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Sunday, 13 March 2011 03:30

The once-grand white house watches over Long Island Sound from the tip of Sands Point, its days numbered.

Lands End, the 25-room Colonial Revival mansion that local lore says was F. Scott Fitzgerald's inspiration for Daisy Buchanan's home in "The Great Gatsby" faces demolition this month.

In the 1920s and '30s, Winston Churchill, the Marx Brothers and Ethel Barrymore attended parties there. Fitzgerald was perched on the back deck, drinking in the view. Rooms featured marble, parquet and wide wood-planked floors, Palladian windows and hand-painted wallpaper.

Now, the front door is off its hinges, wood floors have been torn up for salvage, windows are missing and the two-story Doric columns are unsteady.

Sands Point Village in January approved plans to raze the house and divide the site into lots for five custom homes starting at $10 million each.

Lands End is the latest Gold Coast estate to fall. With each demolition, the North Shore loses more of its gilded past, when sea breezes and social events attracted the rich and famous. Historians say hundreds of the mansions have been lost in the past 50 years as owners faced increasing taxes and high maintenance costs.

"The cost to renovate these things is just so overwhelming that people aren't interested in it," said Clifford Fetner, president of Jaco Builders in Hauppauge and Lands End project construction manager. "The value of the property is the land."

Saturday, 12 March 2011 05:47

LONDON.- On the evening of 10 May 2011, Sotheby’s will offer one of the most important works by Jeff Koons ever to have appeared at auction. Pink Panther from 1988 draws on many of the themes that have come to define Koons’ output and stands as one of the outstanding achievements of his illustrious career. The porcelain sculpture is the artist’s proof from an edition of three with the other examples in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and a prominent private American collection, and belongs to the artist’s iconic Banality series that includes Michael Jackson and Bubbles, Bear and Policeman and Ushering in Banality. Pink Panther will appear on the front and back covers of the sale catalogue for the spring Contemporary Art Evening Auction in New York and is estimated to fetch $20/30 million*.

“Together with Balloon Dog and Bunny, Pink Panther is a 20th-century masterpiece and one of the most iconic sculptures of Jeff Koons’s oeuvre,” commented Tobias Meyer, Worldwide Head of Contemporary Art at Sotheby’s.

Representing the highest tier of Jeff Koons’ artistic achievement, Pink Panther is immediately identifiable as a masterpiece not only of the artist’s historic canon, but also of the epoch of recent Contemporary Art. It conflates the classic themes that define the artist’s output - materiality and artificiality, eroticism and naivety, popular culture and rarefied elitism – and is the model expression of one of the most innovative and influential artists of our times. Initially unveiled at Koons’ seminal show Banality, held at the Sonnabend Gallery, New York in 1988, Pink Panther has been emblematic of this remarkable series ever since, which is itself regarded as a landmark of Koons’ oeuvre.

In Pink Panther, the display of the woman’s semi-naked body is sensual. However, with the bizarrely incongruous cuddly Pink Panther toy clinging to this literal embodiment of carnal desire, Koons strikes an outrageous contrast between the competing powers of adult and childhood associations. Although the Pink Panther cartoon character was initially created by Hawley Pratt for the opening sequence of the eponymous 1963 film starring Peter Sellers as the bungling Inspector Clouseau, it was only after becoming the protagonist of its own 1960s television show that it entered the mainstream consciousness as a contemporary Pop icon.

The artist’s painstaking selection of media is central to the conceptual project, contributing directly to the importance of the work. The terms of its execution are flawless: the contrasting textures of the porcelain surfaces are rendered in dazzlingly vivid colours that reinforce the object’s artificiality, while the transparent glazes simultaneously evoke the fragility of thin glass and the ethereal nature of a reflective liquid.

*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium

Saturday, 12 March 2011 05:39

New York, March 11, 2011—The Museum of Modern Art will acquire two landmark paintings
from the 1950s and a group of seven sculptures ranging in date from 1954 to 2005 by Cy
Twombly, widely regarded as one of today’s most important living artists, announces MoMA
Director Glenn D. Lowry.  All of the works are from the artist’s personal collection, and the
sculptures will be the first by Twombly to enter MoMA’s collection.  With these additions to the
eight paintings and numerous works on paper by Twombly, the Museum will immeasurably
strengthen its holdings of works by Twombly, representing all six decades of the artist’s career.  

