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The art collection once belonging to the infamous Ponzi-schemer, Bernie Madoff, will be sold at Sotheby’s New York and Stair Galleries in Hudson, NY at the end of this year. The 61 works have an insured value in excess of $575,000. Securities Investor Protection Corporation trustee, Irving Picard, and the U.S. bankruptcy court are liquidating the assets, which include posters, rugs and fine art. Sotheby’s will be responsible for selling a large portion of the works and Stair Galleries will sell the remainder including posters, carpets and decorative items. The collection has been stored at Cirkers Fine Art Storage & Logistics in Manhattan since 2009.

While the majority of the lot is lackluster, there are a few important works including a lithograph by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) illustrating a black bull, six bull lithographs by Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997) and a small drawing of a woman’s head by Henri Matisse (1869-1954). There are also a number of works on paper by important postwar artists such as Jasper Johns (b. 1930), Andy Warhol (1928-1987), Frank Stella (b. 1936), Cy Twombly (1928-2011) and Ellsworth Kelly (b 1933). The sale will also include a pair of oriental rugs that once decorated Madoff’s offices in Manhattan and Queens.

Picard has been working to liquidate Madoff’s assets since the disgraced financier’s arrest in 2008. To date, he has collected about $9.3 billion to compensate the people and companies that Madoff defrauded. Picard has overseen the sales of three powerboats, various cars, jewelry, pianos and Madoff’s wine collection.

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State Farm Insurance is suing French art dealer Alfred DeSimone for either discarding or losing an original lithograph by the colorful French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901). The lost work, Artistide Bruant Dans Son Cabaret, 1893, was part of a series of three posters used to promote French cabaret singer and comedian Artistide Bruant (1851-1925) around Paris in the late 1800s. The lithograph remains one of Toulouse-Lautrec’s most recognizable images.

State Farm is seeking $103,000 in damages from DeSimone for the centuries-old lithograph, which was bought by the insurance company’s client, Thomas Rosensteel, in 2006. Rosensteel purchased the work as an investment, but never ended up hanging it. While looking for a buyer, Rosensteel gave the lithograph to DeSimone for safekeeping, agreeing to pay him a fee once the work was sold. Rosentsteel found a buyer in 2010 and when he went to pick up the work from DeSimone, it was missing. DeSimone claims that the lithograph may have been put in a mailing tube and either sent to someone else or discarded. Rosensteel filed an insurance claim with State Farm who paid $103,109 to him; the company is now seeking compensation for the claim.

DeSimone, who has been experiencing financial troubles, has not been charged with any criminal wrongdoing in the Toulouse-Lautrec case. A judge will review the lawsuit on April 25, 2013.

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When the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art opened its doors for the first time in Bentonville, Arkansas on November 11, 2011, the institution presented about 450 works of art, nearly half of its entire holdings. A little over a year later, the Crystal Bridges’ collection has ballooned and now includes over 2,000 artworks thanks to an active acquisition program led by Executive Director Don Bacigalupi, museum curators, and a solid leadership board. Within the past year, the Crystal Bridges Museum has acquired five sculptures, eight paintings, one mixed media work, 468 prints, and 504 works on paper, including photographs, drawings, and watercolors.

Museum officials were particularly excited to acquire a large painting by Abstract Expressionist artist, Mark Rothko, titled No. 210/No.2011 (Orange) (1960) and held an official unveiling back in October. The piece, which has only been exhibited twice in public, is currently part of the museum’s temporary exhibition, See the Light: The Luminist Tradition in American Art. After the show closes in late January, the Rothko work will be moved to the museum’s Twentieth-Century Art Gallery.

Other major acquisition include a portrait by American folk artist Ammi Phillips (1788-1865), titled Woman in Black Ruffled Dress (circa 1835); a neoclassical white marble sculpture completed in 1867 by William Wetmore Story (1819-1895); a contemporary mixed-media work from the early 1980s by Californian artist Miriam Schapiro (b. 1923); and a large painting titled Tobacco Sorters (1942-44) by the twentieth-century American artist, Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975), which was commissioned by the American Tobacco Company.

A private collector who specialized in early twentieth-century works facilitated the major growth in the museum’s print department. The recent acquisitions vary in style from Benton’s Regionalism to Charles Sheeler’s (1883-1965) Precisionism and include drypoints, etchings, engravings, lithographs, screenprints, woodcuts, and wood engravings. A selection of recently acquired prints will be part of the temporary exhibition Art Under Pressure: Early Twentieth Century American Prints, which will be on view from December 21 through April 22, 2013.

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Monday, 03 December 2012 13:10

Alexander Calder Lithograph for Sale at Goodwill

The month after a Salvador Dali sketch turned up at Washington state Goodwill shop, an Alexander Calder lithograph was discovered at one of the bargain chain’s outposts in Milwaukee, WI. Karen Mallet, a media relations specialist for Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., bought the print for $12.34 after she spotted a Calder signature on the bold black-and-white artwork.

Mallett did some research on the Internet and found a number of Calder lithographs that bore a striking resemblance to the work she had purchased. She discovered that the piece in question, titled Rudolph, was the 55th lithograph in a series of 75 created by Calder in 1969. Jacobs Fine Art Inc. in Chicago valued the piece at $9,000.

An important American artist of the 20th century, Calder is best know for his sculptures, specifically his mobiles and stabiles. However, Calder also produced an impressive number of paintings and prints throughout his illustrious career.

Although Mallett was not particularly enamored by the Calder lithograph at first, she says that she is growing to like it and has no plans to sell.

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