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The Gun that May Have Killed Vincent van Gogh Sold for Over $180,000

Plus, Sotheby’s has gone private to the tune of $3.7 billion, LA’s Broad Museum has acquired a work by David Hammons, and the world’s largest of visual and concrete poetry has moved.

The revolver believed to be the weapon van Gogh used to commit suicide (©AuctionArt/Drouot)

At AuctionArt Paris, Vincent van Gogh‘s so-called “suicide gun”— the weapon believed to be the weapon the artist used to kill himself — has sold for €162,500 ($183,000). The rusty, 7mm pocket revolver was found by a farmer in a field in the northern French village of Auvers-sur-Oise in the 1960s. It was passed down through the family before later being put up for auction and eventually displayed at the Van Gogh Museum in 2016.

The auction house Sotheby’s has gone private in a $3.7 billion sale after spending 31 years on the stock exchange. It’s new owner is French-Israeli billionaire Patrick Drahi.

Recent auctions at Sotheby’s have done good business. The Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale on June 19 sold £98,875,924 (~$125,602,086). The highest lots in the pot: Claude Monet’s “Nymphéas” (1908) for £23,731,624 (~$30,146,281) and Amedeo Modigliani’s ” Jeune homme assis, les mains croisées sur les genoux” (1918) for £18,422,000 (~$23,403,861).

Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art Day Sale on June 20 sold £16,563,750 (~$21,040,931) with Pablo Picasso’s “Le peintre. Buste de profil” (1967) topping the lots at £1,695,000 (~$2,156,040).

Sotheby’s Modern and Post-War British Art this week moved £8,250,250 (~$10480292) worth of paintings and more, with L.S. Lowry’s “A Cricket Match” (1938) cresting the rest and selling for £1,155,000 (~$1,451,373).

A Humument Fourth Revision Page 366 by Tom Phillips (1997) (image courtesy University of Iowa Libraries)

The Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry now sits under a new roof at the University of Iowa Libraries. It is the largest collection of concrete and visual poetry in the world and includes works from artists like Dom Sylvester Houédard, Henri Chopin, John Cage, Johanna Drucker, Yoko Ono, Tom Phillips, and more.

The Baltimore Museum of Art has acquired over 70 new works from artists as varied as Charles Gaines, Ebony G. Patterson, Faith Ringgold, Anna Maria Werner, and André Derain, along with a host of others. Some particular highlights include Mary Lovelace O’Neal’s “Running Freed More Slaves Than Lincoln Ever Did” (1995); Patterson’s “…we lost…for those who bear/bare witness” (2018); and Geta Brătescu’s “Mutter Courage (Mother Courage)” (1966).

Christie’s Modern British Art day auction on June 18 sold £5,802,625 (~$7,371,828) worth of art, with two works by Frank Bowling topping the lots: “Beggar No. 3” (1963) for £695,250 (~$883,266) and “Self-portrait” (1959) for £443,250 (~$563,118). Bowling’s runner up was Frank Auerbach’s “Head of J.Y.M.” (1986), which sold for £237,500 (~$301,727).

Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale sold £36,413,750 (~$46261120) worth of works from artists like Fernand Léger, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Egon Schiele. It’s highest price realized: August Macke’s “Spaziergänger (Anlage mit Modegeschäft und Spaziergängern)” (1913) for £1,163,250 (~$1,477,827).

Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art Day Sale topped out at £6,560,625 (~$8,334,814) and featured works by Picasso, Raoul Dufy, Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp, and Renoir. Picasso took the lead on this one, with his “Nature morte – Journal, verre et paquet de tabac” (1921) going for £431,250 (~$547,872).

David Hammons, African-American Flag, 1990. Dyed cotton. 59 x 92 1/4 in. (149.86 x 234.315 cm). Courtesy The Broad. © David Hammons.
Mark Bradford, Deep Blue, 2018. Mixed media on canvas. Courtesy The Broad. © Mark Bradford. Photo by Ben Gibbs.

The Broad Museum in Los Angeles has acquired two significant pieces: “African American Flag,” (1990) by David Hammons and “Deep Blue” (2018) by Mark Bradford. The former is the first Hammons piece the museum has acquired; other work by the artist is currently included in Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963-1983 — on view at the Broad until September 1. The latter is a 50-foot mixed-media piece realized on canvas.

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