 The nine works will be exhibited together in the Museum from May 20 to October 3, 2011. 

 “It has long been a priority for the Museum to build an in-depth collection of Twombly’s
work, and the addition of these two major paintings and seven sculptures make a powerful
statement about a transformative moment in the history of the American avant-garde,” said Mr.
Lowry. “We are extremely grateful to the donors who have made this possible, and especially to
the artist, who was willing to share with the Museum these great works, which he has kept in his
own collection for many years.”

 Tiznit, one of a small number of paintings that Twombly made in New York City during the
summer of 1953, will become the earliest work by the artist in MoMA’s collection.  Made just after
a nine-month trip with Robert Rauschenberg in Italy and North Africa, the painting is named for a
town in Morocco.  Primitivist in character, Tiznit is made with lead white enamel house paint,
pencil, and crayon.  Evident in the painting are the connections it makes to the European and
American artists crucial to Twombly’s formation, revealing the 25 year-old artist’s keen awareness
of the work of New York artists such as Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, and Jean Dubuffet.  It was
shown at the Stable gallery in a joint exhibition with Robert Rauschenberg in 1953. The painting is
a promised gift of anonymous donors.

 Academy was painted in New York in the summer of 1955 and was first shown in January
1956 in Twombly’s second solo exhibition at the Stable Gallery.  Academy presents the birth of
Twombly’s own artistic language: legible letters and words give way to scrawling and scribbling,
jittery lines, and scratches, with the artist reconfiguring the acts of writing, drawing, and painting
in order to provoke a new way of seeing.  This canvas represents the moment at which Twombly
declared his independence from the Abstract Expressionist idiom and invented a mode of working
that would govern his next half-century of his art.  Made in the same year as Jasper Johns’s Flag
and Robert Rauschenberg’s Rebus, it forms with these two paintings already in the Museum’s
collection an astoundingly powerful statement about a transformative moment in the history of
the American avant-garde.  The painting was purchased for the collection by the Museum. 

The Museum’s last major acquisition of Twombly’s paintings was on the occasion of the
major 1994 retrospective of the artist’s work, organized by Kirk Varnedoe, at which time the
paintings Leda and the Swan (1962), Untitled (1970), and the Four Seasons (1993-94) entered
the collection.   

 Twombly’s sculptures are an integral but little known aspect of his practice over the course
of the last six decades.  These works generally are made from found materials, plaster, wood, and
white paint, and their humble origins remain readily evident in the finished works. All are of
relatively small scale, as Twombly has wished them to be things that he himself can construct,
manipulate and move around the studio.  Their dialogue with Twombly’s paintings rests not only
in the fact of the material of white paint, but in their classical sources and their expressive
majesty. Like the works of Constantin Brancusi or Alberto Giacometti, they function especially
beautifully in relation to one another, and the artist’s preference is that they be presented in

 The seven sculptures represent the full span of Twombly’s career, beginning with two of
the few surviving sculptures of the 1950s: Untitled (Funerary Box for a Lime-Green Python)
(1954) and Untitled (1955), which represent the beginning of Twombly’s sculptural activity and
show a relationship to his painting at this pivotal moment in his work.  The remaining sculptures
were executed between 1976 and 2005, all representing different moments during which Twombly
has been at his most inventive and audacious as a sculptor.  One of the sculptures is a promised
gift of Steven and Alexandra Cohen, one is a promised gift of anonymous donors, and one is a gift
of the Cy Twombly Foundation.  Four were purchased for the collection with Museum funds and
generous gifts from trustees.

 Ann Temkin, the Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture,
notes that, “Until the past decade or so, Twombly’s sculptures have been overlooked in relation to
his paintings.  In fact the two practices are closely related, and we will now be able to present a
fuller and more accurate portrayal of Twombly’s achievements as an artist.  Similarly, these two
early paintings finally provide a true beginning to our account of this remarkable career.” 

Saturday, 12 March 2011 05:33

Berlin is showcasing a collection of over 250 works from New York's Museum of Modern Art at the Martin Gropius-Bau. The renowned exhibition hall is celebrating its 30th anniversary with the contemporary collection, described as "risk-taking" by one of the project's leaders.

