Art Advisor Settles Case with Patron Couple Who ‘Treated Him Like a Son’


The case against Amir Shariat has been settled in what must be seen as  a victory for the Malekis who were incensed to discover the younger Shariat was making money from their art transactions:

Eskandar and Fatima Maleki, who have a world-famous collection of Old Masters and contemporary art, said they treated art dealer and curator, Amir Shariat, “like a son”. The couple, whose £22 million Mayfair mansion is decorated with many of their artworks, said they for years viewed Mr Shariat as “one of the family”. However, during a week-long case, they claimed he had repaid their kindness by milking profits from their interest in art, without their knowledge or consent. They claimed he owed them around $1 million and that, had they known what he was up to, they would have “kicked him out” of their house.

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Weihe Sees Opportunities in Indian Antiquities


Hugo Weihe

Hugo Weihe was interviewed by India’s Business Standard to discuss the areas of the Indian market that will allow the new CEO of Saffronart to expand the business as he helps to expand the art market:

The next big step would be to open up private collections and display those beautiful Indian antiquities. This is a huge task that requires persistent sourcing and cataloguing. But once Indian antiquities find the right catalyst here, the Indian art market has great potential to compete on an international stage. […] That would definitely have to be the antiquities and miniature paintings. The legal framework in India prevents them from travelling out of the country. This has kept the antiquities under wraps. Contemporary Indian art has to prove itself and present itself in a context. But the antiquities already have history on their side. This is India’s moment in the art world. Very few countries can claim the richness of culture and heritage that India can. The Americans had to procure European art a buy their way into culture. India already has a 5,000-year-old history with as much art and culture to be proud of.

This is a great opportunity to build the Indian art market from the ground up: Hugo Weihe  (Business Standard News)

ArtList’s 5 Art World Updates: Just the things you should know this week

Weekly post from ArtList, the online marketplace for private sales.

1. Carnegie Mellon University Sending Art to the Moon

Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute is preparing to send a rover to the moon next year. However, they thought they should send a little art and culture along with it too. Hence, the rover will also carry a Moon Arts Ark: a small representation of cultural life on Earth.

A rendering of the small Ark (artnet News) 

The Ark, meant as a sort of micro-museum, will include information about the world’s dance, poetry, music and art. Artist Lowry Burgess who is co-directing the moon-art initiative explained that, “this is an opportunity to take the arts and humanities into a realm that is traditionally thought of as cold and lifeless.”

2. Art Basel Appoints New Miami Director

Noah Horowitz, currently the executive director of New York’s Armory Show, has been appointed Art Basel’s new director of the Americas. In this role, Horowitz will oversee Art Basel’s Miami fair and any other Basel activity within the USA.

Noah Horowitz (right) with art dealer Daniel Templon as they prepare for a recent Armory show (New York Times) 

Horowitz gained recognition after joining the Armory Show in 2011, as a managing director before being promoted to his current position. Under his watch, the show refined its long list of exhibitors, increased the quality of work shown and revived its failing reputation. Art Basel director Marc Spiegler told artnet News that he was “very impressed” with how Horowitz had reformed the NYC fair.

3. German Artists and Government Face Off

It was a tumultuous week for German art. Late last week the German Culture Minister, Monika Gütter, announced a plan that would aim to preserve the country’s artistic heritage through restricted circulation of German art — requiring that artifacts valued at €150,000 ($165,900) or more or that are more than 50 years old receive an export license before leaving the country.

Gerhard Richter at work (Gerhard Richter Painting) 

The plan was met with intense backlash from two of the country’s most renown contemporary artists: Georg Baselitz and Gerhard Richter, who were both infuriated that the government would try to control the sales and movement of their works. Both artists threatened to retract all art on loan to German museums if the proposal passed but by the end of the week Grütter had amended the proposal to apply only to works valued at or above €300,000 ($327,000) or that are more than 70 years old. However the proposal still requires parliamentary approval and could see further changes in the coming weeks.

