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Ratcheting up one of the oldest rivalries in history, 219-year-old Phillips Auction House is resurrecting its Modern art business and launching a blitz of hiring and powerful partnerships. It will seek to compete head-to-head with age-old rivals Sotheby’s and Christie’s this fall in the high end of the billion-dollar art market.

People close to the matter say that, after downsizing about a decade ago in the wake of some unsuccessful sales, the company—working with just-announced partners eBay, former Brooklyn Museum director Arnold Lehman and executives with ties to the deep-pocketed Arabian collecting world—could be making a play to disrupt the Coca-Cola/Pepsi-like hold on the art auction market that the Big Two have long enjoyed.

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The online retail giant eBay today launched a new section of its website dedicated to live auctions at Sotheby’s. Modern and contemporary photographs by Man Ray, Paul Strand and László Moholy-Nagy are among the works for sale in the first auction, which will be streamed live on April 1. The second sale of New York memorabilia, which includes a ten-foot-tall sign from Yankee Stadium from the collection of the basketball player Reggie Jackson (est $300,000-$600,000), takes place on April 2.

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Precious crockery from the Élysée Palace, home to the French president, has turned up on eBay, Le Figaro reports. The publication claims that a military attaché who served during the 1950s got into the habit of giving manufacture de Sèvres plates away as presents.

The embarrassing revelation comes after the Court of Auditors declared 32 artworks and 625 pieces of furniture missing from the presidential residences: the Élysée Palace, the Versailles hunting lodge La Lanterne, and the Fort de Brégançon on the French Riviera, which is soon to be turned into a national monument.

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Monday, 14 July 2014 11:08

Sotheby’s Forms Partnership with eBay

Convinced that consumers are finally ready to shop online for Picassos and choice Persian rugs in addition to car parts and Pez dispensers, Sotheby’s, the blue-chip auction house, and eBay, the Internet shopping giant, plan to announce Monday that they have formed a partnership to stream Sotheby’s sales worldwide.

Starting this fall, most of Sotheby’s New York auctions will be broadcast live on a new section of eBay’s website. Eventually the auction house expects to extend the partnership, adding online-only sales and streamed auctions taking place anywhere from Hong Kong to Paris to London. The pairing would upend the rarefied world of art and antiques, giving eBay’s 145 million customers instant bidding access to a vast array of what Sotheby’s sells, from fine wines to watercolors by Cézanne.

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An East Hampton man stands accused this week of selling over 60 forged paintings, which he claimed to be by Jackson Pollock, to private collectors and on eBay, netting him nearly $1.9 million.

A special agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in seeking a warrant for the arrest of John D. Re, 54, said he had engaged in the scheme since March 2005 and at least until this past January. According to the complaint by the agent, Meredith Savona of the bureau’s art theft and art fraud division, Mr. Re falsely told collectors he had come across a trove of Pollock paintings in 1999, when he was hired to clean out the basement of an East Hampton woman, Barbara Schulte, three years after the death of her husband, George Schulte, a woodworker and antiques restorer.

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Art experts are searching for an eBay user that purchased a canvas for £3,000 in an online auction back in 2006. The painting, which depicts a couple eating oysters and drinking Champagne, was recently revealed to be an authentic work by the French Impressionist painter Édouard Vuillard. The canvas is estimated to be worth £250,000.

The discovery was made after experts on the BBC antiques program, Fake or Fortune, appraised a painting owned by a writer named Keith Tutt. Tutt had purchased the work, which was later revealed to be an authentic Vuillard painting, at an auction for a minimal amount. Robert Warren, the art dealer who sold the canvas to Tutt, stated that it had been one of a pair and that he had sold the other on eBay but could not remember who purchased it.

Fiona Bruce, co-host of Fake or Fortune, said, “We've done all the forensic and investigative work to prove it's genuine, now we just need to find the owner and tell them the good news. Someone, somewhere in the world is sitting on a fortune."

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Wednesday, 31 July 2013 19:52

Early Andy Warhol Sketch to be Sold on eBay

When Andy Fields, 49, purchased a handful of unidentified sketches from a property sale in Las Vegas, he did not know that he would be acquiring a potential Andy Warhol original. Experts believe that one of the drawings, which Fields bought for $5, is a previously unknown picture by the Pop Art legend from when he was 10 or 11 years old.

Although the Andy Warhol Authentication Board did not approve the sketch of singer and actor Rudy Vallee before it disbanded, Fields has listed the sketch on eBay for $1.9 million. Fields claims that he has been told by experts at Bonhams and Sotheby’s that the pencil and graphite drawing is authentic and could be worth up to ten times his asking price.

Fields, a businessman, purchased the drawing from a man who told him that his aunt had cared for and befriended Warhol when he was young and prone to illness.

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