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Displaying items by tag: vincent van gogh

Thursday, 20 December 2012 13:39

The Met Will Keep Controversial Cézanne Painting

In December 2010, Pierre Konowaloff, the heir to Russian art collector Ivan Morozov, filed a lawsuit claiming that he was the rightful owner of Paul Cézanne’s (1839-1906) painting Madame Cézanne in the Conservatory (1891), not the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Konowaloff explained that Morozov’s art collection was seized by the Bolshevik regime in 1918 and that when Stephen Clark, the collector and museum trustee who bequeathed the work to the Met in 1960, first bought the painting from Knoedler & Company in 1933, he did not carry out due diligence. Accusing the Met of wrongful acquisition, possession, display and retention, Konowaloff demanded that the work be returned to him and requested restitution for monetary damages.

On December 18, a judge in the 2nd District Court of Appeals in Manhattan ruled that the Met could keep the Cézanne masterpiece, as the museum remains the work’s rightful owner. The Met has stood behind their right to the painting since the beginning of the entanglement with Konowaloff. The lawsuit was initially dismissed in 2011 by judge Shira Scheindlin who said that a U.S. court has no basis for questioning a decision made by a foreign government on distant soil. After the rejection of Konowaloff’s appeal, Met officials can finally leave the dispute behind them.

Konowaloff filed a similar suit against Yale University in 2009 over Vincent van Gogh’s (1853-1890) The Night Café (1888). Konowaloff claimed that the van Gogh painting was also stolen during the Russian Revolution and bought by Clark regardless of its questionable history.

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While hedge-fund owner, Steven A. Cohen, is embroiled in a financial fiasco, the art world is anxiously waiting to see what will become of his impressive art collection. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has informed Cohen that his $14 billion company, SAC Capital Advisors LP, could be at the center of an insider-trading lawsuit. The SEC is currently suing SAC Capital’s former portfolio manager, Mathew Martoma.

Cohen, who is worth $9.5 billion, started building his collection around 2001 and is now regarded as one of the biggest and most influential art collectors. Once a major buyer of Impressionist works, Cohen began collecting more contemporary pieces and helped raise prices of big-name artists like Damien Hirst, whose shark in formaldehyde, titled The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, he bought for $8 million.  

Cohen’s collection also includes works by Vincent van Gogh, Edouard Manet, Willem de Kooning, Pablo Picasso, Paul Cezanne, Andy Warhol, Francis Bacon, and Jasper Johns. If Cohen’s troubles worsen, he may be forced to dismantle his carefully assembled collection and begin selling his artworks.

 

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California based auction house, Profiles in History, announced today that they will exhibit highlights from their upcoming auction, The Property of a Distinguished American Private Collector. The exhibit will be held at Douglas Elliman’s Madison Avenue Gallery from December 3 through December 9. The exhibit was supposed to be held at Fraunces Tavern Museum, but an alternate location was needed after Hurricane Sandy inflicted a fair amount of damage on the museum.

The Property of a Distinguished American Private Collector includes over 3,000 manuscripts that will be auctioned off at a series of sales beginning on December 18. The first part of the sale will include 300 of the most important letters and manuscripts from the collection and carries an estimate in excess of $8,000,000.

One of the most notable highlights of the exhibition and sale is a four-page handwritten letter by Vincent van Gogh. In the letter written to his close friends, Monsieur and Madame Ginoux, just seven months before his death, van Gogh talks of his failing mental and physical. He writes, “Disease exists to remind us we are not made of wood…” The letter, penned on January 20, 1890, is expected to bring between $200,000 and $300,000.

Other important documents on view include several manuscripts by George Washington, a Thomas Paine manuscript, a rare Emily Dickinson letter, and other correspondences by Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Karl Marx, Charles Darwin, and Thomas Edison.

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Patrons who are familiar with the permanent collection at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts might become befuddled upon their next visit to the institution. Some of the museum’s finest works including Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Dance at Bougival, the pivotal Claude Monet painting, La Japonaise: Camille Monet in a Japanese Costume, five works by Paul Cézanne, five more by Edouard Manet, and two of the masterpieces by Vincent Van Gogh are nowhere to be found.

While some of the works have been lent to museums in the United States, Japan, and Europe to enhance exhibitions, others have been rented to for-profit organizations. Loans between institutions are common practice, but compounded with the large number of works currently out on rent by the MFA, the museum’s own collection appears to be lacking. Currently, 26 of the MFA’s paintings are involved in exhibitions in Italy, which the institution received a hefty yet undisclosed fee for. Some of the works now on view in Italy are two paintings by John Singleton Copley and two Rembrandt portraits as well as single works by Eugène Delacroix, Paolo Veronese, Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Paul Gauguin, Alberto Giacometti, and Pablo Picasso.

While the MFA is excited to be raising revenues, the act of charging fees for lending works has been a source of controversy. One of the main duties of public institutions, including art museums, is to share their collections with the public. Many objectors find the practice of lending works for profit to be in direct opposition to this goal.

