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Mark Rothko once said that his formula for a good painting included a dollop of hope – “10 percent to make the tragic concept more endurable.” When bidders gather on May 13 at Christie’s to do battle for the next big Rothko to come to auction – a blazing red and black work, “No. 36 (Black Stripe),” painted in 1958, a banner year for the artist – they will have to bring a lot more than hope.

The painting, being sold by the German collector Frieder Burda, who has given it pride of place in his museum in Baden-Baden for several years, is estimated to sell for $30 million to $50 million. But prime Rothkos have become so rare and sought-after that the competition is likely to be fierce. Rothko’s auction record was set at Christie’s in 2012, when “Orange, Red, Yellow,” another of his trademark horizontal color-slab paintings, from 1961, sold for almost $87 million.

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The seventeenth iteration of The Armory Show opened to the public on Thursday, March 5, 2015. Housed in Piers 92 and 94 along the Hudson River on Manhattan’s West Side, The Armory Show, which has spawned an array of satellite fairs and related happenings, is the largest art fair in New York and one of the industry’s leading international art events.

Founded in 1994 by dealers Colin de Land, Pat Hearn, Matthew Marks, and Paul Morris as the Gramercy International Art Fair (named after its initial location in the legendary Gramercy Park Hotel), the fair acquired its new title in 1999 after relocating to the 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue. The name was an homage to the 1913 International Exhibition of Modern Art, which is often referred to as The Armory Show. One of the most influential art events to take place during the 20th century, the 1913 Armory Show introduced the American public to experimental European art movements, including Fauvism, Cubism, and Futurism.

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Wednesday, 04 March 2015 17:13

The ADAA Art Show Opens at the Park Avenue Armory

The Art Dealers Association of America’s (ADAA) 27th annual Art Show opened to the public on Wednesday, March 4, 2015. The ADAA Art Show’s kick-off marks the beginning of New York City's Armory Week -- a highly-anticipated, multifaceted art event that includes a dizzying array of fairs, gallery exhibitions, and related happenings.

Held at the historic Park Avenue Armory, this year’s ADAA Art Show features thoughtfully curated solo, two-person, and thematic exhibitions organized by 72 of the country’s leading art dealers. Featuring both modern masters and cutting-edge contemporary works in all media, the show allows exhibitors to emphasize their gallery’s vision through these finely curated exhibitions. Highlights include Thomas Colville Fine Art’s (Guilford, Connecticut) presentation of works by James Abbott McNeill Whistler and other artists who were influenced by the late nineteenth-century painter, and Hirschl & Adler Galleries’ (New York, New York) exploration of Jazz Age Modernism, which includes works by Winold Reiss, Romare Bearden, Stuart Davis, and others.

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Wednesday, 04 March 2015 11:30

Paris’ Centre Pompidou Names New President

Serge Lasvignes, a high-level French government official, was nominated this week to head the Pompidou Center, in a surprise choice to replace Alain Seban.

Mr. Seban’s term of service is ending after eight years in which he drove the expansion of the Paris museum, which houses one of the largest collections of modern art in Europe.

The succession — the topic of rumors for weeks — must still be approved by a government council, which will weigh the appointment of Mr. Lasvignes, 61, whose hiring was unexpected because of his low profile in the art world. (When Mr. Seban was hired in 2007, he had no museum management experience.)

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On April 8, 2015, Doris and Donald Fisher’s inimitable collection of twentieth-century art will go on view at the Grand Palais in Paris. The exhibition marks the beginning of a small international tour that will include another stop at the Musée Granet in Aix-en-Provence, France. When the exhibition concludes, the Fisher Collection will return to its new permanent home -- the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA).

In 2010, SFMOMA announced an unprecedented partnership to house and display the art collection of Donald Fisher, the founder of the Gap, and his wife, Doris. Comprising over 1,100 works by 185 American and European artists, the Fishers’ collection is one of the greatest private collections of modern and contemporary art in the world.

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Work by French artist Henri Matisse will be exhibited at Charlotte’s Bechtler Museum of Modern Art starting Friday.

On loan from the Bank of America Collection, “The Art Books of Henri Matisse” includes 80 framed illustrations with text from some of Matisse’s most significant books.

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Friday, 27 February 2015 12:07

A Stolen Picasso Painting Surfaces in New York

Pablo Picasso’s 1911 painting "La Coiffeuse" (The Hairdresser) which has been missing for over a decade, has surfaced in the United States. The Cubist canvas was discovered by federal Customs and Border Protection officials in a FedEx shipment heading from Belgium to a climate-controlled warehouse in Long Island City, New York, in December 2014. The package’s shipping label described the contents as an “art craft” holiday present worth $37.

The painting, which is owned by the French government, is part of the Musee National d’Art Moderne’s collection. It was last exhibited in Munich in 1998, and returned to Paris, where it was placed in storage at the Centre Georges Pompidou.

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The Baltimore Museum of Art today announced it recently added René Magritte’s 1967 sculpture "Delusions of Grandeur" to its renowned collection of modern art. This monumental bronze was created by the Belgian artist during the last year of his life and there are very few casts. The work came to the BMA as a gift of National Trustee Sylvia de Cuevas and is the first sculpture by Magritte to enter the collection. It will be displayed, beginning this week, in a gallery with works by Magritte’s contemporaries: Max Ernst, Alberto Giacometti, André Masson, and Joan Miró.

“We are thrilled to welcome this remarkable sculpture into the BMA’s celebrated collection of modern art,” said BMA Director Doreen Bolger. “This imaginative artwork so well represents Magritte’s unique vision and is sure to become one of the most memorable artworks on view here.”

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Friday, 27 February 2015 09:57

Alex Katz Unveils “Black Paintings” in London

The veteran American artist Alex Katz was inspecting the hang of his new paintings while I looked at them, but I could not ask him any questions. I was dumbstruck. The only thing I could have said to him at that moment would have been a stuttered, “How come you paint so well?”

How can simple pictures of faces be so unexpected, exciting and fascinating? Katz has been painting portraits for a long time now – he’s 87 and began his career in the age of Jackson Pollock – and his latest works do not shatter his established style. Their main novelty is that all the figures are set against black. Many of the pictures have a wide CinemaScope format so the people in them stand out as colourful shapes against a nightscape of glossy darkness.

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Thursday, 26 February 2015 17:48

A Public Sculpture Walk will Open in London in May

East London’s public sculpture walk -- The Line -- will open on May 23, 2015. Drawing comparisons to New York’s High Line, an elevated linear park dotted with public art projects, The Line will follow the Prime Meridian, linking two iconic East London sites -- Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the O2 Arena. Co-founded by art dealer Megan Piper and urban generation expert Clive Dutton, The Line launched a crowdfunding campaign in February 2014, which raised over £140,000 in less than eight weeks.

The Line aims to present existing works in a new context by placing thirty sculptures along a three-mile path that runs between the two sites of major urban transformation.

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