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The smartly dressed man with frown lines and a bristling moustache is as much a mystery as the rollicking scene in Vulcan's forge, where a cherub is in imminent danger of being clouted by the blacksmith's hammer. They are among thousands of enigmatic paintings, hanging in galleries, council chambers, boardrooms and fire stations, about which almost nothing is known.

The public, however, is being invited to turn art detective, and help trace artists, dates, subjects and other helpful information about the paintings.

Published in News
Tuesday, 29 April 2014 11:19

Report says Online Art Market is Booming

The Online Art Trade Report by the British insurance group Hiscox estimated the value of global online art sales at $1.6 billion in 2013, up from $870 million in 2012. The report’s findings are based on a survey of 506 international art buyers, collectors, and galleries from a database belonging to ArtTactic, an organization that specializes in art market research and analysis. The study estimated that the online art market will grow to $3.8 billion by 2018.

According to the report, 71% of art collectors surveyed have purchased artwork without seeing it in person first and 89% of the galleries surveyed claimed that they regularly sell to clients using a digital image only. Nearly 25% of 20- to 30-year-olds surveyed said that they had purchased art online and nearly half of the collectors over 65-years-old surveyed said that they had bought art directly online.

Robert Read, Hiscox Global Head, Fine Art, said, “This research distills the views of collectors, galleries and the greater art community and it tells us that trading online is now an established and accepted way to buy and sell art. Increasing accessibility can only be a good thing, and we are seeing new players coming into the market from a range of territories, at all ages and price points, which is an exciting – if somewhat unexpected – development."

According to the report, online art sales account for 2.4% of the estimated value of the global art market, which in 2013 was $65 billion.

Click here for the full report.

Published in News

The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland, announced that it will renovate its Hackerman House, one of five buildings on the institution’s campus. The 19th-century mansion, which houses the Walters’ Asian art collection, will close on July 1 so that its fire safety and mechanical systems can be updated. In addition, the building’s galleries will be refurbished and the exterior will be repaired. The project is expected to take approximately 18 months to complete.

Art normally displayed in the Hackerman House’s galleries will mostly be moved to storage during the renovations while a select few pieces will go on view in other areas of the museum. In addition to some private fundraising, the $5.2 million project is being financed by the city and state.

Founded by William Thompson Walters and his son, Henry Walters, the Walters Art Museum is renowned for its Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Ethiopian, and Western medieval art collections as well as its holdings of Renaissance and Asian art. The Walters also has an impressive collection of illuminated manuscripts and rare books.

Published in News

Major auction houses are voicing opposition to a new bill called the American Royalties Too Act, which would grant visual artists (or their estates) a portion of the profits when their work is resold at public auction. The bill was introduced last month in the House by Representative Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat from New York, and in the Senate by Democrats Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin.

In December 2013, the United States Copyright Office re-examined its policy concerning visual artists and resale royalties. Last time the issue was explored, which was in 1992, the Office decided that artists should not receive a share of the profits when their works are resold. However, after more than a decade, the Copyright Office reversed its decision and stated that resale royalties should be awarded to visual artists, including painters, illustrators, sculptors, and photographers.

Lawyers for Sotheby’s visited lawmakers on Capitol Hill this month, asking Congress to shoot down the bill. They are joined in the fight by Christie’s, who have hired David Israelite, a royalty battle veteran and the CEO of the National Music Publishers’ Association. The auction houses consider the bill an added cost that will increase the price of doing business, which could lead to more sellers making deals through private transactions rather than public auctions. They are also arguing that the royalties would solely benefit the most successful artists and estates as they are the ones whose work is most often sold in the secondary market. Galleries and dealers are not included in the proposed bill.

Representative Robert W. Goodlatte, a Republican from Virginia and the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, will decide whether to schedule hearings on the bill.

According to a report released on December 13 by the United States Copyright Office, in the past two decades, over 70 countries have changed their policies concerning resale royalties to better serve visual artists.  

Published in News
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 12:32

Harvard’s Art Museums to Reopen in November

On November 16, 2014, the Harvard Art Museums -- including the Busch-Reisinger Museum, the Arthur M. Sackler Museum, and the Fogg Museum of Art -- will reopen to the public under one state-of-the art roof. The project, which began in 2008, has entailed a complete renovation and expansion of Harvard’s museum system. The endeavor has increased gallery space by 40 percent, for a total of approximately 43,000 square feet.

Harvard tapped renowned architect Renzo Piano to transform 32 Quincy Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the landmark building that previously housed the Fogg and Busch-Reisinger Museum, into the university’s artistic hub. The new facility combines the 32 Quincy Street building, which was constructed in 1927, with a new addition and a striking glass rooftop structure that will allow controlled natural light into the facility’s conservation lab, study centers, and galleries. The overhaul also includes a theater for lectures and public programming.

The Busch-Reisinger Museum, which was founded in 1903, is the only museum in North America dedicated to the art of the German-speaking countries of Central and Northern Europe. The Fogg Art Museum, which opened to the public in 1896, boasts extensive holdings of American and European art from the Middle Ages to the present. The Arthur M. Sackler Museum, which holds a remarkable Asian art collection, was established in 1985 in a separate building from the Fogg and Busch-Reisinger. The museum has been closed since June to prepare for its relocation to the new facility.  

