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The Croydon Council, a local authority in south London, will sell 24 antique Chinese ceramic vases, bowls and bottles to benefit the redevelopment of Fairfield Halls, a 50-year-old arts center in the area. Local businessman Raymond Riesco gifted the valuable objects to the Council in 1959 as part of a 230-piece collection of artifacts that included Ming dynasty bowls. The 206 objects retained by the Council will remain on view for the public.

The decision to break up the collection has drawn criticism from the museum sector. David Anderson, president of the Museum Association, told the BBC, “Croydon’s decision to sell valuable Chinese ceramics threatens not just its own reputation, but that of the museum sector as a whole. It would undermine the widespread public trust in museums and I strongly urge them to reconsider.”

Arts Council England has also voiced opposition to the sale and penned a letter to the Croydon Council earlier this month warning them that their decision was not in line with English museum standards.

Published in News
Thursday, 25 July 2013 18:28

The Newport Antiques Show Opens to the Public

The Newport Antiques Show, which is organized by the Newport Historical Society, will kick off July 25, 2013 with a gala preview. The show will open to the public on Friday, July 26 and run through Sunday, July 28. Established in 2007, the highly anticipated show presents an impressive selection of Americana, paintings, furniture, folk art, jewelry, and decorative arts.

Exhibitors at this year’s show include William Vareika Fine Arts Ltd., Oriental Rugs Ltd., Roberto Freitas American Antiques & Decorative Arts, The Cooley Gallery, Diana H. Bittel Antiques and Arader Galleries. The 2013 loan exhibit, Windows on the Past: Four Centuries of Historic New England, highlights the artifacts and 36 historic sites that make up the largest, oldest and most comprehensive regional heritage organization in the country.

The Newport Antiques Show, which is held at St. George’s School in Middletown, RI, benefits the Newport Historical Society and the Boys & Girls Club of Newport County.

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In February, the Fred L. Emerson Foundation and the Seward House Museum in Auburn, New York announced that they would sell a significant painting by the English-born American artist and founder of the Hudson River School, Thomas Cole (1801-1848). The sale of the work, titled Portage Falls on the Genesee (1839) is intended to benefit the institution, which opened to the public in 1955 and became a registered National Historic Landmark in 1964.

Portage Falls was given to the American politician William H. Seward while he was the governor of New York prior to the Civil War. Seward went on to serve as Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson and after his death his home and its contents were donated to the Fred L. Emerson Foundation. The Foundation opened the Seward Museum but it became a fully independent, not-for-profit institution in 2009; the Cole painting was retained by the foundation.

The work, which depicts what is now Letchworth State Park in western New York, has been on view at the Seward Museum for 170 years and not everyone is pleased with the Foundation’s decision to sell it. A group known as the Seward Legacy Preservation has formed and will hold their first meeting at the Auburn Public Theater in Auburn, New York on Monday, April 29, 2013. Members of the organization, which include descendants of Seward, will fight to restore the painting to its former place in the Seward House. The painting is currently being kept in a secure storage location.

Portage Falls is said to be worth millions of dollars, which the Foundation and the Seward Museum plan on splitting when the painting sells.

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Sotheby’s will offer the Collection of Alex and Elisabeth Lewyt in a series of auctions in New York and Paris beginning on May 7, 2013. The works, which include paintings and drawings by Paul Cézanne (1839-1906), Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920), Edgar Degas (1834-1917), and Camille Pissarro (1830-1903), will lead Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art Sale in New York. Proceeds from the sale will benefit a charitable foundation to be created in the couple’s name. The 200 works, which also include illustrated letters by artists such as Paul Gauguin (1848-1903), are expected to garner anywhere from $67 million to $98 million.

The first sale of the series will present a selection of 20 works from the Lewyt’s collection. Highlights include a seminal Cézanne still-life titled Les Pommes, which the Lewyts bought from the Wildenstein Galleries in 1953; Modigliani’s sensual portrait of the socialite Marguerite de Hasse de Villers titled L’Amazone; and various works by Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), Georges Seurat, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque (1882-1963), and Marc Chagall (1887-1985).

Alex Lewyt, a New York-based vacuum cleaner inventor who died in 1988, and his wife, Elisabeth, an animal-welfare activist who died this past December, began amassing their remarkable collection in the 1950s.  

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A group of leading artists, artist estates, collectors, and dealer has donated 25 works of art to benefit the Whitney Museum of American Art’s new Renzo Piano-designed building in downtown Manhattan. The works, which are said to be worth upward of $8 million, will be put up for auction at Sotheby’s New York from May 14-15, 2013.

