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Displaying items by tag: Modern Art

Hopper Drawing, which opens today, May 23, 2013 at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, is the first major museum exhibition to focus on the drawings and creative process of Edward Hopper (1882-1967). Known for his enigmatic renderings of rural and urban American life, Hopper’s paintings of seascapes, cityscapes, and their inhabitants are some of the most significant artworks of the 20th century.

The Whitney’s exhibition is not just a presentation of Hopper’s best-known works; it is a rare glimpse into the creative process that produced one of the most lauded oeuvres in modern art. Hopper’s drawings illustrate his ever-changing relationships with his subjects, which include the street, the movie theater, the office, the bedroom, and the road. Drawn from the Whitney’s remarkable Hopper collection, which includes 2,500 drawings given to the museum by the artist’s widow, Josephine, Hopper Drawing includes drafts of some of Hopper’s most recognized works alongside their oil painting counterparts. Works on view include Early Sunday Morning (1930), New York Movie (1939), Office at Night (1940), and Nighthawks (1942) together with their prepatory drawings and related works. The exhibition also includes pioneering archival research into the buildings and urban spaces that inspired Hopper’s work.

Drawing Hopper will be on view at the Whitney through October 6, 2013.

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On Tuesday, May 21, 2013, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced that 2,000 museums across the country will offer free admission to active duty military personnel and their families in honor of Memorial Day on May 27, 2013. The announcement was made at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.

Participating fine art museums include the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. The NEA in cooperation with the Department of Defense and Blue Star Families organizes the annual initiative, which lasts through Labor Day weekend (September 2, 2013).

For more information visit www.arts.goc/bluestarmuseums.


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Fourteen watercolors by the Spanish surrealist painter, Salvador Dali (1904-1989), will be sold at Bonham’s Impressionist and Modern Art auction in London on June 18, 2013. Commissioned by the publisher Jean-Paul Schneider in 1969, the watercolor fruit studies have been in private collections since their creation. The paintings are expected to garner a total of $1.5 million.

In the ‘FruitDali’ series, the painter takes traditional 19th century botanical lithographs, which were originally used as scientific illustrations, and paints over them using his iconic surrealist twist. Dali infuses each fruit with humanistic qualities including legs, arms, and facial expressions. The works are a testament to Dali’s ability to find human forms in the ever-inspiring natural world.

William O’Reilly, Director of Bonhams Impressionist department, said, “These compositions are a fabulous illustration of Dali’s artistic approach. By overlaying such traditional images with his famous artistic vocabulary of dragons, hooded figures, crutches and weeping eyes, he gives us an insight into his own hyper-fertile imagination.”

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Sotheby’s announced its financial results for the first quarter of 2013, which ended March 31. The auction house’s first quarter total revenues were $101.7 million, a $3.2 million decrease from 2012. The decline was mainly caused by a reduction in auction commission margin from 18.1% to 15%. However, the quarter’s net auction sales increased 23% compared to last year’s first quarter.

High-grossing categories, including Impressionism as well a Modern and Contemporary Art, remained highly competitive. In an effort to enhance revenue and strengthen auction commission margins, Sotheby’s changed its buyer’s premiums structure rate on March 15, 2013. Buyers now pay 25% on the first $100,000 of a work’s selling price; 20% on the portion of the price above $100,000 but under $2 million; and 12% on any remaining amount about $2 million. Since most sales for the first quarter of 2013 took place before this shift occurred, it did not have a substantial impact on Sotheby’s results for the first quarter of 2013.

Due to the nature of the auction seasons, first and third quarters tend to bring in lower revenues than the second and fourth quarters. Typically, first quarter results are not an accurate gauge of expected full year results. Sotheby’s Chairman, President and CEO Bill Ruprecht said, “The first quarter showed a solid increase in auction sales compared to the prior year, but the results illustrate how competitive the market is for the highest value consignments. That competition resulted in lower commission margins, which is reflected on the bottom line.”

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Sotheby’s has announced that they will be opening a gallery for private sales close to its London outpost on Bond Street. The gallery will be ideal for big-name collectors who prefer to do business through unpublicized sales rather than in the public auction arena.

Private sales have seen an uptick in recent years and unpublicized transactions increased at Sotheby’s by 11% in 2012. These inconspicuous sales accounted for $906.5 million of the $5.4 billion Sotheby’s brought in from auctions the same year. Most of Sotheby’s private sales come from big-ticket modern and contemporary works, which are sold when a buyer visits a viewing room within the auction house. Details surrounding these transactions are often kept under wraps. These private sales are also beneficial for the auction house because publicity costs are nonexistent.

Sotheby’s new gallery is expected to open in London during the fall of 2013.

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Starting today, May 1, 2013, the Museum of Modern Art in New York will be open seven days a week. The Metropolitan Museum of Art made a similar announcement in March and will implement their week-round schedule in July.

After considerable renovations in 2004, MoMA has seen its annual visitor numbers climb from 1.5 million to 3 million. The seven-day-a-week schedule will help accommodate the museum’s growing audience. MoMA, which is located in Midtown Manhattan, is home to one of the most renowned collections of modern art including works by Paul Gauguin (1848-1903), Frida Kahlo (1907-1954), Jackson Pollock (1912-1956), Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009), and Pablo Picasso (1881-1973).

