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ICA Miami Acquires 100 Works Ahead of Art Basel; Marvel Comic Breaks Record

Also, a Dora Maar portrait by Picasso sold for $6.8 million, and Christie’s will sell the first “Mixed Reality performance artwork,” by none other than Marina Abramović.

Pablo Picasso’s 1941 painting of Dora Maar, “Femme au chapeau,” sold for $6.8 million (courtesy of Heffel Fine Art Auction House)

With Art Basel in Miami Beach less than a week away, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami announced the acquisition of over 100 works by emerging and established contemporary artists for its collection. The new additions include pieces by Allora & Calzadilla, John Baldessari, Paulo Nazareth, Cindy Sherman, and Anicka Yi.

In Kansas City, Missouri, the Nelson-Atkins Museum acquired a historic daguerreotype through a purchase by the Hall Family Foundation. Believed to be taken around 1850 on a plantation in Georgia, it is the earliest known photograph of enslaved African Americans with cotton. Julián Zugazagoitia, CEO & Director of the Nelson- Atkins, called the acquisition “a major contribution to the larger story of American history and American photography.” The work joins other important daguerreotypes in the collection including depictions of Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Lucretia Mott.

At Heffel’s fall sale in Toronto, Pablo Picasso’s 1941 painting “Femme au chapeau” sold for $6.8 million, accounting for a hearty chunk of the sale’s $16.6 million total. The sizeable Dora Maar portrait was exhibited in Pablo Picasso’s first commercial show at New York’s Kootz Gallery in 1957. While a far cry from the artist’s $179.4 million auction record, “Femme au chapeau” became the most valuable work by a non-national artist to ever sell at auction in Canada.

Edward M. Eggleston, “Atlantic City / Pennsylvania Railroad”(circa 1935). Sold for $16,250. (courtesy of Swann Galleries)

In New York, Swann Galleries set 10 records in their “Rare and Important Travel Posters” sale, marking them as leaders in the poster sale industry. The most expensive work was a poster (c. 1935) by Edward M. Eggleston. Produced for the Pennsylvania Railroad to encourage travel to Atlantic City, the poster features a woman beachside. It went to an unnamed institution for $16,250.

Another record was set at Heritage Auctions in Dallas when the 1939 “Marvel Comics No.1” sold for $1.26 million, the highest hammer price at auction for a Marvel comic book. Points for provenance: the book’s original owner was a mailman who purchased it from a newsstand in Pennsylvania.

Christie’s announced its plans to sell the first “Mixed Reality performance artwork,” Marina Abramović’s 19-minute piece “The Life.” An edition of the work will head to the auction block at Christie’s London for Frieze Week in October 2020. The adventurous purchaser will receive the recording and affiliated Mixed Reality (MR) wearables.

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