Basquiat Work Goes Missing in Croatian Star’s Divorce

Basquiat, Wine of Babylon
Basquiat, Wine of Babylon

Courthouse News Service reports that Basquiat has become the issue in

G&G Productions sued Croatian actress and singer Rita Rusic on April 16, seeking the return of neo-expressionist painter Jean-Michel Basquiat’s “Wine of Babylon,” which Vittorio Cecchi Gori purchased from a gallery in 1988 for $330,000.

Gori assigned the painting to G&G, but apparently kept the work in Rome at the home he shared with Rusic.

The painting went missing when Gori and Rusic broke up, and G&G says Rusic “stole the ‘Wine of Babylon'” – although she has denied keeping it or even knowing where it is, the complaint states.

Courthouse News Service

Did the Art Institute Pay Too High a Price to Edlis by Agreeing to 50-Year Display?

Jasper Johns' 'Target' Art Institute of Chicago, Edlis/Neeson Collection Jasper Johns, "Target," 1961

There’s an endless tension between art collectors and museums that has come out again with the announcement of the Art Institute of Chicago’s gift from Stefan Edlis and his wife Gael Neeson. Part of the terms that won Edlis over was the promise to keep the works on view for 50 years. Michael Savage, who writes a blog called the Grumpy Art Historian, neatly illustrates one side of the argument. Those who decry the moving of the Barnes Collection to central Philadelphia might be considered the opposition:

It’s a bad acquisition not because of the pictures, but because they paid too high a price, agreeing to display the collection together for fifty years. That is not really a gift. It’s an expensive acquisition that hands over a public space and subverts it to the whim of vain plutocrats.

Donors Stefan T. Edlis and Gael Neeson are buying themselves a memorial, over-riding judgments of more expert curators and over-riding the changing views of posterity to insist that their taste is imposed for half a century, that their pictures are shown whilst other, perhaps better pictures are consigned to storage. If the importance of the collection were beyond doubt then the condition would be unnecessary. The collection’s focus on the most currently fashionable artists makes it especially vulnerable to changing taste, and I suspect that future curators and visitors will bitterly regret this acquisition.

Grumpy Art Historian: Bad Acquisition in Chicago.

Cecily Brown to Show with Thomas Dane in London

Cecily Brown, Combing the Hair (Cote d'Azur)
Cecily Brown, Combing the Hair (Cote d’Azur)


Georgina Adam follows on closely with Cecily Brown’s choice—after a Paris show with Gagosian last Fall (the above work appeared there)—to be represented by Thomas Dane in the UK  for her new work:

“Cecily felt that a London gallery in London, not a branch, not a humongous space, was a better fit for her,” says Thomas Dane. “I think this also shows how artists are feeling freer to resist the corporatisation of the art world; the landscape is changing and she wants to be part of that.”

Brown is not the only artist to be making such decisions, and there are plenty of moves at the moment: photographer Catherine Opie has joined Lehmann Maupin in New York. “I spoke to a number of galleries but chose Lehmann because I really like their programme,” she said. “They are ambitious for their artists and I want to be part of that as well.”

The Art Market: The highs of the tiger  (

Roerich Museum To Sell Two Works to Fund Acquisitions at Christie’s in June

The Host of Gesar Khan (estimate: £500,000-700,000)

During Christie’s June Russian art sale, the little-known-to-New-Yorkers-now-but-once-internationally-famous Nicholas Roerich Museum on Manhattan’s Upper West Side will sell two works that have never appeared at auction before to fund acquisitions:

Here’s what Daniel Entin, Director of the Nicholas Roerich Museum, New York, said: “In order to enrich and build as representative a collection as is possible, we are offering for sale two wonderful paintings, each quite different from the other, to acquire works that are of equal importance in the Roerich oeuvre, but of a period insufficiently represented in our collection. It is painful to see well-loved paintings go out the front door of the museum, maybe not to be seen again. But, to quote Roerich himself, these paintings have their own lives to live, their own freedom to go where they are wanted.”Continue Reading

‘Missing’ Bacon Self Portraits Coming to Sotheby’s in July

Bacon Triptych Sotheby's July 2015

Sotheby’s gets a jump on the London Contemporary art sales this Summer announcing two Francis Bacon works not seen since their purchase.:

Self-Portrait (1975) was painted at the height of Bacon’s career, after the suicide of his lover George Dyer in 1971.

The triptych Three Studies for a Self-Portrait (1980) shows the artist, who was in his 70s and becoming increasingly haunted by the inevitability of death, with his eyes downcast.

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The NY Times Doesn’t Think There Are $7bn in 1031 Art Swaps Each Year, Does It?


