BOUGUEREAU AT CHRISTIE'S
The sale of 19th-century European art at Christie's New York on Apr. 23, 2002, totaled $4.3 million, with 53 percent of the 159 lots finding buyers in what Christie's expert Wendy Goldsmith called "a highly selective market." Top lot in the auction was one of the sale's gems -- a collaborative painting of a young girl with an armful of wildflowers done by William Bouguereau and Gustave Doyen, Enfant tenant des fleurs (1878), which sold for $504,500 (est. $300,000-$400,000). The top ten included two other Bouguereau works, a painting of a young woman cradling a lamb, titled Innocence (1873), that sold for $273,500 (est. $100,000-$150,000), and a picture of a little girl with a sprained angle, La petite blessee (1879), which went for $185,500 (est. $180,000-$250,000).
PHOTO RECORDS AT PHILLIPS
In addition to setting a world record for a photograph by Paul Strand when his semi-abstract study of a weed, Mullein, Maine (1927), sold for $607,500 (the highest price ever paid for a photo at auction in New York, and the fourth-highest in the world), last week's photo auction at Phillips de Pury & Luxembourg in New York on Apr. 15, 2002, set world auction records for 13 other artists. The artists (and the new auction records) are: James Welling ($13,800), Bruce Weber ($9,775), Peter Hujar ($9,200 -- for his classic portrait of fellow artist David Wojnarowicz with a cigarette), Achille Quinet ($3,450), Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewcz ($23,000), Lucas Samaras (photographs) ($27,600), Madame Yevonde ($$6,325), Pierre Louis Pierson and La Comtesse de Castiglione ($6,900), A. Calavas ($2,645), Ezra Stoller ($3,450), Peter Sekaer ($5,520), Horace Bristol ($12,075) and Todd Eberle ($6,325).
The sale totaled $1,829,490, with 56 percent of the 183 lots finding buyers. Phillips charges a lower buyer's premium than Sotheby's or Christie's, totaling 15 percent of the first $50,000 bid and 10 percent of the remainder.
NEW COURT CHARGES FOR HUGHES
It looks like irascible art critic Robert Hughes is heading to Australia to face new charges of dangerous driving in his accident of several years ago. Hughes was due in court on Apr. 23, but failed to appear, and West Australian magistrate Norman Roberts issued an arrest warrant. Hughes told the Australian newspaper that he had skipped the trip to his native country on medical advice, due to "the gravity of my injuries and their lack of improvement." Hughes faces charges in a May 1999 two-car accident, which left him seriously injured and in a coma for five weeks, and also hurt the driver and passenger in the second vehicle. Hughes' family is well-established in Australia -- his brother Tom is a respected lawyer and his brother in law Malcolm Turnbull is the head of the Australian Republican Movement -- and failure to answer the warrant would be considered a substantial disgrace, according to local observers.
AMERICAN ACADEMY AWARDS, 2002
The American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York has announced the nine winners of its 2002 awards in art, which total over $50,000. Judy Pfaff won the $10,000 Award of Merit Medal for sculpture. Five artists won the $7,500 Academy Award in Art: Polly Apfelbaum, Mel Kendrick, Lucas Samaras, Peter Saul and Stephen Westfall. The $5,000 Jimmy Ernst Award went to Carolee Schneemann. Painter Hilary Harkness won the $5,000 Metcalf Award for a promising young artist. Painter Tom Burckhardt won the $5,000 Rosenthal Foundation Award for a younger painter. Works by award recipients go on view in a special exhibition at the academy galleries, on Broadway between 155th and 156th Streets, May 16-June 9, 2002. The winners were selected by a jury of academy members: Varujan Boghosian, Chuck Close, Lois Dodd, Rackstraw Downes, Dimitri Hadzi, Elizabeth Murray, Martin Puryear, Dorothea Rockburne and Joel Shapiro.
DINNER PARTY TO BROOKLYN Judy Chicago's iconic feminist installation, The Dinner Party (1974-79), has been donated to the Brooklyn Museum of Art by the Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation. The Dinner Party goes on temporary view on the museum's fifth floor, Sept. 20, 2002-Feb. 9, 2003, and is slated to be permanently installed on the fourth floor in 2004. The room-sized work, consisting of a 48-foot-long triangular table with 13 custom china place settings on each side, each commemorating a goddess or historically important woman, was originally presented at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 1979 and shown at the Brooklyn Museum in 1980-81.
CALLING ALL ROTHKOS
The National Gallery of Art has put out a call for works on paper by Mark Rothko to include in the new catalogue raisonné of 2,000 drawings, watercolors and paintings on paper, Mark Rothko: The Works on Paper. The catalogue is being written by NGA curator Ruth E. Fine and is due to be published in 2007. Those with info on Rothko works on paper should contact Laili Nasr at email@example.com.
SOTHEBY'S, THE MOVIE
Now that Sotheby's owner and convicted auction price-fixer A. Alfred Taubman has been sentenced to jail, work can finally proceed in earnest on the film version of his rise and fall. According to a report in the Knight-Ridder newspapers, the film is being made by producer David Yudain for HBO, with Top Gun screenwriter Michael Thomas at work on the script. Sigourney Weaver is signed on to play Diana Brooks, the former chief executive at Sotheby's; the rest of the film has not been cast. Stay tuned.
KOONS TO ZOETROPE
French Legion of Honor Chevalier Jeff Koons is the guest designer for the current fifth anniversary issue of Zoetrope,Francis Ford Coppola's celebrated short-story magazine. The theme is "utopia" and the cover features a lush, fleshy collage-painting by Koons. Inside, there's fiction by Kim Edwards, Ben Fountain III, Andrea Lee, Friedrich Gerstäcker and others. The magazine can be purchased online for $5.95 at www.all-story.com.
FRANK MOORE, 1953-2002 Frank Moore, 48, figurative painter and AIDS activist, died after living with the disease for 17 years on Apr. 21, 2002. Moore's paintings combine straightforward illustrations of nature and middle-class life with scientific signs and mythical symbols of the disease that has been called a contemporary plague. His version of Norman Rockwell's Thanksgiving Dinner scene, replacing the original turkey with an assemblage of AIDS medications and medical apparatus, was one of the highlights of the 1997 Whitney Biennial. He was a board member of Artists Space and Visual AIDS, and a founder of the Red Ribbon Project. During the '90s he was represented by Sperone Westwater.
PAUL GEORGES, 1923-2002 Paul Georges, 77, American figurative painter known for large-scale floral and mythological scenes, characterized by brilliant color and unrestrained brushwork, died of a heart attack at his home in Normandy, France, on Apr. 16. Georges made headlines in 1975, when two of his fellow artists sued him for libel for his depiction of their faces on the masks of the muggers in his painting, Mugging the Muse (1974). Over the years he exhibited his work at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery, the Allan Frumkin Gallery, Anne Plumb Gallery and, most recently, at Salander-O’Reilly.