4. Plans Submitted for Harlem’s Studio Museum

As we have previously reported — West Harlem’s growing art scene may prove to be a welcome home for galleries and artists amid rising downtown rents. The latest addition to the uptown neighborhood’s artistic offerings? A revamped and relocated Studio Museum.

A rendering of the future Studio Museum (New York Times) 

Opening in 2019, the $122 million design, from British architect David Adjaye, will require the museum to relocate to a new 125th street location. This new 5-story location will add 10,000 square feet to the museum’s floor plan and mark the first time that the museum occupies a space specifically designed for its collection and needs as an institution. The building also seeks to serve as a cultural hub for Harlem’s rapidly changing artistic scene, while preserving the neighborhood’s cultural heritage.

5. National Endowment for the Arts Selects Grant Winners

The National Endowment for the Arts has announced the recipients of its 2015 “Our Town” awards, which will pay a total of $5 million to 69 projects in 35 states and Puerto Rico.

Participants in a Washington DC dance program that received an Our Town grant in 2013 (National Endowment for the Arts) 

The Our Town grant program is designed to support “creative placemaking,” or “when artists, arts organizations, and community development practitioners deliberately integrate arts and culture into community revitalization work…” Among the winning projects are a $200,000 grant for installations in some of Los Angeles’ most densely populated and underserved communities and a $100,000 donation for an artist residency at Boston City Hall.

Lucien Smith Resumes His Career with a Comprehensive Website

Lucien Smith's first rain painting

There’s so much to scratch one’s head over in this interview with Lucien Smith. It’s not clear whether the Times is glossing Smith’s own comments when it says he has created a new website to list all of his works to “subvert the gallery system that profits on the illusion of limited supply” or whether that’s simply the Times’s over-eager spin.

Then there’s the straight-faced assertion that moving to Montauk is somehow getting away from the art world, its pressures and expectations. (Montauk!?)

Finally, Smith now seems to want to suggest the news of his “retirement” was a rumor generated by others.

No matter. The website is worth taking note of and is more likely to generate sales than discourage them:Continue Reading

Brussels Is the New Berlin; Brussels Is the New Paris

The New York Times goes further with the Brussels gallery scene suggesting the country’s crazy quilt of cultures, collecting tradition, proximity to London & Paris and cheap living, working and retail space makes it all the ideal spot for an art capital of the future:

Unlike Berlin, where art is made but generally not bought, or Paris, where it’s often the opposite, Brussels is a city of both commerce and creation. Artists are drawn by rents still vastly cheaper than those in Paris or London, which are both easily reached by high-speed rail. Since 2006, nearly 50 galleries have opened in Brussels, according to a spokeswoman for Art Brussels, the city’s annual art fair. (Even with the gallery boom, the rents have stayed low, artists and gallerists say.)

Belgium has a strong collecting tradition — Flemish collectors in particular are seen as among the most daring in the world, with sophisticated taste and a disdain for art consultants — and a recent influx of rich French tax fugitives who have changed their residency to Belgium has helped business. (France has a “wealth tax” on assets worth more than $1.45 million, something that does not exist in Belgium.)

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A Dealer Gets His Private Museum on the French Taxpayers

Fondation lambert Avignon

The Wall Street Journal has a little bit on the opening of the newly renovated Lambert Collection which dealer Yvon Lambert donated to the French state in 2012. The 556 works of 20th Century art have been available to the public since July 10. Although the collection is now owned by the state, it is really Lambert’s private museum, a way to have a monument to himself even though he lacked the resources to create it. As such, the collection will only continue to drive the trend toward personal museums:

“I don’t have the means for a private museum, but I wanted to keep the collection intact. Donating to the state was my best solution,” Mr. Lambert said.

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Lost Ellsworth Kelly: His Influences, Definitely Not His Works

Kelly, Colors for a Large Wall

The Wall Street Journal has a nice story on the release of the first volume of Ellsworth Kelly’s catalogue raisonné which the artist is helping to put together to explain better his early influences and experiences. The first volume ends when the artist returned from France to the United States several years after the end of World War II:

Tracking down an artist’s early output can be challenging. People move around andmemories fade, making it hard to locate work that was bartered or given away decadesago.

