Will It Ever Happen for Mel Ramos?

Mel Ramos, AC Annie ($150-200k) $1.07m
Mel Ramos, AC Annie ($150-200k) $1.07m

The Daily Beast gives Mel Ramos a once-over-lightly profile on the occasion of Art Wynwood. As other Pop artists continue to gain value, the question remains whether we’ll see a Ramos revival:Continue Reading

Simcho’s Publicity War Rages On

Simcho & Sons

Los Angeles Magazine has its Stefan Simchowitz profile online now. Michael Kaplan does a great job with it. Too bad the story is already a rehash of a rehash of the Simcho pseudo-phenomenon. With attention-seeking enemies like Jerry Saltz, the whole Simcho tale is rapidly turning into a melodrama where all sides stake out an extreme position in a Manichean struggle.

What’s getting lost here is that Simcho seems to actually be part of a more important trend, demand from buyers who are not necessarily collectors. Simchowitz provides an easy access point to owning and living with interesting art for those who don’t want to devote themselves to becoming experts. Most Bentley buyers are not motorheads; few yacht owners are experienced seaman; and planes are now owned by those without pilot’s licenses. Is it any wonder we have buyer’s who are not collectors?

Here’s the tell in the story where Simcho relishes his black hat status. This quote also reveals that Simcho’s designation as a pariah may be more connected to his personality than to his business model:Continue Reading

Mrs. Brown You Have Some Lovely Daughters

sisters03

The owner of one of the complete sets of The Brown Sisters which was recently on display at MoMA, is selling at Sotheby’s this Spring:

On 1 April 2015 Sotheby’s New York will offer a complete set of The Brown Sisters by Nicholas Nixon – one of the most remarkable continuing photographic series of the 20th and 21st centuries. Nixon shot the first portrait of his wife Bebe, then 25, Heather 23, Laurie 21, and Mimi 15 in 1975, and has subsequently recreated a version of the portrait every year since using an 8 x 10-inch view camera.

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US Customs Finds Stolen Picasso Wrapped as Cheap Christmas Present

Picasso, The Dresser

Maybe it was the $30 value attached to the Chrstmas present but US Customs stopped a traveler who claimed to be bringing a cheap gift into the country. When they opened the package, they found Picasso’s cubist work, The Dresser, from 1911 that has been missing for a decade. LeMonde has the story:

The disappearance had been reported in connection with a loan application. It is estimated at several million dollars, said Thursday, February 26 the prosecutor in Brooklyn, Loretta Lynch.

Picasso stolen in France there are more than 10 years, returned to the United States

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?

Yves-Bouvier_3212688b
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

ZacharyArmstrong1

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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