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TURNER PRIZE TO McQUEEN|
African English film maker Steve McQueen has won the 15th annual Turner Prize, a £20,000 (about $33,700) purse awarded by London's Tate Gallery to a British artist under 50 for an outstanding exhibition during the previous year. British bad girl Tracey Emin had been favored for the award by British bookies. The other finalists were custom-made cameraman Steven Pippin and twin sisters Jane and Louise Wilson, known for their haunting video installations about Cold War architecture.
UPDATE ON "CANYON SUITE" DEBATE
The jury is still out on the authenticity of Georgia O'Keeffe's "Canyon Suite," a set of 28 watercolors currently in the collection of Kansas City's Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. The attribution controversy first hit the news earlier this month, when the Wall Street Journal reported that National Gallery of Art curator Ruth Fine and Georgia O'Keeffe Foundation president Elizabeth Glassman wouldn't be including the works in the forthcoming O'Keeffe catalogue raisonne. Now, reports Alice Thorson of the Kansas City Star, Barbara Buhler Lynes and Judith Walsh, two scholars who challenged the authenticity of the watercolors, are to meet in January with Kemper conservator Mark Stevenson at several museums with big O'Keeffe holdings to compare the suite with known works by the artist.
Kemper Museum director Dan Keegan said that the museum plans no action until Stevenson and the scholars confer. The museum has already determined that not all the pieces date from 1916 to 1918, as was previously believed. Museum patron and founder R. Crosby Kemper, Jr., bought the artworks for $5.5 million in 1993 from art dealer Gerald Peters, who has galleries in New York and Santa Fe. Both Kemper and Peters stand by the authenticity of the works.
MATTA BREAKS RECORD AT SOTHEBY'S
A work by the Chilean painter Matta sold for a record of $2.4 million at Sotheby's New York sale of Latin American art on Nov. 23. The 1942 painting, titled Los Desastres del Misticismo, had also sold in 1995 for $1.65 million, the artist's previous record. The evening sale totaled over $13 million and brought record prices for works by Maria Izquierdo, Claudio Bravo, Arturo Michelena and Cundo Bermudez. Christie's New York totaled over $8 million in its Latin American evening sale on Nov. 22.
TINTORETTO DISCOVERED IN PENNSYLVANIA
A painting that languished in near-obscurity for 70 years has been authenticated as The Raising of Lazarus, a rare work by Jacopo Tintoretto estimated to be worth as much as $2 million. The unnamed couple who donated it to the Jesuit Novitiate Spiritual Center in Lower Heidelberg Township, Pa., paid $35,000 for the work in 1928, and believed it to be a reproduction. Dr. Robert P. Metzger, director of the Reading Public Museum, said he noticed the painting during a visit to the center and convinced the priests to let art experts authenticate it. The work, painted around 1556, shows Christ raising Lazarus from his deathbed.
WEXNER BUYS $45 MILLION PICASSO
Wexner Center for the Arts founder Leslie Wexner was the anonymous purchaser of Pablo Picasso's $45.1 million Nu au fauteuil noir at Christie's New York's on Nov. 9. Wexner declined to comment, but sources close to him confirmed the purchase, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. Wexner owns The Limited, Henri Bendel and has a stake in Victoria's Secret; he's also a major shareholder of Sotheby's. The painting, which came from the collection of Levi Strauss heir Madeline Haas, was the fifth most expensive painting by the artist ever sold at auction, and the second highest price reached in the big two-week fall art auction season. The highest price was paid for another Picasso, Femme Assise dans un Jardin, which sold for $49.5 million at Sotheby's to an unidentified buyer through Chicago art dealer Richard Gray.
A DAY WITHOUT ART
Dec. 1 marks the 11th year of A Day Without Art, the international day of action and mourning to increase awareness of AIDS and to promote action to end the crisis. The date is also the 12th observance of World AIDS Day and the 12th year of the AIDS Memorial Quilt. New York is holding a 24-hour AIDS vigil and memorial reading of names at City Hall Park from 12 noon to midnight, and major buildings and landmarks, including the Empire State Building, Macy's Herald Square, United Nations Building, St. Patrick's Cathedral and the Woolworth Building, will turn off their lights from 7:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Information about activities across the country can be found at http://www.visualaids.org/dwa1999.asp.
Art patrons Walter and Leonore Annenberg have provided funds for a £3 million renovation of the courtyard of London's Burlington House, which houses the Royal Academy. The new Annenberg Courtyard is earmarked for exhibitions of contemporary sculpture. Until now it had been used for parking.
FRICK OPENS FREE
The Frick Collection opens to the public at no charge on Sunday, Dec. 19, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. in celebration of the 150th anniversary of founder Henry Clay Frick's birthday. On view is "Henry Clay Frick as a Collector of Drawings," featuring works by Gainsborough, Rembrandt, Whistler and others (through Jan. 30, 2000). The Frick is located at 1 East 70th Street at Fifth Ave.
CARNEGIE PRIZE TO KENTRIDGE
South African film maker William Kentridge has won the 1999 Carnegie Prize for his film Stereoscope, on view in the 1999 "Carnegie International" at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Museum, Nov. 6, 1999-Mar. 26, 2000. In the last five years Kentridge has received international acclaim for his unusual animation technique, in which each sequence begins with a charcoal drawing that he modifies by addition and erasures, making the labor-intensive process visible to the viewer. The prize includes a $10,000 cash award.
STEPHEN GREENE, 1917-1999
Stephen Greene, 82, abstract painter known for his subtle sense of color and ornament, died on Nov. 18 at his home in Valley Cottage, New York. Greene's work is represented in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Tate Gallery in London. He taught Frank Stella at Princeton University in the 1950s.