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Phillips Collection Acquires Nabi Paintings and Portfolios, and Tintin Cover Sold for Over $1M

Plus, Aretha Franklin portraits find a new home, and the sales of Leonard Cohen’s letters to Marianne, famous works by Dorothea Lange and other photographers, and an Andy Warhol riff on Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus.”

Pierre Bonnard, “Après-midi au jardin (Afternoon in the Garden)” (1891), oil and pen and ink on canvas, Collection of Vicki and Roger Sant (image courtesy Phillips Collection)

Washington, DC’s Phillips Collection has acquired a major collection of Nabi art, including two portfolios and more than 40 paintings and works on paper. The gift comes from Roger Sant and his late wife Vicki, a former trustee at the museum. The Nabis were a group of European artists in the late 19th century who were inspired by Paul Gauguin, and this collection includes works by Félix Vallotton, Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, and Maurice Denis, among others.

(image courtesy Detroit Institute of the Arts)

The Detroit Institute of the Arts has recently acquired nine portraits of legendary singer Aretha Franklin, shot by photographer Anthony Barboza. They are on display as part of Out of the Crate: New Gifts and Purchases — the museum’s rotating exhibition of new acquisitions.

The collection of the Leeds City Museum in West Yorkshire, England, is now worth £172,120,252 (~$218,188,237), according to an information request granted by the city. That’s up by over a quarter of a million pounds since last year, according to Leeds Live. The museum has not recently sold anything, according to the city council.

The Adventures of Tintin by the legendary Belgian artist Hergé made headlines again with the sale of an original cover for over $1 million. The cover art from The Adventures of Tintin Vol. 1: Tintin in the Land of the Soviets sold below it’s $1.3 million estimate at the European Comic Art Signature Auction in Dallas, but its final price, $1.125 million, ain’t chump change.

At Phillips‘s Women in Photography auction, the iconic Dorothea Lange shot, “Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California” (1936) topped the lots, going for $87,500 in an auction full of important photos. Other photographers whose shots sold included Carrie Mae Weems, Alex Prager, Anne Collier, and Vera Lutter.

Phillips’s Fifty Are Better Than One sale of the Edition Schellman saw Keith Haring’s “Dog” (1986) top the lots, selling for £362,500 (~$459,469) — almost double the pre-auction estimates. Other works sold included Dan Flavin’s “Untitled (to Mary Elizabeth)” (1992) for £125,000 (~$158,445) and Andy Warhol’s “Details of Renaissance Paintings (Sandro Botticelli, Birth of Venus, 1482)” (1984) for £243,750 (~$308,967).

Christie’s London sale of South Asian Modern and Contemporary Art closed with a total sale receipt of £5,877,625 (~$7,451,065). The highest lot on the list was Tyeb Mehta’s “Falling Figure With Bird” (2002) with sold for £1,691,250 (~$2,143,997).

The Christie’s sale of Leonard Cohen’s letters to his muse Marianne Ihlen totaled at $876,000 when the auction closed. The highest lot in the set was a cracked bronze bell from their shared home, a reference to the iconic Cohen line “There is a crack in everything.” It sold for $81,250. But the highest-ticket letter in the set, “Alone with the vast dictionaries of language” (1960) went for $56,250 and shows Cohen lamenting the rejection of his novel, The Favorite Game, by a Canadian publisher. It ends with the lines: “Goodnight, my darling. It doesn’t matter what happens. We have made it already. We know what is good. All my love to you, Leonard.”

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