Magazine Home  |  News  |  Features  |  Reviews  |  Books  |  People  |  Horoscope  
Artnet News

France's "auction of the year," the sale of more than 4,000 paintings, photographs, rare books, coins and primitive art from the estate of André Breton by CalmelsCohen auctioneers in Paris, Apr. 7-17, 2003, has been completed. The sale totaled about 46 million euros, substantially more than the presale estimate of 30 million Euros. As predicted by many experts, the results were boosted by Bretonmania. A 1953 "poem-object" made by the Pope of Surrealism himself, including several metallic blue scarab beetles and hieroglyphics spelling out "day and night I radiate with love for you," went for 58,000 euros, while Victor Brauner's distorted 1934 portrait of Breton sold for 180,000 euros. And a 1930 mask of Breton's face sold for 23,000 euros.

Among the top artworks on offer, Jean Arp's 1927 painted wooden relief, Femme, went for 2.5 million euros, as did Joan Miró's 1924 erotic drawing, The Trap. René Magritte's 1929 La femme cache, the small painting of a nude that was the centerpiece of a famous Surrealist group portrait collage, sold for 900,000 euros. Man Ray's 1920 Impossibilité Dancer/Danger, a mechanistic boxed collage complete with Duchampian cracked glass, sold for 1.4 million euros. And speaking of Marcel Duchamp, a 1924 Monte Carlo bond, a rectified ready-made carrying a portrait of the artist with a beard and horns of soap suds, sold for 240,000 euros.

Clovis Trouille's sexy 1944 portrait of a nun in red stockings smoking a cigarette went for 240,000 euros, a new record for the artist's work. A much-reproduced painting by Brauner, The Strange Case of Monsieur K (1934), sold for 700,000 euros. And a 1927 "cadavre exquis" by Man Ray, Joan Mir, Max Morise and Yves Tanguy went for 75,000 euros. The French state bought the Arp, the Man Ray and more than 30 other works for a total of 12 million euros. Complete results can be viewed at

The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation has appointed a 13-member jury to select the winning design for a planned 9/11 memorial at the site of the former World Trade Center. On the jury are Vietnam Veterans Memorial designer Maya Lin; landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh; Paula Grant Berry, whose husband David Berry was killed on 9/11; Public Art Fund president Susan Freedman; Carnegie Corporation president Vartan Gregorian; New York City deputy mayor Patricia Harris; Mercury Public Affairs managing director Michael McKeon; Julie Menin, founder and president of Wall Street Rising; Enrique Norten, founder of Taller Enrique Norten Arquictectos; sculptor Martin Puryear; Nancy Rosen, former NEA Art in Public Places grants panel chair; Studio Museum in Harlem director Lowery Stokes Sims; and James Young, chairman of the department of Judaic and Near Eastern studies at the University of Massachusetts. David Rockefeller will serve as an honorary member of the jury. The design competition is accepting submissions from the public for a $25 application fee; design guidelines become available at starting Apr. 28.

Tate director Nicolas Serota has appointed Jan Debbaut, director of the Van Abbe Museum in Eindhoven, Holland, since 1989, as head curator of the combined Tate museums, which includes the Tate Britain, Tate Modern, Tate Liverpool and Tate Saint Ives. Debbaut is scheduled to take his new post on Sept. 1. The Tate recently named Spanish curator Vicente Todol as director of Tate Modern.

The AIDS Community Research Initiative of America (ACRIA) knows how to raise money from the art community -- sell donated artworks by top artists for a bargain price. For ten years ACRIA has operated a fundraising art sale using just this strategy, and last year, powerHouse Books published Unframed: Artist Respond to AIDS, a compilation of works sold for the cause over the past decade, a list that includes everyone from Jennifer Bartlett, Ross Bleckner (the event's founder) and Cecily Brown to Damien Hirst, Richard Serra and Kiki Smith.

For this year's benefit, artists Tina Barney, Ahn Duong, Stephen Ellis, James Hyde, Robert Longo, Julie Mehretu, Matthew Ritchie and Gary Simmons have all agreed to make between 50 and 100 works to be sold for $400 each. The event takes place at Charles Cowles Gallery in New York's Chelsea art district on Saturday, Apr. 26, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $10; sales are first come, first served, with no advance sales. All proceeds go to ACRIA. Copies of Unframed can be purchased for $60, or in a special artist edition accompanied by a signed original drawing or photograph for $500. For more info, call (212) 924-3934 x107.

Japan's only painting by Vincent van Gogh, the recently authenticated work Peasant Woman, has gone on view at the Wood One Museum of Art in Hatskaichi in the Hiroshima Prefecture [see "Suddenly Van Gogh," Feb. 13, 2003]. The humble picture was first valued in an auction catalogue at about $150, but after authentication by the van Gogh Museum it sold on Feb. 8 for $550,000 to Toshio Nakamoto, owner of the Wood One Museum. The painting remains at his museum until July 13, after which it travels to Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka and Fukuoka.

It's official -- the great art-market experiment of the internet age is over. has sent a formal "thank you" email to participants in its online auctions, reminding them that the sales are winding down on Apr. 30. director Larry J. Sirolli encourages his clients "to continue building their collections through online auctions at eBay." The Sotheby's website continues to carry an auction calendar, details on auction lots and auction results.

The Jerwood Charitable Foundation has announced the finalists for the Jerwood Painting Prize, the 30,000 award competition established in 1994 and open to professional artists who are British citizens or who have lived in Britain for the last three years. The finalists are Suzanne Holtom, Shani Rhys James, John Hoyland, Alison Watt, John Wonnacott and Marc Vaux. Works by the finalists go on view at the Jerwood Space in London, May 7-June 18, 2003. Past winners include Craigie Aitchison, Maggi Hambling and Patrick Caulfield, John Hubbard, Gary Hume, Madeleine Strindberg, Prunella Clough and Katie Pratt. The jury for this year's award includes National Gallery curator David Jaffe, critic Martin Gayford, curator Norbert Lynton, collector Griff Rhys Jones and Fitzwilliam Museum director Duncan Robinson.