A Theory of the Gardner Heist Proves Just as Elusive as the Missing Art

Rembrandt Storm on the Lake of Galilee

It’s coming up on the 25th anniversary of the Gardner Museum heist and a new book is coming out. But one reporter who had been on the trail of the lost paintings recalls his close brush with what might have been the missing Rembrandt (or might not.)

The hallway in the Brooklyn warehouse was dark, the space cramped. But soon there was a flashlight beam, and I was staring at one of the most sought-after stolen masterpieces in the world: Rembrandt’s “Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee.”

Or was I?

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Scenes from ARCOMadrid 2015

What Could the Monaco Police Have Arrested Freeport Mogul For?

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Yves Bouvier

The Telegraph has this curious story where Yves Bouvier has been arrested for suspicion of fraud in Monaco. The investigation seems to be around art transactions. The Guardian says, “The investigation is believed to centre on inflating prices in very big art transactions in which Bouvier was an intermediary.” Bouvier is the person behind the massive freeport in Geneva and its satellites in Singapore and Luxembourg:

Yves Bouvier was detained in the Mediterranean principality on Wednesday along with two other persons on suspicion of fraud, the Monaco attorney general, Jean-Pierre Dreno, told the Telegraph.

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Anatomy of a Simcho Artist’s Rise

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The LA Magazine has yet another profile of Stefan Simchowitz. (He has some publicist!) You can’t read it because it isn’t online. But Los Angeles did something very smart. They put up a timeline of artist Zachary Armstrong’s year-long saga of getting on the Simcho train and gathering speed:

 December 2013

Armstrong receives an email from Simchowitz, who has seen a painting of his on Instagram and would like to purchase it. He asks for the price. Armstrong tells him $2,000.

January 2014

Simchowitz buys ten paintings from Armstrong but pays only $1,000 per painting.

April 2014

Simchowitz calls Armstrong and tells him that some of the paintings had been sold and that things were going better than anticipated. “I’m guessing he sold them for $5,000 a piece,” says Armstrong. “That’s when the machine went into motion.”

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Did Robert Fraser Matter? Even a Great Gallery Show Doesn’t Answer the Question

Richard Hamilton, Release (15-18k) 45k GBP
Richard Hamilton, Release (15-18k) 45k GBP

Liesl Schillinger pulls the whole Robert Fraser story together in one great Wall Street Journal piece that asks the question, did he matter?

“He was cooler than cool…. His shows set the tone for all the shows in London,” says the New York gallerist Tony Shafrazi, who was an art student in London in the ’60s when he met Fraser. Several other Londoners attempted the same feat—including John Dunbar (who was married briefly to Faithfull), with Indica Gallery, and John Kasmin, whose namesake gallery specialized in color-field paintings—but Fraser, Glimcher says, was the “ringmaster.” […]

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Old School Gallerist Landau Migrated from Montreal to Art Fair Circuit, Now He’s In Switzerland

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The Montreal Gazette profiles Robert Landau and his wife Alice who got into art dealing from the fur business. Often cited as the dealer with the best stock at fairs around the world, Landau is conscious that his style of dealing is becoming rare:

“A new generation of contemporary art dealers has sprung up, but they don’t really own their own inventory. We own it. Most people can’t afford to do it any more. Most older dealers like Klaus Perls in New York, Jan Krugier in Geneva and Beyeler in Basel have gone out of business.”

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March Is the Cruelest Month for Gallerists

Ben Brown
Ben Brown

Colin Gleadell uses Ben Brown to illustrate the miserable life in March of a global gallerist as three major fairs on three continents require the attendance of any gallery that wants to be thought of as world class:

“Fairs are a necessary evil,” says Brown. “I prefer the quieter contemplation of the gallery, but I sell more at fairs, and I make more contacts.” […]

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Artelligence Podcast: London’s Tough Private Sales Market

The International New York Times’s Art Market correspondent, Scott Reyburn, discusses his story on London’s private dealers and their struggle with “buyers” instead of “collectors.” Also, we discuss the Arttactic confidence survey, Marcato’s renewed attacks on Sotheby’s board, Sotheby’s deal with RM Auctions to get a foothold in the classic car market, and much more.

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