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5,000 Drawings by Architect Michael Graves Go to Princeton Museum, Virus-Ridden Laptop Sells for $1.3M

Plus, Scotland’s Aberdeen Art Gallery takes £1 million from Big Oil, Hungary’s Museum of Fine Arts has a new Renoir and a new Van Dyck, and pieces by Zao Wou-Ki, Chu Teh-Chun, and more go for millions in Hong Kong auctions.

Michael Graves, “Denver Public Library Main Facade Sketch” (image courtesy Princeton University Art Museum)

The Princeton University Art Museum has acquired a set of 5,000 drawings by the architect and designer Michael Graves. Graves once wrote a lament titled “Architecture and the Lost Art of Drawing” for the New York Times, arguing that hand-drawn modeling should not go the way of the dinosaur in the age of computers: “Drawings are not just end products: they are part of the thought process of architectural design.”

Michael Graves, “San Pietro in Frascati” (1961) (image courtesy Princeton University Art Museum)

Christie’s Hong Kong‘s spring auctions, the 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale and Afternoon Sale, brought in approximately HK$2,550,000,000 (~$327,000,000) with several pieces from Asian artists leading the lots. Zao Wou-Ki’s “Triptyque” (1987-88) was the biggest ticket item, selling for HK$178,000,000 (~$22,780,405). The Chinese-French painter’s pieces “17.01.66” (1966) and “21.04.64” (1964) went for HK$98,550,000 (~$12,557,733) and HK$27,725,000 ($3,532,858) respectively. Joining his work at the top were pieces by his Chinese-French contemporary Chu Teh-Chun’s “No. 229” (1966), which sold for HK$38,395,000 ($4,892,482) and Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara’s “Sleepless Night (Cat)” (1999), which sold for HK$34,925,000 (~$4,450,318).

The Christie’s Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art sale topped out at HK$116,263,750 (~$14,814,908). The highest lot was “A Fine and Exceedingly Rare Blue and White ‘Fruit and Flower Spray’ Vase” (dated between 1723-1735). It sold for HK$37,260,000 (~$4,747,855).

The Phillip’s Hong Kong 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale and Day Sale combined brought in over HK$295,000,000 (~$37,590,375). Notable sales included Banksy’s “Ballerina CP/03” (2013) for HK$3,250,000 (~$414,131 US CURRENCY), Zao Wou-Ki’s “Ailleurs” (1955) for HK$52,040,000 (~$6,631,197), and Roy Liechtenstein’s “Head” (1986) for HK$23,550,000 (~$3,000,858). George Condo’s “Two Works: Jean Louis (i); Jean Louis’ Wife (ii)” (2005) led the day sale for HK$3,750,000 (~$477,843).

Hungary’s Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest has put two notable recent acquisitions on display: Auguste Renoir’sReclining Nude” (1903) and Anthony van Dyck’s “Wedding Portrait of Mary Henrietta Stuart” (1641).

Elsa Beskow, “Sagan om den lilla lilla gumman” (ca 1949) (image courtesy Nationalmuseum, Stockholm)

The Nationalmuseum in Stockholm, Sweden, has acquired illustrations from the nationally beloved 1897 children’s book The Tale of the Little, Little Old Woman, by Elsa Beskow. The drawings by Beskow were created in the 1940s and published in later editions of the book. The acquisition was made possible through funding from the Sophia Giesecke Foundation.

Elsa Beskow, “Sagan om den lilla lilla gumman” (ca 1949) (image courtesy Nationalmuseum Stockholm)

The Art Institute of Chicago is parting with 300 ancient Chinese pieces in its collection through Christie’s in September. According to the museum’s website, it holds about 35,000 pieces of works from across Asian that span five millennia of history. “The proceeds will return to the Asian Art department’s acquisition fund” following the sale, the museum said in a statement.

Guo O Dong, “The Persistence of Chaos” (2019) (courtesy the artist and Deep Instinct)

A laptop loaded with viruses by Chinese artist Guo O Dong has sold for $1.3 million in an online auction. Titled “The Persistence of Chaos,” the Samsung machine has been filled with six of the most notorious computer viruses known to cybersecurity analysts. The work was produced in collaboration with the cybersecurity firm Deep Instinct.

Scotland’s Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museum — closed since 2015 — plans to reopen its doors this autumn and has just received a £1 million (~$1.26 million) gift from BP, the British multinational oil company. That will buy BP its own “BP Galleries,” a second-floor extension on the building, but the gallery still faces a significant budget shortfall of £8 million or more. Years of delayed redevelopment have cast uncertainty over whether or not it has enough money to meet its projected budget of £34.6 million, even as it’s managed to raise £13.8 million against an original fundraising target of £20 million.

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