Other major holdings that are not presently at the MFA are Diego Velázquez’s Luis de Gongora, two works by El Greco, two more by Gustave Courbet, the museum’s only painting by Edvard Munch, and arguably its greatest work by Edgar Degas, Edmondo and Therese Morbilli. While MFA officials argue that they are bolstering the museum’s international reputation, critics feel the institution is suffering for it.

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Thursday, 11 October 2012 18:41

An Entire van Gogh Exhibition Built by Loans

When Timothy J. Standring, curator of painting and sculpture at the Denver Art Museum, suggested an exhibition of Vincent van Gogh’s work, it was quite a risk, mainly because the museum doesn’t own a single work by van Gogh. In addition, the Denver Art Museum’s strength lies in American Indian, pre-Columbian, and Spanish Colonial Art – not ideal holdings when attempting to swap works with European painting departments.

On October 21, six years after the thought first popped into Standring’s head, Becoming van Gogh will open to the public at the Denver Museum. The show will be comprised of 68 paintings and drawings by van Gogh and about another 20 works by artists he studied under.

A true labor of love, Standring traveled to 39 cities in Europe, at least 30 in North America, and another two in South America to do research, meet with scholars, view works, and negotiate with owners. Co-curated by Louis van Tilborgh, the exhibition evolved as the duo delved deeper into their research. Inspired by James Shapiro’s A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599, Standring wanted to capture the period when van Gogh became van Gogh. At first he thought a show of 30 oils and drawings done between 1887 and 1888 would be sufficient, but as his research progressed, Standring decided to explore van Gogh’s work from 1886–1888, the artist’s years in Paris.

Standring proceeded to make a checklist of all the works he wished to acquire. He made connections with curators at other museums, phoned friends and collectors. As he continued, the need for more works became apparent. Standring wanted to include early works from van Gogh’s time in the Netherlands and his later years in Provence. After countless phone calls, letters, negotiations, meetings, and planning, the exhibition came to fruition. Becoming van Gogh will be on view through January 20, 2013.

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When Vincent van Gogh painted Flowers in a Blue Vase in 1887 in Paris, he chose a bright, cheery yellow for the flowers. As years passed, the vivid hue faded to a dull orange-gray and scientists have just found out that a coat of protective varnish is to blame.

After van Gogh’s death in 1890, the varnish was applied to preserve the work, a common practice at the time. However, when the paint mixed with the varnish, a chemical reaction occurred causing the colors to change.

Something seemed awry back in 2009 when Margje Leeuwestein, painting conservator at the Kröller-Müller Museum in the Netherlands, attempted a conversation treatment on the piece. An unusual gray crust containing cadmium yellow paint formed on the surface, signaling that they were dealing with more than just aging varnish which is known to darken over time.

 As the painting had become increasingly brittle, experts at the Kröller-Müller Museum carefully took two microscopic paint samples from the original work and used X-ray beams to determine the chemical composition and structure where the paint and varnish met. A lead-sulfate compound, the result of photo-oxidation that separates cadmium and sulfate ions from that particular paint, was revealed. The researchers deduced that the negatively charged sulfate ions hooked up with the lead ions in the varnish to form anglesite, an opaque lead-sulfate compound that caused the color to transform.

 By keeping the painting in lower light conditions and using more advanced varnish, the deterioration should be halted. The surprising findings will be chronicled in the upcoming issue of the scholarly journal, Analytical Chemistry.

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It is the finest collection of modern art anywhere outside Europe and the US, boasting works by Jackson Pollock, Francis Bacon, Andy Warhol, Edvard Munch, René Magritte and Mark Rothko.

But the pieces have been stacked in the basement of Tehran's Museum of Contemporary Art for more than 30 years, gathering dust in storage. Censors in Iran classed some as un-Islamic, pornographic or too gay, and they have never been shown in public. Others have been displayed only once or twice.

But now a number of the collection's paintings are on show for the first time in Tehran as part of the museum's Pop Art & Op Art exhibition, featuring works by Warhol, David Hockney, Roy Lichtenstein, Victor Vasarely, Richard Hamilton and Jasper Johns.

"Many of the works in the exhibition are shown for the first time," Hasan Noferesti, the museum's director for art programmes, told the Mehr news agency. "The exhibition aims to show the evolution of these artistic movements."

More than 100 pieces from the museum's remarkable collection are on display, according to Mehr, along with a series of works from Mexico that have been dedicated to the museum in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Mexican revolution and the 200th anniversary of the country's independence.

James Rosenquist, Jim Dine, Larry Rivers and RB Kitaj are among other artists whose works are in the exhibition, which runs until mid-August.

Iran's unique hidden treasure was bought before the Islamic revolution, under the supervision of Farah Pahlavi, the former queen of Iran, who fled the country with the late shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in 1979.

The 38-year reign of the shah, self-proclaimed kings of kings, came to an end after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returned from exile to Tehran receiving a hero's welcome and founded the Islamic republic.

The collection includes Pollock's Mural on Indian Red Ground, considered to be one of his most important works and estimated to be worth more than $250m, as well as important pieces by Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec, Degas, Whistler and Marcel Duchamp.

There are even pieces by artists whom the former empress met in person, including the Russian-French painter Marc Chagall and the English sculptor Henry Moore. The collection is thought to be worth more than $2.5bn.

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