The exhibit - titled "Kompass" - features selected pieces from the late 1950s to present of the Judith Rothschild Foundation Contemporary Drawings Collection.  Young and renowned artists alike have contributed to the collection, including David Hockney, Sherrie Levine, Paul McCarthy, Joseph Beuys and Cy Twombly.

"There are drawings by people who may have been previously overlooked," said Harvey S Shipley Miller, trustee of the Judith Rothschild Foundation, which donated the collection to MoMA in 2005. "My hope is that these will sit through and rise as the artists mature."

Friday, 11 March 2011 04:52

It is show season again, after what seemed like the briefest of lulls. With the Palm Beach fairs a wrap, dealers are headed for Maastricht, New York and Philadelphia. Then it is on to London in June before the business takes a summer break. 

M is for Maastricht and Miniatures
An international cast of exhibitors began arriving in the Netherlands this week for the European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF), on view at the Maastricht Exhibition and Congress Centre from March 18 to 27.
Though it is regarded as the Continent’s best venue for traditional art and antiques, the 260-dealer mega-fair, now in its 24th year, is responding to changing tastes by increasing its emphasis on modern and contemporary art and 20th century design. Last year, TEFAF added a section devoted to works on paper, from drawings and prints to books and photography.
Another innovation, now three years old, is the TEFAF Showcase, which introduces more than 70,000 visitors annually to the field’s freshest faces. For 2011, six Showcase exhibitors from France, the United Kingdom and the United States were selected for the one-time honor from a field of 80 applicants.
The only American in this year’s Showcase is Elle Shushan. The Philadelphia-based specialist in portrait miniatures fills a gap left when London dealer David Lavender retired from TEFAF several years ago.
Shushan calls herself “a scholarship kid” but she need not be so modest.  For her TEFAF debut, the dealer is bringing close to 50 likenesses, many of European notables. One highlight is a signed and dated portrait, priced around $35,000, of the Empress Josephine, newly divorced from Napoleon and painted from life by Bouvier in 1812. Of three known versions, one is in the Louvre in Paris.
The American delegation to TEFAF includes A La Vieille Russie, Michele Beiny, Blumka Gallery, Richard L. Feigen, French & Company, Hammer Galleries, Jack Kilgore, Hans P. Kraus, Jr., Barbara Mathes, Anthony Meier, Montgomery Gallery, Otto Naumann, Royal-Athena, Sebastian + Barquet, S.J. Shrubsole, Sperone Westwater, Lawrence Steigrad, Carole Thibaut-Pomerantz, David Tunick, Ursus Books, Van de Weghe, Adam Williams and David & Constance Yates.
A little more than a week after she returns home, Shushan will welcome collectors in town for Philadelphia’s top antiques shows to her annual by-appointment selling event, scheduled for April 7 to 11.
Who says good things do not come in small packages?
Moments and Moves in Philadelphia
The Philadelphia Antiques Show, which gets underway at the Cruise Terminal at Pier One in the city’s Navy Yard from April 8 to 12, is known for mounting ambitious loan exhibitions rivaling those found in museums.  This year’s exhibit, “Celebrations: Antiques that Mark the Moment,” is more intimate than most. The gathering of rarely seen objects, many from private collections and small historical societies, commemorates private milestones such as birthdays and weddings, as well as parades, holidays and other public occasions. Organizers chose the theme with their own special occasion in mind. The Philadelphia Antiques Show, long a leading showcase for the American arts, turns fifty this year.
Coincidentally, the presentation also marks the event’s last time at the Navy Yard, its home since 2008. Urban Outfitters has purchased the Navy Yard building, forcing the show to find new venue space. Four years ago, the Philadelphia Antiques Show had to leave the 33rd Street Armory after Drexel University reclaimed the building.
Show manager Joshua Wainwright of Keeling Wainwright Associates flatly denies the widespread speculation that the Philadelphia Antiques Show will move to the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Arch Street in Center City in 2012.
“Nothing has been decided. No contract has been signed. The Convention Center is one of many options being considered,” Wainwright said from office in Maryland this week.
Ease of set up and proximity to transportation and other services make the Convention Center, which hosts both the Philadelphia Museum of Art Crafts Show and the Philadelphia International Flower Show, an attractive location. The challenge is keeping costs down at a facility that is known to be expensive.
“I wish them every success,” says Frank Gaglio, who has managed fairs at the Convention Center in the past. Organizer of the 23rd Street Armory Antiques Show, the Barn Star Productions chief says a move to the Convention Center would likely benefit all concerned by increasing traffic among events during Philadelphia’s Antiques Week. Planned for April 8 to 10, the 23rd Street Armory Antiques Show features 45 exhibitors across a range of specialties.
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Friday, 11 March 2011 04:23

Brisbane's Gallery of Modern Art and Queensland Arts minister Rachel Nolan have announced a major new exhibition of Dali, Magritte, Miró, Man Ray and other surrealists.

