Arp and the US: A Conference in Berlin, June 22-23

1786 Hans Arp 06

Early this Summer, the Arp Foundation will be holding a conference at the American Academy in Berlin on Hans Arp’s reception among collectors, museums, galleries and artists in the United States. Arp was a key figure for artists like Robert Rauschenberg and Donald Judd who engaged with Arp’s work in an intensive dialogue. Now the foundation is bringing together academics, curators and art market experts to promote new approaches to Arp’s work.

The event opens with an Evening Lecture by Catherine Craft of the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas. Speakers the next day include Cara Manes (MoMA), Brandon Taylor (Ruskin School of Art, Oxford), Eric Robertson (University of London), Maike Steinkamp (Stiftung Arp), David Nash, (Mitchell-Innes & Nash), Carrol Janis and Arie Hartog (Gerhard Marcks Haus).

For more details on the event see or contact:


Christie’s Calendar Strategy Is All About Commanding the Most Attention

Christie's Gossip

The New York Times wanted a story on Christie’s “controversial” choice to consolidate all of its May sales into one week. Its reporter cast about looking for conflict:

Some experts wonder whether buyers will bother to show up for the first week, even though there will be a schedule of day sales, while others worry that collectors may not be in a buying mood by the end of the second.

But the sources just wouldn’t play along:Continue Reading

LACMA Builds Momentum with More Gifted Art

Vija Celmins, T.V.
Vija Celmins, T.V.

Jori Finkel has the news that LACMA is turning some loans into gifts to match other recent gifts to build momentum for the new building project and the museum’s 50th anniversary:

This weekend the museum announced that it had secured roughly $200 million worth of art as “anniversary gifts,” on top of the $500 million recently pledged by the former Univision chairman Jerry Perenchio.

Continue Reading

Franz Kline at Christie’s in May

Former Sotheby’s Chairman Al Taubman Dies at ’91

Alfred Taubman
Alfred Taubman

The man who bought Sotheby’s as a White Knight only to demand the firm change its forbidding manner and make itself more accessible to luxury buyers has died. Al Taubman deserves a lot of credit for creating the conditions that spawned the current unprecedented expansion of the art market. Here’s how his hometown paper started his obituary:

A. Alfred Taubman’s self-made wealth — as a pioneer who helped revolutionize how America shops — fueled a lifetime of varied philanthropy and support for civic institution and the arts, including his deep commitment to the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Taubman, the Pontiac native who helped bring malls to America and who became one of Michigan’s most important donors to museums and universities, died Friday of a heart attack in his home in Bloomfield Hills. He was 91.

Taubman’s impact on Detroit and Michigan is broad and deep. He made direct donations of money and gifts worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the Detroit Institute of Arts, University of Michigan, Lawrence Technological University and others.

“Al Taubman changed the way America shops. But his greatest legacy will be how he used his fortune to help people in Michigan and beyond,” Gov. Rick Snyder said in a written statement. “He will be long remembered not just for his retail genius, but for the lives he touched through his kindness.”

Taubman: ‘His loss leaves a huge hole in our community’ (Detroit Free Press)

Blue Period Picasso In Rybolovlev’s €1.9bn Collection

Picasso’s ‘Les Noces de Pierrette’

Georgina Adam noticed something in an inventory of the works Dimitri Rybolovlev bought from Yves Bouvier, a lost Picasso. We noticed this bit of simple math: Rybolovlev bought 37 works for €1.9bn or an average price of €51m per work of art.

one forgotten painting to emerge in the Bouvier case is Picasso’s “Les Noces de Pierrette” (1905). According to an article in Le Monde, it is one of 37 works of art in the €1.9bn art collection that Rybolovlev bought from Bouvier. The rather washed-out Blue Period painting last appeared in public in Paris in 1989, at the height of the “Japan boom”, and was sold via a telephone link to Tokyo, to Tomonori Tsurumaki, a Japanese developer, for $51.3m. At the time it was the highest price paid for a work of art at auction. The following year, the Japanese bubble burst and the painting was repossessed by the Lake Credit Company and then went to GE Capital — and all trace of it disappeared. Now we know where it ended up.

The Art Market: Blue Period Picasso emerges  (

A Bipolar Market: Manic Prices, Depressed Values

Art Cologne

This talk was presented by Todd Levin at Art Cologne as part of a panel discussion with Harald Falkenberg + Andreas Rumbler titled “Development of the International Art Market from the viewpoint of top players.”
Art Congress Cologne – 17 April 2015

I am delighted to be back in Cologne, and I would like to thank Daniel Hug for the generous invitation he extended to me to attend this year’s Art Congress Cologne and share some thoughts with you here on this dry and lovely morning.

Pascal called the imagination “…the mistress of the world, the superb power…it disposes all things….it creates beauty, justice, and happiness…” If we accept Pascal’s premise – that the imagination is the power of the mind over things, then we immediately realize that the Artist’s role is not to lead us out of the havoc that we find ourselves in the midst of everyday. Nor is the role of the Artist and their imagination to comfort us while we are constantly barraged with an onslaught of information from myriad sources. I think that the role of the Artist is to make their imagination ours, to gradually watch their imagination spark in our mind. The role of the Artist, in short, is to help us live our lives. The Artist does this by creating a world to which we can turn to, again and again, so that we eventually are unable to conceive of our lives without that Artist’s imagination and feeling. Art is the crucial interface between the imagination and reality, the thing that makes life deeper and broader than what it might be without such insight.

Art, therefore, is fundamentally about generating new ideas and new forms through the creation of the Artist’s personal language. As a creator of language (rather than a packager of language), Artists do not belong to a social group already molded by culture, but to a culture which they are themselves building up here and now, at this very present moment in time. In order to create a personal language, every great Artist continually breaks with the past by refracting the entire historical and cultural range of earlier ideas and forms.

The Art market, on the other hand, is only about the packaging of the Artist’s personal language, and the marketplace where that language can be branded, bought, and sold. The Art market, therefore, is simply an apparatus through which the Artist is threaded into the Art world. The recent vertiginous rise in demand for contemporary Art is already well documented, will be repeatedly discussed here today ad nauseam, and requires no additional proof. But one must logically ask the question “what is responsible for this exponential growth curve?”Continue Reading