Thomas W. Lentz, the Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director of the Harvard Art Museums, said, “We knew that we had an opportunity to redefine the Harvard Art Museums as an accessible and connected 21st-century facility for teaching and learning, so we engaged Renzo Piano to design a building to implement that vision. We asked him to design it from the inside out—to create a new kind of laboratory for the fine arts that would support our mission of teaching across disciplines, conducting research, and training museum professionals. We also wanted to strengthen the museums’ role as an integral part of Cambridge and Boston’s cultural ecosystem. We look forward to welcoming students, faculty, and staff at Harvard, our Cambridge friends and neighbors, the entire Greater Boston community, and travelers from afar into our new home this November.”

Published in News
Friday, 20 December 2013 17:46

Ralph M. Chait Galleries Moves to Crown Building

Ralph M. Chait Galleries, dealers of fine antique Chinese porcelain and art, are moving to the Crown Building on Fifth Avenue in New York. The 104-year-old gallery’s new home will open to the public on January 6, 2014. The 4,000-square-foot space is being designed by the Stylander Design Group and will include several connecting galleries and a library, which will house over 5,000 volumes.

The gallery, which previously occupied a different space on Fifth Avenue, was founded by Ralph M. Chait following his arrival to New York from London in 1909. The gallery is now operated by Chait’s son, Allan, and his two grandsons, Andrew and Steven.

The Ralph M. Chait Gallery is a founding member of the National Antique & Art Dealers Association of America and a go-to source for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Frick Collection, the Chicago Institute of Art, and several other respected museums.

Published in News
Friday, 13 December 2013 18:04

The Getty’s Curator of Paintings to Retire

Scott Schaefer, the J. Paul Getty Museum’s Senior Curator of Paintings, will retire on January 21, 2014. Schaefer joined the Getty in 1999 after stints at Sotheby’s, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Fogg Museum at Harvard University, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Schaefer, who helmed the Getty’s Paintings department for four years, helped the museum acquire a total of 70 paintings and pastels and five sculptures. Among the most important recent acquisitions are the Getty’s first paintings by Paul Gauguin, J.M.W. Turner’s Modern Rome, and a rare self-portrait by Rembrandt.

Timothy Potts, the Getty’s director, said, “Through his acquisitions, Scott has made an impact on every one of the Museum’s paintings galleries and, in particular, transformed our eighteenth-century French collection. We will miss his discerning eye, keen intelligence and above all his unswerving commitment to the Museum.”

Published in News
Tuesday, 10 December 2013 22:12

Pérez Art Museum Opens in Miami

The 200,000-square-foot, Herzog & de Meuron-designed Pérez Art Museum at Miami Museum Park has officially opened to the public. Located on Miami’s Biscayne Bay, the museum features expansive galleries and an education center.

Fundraising efforts for the museum began in 2004 when Miami-Dade county voters approved a general obligation bond for $100 million in public money. Private donors contributed another $60 million for the building’s construction and institutional endowment. After developer Jorge Pérez pledged $35 million and a number of important artworks to the project in 2011, officials decided to name the institution The Pérez Art Museum.

A retrospective highlighting controversial Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei is currently on view at the Pérez Art Museum. The exhibition opened at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C., last year and traveled to the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the Art Gallery of Ontario earlier this year.

Published in News
Thursday, 05 December 2013 18:01

Art Basel Kicks Off in Miami

Art Basel Miami, one of the most highly-anticipated art events in the world, is currently underway. This year, the show, which draws over 50,000 visitors annually, is hosting more than 250 of the world’s leading galleries. Art events extend beyond the Miami Beach Convention Center where the fair is held to museums and galleries across the city.

Exhibitors from North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa will be present at Art Basel Miami offering everything from modern and contemporary art masterpieces to works by emerging artists. Exhibitors include Acquavella Galleries, Gagosian Gallery, Gladstone Gallery, Howard Greenberg Gallery, Hauser & Wirth, Hirschl & Adler Modern, Paul Kasmin Gallery, Lehmann Maupin, Pace, White Cube, and David Zwirner. Offerings range from paintings, sculptures drawings and photographs to films and installations.

Art Basel Miami Beach will take place through December 8.

Published in News

The Heritage Lottery Fund has given a $240,000 development grant to National Museums Liverpool to renovate the Lady Lever Art Gallery, which houses one of the UK’s finest collections of fine and decorative art. Renovation plans include returning over a quarter of the existing space to its original architecture and expanding galleries so that more of the collection can be made accessible to the public.

Sandra Penketh, the Gallery’s directory, said, “This project will transform the Gallery and breathe new life into the collections. It will also mean improved accessibility for visitors and greater educational resources for local schools and the community.” The Gallery’s initial grant allows it two years to submit a proposal for a more substantial bequest, which will ideally help them get closer to their £2.8 million fundraising goal.    

Founded in 1922 by the soap magnate William Lever, 1st Viscount Leverhulme in honor of his late wife, the Lady Lever Art Gallery holds an outstanding collection of 18th and 19th century British paintings and furniture as well as a celebrated collection of Wedgwood pottery.

Published in News
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