Surrealism: The Poetry of Dreams opens in June and showcases Europe's most important and extensive collection of surrealist works, from the Musée national d'art moderne at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

‘The Centre Pompidou’s collection captures the diversity, experimentation and excitement of Paris which was the epicentre of Surrealism in Europe', said Queensland Art Gallery director Tony Ellwood.

‘Artists gravitated there from all over Europe to create an unparalleled avant-garde scene in which painters, sculptors, filmmakers, scientists, dancers and poets all collaborated'.

Friday, 11 March 2011 04:19

French police have recovered a cache of stolen Harry Winston gems hidden in a rain sewer. The loot, spoils from a brazen 2008 heist, was found in a plastic container set in a cement mold, inside a drain at a house in Seine-Saint-Denis, according to police statements.

Nineteen rings—including one valued at $8.3 million—and 3 sets of earrings were found, part of a $111 million lift taken from a Harry Winston boutique two years ago.

Thursday, 10 March 2011 04:02

There are over 600 galleries spread over seven art fairs vying for collectors and sales during New York’s unofficial arts week. And that’s not counting the smaller satellites and numerous gallery shows from Chelsea to Brooklyn. Elsewhere there is a dominant beast: in Miami it is Art Basel and London has Frieze, but there is no über art fair in New York. Does Manhattan really need one? Or does competition bring out the best in everyone?

The Armory Show, founded by four entrepreneurial art dealers in 1994 and first held at the Gramercy Hotel, has grown into a corporate-run event filling two piers. But several major dealers have jumped ship in recent years. And there is a power play between the city’s rival fairs.

The Art Show, run by the Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA), moved its dates last year, going toe-to-toe with the Armory Show, which had encroached on the ADAA’s traditionally blue-chip turf in 2009 by introducing the Armory Show-Modern. Things heated up further when the young pretender, Independent, entered the fray last year, taking over the former Dia building in Chelsea to create refreshingly alternative, booth-free displays of international contemporary art.

This year all three fairs return. Some say the shifting of the art world’s tectonic plates is beneficial. “There’s a healthy competition that’s breeding excellence,” says Mari Spirito, the director of 303 Gallery (P94/1300), whose sales include Eva Rothschild’s, Jokes, 2007, for €45,000, to a New York-based collector. Maureen Paley, showing at Independent, agrees: “Diversity is never a bad thing, and the city has a broad enough base to support it. New York maintains its position as a diverse magnet.” Paley’s early sales include David Salle’s I’ve Got It All Up Here, 2010. The artist’s large-scale works sell for around $300,000.

Thursday, 10 March 2011 04:00

Long before BMW commissioned him to paint an art car, Andy Warhol had translated an abiding fascination with automobiles into work. A new show at the Montclair Art Museum in New Jersey includes some 40 works and other items on the exhibition theme, “Warhol and Cars.”

The show’s linchpin is a Warhol painting owned by the institution, “Twelve Cadillacs,” which depicts a dozen repeated views of the front of a 1963 Fleetwood 60 Special. To Warhol, the Cadillac was as iconic as Mickey Mouse, Marilyn Monroe, the Campbell’s soup can or the Coca-Cola bottle. The painting was one of several automotive-themed Warhol works published in the November 1962 edition of Harper’s Bazaar, when the magazine commissioned Warhol to produce a visual commentary on the automobile.

The cultural importance of Cadillacs and other cars is given some context with the show’s inclusion of advertisements, brochures and design drawings from the Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collection of American Automobile Art.

Thursday, 10 March 2011 03:56

A statue by the French sculptor Auguste Rodin was stolen from the Israel Museum during renovations.