MoMA has been closed on Tuesdays since 1975, when officials introduced the tactic to cut back on museum spending. Prior to that, the museum had been open seven days a week since it’s founding in 1929.

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Thursday, 25 April 2013 13:31

Rothko Museum Opens in Artist’s Hometown

A museum honoring the painter Mark Rothko (1903-1970) opened on April 24, 2013 in the artist’s hometown of Daugavpil, Latvia. Rothko, who was born Marcus Rothkovitz, lived in the southern city then known as Dvinsk and in the Russian empire, until he was 10. Rothko and his family fled Europe in 1913 as anti-Jewish sentiments began to rise.

Rothko went on to become a remarkable artistic force in American modern art. Often called an Abstract Expressionist, Rothko opposed classification and even disliked being called an abstract painter even though some of his best-known paintings are comprised of nothing more than blurred blocks of color. Rothko continues to play a prominent role in the art world as his paintings are highly sought after by collectors. Last year, his large-scale painting Orange, Red, Yellow (1961) garnered $86.9 million at auction, setting a record for any contemporary work of art.

The Mark Rothko Art Centre features a small selection of key works from the artist’s oeuvre, which were donated by Rothko’s family. The museum also includes lecture rooms and artist studios. The Centre is being funded by the European Union and Daugavpil’s city council in hopes that the institution will help transform the city into a popular tourist destination.

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Wednesday, 24 April 2013 18:36

Columbus Museum of Art Wins National Medal

The Columbus Museum of Art in Ohio is the only art museum to receive a 2013 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The Columbus Metropolitan Library received the award back in 2011, making Columbus the 16th American city to receive the medal twice. The National Medal, which is the highest honor for museums and libraries, will be presented to the city at a celebration in Washington, D.C. on May 8, 2013.

The Columbus Museum of Art, which was historically focused on European and American art through the early modern period, has placed more emphasis on contemporary art and photography in recent years. The museum has also made a substantial effort to engage visitors in creative ways as well as reinvent itself as a hub for social and creative happenings in the Midwest. The institution has partnered with 30 Ohio counties as well as Columbus city schools to create various programs that are aimed at engaging visitors of all ages in innovative ways.

The other National Medal-winning museums for 2013 included the Boston Children’s Museum; the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, Mississippi; the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County; and the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

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Next month, Sotheby’s and Christie’s will hold some of their most anticipated auctions. The major sales of Impressionist, modern, and contemporary art are expected to garner at least $1 billion. Most of that money will be generated from the contemporary art auctions, which have been the highest earning in recent years. The Impressionist and modern art sales are expected to bring a joint $383 million while the contemporary auctions are estimated at over $700 million.

Highlights from the auctions include the renowned collection of vacuum-cleaner tycoon Alex Lewyt at Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale on May 7, 2013. The 200-piece collection is valued at $65 million and includes a still-life by Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) that carries a $25 million estimate and a portrait by Amedeo Modigiliani (1884-1920), which is expected to garner anywhere from $20 million to $30 million.

Christie’s Evening Sale of Contemporary Art on May 15, 2013 will be lead by Jackson Pollock’s (1912-1956) Number 19, a seminal drip painting, which is expected to sell for $25 million-$35 million. It is the most important work by the artist to appear at auction in the past two decades.

Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction on May 14, 2013 is also expecting a number of high priced sales. Francis Bacon’s (1909-1992) Study for Portrait of P.L. is estimated to sell for $30 million to $40 million and a painting by Barnett Newman (1905-1970), which is deemed one of the most important works from the Abstract Expressionist School, is also expected to bring $30 million to $40 million.

Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale will be held on May 8, 2013 and includes works by Claude Monet (1840-1926), Camille Pissarro (1830-1903), and Alfred Sisley (1839-1899).

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Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Sale on May 14, 2013 in New York will include one of the most important paintings by Barnett Newman (1905-1970) ever to appear at auction. Onement VI (1953) is a seminal work by the American artist and one of the most significant pieces from the Abstract Expressionist movement. The painting, which measures 8 ½ feet x 10 feet, is expected to garner anywhere from $30 million to $40 million. The canvas will go on view at Sotheby’s on May 3, 2013 until it appears at auction later that month.

Newman, one of the foremost artists of the 20th century, was a pioneer of color field painting as well as a key Abstract Expressionist. As an exhibitions organizer at the Manhattan-based Betty Parsons Gallery in the 1940s, Newman played a fundamental role in the careers of many of his friends including Mark Rothko (1903-1970), Jackson Pollock (1912-1956), and Clyfford Still (1904-1980).  

Onement VI, a massive canvas consumed by rich blue paint and sliced down the middle by a light blue streak, was a gift from the artist to his wife, Annalee. The painting remained in her collection for almost a decade and was acquired in 1961 by the well-known collectors Frederick and Marcia Weisman. That same year the painting appeared in an exhibition titled Abstract Expressionists Imagists at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum that helped define the modern art movement.

Onement VI is the final work in a series of six paintings by Newman. Four of the paintings are held in major art institutions including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, CT, and the Allen Memorial Art Museum in Oberlin, OH. Onement V currently resides in a private collection.

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