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In January, Sotheby’s will offer an American folk art collection with some dark and risqué imagery. The auction consignors, Petra and Stephen Levin, philanthropists based in Florida, had filled their Vermont home with woodcarvings of prostitutes wrapped around clients ($30,000 to $50,000 for two pairs) and a shoeshine boy leering at a female customer’s legs ($30,000 to $50,000). In a diorama of a bar crowded with disheveled drunks ($20,000 to $30,000), cigarette butts are smeared on the floor.

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Today, Margot Bogert, chair of the Frick Collection’s board of trustees, announced three new trustee-elects: banker Elizabeth “Betty” Eveillard, philanthropist Monika McLennan, and banker J. Fife Symington IV, who is a great-great-grandson of the Frick’s founder, Henry Clay Frick.

Bogert publicly welcomed the new board members in a statement:

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Americans’ donations to arts and culture rose 9.2% in 2014, the highest increase in nine categories tracked by Giving USA, an annual report on charitable contributions.

Overall, however, arts and culture commanded a modest share of the philanthropic pie. Estimated gifts to arts and culture totaled $17.2 billion, according to the report compiled by Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Although that was a record high, it represented only 4.8% of the $358.4-billion total.

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Frank Gehry is this year’s recipient of the J. Paul Getty Medal, the Getty Trust’s annual award for leadership in visual art.

Gehry becomes the first designer or artist to win the award that the Getty launched in 2013. The prize – a bronze medal with a profile portrait of J. Paul Getty – recognizes lifetime contributions in various art-related fields that are part of the Getty’s mission, including philanthropy, art-history research, archeology and conservation of art and architecture, as well as art-making.

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William Louis-Dreyfus, the billionaire businessman and art collector (and father to actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus), is selling his art collection to support a very good cause: the Harlem Children's Zone, an organization that provides support to underprivileged children.

Louis-Dreyfus, who is 82 years old, has spent the past 50 years assembling a massive 3,500-piece collection, which is estimated to be worth between $10 million and $50 million.

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Project Perpetual, a new philanthropy established to raise money for humanitarian causes by collaborating with artists, has enlisted Jeff Koons to create the first in a series of new works that will be used to raise money for the United Nations Foundation.

Mr. Koons, who is the subject of a retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art that runs through Oct. 19, and who recently created a “virtual sculpture” for Garage magazine, will create one large sculpture and three to five smaller pieces.

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Lord Jacob Rothschild -- a member of the prominent British banking family -- has been selected to receive the second annual J. Paul Getty Medal in recognition of his broad contributions to museology, philanthropy, conservation and art historical research.

The award, announced Thursday by James Cuno, chief executive of the Getty, will be given at a ceremony in Los Angeles on Nov. 9. 

The Getty first awarded the medal last year to Harold M. Williams and Nancy Englander for their leadership and contributions in creating the Getty.

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Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, announced that Adrienne Arsht has pledged $1 million in support of the Met Museum Presents series of performances and talk, now in its second season. The grant will fund the next three seasons of the series, in 2014-2015, 2015-2016, and 2016-2017.

“For years, Adrienne Arsht has been a philanthropic force in the performing arts,” said Mr. Campbell, “and her generous grant to the Metropolitan Museum signals her confidence in the bold direction that our Concerts & Lectures General Manager Limor Tomer has embraced over the past two years. Adrienne’s support will encourage the growth of this ground-breaking programming as Limor mines our collections, collaborates with our curators, and takes creative risks to bring a fresh perspective to the Museum. We are grateful to Adrienne for her vision and generosity in making this possible.”

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The National Gallery in London has received an early painting by Vincent Van Gogh thanks to the Cultural Gifts Scheme, which was introduced by the UK Government earlier this year.

During the mid-1880s Van Gogh painted approximately 40 portraits of the peasants who lived in the Dutch village of Nuenen. The series helped establish Van Gogh as a painter of working people and is considered a breakthrough achievement in his artistic development. ‘Head of a Peasant Woman’ is the first early work by Van Gogh to enter the Gallery’s collection. It is also the museum’s first portrait -- the six other Van Gogh paintings (four are owned by the Gallery and two are long-term loans) are landscapes and still lifes.

The Cultural Gifts Scheme was launched in March 2013 to encourage philanthropy for the arts since it enables UK taxpayers to donate important objects to the nation during their lifetime. In return, donors receive a tax reduction based on a set percentage of the value of the work they are donating. ‘Head of  Peasant Woman’ is the second artwork to be donated to the UK as a result of the Cultural Gifts Scheme.

The painting is currently on view at the National Gallery.

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Before her death in 2007, Brooke Astor was a fixture in New York City’s elite inner circle. A tireless philanthropist and champion of the arts, Astor left behind a legacy marked by kindness, generosity, and good taste.

Sotheby’s has announced an auction of the contents of two of Astor’s estates – her legendary Park Avenue duplex and her country estate, Holly Hill, in Briarcliff Manor, NY. A total of 901 items including European and Asian furnishings, Old Master paintings, Qing Dynasty paintings, tea sets, silverware, jewelry, a porcelain menagerie, and over 100 dog paintings will head to the auction block September 24–25. Per Astor’s request, proceeds from the sale will go to the institutions and causes she held dear including the New York Public Library, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Bronx Zoo, Central Park, the Animal Medical Center of New York, New York City’s public school system, and a number of charities in Maine. Sotheby’s expects the sale to bring in between $6 and $9 million for the entire collection.

An icon of New York society and refinement, Astor spent her final years suffering from dementia. After her death at 105, her estate remained in limbo due a family dispute that lasted five years. The feud ended in March of 2012 and $100 million of Astor’s estate was freed for her charities. The amount going to Anthony Marshall, her only son, was cut by more than half as he was convicted of taking advantage of his mother’s deteriorating mental state and altering her will to his advantage.

Among the most coveted of Astor’s pieces that will be headed to Sotheby’s are an Imperial Chinese gilt-bronze lion clock slated to bring in around $180,000–$220,000 and an emerald and diamond necklace with earrings estimated at $280,000– $390,000 for both.

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