The bronze sculpture, "Naked Balzac with Folded Arms" was cast between 1892 and 1893 and was one of a series Rodin made while preparing a Paris monument to the French novelist and playwright Honore de Balzac.

The French writers guild, headed by Emile Zola, commissioned Rodin to create a monument to Balzac in 1891. Rodin worked on the project for eight years and cast several statues of Balzac, some of which are on display in museums throughout the world. The final version of the sculpture is at the monument, on Raspail Boulevard in Paris.

Art historian Stephanie Rahum wrote in her book on Impressionists and Post-Impressionists in the Israel Museum collection that Rodin considered the memorial his most important and daring work.

Thursday, 10 March 2011 03:48

Cairo's Egyptian Museum houses some of the world's greatest ancient treasures, but last month's unrest prompted fears over the fate of its historical artifacts.

Among the prized objects at the Egyptian Museum are towering statues of ancient pharaohs, a rare collection of royal mummies and intricately painted sarcophagi.

But it is perhaps King Tutankhamun's treasures that continue to draw the biggest crowds.

King Tut's golden mask, a collection of exquisite jewelry from his tomb, and two magnificent golden coffins are among the star attractions.

Zahi Hawass was Egypt's minister of antiquities before and during the revolution, but this week he announced on his website that he was resigning from the post.

In a statement on his website Hawass said that while the Egyptian Museum had been well protected during the recent revolution, heritage sites elsewhere in the country were now being attacked by criminals and thieves.

But Hawass says no harm came to King Tut's golden death mask during the revolution.

After an inspection tour with the museum's team of curators, he insists that damage caused to the museum by looters was minimal.

"We have more than 100,000 artifacts in the museum," Hawass said.

"When I came that day, 29th of January, and I saw through the monitor the golden mask, the famous masterpieces of Tanis, Old Kingdom, Middle Kingdom, I said 'Cairo Museum is safe.'"

Hawass won't give an estimate of the total loss suffered by the museum in the looting. But other priceless artifacts are missing or were damaged by intruders who, according to museum director Tarek El Awady, broke into the museum through a glass window in the ceiling.

Thursday, 10 March 2011 03:40

Will Barnet, who turns 100 in May, hurt his leg in a fall some time ago and nowadays does his "walking" in a wheeled office chair.

Every month or so, his son, Peter, now 72 and head of the painting department at Montclair State University, brings Dad to the Metropolitan or another big museum and pushes him through the galleries in his wheelchair.

Of course, Barnet loves art. He was a teacher at the Art Students League for 45 years and has been a well-known painter and printmaker for over 70 years, with an encyclopedic knowledge of American art and artists.

But even at his advanced age, Barnet is more than just an enthusiast. As shown in his "Centennial Celebration" — an exhibit of 10 paintings from the past year currently on display at the Montclair Art Museum — Barnet is still bringing the canvas to life himself.

"When I have an idea I go investigate it," Barnet says under the wall-sized window of his studio at the National Arts Club, where he has lived for 35 years. "I had been casting around for an animal to replace the cats in my work, and I thought I might try crows."

He’d gone to a crow hospital, where injured crows are nursed back to health, in order to study them. "Did you know Maine crows are different from other crows? They are. They have longer legs, and more streamlined bodies."

Wednesday, 09 March 2011 05:19

Stand outside New York's Metropolitan Opera and look at the two giant murals Marc Chagall painted in the mid-1960s. Angelic figures and exotic animals float through a sea of sumptuous red and brilliant yellow, the work of an 80-year-old man repeating himself. Chagall, by then a beloved painter without much to say, was simply grinding out Chagalls. Large cultural institutions, which needed blandly meaningless public art, knew that even sad Chagalls are happy, and they swarmed to the artist like flying cows to the flame.

"Paris Through the Window: Marc Chagall and His Circle," which opened March 1 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, explores a very different Chagall. It tracks the early encounter of this desperately poor, culturally isolated Jewish Russian artist from Vitebsk with the art of Paris, from just before the First World War until the Second World War scattered the diaspora of Eastern European genius that had gathered there in the first decades of the 20th century. It shows him grappling with cubism and the stylized exoticism of Ballets Russes, the dance company that planted the flag of Russian culture in what was then, arguably, the capitol of Western artistic life.

