Jonas Wood, “Japanese Garden 3” (2019), oil and acrylic on canvas (courtesy of Christie’s)

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Artist Jonas Wood‘s painting “Japanese Garden 3” (2019) will be sold by Christie’s on May 15 to fund a 600,000-acre reserve in the South American rainforest to aid the area’s biodiversity, combat climate change, and protect several native endangered species on plot of land twice the size of Los Angeles. The Global Wildlife Conservation and the Rainforest Trust will match the hammer price by 400 percent, to go toward the conservation project. The painting is estimated to sell for $500,000–$700,000. [Rainforest Trust]

The Asia Society is launching a new triennial in New York in June 2020. The exhibition, featuring 40 pan-Asian artists, is titled We Do Not Dream Alone. Boon Hui Tan says he and his co-curator Michelle Yun will “examine the meaning of art from Asia in an increasingly global context. We must value art because it not only allows us to dream without fear, but also because it is one of the few spaces where we can disagree without explicit conflict.” [New York Times]

A portrait of Leonardo da Vinci by Francesco Melzi (via Wikimedia Commons)

Scientists in Italy are performing DNA tests on a possible lock of Leonardo da Vinci‘s hair, currently on display in the Tuscan town of Vinci concurrent to the global celebrations of the 500th anniversary of the artist and inventor’s death after it was discovered in an American private collection. “We are not 100 percent sure it is his hair, we are saying it is possible through genaeological research to compare the genetic material’s DNA with that of Leonardo’s living descendants who have been found in Tuscany,” says art historian Alessandro Vezzosi. Many art historians are skeptical, including Eike Schmidt of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. “No specialist thinks so, and it is extremely unlikely that a lock of Leonardo’s hair could wind up in an American collection,” he told Italian media. Vezzosi plans to release his findings in the coming months. [France24]

On the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci‘s death, news outlets revealed that that the world’s second-known portrait of the polymath had been discovered. Outside of self-portraits, the only known depiction of the artist from his lifetime was once a sketch by his pupil, Francesco Melzi. But while researching an exhibition for The Queen’s Gallery in London, Martin Clayton identified another sketch as a study of Leonardo made by an unidentified assistant of Leonardo’s, shortly before the genius’s death in 1519. [BBC]

Daniela Molinari, an Italian-Canadian art conservation student, was selected as the winner of the Louvre‘s partnership with Airbnb to spend a night at the famous Parisian museum. She was chosen from over 180,000 competitors who submitted their response to the question: “Why would you be the Mona Lisa’s perfect guest?” The 26-year-old Molinari says. says, “I wrote about offering a drink to Mona Lisa, to ask her about Leonardo … we would share a spritz, because she never had a chance to taste one.” [France24]

An Italian prosecutor believe an 11th-century manuscript in the collection of the Morgan Library and Museum was stolen from a parish church in 1925. The Morgan was gifted the missal in 1984 from the collection of investment banker William S. Glazier, but the prosecutor points to missing provenance details that call into question whether the work was acquired in good faith. (TAN)

Trevor Paglen, “Orbital Reflector” (2018). Digital rendering (copyright Trevor Paglen, courtesy the artist and Nevada Museum of Art)

Trevor Paglen‘s satellite art, “Orbital Reflector,” cannot be tracked, say officials at the Nevada Museum of Art, which helped create the $1.5 million space sculpture. During the recent 35-day government shutdown, engineers were unable to deploy the work, and have are not able to create contact with the object, which has been in the works for a decade. [artnet]

The UK government has temporarily barred the export of four early works by Francis Bacon, included a painted screen by the British artist valued at £2.5 million (~$3.2 million), and three rugs. The artworks are banned from being sold outside of the UK until public British institutions are given the chance to raise funds to purchase them. [Guardian]

A Banksy painting (titled “Season’s Greetings”) found in a Welsh town has faced an uncertain fate for months, as locals rallied with a hope to preserve the work and display it in the town of Port Tablet. Local authorities in Port Tablet have come to a conclusion with John Brandler, the art dealer who purchased the work for a reported £100,000 (~$130,000). At the end of May, the painting will be relocated and put on display in a former police station for at least three years. [Guardian]


Damien Hirst, “Frank Eggs-ellent Dunphy” (2010), pen on placemat, 22 cm (image courtesy the British Museum)

The British Museum has acquired 73 portraits of Frank Dunphy by Damien Hirst, donated by Dunphy through the Cultural Gifts Scheme. The portraits are known as “The Wolseley Drawings” and were created between 2004 and 2010, when the two would meet for breakfast at the Wolseley in Mayfair. During their meetings, Hirst drew these portraits on the back of the Wolseley restaurant’s 22 centimeter diameter placemats. [via email announcement]

This and other notable sales and acquisitions are chronicled in our latest Transactions story.

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Jasmine Weber

Jasmine Weber is an artist, writer, and former news editor at Hyperallergic. Follow her on Instagram and