OLD MASTERS LIVE IN LONDON
London's Old Master week got off to a good start with the sale of Leonardo da Vinci's silverpoint drawing Horse and Rider for £8,143,750 (about $11.4 million), well over the presale estimate of $5 million, at Christie's on July 10, 2001. The price ties the world auction record for an Old Master drawing; a Michelangelo study of The Risen Christ sold at Christie's London for the same sum one year ago. An anonymous telephone bidder bought the tiny drawing (it measures 5 x 3 in.), a study for his first great unfinished work, Adoration of the Magi (now in the Uffizi); it was sold by J. Carter Brown, former director of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
The Leonardo was the 30th lot in a rather large offering of 170 Old Master drawings. In all, 130 lots sold (about 76 percent) for a total of £11,032,610 (about $15.5 million). Other top lots included a 10 x 8 in. sheet by Nicolas Poussin covered with lively sketches of rearing horses and warriors in headdresses that sold for £146,750 (about $207,000), just below its low presale estimate, and a fearsome pen and ink drawing of a giant clutching a rock by Giulio Romano that sold for £141,250 (about $199,000), well over its presale estimate of £30,000-£40,000.
A drawing of a youth by the 16th-century Bolognese artist Bartolommeo Cesi sold for £157,750 (about $222,000), well over the presale high estimate of £80,000 and a record at auction for a drawing by the artist.
Records continued to fall at Christie's Old Master painting sale on July 10, in which 63 of 100 lots offered (about 63 percent) sold for a total of £18,225,075 (about $25,734,000). Top lot was a large (ca. 38 x 52 in.) wooded landscape by the beloved Dutch painter Meindert Hobbema, showing a path through a hamlet with several groups of figures, that sold for £6,493,750 (about $9.2 million), an auction record for the artist.
Other auction records were set for Fra Bartolommeo, when his Nativity sold for £1,653,750 (about $2.3 million); for Simon Jacobsz. de Vlieger, whose ca. 15 x 23 in. harbor scene sold for £685,750 (about $968,000); and for Benozzo Gozzoli, whose 10 x ca. 39 in. Lamentation over the Dead Christ sold for £641,750 (about $906,000).
The two-day total for Christie's is approximately $40 million. The auction action continues at Sotheby's London with sales of drawings on July 11 and paintings on July 12. For detailed, illustrated results, see Artnet.com's unique Fine Art Auctions Report.
The action at the auction houses is supplemented this year by an "Old Master tour" in London's tony Mayfair district. Dubbed "Master Drawings in London," the festival collaborative exhibitions of drawings at 18 dealers coincided with the auctions and is on view, July 8-13, 2001. A map showing the galleries participating in the event can be found at the website of John Mitchell and Son.
SET YOUR SIGHTS ON SANTA FE
This week the contemporary art world descends on Santa Fe, N.M., as a trio of hip events unfold in the Western artcenter. Site Santa Fe unveils its fourth international biennial, organized by Las Vegas art critic Dave Hickey and titled "Beau Monde: Toward a Redeemed Cosmopolitanism," July 14, 2001-Jan. 6, 2002. The cantankerous Hickey's vision of a beautiful world includes works by almost 30 artists, ranging from Kenneth Anger and Jo Baer to Ken Price and Ed Ruscha.
Down the road at the Sweeney Convention Center, the fourth Art Santa Fe art fair gets under way, July 12-15, 2001, with 40 galleries from all over the world. Among the participants are seven from the Santa Fe area, including Linda Durham and Plan B, plus Lotta Hammer (London), Cornell DeWitt (New York), Galería Nina Menocal (Mexcio City) and Art Garage (Zug, Switzerland).
Last but not least, the new Georgia O'Keeffe Museum Research Center celebrates its grand opening with a three-day symposium titled "Defining American Modernism, 1890-Present," July 12-14, 2001. Museum of Modern Art curator Robert Storr is delivering the keynote address, while the program's blue-ribbon list of speakers includes art historians Wanda Corn, Ann Gibson, Sara Greenough, Caroline Jones, Michael Leja, Carol Squiers, Brian Wallis and center director Barbara Buhler Lynes. The O'Keeffe center -- the first research center dedicated to the study of American modernism -- offers six stipends a year.
BREUGEL AT THE MET
The Metropolitan Museum has added a show of drawings and prints by Pieter Bruegel the Elder to its fall lineup, Sept. 25-Dec. 2, 2001. The landmark exhibition includes 54 of the artist's 61 extant drawings -- the largest so far assembled for a show -- and 60 prints designed by the artist, plus another 20 drawings by his contemporaries. The exhibition, which is sponsored in part by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is currently on view at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, May 24-Aug. 5, 2001.
HOUSTON CAM REOPENS FLOODED GALLERY
Last month's Tropical Storm Allison flooded the basement "Perspectives" gallery of the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston, forcing the brief postponement of the opening of "Ghada Amer: Pleasure," the 128th exhibition in the series. The show is now scheduled to go on view July 27, 2001. "Yes Yoko Ono" opens as scheduled on July 14.
MORRIS GRAVES TRIBUTE
The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., mounts "A Tribute to Morris Graves," July 14-Nov. 4, 2001, an installation of 11 works that museum founder Duncan Phillips acquired for the museum between 1942 and '54, plus three sculptures on loan from Schmidt Bingham Gallery in New York. Graves, who was born in Oregon in 1910, died on May 5, 2001.
FORG AT DEUTSCHE BANK NEW YORK
The Deutsche Bank Lobby Gallery on West 52nd Street in New York is presenting a collection of prints, drawings, collages and photographs by the 48-year-old German abstractionist Günther Förg, July 11-Aug. 24, 2001. The works are selected from the bank's extensive collection; admission to the exhibition is free.
The Brooklyn Museum of Art has appointed Marc Mayer, director of Toronto's Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, as deputy director for art. Mayer becomes one of three deputy directors on the BMA's senior management team. The museum also named longtime BMA decorative arts curator Kevin Stayton as chief curator and vice director of curatorial affairs.
In Atlanta, the High Museum of Art named David Brenneman, its curator of European art since 1995, to the additional post of chief curator. Patricia Rodewald has been appointed to the chair of education at the museum.