It also places him in the context of a fabled artist community known as La Ruche, a rounded building on the edge of fashionable Paris filled with affordable studios that incubated much mischief and many talents. Between 1911 (when he arrived) and 1914 (when he returned for what became an extended stay in Russia), Chagall crossed paths with Alexander Archipenko, Fernand Leger, Jacques Lipchitz, Amedeo Modigliani, Chaim Soutine - all represented in this exhibition, curated by Michael Taylor. It was, as one resident wrote, "a great cauldron, seething with vitality."

The title of the exhibition, "Paris Through the Window," refers in part to the windows of La Ruche, which had sixteen sides, forming a stubby cylinder filled with wedge-shaped studios, an artistic inversion of the panopticon. It is also the title of one of the largest and most powerful Chagalls in the show, in which a strangely human cat and a two-faced man are framed by an open window, with the Eiffel Tower, the roofs of Paris and an upside-down train chugging behind them.

Wednesday, 09 March 2011 05:15

Hedge-fund manager Adam Sender’s curator made her way through the mega-souk on the Hudson that is New York’s Armory Show Wednesday and stopped at the Untitled booth for Andrew Hahn.

“I think everyone is in love with these,” said Sarah Aibel.

She and London collector Anita Zabludowicz were among those who picked up his silk-screens which riff on the art world.

One piece, in black and white, depicts a man at a counter with a caption that reads, “This is the art dealer. He sells the things that are good for you.”

They cost $2,000 per silk-screen. The gallery has 60 of them and sold 55 on the first day.

Also browsing through the 274 galleries from 31 countries were Lightyear Capital LLC chairman, Don B. Marron, oil trader Andrew Hall, Greek shipping heir Stavros Niarchos and Warren Eisenberg, co-chairman of Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (BBBY)

Lower-priced works by younger artists sold briskly. And keep in mind that the offering price often gets bargained down by collectors with clout.

Los Angeles-based dealer David Kordansky placed three vibrant Primitivist paintings by West Coast artist Ruby Neri, with prices ranging from $14,000 to $18,000.

Gilbert and George

Blue-chip galleries with affordable works by established artists also did well.

By 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Lehmann Maupin gallery had sold half of the 52 artworks by British conceptual duo Gilbert and George. They consist of 13 postcards of London’s tourist and sex attractions. Each was offered at 17,000 pounds ($27,667).

“With $60,000 and under there is a comfort level in pulling the trigger,” said New York dealer Marianne Boesky, who sold paintings and sculptures in that range by artists Rachel Feinstein, Diana Al-Hadid and Hans Op de Beeck.

Wednesday, 09 March 2011 05:12

Conniving thief or oblivious employee?

Two pictures of a former deputy of disgraced art dealer Lawrence B. Salander emerged in a Manhattan courtroom yesterday.

Leigh Morse, 54, is being tried in New York State Supreme Court on charges of fraud and grand larceny in connection with what the Manhattan District Attorney’s office has called the biggest art fraud in New York history.

Witnesses scheduled to appear include actor Robert De Niro, Earl Davis, the son of modernist painter Stuart Davis, and former gallery staff.

Salander was sentenced to 6 to 18 years in state prison earlier this year after he pleaded guilty to 30 counts of fraud and grand larceny for operating an art Ponzi scheme in his Upper East Side gallery. He was ordered to pay restitution of more than $100 million. He’s at the Mid-State Correctional Facility, a medium-security prison east of Syracuse, New York.

Morse has pleaded not guilty to one count each of fraud and grand larceny.

Assistant District Attorney Kenn Kern said in his opening statement that Morse “withheld, stonewalled and delayed information about sales” of artworks to heirs of U.S. artists represented by Salander’s gallery.

As they weren’t told of 100 sales of their artworks, heirs didn’t know of the proceeds to which they were entitled, Kern said.

“It was almost like a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy,” Kern said. “The defendant chose to keep the scheme alive and kicking, month after month, year after year.” Salander’s lawyer, Charles Ross, declined to comment.

Wednesday, 09 March 2011 05:06

The BMW Art Car by Jeff Koons will be exhibited in the Netherlands for the first time ever - among historical collections of fine art and antique jewelry - at the 24th edition of the TEFAF (The European Fine Art Foundation) Maastricht Arts and Antiques Fair.

"This will mark the start of a three-year association between BMW Group Nederland and TEFAF Maastricht," said TEFAF Maastricht.

