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The National Galleries of Scotland have acquired Salvador Dalí’s “Lobster Telephone” (1938), which went on display this week at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh. Dalí made a total of 11 plaster lobster receivers to fit telephones in the homes of Edward James, his main patron in the 1930s. Currently, a red version sits in the Tate in London, and the others are spread across museums around the world. The white version acquired by the National Galleries of Scotland remained with the Edward James Foundation in West Sussex and was recently sold at auction. It was set to leave Britain, but because of its artistic and historical importance was subject to “an export license deferral,” allowing UK museums the chance to match the auction price. Through the Henry and Sula Walton Fund and the Art Fund, the National Galleries of Scotland were able to acquire the piece for £853,000 (~$1,077,000).
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston has received a gift of 183 Chinese paintings and calligraphy comprising the Wan-go H.C. Weng Collection, passed down through six generations of a single family. Wan-go H.C. Weng, a collector and connoisseur of Chinese painting, made the donation with his family. Weng’s great-great-grandfather began the collection during the 19th century. In total, there are 130 paintings, 31 works of calligraphy, 18 ink rubbings, and four textiles from 13 centuries and five imperial dynasties. In the fall of 2019, an exhibition of highlights from the Weng Collection will go on display.
The J. Paul Getty Museum has acquired Vilhelm Hammershøi’s painting “Interior with an Easel, Bredgade 25” (1912). The painting has never been exhibited before and went on the market for the first time in 2018. “[W]e are delighted to be able to add this extraordinary work by one of the most important Scandinavian artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries to our collection,” said Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “Hammershøi clearly saw himself in the tradition of old master painters (he is often touted as ‘the modern Vermeer’), and I am sure visitors will see many resonances with our paintings by other great northern European artists, such as Caspar David Friedrich, Fernand Khnopff, and Edvard Munch.” The painting went on view on December 18 in the West Pavilion galleries. [via email announcement]
The Vancouver Art Gallery has announced the acquisition of 334 works through private donors. Those pieces include a photo series by Sarah Anna Johnson, works by Elad Lassry, a portfolio of pieces by Fred Herzog, and contemporary works by Indigenous artists Brian Jungen, Sonny Assu, and Wayne Alfred. The Gallery plans to host a series of exhibitions on the fourth floor in 2019 to highlight these new acquisitions. [via email announcement]
The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis has acquired two interdisciplinary works: American jazz pianist Jason Moran’s installation STAGED: Slugs’ Saloon (2018) and Cypriot choreographer Maria Hassabi’s live installation STAGING: solo (2017). The works were commissioned by the Walker and supported by a $1 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. [via email announcement]
The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) has acquired 48 works of art that include paintings by Meleko Mokgosi and Amy Sherald; photographs by Louise Lawler, Wolfgang Tillmans, and Carrie Mae Weems; sculptures by Melvin Edwards and Senga Nengudi; and textiles by Stephen Towns. Also included in the acquisition are 35 prints, drawings, and photographs from the collection of Mary and Paul Roberts, with works by Richard Diebenkorn, Jasper Johns, Glenn Ligon, Elizabeth Murray, Gabriel Orozco, Martin Puryear, Gerhard Richter, and more. The acquisitions were made possible as a result of the BMA’s decision to deaccession seven works from its contemporary collection through Sotheby’s sales. Proceeds from those sales have gone to the acquisition of works from 1943 or later, with a focus on artists of color and women. [via email announcement]
Sotheby’s sale of Fine Autograph Letters and Manuscripts from a Distinguished Private Collection: Part II, Music, Americana, English and Continental Literature in New York brought in a total of $527,380 on December 13. The sale’s top lot, an autographed letter signed “Oscar Wilde,” sold for $75,000.
Sotheby’s sale of Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite, & British Impressionist Art in London brought in a total of £3,210,375 (~$4,068,000) on December 13. The sale’s top lot, John William Godward’s “At the Fountain” (1893), sold for £370,000 (~$469,000).
Sotheby’s Art of Travel and Exploration sale in London brought in a total of £371,875 (~$471,000) on December 13. The sale’s top lot, François Etienne Musin’s “HMS Resolute in Search of Sir John Franklin” (1850), sold for £100,000 (~$127,000).
Christie’s C’est fou! sale in Paris brought in a total of €9,375,250 (~$10,715,000) on December 12–14. The sale’s top lot, Hermengildo Anglada-Camarasa’s “La gata rosa,” sold for €703,500 (~$804,000).
Christie’s sale of Topographical Pictures with Australian Art in London brought in a total of £1,294,125 (~$1,638,000) on December 14. The sale’s top lot, Chinese School’s “The Dutch missionary Robert Junius baptizing the new Christians at Formosa” (1643), sold for £242,750 (~$307,000).
Christie’s An Adventurous Spirit: An Important Private Collection Sold to Benefit a Charitable Foundation sale in London brought in a total of £8,626,188 (~$10,916,000) on December 13. The sale’s top lot, Sir Alfred James Munnings’s “The whip, Trevelloe Wood, Cornwall,” sold for £1,628,750 (~$2,061,000).
Christie’s online sale of Property from the Collection of Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson brought in a total of $1,805,625 on December 6–13. The sale’s top lot, Allan D’Arcangelo’s “American Landscape” (1967), sold for $150,000.
Christie’s online sale of The Art of China: London, Winter Edition, brought in a total of £275,000 (~$348,000) on December 5–13. The sale’s top lot, an inscribed “Hear Sutra” pewter brush pot, 19th century, sold for £30,000 (~$38,000).