Week in Review is a weekly collection of news, developments, and stirrings in the art world. Subscribe to receive these posts as a weekly newsletter.
A still life painting at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (FAMSF), dismissed long ago as a Vincent van Gogh forgery, has been authenticated by the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. A statement released by FAMSF says that two years of technical and stylistic investigations, researchers discovered “a female portrait painted on the canvas underneath the still life” and have concluded that van Gogh did, in fact, paint the image of fruit and chestnuts in the fall of 1886, during a period he spent living in Paris. Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of FAMSF, calls the work, “An example of van Gogh’s experimentation with techniques learned from studying Flemish Old Masters as well as the Impressionists.” [via email announcement]
The German government says it will direct €1.9 million (~$2.16 million) to research colonial-era collections in its nation’s cultural institutions to identify looted artifacts from Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Pacific. A team of eight people, including Bénédicte Savoy, co-author of the infamous restitution report commissioned by French President Emmanuel Macron, will review funding applications from Germany’s public museums, archives, libraries, and research institutions. [artnet News]
The Lagos State Government in Nigeria has formally requested the British Museum return the Lander Stool, a wood carving believed to be the first object stolen from the country during colonialism in 1830. The request was formally delivered at a two-day symposium on emerging museum projects in Africa at the British Museum. The Lagos state government also announced its plan to unveil the John K. Randle Centre for Yoruba Culture and History before the end of May. [All Africa]
As part of a political deal forming a joint industrial area on the border between Jordan and Iraq, Jordan has returned 1,300 Iraqi antiquities confiscated from smugglers back to their home country. While Iraq will supply Jordan with 10,000 barrels a day at a discounted price, Iraqi goods imported through a Jordanian port on the Red Sea will receive preferential tariffs. [Haaretz]
Christie’s auction house has raised buyer’s premium fees for middle-market and top-end lots, which are now higher than rival auctioneer Sotheby’s rates. In the US, sales over $4 million will now charge 13.5%, up from the previous 12.5%, and sales up to and including $300,000 will be charged 25% (higher than the previous $250,000 cap). The new rule took effect February 1, affecting all categories except wine at all of their auction houses in Europe, New York, and Hong Kong. Christie’s Shanghai will institute a flat 20% rate. Christie’s last updated its buyer’s premium in September 2017. [Antiques Trade Gazette]
One week later, Christie’s announced that 2018 was its most successful year yet, largely due to its record-breaking sale of Peggy and David Rockefeller’s collection in New York last May, which garnered $835,111,344 alone. There was a 3% rise in total sales to $7 billion, up 6% from last year. Asian and American buyers dominated market sales — Asian sales increased 5% from 2017, accounting for 25% of total sales, while American sales increased 9%, accounting for 39% of total sales. [Antiques Trade Gazette]
Rio de Janeiro’s Museum of Modern Art (MAM) has sold its Jackson Pollock — the only Pollock on public view in Brazil — for just $13 million. The museum has been in financial trouble amidst an economic crisis in Rio de Janeiro State, slowing donations at the institution that receives no government funding. In March 2018, a collector offered to buy the painting, which was donated by Nelson Rockefeller in 1952, for $25 million, and later offered to put it on view for three months annually at MAM, and keep it in Brazil. However, the museum board was at a stalemate on its decision to sell the work — for so long, that the collector withdrew the offer. However, the museum’s $3 million debt remained, and its annual revenue is just more than half of what it needs to operate successfully. So last week, the work sold at Phillips in a private transaction, to an undisclosed buyer, for an undisclosed amount “in the range” of $13 million. [TAN]
Gucci has pulled an $890 sweater/balaclava hybrid that has received fierce criticism for its close resemblance to racist blackface caricatures. The fashion house wrote on Twitter that it is “fully committed to increasing diversity throughout our organization and turning this incident into a powerful learning moment.” The brand has removed it from its online shop and says it will pull the sweater from its storefronts as well. [NYT]
Prominent architect David Adjaye, who designed the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC, is calling for the creation of a Black heritage museum in the United Kingdom. Adjaye told BBC that mainstream opinion falsely believes that black British history began in the mid-20th century, but that Black people have been integral to British culture since the Elizabethan era. He thinks a “long-overdue” Black culture museum will help generations of Black children feel part of “the language, DNA and roots” of the nation. [BBC]
The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam has acquired Maurice Denis’s “Motherhood (Vierge au baiser)” (1896–97). The painting has been part of a private collection for years and has never before been on display in the Netherlands. The work is currently being exhibited in the museum’s permanent collection on the third floor.
This and other notable sales and acquisitions are chronicled in our latest Transactions story.
More News from This Week
- Venice Will Move Forward with $11 Tourist Tax
- 200 Workers at Vancouver Art Gallery Go on Strike
- The Criterion Channel Will Stream Over 1,000 Art House Films
- Ford Foundation Fosters Independent Curators and New Talent with Social Practice Gallery
- An Auschwitz Recreation at a Turkish Film Premiere Causes Uproar
- Fingerprint of Dubai Ruler Becomes the Ominous Foundation of New Skyscraper
- Protesters Object to Display of Looted Objects at Israel’s Bible Lands Museum
- The Museum of Modern Art Will Close Until October, Preparing for Major Overhaul
- Amazon Accused of Artwashing HQ2 Negotiations in Activist Petition
- Asylum Seeker Wins Literary Prize for Book Written via WhatsApp
- Ariana Grande Accused of Plagiarizing Artist in Music Video
- Warhol Ate Burger King in a Super Bowl Commercial, But He Was a McDonald’s Fan
- MacDowell Colony Launched a Fellowship in the Name of Artist Musa McKim Guston
- After 45 Years of Wrongful Imprisonment, an Artist Sells His Paintings to Get By
- Berlin Memorial to Gay Victims of the Holocaust Vandalized for Second Time
- The Watercolour World Documents the Planet Before Photography
Works by the Abeyta family of artists encourage thinking beyond activism and legislation as a means for political progress.
Despite faithfully recreating the story of the beloved comic book series, the TV show lacks the verve of the original.
The Brooklyn organization is now accepting new project inquiries for its fee-based fabrication services in printmaking, ceramics, and large-scale public art.
A video showing insects crawling inside a framed photograph by artists Bernd and Hilla Becher caused uproar, and disgust, online.
Actor Al Pacino is co-producing the upcoming movie about the tortured Italian artist.
The Newark Museum of Art Presents Jazz Greats: Classic Photographs from the Bank of America Collection
Photographers Antony Armstrong Jones, Milt Hinton, Chuck Stewart, Barbara Morgan, and more capture a breadth of legendary and local musicians and performance artists. On view through August 21.
Women at War exposes the struggles that women of Eastern Europe have been undergoing for the last 60 years, in addition to the annihilation of Ukrainian heritage.
Major publishing houses, and some authors, accuse the open access platform of “piracy” and copyright infringement.
Art and photographs, publications from the 19th and 20th centuries, manuscripts, posters and more are set to cross the auction block on August 18.
The Roman-era burial ground is located in Anazarbus (modern Anavarza) in the country’s southern Adana province.
Those with a Didion-shaped hole in their hearts can also bid for portraits of the author, her books, and other personal items.
The union seeks a minimum wage of $20 by the end of 2024; the museum offered only $16.