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A landscape by Vincent van Gogh is to be exhibited for the first time in more than 100 years following the discovery of crucial evidence that firmly traces back its history directly to the artist.

The significance of two handwritten numbers scribbled almost imperceptibly on the back had been overlooked until now. They have been found to correspond precisely with those on two separate lists of Van Gogh’s works drawn up by Johanna, wife of the artist’s brother, Theo.

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On June 5, 2013 at Sotheby’s New York the Corcoran Gallery of Art auctioned 25 rugs from its William A. Clark Collection. The rugs, which are from the 16th and 17th centuries, brought in $43.7 million, over four times the pre-sale high estimate of $9.6 million, making it the most successful carpet auction ever held. 100% of the lots sold and the auction achieved “White Glove” status, meaning every lot in the sale garnered more than it’s pre-sale high estimate.

The highlight of the auction was the Clark Sickle-Leaf Carpet. An important and iconic rug created by an unknown Persian artist during the first half of the 17th century, the rarely exhibited piece was expected to garner between $5 million and $7 million. The carpet ended up selling for $33.7 million, the highest price paid for any carpet at auction. Mary Jo Otsea, the senior consultant for rugs and carpets at Sotheby’s said, “Selling the Clark Sickle-Leaf Carpet for a record-breaking price of more than three times the previous auction record for a carpet has unquestionably been the highlight of my 30 year career. It is gratifying to see the strength of the market for carpets of this quality and rarity.”

The rugs were part of a bequest from William Clark (1839-1925), a Montana-based entrepreneur-turned-senator, to the Corcoran in 1925. The gift was comprised of 200 paintings and drawings and a number of other works, including the rugs. The Corcoran will use the proceeds from the sale to support future acquisitions that will better fit the institution’s focus on American and contemporary art. While the Corcoran has endured recent financial troubles, the money will not be used for operating expenses in keeping with its deaccession policy.

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The Museum of Modern Art in New York is celebrating Ellsworth Kelly’s (b. 1932) 90th birthday by reuniting his Chatham Series for the first time in 40 years. The series of paintings were the first works Kelly made after leaving New York City for upstate New York in 1970. Ellsworth Kelly: Chatham Series will be on view at MoMA through September 8, 2013.

All of the 14 paintings in the Chatham Series are made out of two joined canvases, which come together to create an inverted “L” shape. All of the works vary in color and proportion and were made intuitively by the artist. For the final paintings in the series, Kelly used pieces of colored paper to determine the right hues and ratios for the finished works. The Chatham series was first exhibited in 1972 at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, NY. Following the show, the works were split up until their reunion at MoMA.

Kelly, who was already an established artist when he created the Chatham Series, is best known for his hard-edge and color field paintings, which are defined by an overarching minimalist aesthetic. Kelly aimed to erase any trace of the artist’s hand, making what he described as “anonymous” art.

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United States authorities have seized over 2,200 pieces of art by pioneering American photographers including Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946) and Edward Weston (1886-1958). The works, which were sent from Texas to New Jersey last year, were relocated to a warehouse in New York in July 2012. Before they were seized, the works were supposed to be shipped to Spain where they would be exhibited in a private home.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark, New Jersey announced in a court filing that the works, which are valued at approximately $16 million, were purchased with funds from a scheme that sold fake credits for renewable energy. The leader of the ploy is Philip Rivkin, owner and CEO of the Houston-based company, Green Diesel. Rivkin is accused of using money fraudulently funneled through his business to buy the photographs. Rivkin has not yet been charged with a crime.

The seized artworks include multiple Stieglitz prints including one his wife, the artist Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986), which was sold for $675,000 and an Edward Steichen (1879-1973) print titled Greta Garbo for Vanity Fair, which was purchased for $75,000. The court filing, which was announced on Friday, March 1, 2013, asks Rivkin to forfeit the works to U.S. authorities.

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It was recently revealed that a Joan Miró (1893-1983) painting, which was damaged while on view at the Tate Modern in London, cost British taxpayers $326,000 to repair. Part of the museum’s retrospective of the Spanish modern artist, Painting on White Background for the Cell of a Recluse I (1968), was damaged when a visitor placed both hands against the work to steady himself after tripping and falling in the museum.

A white canvas sliced by a delicately wavering gray line, Cell of a Recluse I is one of five rare triptychs by Miró, which were exhibited together for the first time during the Tate retrospective in 2011. The work was immediately repaired after the incident, which left the acrylic on canvas painting with dents and markings. Cell of a Recluse I was on loan to the Tate from Barcelona’s Joan Miró Foundation and the British government paid the Foundation over $300,000 to cover the repair costs for the painting and to account for any loss in the work’s value due to the incident.

The Tate has recently been responsible for a string of damaged artworks including Mark Rothko’s (1903-1970) Black on Maroon (1958), which was defaced by a visitor, an early work by Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1977) titled Whaam! (1963), which was also marred by a museum patron, and a portrait of Margaret Thatcher by Helmut Newton (1920-2004), which was damaged when a staff member slipped and cracked the photograph’s glass frame.

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Damien Hirst, contemporary artist and leading member of the Young British Artists movement that made headlines in the 1990s, will no longer be represented by Gagosian Gallery, where he has shown his work on and off for 17 years. The news comes as a bit of a shock as earlier this year Gagosian devoted every one of his 11 galleries to Hirst’s abstract “spot” paintings.

While both art world giants claim that the split was amicable, Hirst will continue his association with London’s contemporary White Cube Gallery. It is unclear whether or not Hirst will look for additional representation in another city such as New York, where he has a large collector base.

Hirst, who is known for his excessive works of art that often include dead animals suspended in large tanks of formaldehyde and skulls engulfed in diamonds, has been regarded as the world’s wealthiest artist.  

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The National Geographic Society is well known for its collection of photographs chronicling scientific exhibitions, explorations, archaeology, wildlife, and various cultures of the world. With 11.5 million photos and original illustrations in its collection, National Geographic will bring a small selection from the archive to Christie’s December auction. There will be 240 pieces spanning from the late 1800s to the present including photographs as well as paintings by artists such as Andrew and N.C. Wyeth. The National Geographic Collection: The Art of Exploration is expected to bring about $3 million on December 6. This marks the first time any of the institution’s collection has been sold.

While many of the works have never before been published or exhibited, a number of them are well known including Steve McCurry’s Afghan Girl that has a pre-sale estimate of $30,000 to $50,000. Other works include a 1969 illustration entitled A Blue Globe Hanging in Space–The Earth as Seen From the Moon by Charles Bittinger, a photo of a diver with an octopus taken by Jacques Cousteau, and The Duel on the Beach, a painting by N.C. Wyeth.

All proceeds from the auction will be put towards the promotion and preservation of the National Geographic archive as well as the young photographers, artists, and explorers who will guide the institution into the future.

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