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A 1982 self-portrait by the late Jean-Michel Basquiat was hammered down for $3 million to an anonymous bidder at Christie's New York contemporary art sale on Nov. 12, 1998. With the buyer's premium, the total is $3,302,500, over six times the previous Basquiat auction record of $596,500, set only last spring at Sotheby's. At the final bid, the lily-white crowd of shamelessly rich art collectors and their agents broke into applause, seemingly oblivous to the ironies of buying a primitivist image of an African American off an auction block for such a huge amount. See ArtNet's exclusive free current sales results for an illustrated report on the rest of the auction.

Tout le art world is rushing to the local video store to rent Half Baked, a recent low-budget feature starring the 23-year-old Jacqueline Anderson, wife of new Whitney Museum director Maxwell "Mad Max" Anderson. This is but one arresting detail in a profile of Anderson penned by Joseph Cornell biographer and (now) wicked between-the-lines freelancer supreme Deborah Solomon in last Sunday's New York Times. Indeed, a wealth of revealing info is innocently splayed out across the gray lady's pages. As a Manhattan private school kid, Anderson felt himself "a rebel" at Collegiate, so he transferred to Dalton. Mad Max's early stint at the Met as a curator was "frustrating" because of all the "introverted research." In Toronto, where he headed the Art Gallery of Ontario, he was known as "someone who liked to talk about money" … "it's hard to say what he thinks about art because he doesn't talk about art," noted Toronto critic Blake Gopnik. "Max could sell ice boxes to the Eskimos," said former National Gallery head J. Carter Brown. Finally, Anderson "recently had dinner with Terry Winters, met Kenneth Noland for drinks and had an enjoyable chat with Brice Marden in the museum's galleries, his first-ever encounter with each of these artists." And journalists wonder why no one wants to talk to them!

The French foreign ministry has published a catalogue of 171 Dutch and Flemish paintings, including works by Rubens and Rembrandt, that were stolen by the Nazis during World War Two and never recovered. The catalogue includes missing works from the collection of Adolphe Schloss, which were seized by German agents in 1943. The ministry plans to distribute 5,000 copies of the catalogue to art museums around the world. The catalogue is also slated to be reproduced on the ministry web site.

The Austrian Parliament has unanimously approved legislation allowing works of art seized by the Nazis and later incorporated into state museums to be returned to their rightful owners. Art owned by Austrian Jews that was confiscated during World War II was retained by state museums after the war through the imposition of an export ban on paintings, coins and antiques. Research in state archives earlier this year demonstrated that several Austrian museums had hundreds of objects of doubtful origin in their collections.

The Brazilian Special Commission to Examine the Nazi Legacy in Brazil, created by the Brazilian Justice Ministry in 1997, is pressing its search for artworks looted by the Nazis that ended up in their country, according to a story by Rochelle G. Saidel. More than 100 plundered works are believed to have found their way to Brazil during and after the war. Two paintings, by Picasso and Monet, have already been seized. Suspect works are also housed at the São Paolo Museum of Art, the Rio de Janeiro Museum of Modern Art and other museums. The sale of looted artworks helped fund the infamous Odessa network, which helped Nazis hide in Latin America after the war, according to commission member Rabbi Henry Sobel.

Two oil sketches by John Constable have vanished from the prints and drawings study room at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and are believed to have been stolen. The works, Dedham Lock and Mill (ca. 1810-15) and Sketch for Valley Farm (ca. 1835) are said to be worth about $1.3 million. V&A director Alan Borg said access to the room was restricted to staff and visiting scholars.

The latest art project on the World Wide Web sponsored by the Dia Art Center is Almost Home by Arturo Herrera. The project features 100 collages using cartoons and other formal elements, in combinations that can be manipulated by viewers. It debuts Nov. 19.

Feminist LED artist Jenny Holzer is now represented by Cheim & Read. Holzer has previously showed at Barbara Gladstone, a relationship that ended last summer after a much-publicized legal dispute over commissions. Cheim & Read is planning an exhibition of her work in the fall of 1999.

The Whitney Museum of American Art has recently acquired 52 drawings by Brice Marden. Marden donated the drawings to the museum, which previously owned only two of his works. The Whitney's collection of Marden drawings, now the largest of any museum, goes on view from Nov. 20, 1998-Mar. 28, 1999.

The Whitney also announced the recent acquisition of 20 photographs includes work by Uta Barth, Danny Lyon, Richard Misrach, Seton Smith and Carrie Mae Weems, among others. They go on view in the Sondra Gilman Photography Gallery through March 28, 1999.