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Sotheby’s 2019 Private Sales Near $1B; San Antonio Museum Acquires Contemporary Latin American Art

Also, Armory Week 2020 moves forward in New York, ARCOmadrid closed with strong sales, and more.

Simone Forti, “Red Hat in Yellow and Red Landscape” (1966) (courtesy of Getty Research Institute)

Bucking the coronavirus cancellation trend, Armory Week 2020 has come to New York. The Armory Show will take place at Piers 90, 92, and 94 from March 5–8 and hold associated programming including a Curatorial Leadership Summit and Armory Live talks. Be sure to check out satellite fairs like Spring/Break Art Show (March 3–9), taking place at Ralph Lauren’s former Madison Avenue headquarters; NADA New York Gallery Open (March 5–8), a distributed gallery-centric model that NADA pioneered last year; and Independent New York (March  6–8), at Spring Studios in Tribeca. Hyperallergic has you covered with a guide to Armory Week.

On March 1, the 39th edition of ARCOmadrid 2020 came to a close. The fair, which featured booths by 209 galleries, reported 93,000 visitors and strong sales. There were several notable institutional sales. Joining the collection of Madrid’s Museo Reina Sofia are 13 works by Cabello/Carceller, Victoria Gil, Sara Ramo, Henrik Olesen, Daniela Ortiz, Jacqueline Mesmaeker and Ana Buenaventura. Fundación ARCO purchased nine works by Caroline Achaintre, Anna Bella Geiger, Feliza Bursztyn, Carolina Cayzedo, June Crespo, and Nohemí Pérez.

Sotheby’s announced that its private sales in 2019 garnered nearly $1 billion. Sales of works in $5 million to $50 million range constituted around half the grand sales total, and the bulk of the remainder came from sales in the $1 million to $5 million range. ARTnews reported that the private sales were led by artists in the Modern and Contemporary category like Jonas Wood, Yayoi Kusama, George Condo, and Andy Warhol. Old Masters followed as the second top-selling category.

Sonia Gomes, “Untitled” 2007, Stitching, bindings, different fabrics, and laces on wire, 82 5/8 x 39 x 13 3/8 in.

The Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles announced the acquisition of the archive of Simone Forti. Born in Florence and raised in Los Angeles, Forti rose to acclaim as a pioneering choreographer and performance artist in improvisational dance, which she studied with Ann Halprin, and minimalist-functional dance, which she explored alongside the Judson Dance Theater. Forti has dedicated the past few decades to develop a new dance genre, “Logomotion.” The archive, which covers Forti’s life and work from the 1950s to today, includes 125 diaries, notebooks, and sketchbooks; various photographs and negatives; and project files and correspondences. The archive also contains several pieces of Forti’s little-known visual art, including her 1985 Xerox collages and part of her 1975–79 series of moving image holograph works. The archive will be available to researchers once it has been catalogued and digitized by the Getty.

In a press release, the San Antonio Museum of Art in Texas announced the acquisition of work by four contemporary Latin American artists, purchased with support from the Brown Foundation Contemporary Art Acquisition Fund. Complementing the museum’s substantial holdings of Latin American folk art, the new additions include Jose Dávila’s “Joint Effort” (2014), an installation featuring two large mirrors and a boulder; Sonia Gomes’s “Untitled” (2007), a stitched work referencing the artist’s family history in a Brazilian textile town; four pieces from Pedro Reyes’s “Disarm” series (begun 2015), featuring confiscated and repurposed firearms; and Analia Saban’s “Copper Tapestry (Dallas Semiconductor, DS1000Z, 1991)” (2019), a weaving made from copper and linen that is modeled after an early circuit board. The museum also received a donation from the Alex Katz Foundation of four contemporary artworks by Sinéad Breslin, Gaby Collins-Fernandez, Leah Durner, Keltie Ferris, and Rob Pruitt.

Eustache Le Sueur, “The Rape of Tamar” (probably ca. 1640), Oil on canvas, 74 1/2 x 63 1/2 in (courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York updated the provenance of French artist Eustache Le Sueur’s “The Rape of Tamar” (c. 1640) to account for the painting’s previous ownership by Siegfried Aram, a Jewish art dealer who fled Nazi Germany for the United States in 1933. Aram, who died in 1978, alleged that the painting was stolen by businessman Oskar Sommer when he purchased Aram’s villa in Schapbach, Germany. Aram sought restitution but was unsuccessful, and the Met bought the painting from a trio of dealers in New York in 1984. Documents from the state archives in Baden-Württemberg, collated by German researcher Joachim Peter, brought new evidence to light and spurred the new provenance changes. The painted is estimated to be worth as much as $1.5 million.

Last week, Hyperallergic reported that the Donald B. Marron Family Collection, the coveted art collection of a business titan and former MoMA president, will be sold by a consortium formed by Acquavella Galleries, Gagosian, and Pace, with a joint exhibition planned for May. Since the galleries’ announcement, there have already been several significant sales believed to total about $300 million. Casino mogul Steve Wynn is reported to have purchased two Picasso pieces for $105 million. Mark Rothko’s painting “No. 22 (reds)” (1957), previously owned by Ethel and Robert Scull, is said to have been sold for around $70 million. Additional reported sales include paintings by Cy Twombly (for about $30 million), Gerhard Richter ($14 million), and Mark Bradford ($6 million).

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