The New York Times has a long-standing antipathy toward the art market. And the general public’s interest in income inequality only continues to grow. But this story about the latest Federal budget proposal eliminating 1031 exchanges for art works seems oddly off topic.

Now, it is important that dealers and art investors understand that the administration is thinking of shutting artworks out from 1031 eligibility. But numbers in the article suggest the change is not targeted at the art market, even if it may impact art dealing.Continue Reading

Vernissage TV: Gutai at Whitestone Gallery, Art Cologne

Vernissage TV Whitestone at Cologne


Gutai Group at Whitestone Gallery at Art Cologne 2015. Cologne (Germany), April 16, 2015

At Art Cologne 2015, Whitestone Gallery from Tokyo, Japan, showed works by the Gutai Art Association, an art group formed in 1954 by young artists living in the Hanshin region and led by Jiro Yoshihara. In this video, Ji Young Park (Art Advisor, Whitestone Gallery) provides us with an introduction to the Gutai group and the gallery. The gallery’s exhibition at Art Cologne 2015 featured works by the artists Tsuyoshi Maekawa, Shuji Mukai, Yuko Nasaka, Shozo Shimamoto, Kazuo Shiraga, Yasuo Sumi, Atsuko Tanaka, Chiyu Uemae, and Jiro Yoshihara.

In the Art World, “Capital Is Extremely Expensive Because It’s Extremely High Risk.”

James Tarmy illustrates the financing of art through this tale of Alice Aycock’s work displayed on Park Avenue in New York last year. Aycock’s dealer, Thomas Schulte, was facing huge costs to produce Aycock’s work. So he turned to Loretta Wurtenberger (above, and you can hear more about what she does in the interview or read this transcript: Loretta Wurtenberger Artelligence 2014 transcript):

“That capital is very expensive, because it’s extremely high-risk,” gallery owner Schulte said. “You don’t know if the work is going to go over so well, you don’t know if it’s going to be ready in time. You don’t know when you’re going to get your money back if there aren’t sales.” […]

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Kour Pour Scores at Sotheby’s Int’l Gulf Sale

Kour Pour, Love Child (70-90k) 162,500 USD

Georgina Adam wants to know why Sotheby’s is carting a lot of art to Qatar only to sell it back to buyers in Europe and North America:

Sotheby’s held its yearly sale of contemporary art in Doha, Qatar, this week, making a lower-estimate $7.5m for 43 lots sold. The bidding was dominated by the telephones with Asian, American and European buyers accounting rather bafflingly for most of the top lots. Asked what was the point of selling western artists to westerners in Doha, Sotheby’s said it “sets out to attract an international spread of bidders and buyers”. A painting by Kour Pour, the hot young US-based artist whose work is inspired by carpets, sold for $162,500, well over its $70,000-$90,000 estimate, going to a US buyer. The sale was not without its bumps: on Bharti Kher’s “I’m Going This Way” (2006), a telephone failed and auctioneer Alex Rotter declared: “I’m going nowhere until we sell this.” But despite re-establishing the link later, the work failed to find a buyer.

The Art Market: The highs of the tiger  (

Sotheby’s Off-Season Weldon Sale Disappoints Some

Adriaen Coorte, Wild Strawberries on a Ledge (800-1.2m) 2m USD

Nord Wennerstrom was initially very excited for Sotheby’s out-of-schedule single-owner Old Master sale of the Weldon Collection. But when he saw the results, he was no longer in the same mood:

Ouch. After a promising start, which saw a small Averkamp winter scene hit it’s $1.5 million top estimate ($1,810,000 with fees), the rest of the sale was punctuated with torpor-inducing speed bumps. The top estimated lot by Sir Peter Paul Rubens Jan Breughel the Young failed to make it’s low estimate, hammering for $2.6 million ($3,130,000 with fees), a price matched by a Ludger tom Ring the Younger still life, and the Coorte shot up to $1.7 million ($2,050,000 with fees), but there was a fair bit of carnage, too.  The sale’s low estimate was $23,309,000 (which does not include the buyer’s fees) – the sale netted $18,218,000 – even with the addition of the buyer’s fees, the sale grossed $22,271,25.  The buy in rate was significant – 27 of 74 lots bombed, including a Frans Post Brazilian landscape (bidding stopped at $1.1 million, against an estimate of $1.5-2 million), while other lots sold well below estimate including a Jacob van Ruisdael Low Waterfall, which hammered at $750,000 (against an estimate of $1-1.5 million)

Low performing Sotheby’s sale of Dutch and Flemish Paintings from the Weldon Collection  (Nord on Art)