Not so in the case of Mr. Kelly. A natural archivist, “he keeps everything,” said Mr. Bois.

Just two works from the artist’s time in France have been lost; both are included in the catalog. While Mr. Kelly gave a handful away to friends, most of his paintings and reliefs from that period were still in his possession by 1992, when a major exhibition of his early work in France was mounted.

“It’s quite extraordinary,” Mr. Bois said. “There are certain [later] works where we don’t know where they are, but not from that period.”

The Journal goes deeper on what the catalogue raisonné hopes to accomplish:Continue Reading

Artcurial Sale to Feature $2m in Jacques Majorelle and Other Africanist Works

Jacques Majorelle Marché à Macenta Guinéee 1952
Jacques Majorelle, Marché à Macenta Guinéee 1952 (200 000 – 300 000 €)

In June, ArtCurial made a record price for Jacques Majorelle’s La Kasbah rouge which sold for €1.3m above a high estimate of €800k. The price was a record for the artist who spent most of his adult life in Morocco and travelled extensively in Sub-saharan Africa. Naturally, a record price brings more works to market. Artcurial has 11 Majorelles and 19 other works of Africanist art on offer in its November 9th sale which is estimated at €1.8m:

Jacques Majorelle was fascinated by the beauty and sensuality of black women and from the 1930s he began painting them, often asking them to pose naked in his beautiful garden. The artist realised experiments with many colours and researched various techniques applying powdered gold and silver to his paintings. From November 1945 to 1952, Jacques Majorelle spent more and more time in sub-Saharan Africa on a quest to find out more about the origins of his models. From Sudan to Guinea, travelling through Senegal and the Ivory Coast, Majorelle immersed himself deeper and deeper into everyday life and enabled him to capture the real lives of African people, from bustling crowds, to market scenes and portraits of African women.

Estimated at 350 000 – 550 000 € / 395 000 – 620 000 $, ‘Maternité’ (dated 1940), is a masterpiece from the Africanist period and comes from Barry Friedman and Félix Marcilhac. A large and bustling market scene in Macenta in Guinea is dated 1952 and estimated at 200 000 – 300 000 / 225 000 – 340 000 $ and the exceptional piece og 1929, Aït Ben Addou, from the famous ‘Casbahs de l’atlas’ series with a touch of gold and silver.

What Happens When You Ask a Small Museum to Authenticate a Work on View

A journalist for the Naples Daily News doubted the attribution of a work at the Baker Museum in Naples unravelling a curious confusion about how museums provide provenance information.

Donald Miller doesn’t think this a Houdon sculpture even though it came from the collection of Joseph Hirshhorn’s wife, Olga. So he looked through the National Gallery and Getty Museum’s 2003 exhibition catalogue on Houdon and had further doubts. When he asked the museum, this is the response he received:

Kathleen van Bergen, Artis—Naples president and CEO, was asked by email to provide authentication or provenance on the sculpture. She replied with an emailed statement:

“Based on the information we have there is no reason for us to doubt the authenticity of the ‘Houdon’ … and we will not begin a practice of sharing details such as certificates of authenticity or provenance with the public.”

Van Bergen later said the museum makes provenance available to scholars, but not to the media.

She did say the sculpture was signed on the bottom and appeared with similar attribution when exhibited in Washington, D.C.

Naples museum leaders reluctant to authenticate sculpture to public (Naples Daily News)

Bert Kreuk Responds

Bert Kreuk

Bert Kreuk comments on Danh Vo’s offer made through Artnet:

This whole case is so bizarre it is unbelievable. It is like I am landed in some kind of surreal world.

Artnet had Danh Vo’s letter before I did. The courts ruled that both parties should be in touch with each other in a “professional way” and to “normalize relations”. I do not think this type of behavior is what the courts mean by that.

If you are so frustrated because the court confirmed your default, you should not have made it. It is quite telling and remarkable that Vo as defaulting party, permits himself to propose compliance through false allegations.

I think it is now clear for everyone why I had to start a court case for the first time in 20 years.

Soon he will get his answer.