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|SOTHEBY'S TO SELL ONLINE|
Sotheby's has announced plans to launch sothebys.com to sell art, antiques and collectibles over the World Wide Web. Susan L. Solomon is to head the venture; she had been CEO of Lancit Media, producing children's programming, and formerly was in charge of Sony's online radio network. Sotheby's plans to dump $25 million into the scheme to start, and is beginning to sign up art dealers as charter members (they pay no commissions but must use no other web auctions).
At the same time, a group including investor Ronald Baron filed documents indicating that it had lifted its stake in Sotheby's Holdings Inc. (BID) to 59 percent. The Baron group said it bought 670,400 class A common shares between Dec. 23 and Jan. 12 at prices ranging from $30.93 to $35.93 per share, and now holds 23.53 million shares. After the announcement, Sotheby's stock price rose more than 9 points, to close at a new 52-week high of $41.50.
BRITS BACK AT YALE
After a $5-million, 12-month-long renovation, the Yale Center for British Art reopens on Jan. 23 with three exhibitions, all running Jan. 23-Mar. 21: "Francis Bacon: A Retrospective"; "Lucian Freud Etchings from the PaineWebber Art Collection"; and "Henry Moore and the Heroic: A Centenary Tribute." All 56 domes of the Louis I. Kahn building have been refitted, the public galleries refurbished, the fourth-floor collection galleries reconfigured and the Library Court rehung with the Yale collection of George Stubbs paintings.
BRITS TO BUILD IN LONDON
Queen Elizabeth has approved plans for a £15-million extension of the Buckingham Palace art gallery that will quadruple the space available for the Royal Collection. The new gallery, designed by traditionalist architect John Simpson and to be funded exclusively from tourist revenue, is slated to open in time for the Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002.
THE $8.3 MILLION BOOKCASE
Sotheby's New York sold a rare 18th-century bookcase for $8,252,500 at its American furniture sale on Jan. 17. The silver-mounted, plum-pudding mahogany dome-top secretary bookcase was originally made by Christopher Townsend for the Reverend Nathaniel Appleton of Cambridge in ca. 1745. It was the top lot in a sale that brought a total of $16.1 million for some 219 lots sold of 260 offered, nearly double the presale high estimate of $8.7 million. The day before, on Jan. 16, Sotheby's sold 18 of 20 lots of folk art from the Garbish Collection for a total of $685,450. The proceeds go to benefit the acquisition fund at the Whitney Museum.
BONAMI BEARING GIFT
To celebrate the recent appointment of Francesco Bonami as curator at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, New York art dealer Barbara Gladstone donated a $50,000 painting by Imi Knoebel to the museum. MCA board member Stephan T. Edlis gave the museum a $4 million JFK collage by Robert Rauschenberg to show his support for new director Robert Fitzpatrick. Both Bonami and new MCA chief curator Elizabeth Smith were selected without the use of either a search committee or an executive search firm, according to a report by Achy Obejas in the Chicago Tribune.
CORCORAN PICKS THREE ARCHITECTS
The Corcoran Gallery has selected three finalists in its competition to design an addition to its historic building in downtown Washington, D.C. The architects are Santiago Calatrava, 47, presently at work on an expansion for the Milwaukee Art Museum; Frank O. Gehry, 69, widely known for his Guggenheim Bilbao, which opened in 1997; and Daniel Liebeskind, 52, who recently opened museums in Berlin and Osnabrueck, Germany.
STANFORD MUSEUM REOPENS
Nine years after the Loma Prieta earthquake drastically damaged the 1894 Stanford Art Museum on the Stanford University campus, the museum reopens Jan. 23 as the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts. The $36.8-million, 120,000-square-foot facility, including a 42,000-square-foot new wing and adjacent 3,000-square-foot garden court, is designed by New York architects Polshek and Partners. Among the opening exhibitions are a show of 120 Picasso prints from the Norton Simon Museum and a survey of photos by Eadweard Muybridge.
PAPO IN PERFORMANCE
The Trickster Theater at Exit Art in New York presents "The Traveler," a new performance by Exit Art founder Papo Colo. Billed as "a circular dialogue of mirrors and echoes," the solo presentation runs Jan. 21-Mar.13. Tickets are $15. Reservations: (212) 966-7745.
WHITE COLUMNS VIDEO LIBRARY
New York alternative space White Columns has opened the Art for Arts Sake Video Library, featuring videotapes from the 1960s to the '80s. The tapes, which range from works by Vito Acconci and John Baldessari to William Wegman and Bruce and Norman Yonemoto, can be viewed on site.
JORGE MOLDER AT VENICE
Portuguese photographer Jorge Molder, known for his "baroque noir" imagery, is to represent Portugal at the 1999 Venice Biennale, June 13-Nov. 7, 1999. Commissioner is independent curator and U. of Lisbon lecturer Delfim Sardo.
WEGMAN BOOK SIGNING
William Wegman appears at Barnes & Noble at 240 E. 86th Street on Saturday, Jan. 23, from 3-4 p.m. to sign his new book, My Town, featuring his weimaraners in a kid's tale about a homework assignment.