$38 MILLION AT SOTHEBY'S LONDON Sotheby's London racked up a total of £26,091,000 (£1 = $1.46) in its seasonally titled Winter Impressionist and Modern Art sale on Feb. 5. Top lot was Egon Schiele's Portrait of the Painter Anton Peschka (1909), which fetched £7,703,500 (est. £7 million-£10 million), a new auction record for an oil by the artist. A record was also set for a work on paper by Schiele with the sale of an untitled gouache and black crayon drawing of a recumbent nude couple (1917) for £1,763,500 (est. £900,000-£1,200,000). Other highlights include Claude Monet's Le Bassin aux Nympheas (ca. 1917-1920), depicting the artist's famous lily pond in the garden of his home at Giverny, which fetched £5,283,500 (est. £4 million-£6 million), and George Seurat's Femmes Assises (ca. 1884-1885), the study for his pointilist masterpiece A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, which took in £1,081,500 (est. £700,000-£1,000,000). Christie's Impressionist and modern sale takes place tonight, Feb. 6.
GUGGENHEIM IN LOVE Artnet Magazine was excited to get what looked like its first Valentine in the mail, only to find out that the "Let's Spend the Night Together" card was not sent by an admiring reader, but was rather a pitch for the Guggenheim Museum's annual Valentine's Day ball benefit, Feb. 14, 2001. This year's romantic event features love songs by balladeer Eddie Muentes, swanky sweets, drinks and gift bags, not to mention a raffle featuring vacations for two to Chicago, Bangkok, and, um, New York. Tickets to the party are $135 ($150 at the door), or two for $225; call (212) 423-3534 for reservations.
TATE GALLERY FIRE SALE? Tate Gallery senior directors have asked curators of all departments to list works that can be deaccessioned as part of an emergency plan to cover the reckless spending that went on to establish the Tate Modern, reports the London Guardian. The gallery spent almost double its annual art budget the year before the Modern's opening, with a big chunk going for David Smith's Wagon II (£3 million ) and Piet Mondrian's Composition B with Red (£1 million from the budget and £1.8 million from other sources). But any sales remain only theoretical -- an Act of Parliament passed in 1982 forbids national museums from disposing of an artwork unless it "duplicates" another.
MARK JONES TO THE VICTORIA AND ALBERT National Museum of Scotland director Mark Jones is expected to be named director of the Victoria and Albert Museum next week, according the London Independent. The V&A has refused to confirm the story because the Prime Minister is supposed to approve the new director and Downing Street has not yet been informed, but sources say the museum's trustees have already given the thumbs up to Jones to replace retiring director Alan Borg.