The painting “Christine” (1971) by Ben Enwonwu, one of Nigeria’s most influential modernist artists, sold for nearly eight times its estimated price at a Sotheby’s London this week. Incredibly, the painting hung in the home of the family of its subject, a hairstylist named Christine Elizabeth Davis, for over 40 years before they realized it had been painted by Enwonwu. It sold at the Modern and Contemporary African Art sale for £1,095,000 (~$1,411,329), while the full auction ended with a total receipt of £4,002,750 (~$5,159,084) in lots sold.
The Louvre will take on Leonardo da Vinci’s famous “Vitruvian Man” (ca. 1490) drawing after a contentious two-year legal battle. An Italian court reversed a lower court’s ruling this week, which will allow the drawing to travel from Venice’s Gallerie dell’Accademia to Paris, where it will go on view as part of the Louvre’s major retrospective in time for the 500-year anniversary of the artist’s death.
Sotheby’s Picasso Online sale raked in a total of £860,000 (~$1,107,925) and featured prints from the collection of Marina Picasso, granddaughter of the famous Pablo Picasso. The top lot of the bunch was the terre de faïence vase “Chouette (A. R. 602)” (1969).
Sotheby’s Sculptural Fantasy sale of American folk art from the collection of Stephen and Petra Levin sold a total of $1,989,812 between its 240 lots.
Sotheby’s Hong Kong’s Contemporary Art Online sale topped out a total of 7,615,625 HKD (~$970,854). Its top lot was a fiber-reinforced plastic piece by KAWS titled “生於1974年” (2007) and inscribed with the words “Medicom Toy.”
The UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (aka BAMPFA) announced this week that it had acquired a massive bequest of almost three thousand quilts by African American artists — probably the largest private collection of the pieces, ever. The gift comes from Eli Leon, who the New York Times described a “self-taught scholar” of the form in his 2018 obituary. The collection includes especially exciting highlights from Rosie Lee Tompkins, a friend of Leon’s mentioned in the first paragraph of that same obit (just as he is mentioned in hers). More than 500 examples of Tompkins’ works are represented in the collection, and many will go on view as part of an upcoming BAMPFA retrospective.
The University of Arizona’s Center for Creative Photography announced this week that it had acquired the archive of Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer David Hume Kennerly. The collection spans 50 years of the photographer’s impactful photojurnalism, in addition to “personal correspondence and mementos such as the helmet and cameras that Kennerly used while photographing the Vietnam War,” according to a press release.
Saudi Arabia Announces $1M “Freedom of Expression” Art Award
Kanye West, Roman Polanski, and Carl Andre are among the shortlisted artists.
British Museum Offers Greece “Exclusive NFT” of the Parthenon Marbles
“With the power of blockchain technology, there will be no question who the real owner is,” said a British Museum spokesperson.
The Public Theater Explores the Hurricane Katrina Diaspora in shadow/land
Written by Erika Dickerson-Despenza and directed by Candis C. Jones, this lyrical meditation on legacy, erotic fugitivity, and self-determination is on view in NYC.
MoMA to Co-Curate Exhibition With NYPD
Arrest Me, Daddy hopes to cast a more positive light on the work of law enforcement officers.
Repatriation-Inspired Fragrance Line Hopes to Heal Collector Wounds
The exotic scents of the Rapatriement line offer solace and joy to dismayed collectors who were forced to return looted artifacts.
The Rubin Museum Presents Death Is Not the End
Tibetan Buddhist and Christian works of art made across 12 centuries explore death, the afterlife, and the desire to continue to exist. On view in NYC.
Mediocre Painting Thought AI-Generated Revealed as Work of Real Artist
Visitors who spoke to Hyperallergic said they were “horrified” to learn that a human could come up with such a banal and poorly executed artwork.
Prince Harry to Star in New Van Gogh Biopic
The estranged prince said he took the role to raise awareness of mental health issues.
When I Am Empty Please Dispose of Me Properly
Ayanna Dozier, Ilana Harris-Babou, Meena Hasan, Lucia Hierro, Catherine Opie, Chuck Ramirez, and Pacifico Silano explore the myths of the American Dream at Brooklyn’s BRIC House.
Newly Discovered Trove of Vermeer Works Reveals He Painted Mainly Dogs
A cache of 243 paintings found in an English castle, all depicting canine subjects, suggests Vermeer’s true aspiration was to become a dog portraitist.
Vatican Partners With Balenciaga on “Spiritual” Menswear Line
A spokesperson for the church cited “shared values” with the fashion brand.
Pratt’s 2023 Fine Arts MFA Thesis Exhibition Is On View in Brooklyn
The two-part exhibition features the work of 41 graduating artists across disciplines, including painting, sculpture, printmaking, and integrated practices.
Iran Issues Fatwa Against AI
A reinterpretation of the Quran through a queer lens, written by an AI chatbot, is said to cause the move.
Met Gala Announces 2023 “Looting and Plunder” Theme
Select A-list guests will be invited to wear any artifacts from the museum’s collection that have not yet been seized by the Manhattan DA’s office.