the third has been on display at a US Army museum in South Korea. All three bells will be restored and returned by December, despite opposition from Wyoming’s Congressional delegation, which did not attend the event.

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