All of the artists involved in the multifaceted gift have strong ties to the Whitney and are represented in the museum’s stellar permanent collection. The most valuable work that will be up for auction in May is Jasper Johns’ (b. 1930) oil on canvas painting Untitled (2012), which is estimated to sell for $1.5 million to $2 million. Johns has had five solo shows at the Whitney and has participated in over 37 group exhibitions; the donation came directly from the artist. Other highlights from the sale include a Jeff Koons (b. 1955) silkscreen on stainless steel, a Cy Twombly (1928-2011) work on paper, a recent nude by John Currin (b. 1962), and other works by John Baldessari (b. 1931), Andy Warhol (1928-1987), and Ed Ruscha (b. 1937).    

All of the profits from the sale will directly benefit the Whitney’s new building, which is expected to open in the High Line District in 2015.

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Christie’s online-only auction of 125 works by Andy Warhol (1928-1987), which ran from February 26-March 5, 2013 was a huge success. The sale, which included paintings, drawings, photographs, and prints, garnered $2.3 million, doubling its pre-sale estimate. Proceeds from the auction will benefit The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, which is dedicated to the advancement of the visual arts.

The auction, which was the first online-only Warhol sale, attracted 65,000 visitors and 263 bidders from 36 countries. The featured works had estimates ranging from $600 to $70,000 and many have never been on public view. Highlights from the sale included I Love Your Kiss Forever, a 1964 lithograph of Marilyn Monroe’s lips that fetched $90,000, more than 40 times its pre-sale estimate; In the Bottom of My Garden (circa 1956), a complete book of offset lithographs colored by hand that realized $80,250; and a t-shirt screen printed with Warhol’s Self-Portrait with Fright Wig, which garnered $47,500. The only lot that failed to sell was a graphite on paper drawing titled Madonna and Child (circa 1981), which was expected to bring $30,000-$40,000.

The next Andy Warhol @ Christie’s sale is in April 2013 and will be dedicated to Warhol’s legacy at the famed New York nightclub, Studio 54. Christie’s will host a number of online auctions throughout 2013 as part of an ongoing partnership with the Warhol Foundation.

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The London branches of Sotheby’s and Bonhams will join forces with the Cologne-based auction house, Lempertz, to sell off works from the late Gustav Rau’s (1922-2002) vast collection. Rau, a well-known art collector and philanthropist, passed away suddenly in 2002, leaving his remarkable collection to Unicef’s German branch. Rau’s holdings, which include many Old Master and Impressionist paintings and sculptures, were estimated to be worth around $600 million at the time of the bequest.

While Unicef has sold a number of Rau’s works to fund ongoing projects over the years, this is the first time a significant portion of the collection has come up for sale. The auction, which is planned to take place this summer, will feature works by Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732-1806), El Greco (1541-1614), and Claude Monet (1840-1926) among many others. The works are all in pristine condition as Rau either left his collection in storage or offered them to museums for exhibition purposes rather than hanging them in his own home.

All proceeds from the sales will benefit children’s causes, specifically in emerging countries. Rau, who spent much of his life working as a doctor in Africa, was a champion of clean drinking water initiatives and better vaccination practices in developing areas. Unicef plans to use a large portion of the funds to finish a children’s hospital in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that Rau founded before his death.      

Published in News
Wednesday, 14 November 2012 00:10

Warhol Foundation Auction Hits $17 Million

Held at Christie’s in New York this past Monday, the first in a series of auctions to benefit the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts brought in over $17 million. The sale featured over 354 works by Andy Warhol including prints and photographs. Online auctions will begin this coming February.

Many works exceeded their high estimates including Jackie, a screen print and paper collage of Jacqueline Kennedy that had a high estimate of $300,000 and sold for $626,000 as well as Self Portrait in Fright Wig which was estimated at $12,000-$18,000 and sold for $50,000. The biggest sale of the night was a print featuring a butterfly titled Endangered Species: San Francisco Silverspot that reached over $1.2 million.

Profits from the sale will go towards the foundation’s endowment, and will help the organization to expand their contributions to the visual arts.

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Four works by contemporary heavyweights Fred Tomaselli, Takashi Murakami, Mickalene Thomas, and Gilbert & George will be offered by Christie’s to benefit the artistic activities of the Brooklyn Museum. Profits from the sale, which will be held during the Post-War and Contemporary auction on November 15, will go towards the preservation and presentation of the museum’s collection, exhibitions, and a variety of public programs. The four works were made especially for the auction.

The sale marks the beginning of BKLYN: A Celebration of the Brooklyn Museum, a multi-year collaboration between Christie’s and the museum that will include additional sales benefitting the institution. Housed in a 560,000-square-foot Beaux-Arts building, the Brooklyn Museum is one of the oldest and largest institutions in the country. Its permanent collection features everything from ancient Egyptian pieces to contemporary art.

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