The black BMW M3 GT2 has been completely covered with distinctive colored stripes which "makes the car look as though it's travelling at top speed even when it isn't moving."

Jeff Koons is the 17th artist to collaborate with BMW on their Art Car series. World-renowned artists such as Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg have also provided BMW's art cars with total makeovers in the past. 

Wednesday, 09 March 2011 05:01

A $45million (£30million) Turner masterpiece is set to make its debut in Los Angeles.

'Modern Rome - Campo Vaccino' was acquired by the J Paul Getty Museum in July. The price tag set a new auction record for the British master.

After Getty bought the almost flawless painting in its original frame, the British government postponed export until February to see if enough money could be raised to keep a national treasure from leaving the country.

But the attempt failed and the painting is set to be unveiled in California on Tuesday.

It has only had two owners in 171 years. Most recently it was on display at the National Gallery of Scotland.

Wednesday, 09 March 2011 04:58

Georges Pompidou’s dream was a modern arts center. Valéry Giscard d’Estaing signed off on the popular Musée d’Orsay.

Every French president since de Gaulle has imagined some Pharaonic cultural monument or other to honor La Grande Nation, as the mocking German media occasionally call their Gallic neighbor, and to enshrine himself, of course. François Mitterrand became a virtual Ramesses II, opening the Bastille Opera, a new National Library, the Arab World Institute and the Louvre pyramid.

By contrast, Nicolas Sarkozy long seemed to flaunt his impatience with high culture. President Bling-Bling is what Le Canard Enchaîné, the satirical paper, took to dubbing this politician with his mirrored aviator sunglasses and expensive wristwatches, who hung out with showbiz pals, kept a photograph of himself with Lionel Richie in his office and married an Italian model-turned-singer, Carla Bruni. Otherwise, his biggest cultural initiative had been to back French chefs who campaigned to add French cuisine to the Unesco World Heritage List.

But Mr. Sarkozy has now decided that he wants a cultural legacy after all. He has cooked up the Maison de l’Histoire de France, the country’s first national museum of French history, to open in 2015, in a wing of the rambling palace in the Marais district of Paris currently occupied by the National Archives. The idea is to distill centuries of Gallic gloire into a chronological display, supplemented by lectures, seminars and temporary shows borrowing materials from the country’s already plentiful local and regional history museums.

That’s the plan, anyway. For months, protesters have taken to the barricades, appalled by the notion of the museum. The biggest “cultural revolt” of the president’s tenure is what one British newspaper gloatingly called the latest French contretemps.

The problem? It boils down to a few issues: What does it mean to be French in the 21st century? And whose “history” should be celebrated? In an increasingly fractious and multicultural nation, the questions have no simple answers.

Wednesday, 09 March 2011 04:56

Nude, Green Leaves and Bust – the Picasso painting that last year became the most expensive art work ever sold at auction – is to be publicly displayed in the UK for the first time.

Tate Modern said it would be seen in a new Pablo Picasso room following a loan by its anonymous owner.

Tate's director, Sir Nicholas Serota, welcomed the loan. He said: "This is an outstanding painting by Picasso and I am delighted that through the generosity of the lender we are able to bring it to the British public for the first time."

The painting is seen as a seminal work. Created on a single day in 1932, it is one of a sequence of works showing the artist's then love, his muse and mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter.

Serota said the paintings were "widely regarded as amongst his greatest achievements of the interwar period".

Wednesday, 09 March 2011 04:52

Prince Harry may have cancelled his polo trip to Dubai this month in deference to the political turmoil in the Middle East, but at least 80 galleries from Los Angeles to Beijing are going to Art Dubai, the Gulf’s biggest and longest-running international contemporary art fair, which opens on March 16. Although there has been a revolution in Egypt, a civil war looms in Libya, protesters have been on the streets of Bahrain, and tanks are out in neighbouring Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates are like a sea of tranquillity amid all the unrest.

The reason is, basically, money. The local Emiratis are better off, better looked after, and constitute only a fraction of the entire population anyway, the rest being expatriates. “It’s a different situation there – I don’t foresee any problems,” says Conor Macklin of London’s Grosvenor Vadhera Gallery, who is taking a roster of works by Indian and Pakistani artists to woo the core of wealthy Indian art buyers who live there.