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Whew, it's been a busy week... auctions, high-profile comings-and-goings, and discoveries that will change the face of art history, at least for one news cycle. Read ArtWeLove's breakdown to learn all ye need to know.
Going Once, Going Twice, Doig!
The London contemporary-art auctions did relatively well this week, sparking--dare we say?--a bit of optimism in the art world. A decidedly slimmed-down-but-solid Sotheby's sale moved 37 of 40 lots, totaling more than $40 million. Christie's also found success this week, with their sale totaling more than $30 million. Philips also did okay, selling 30 of 39 lots for $8.45 million, around the low estimate. These are hardly the $300+ million totals of yesteryear, but they are zesty showings nonetheless. The big winner of London's auction week, however, was Peter Doig, who proved that the mind-blowing price for his White Canoe painting at the height of the market was no fluke. Doig rose to the top at Sotheby's and Christie's, where he held more than his own with the likes of Gerhard Richter, Jeff Koons, and Alexander Calder.
Do the Museum Shuffle
To the chagrin of art-loving Ohioans, Cleveland Museum of Art director Timothy Rub has decamped to take over the the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where he succeeds the late Anne d'Harnoncourt. Keen-eyed museum pro Ann Goldstein is leaving her position as senior curator at L.A.'s MoCA to become the artistic director of Amsterdam's Stedelijk Museum, and Caroline Baumann will succeed Paul Warwick Thompson as the acting director of the Cooper-Hewitt in New York. The Met has also released a list of retiring staff. Considering the news lately, it's nice to see museum staff leaving their jobs voluntarily (even if they are voluntary buy-outs). And in another nice rejoinder to the sometimes unscrupulous ways museums have been reacting to the recession, the Detroit Art Institute has decided not to sell off its own art but rather play auctioneer for others' works.
Does this painting show a 16-year old Rembrandt? Is this bearded horseman a rare Michelangelo self-portrait? For what it's worth, the Pope is giving the supposed Michelangelo mug his blessing, and Arthur Wheelock, an art historian at the National Gallery of Art, has likewise blessed the purported young Rembrandt.
Sarah Jessica Parker is set to produce a Project Runway-style reality show for artists on Bravo. In another development that may prove even more of a commercial success, an Antiques Roadshow expert outsmarted Sotheby's when he found an unidentified Thomas Gainsborough painting in the auction rough, snatching up the now-£750,000 canvas for £50,000.
A Flight, Some Height, and the Depths
An artist fled Turkey after making a work lampooning the country's prime minister, an English homemaker will be the first to brave Antony Gormley's David Blaine-ish Trafalgar Square plinth. Finally, in obligatory Bernie Madoff news, a financier who funneled billions of his client's money into Madoff's pyramid scheme has been forced to sell his entire art collection for $310 million. This is apparently a steal (pun intended) for the art dealer who ponied up the cash; the collection includes Giacomettis and Rothkos, the latter of which are fittingly from that artist's late dark period.